Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Riding Tip: How To Ride DH – Downhill Mountain Biking

Taken from Mountain Bike 198

Downhill mountain biking is one of those techniques that is becoming even more prevalent as bikes start getting more capable. More riders than ever are looking for ways to get faster while riding downhill in technical trail conditions, but they are conditioned to riding shorter travel bikes and hardtails. So how do we get faster going downhill and really use the bike’s capabilities? It all starts with keeping some core techniques in mind as you hit the trail and always remember…your bike has far more ability than you do…you are really just catching up. Trust your abilities, grow your skill set and trust your equipment.

Tips For Mountain Biking Downhill
  • The #1 mistake most riders make when experimenting with more technical downhill trails is looking directly in front of their tire. It is essential that you look down the trail, and the faster you are riding…the farther down the trail you should be looking.
  • Positioning your weight is your key to stability. By moving your weight lower and more rearward, you can traction on the rear end of the bike and increase your on trail stability. By keeping your legs and arms bent, you can soak up unexpected trail features by using the most travel you have on your bike…your body.
  • Try to stay off the brakes as much as possible. Knee jerk reactions with your brakes can blow you offline or even worse. Controlled smooth braking while keeping your speed at a level you are comfortable with will prevent most of your wrecks.
  • Pad up if you need to. A lot of downhilling is confidence. If it helps you out to protect your body in case the worst happens, then do it. You can never have too much on and you can always have too little. Wear whatever makes you comfortable on the trail as you try new ways to increase your speed and control on technical downhills.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Race: Tasmania Wildside by Bruce Turvey

Our resident house Swazi Frontiers Pedal Studio Mountain Bike Champ writes exclusively for Pedal Studio as his adventures diverts his attention from Swaziland and the Cape Epic to ''Down'Under'-the-Under''. Feel free to drop him a line and ask him questions. Some say he is a rower, others a herd boy from Africa. Oxford University (Mpumalanga) have conveyed and English award - all we know is ...... he is the Sturve.

Continued from Tasmania Wildside Mountain Bike Race - Getting there by Bruce Turvey

Why I say “sort of,” is because there is still a considerable amount of work to be done once you’ve snuck in to Australia undetected. One night in Sydney with mates, staring at the ceiling while trying to sleep cos its roughly 2pm in the arvie back home – and we were back at the airport heading for Tasmania.

No shortage of luggage juggling, overweight fines and expletives and the okes were on the plane to Taz. We were warned about this place... apparently there is a lot of cousin humping going on in the area, people are known to have scars on their necks from where their second head was removed and some, it’s said, even have kneecaps growing out their foreheads. But we weren’t intimidated by all this talk, cos we are from South Africa, and we have places like Benoni, Oribi Village, Belfast and Cape Town.

We made it to Launceston International airport in Taz unscathed, managed to get past the organic material, fruit and nut sniffer dog, into the rental car and we were heading for Cradle Mountain and the start of the dice.

After another solid 4 hour sleep cos of jetlag issues, we were up and ready for our first race.

Before I relate the events of the day, it’s probably important to explain the format of the race. It’s a four day event consisting of 140km of competition and 60km of cruising on some superb Tassie track. On average, there were two race stages per day varying between 10 and 38kms. So a bit of something for everyone, though pretty brisk riding is required to stay anywhere near the top guys.

Not hot in the morning due to our proximity to the Antarctic, but pleasant enough. We started with a cruise stage through some interesting moonscape pieces of Tazzie. Pretty tranquil if one were to ignore the prolific wallaby roadkill acting as speed bumps to unsuspecting riders. After a useful warmup we were in the starting blocks for Race 1. Luckily I got lumped in B group, they had groups of 35 riders and reseeded at the end of each stage of day one. Our race briefing on the start was “mind the first right hand turn round that tree (pointing), it can cause wipeouts.” It was very heartening to see the two guys at the front of A bunch slide out round the bend and take a few riders with them, not strong on hearing these Aussies.

