17.8.17

How I Fuel For My Sunday Long Rides


In my entire history of running, I've never been on the road for more than 2.5 hours at a time. So nutrition considerations have been minimal as I've only needed a little something to give me a kick to get to the end.

Last year when I completed my first sportive was the first time I passed the 2.5 hour mark of exercising and I realised the difference a nutritional strategy can have. Never have salty roasted new potatoes tasted so good!

Since I started training for my ride to Paris, I've been playing around with kit as well as testing different supplements to have on the bike with me and I think I've found a winning formula. Well, more a survival formula!

- Pre-Ride -
First of all a good nights sleep goes a long way towards feeling fresh in the morning along with hydrating and eating well the day before. But if there's anything I can do in the morning to help... I will!

I've been starting my ride mornings (and other mornings when I remember) with a glass of water and a scoop of L-glutamine. I mostly take it to help me curb my insatiable appetite that's created from riding (...oh and swimming). I learnt about L-glutamine when I did the FitnessGenes DNA test back in September 2016.

I then pop 300ml of cold water into a smartshake along with a scoop of Vega Clean Energy; it's their pre-workout which I love as it doesn't contain caffeine therefore I don't hit a wall after an epic high. It's a mix of carbohydrates, electrolytes and extracts from green and black tea. I only have it in a tub so for Paris I had to scoop it into a small tupperware so I could easily transport it for the actual ride.


- In-Ride -
Now this is where I had a little to learn but I think I'm pretty close to the winning formula. My main issue is always remembering to "eat" before I feel a dip in my energy. I've been packing my jersey pockets with banana soreen mini loaves as they're individually wrapped and the perfect size for a snack. I also take along 2 SiS energy gels and one of their energy bars. The energy bars are a mix of oats, fruit and cereals so basically the pre-made equivalent of flapjack which is great for slow released energy over a period of time.
I made it my goal to have my first gel after 30 - 60 minutes of riding to allow time for digestion so it hits my system when I need it. The gels pack in 22g of carbohydrate in each serving and are pretty inoffensive in that although they come in fairly distinct flavours (I currently have apple, pink grapefruit, pineapple and blackcurrant) they are actually pretty mild tasting in a consistency of really thick cough medicine. I aim to keep drinking little and often too to reduce dehydration which limits performance. With two bottles on my bike at all times, I have one filled with nuun hydration tablets dissolved in the water and the other filled with plain water.

I normally get really hungry, like really really hungry, need real food hungry after 3-4 hours so the soreen loaves are perfect as a snack to get me to the lunch / dinner table. Previously I would slice up a full soreen loaf and wrap in cling film and although this is cheaper it just isn't as convenient. Okay what life is this when I'm discussing the benefits of individually wrapped mini soreen loaves over a full soreen loaf?! ...does this officially make me a cyclist?!

When I do sit down to eat my meal, if I need to get back on the bike I try to ensure I don't overeat to the point that cycling will be uncomfortable or that I'll feel tired. It's all well and good when you can roll straight home onto the sofa but if you still have another 30 miles to go then you should think twice.


- Post Ride -
If I'm hungry and don't have food readily available my go to is a protein smoothie. A simple recipe is 250ml almond milk, 1 scoop Vega Clean Protein (vanilla or chocolate), 1/2 a frozen banana, 1tbsp almond butter and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I've still got some turmeric capsules knocking around so I pop a couple of those the evening of my long ride as it's a natural anti-inflammatory and use a magnesium oil spray before bedtime to help relax my muscles and reduce muscle soreness (and it also makes for a good nights sleep). I also used the NutriAdvanced MegaMag Muscleze; which is a high strength magnesium powder designed to support muscle function and recovery. It comes in an orange flavour - just add a scoop to water (or any drink) and mix. In addition to magnesium, it also contains malic acid, amino acids - l-carnitine, creatine, glutamine and taurine – and B vitamins including the body-ready, active forms of vitamin B12 and folate(vitamin B9) so it was perfect for my actual ride to Paris as well as during all my training. Post Paris, I still use it on intense training days to help me feel as fresh as possible the following day!

It all sounds so straight forward when I write it down...

How do you fuel for your endurance activities?! 


Elle :) 

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14.8.17

Elle About Town: Sports Massage at Function360, Moorgate

Photo Credit: Adidas Runners

Well over a year ago, I shared with you my tips for recovering after your workouts. You can read the post here but it included things like yoga, some amazing shoes from OOFOS which I still wear and protein shakes. Now if only I followed my own advice, right?! ...instead, I've been training week in, week out creating a new normal for myself; to the point where sore, tight muscles don't even register in my mind. When friends tell me they're off for massages, I just think, "oh nice" but that's something I don't really have time for to be honest. But maybe I've got it wrong?? If it's good enough for athletes who schedule in their sports massages weekly or the pros who have them daily... then why would I not make the time to have one?! ...so hell yes, book me in...

Function360 have just opened a new clinic in Moorgate so being within the few miles that I actually travel in London meant it was the perfect location for me. In addition to Sports Massage they also offer a host of other treatments including gait analysis and physiotherapy.


Perfect timing having completed RideLondon-Surrey 46 a week ago which also came just a couple of weeks after our ride to Paris (I don't think I'll ever stop talking about that adventure!) ...which in itself followed on from months (well, a few) of training on the bike on top of everything else. So I think a sports massage was called for?!

Now, having not been for a sports massage in a while I had no idea about etiquette, do's or don'ts. I figured I would keep my sports bra on so I wore one that wasn't too strappy along with a pair of Bridget Jones knickers (which I have to say are actually my underwear of choice on a day to day basis). I sandwiched my appointment in between teaching a morning class and an evening class so it was no surprise I was feeling pretty tired by the time I made it to the clinic... I also convinced myself that eating before the massage would be a no-no so that prob didn't help my fight to feel energetic.

Anyway, once I located the clinic (I passed it as I was following the road signs) it was a breeze from there. My appointment was with Mike who I had a quick chat with before he got to work. I filled him in on all my sweaty endeavours as well as sharing any particular areas I felt might need some extra attention... hmmm, how much can we fit into one 60 minute appointment?!

obviously not me yeah lol (I was busy, see warning at end of post)
Mike started on my back and shoulders, which actually weren't as tight and knotted as I expected before he moved onto the backs of my legs. Peeling my face off of the bed was pretty damn funny and the shock of the light was crazy (Mike was well prepared with a lavender eye pillow). Hello tight calves and super tight hamstrings. What a reminder that I really should dedicate some time to stretching and probably start going back to yoga. Someone just give me a few more hours in a day okay?! Then onto the front of my legs and my not as bad as I expected but still pretty tight quads and shins. I'm pretty proud of myself and my pain threshold; it's one of those things where you know the temporary discomfort is worth it in the long run. I'm also lucky that I don't bruise so I'll take all the pressure I can get!

