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Cycling in the Lake District

Cycling in the Lake District is amazing and if you’ve never been, you should. There are great places to stay, like Another Place, great places to eat and visit but, the cycling is the best.

From easy rides around one of the many lakes to climbing the challenging hills, like HardknottPass. The pass takes its name from Hard Knott which is derived from the Old Norse harthr (hard) and knutr (craggy hill). The Hardknott Pass stands at a maximum elevation of 393 m (1,289 ft). The Isle of Man in the Irish Sea can be seen on clear days

The infographic below (click on it to see bigger) helps to show you some of these routes. Go! Enjoy one of the most stunning places in the U.K. We like infographics a lot, check out our review of the bike book with more infographics.

Cycling in the Lake District

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TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing by Emma Tang

Torq Fitness

It’s always a pleasure to get out stories from other cyclists here at Headset Press and were very happy to share with you; TORQ Fitness: Performance Coaching and Fitness Testing by Emma Tang. We also have a great feature on fitness testing using lactate thresholds, well worth checking out too.

Grant and I don’t race our bikes, but we simply love riding and to get the most out of our year, especially our 3 weeks summer trip to the mountains, we use TORQ Fitness for our training. So I thought I’d write a little about this, to dispel any myths that training plans or coaching are only for those who compete.

You may be familiar with the brand from their superb range of energy and Recovery products. However, TORQ first started out in 1999, set up by Director Matt Hart as a fitness and coaching consultancy, with the nutritional products coming a little later in 2002

We started going to TORQ in 2007, after a friend recommended it.  We had enjoyed three summer trips to the French Alps and the Dolomites in previous years, and we decided to explore how we might benefit from more structured training. At that time, TORQ were based in the village of Westbury, near Shrewsbury, so only about an hour and a half away from us.   However, they have since relocated to the picturesque location of Bryn Mawr in Powys.

Back in 2007 we attended a full day’s education, which also included the fitness testing.  The education covered various aspects of training: energy systems, aerobic and anaerobic training, nutrition etc. It was also a time to discuss our aims/goals, what we hoped to achieve and what our training capacity was. I must add that a very fine lunch was also included and the chance to sample TORQ’s products. All of this was to form the basis of our first 6 months training plan.

Since that first visit, we’ve returned every Autumn, to carry out a test, in preparation for the following year’s training plan, which we choose to run from January to June. So let me tell you more about our fitness testing experience.

It’s a good idea to have a substantial breakfast, as you need to leave a gap of 3 hours between eating, and taking the first part of the test. This is the lactate threshold test, which is carried out indoors using a power meter on your own bike or on a Watt Bike.  A resting heart rate and lactate reading are taken first. Then you are asked to start pedalling at a low wattage, which you increase at gradual intervals, whilst your TORQ coach measures your heart rate and takes blood lactate readings. Don’t worry, this is painless! A quick needle click in your ear lobe is all it takes.   Throughout this process you will be asked to confirm your perceived level of exertion.  From this you will ultimately learn what your lactate threshold is, and what your endurance training zones will be (using power and / or heart rate).

After this, caffeine is allowed and a little food if you require it!  I tend to just have a TORQ Caffeine Gel at this point (Banoffee is my favourite).  I made the mistake a few years ago of nibbling on a bagel… let’s just say I paid the price with chronic stitch during the next part of the testing process!

The anaerobic threshold test is next. Historically, when originally based in Westbury, TORQ used an outdoor hill climb for this. We still do for our testing, but this will mainly be measured using an indoor protocol, for most clients in future. Marcus Willday, TORQ’s lead Coach explained “At TORQ Fitness we use a variety of testing batteries so that we can accommodate for all athlete types and fulfil sport specific testing.  For example, the way we fitness test a road cyclist or time trial rider may not reflect the true fitness parameters required of a downhill rider, thus resulting in poor test validity”. Marcus also explained that an indoor test protocol allows for a more controlled environment, which is also optimal for test – retest, validity and reliability.

However, Grant and I have a bizarre love-hate relationship with the “TORQ Hill” and so we continue to use it for our anaerobic test! As our focus is riding that involves a lot of climbing, it is a suitable test medium for us.

The hill we use is just over 3 miles long, but it is steep in sections, in a very pretty setting near to Welshpool.  Along with our bikes, we are transported in the TORQ van, to a parking area near the start of the climb. The name of the road makes me smile as it’s called Hope Road!  I will spend well over 20 minutes hoping it will soon be over!  So the aim is to ride the climb as hard as you can sustain. The road is thankfully quiet, as it is quite narrow in parts. Our coach Anthony follows a short time after, in the van.  When he passes me, I know there is not far to go!

