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Women's Cycling

Chorizo, wet weather training and saddle comfort: tips from the pedElle 2016 riders

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Last month we brought you the first of a three-part series of exclusive interviews with three riders participating in the Club Peloton pedElle 2016 women’s cycling charity event. PedElle 2016 is a three-day, 425km ride for female professionals from the property industry.  

We have partnered with Aspire PR to bring you this series and we’re thrilled to be catching up with riders Sam McClary, Sarah Jenkinson and Yvonne Smith ahead of the event which begins in Salzburg on Monday 23rd May. Read on for their training strategies, fueling tips, secrets to comfort in the saddle and more…

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sam McClary

pedElle 2016

 

Sam, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

Desperately looking forward to getting out of the office and having only to worry about turning my legs and pedalling. If I’m honest, I probably haven’t cycled enough but hoping there’s some good muscle memory left in my legs from earlier in the year and last year’s adventures.

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I have some AMAZING kit from Betty Designs which I love. And always get comments on. And people asking if the Kick Butt on, well, my butt, is an instruction. It’s great kit though. Not only does it look cool, the fit is great and the chamois is just right – not too much, not too little.

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I don’t use any kind of training aid, which is weird because I love gadgets. Because I’m not racing anymore and just exercising for adventure and challenge I tend to just use how I feel as a training aid. If you can be honest with yourself about how hard you are (or aren’t) training then I think that is a great life skill. Tips for training in poor weather? Man up! Skin is waterproof.

 

Apart from chorizo (!), how do you plan to fuel yourself on the pedElle 2016 ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

Is there anything else apart from chorizo? For the sake of friendships and potentially garlicky burps, I will also use other fuels. I’m really quite anti gels and the like, however, so for me it will be dried fruits – dates and prunes are my favourites – seeds (I can’t do nuts) and some dark chocolate for those dark moments. I’ll also have a greens drink in the morning and pop a vitamin c tablet in my first bottle on my bike. Recovery – apart from wine and Aperol Spritz (a traditional PedElle tipple) – will be a protein shake or chocolate milk. Not just to rebuild muscle, but also because it is a tasty treat after a long, hard ride cycle.

 

One of the biggest challenges on long multi-day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle participant, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Investing in a good saddle that works for you and finding the ideal pair of shorts is the key when dealing with saddle pain. Making sure you have been fitted on your bike and using correct form will also help alleviate any discomfort. And getting out of the saddle for a little wiggle never hurts. And of course, sometimes you’ve just got to break everything (EVERYTHING) in a bit.

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sarah Jenkinson

pedElle 2016

 

Sarah, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I’m feeling excited! We had a great training ride a couple of weeks ago in Surrey where 12 PedEllers turned up. There was a fun and supportive atmosphere in the group and lots of giggles. My knees have been feeling a little sore, especially as I’ve been doing more running recently too. So I’ve (slightly grudgingly) started some strength and conditioning sessions to strengthen everything up before the ride. This is particularly important now that we’ve been informed that the first day has 4000m of climbing over 180km with a few 20% gradients…!

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

Hopefully the sun will be shining so it will just be a case of shorts, jersey, sunglasses and a cap! I’ll probably take my Velotoze shoe covers in case it rains ­ I just love these. They’re like a swimming cap for feet and come in lots of bright colours. Lightweight and look good!

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I’m pretty old school; a map and a bike. I don’t really like gyms or spin classes, so tend to just get on with it good weather or bad.

 

How do you plan to fuel yourself on the ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I try to eat natural foods where possible and just keep eating and drinking every hour. I avoid gels after a bad experience in a triathlon. A few of the ladies have been exchanging flapjack recipes in the run up to the ride and I think home made energy foods are always a great shout! In terms of recovery drinks, personally, I find the best is a cold beer!

 

One of the biggest challenges on long multi-­day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle cyclist, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Invest in a good saddle! I have a female specific saddle -­ a Selle Italia Diva and have used it on many long distance trips including a cycle across America. This combined with a decent pair of padded shorts (I use various brands including dhb, Liv and Rapha) should be fine. Of course, sitting in any position for 8+ hours will always lead to some discomfort but I have never really had any big issues.

[This just goes to show how the only way to find the right saddle for you is to go for a saddle mapping session – the Selle Italia Diva was hellish for Vamper’s Victoria but clearly the right saddle for other cyclists. Read more here.]

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Yvonne Smith

pedElle 2016

Yvonne, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I am taking the training very seriously as I want to be able to complete the event and not pick up any injuries. PedElle provided me with the programme and it is achievable if you are single-minded with a great husband (shout out to Julian!). Once a week, I go to a spin class and another day will cycle to work and back (50 miles round trip).

Over recent weekends, I have done different rides both days to get some variety. Sometimes endurance and sometimes hills and last Sunday was both! I got up Ditchling Beacon without stopping for the first time and I was thrilled. The family is still planning, accompanying me and encouraging me. Mentally very positive – need to keep pedalling!