Before I knew it, Mike was done. I literally floated back into my clothes and out of the door having been advised to drink lots of water. I felt full of energy (which was temporary lol) and light as a feather...

This post does come with a warning though: please note that you may not think about work for the hour you're on the massage table. This may lead to clarity post massage where you figure out where you want to holiday and book flights to Barbados for four weeks later. You've been warned.

Duuuudddde....who is in need of a sports massage right about now?!


Elle :)

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11.8.17

Long Ride Sunday || RideLondon-Surrey Forty Six 30.7.17


I knew that this race existed but I only realised I missed my chance to enter for 2017 when my friend Dan proudly announced to me that he and his wife had gotten places through the ballot. I immediately resigned myself to consider it for 2018. After-all, the 100 mile version (now in its fifth year) was a "maybe" for 2018 ...most likely 2019.

As fate would have it, I was offered a late entry just a few weeks before I started my London to Paris ride. Having been training for 100km days I knew I was more than prepared for this. However, what started to dawn on me was that there was a four hour cut off time and I was used to a much more casual pace of 12mph average. At that pace, I'd never make the cut off and that's not taking into account getting punctures, other technical bike stuff (that I don't know how to deal with) or any stops I might need to make...

So when I rocked up at the cycle show in Excel to pick up my race pack on the Friday before race day (yes, we don't get the luxury of them posting it, but I get they want that extra touch point for brands and sponsors) I also picked up some pace stickers... I got a 3.5 hour one, a BHAG of 3 hours and then maybe, yknow, a 2.5 hour one...

As I prepped my kit the night before, I opted for the three hour pace sticker on my bike. Mainly because I wanted to finish in time to get back home, shower, eat and then get back to The Mall in time to see the Men's Classic finish!

Lucky for me, the forty six route starts a lot later than the 100 and the entire event starts just a 20 minute tube ride (and one mile cycle) from where I live. I arrived at the Velopark at approx 730am which left me with 90 minutes to eat as much food as I could, drink all the coffee, faff about in the toilets with my bib shorts, catch up with some old work colleagues I bumped into, spot Chris Hoy and Nicola Adams and then sneak into a slightly earlier wave than mine as I was so worried about not having enough time. I know.

At around 915am myself and a couple other riders got to join the starting wave. Right. At. The. Front. It was exciting but also a little nerve racking; we were quickly warmed up by the compere choosing (as a whole wave) what song we wanted to start to and before I knew it we were off... (with 50 cent playing incase you wondered!).

Sooooo, riding the 46 miles in 3 hours meant an average pace of around 25kmph (I actually spent the whole race thinking I needed an average pace of 20mph / 30kmph. Fail); compared to my average 18kmph for Paris and all my training (sorry for switching between miles and km). For the first time ever, I'd taken a look at the route before-hand and checked out the profile on Strava; I'd definitely handled worse elevation in my training so this route was kinda flat as a pancake bar one hill in Wimbledon which I had been warned about.


I cannot begin to explain how epic it was to be riding on closed roads in Central London. We had half of the A12 to ourselves (I do feel for all my Essex and east london fam though who must've had a shitty morning if they were unaware) and before I knew it we were past the A13, Canary Wharf and on the E1 Highway heading straight into the centre of town. The first water station was at 10 miles - Pall Mall - and honestly, I missed it (anyone actually realise that The Mall and Pall Mall were two different places?!). But as far as I could tell, I was ahead of schedule. I packed enough gels, snacks and water to get me through the entire distance without needing to stop unless I really wanted or needed to so no big deal at this stage.

Next up, we hit Sloane Square and I was excited cos I never go this far west so I knew I was making good progress. We whizzed by Harrods and then further west to Chiswick (apparently, but I don't know the area). Again, I seemed to be ahead of time so I just assumed we passed Chiswick (a check point / water station) and I hadn't noticed. Somewhere around this point, I realised that this ride wasn't gonna be easy; I wasn't struggling but I was having to work hard. Riding on my own meant that I didn't have anyone to push me or anyone to legitimately draft. So I dropped down on my handlebars (it gives me more power from my legs) and powered on. Out of nowhere, a guy came up on my right side from behind me and just said "get behind me"... I was like, "huh" ..."get behind me" he said again so I did as he instructed and literally stuck to his rear wheel as close as I comfortably could. This couldn't have come at a better time; I instantly picked up pace and relaxed into the ride even more.

I was really looking forward to getting to Richmond Park; I've only ever ridden there once and it was such a palaver that by the time we got there we just had some food and headed back home. My Paris buddy Sophie will tell ya that I always threw Richmond Park into the ring for long ride Sunday but the honest truth is that riding across London from east was just not worth the hassle. So I saved my excitement for this event. When we got there though, I remembered why I wasn't so fond of it... a vast green space of undulating hills which meant I struggled just a little (remember I was now going way faster then planned) and I lost my drafting buddy. Then I caught him. Then I lost him again. I finally caught up with him as he was about to stop to meet his friend so I went it alone.

When the Thames came back into view I knew were coming up to Kingston. One of the few times I've ever raced this far south / west was for a Kingston breakfast run so it was kinda cool to actually recognise this part of the course as we cycled right through the centre of town. Kingston was also the final hub available for riders to stop - I heard a guy ask his friend if they were stopping as we rounded a corner and I asked myself the same thing. I still had half a protein snickers and a gel left along with at least half a bottle of water so I opted to keep moving and get the final miles done as quickly as possible.

So, Wimbledon Hill; knowing that this was the biggest incline in the race was a good thing in my mind. Realising it was quite far into the event wasn't so good. Being ahead of schedule and not knowing where I really was on the course (my Garmin is in km and the route is in miles) didn't help. But all of a sudden we came to a stop on the course behind a whole heap of riders. Not having any idea what was going on was strange but we waited patiently. In the end I don't think we were there too long which was a relief as stoppage is included in your official time but as we set off I heard a guy say to his friend "at least we got a rest before the hill" just as we turned the corner and I saw it. I think my saving grace for this hill was that yes, I did just have a rest but I was now surrounded by plenty of cyclists. I stuck to the left of the road and dropped down into my granny gears as there was no time to build up any speed, power or momentum. Once we got to the top I did wonder to myself for a moment if that was actually Wimbledon Hill... and proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes waiting for it incase I'd got it wrong. But another climb didn't come. If you know me, you know what a big deal this is because I do not like hills one bit. We crossed the Thames for the final time over Putney Bridge and into Fulham which meant we were on the home straight; all that was left was heading along the Embankment to the finish line! It was around this point I decided to make the most of having my phone to hand on my bike and popped on my hype song of the moment (Like That, Memphis Bleek) to help pep me up and get into a rhythm; if it worked for Paris it was bound to work today. Only 6 miles to go...