I always set off 5 minutes before Grant and he always passes me on the hill.  I know he feels bad about this, worrying it will have an effect on my effort.  Not so, I would be more worried if he didn’t pass by! My head is usually pounding by the finish, as I don’t like riding hard like this at all!! We hit the stop button on the Garmin, so Anthony can record the average power and heart rate.

Once we are back at TORQ HQ there is time for a snack and hot drink whilst we talk about how things went with the previous plan and what we are aiming for with the next one.

The Fitness Consultancy suite is well equipped with clean, modern showers, as well as a training / conference room which is used for the education seminars, and of course, a coffee maker!

The next step will be for us to confirm our training capacity (ie. days per week we can train, number of hours we can dedicate, any limitations that must be considered etc). This is so that the most effective six months training plans can be provided, tailored to our needs, available time and lifestyle.

TORQ offer a range of training options: we opt for the six months plan, but there are also monthly coaching plans available with different levels of support (e.g. weekly training data analysis or monthly reviews). You can also buy into the Today’s Plan Algorithmic Coaching, this does not involve a TORQ Coach but gives you access to the Today’s Plan database to allow you to build your own plan.

Torq Fitness
Torq Fitness

In January our plan will commence; there will be a mixture of indoor sessions as well as outdoor riding, especially during the winter months. Having the plan really helps to keep your training and riding interesting.  Another benefit which may help those who find it hard to take rest and recovery, is that you don’t battle the need to take time out, especially when your TORQ plan is telling you to!

So is it worth it? Well as this will be our tenth year receiving TORQ training, I’d say that demonstrates a definite YES answer! My endurance has increased massively over the years and thankfully I’ve had very few injuries during this time.  I can be honest in that a painful quad strain that I did experience came during a period when I was overdoing it and was not adhering properly to the month’s training schedule at that time. A lesson painfully learnt!  So whether you are training for an event or sportive, for competition, or simply to improve your cycling fitness, a TORQ training plan can definitely help. Discount on the TORQ Nutrition products is another great plus point, depending on the coaching package you choose.

Torq Fitness

For full details of TORQ’s Performance Consultancy and Education Seminars head to
https://www.torqfitness.co.uk/performance-coaching

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Ass Savers Art | Illustrator Enisaurus

Ass Savers Art

Well, it’s been a while. We decided to take a bit of a break but, I’m back and were still looking to improve the site, the trouble is time. None of have enough spare time to work on the site. Anyone out there who wants to support us?

That aside, we receive cycling related art, were always motivated to post it, regardless. That was most definitely the case with Ass Savers Art and Illustrator Enisaurus teaming up.

Ass Savers Art

If you want to get immersed in the story and find out more about the collaboration between Enisaurus and Ass Savers, you can in an extensive interview here.

Or if you just want to get your hands on some fine goods…

Three different Ass Savers designs by Enisaurus and a beautifully matching bandana are now available in a special edition gift box online at ass-savers.com for just €45. Items are also sold separately. Enjoy!

ART WHEEL Steve Hed Memorial Charity Auction

Art Wheel

Spye / HED Cycling Products / Stoemper presents the 5th ART WHEEL: Steve Hed Memorial Charity Auction benefiting families battling cancer

If you’re lucky enough to be in the area you have to go see this. Art on HED wheels needs little explanation. I’ve seen some pictures over the last four editions and it’s really good. It’s all for an amazing cause so please share away.

MINNEAPOLIS – November 16, 2017 – Minneapolis-based Spye, a leader in integrated AV design for commercial and residential spaces, will host the 5th ART WHEEL: Steve Hed Memorial Charity Auction benefiting families battling cancer event at their studio showroom, a resource of Integrated Design for the architectural, design and technology communities. HED Cycling Products and Stoemper are also presenting sponsors.

This event will take place on Thursday, November 16, 2017 from 4:30-9:00 p.m. at Spye 2740 31st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406. On display and up for bid will be one of a kind pieces-created by local, national and international artist-incorporating the carbon fiber HED 3 racing wheel. The silent auction event will include the artwork and a handmade Stoemper track bicycle.

The artwork, made especially for this auction, and the Stoemper bike will be previewed and availble for remote bidding via an auction website that will launch in early November. Proceeds will provide direct support to families battling cancer in partnership with the Children’s Minnesota Cancer Kids fund.

