Matthew Lawley
Posted by
Matthew Lawley

Ride Along: meet our London | Paris 2016 ride captains

Matthew Lawley
Posted by
Matthew Lawley
31 May 2016

This week we're meeting Andrew Wills (pictured) who has a few tips for any newcomers to the ride...

Andrew: Whilst I have not personally suffered, I have several close friends and family who have been affected by some form of cancer. My beautiful wife unfortunately lost her first husband to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I have seen the devastating effect it had on her and his family which continues even today, 16 years on, and will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Through friends I was introduced to the Bloodwise ride and this is now my 3rd year riding, 2nd year as a ride captain. The stories of why people choose to ride are humbling and everyone you talk to has a story.  This creates camaraderie among riders that unites us and keeps us going when we feel like we have nothing left to give.

As a ride captain I would like to share some training tips to help you on your journey to Paris.  Simply jumping on a bike and riding is not enough. You need to protect your muscles and joints from the prolonged time on the bike, and I have highlighted the main points I think you need to concentrate on.

How to make it your best ride:

  • Flexibility, stretch every time you ride or exercise. Keeping good flexibility will help you get more power on the bike and ache less during and after the ride. A large proportion of aches suffered whilst cycling can be eliminated with a regular stretching routine. If you don’t feel confident on your own then find a Yoga or Pilates class.
  • Core, shoulder and back strength. Your legs may be doing all the work but your upper body is supporting you and taking all the impact of the road.
  • Time in the saddle. There is no quick fix for saddle soreness other than spending a lot of time in the saddle, however a good chamois cream will help. Make sure your bike is set up correctly for your height and frame, don’t be scared to invest in a bike fit.
  • Spin class. If you are struggling to get the miles in then finding a spin class is a great way to improve your strength and stamina.
  • Eating/drinking whilst moving. You need to be able to eat and drink whilst on the move to keep your energy levels stable so you can keep going. Sounds simple but a lot of people struggle to reach into their back pocket or grab their bottle unless they are stationery so make sure you practice even on a short ride.
  • Get used to riding close to others, many people get nervous if they have trained alone. Make sure you talk to the people around you and help each other out by pointing our holes in the road or tell them if you are stopping etc…

I'm sure those tips will give you a bit of a boost when it comes to race day, good luck, and see you at the start!

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