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I haven’t found shorts with sufficient padding yet! I have received the kit list so will go through that and borrow off my daughter Hannah or wander down to the many cycle shops in the West End. To reward my efforts I have bought a Queen of the Mountains T-shirt and one with “Girls on bikes – keep up” for relaxing in the evening. I have promised to ditch the rucksack with all the extra layers, tools, torch, whistle, food, book (in case I get a puncture and have to wait around) etc. as I become more confident.

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

What’s the saying – “There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing and equipment”. I have only given up once and that was in Storm Kate. I love being outside and as I have a dog, you get used to carrying on regardless.

 

How do you plan to fuel yourself along the pedElle 2016 route? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I have actually started snacking on chorizo [like Sam!] when cycling and I prefer it to sweets. I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I have also bought Nuun rehydration tablets to add to my water bottle and these are not too sweet either. The usual – wine gums and Jelly Babies give you a lift and help you face the hills. I am ravenous a lot these days!

Multiple long days in the saddle can be quite uncomfortable. What is your strategy for staying comfortable on your bike over long distances?

I mentioned this earlier. I have bought chamois cream but when you are tender it stings like heck! Still looking for a solution and it’s one of my favourite topics of conversation with female cyclists at the moment. During the ride I move back onto the saddle going downhill and forward going up and this helps the balance and also gives a little relief to the under area!

 

 

In addition to paying an entry fee, the riders commit to raising a minimum amount for a number of children’s charities including Coram. To date, Coram has received £500,000 from Club Peloton events, making it Coram’s largest corporate partner. The funds raised by pedElle 2016 will go towards Coram’s adoption services, helping vulnerable children find stable, loving families.

Cycling TipsFeaturedWomen's Cycling

Women who cycle: we meet three inspiring women taking on the pedElle 2016 challenge

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Vamper.cc is delighted to be partnering with Aspire PR to bring you a series on the pedElle 2016 charity ride for women in the property industry, organised by Club Peloton, a fundraising charity which specialises in creating business networks.

PedElle 2016 is a three-day, 425km ride open to female professional from the property industry. This year’s event commences in Salzburg on Monday 23rd May and ends in Venice on Wednesday 25th, just in time for the start of the famous Architecture Biennale 2016. The route to Venice also takes in the medieval town on Lienz in Tyrol and the north Italian city of Udine. (In fact, we think the route sounds so good that we wonder if we should diversify into the property industry so we can ride it, too…)

The cyclists on pedElle will work as a peloton for efficiency and an atmosphere that fosters networking and camaraderie. The riders will also benefit from a full support crew consisting of lead car, mechanics, logistics, sports therapists and motorcycle outriders to keep body, mind and bike in full working order and to ensure that everyone crosses the finishing line together.

In addition to the entry fee, the riders commit to raising a minimum amount for a number of children’s charities including Coram. To date, Coram has received £500,000 from Club Peloton events, making it Coram’s largest corporate partner. The funds raised by pedElle 2016 will go towards Coram’s adoption services, helping vulnerable children find stable, loving families.

We’re very pleased to introduce you to three of this year’s riders who are sharing their cycling stories with us. We hope you find their journey as inspiring and interesting as we do…

 

 

Rider profile: Samantha McClary

pedElle 2016 McClary
Sam McClary has taken part in every Club Peloton event, a 1200 mile duathlon around the UK and a 1600 mile cycle from Vancouver to San Diego.

 

Samantha, what prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016?

Three days riding through beautiful countryside in beautiful weather with a gaggle of inspiring and interesting women? Why wouldn’t I sign up! But in all honesty, I love taking part in these rides as they teach so much about humankind. Whether you are the strongest rider or the weakest, it really doesn’t matter on pedElle as we are all in it together. That’s the great thing about women’s cycling (when we’re not racing, obvs): it’s about what you can do for the person riding next to you to make sure they are having the best time. Whether that’s a wheel, a little hand, some banter, a sing-song or just the promise of a big glass of wine at the end, it is those moments that really make me want to do every single pedElle.

I’m the chick you’ll see with a spicy Spanish sausage sticking out her back pocket.

 

When did you take up cycling, and why?

I started cycling properly probably about eight years ago. I started commuter cycling because I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for the train! I started cycling properly because of Club Peloton – the company behind pedElle. The property magazine I work for is the media partner to all of its property rides, including its flagship Cycle to MIPIM. I did that one year, and I was hooked. On one of the first training rides I met a cycling partner in crime. We became the closest of friends – she even got me into triathlon, which then got me into competing at age group level for GB – and cycling buddies. Since then I’ve done all sorts of cycling adventures: every Club Peloton event, a 1,200 mile duathlon of sorts around the UK, and a 1,600 mile cycle (with two other pedEllers) from Vancouver to San Diego. I have plenty more adventures planned.

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

Training for me is part of every day life. I just ride my bike. I teach spin too, which helps of course. I’m the chick you’ll see with a spicy Spanish sausage sticking out her back pocket. Chorizo isn’t everyone’s bag of chips on a bike ride but for me it is the perfect package of fats, protein and salt.