The Finish Line
In the days leading up to Sunday, my friend Anneleen who was riding the 100 told me to make sure I sprint finished cos it would make me feel like a champion. So when we came off Whitehall onto the roundabout at Trafalgar Square to take the immediate left under Admiralty Arch onto The Mall, I was ready! I hit record on my GoPro (see video above) and just went for it until I was passed through the finish line arch! And Anneleen was right; the smile on my face* probably showed how proud I was especially as I knew I came in well under my three hour target time.

*I don't actually have the photo of me from the finish line to share... normally I would have a lot more pictures but although I was given entry into the race, I was only provided with the one official photo from the event which I featured at the top of the post*



We were kept moving by the Veloteers past Buckingham Palace to collect our medals; which by the way are suitably sized for what I feel I went through! That medal stayed proudly on my neck as I rode all the way back to the start line in Stratford and then last mile to Leyton station where I could pick up the central line to take me back home...

Official Time: 2:42:11
Garmin Time: 2:37:42 (moving time)

So I know RideLondon massively stressed that this event is not a race but I think that message didn't resonate with many participants nor did the cut off time match that message. So when you view your results on the site they don't show you them in time order (not that I could work out anyway) but I could see that just under 2000 women took part in the 46 mile event and from what I could see I did really REALLY well! This is definitely one of my hardest earned medals but I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it...

Next stop: L'Etape London (...and I have a time to beat!)

Elle :) 

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p.s I was given a complimentary place in this event, but you know me, all opinions are my very own...

9.8.17

The Business of Fitness: Bests Bootcamp Academy


If you've not been to Bests Bootcamp or you've not heard of it, I just don't know where you've been. I'm lucky enough to have been around since they launched their Bootcamp classes a while back (read about that here) and then their cycle concept last year (that story is here). I've always loved the vibe at the studio so when I saw them advertising for instructor auditions I thought "why the hell not!". I had no idea whether I would get through the auditions or not but I figured worse case scenario it would be great experience and the feedback (if provided) would be valuable. So off I went with my ten minute programme (5 mins on the treadmill and 5 minutes floor work) along with some tunes I deemed appropriate and I gave it my best.

I actually ended up auditioning twice; first time was with studio owner Lee Drabble which was to fill specific spots on the timetable that I ended up not being available for anyway. Then Lee appointed Abigail Dewberry (aka Abi) as Master Trainer for Bests Bootcamp so my second audition was with her. On the day, TfL did what they do best and the district line had delays which made me arrive just as the auditions got started... so I was the last to actually audition which has its pros and it's cons, yeah? You get to see everyone else's programming in action, pick up on things maybe they could've included or things they didn't need to do and if you can remember it all apply it to your own audition. On the other hand, going last out of about 8-10 people means that there's more time for the nerves to build... but I've literally learnt over the past few years that it just is what is it. I do what I can and that is all I can do.

When I got the news that my audition was successful I was (as usual) both excited and nervous. It doesn't automatically mean that I have a role with them, it just means that they saw potential in me and by joining their academy and completing the training we'd all work out if I was in fact a good fit for the studio. So three times a week I attend training sessions with Abi and a few other instructors in training to learn about the Bests Bootcamp way and everything that comes with that.

I just completed week two of the academy as I wrote this, but so far I'm loving every minute. As a participant in classes it's hard to notice (and should be) the amount of planning, preparation and strategy that goes into the class you're experiencing. I get to learn the finer details behind what makes Bests Bootcamp what it is whilst also learning about myself and what I could possibly bring to the team as an instructor. I also wanted to share some of the behind the scenes and my thoughts with you:



Confidence
Really deep down in the back of my head, I can hear that little voice saying "you can't do this" ...and "you're not good enough"! It's only week two and already my mind has formulated so many reasons for why I should quit. But I didn't let it win for my audition so why would I start listening to it now?!

I've spoken about Imposter Syndrome before and I know I won't be the only person who's ever suffered from it. It's mad really when I know I've got over a decade of experience, a degree in Exercise Science and all my regular qualifications yet sometimes my head tries to tell me maybe I'm not who I say I am or who people think I am!

But confidence comes with practice, right?! We're learning some new skills (like dual PT where you're leading floor exercises and treadmill rounds at the same time). This week I've had some friends come along to sessions (thank you sooooo much!) so we have more "bodies" in the room to practice teaching (if you wanna come along over the next couple of weeks keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook for details of sessions). Somehow it seems a little less nerve-racking with more people; probably just because I'm not really a fan of roleplaying after years and years of drama school!

Fit To Teach
Now this one has been a struggle for me. Its firstly because I believe a good coach doesn't always make a good player and vice versa, but also because I have my own training schedule in place for events I've signed up for and bootcamp doesn't necessarily fit into that. Bootcamp involves a lot of running (very fast) on a treadmill and lifting (heavy) weights. I absolutely love doing that but my priority recently has been to rack up endurance mileage on my bike training for Paris and then for RideLondon-Surrey 46. It's been a mad switch from cycling back to running and weights with barely any time for recovery. Trying to balance my teaching schedule (which does involve training sometimes) along with my own training programme for events, getting to classes at Bests to familiarise myself with the concept and then running through our programmes over and over again in our three sessions each week... well lemme just tell you that's it's not easy. I'm hoping I can save enough energy to make it through and be fit enough to do my own programming (at intermediate) in the very near future.


Time Commitment
This has been a massive ask for me; attending training sessions for 6 hours a week plus travel time, travel expenses and other costs I incur from being in town on the days I wouldn't normally be in or when I end up being in town all day rather than just part of the day. It's mean I'm really behind in responding to emails, sorting my life admin, working on my business and just life in general. But I guess it's give and take as Abi, our academy leader is also investing time to train us. I had a long think about this actually and realised that there are some studios out there who don't invest anything into their instructors; they kinda just benefit from studios such as Bests who actually work with instructors to make them the best possible version of themselves. We're all only human right, so we give back what is put in...

Learning About Yourself
When you're just "being you" it's sometimes hard to really notice what that's like. So it's great to have Abi's constant feedback. She's very honest, which I like, and always delivers her feedback in a constructive way ...most of the time she even has me in stitches laughing at myself. Feedback is invaluable in any role, especially in such a performance driven atmosphere. A couple things I've been working on are my loud speaking voice using the mic (as opposed to getting really hyped and making EVERYTHING I say sounds like THE most exciting news!) and learning not to march around the room incessantly; we've all been doing it, it's just nerves and excitement rolled into one!

