The world’s best sprinter, Mark Cavendish, has joined British endurance nutrition company Science in Sport (SiS) as an Elite Sports Consultant.
The Manx Missile has been using SiS’ range of endurance nutrition products for many years, including when riding as a Junior and Under 23 rider.
More recently, SiS has developed a range of custom products following detailed input from Cavendish. Developed and formulated at SiS’ Innovation Centre in Lancashire, products such as SiS GO Isotonic gels, SiS GO Electrolyte and SiS REGO Rapid Recovery have been shipped out for Cavendish at the world’s toughest races.
In his role as Elite Sports Consultant, Cavendish will work with SiS scientists and academics to provide nutritional insight and hands on experience from his time in the peloton as the fastest man on two wheels.
“I’ve been working with SiS informally for many years now, so I’m delighted to be joining the team officially as an Elite Consultant,” said Mark Cavendish. “SiS is a brand of performance nutrition products that I aim to assist in developing further for all professional and amateur athletes. I believe my insight and attention to detail as a pro racer will only strengthen this incredible brand. I’m super excited about it.”
As part of the three-year consultancy, starting January 2014, Cavendish has also invested in the business. He will become a shareholder of Science in Sport plc and be integral in product development decisions.
Science in Sport has unprecedented usage amongst elite athletes. In addition to Mark Cavendish, SiS has Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, GB Triathlete Helen Jenkins, and Olympic and World Champion cyclist Rebecca Romero MBE as official brand ambassadors.
SiS is also the official sports nutrition supplier to Rapha Condor JLT, Belkin ProCycling, Madison Genesis, Pro Team Astana and Team Katusha; and official Supplier of Sports Drinks and Sports Nutrition to the GB Rowing Teams.
SiS provides nutritional products for preparation, performance and recovery to help endurance athletes perform at their best. For more information, visit http://www.scienceinsport.com.
A Woman’s Guide to Racing – Part 4
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Last week’s article was all about training – general advice and more specific tips about women’s racing and how best to prepare for it. I know that at the end of last week’s article, I said that this week would be about race preparation, but unfortunately, you’ll have to wait another week for that as I thought I would concentrate on something that often gets forgotten about – things to practice for when you are racing. So without further ado, here we go:
1) Drinking from your bottle
Ask yourself a question – when you decide that you want a drink whilst out on your bike, what do you do? Do you stop, unclip and then reach down and grab your bottle? If so, the first thing you need to practise is reaching for your bottle whilst on the move, taking a drink and then putting it back, whilst still moving.
This may seem really simple to some people, but the point is that if you don’t put your bottle back in the cage correctly and you subsequently hit a pot hole, I have seen so many bottles take flight, which then means that you have either
2011 Bedford Stage 4 ©www.VeloUK.net (Larry Hickmott)
inadvertently caused a crash behind you, as people swerve to avoid your bottle, or you have to complete the race without any drink – not the best idea!
Whilst I am on bottles, please do not throw your bottle away unless you need to in order to take another bottle on board. And if you absolutely have to throw your bottle, be careful where you throw it as again it could end up in the middle of the bunch, with possible crashes as a result. Carrying an empty bottle won’t make that much difference to the weight of your bike, and unless you are lucky enough to get an unlimited supply of free bottles, if you lose a bottle every race, the cost of replacing them soon adds up, AND you become a litter lout too, so don’t do it.
2) “Clipping in”
So you are on the start line, and the flag is waved to start the race. You look down, check where your feet are and push off, again looking down to clip your other foot in. When you look up again, the rest of the riders have already entered the first bend and you face a chase to get back in contention. And it’s only the first lap.
Again, this might seem simple, but a race can be won or lost, or points gained or lost, on your ability to “clip in” to your pedals quickly. It is easy to practise, and your riding will benefit from it as you will get used to clipping in and out easily, so there’s no more worries then about stopping at junctions, etc. Plus, why use extra energy chasing to get back in the race when you could be up there from the start? It’s a no-brainer for me.