 

What bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

I will be riding my Wilier Zero 7. I love it. Like, properly and potentially inappropriately, love it. It is matt black with day-glo orange decals. It is ridiculously light and ludicrously expensive. I blame Club Peloton entirely for the health (or lack thereof) of my bank balance.

pedElle 2016 Bike
We asked Sam what bike she’ll be riding. “I will be riding my Wilier Zero 7. I love it. Like, properly and potentially inappropriately, love it.” We get that, Sam – we love it too!

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

PedElle for me is about women working together to achieve something special. Raising money for a charity like Coram is of course the most special thing we can do as it will provide new families for children so desperately in need. But that something special is also about helping develop confidence, pride and a fine set of quads for a group of very wonderful women.

 

Rider Profile: Sarah Jenkinson

pedElle 2016 Jenkinson
Sarah Jenkinson took up cycling in Chamonix. When asked how she planned to get her new bike home, she replied – I’ll ride it!

 

What prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016, Sarah?

I work at Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design and one of the directors, Jennifer Ross, set up the first ride with a friend, Claire Treanor. When I started at the practice, as a keen cyclist, there was no doubt as to whether I would or wouldn’t take part; if you like cycling, are female and work at Tibbalds, you are in!

 

When did you take up cycling, and why?

I got into road cycling when I lived in Chamonix one summer a few years ago. Everyone out there is very fit and active, and the scenery is so captivating – it’s impossible not to be drawn to the activities you can do there. I actually bought an old secondhand bike initially, just to get around town. Then one evening in the pub, a friend asked how I’d get my new wheels home. In the Chamonix spirit I joked that obviously I’d cycle it home to the UK…   Just under 1000km later and road cycling was in my blood!

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

I stay quite active, especially on the bike, throughout the year. So I don’t change too much but try to get a few longer weekend rides in, as well as sticking to some hills laps after work each week. What really helps me personally is to try and do a lot of hot yoga in the run-up to the event: I can get painful knees so I find that getting my body as supple as possible is just as important as working on cardio and strength.

 

And what bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

I ride the Liv Envie Advanced Tri. I love it. So agile and light and the deep rim wheels are such a pleasure to ride (if there isn’t a cross wind!). It’s the first bike I’ve owned where I actually like how it looks too, although it’s pretty difficult to keep white paintwork looking good!

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

For me, it’s all about meeting new people in the industry. Three days is a great amount of time to get to know people and the riding acts as a leveller that brings everyone together. It’s a really inclusive and supportive event and I’m proud to be part of it. I’m also really looking forward to the route this year. A route through the mountains, unravelling to the coast will be spectacular!

 

 

Rider Profile: Yvonne Smith

pedElle 2016 Group
Yvonne (centre) has been training for pedElle with her family around the North Downs – training is always easier with some moral support.

Yvonne, tell us what prompted you to sign up for pedElle 2016?

I was inspired by Sam McClary of Estates Gazette as she cycled and ran from Edinburgh sponsored by Helix, the company I work for, a couple of years back. I was further inspired to buy a bike by my eldest daughter (also a surveyor) who cycles with her boyfriend (he did the Etape last year). We went along, got a nice tan and were overwhelmed with the effort put into both the training and the event itself. I then went and bought a bike in Sept 2016 for my 56th birthday.

I then came across pedElle. My mother is Austrian, so Salzburg felt like it was home for me – I also love the Sound of Music and expect we will all be wearing curtains made of Lycra and singing in unison as we weave in and out of each other up and down the Alps!

 

How are you training for the event? Have you developed any training or nutrition plans to prepare yourself?

My goddaughter (who is an osteopath) is doing the Prudential Ride 100 so we, along with her dad, my husband, and our daughters (who are all surveyors too) are out every weekend around the North Downs. I am following the plan Rhian from Club Peloton sent to me and so far so good: I’m getting stronger, but hills still defeat me. I have not changed my nutrition – I just eat more as I burn a few extra calories. Nothing scientific.

I expect we will all be wearing curtains made of Lycra and singing in unison as we weave in and out of each other up and down the Alps!

What bike will you be riding? Tell us about it.

It’s just lovely: a Ridley (extra small – I am 5 ft 1inch). I only had it ‘fitted’ by Thom at Evans in Guildford on Friday and what a difference. We’ve changed the handlebars to a narrow gauge, and he’s raised my seat and tipped it forward a little. He has all these technical gadgets that check all the angles – an excellent £45 spent for 2 hours of intensive fiddling. I had ‘rhino tyres’ fitted as I cycle on my own to work and back and can’t manage a puncture despite the workshop I took part in… I could blame the arthritis but I don’t have any confidence the wheel won’t fall off if I change the tyre.

 

At this point, what are you hoping to achieve from taking part in pedElle 2016?

I love being with professional women; I am constantly impressed and moved by their achievements and this will be a great opportunity for networking. And I just want to be able to finish and feel proud of myself – and the whole pedElle event.

 

We will be running a further two interviews with Samantha, Sarah and Yvonne to hear how their training is going closer to the event and later, to hear how the adventure went. Stay tuned!

If you are a woman working in the property industry and this has inspired you, it’s not too late to register for the event at pedElle. We would love to hear from you if you decide to take part, so drop us a line at victoria@vamper.cc.