The speed is furious, being only an 18km stage you have to commit with all you got. I was loving the BMX, super sprint like riding – until I got the lung burn, like I’d slapped a tot of pool acid into a hubbly bubbly and inhaled deeply. But what a feeling. I may have mistimed my run a bit given the fatigue I was feeling by the end of the stage – but it went well enough and I got reseeded into the front of B group. Great variation of surfaces and surroundings, not that you get to take it in much, but superb riding. This stage was followed by a cruise to the lunch spot where there was a great feed waiting for us – everything impressively laid on. The sight of a temporary bikers refugee camp in the middle of nowhere is quite a thing.

Very chilled for a few hours before the start of Race 2. A great racy piece of single track with a bit of everything for the lads; sharp ascents and descents with some super fast flat riding. Timing your charge is key, going too early and one can pay. Due to the short stages, the speed of each leg is probably what makes it so enjoyable. I was leading B group quite nicely until I took a wrong turning (don’t ask) – but finished in the top couple. Well tired but satisfied. Enjoyed the cruise into Tullah, completely blown on the ride in.

The city of Tullah is something else, a smaller mining town you have never seen (until day 2; Zeehan which has to be seen to be believed). Nestled against Lake Tullah, it provides a well tranquil spot to enjoy some beers and the humour of prize giving. End of day one, what a peach........

Charity Fundraising for Raleigh International - British Colombia Bike Race - June 2010


I'm taking part in the BC Bike Race - A 7 day mountain bike stage race from Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada on 27/06/2010 to raise money for Raleigh International and I'd really appreciate your support.

It's easy to donate online with a credit or debit card - just go to my JustGiving page:

JustGiving sends your donation straight to Raleigh International and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you're a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more. I hope you'll join me in supporting Raleigh International.


Nick Williams-Howes

Monday, 22 February 2010

Spinning Showcase Blackpool 2010


So it's time to step up a level to bring you even more at this year's SPINNING® SHOWCASE BLACKPOOL 2010. With pumping music and hundreds of sweating individuals, the intensity and energy is at a max. Team that with an additional 3 rooms of workouts as well as lectures and workshops and you're guaranteed to go away with a bunch of new ideas for yourself and your class.
And there's more!!

We are pleased to announce the UK's launch of the Peak Pilates MVe™ Fitness Chair with a selection of workouts.

You cannot miss this!

We are also on the look out for new and exciting talent to increase our UK & Ireland Demo Teams so ride and shine.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Dallaglio Cycle Slam

Lawrence Dallaglio, former English rugby captain, is cycling round the 6 Nations stadia with a whole host of celebrity friends and supporters. They’ll cover an utterly incredible 2,800 km distance as they’re cycling from Rome to Paris, London, Cardiff, Dublin and finally Edinburgh. As if that isn't enough Lawrence wants to complete all this in just 24 days!

All donations will be split equally between Sport Relief and the Dallaglio Foundation, so please help them stay right on track - sponsor the team today.

If any Pedal Studio riders send a sponsorship to Lawrence, please send him good wishes from Pedal Studio to!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

UK's Cape Epic 2010 route presentation: My nutrition talk by Rob Enslin

The Cape Epic (Epic) comes around once a year, usually around March (21st - 28th March this year). With the CE gaining increasing popularity yearly, it's big business. When I rode the 2005 edition it was still relatively new attracting a modest field by its current standards. With UCI points up for grabs, top riders, spanning the globe, descend on Cape Town to put their bodies through 8 days of epic hell.

Andrew Clayton from Pedal Studio, a spinning studio in Putney, put on an pre-Cape Epic event to offer advice to race entrants and to unveil the 2010 route. Andrew asked me to come along and give a short talk on nutrition. There's so much information on nutrition out there, a lot of it very technical, so I prepared a few slides on the practical side of nutrition within the context of the Epic. By way of an introduction to nutrition I reminded the listeners about the basic breakdown of the nutritional components:

1. Protein - helps repair the muscle tissue (recovery)
2. Water and salts - eliminate wastes, temperature control and helps digestion
3. Carbohydrates - fuel muscles (keeps you going and helps recovery)

Here's a summary of what I spoke about.

