You might remember a few weeks back we told the dramatic story of the group of traders who rowed from Barcelona to Ibiza as part of the NOMAN Campaign?
Well, they’re at it again. With the lingering excitement of a dramatic Tour de France, the NOMAN Campaign (www.nomancampaign.org) are prepping themselves to take on the very same climbs in this weekend’s Cosaveli Trois Etapes Tour (www.cosaveli.com).
Team NOMAN will be hitting the Pyrenees and are looking forward to 3 days of epic climbs, sky-high heartbeats and burning muscles.
Friday 7 August – Stage 1 – Col d’Aspin (81.6km)
Saturday 8 August – Stage 2 – Horquette d’Ancizan and Col d’Azet (119.6km)
Sunday 9 August – Stage 3 – Col du Tourmalet (99.9km)
Team NOMAN are taking part in the Trois Etapes Tour 2015, which pits amateur cyclists up against some of the best riders, routes and climbs in the world. As close to a professional race as you can get, it combines competitiveness with a team environment – and all for incredible causes.
We chatted with two of Team NOMAN’s riders: Tristan Almada, co-founder of the NOMAN Campaign and Ben Nathan of Macquarie, to talk about taking on this awesome cycling challenge…
How have you prepared for the event – how many hours of training do you put in per week? What’s a typical training week?
Cosaveli’s Trois Etapes events are focused on your ability to sustain your limits and threshold for a sustained period of time. A typical climb on the Col de Tourmalet or Passo Fedaia might take an hour plus. You’re hitting a steep gradient and racing against other people, and how you tolerate and sustain just below your maximum is crucial.
Knowing I’m heading into these big climbs, I try to be as specific as I can with my training and workouts – I very much employ a model of go hard or don’t go at all! I typically focus on two to three Zone 4 workouts when I’m trying to push my threshold and also try and do one long ride per week. You don’t need to train every day to get big results!
What bike do you have?
The Wyndymilla Massive Attack SL (Superlight) which was designed, custom painted and built in the UK. I had been riding a heavier endurance bike in very steep alpine and continental races and I was looking for an upgrade. I got my body weight down, and thought it was time for me to invest in the hardware. I got in touch with Wyndymilla and tried one of their bikes and was blown away by how it handled on the hills around Surrey and the famed Box Hill. The custom frame, made to measure in Venice, fit me perfectly. It is light and responsive and is incredibly comfortable – with racing bikes you usually sacrifice speed for comfort, but my Wyndymilla bike gives me both, which is fantastic. (Find out more at www.wyndymilla.com)
What has been a great piece of kit you have bought?
A Stages Power Meter. Every amateur cyclist, including myself, will get to the bottom of the climb and just put pedal to the metal and go hard at the bottom, but be unable to sustain it and finish weakly. By knowing your limits you can hold back and be as efficient as possible – the meter will tell you to slow down or speed up by analyzing how much power you are putting through the pedals and if it is too much.
What apps have you used to better your performance?
Training Peaks and Strava are great. They’ve mostly helped me understand the importance of recovery, as when amateurs are training for big events we tend to not give ourselves enough rest – work and lifestyle add to this stress. Training Peaks helps you to mange your physique by giving you quantitative information which essentially stops you from overdoing it. Sometimes you won’t stop yourself because you’re so focused on just getting as many high intensity workouts in as possible, but that isn’t always the best way – this app helps you to manage yourself!
Strava is essentially a social media platform like Facebook, but for athletes. You can check in with your friends and check your progress over time on climbs like Boxhill.
Have you had coaching and how has this helped your performance?
I don’t really understand why people don’t use coaches. I am fortunate to work with Madison Genesis Pro-Rider Liam Holohan. He will analyse my data on a weekly basis and check in with me on what’s working and what isn’t. You have a much higher chance of arriving on race day feeling great and the getting most out of an event for yourself and your team if you’ve spent time with a coach, I think.
Also, training to increase your threshold performance is demanding. When you have a coach who understands all the demands in your life, whether that’s when to push you and when you need to back off because other parts of your life are demanding (such as work), it is hugely beneficial. They also help you design a race plan, so you stay within your limits and don’t burn yourself out.
Why do you think cycling has taken off in such a big way in the City?
I think the success that British pros have had has encouraged British amateurs to take up the sport. Compared to running or spinning, cycling is an incredibly social event and sport. In the city there’s a lot of expats and Brits and it’s a great way to meet new people, or catch up with friends – go for a ride and a coffee.
How have you managed the challenge of juggling training for this challenge alongside work commitments?
A good question! All of the amateurs on our team work in the city and have to balance work with training and personal demands. While you can’t always fit your training in, it is a great way to release stress and stay healthy.
When at home, I try to work out before work, which means I get to the office feeling fresh, alert and I find my concentration and productivity is better… as long as I’ve eaten!
Has it been a great experience riding for the NOMAN Campaign?
The NOMAN Campaign is working together to overcome immense obstacles – whether that be gruelling mountain climbs or those barriers that stand in the way against universal vaccination against HPV, the causal agent of 5% of cancers. It is a true privilege to be part of a charity with such a clear and singular vision and to have so many great friends help the charity achieve its ultimate goal.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone taking on an event such as the Cosaveli Trois Etapes Tour?
Train hard, recover harder and enjoy it – it’s an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded interesting people, who are brilliant at cycling and also really interested in philanthropy.
We’d like to wish all of Team NOMAN the best of luck from all of us at Littlefish FX!
About the NOMAN Campaign
NOMAN is an Island: Race to ENDHPV is more than a race, it is a call to action. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes 5% of cancers worldwide and 80% of people will come into contact with the virus at some point in their lives. NOMAN aims to raise awareness about the HPV-related cancer epidemic in men and women and campaign for universal HPV vaccination, while challenging participants to extreme endurance races across the world.
NOMAN are proudly supported by Courcheval Prestige Chalets, offering a new standard of luxury rentals in Courcheval 1850 with a five star service that matches attention with discretion. Find out more at www.courchevelprestigechalets.com.