3) Eating on the move
Joaquim Rodriguez having a snack on his bike. ©William Perugini/Shutterstock
This doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be a problem if you are doing a 30 or 40 minute circuit race as you should be able to survive on a gel just before the start and a bottle with energy drink in it, however, for anybody looking at doing road races, you need to be able to take food on board in order to replenish your energy reserves BEFORE they get depleted.
There are many ways to do this, and you should try different types of food to see what suits you best – some people will tell you to use energy gels, other people will say bananas, others will say sweets or chocolate. I will give you some alternatives, but remember that energy foods can prove quite expensive and sometimes just toast and jam will do (that’s what I used to use in the 1990s!):
My advice would be to shop around, try different things and stick with what works for you, which may not be what your mates tell you! Practice taking them out of your pocket, eating them and putting the wrapper back in your pocket – again no litter bug antics please!
Hmm, now this is something I can tell you about from experience! This can be a bone of contention at ANY race – circuit or road! The first thing you need to practise is adjusting your speed going into the bend/corner – far too many people go into a bend at full pelt, only to realise on the apex of the bend that they have totally miscalculated their speed and brake
Image ©Huw Williams
to avoid going completely out of control. Not at all helpful for the people who are unfortunate enough to be following that person’s wheel.
When approaching the corner, look beyond the bend to see where you are going – do NOT look down at the ground. If you look at where you are going, this will help you to hold your line (which I will explain in a minute).
If you lean in to go around the corner, this helps with fluidity and momentum, make sure you keep your inside pedal (in the UK this will mainly be your left pedal) up, which means that your opposite foot should be at the bottom, with your outside leg straight and your inside leg bent. Also, keep relaxed to help you “flow” around the corner.
When you approach the bend, look first to see where you are going to exit the corner, brake as you approach the bend to reduce your speed, and keep your head up to see where you are going. As you come out of the bend, do not drift to the other side (for example if you are going around a left hand bend do not drift to the right) – this is called “holding your line” – you must bear in mind that you will hopefully be in the middle of a group of riders at this point and any movements that riders to either side of you or behind you aren’t expecting could potentially cause a collision. Even if you think you are on your own, hold your line as there may be other riders coming up behind you.
I think the key to cornering in a group is respect other riders – give them space (not too much though!) and keep an eye on what is ahead.
5) Mutual Respect
One thing you will notice in a race is that people can get a bit annoyed if you do something that they don’t agree with – rightly or wrongly – and it will also get on your nerves if somebody does something to annoy you. But that is a part of racing – it is emotional whether you like it or not, and you are competing for the win essentially. Respect your fellow riders, give them the space that you would expect but don’t let them walk all over you! So, if somebody else who is nothing to do with you, shouts at you to do some work, think about whether it would be of benefit to YOU to work – if you are in a bunch, and your strength lies in sprinting at the end of the race, why would you do any work to help other people who aren’t on your team (you wouldn’t see Mark Cavendish riding at the head of the pro peloton on the last stage of the Tour de France if he thinks he is going to win, would you?)? On the other hand, if you are not a sprinter but would prefer to get in a break and win that way, then it might work in your favour to put the hammer down. Far too often I have seen riders do what their rivals (on a different team) tell them to. But why would you do that? Remember that you are competing – don’t be overwhelmed by riders who are supposedly better than you on paper – you have entered the race for a reason.
Next week, I will be covering race preparation and the final instalment will be what to expect on race day.
In the meantime, keep riding and stay safe!
Click below to read:
Part One – Where Do I Start?
Part Two – What Do I Enter?
Part Three – What training should I do?
Part Five – Are You Ready To Race?