At the end of a recent session I said "I'm not sure this training is supposed to be this much fun"... but really, if it isn't fun, what's the point?!

Ever wondered what it'd be like to teach your favourite class?! Or are you already teaching and know exactly where I'm coming from?!


Elle :)


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7.8.17

Elle About Town: Afternoon Tea at Chi Kitchen, London


A world away from the madness of Oxford street on a Saturday afternoon is Chi Kitchen. The perfect spot just tucked into the ground floor of Debenhams; it's where we (myself and Sophie of Fitology) found ourselves nestled in a window seat watching as the weather switched between rain and sunshine... a typical summers day in London. Chi Kitchen is a contemporary Pan Asian restaurant created exclusively for the Debenham's brand... family to Mango Tree (which I featured on the blog here a short while ago).


Between 3pm and 6pm each day, Chi Kitchen serves up their afternoon tea (at a very reasonably priced £12.50pp, or £15pp with a glass of Prosseco) with that Pan Asian twist, of course! Although afternoon tea is a very quintessentially British thing to do, it's not something I've treated myself to that often. It was the perfect way to while away an hour whilst the rain poured down... and as we were both donning our Endurance Conspiracy tee's it also answered the question I asked about what we do as "cyclists" when we're not on our bikes!




Tier 1 (bottom): Curry Puff, Taro Cake, Vegetable Spring Roll

Afternoon tea is served with your choice of tea; Sophie opted for the Matcha Latte whilst I chose the Earl Grey Breakfast Tea (sans milk). Only soy is offered as a non dairy option or else I would also have had the matcha latte too. Ah well.

With my phone handy, I googled anything I was unsure of. Apparently Taro is a root vegetable... and I loved it. This Taro Cake reminded me of a Caribbean dish called bammy which has a similar texture but made from cassava.


Tier 2 (middle): Salmon Nigiri, Prawn Dumpling

I love me some sushi; its a go to meal for me if I'm out and about wanting something filling, but relatively healthy. Typically, I would eat about 5x the amount of sushi served in this afternoon tea but one thing I realised is that it's not a meal (note to self for the future).


Tier 3 (top): Caramel Cheesecake, Cassava Cake, Pandan Kaya Bun

In no time at all, we were onto the top tier of desserts. My favourite was the Pandan Kaya Bun; google tells me that Pandan is an green leaf often used to flavour asian dishes. I generally enjoyed the mix of textures between all the desserts but I could eat the buns all. day. long.

We chatted all the time whilst eating; from other afternoon tea experiences, what we were thinking about the food (yum, yum and yum basically), all the catching up and who even knows what else! ...The restaurant is so welcoming (with the fanciest accessible toilet for customers) and although it's open plan I didn't for a moment feel like I was sharing the experience with anyone other than Sophie...

Are you already a fan of afternoon tea?! Been to Chi Kitchen yet?!


Elle :)

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p.s my afternoon tea was provided on the house in return for a review... but you know me, all opinions (esp when it comes to food) are all mine ;) 

1.8.17

7 Reasons Why I Won't Give Up Cycling

Photo Credit: Prudential RideLondon
No one knows me better than me, right?! And if I'm honest, I was kinda sure I was gonna quit cycling after riding from London to Paris in July. I mean, I even joked about it and as they say, many a true word is said in jest. This is how my journey into running started after-all; I'd run a race then have a "break" for six months. Running now has a permanent place in my heart though and I pretty much think that cycling has found its place in there too. Here's why I'm not about to give up cycling anytime (too) soon:

For The Community
Commuting on your bike is one thing but taking it one step further and getting involved with the community has been one reason to love cycling even more. Back when I was "just" a commuter in 2014, I entered the VeloVixen competition to find their Next Top Model and only went and bloody won! Taking part in the shoot for their marketing materials was the first time I'd ever been on a road bike, ridden with other people and clearly it must've sparked some sort of interest. The next year, I joined them to work on their stand at the London Bike Show where I got to spend a whole weekend surrounded by people who love bikes. I even rode with one of my stand mates from home (in Oval at the time) to the show and hung out with boys on bikes with sound systems (don't ask). At that show, I also met Eola, who happened to live close to my actual home (in Essex) and we planned to meet up to ride when I moved back in the coming months. I did end up meeting up with Eola and some awesome ladies for my first ever long ride and got a real initiation to my local Essex hills. Since then, I've literally ridden with so many amazing groups including Breeze rides and the one time I made it to a Dirty Wkend ride out east.

Also on the topic of community, you have to check out the newest cycling publication on the block; The Domestique (pick up your free copy of Volume 1 here). It's a great celebration of the London cycling community brought together in one place.

Most Cyclists Are Friendly
I do love being out on a Sunday morning, passing other riders... and acknowledging them with "the nod", "the wave" or an actual "morning!" ...cos you really don't get that with running especially in London. If you're in the City, there's sometimes a quick chat at the traffic lights or just the team spirit of warning other cyclists of upcoming danger like potholes. Now don't get me wrong, not all cyclists are friendly, but the ones who are make up for the ones who aren't.

It's Very Much A Team Thing
Sure you can ride alone, but really, what's the fun in that?! I actually got out on the road and trained for the London to Paris ride because I had a groups of friends to do it with. Other than commuting, I never rode alone. I guess this then is the social aspect which kinda also feeds into the community thing... you can meet up with friends for a ride, stop for cake / coffee / chats and kill two birds with one stone in that you're also getting your workout in. It's also inclusive in group rides when you don't get dropped (left behind) and is a great way to meet like minded people.

Photo Credit: Prudential RideLondon - Coryn Rivera of Team Sunweb celebrates her victory in the Prudential RideLondon Classique 29/07/2017
All The Gear...
I've managed to accumulate a decent Lycra filled wardrobe specifically for cycling so I'd hate for it to go to waste. I am a little fussy though and love to have my kit match as much as possible including socks and cap. I'm quite the fan of the monochrome look recently ...to the point that if (when) I get another bike I'd love for it to be either black or white. Yup.

You Get To Know Your Cycling Buddies Quite Well...
After numerous long rides with my #3PTsToParis crew I think we learnt quite a lot about each other. Although you can't chat too much while you're actually on the road you can chat when you stop for coffee / cake / food or are making the journey home after a ride that finishes at a destination. The last time I've had that much time to get to know people was when I was training for my half marathon and doing my long runs with Bethan while she trained for Paris marathon and when we also led the lululemon run club and ran at party pace!

