Photography by India Hodder
Earlier this month on a wet, dank Thursday afternoon, I escaped the city on a train to Parkstone in Bournemouth for the launch of the new KitBrix winter accessories range at Rockets and Rascals, Poole.
KitBrix have served me well during this year of sportives, triathlons and marathons as I have taken their cubed-shaped bag with me to every event. The design of the bag is a life hack for any travelling athlete as you can zip them together and organise all your equipment for all the different disciplines. I also used mine to store food in when I went camping over the summer!
The launch had begun earlier in the day with an autumn ride lead by cycling tour company, Ride25 which I sadly missed due to some last minute moving house admin. Luckily I arrived in time for the drinks though so all was not lost!
As a small business myself, this was a really great opportunity to meet lots of other people in the cycling industry who all shared a similar passion. I chatted to John Readman from Ride25 about his experience on Dragons Den, met fellow publishers, Matt and Victoria from road cycling website, Vamper.cc and Paul and Kim from cycling retreat, Max Velo. I spent most of the evening listening intently to Sophie Bubb and her husband Nick who were telling me the story of how Sophie came to win the ITU European Amateur Championships at Ironman distance with two young children under two – (interview on QoTM soon).
Interview with Simon Lillistone
I also had the great opportunity to chat to Olympic cyclist, Simon Lillistone about his journey from professional athlete to organising international cycling events. Simon also shared some winter training tips for us road cyclists.
Tell us a bit about your background in cycling
“My background in cycling goes back to the mid eighties when I competed in the Seoul ‘88 and Barcelona ‘92 Olympic Games and about 10 World Championships. After I finished professional cycling I took a commercial role for Bell Sports, a bike helmet company, and then worked at British Cycling developing the programmes with Mark Cavendish and Ed Clancy in their early days. I then became British Cycling’s Marketing Director.
“I describe my career as though I am a piece of Blackpool rock with cycling and the Olympics all the way through it!”
My last role was organising all the cycling events at London 2012. I am very involved in a few of the major events that happen at the moment particularly Ride London and the Women’s World Tour event coming next year which I will be doing all the planning for.
What is involved in organising cycling events of this scale?
“To do all the planning for the Olympics took three and a half years. Our job is to effectively be invisible and get all the planning right so that no body knows you’re there. If someone knows you’re there it tends to be because something has gone wrong, not badly wrong but something is not quite as slick as it should be. I think what really worked for me was that really in-depth knowledge of cycling.”
What would you recommend to QoTM readers in terms of a training focus this winter?
“I think it depends on what you’re trying to achieve and where you are on your journey from complete beginner to racing cyclist. We hear a lot about winter base miles and they are that training foundation. I think people over complicate things particularly these days talking about power meters and heart rates and all those kinds of things. If you’re riding at an intensity where you have to stop for breath in a conversation then you’re riding hard enough to get a training effect.
Just riding your bike, getting the miles in is a really good start and once you are competent to ride several hours comfortably as you start getting closer to the events season, then you can start pushing yourself. So the base miles are just how you become competent and confident to do the distance you need to do. Just ride at an intensity that you think you can maintain and from time to time stretch yourself a bit – that is what training effect is, when you push yourself a bit harder”.
Thanks to Simon for sharing your tips and to Rob Aldous for the invite to the KitBrix launch!