My 245-mile lap of Somerset nearly broke me, but it certainly seems like you lot enjoyed it so in response to all your questions here are the seven big things learned from this one big day out
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Lesson #1: Opt for B-roads
UK A-roads are too busy while C-roads are often too fiddly, steep, gravelly and winding for a ride of this size and can really destroy average speed. B-roads hit the sweet spot - low traffic, high average speeds.
Lesson #2: Fuel right
Unhumble brag: I pride myself on my ability to eat! And I did myself proud on this ride. I happily munched through 5,000 calories during my 14-hour Somerset circumference – that's a decent 350-400 calories per hour and not once did I have a nutrition-related energy fade.
As for what I ate, here's my mighty menu:
- Because I enjoy the sensation of eating while I ride, I relied heavily on Amore Energy Bars and Eroica Protein Bars. They’re so moreish and I just feel healthy eating them
- Several of bottles of Better Fuel Carb Blend came into play later in the day when my electrolytes needed topping up and delivered tasty nutrient-dense calories
- Chia Energy Gels were really handy later in the day as I'd made them using coffee which delivered a lovely buzz when the going got tough.
- Plenty of flapjacks, sandwiches and water
I fueled much of my ride with Amore Energy Bars. Crushed nuts, fruits and warming spices (plus maca, nature's natural strength and endurance enhancer) saw me through 245-miles in the saddle
Later in the afternoon when the heat was really up I craved an ice cream and managed to scoff three (yes, three) Mars Bar Ice Creams. I've not had them before or since, but in that moment they hit the spot.
This approach to nutrition in everyday life works perfectly too. Focus on healthy, whole foods 80-90% of the time and then have whatever you want the rest. As long as your overall diet is good, the odd Mars Bar Ice Cream here and there won't ruin anything.
Lesson #3: Don’t stress the stats
I’m quite a stats man. I enjoy maximising my training by analysing data to create the optimal environment in which to progress. But there’s no place for watching numbers of placing credence on watts in a challenge like this. It was all about getting to the finish.
I'm a stats man, but there's a place to leave them behind
Having said that, keeping an eye on some numbers – watts and heart rate – did help me keep a lid on things in the early stages when, had I not used data to help, I could have gone off too hard and paid the price later.
Lesson #4: Think big
As touched on in our Goal Setting article, truly big goals are the most powerful ones. I honestly had no idea whether I'd be able to ride 245 miles, but the thrill of setting the challenge, and the excitement of pursuing it, made for a fantastic day regardless of whether I actually achieved it or not.
Lesson #5: Dress for success
Even if you work from home, make the effort to look sharp and dress in whatever makes you feel proud and confident
I always save my best kit for race day and while this wasn't techincally a 'race day', getting suited and booted in my 'A-game' jersey, shorts and socks put me in the right frame of mind. I was using the best gear I own and that gave me belief that I was checking the smaller boxes to help me reach my target.
It's never been easier to ignore how we dress. The pandemic and working from home culture mean many of us from Monday to Friday can change from pyjamas to sweat pants and complete a days work before diving straight back into PJs. I've got nothing against a baggy t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, but it doesn't make you feel sharp, professional and 'on it'. Wear whatever gives you confidence and makes you stand tall.
Indeed, even though we all work remotely at 33Fuel, we wear team kit to remind ourself of our collective mission and provide that team atmosphere.
Team 33Fuel, suited and booted every day
Lesson #6: Get your bike serviced
In the leadup to this ride I lavished my bike with a new chain, cassette and full gear indexing setup and I swear I gained at least 1mph on my average speed as a result. Everything ran smoother than before, but also psychologically I felt like my equipment was in the best shape possible.
The crossover here into every day life is our health. How many of us really consider our health with any regularity? Like most, you probably only realise the fragility of life when your own or some you love's health is compromised.
It shouldn't be that way. Not only should be try to be grateful for a body that, by and large, works (speaking for the majority here) but we should also do what we can to look after it at every opportunity.
At 33Fuel, we believe that sports nutrition should be done differently and our Fuelosophy® is for powerful natural products that serve your Performance, Health and your Fitter Future. You get out what you put in and when you amazing, you perform amazing and feel amazing too.
Put the good stuff in - your body will thank you
Lesson #7: Small steps to big wins
“It’s like eating an elephant”, they say. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but they’re right. On a ride like this, you just can’t look at the challenge in the full. On setting out at 4am, if I’d focused too hard on 245 miles, I’d have given up hope that I’d ever make it. Instead, I focused on roughly 50-mile section at a time.
Breaking it down made the whole thing manageable. Same goes for every day tasks - we all face daily challenges which are much better tackled once it's broken down and a 'one step at a time' approach is taken.