Photo Credit: Prudential Ride London - Prudential RideLondon Classique 29/07/2017
I Get To Eat A Lot Of Food...
...yaaaaas, yes I do. And it doesn't always have to be "healthy". I distinctly remember being told by a nutritionist not to worry about eating veg before we left for Paris (too much fibre isn't a good thing at that stage). I've never been afraid of carbs but having a good excuse to eat them, and eat extra is definitely a great reason for me to keep pedalling. To be honest, although I've taken the "no veg" thing a little too seriously, I have been eating well and just enjoy a treat every now and again. Just like endurance running though, when my mileage decreases I'll have to make sure it's balanced out in my diet...

I'm Signed Up For L'Etape London Again...
YES! On the 24th September I'll be taking part in L'Etape London again. This sportive in 2016 was my first ever and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a distinct lack of female participation though so I'm pleased to see Human Race has introduced a Cycletta wave (women's only) at the event which I have entered. Check out the event details and if let me know if you'll be taking part too; the more the merrier!

>>> keep an eye out for my RideLondon-Surrey 46 write up coming soon! <<<

Who's keen to get themselves a bike now?! ...if you're already a keen cyclist, what inspires you to keep it up?!


Elle :)


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26.7.17

Mocha & Cold Brew Overnight* Oats with Califia Farms

Earlier this month, I, as Borrow My Blender, catered the Pure PR Autumn Winter Press Day on behalf of Califia Farms. Part of my brief was to recreate an overnight oats breakfast bowl recipe and the other part was to bake five of my Coconut Coffee cakes (find the recipe here).

It turned out that when I tried the overnight oats recipe, it didn't really work well in my eyes so I changed up the quantities a little to make sure the consistency was good. In fact, I loved the revamped recipe so much that I've been living off of it for over a week now so thought I would share it with you... and I have two amazing versions...

Mocha Overnight Oats


50g rolled oats
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Cocoa Noir
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Almondmilk
Drizzle of agave / honey, to taste
1/2 banana
25g (approx 12) blueberries
2 tsp peanut / almond butter
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Method: 

Measure your oats and pop them in a bowl.

Pour over your coffee mixture and then your almond milk. Give it a stir and leave to soak while you sort out your toppings. Now is a good time to drizzle on your agave or honey if you think you'll need it.

Slice the banana into circles. Wash your blueberries. As best you can, lay your banana slices on the top of your oats to one side. Dollop your nut butter in the centre and pop your blueberries on the other side.

Now simply sprinkle with the chia seeds and you're good to go!


To make the regular Cold Brew overnight* oats:

50g rolled oats
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Cold Brew
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Almondmilk
Drizzle of agave / honey, to taste
1/2 banana
25g (approx 12) blueberries
2 tsp peanut / almond butter
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Method: same as above.

The * next to overnight is to denote the fact that you actually don't need to make these the night before. They're super simple and quick to make; I've even thrown it in a Tupperware made for soup and had my oats on the tube when I'm short for time. It kinda kills two birds with one stone in that you get a hearty breakfast and you get your morning caffeine fix... win, win!

The Califia Farms Cocoa Noir drink is literally a dream! I tried it for the first time when I was prepping the breakfast bowls and even spotted them in my tiny local Sainsbury's... I read somewhere that a mocha is the perfect morning beverage to get your brain going due to the mix of caffeine and cacao! They also make a "black and white" version (so no chocolate) if that's more your thing.

Here are some more breakfast recipes ideas for you from the blog:
- Vegan Coconut Blueberry Summer Smoothie
- Chia & Flax SuperPowered (Vegan) Pancakes
- Pip & Nut Toast Bar Recipe
- Chocolate Protein Overnight Oats

Or smoothie recipe ideas from the Borrow My Blender blog:
- Pean-na Colada Smoothie
- So Fresh & So Green Smoothie
- Summer Berry Acai Smoothie Bowl

Elle :)


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24.7.17

Overtraining Is Not Cool


It's Thursday when I'm writing this and so far I've done three lift classes (barbell weights), a 30 minute treadmill / HIIT class, cycled 50km and 90 minutes of the treadmill / HIIT thing in an audition... all since Tuesday.

Now this wasn't my plan at all but it's just how it worked out when I had to shuffle my schedule around to fit everything in to meet deadlines. But I realise from scrolling through Twitter and reading tweets like - "it's only Thursday and I've already done 6 classes!!" - that people wear overtraining as a badge of honour. I, on the other hand, am wandering around in a daze wondering a) where everyone seems to find the energy and b) what's honourable about feeling tired. All. The. Time.

It's been a long time since I graduated from University studying Exercise Science and I am pretty sure that we would've covered overtraining in our studies. But we all know the realities of many things can be substantially different to what a textbook tells us (take driving as an example). So I figured I would just discuss this with all my active friends and share my findings here.


Do It For Endurance

One thing that became glaringly obvious from the responses I got is that doing double workouts is a necessity when it comes to sports like triathlon. A triathlon itself involves the combination of swimming, cycling and running so of course it makes sense to practice those on the same day, if not in back to back sessions.

For the ultra runners too; they pointed out that it was important to train on tired legs as it mimics the setting of their long distance events. The sensible approach is to build up your training load, ensure you fuel efficiently and listen to your body.

Variety Is The Spice Of Training

Those who shared that they enjoyed multiple classes in a day suggested that it was best to mix up what you were doing. So maybe some high intensity training in one session then something more holistic or chilled out like yoga or Pilates. Even training different body parts...

The Difference Sleep Makes

Sleep is a topic I've covered numerous times on the blog and it literally is my favourite thing to do in the world! But realistically, recovery and sleep are vital in order to reap the benefits of all the training that you're doing. At the start of 2017 I regularly attended run club on Wednesday evenings but some months later when I started teaching early on Thursday mornings I had to quit run club. Running in the evening gave me a high that meant I couldn't relax and wind down soon enough to go to bed at a decent time in order to wake up at 5am. So I'd end up with a crap nights sleep and feeling even more crap for the whole of Thursday.

And it seems this is normal; I'm certainly not alone. Not so restful sleep was a symptom shared with me of overtraining and it's worth noting that when you are increasing your training load it's probably wise to increase the amount of sleep you get too...


Recognising The Symptoms

Since coming back from Paris (and finishing this post) I've begun to experience first hand what the symptoms of overtraining are. And considering the fact I'd been writing this post, it didn't even occur to me that it was happening to me. In my head, overtraining was a choice. You choose to do a million classes so therefore you become tired. I certainly didn't choose this and have I even been training that much to constitute overtraining?!