1. Develop good habits

The main reason people don't drink or eat is because they are just not in the habit of doing so.
Start good habits now! Makes drinking a lot easier
Drink at work and home (not only on the bike)
Bottle is your best friend - carry one everywhere
Learn to eat and drink while you train

2. Know your body - conditioning

The Epic is no ordinary race. Every stage is a race in itself. Before a rider undertakes to punish his or her body this severely it's important to know your own limits - just how far can you push it before it 'breaks'.

If you look at this typical Epic pattern (8-day stage race):

pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 1)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 2)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 3)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 4)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 5)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 6)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race > refuel/rehydrate > recover (day 7)
> pre-fuel/hydrate > race (day 8)

Pretty monotonous right?

There's a lot of fueling and hydration taking place so it's important that your body becomes accustomed to the repetitious nature of this feeding.

The single best way to prepare yourself is to mimic this behavior. Try using a block of training to expose yourself to it before you ride the Epic. If you find you're suffering from ill feelings you still have time to change your products or habit.

3. Planning

Nothing beats planning, right? Not enough can be said to emphasise planning. A notable benefit to good planning is reducing stress. If you're stressed you'll suffer. The only stress you need to deal with is the stress of the race (the inherent race stress - not self-inflicted stress). Here are a few specifics to look at:
No shortcuts to nutrition - just do it
Good planning controls your stress (the right type of stress)
Packing: organise your nutrition to make it accessible and easy to reach
Stock - how much and what to take? (buy UK or SA?)
Times: meal, wake up, flights

4. Food and equipment

How you consume your nutritional products is important. From the type of bottle to drink with to where and how you carry your energy bars.
Coffee and tea (go easy)
Gels - convenient, easy to measure, messy
Bars - solid food, minerals, convenient, but avoid chocolate-coated
Use the 3 feed stations wisely (water, energade (*SA) & coke)
Personal snacks (foiled portions from breakfast) & savoury
Bottles vs Hydration pack - personal choice
Anti-cramp tables (emergency)

5. BDA (before, during and after)

If you pick up any nutrition book you'll find the same information written: drink and eat before, during and after you race or train. There's a reason for that... because it's been proven time and time again that it's the most effective way to support you during the event and prepare you for recovery.

Before - water, water, water, good breakfast, berocca
During - water, energy drink, solid food (use feed stations)
After - recovery drink (within 30mins), water, water, water, good meal.

If you lose your appetite get some help. You NEED to be eating and drinking.


Friday, 12 February 2010

Suunto Heart Rate Training Evening

Our resident Master Instructor Sandro was joined by Steve Newell, who is the Business Development Manager & Fitness & Wellness (EMEA) for Suunto and they both delivered a very informative technical Heart Rate Training session at the Telegraph in Putney on the 4th February.

Not too many people know this but the Team Heart Rate system you see in use at Pedal Studio is still in early days of development. There are a number of competitors to this market and Suunto are powering their way ahead as market leaders. With the close support of Steve and his team there are some exciting developments ahead for the Team System and I was very grateful Steve could make the evening. He is a wealth of knowledge and offered some great insight into the technical questions raised on the night.

Sandro answered my call and did not just address the issue of Heart Rate training but he took things to the next level discussing Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and the Suunto ‘Training Effect’. The Suunto Training Effect is represented as a number 1 through to 5 and appears on your feedback you get after each training session. Remarkably, Suunto have not just been happy with delivering Heart Rate training but are pioneering this science further and unknown to you, the rider, the system actually records the timing between the beats of your heart beat which is a critical component to take the science of EPOC further.

The technical evening covered topics such as: Why Heart Rate training, VO2 , EPOC , Training Affect , Coaching and Training Programmes (and the important there off). The session opened to the floor and Sandro provided key advice and answers to questions on technical issues around training. It is very clear in Sandro we have an exceptionally experience instructor and I would encourage you all to tap into this to enhance your training.