Long Sleeve Hybrid Que by Q36.5 review by Grant Williams

©JWDT Photography

The Long Sleeve Hybrid Que by Q36.5 is a garment I have a real affinity for. It was one of my first items of Q36.5 clothing, and it prompted me to explore and purchase much more of their range.

Prior to owning the Hybrid Que, there was a gap in the cycling clothing I was using when riding in the varied temperatures and weather conditions we experience in the UK, particularly during the Spring and Autumn. Not being completely comfortable when out riding or training was detracting from the enjoyment or effectiveness of being on the bike during my favourite seasons.

The Long Sleeve Hybrid Que resolved this, as it provided the fit, breathability, and protection I had been looking for, and a host of features which made it really stand out. So how is this achieved…..

Q36.5 incorporate two of their high performance fabrics into the design of the garment. Scientific data relating to regional sweat rates of an athlete’s body, forms some of what is used to ensure the optimum is achieved from these materials.

The chest, upper back, upper arms and front of forearms are formed in Unique HybridShell. This densely woven fabric is extremely wind blocking, breathable, highly water resistant, and has a ribbed fleece back. These properties are complemented by the level of elasticity within the material.

Unique Fabric L1 is utilised in the back, and underside of the forearms of the garment. It is soft to the touch, has a high level of elasticity, extremely effective at wicking moisture, and is constructed in a way that makes it resilient but lightweight.

The Long Sleeve Hybrid Que is noticeably light (200g), and is shaped to be comfortable and efficient when on the bike. The Pre Shaped fit is something to factor in when you first try one; from a personal perspective, I find the on-bike fit is extremely good.

Ergogenic Pattern is incorporated into the design of the Hybrid Que. This feature serves to provide support to specific muscular groups, and reduce the effect of fatigue on these muscles, particularly on long or more intense rides. Ergogenic Pattern is noticeable by the snug feel of the garment, and how it complements on-bike position, and pedalling motion. Having used a number of items of clothing with this feature, I really value the comfort and performance it provides.

This fabric and design expertise are examples of the technology that Q36.5 use to fulfil their design criteria to enable healthy body temperature to be sustained, throughout a ride.

As a rider, wearing the Long Sleeve Hybrid Que feels different. The fit, fabrics, low volume, and weight take away bulk and restriction, which is inherent to clothing used to overcome cooler temperatures and varied conditions. These properties are noticeable when getting ready for a ride, to those moments in training or riding when a turn of speed, or movement feels unhindered. This adds a real positive to the cycling experience as a whole.

Within the Q36.5 website, detail is provided relating to combinations of their clothing which complement the Hybrid Que, to enable rider comfort across temperatures ranging from 5 degrees Celsius to above 15 degrees Celsius. From a personal perspective, I tend use the Hybrid Que in the middle area of that temperature range. This varies between rides when the temperature is reasonably constant, to early starts, or late finishes when the day is warming or cooling. The technical fabrics ensure comfort, and I vary the baselayer (Q36.5 Baselayer 1, 2 or 3), and add the superb L1 Vest, when temperatures dip.

The performance and versatility of the Hybrid Que is constantly beneficial, but becomes most apparent as the ride or conditions become more challenging. When descending or riding in cool temperatures or winds, the effectiveness of the wind blocking fabric and lack of front facing seams is extremely high. Should the intensity of the ride increase, the build up of heat and moisture is managed by the fabrics and their placement, and rider comfort is maintained. This performance is something I really appreciate when riding in the hills or mountains, as is the water resistance of the garment should drizzle or low cloud drift in.

The Hybrid Que is superb for long days in the saddle, due to how comfortable it is, plus being equipped with necessary features: the pocket system, known as the Invisible Pocket System is virtually flush when not in use. It incorporates three main cargo areas, plus a zip pocket, and has the capacity to carry essential items, numerous bars and gels to keep the legs turning. The pocket on the left arm is really useful for stashing a bar or gel, making that emergency energy boost really easy to access. Reflective tabs and thread are also integrated into the front and back of the garment.

The Hybrid Que is available in a number of colour options in both light and darker shades. When possible, I choose brighter colours for the clothing I use for road cycling. The Green Fluo was my initial choice, and I have recently added the Light Blu version.

If you are looking for a highly versatile item of cycling clothing, and something which will close a gap between your summer and winter options, the Long Sleeve Hybrid Que is really worth checking out.