My personal symptoms have included a loss of appetite (no longer attributed to my l-glutamine supplementation as I stopped taking it), waking up feeling like I've not slept (after a solid 8+ hours), feeling an insane level of tiredness all day, and needing to nap more than usual. And these are all symptoms that people shared with me having experienced overtraining themselves. There are plenty more symptoms and we all know that we're all different so everyone will react in different ways...

Double HIIT & Sh*t (lol)

As an Instructor myself, I always think that if you work hard enough in my session (usually 45 minutes) then you really wouldn't need another. I also think that if you book two classes back to back, you consciously or unconsciously hold back in the first class knowing that you need to save some energy for the next class. So why not just put in 100% and be done with it?! ...I'm not about that double HIIT life!

Missed Session Guilt

This is a thing for some people. Its been a while since I've missed a planned session but thats mostly because I've been busy training other people. The only thing I committed to over the past 8 weeks were my weekend long rides and I'm proud to say I made every single one as planned. But so what if you miss a session? ...what good does it do beating yourself up about it?! ...you don't need to make up for it by cramming in your sweat sessions in the time you have left. Just be mindful of what caused you to miss the session... if you chose to hang out with friends instead maybe you need to make sure you schedule in some social activities each week. If you weren't feeling too great, maybe you needed the rest?!


Anyway, thanks for the chat; I think I've gotten everything out that I was thinking... I didn't make this into a post based on SEO so it's not "5 tips to recover from overtraining" but I do hope it's made you a little more aware that this does exist and allows you to potentially recognise the signs. I'm also curious to hear your thoughts on "doing a double" and overtraining... have you ever suffered the symptoms?! Do you struggle to find balance?!

Elle :)

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photo credits: adidas uk 

23.7.17

Part 2 #3PTsToParis || Our London to Paris Ride



Before I get back to business and dive into day three of our ride there are a couple of things I wanted to address. The first being, the unfortunate incident of starting my period at the end of the first day of riding. I mean, I feel like I brought it on through worrying about it because I wasn't due (according to my app) until the Monday / Tuesday, some 3-4 days later. Shit happens. What was I to do?! But basically, riding kept my mind off of it whilst stopping for breaks brought on discomfort and mild cramps. Thankful to myself for having packed some paracetamol.

Secondly, I felt like this trip turned me into some sort of feminist (which surely I was anyway just for being a woman?! I dunno). The fact of the matter is, I grew up without my father around which has meant that I'm more than capable of looking after myself and doing things that are typically seen as a mans "role"... you know, like directions. So although we had Mollies husband James along for our ride, I never for one second expected to rely on him for directions. I personally created all the routes on Strava for our three days from start to hotels to finish and I also purchased a Garmin to make sure I could follow the routes safely. Part of the challenge of this trip was planning the routes and making the smaller, finite decisions ourselves as well as being self sufficient rather than paying for a guided, supported ride from start to finish and I didn't want James to feel obliged to take this role nor did I want to be blindly following someone else for three days. I guess it's all part and parcel of group trips, eh?!


Day three. Wake up dog tired. Go down to check out hotel breakfast. Decide I'd rather not have breakfast than eat what they had. Instead I snacked on some of the mini cakes from breakfast the day before along with some banana soreen and a scoop of Tailwind (a carbohydrate and electrolyte drink that Mollie and Sophie had brought along).

Day three was on paper, our shortest and least challenging day. And of course our last day. Surely that's enough motivation to get to the end?? With no planned stops I think we decided to play it by ear. We set off at 930am (was originally 9am but after minimal sleep we gave ourselves an extra half hour) and started the journey of our final 80km to the Eiffel Tower.

I remember having looked at the route with Sophie and knew that once we got through the first 20km with all the climbing we'd be good. So I kept an eye on the road signs to a town called Mèru which was about 25-30km from the start and knew that once we'd made it there we could power through. Just before the halfway mark (40km) we agreed to find a town to stop in to top up our water and buy some food but being a Sunday afternoon it seemed that most places we passed were either closed or just didn't have shops anyway. Plan B; rest under a willow tree eating whatever snacks we had and hope for the best.

Once we got back on the road we came across a bustling town with shops and a market just a short ride from where we quit looking for all that. Typical, eh?! ...what's also typical is that everytime we stopped, we seemed to start back on a climb. I think it must just have been one of those days when it feels like the entire world is against you! Our next stop was then at McDonalds. I know. I've not been for years. But hot fries and a cold coke light (which actually cost me over £4 ...WTF) seemed like the perfect remedy to make it through the final 20km of what turned out to be a really hot day. Mollie lifted our spirits on this stop with some songs that we just couldn't help but singalong to (lucky you if you witnessed that on my Instagram stories!).

My memory is a little hazy from here on in to be honest. I just know that from McDonalds we were definitely in the suburbs again and it kinda felt like when we arrived in Brighton a couple weeks earlier; looking for signs of nearing our destination. The roads got busier, the sun got hotter and the drivers got less accommodating. But there she was - the Eiffel Tower - over there in the distance somewhere. Somewhere beyond the closed roads on our preplanned route, wrong turns, low energy and difference of directional opinion (lol). By the time we reached the actual tower and battled through the crowds to find a spot to take our photographs somehow I think the novelty had worn off. Like a big anti climax. You want to feel excited and proud and revel in the moment but honestly, you've just ridden hundreds of kilometres to get there, you wanna shower and you wanna eat. Plus knowing that we still needed to drop our bikes off at Gare du Nord in order to make sure they got back to london around the same time we would be returning.



By the time we did get to our hotel, relief had set in and we were ready to pat ourselves on the back in the form of a cold beer before heading to our rooms to freshen up for dinner. Even finishing my story feels like I just can't do it justice. Literally laying in bed, having returned three days ago and honestly, I'm not sure it's really sunk it. Bar the far that I'm tired beyond belief, I feel kinda okay. So okay in fact that I can hear a tiny voice in the back of my head asking "what's next?!"...


Quote of the day: ...sorry peeps but none of us can remember the one we chose we just know that it came from Mollie...

Tips for the day:
- the Eiffel Tower was soooo busy. It's worth speaking to friends who know the area well to figure out the best spot to get that coveted finish photo
- Traffic is Paris is horrendous. Like, worse than London. Making our way from the Eiffel Tower to Gare du Nord station took forever even though it was just 4 miles away. Don't forget to plan this part of your route too!
- Choose a place to head for dinner so you have a plan which reduces time to decide when everyone is tired, hungry and emotional (aka "hanger")
- Drop your bike off asap at Gare du Nord. It cost us €29 to send our bikes back on Eurostar ready to collect at St.Pancras (they'll hold it for up to two weeks). You can book your bike onto your same train but there is limited space and they sell out months in advance.
- Our hotel was recommended to me by my friend Anneleen who stayed there after her own ride to Paris. We didn't have our bikes with us so I can't verify the fact they are bike friendly but they certainly seemed so!

