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Where We're Training This Week: Cycling the globe...

posted on Tuesday, 8th July 2014 | find under Tamara, Fitness, Nutrition
After a week in Yorkshire, the Tour de France arrived in London yesterday; putting on a show for the 20-deep crowds that turned up to support the world's largest annual sporting event. Now in its 4th stage (with 17 still to go), the peloton is geared up and ready for the 163.5km ride from the French coast at Le Tourquet-Paris-Plage to Lille Metropole.

As with any much-hyped event, the hordes of people resolving to take up this dynamic sport will have multiplied overnight. For Sweaty Betty designer Laura, however, cycling is nothing new, and neither is the self-set challenge of riding intense distances across the country.

Currently in training to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats, Laura shares her cycle schedule and the past week's rides, exclusively on the blog.

On Friday 22nd August 2014, Sweaty Betty designer and all-round workout fanatic Laura will be cycling the incredible 913.1 mile route from Land's End to John O'Groats.

Before deciding to tackle the UK's toughest long-distance cycle ride, Laura would average around 30 miles per week on her bike. For the last 6-8 weeks however, she has upped her training exponentially; cycling up mountains in 30-degree heat to prepare herself for what's to come...

The Rides

Last week while on holiday in Majorca, Laura put her rental bike through an intense 56-mile ride across Sa Colobra Bay, which included a 'horrific' 2,500 ft / 6-mile mountain climb. With the heat quickly rising from 20 degrees at 7am to 30 degrees by lunchtime, pedalling up and over a series of mountains was a serious challenge that burnt over 3,500 calories. The lack of shade made the rides even harder; causing Laura to drink nearly a litre of water during the 6-mile incline. Fortunately, there were beautiful sea views to keep Laura entertained, and thanks to an early 7am start - her 5-hour ride was over by midday, and she still had half the day to relax by the pool.

The following morning, Laura eased herself back in with what she calls "a little 20-miler", before another 50+ mile ride that afternoon around the stunning vistas of Majorca. 

As if these distances weren't enough, Laura is planning to up her mileage to 100-miles (and 8 hours) per day to get route-ready in time for 22nd August. Her current UK training distances equal 120-miles over 2 days of training. Last Saturday's 70-mile ride, for example, took her from her home in West London, out to Walton and then back in and down to the Surrey Hills, near Dorking and Leatherhead. With the return loop taking her back up to London, this 5-hour ride burned over 2200 calories, while Sunday's 50-mile stint saw Laura pedalling down to Windsor in a 3.5 hour route down to Berkshire and back up to London.

While the long distances have, so far, not caused Laura too much of a problem, she is conscious that during the John O'Groats route she will also be carrying 10 days worth of clothing; although she admits to limiting herself to just one spare cycle top and shorts, one long-sleeved top, a lightweight pair of trousers and a waterproof.

The Route

The Fuel

When cycling such long distances and burning so many calories, keeping energy levels up is imperative, so Laura stops to refuel her body every 25-30 miles...

- Breakfast - porridge with peanut butter and honey
- After 25-30 miles - dried fruit, nuts and a banana
- Another 25-30 miles later - a Nak'd bar or other cereal bar
- Lunch - salad with sweet potato and bacon, with a banana & almond milk smoothie

Whether cycling in the heat of Majorca or the mild summers of the UK, it goes without saying that keeping hydrated is absolutely essential.
The Outfit

A streamlined, sweat-wicking cycle top is key for comfort during long rides. With its anti-chafe seams, built-in bust support and silicone gripper hems, the Zoom Tri Top is Laura's first choice. The matching Zoom Shorts, with their padded seat panel and quick-drying, high-stretch fabric complete this high-performance look. For warmth and protection from the elements during winter, Laura wears the All Weather Jacket (now in sale), but for a more summer-friendly, lightweight layer - choose the shower-resistant Protector Jacket that packs away into its back pocket for convenience on-the-go.

For visibility, entertainment and quenching your thirst in style, Laura recommends a reflective arm blinker, media armband and water bottle.
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