For more information go to www.q36-5.com

Donard | Eddie’s Race Bike

Donard Eddie's Race Bike

Donard recently built this race bike humdinger in Reynolds 853 for a bloke called Eddie. Nice build too, with a Campagnolo Super record groupset and Bora Ultra Dark label wheels, ENVE Composites forks, Chris King headset, Cinelli bars and tape, and Continental GP4000 tires.

Sounds like a winner to us. Better still Eddie is originally from Northern Ireland and Donard reflected that in the paint work which, it has to be said, really rather nice. Since meeting Donard at bespoke we have been really impressed with the builds they have been producing. Check out more details on Eddie’s race bike here.

Q36.5 Jersey Review by Grant Williams

Q36.5 Jersey
Our experience, enjoyment, or level of performance on the bike is normally greatest when it is not compromised by distraction, or interference from the equipment we are using. Q36.5 create their cycling apparel to enable healthy body temperature to be sustained during the ride. This translates into rider comfort and performance.

Having heard so many positive comments about the Jersey Short Sleeve L1 Pinstripe, I was really looking forward to using one. This was heightened, as the Jersey would form part of the clothing I would be taking on a trip to the mountains in France, and would create the perfect opportunity to try the garment in terrain and temperatures which differ from the UK. The Jersey provides High UV protection +50SPF.

Prior to obtaining the Jersey, I visited the brand’s website to learn more about the garment. Q36.5 describe the Jersey Short Sleeve L1 Pinstripe as being high performance, and highly versatile, without weight penalty. They utilise a number of their technologies to create this, one of which is the addition of silver thread to the jersey fabric.  This serves to improve heat and moisture management, and is subtly visible in the form of fine pinstripes running within the Jersey fabric.

On taking the Jersey from its packaging, it is noticeably light. The fabric has a soft feel to it, but is densely woven, and different to what I have experienced with other brands. The pinstripe within the fabric enhances the appearance of the garment.

The Jersey has a pre-shape fit, to match a cyclist’s position when riding, and is formed with minimal seams, none of which are front facing. When putting it on, the fit feels close, and different from day to day clothing. When on the bike, the effect of the minimalist design, fabric and pre-shape is superb, as the presence of the jersey becomes barely noticeable, other than a comfortable, snug feel. Whilst riding, this is complemented by how the jersey remains in position when pockets are loaded, and its sleeves stay in place without being overly tight or restrictive.

Q36.5 incorporate their Invisible Pocket System into the Jersey. The design does away with an additional external fabric panel, and integrates three equally sized pockets, and zip pocket into the rear panel of the jersey. This creates a neat, efficient profile, is comfortable when in use, and has sufficient capacity to suit long days on the bike; I frequently head out with pockets loaded with rain jacket, tool case, phone, numerous bars and gels.

The qualities of this Jersey are further reaching than the great fit and pockets, and this becomes apparent when the riding is more challenging. This could be form of ride intensity, duration, weather conditions or terrain, or a blend of them all.

Q36.5 utilise athlete based research, fabric technology, and a precious metal, in the design of this Jersey. To understand the effect of this, I have used it extensively in my cycling, and included rides using other jerseys which do not have all of these features.

During this period, there have been numerous instances when I have benefited from the performance of the L1 Pinstripe. When climbing, heat build-up felt less, and when the Jersey is worn with an appropriate base layer, the combination of moisture transfer and quick drying fabric is highly efficient.

Whether descending, riding into the wind, and when the evening air begins to cool, I have found the Unique Fabric L1 used to form the jersey lessens the cooling effect that comes with these conditions. Switching to a jersey formed from an alternative fabric simply confirmed the higher level of performance and versatility of the L1 Pinstripe.

Ergogenic Pattern is another feature of the garment. This serves to provide support and stability to specific muscle groups, and is particularly applicable when spending long periods on the bike, or the intensity is high. Having used the jersey for endurance rides, and more intense training or group rides, I can certainly confirm it is comfortable and feels subtly supportive. The stretch within the fabric ensures movement is unhindered.

The Jersey is well made and remains unchanged after being worn and washed numerous times. Q36.5 are based in Italy and the products are also made there. This assists control of quality and production processes, and is also part of their sustainable and environmentally conscious approach.

I expect we all have certain items of clothing that we enjoy wearing, and for me, the Jersey Short Sleeved L1 Pinstripe has become one of these. The minimalist design and subtle features make it very stylish (a number of colour options are available), and I could not ask for more in relation to fit, comfort, and performance.