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003329
Where we stayed: Campanile Paris 19 - La Villette (Book here to £15 off your stay... anywhere)
Location rating: 4/5
Room rating: 4/5

...will finish this post as I started the first half of the story.

DONE. DID IT.


Elle :)

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18.7.17

Our London to Paris Ride || Part 1 #3PTsToParis

DONE. DID IT.


That was all I could fathom to write when I posted the obligatory Instagram photo of me holding my bike above my head in front of the Eiffel Tower on the afternoon of Sunday 16th July 2017.

As I'm starting to write this post (sat on the Eurostar back to London), a part of me can't quite believe it's all done and dusted. The entire trip seemed to have completely crept up on me when it initially seemed like I had forever to train, get prepared and organised. Cycling from London to Paris for me was a challenge; I was part excited and part nervous but that's what made me want to do it.

Our Itinerary
Day One: Olympic Park, Stratford (London) to Newhaven
Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe
Distance: 111km

Day Two: Dieppe to Beauvais
Distance: 104.8km

Day Three: Beauvais to Eiffel Tower, Paris
Distance: 87.5km

In my mind, day one was gonna be the longest, toughest and least scenic. But we were mentally prepared; that's why we rode London to Brighton just a couple weeks earlier in order to have an idea of what to expect. We met bright and early and were on our way just after 630am. Just under an hour later and we had puncture number one which took 45 minutes to resolve (including the purchase of coffee). After this however, we cruised along towards newhaven past spots that we had stopped at last time being grateful that we were having a better ride this time and didn't need to stop. We knew what hills to expect and we knew we didn't need to climb Ditchling Beacon so we couldn't be happier. With a 530pm Ferry to catch, day one was the only day where time was a pressure. We needed to arrive at Newhaven by 430pm the latest in order to check in and board the ferry so we were more than happy when we arrived around 230pm leaving us enough time to go and have a decent meal in town, avoiding ferry food (I know anything would probably taste decent after 111km but...).



Hopping off the ferry four hours later in Dieppe and having just a 10/15 minute ride to our hotel was perfect. Lights on, final uphill push for the day... shower and bed.

Quote of the day: "...This is much more fun than last time" - Mollie

Lesson of the day: Make sure you build time into your schedule for punctures and other mechanical difficulties.

Tips for the day:
- Have your flip flops handy for the ferry as if your cleats are not recessed you can't wear them on the ferry.
- Don't forget to plan your route from the ferry to the hotel (if you're spending the first night in Dieppe)v - If you've only got two kits for the three days, defo try and find the energy to wash today's kit so it can start drying ready for day three

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003223
Where we stayed: Touvotel Citotel Hotel Dieppe
Location rating: 5/5
Room rating: 3/5
Bike storage rating: 3/5
Breakfast rating: 3/5


Day two now was actually my best day physically. In my head, our ride started on a Saturday (it was Friday) and I didn't take into account how my teaching schedule on a Thursday (2 lift classes) would make me feel. And that was tired. But I'd pushed through that in day one and luckily was feeling a lot better for our second day.

We met for breakfast in the hotel at 8am and planned to depart at 9am which became 930am once we'd got ourselves together. The first half of our day was along the Avenue Vert which is a disused railway line that was paved over and turned into a dedicated cycle path. It's (kinda) smooth and (kinda) direct straight to Forge les Eaux... our main stop for the day. Avenue Vert isn't exactly full of sights but it is beautiful being in the countryside. It also has a sneaky little incline which makes you think you're kinda shit at cycling but in fact it's because you've been steadily going uphill for 50km.


Which brings us to Forge les Eaux. A little town in the middle of Avenue Vert. There's not much going on there (and I mean it was Saturday) so when it came to food I was a little reserved. The crew picked a restaurant where they could get their ham and cheese toastie fix but I decided to play it safe and pop to the supermarket for some fresh fruit (specifically nectarines as they looked amazing) along with crisps and water to top up my bottles.

From Forge les Eaux you either have the choice to continue along Avenue Vert or take the roads to get to Beauvais, our overnight stop location. The Avenue Vert is a fair bit longer than the road route so obviously we went with the road route, right?! Drivers in rural France seemed to be a lot more considerate of us cyclists with 99% of them overtaking with at least a cars width between us. The roads were so well maintained it was a dream to ride and the rolling hills were very much welcome after 50km of a "flat(ish)" route.

Somewhere along said road, my back brakes started to rub for some unknown reason which caused us to stop a couple of times to fix them. In the end, we just opened them and I rode at the front to make sure I could always stop safely with ample time. To this day, I have no idea what was wrong with them but skipping ahead to day three quickly, I just closed them on the morning and all was well.


The last stretch into Beauvais was along Trans'Oise, another cycle path (maybe also part of Avenue Vert?). By this point we kinda were losing the will to live to be honest. Although it was a good day physically for me, that didn't mean it was for the whole crew. Luckily Sophie came up with the idea of playing Spotify on her phone so I literally did the same on my phone and I cannot explain the difference the music made to me. Well, I guess I can explain. ...I basically reenacted an indoor cycling class on my bicycle in the great outdoors. I rode to the beat (upper body work included) and smashed out the entire ride to Beauvais measuring it in songs. Thank you Spotify discover weekly. Thank you.

We arrived at our hotel around 5pm leaving us plenty of time to relax then head out to dinner and get to bed before 10pm. Yes people, we're rock and roll.

Quote of the day: "...This is not a happy day for my vagina" - Sophie

Lesson of the day: Make sure you pack some antihistamines and painkillers. I got stung on my foot by what we think was a wasp on the evening of day two and in addition to the fact it bloody hurt, I panicked that my foot was going to swell and either not fit in my cycling shoes for the third day or be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Luckily I popped an antihistamine asap and had no adverse reaction. Not sure how I'd write up that I didn't make it to Paris on bike cos of a wasp sting.