Steve offered a great example of how a standard route of 6km took him 30 minutes to run and produced a Suunto training affect of 3.1 however after a heavy gym session and fatigued muscles, all things being equal, he ran the same route later that week in the same time and produced a Training effect of 3.6 – proving that it is not just about Heart Rate but the ever important Suunto Training Effect.

I am going to ask Sandro and Suunto to run more techy training evenings as not only are they a good social evening out of like minded folk but there is so much to learn in this science of training and I want to firmly place Pedal Studio at the tip of all this, giving you the average person who is training access to this knowledge. It will deliver results and keep things interesting for you.

Missed the talk? Want to know more? Please mail me and I will ask Sandro to answer your questions. Whilst many of you see our Spinning instructors as just that, you should know these are experts in their field. Sandro is not only a Master Spinning Instructor but uses the Joe Friel (Training Bibles) coaching approach to coach top athletes in all sports. He is an ambassador for Suunto and their confidence and choice of him is evidence of his vast experience in the training and health industry.

Finally – I do have Suunto Heart Rate watches for sale that link into our Team System at the Studio. Drop me a line if you are interested.

ABSA Cape Epic™ – 2010 LAUNCH – London (U.K.)

The ABSA CAPE EPIC 2010 route launch took place in London on the 4th February 2010.

This 2010 route screening was hosted at the Telegraph pub in Putney and arranged by Andrew Clayton from . The evening attracted a number of enthusiastic London mountain bikers and some of the attendees travelled in from as far out as Birmingham. The evening included presentations from Sandro Morelli (S2-Fitness) on Heart Rate training and from Rob Enslin (AWcycles) on Nutrition.

ABSA Cape Epic - Route Launch 2010 - London - Rob Enslin of AWCycles delivering a talk on Nutrition. Rob finished 11th in the 2005 ABSA Cape Epic - so knows a few tips.

Rob and Sandro are both experts in their field and delivered some very valuable advice. Rob, who is a past competitor of the ABSA Cape Epic and managed an excellent 11th place in 2005, gave some very good practical nutrition tips. The 40 odd riders were then treated to the 15 min ABSA CAPE EPIC 2010 route presentation and were glued to the big screen as the breath taking scenes and tastes of what lies ahead were screened. The tough terrain and steep climbs noted by Dr Evil brought on a few gasps and the Dr Evil 3 second slow motion ‘stare’ drew some good laughs.

Sandro Morelli (Suunto Ambassador) giving 1 2 1 advice after delivering a very informative Heart Rate Training / Coaching talk

The floor opened to a presentation on key points and race tips and a typical day at the Cape Epic was described. This was followed by a number of questions as the evening became more social. It was clear there is a growing core of like minded Mountain Bikers who enjoy stage racing and incorporate annual holidays with a race. These Mountain Bikers are hungry to train together in Wales and next year it seems some pre ABSA Cape Epic training weekends are required to be held in Wales – Afan.

The evening finished off at 10pm and the Telegraph must be commended for looking after our guests so well. The venue is lovely and spacious and the delicious food was very well received. Overall it is a very suitable venue to host a launch especially as it is in close proximity to both the A3 and the overland rail.

All riders were invited to enjoy Spinning sessions at the Pedal Studio to evade the snow and rain scheduled for the next two weeks ahead

Riders socialising after the presentation

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Tasmania Wildside Mountain Bike Race - Getting there by Bruce Turvey

Our resident house Swazi Frontiers Pedal Studio Mountain Bike Champ writes exclusively for Pedal Studio as his adventures diverts his attention from Swaziland and the Cape Epic to ''Down'Under'-the-Under''. Feel free to drop him a line and ask him questions. Some say he is a rower, others a herd boy from Africa. Oxford University (Mpumalanga) have conveyed and English award - all we know is ...... he is the Sturve.

Why Tasmania?