My partner uses the women’s version of this Jersey and has experienced the same levels of performance from the Jersey L1 Short Sleeve L1 Lady Pinstripe.

Whether its group rides, training, riding fast, going long, or heading to the mountains, this Jersey has got it covered. When temperatures are cooler, pair the jersey with the appropriate base layer, arm screens and vest, to hold off the chill. Q36.5 Jersey Short Sleeve L1 Pinstripe is highly recommended.

Q36.5 have a concise number of jerseys within their summer collection.  The differences generally relate to the technical fabrics in which the jerseys are formed, the fit, and colour or pattern options. If you ride in low light conditions, check out the Vaccaboia and Veloce Club Bolzano Jerseys which have the added feature of the reflective YYY system incorporated into the rear pocket area.

Should you require any further information about this jersey or other Q36.5 products, please email Grant Williams or head to www.q36-5.com

ENVE10 FiftyOne bike to celebrate 10 years of Enve Composites

ENVE10

ENVE10 FiftyOne bike, to celebrate 10 years of Enve Composites…

A decade in the bike business, ENVE Composites are celebrating their 10-Year Anniversary. FiftyOne has designed and hand built a limited edition custom carbon fiber bike for the occasion, with their new disc-brake design. FiftyOne are now taking orders for the limited run of the ENVE10 after being on show at Euro bike. From what I’ve seen it’s a stunner.

Only ten ENVE10s are being built worldwide. Each bike comes with a high gloss photobook with photos of the bike in build and the finished product. The ten bikes also come with a certificate of authenticity to recognize their rarity. FiftyOne are now taking deposits for the ten bikes on their website, if you happen to be lucky enough. If not enjoy the pictures of this amazing bike.

www.fiftyonebikes.com – Photos by www.deanella.com

Bristol Grand Prix 2017

Bristol GP 2017

On 19 August 2017 the streets of Bristol were once again transformed into the venue for the UK’s fastest growing and most exciting city-centre race: the Bristol Grand Prix. Just like last year, we headed down Park Street for a day of bike racing action.

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017 – Men’s Category 4 Race

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017 – Women’s Category 4 Race

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017 – Men’s Category 3 Race

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017 – Women’s Category 2/3 Race

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017 – Men’s Category Elite 1/2 Race

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Bristol GP 2017

Kask Mojito Review | Cycle Republic

Kask Mojito

Helmets are a personal choice, akin to your favourite saddle, or shoes. But as with all products, budget dictates, for the last year I had decided to try out a cheaper helmet for everyday use, whilst not bottom range it cost £70. I hated it.

The Mojito is currently £110, I was curious and maybe a bit reluctant to try, thinking I was going to hate it as much as my current £70 crash helmet. But I was determined to try the Kask Mojito in hope of finding a nice mid-range helmet I could recommend.

The Kask Mojito is 220 grams, has 26 vents and comes in a huge array of colours. Sensible me chose black. The helmet arrived from Cycle Republic and first thoughts were, nice helmet, felt light in hand, but, not too keen on the strap as it felt rigid and maybe not comfortable. On it went, quick glance in the mirror and it looked good (the helmet not me) not a massive mushroom perched on my head. The strap was absolutely fine, which surprised me and put me in a good mood – as wearing it for the foreseeable future wasn’t going to be as bad as the last helmet.

Then something fun happened, Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon! Basically, Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information – often an unfamiliar word or name – and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Also known as frequency illusion. You see I had never worn a Kask, although aware of the brand I had not seriously tried them out. But, I joined the Kask Mojito club. In the space of two weeks I saw at lest half a dozen people wearing them in Bristol. I thought I must be on to something here. A good choice had been made.

The Mojito, with it’s up‘n’down adjustment system which is very comfortable also, the Inner padding fabric treated with antibacterial and antimicrobial Sanitized® process which makes for less chance of any nasty itchy rash on your head. It’s this level of attention to detail that I like and probably why the helmet is so comfy.

Kask Mojito

Over the years I’ve worn, Giro, Specialized and Bell cycling helmets. From cheap to expensive. I won’t say what was my favourite out of those but the Kask Mojito, for it’s price has now beaten them all. Sadly this summer has not been the greatest and a long super hot ride has eluded me so far, that will be it’s true test of comfort but, I’m confident it will be good.

So if you’re looking for a new helmet, don’t want to spend crazy money but want a decent well made Italian number, look no further.

100 Years of Le Tour Prints - Visit the shop

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