Tips for the day:
- Take headphones and have some tunes downloaded to Spotify that you can play while on the cycle paths if you need some extra motivation
- Stock up on snacks at breakfast. We were saved by Nutella spread on baguettes. Oh and the individually wrapped mini Madeleine cakes and chocolate chip cakes. And bottled water.
- Make sure you carry enough locks between the group to secure your bikes overnight. Our hotel only had an outdoor garden type space for us to store our bikes which was at least covered (just about). I'm not one for locking my bike up outdoors so was really uncomfortable with this. I'd definitely recommend researching bike friendly hotels and taking recommendations from cycling friends / cycling blogs to choose where to stay.
- On the subject of hotels, again, research well and take recommendations as our hotel was directly opposite a bar and park which on a Saturday night were filled with people having a good time (yeaaaahhh, I know) which meant we slept very little as the window was open to help keep us cool due to not having air conditioning in the room. Fail. So clearly I'm not recommending the hotel we stayed in. I repeat, I am NOT recommending the hotel named below that we stayed in.

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003313
Where we stayed: Chenal Hotel Le Chenal, Beauvais
Location rating: 1/5
Room rating: 2/5
Bike storage rating: 1/5
Breakfast rating: 0/5



Elle :) 

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13.7.17

What I'm Packing To Ride From London To Paris - #3PTsToParis

I blinked and I'm just one day away from leaving for Paris on my bike. When I tell people I'm doing this, the first question they ask is "are you doing it for charity?!" ....because it seems people only do mad stuff like this when spurred on to raise money. But no, I'm doing it because I want to have an adventure, enjoy some time away from home / work (sometimes known as a vacation) and to challenge myself.

This week has been one of the biggest challenges (still less so than cycling from London to Brighton though) in that packing my kit has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I did read somewhere that you should pack your kit, then remove half of it so currently I'm at the stage where I have my "must take" pile and my "do I really need that" pile. But essentially, I've decided exactly what I will be packing and thought I'd share that with you... (as well as maybe creating a reference point for my next bike packing adventure!):


Bike Outfit 1: Skins Cycle Women's Classic Jersey & DNAmic Half Tights (pictured above, bottom)
Bike Outfit 2: Chapeau Madeleine Jersey & Rapha Core Shorts (pictured above, top)

Every single long ride and some of my midweek rides, I've been testing out kit; the two outfits above are my final picks based on comfort and performance. I also love to have co-ordinating kit so I can't deny that did factor into my decision a little...

Although the jersey of the Skins kit is not compression based, the shorts are. I'll be wearing these on day 1 as it'll be our highest mileage and most difficult (based on elevation) so I'll be trying to start my recovery before we are even done! I'll then be wearing this kit again for day 3; our final day taking us into Paris.

The Chapeau Madeleine Jersey is a firm favourite because it has so many pockets on the back and they are accessible without me feeling like I might dislocate my shoulder trying to get what I need. The Rapha Core Shorts are a favourite as the chamois (the padding) kept me comfortable on previous rides. The shorts are the longest I own but I like that. 

Other Kit: armwarmers, socks (x2), sports bras (x2), sunglasses, helmet, cycling cap, water / wind-proof jacket, gloves, clip in shoes

Bike Stuff & Gadgets: quadlock (for phone), inner tubes (x2), water bottles (x2), hiplok FLX cafe lock, bike lights, GoPro, garmin edge 820

Other Clothing: fitflops, night shirt, dress (for mornings and evenings), day outfit (for Paris)

Nutrition: nuun hydration tablets, SiS energy gels (3 per day), SiS energy bars (2 per day), mini soreen banana loaves (3 per day), vega clean energy pre-workout, nutri advanced megamag muscleze

I have a whole post to finish writing and share about how I've been fuelling for my long rides but these are the items I will actually be taking along with me. I've been using nuun for years now; they literally are the only hydration tablets that I currently trust. I've been training with the SiS energy gels and energy bars for the past couple of months with no real issues. I think I just about can manage to continue eating banana screen for the next week and then I will need a break! Vega Clean Energy is literally the best thing since sliced bread - after it got me through the Urban Triathlon a couple of months ago I've used it on all my long rides. Currently, my plan is to put my servings and the scoop into a small tupperware as the actual tub is too big / heavy for me to cycle with. I've also been trying out MegaMag Muscleze from Nutri Advanced which contains magnesium in addition to other supplements which are useful after hard training days. I've been supplied with single serve sachets of this so I have 8 to pack (2 per day). I think I will also pack some magnesium capsules (also from Nutri Advanced) as I don't think I will be able to carry my magnesium spray which I typically use most nights before bed.

Personal: mascara, concealer, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, body lotion, contact lenses, antihistamines, paracetamol, cash, cards, chargers, adaptors, sun cream, printed tickets, passport


Luggage / Baggage: apidura seatpack, apidura handlebar bag, apidura accessory bag, lululemon go lightly backpack packable

Okay, so this became a state of emergency just a few days before our trip. Once I started putting everything from my packing list into one place I realised how much stuff I potentially needed to take. I did originally purchase a seat pack from Altura however the quality didn't really seem to be that great considering the price (I still need to return this) so I borrowed the Apidura Seatpack from my inspirational cycling buddy Anneleen. I used it for our London to Brighton ride a few weeks ago (pictured above) to test out what it was like to ride with and also to try riding with the extra weight. It literally was a dream; I didn't notice anything until I had to pick my bike up to carry it up the stairs at the tube station. During the ride, movement was minimal and I found it easy to access for the few bits I needed which I had packed close to the opening.

Over the past few weeks I've been using a handlebar bag from Decathlon for my long rides (also pictured above) which has worked a dream. However, when I realised that everything I needed probably wasn't going to fit into the seat pack I popped along to Condor Cycles in London to check out the rest of the Apidura range. Ideally I wanted to purchase the frame bag and the top tube bag but as I wasn't 100% sure they would fit I also purchased the handlebar bag and accessory bag that sits on top of it. Condor Cycles don't accept returns so I had to order online (while in store) and use "click and collect" so that I could return any bits I didn't need and boy am I glad I did that because both the frame bag and the top tube bag don't fit my bike. Because I'm now broke (insert crying emoji here) from these purchases I probably wont purchase the seat pack myself until I have another adventure confirmed; They're not cheap but the quality seems really high and also fit for purpose.

Last but not least, whilst working an event in lululemon Covent Garden I spotted the Go Lightly Backpack Packable which seemed ideal! It means that (should it fit in my stuff) I will have an actual bag for the day we spend in Paris as the bike bags aren't made for being carried around the city by human beings.

***

Anyway, it's about time to hit the road! ...you can follow my journey over on Instagram (esp stories), and twitter via #3PTsToParis.

So many Thank Yous but I'll pop them here: Skins EU, Cycle Republic, Rapha, Altura (c/o Zyro Fisher), Shock Absorber, Ride Skincare, Reimann P20,  Decathlon, Boardman (c/o Halfords), BRITA, Nuun, SiS, Vega and Nutri Advanced.

Any last minute tips for me?! ...or any recommendations for places to eat in Paris?! 


Elle :) 

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