Part Six – Race Day
Part Seven – Circuit Racing
After the success of the previous camp, I had high expectations for our second camp of the year and it didn’t disappoint. It was my first time meeting the 3 new international additions to the team for 2012; Ben Grenda, Rich Lang and Chris Jennings. The 3 guys fitted into the team immediately – probably helped by the ‘Twitter banter’ which started before we’d even met the guys and has kept everyone entertained both at home and whilst together on camp. Our stay in Benidorm was scheduled by the boss to get us race fit, just before we kick start our racing season. The harder efforts were a bit of a shock to the system, in contrary to the laid back steady riding I had become accustomed to over the winter and whilst out in Lanzarote. This time around I wasn’t nervous about the camp, but I had a small amount of doubt at the back of my mind about how I was going to perform after training was interrupted when the UK skies decided to snow. I’m writing this now about 10,000 feet up in the air, wedged into my Ryanair seat (thankfully I’m on the shorter side so I have some leg room, unlike a few of my longer team mates), flying towards London Stansted (or knowing Ryanair, somewhere within a 50 mile radius) in preparation for our team launch at Sharp HQ. Our mechanics and soigneurs are currently driving north through Spain heading towards the French border. With our bikes being driven back home, it means each of us only has to worry about getting our suitcases and a pair of sore and heavy legs back home to the UK, sometimes easier said than done.
With a total of 9 training days, the camp was split up into two four day blocks with one rest day. This alone was going to make the camp harder, and with the added bonus of specific TT, hill and leadout efforts it was destined to produce; aching legs, stiff backs and tired bodies. Along with the different style of training, we had our team nutritionist Mayur over for a few days, examining our meals and checking our skinfolds – which always brings competitiveness from everybody. We’ve decided that Luke has to be removed from the competition as he puts us all to shame! The presence of an all you can eat buffet meant that Mayur was definitely necessary to keep us in shape and to make sure we were getting the most of what we were putting into our bodies. The combination of Mayur’s advice at the dinner table and the support from Science In Sport, every rider has got through the tough camp without picking up any illnesses and we’ve all seen the ever welcome improvements in our skin folds.
The setup in Benidorm was different to the self-catering apartments we had out in Lanzarote. We had smaller rooms with 2-3 people in each, which I think suited this type of camp a lot better. There was also the huge bonus of having free wifi in every room. Having access to wifi always make for a more relaxing stay – the ability to lie in bed, flicking about the interweb after a hard days riding is priceless. This time around I was rooming with Mr Deano Downing. I learnt a lot throughout the week just from chatting to Dean about the upcoming season, and the expectations this team has. All of the talk of racing throughout the week, has every rider on the team chomping at the bit and super excited about pinning our first set of race numbers on the back of our Rapha Condor Sharp jerseys.
Along with the other stuff going on, we had the Rapha film competition winner Andrew with us for the duration of the camp. He’s producing a short film of the team, which will show the ins and outs of a Rapha Condor Sharp training camp. After seeing some of the shots he’s picked up over the week, I can’t wait to the see the finished product. A few of the days involved Andrew filming out the back of the Skoda team car with the boot open, whilst we chased him down one of the particularly fast and windy descents. All good fun!
Training throughout the week was kept simple and we made sure we got some essential race prep work done. I won’t bore you with the specifics but as I said earlier we worked on a 4 days on, 1 day off schedule. The first 3 days were each between 90-100km, with the first day working on TT efforts, the second day working on threshold hill efforts, the third day – my favourite of the block – was leadout/sprint day and finally we ended with a steady endurance day. We each worked on our efforts individually as it was clear from the beginning of the camp that we are all different in our abilities in certain areas – as expected with our age gaps and variety of different types of riders. The steady (sometimes not so steady for me when the Aussies got to the front) endurance day took us on a nice loop around the surrounding mountains, allowing us to clock up 160km in 5:30 hours with 3000m of climbing. Each ride was always a good laugh and with a few coveted ‘Strava segment sprints’ being contested there was always a good flow of conversation between everyone – saying that I was communicating considerably less on some of the climbs… not out of choice.
All in all, another highly successful camp. All of us are buzzing for the start of the 2012 racing season and judging by the way a lot of the guys were riding it won’t be long until we have a few wins under our belts either.