Why travel half way round the planet and across countless time zones to ride a mountain bike in a place so far south of Australia you would be forgiven for thinking it was the Antarctic? So far south in fact, even the Aussies don’t consider Tasmania to be part of Australia? Short answer....I don’t know!!

Anyway, we did, my brother Doug and I....and this is how it went down. You may have heard me drivel on about the race in Swaziland, one I entered with my rowing mate Warren two years ago. He’s the guy that got relocated to a nearly uninhabited mining island north of Australia. On any other day it doubles as the rectum of the world. Naturally, a well adjusted South African such as myself knows better than to go to Australia, let alone Australia’s Northern rectum. (Whoever heard of a rectum in the North anyway, those things usually reside in the South.)

So the deal between Warren and myself was, I’ll come to Australia for a visit, but only if we can do a worthwhile mountain bike race and have some beers afterwards. The hunt was on for such a race. As it turns out, I was busy trying to shower in a waterless shower during one of the ABSA Cape Epic stages. As happens in waterless showers, all the occupants exit the shower in various stages of lather, lubrication and moisture (starting to sound like a porn movie) and take in the African sun. They also get talking while waiting for the fire truck to arrive (don’t ask) to refuel our shower action. In the cubicle next to me was an Australian Sheila (that’s Tazzi for female) and we got talking about the relative merits of certain MTB races around the world. In her slightly nasaly Aussie twang reminiscent of a breaking guitar string she informed me of the Tasmanian Wildside Mountain bike race. “Best in the world” she said, which begs the question why was the Cape’s finest wineland dust on her mountain bike – I just put it down to good marketing on the Epic’s part. Big up themselves.

For some reason, I believed her, informed Warren and before I knew it, I had booked a flight and signed up for about 34 quality hours of arguing with the Australian Embassy to get a visa to enter their country. When my brother Doug heard about this adventure, he signed up for some of the Aussie action and our touring party was three. Now getting yourself, your brother and your bike to Australia is almost as hard as pronouncing Woolongong, seriously, that’s actually a place in Oz. Hints and tips of getting bikes into Australia.

1. They have to be sparkling clean - if there is a trace of organic matter anywhere on the bike, it gets quarantined by the fun police (these okes are everywhere

2. Get the bike professionally cleaned by a bike shop and get them to provide a certificate declaring complete absence of said offensive organic matter

3. Pack light. It’s not easy coming in under 20kg flight restriction placed on you by Qantas

4. Hint; put all the heaviest stuff in your backpack and take it on the plane, but nothing that resembles a box knife, multi tool or anything else that may destabilise international security

5. Better still, have your bike weighed and checked into the “Special baggage” area and when the lady with all the hair product isn’t looking, stuff your heaviest piece of luggage into your bike bag. Not strictly legal, but great adrenalin rush and always rewarding to sneak one past the fun police.

6. Buy your powders, gels, tire lube etc in Oz – that stuff is not light

7. Once in Oz, use Virgin Airlines instead of Qantas flights to get around – they have an allowance for sports equipment

8. Hope for the best

Some closes shaves with immigration, the fun police and a handful of cavity searchers and our troubles were over.....the race was about to begin...well not really, but sort of.

To be continued.......


The Triathlon Cycling and Running Show will take place at Sandown Park on the 13-14 February and once again will be packed with the greatest products, services, seminars and features for the triathletes, cyclists and runners.

Whether you are a seasoned competitor, or new to the world of multisport, TCR10 is for you. Two seminar theatres will have presentations from top coaches and athletes, the Zoggs SwimZone to help with your swim technique, the Saucony 10K run, Multipower indoor cycle competition and over 130 top brands and retailers exhibiting.

Opening Times:
Saturday 13th Feb 9:30am - 5:00pm
Sunday 14th Feb 9:30am - 5:00pm

Venue address:
Sandown Park, Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey
KT10 9AJ.

Mountain Biking Weekends in Wales (Afan Park) - 27/28 Feb & 6/7 March.

Righty, who is up for some serious fun ? I have said I would be arranging out rides to Wales - Afan Park and the first few will kick off this next month.

The plan is to head down early Saturday - should be a 2,5 hr drive down and return Sunday Arvy for each weekend . We will leave from the Studio 7am Sharp and drop clobber at the accommodation and hit the rides. Whites on the Sat and Skyline on the Sunday.

There is a ton of useful information on these sites below - so check them out.
You can hire bikes there, arrange coaching ( I will of course help by leading the ride - but if you want side line coaching from experts, maybe Saturday is a coaching day and Sunday you ride with the main group)

Check out the rides too - Skyline will be one we definitely do on Sunday and probably Whites on the Sat !

I will fire up a Face Book event for this so please add/confirm your attendance there.

Costs - well if you need to grab a ride, we can share costs, I plan to hire a van to accommodate the numbers needing a lift and we can split this. Accommodation is usually £25 for the night. Food we will get at the local club or just buy and make and the rides .............. the AWESOME routes - are FREE

The Bike centre / Drop Off coffee shop - is awesome , you can get everything there from bike repairs , bike rental , breakfast / lunch / dinner , toilets and showers - it is the UK's no 1 centre for good reason.

So join up ! We can chat to our resident mechanic Ben about pre ride services for those of you who have not gotten onto the bike for a while.

I'll send out more details closer to the time - what to bring etc but for now I hope you can stick this into the diary and join us in Wales

See you for some serious fun in Wales,


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Laureus Cycling Fundraising Events

Join the Laureus Team in "Using the Power of Sport to Change the World" - upcoming events include:

24-27 June 2010
Registration: £300, Minimum sponsorship: £1000

Laureus World Sport Academy members Miguel Indurain and Daley Thompson joined the Laureus team during the 2009 London to Paris bike ride - this year cycle 214 miles in 3 days through beautiful English countryside and stunning French vineyards to a celebratory finish at the Arc de Triomphe.

19-22 August 2010
Registration: £250, Minimum sponsorship: £1250

Join one of the Laureus elite teams of 6 for this 1000km non-stop team cycling challenge. Supported by the Laureus crew you will ascend 15000m during the ride and experience the stunning Swiss countryside at its best.

For more information or to apply for either of these events contact or 0207514 2799

Monday, 8 February 2010


Hello fellow Riders. As you may know, we have been offering mountain bike adventures in Peru for several years. In fact, Peru was the first place outside of North America that I rode my mountain bike, and the site of our first international trips. I have close friends there, and part of my heart still resides there, among the valleys and villages of the Andes.

So it was with great sadness that I first heard the news of the devastating floods in the Cusco, Urubamba and Machu Picchu areas. Although the media have been focused on Machu Picchu and the tourists that were stranded there, the reality is that thousands of Peruvians in the area have lost much more than a few days of their vacation. Some have lost family members, many have lost their homes, and many more have lost their livelihoods, through destroyed crops and land.

As part of our ongoing efforts to use mountain biking to make a positive difference in this world, we will be donating $200 and 5% of the revenues from our spring trips to Peru to help people affected by the flooding.

I invite you - especially those of you that have joined us in Peru and know how magical the land is and how warm the people are - to help us help those affected by the floods by making a donation to help those in need. We will be donating to Peruvian organization Caritas (website in Spanish), which is working directly with those affected by the floods. You can make your donation directly on their website if you read Spanish, otherwise you can make a donation via our nonprofit organization Bikes Without Borders. BWB will be making a wire transfer to Caritas next Friday.

To make a donation to Caritas via Bikes Without Borders, go to the online donations page, scroll down to 'Donate to help those affected by the flooding in Peru,' and click 'Donate' All donations processed between now and next Friday will be sent to Caritas. Please note: BWB is a registered Canadian nonprofit organization.

Peru needs your tourism dollars, so if you're considering a visit, the spring will be a great time, as the damaged areas will be reconstructed, Machu Picchu will be open again, and communities will be in dire need of renewed tourism.

Please help us how the world that mountain bikers can make the world a better place!

Yours sincerely,

Mike Brcic, president,
Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Holidays