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Base miles are the foundation block of a cyclist’s winter training - Building a good base over the wet grey months bodes well for spring training when riders focus on more specific and intense training aimed towards their summer goals. But how do you keep yourself amused on the open roads or trails when you are spending sometimes hours in the saddle?...

It seems to remain inconceivable to some, that riding for hours and hours is nothing short of boring, but an endurance cyclist I am quite happy with my own company and thoughts. I believe some cyclists recite poetry or use the time to plan long-term DIY projects that require mental planning and decision making - as I am not great with words, and my house is pretty small, neither of these options has successfully filled the gap, but I do have my moments.

Whilst cycling the Pan Celtic Race in summer 2019, many miles and hours passed in the Highlands of Scotland and Ireland. Remote, rugged landscapes with breathtaking vistas punctuated by long climbs and rewarding descents and I soon realised the vehicle of choice for this terrain [apart from the bike-GW] was the iconic Landrover Defender. When the odd vehicle would pass by, I would hold my breath, not in fear for my safety but the anticipation that it might be a proper Landy - I gave myself a mental pat on the back and a mighty push on the pedals if it was indeed a Land Rover. But (and here is the fun bit), if the Land Rover was “Oslo Blue” I rewarded the vehicle with loud, “WhooHaaaaa”, of joy and punched the air in celebration. Land Rover spotting became my source of motivation and amusement and filled many a solitary hour.

I was reminded of this game yesterday out cycling in the lanes of Kent. As a Defender drove by, I sighed with fond memories of past events. I could almost feel the sun on my back and feel the wind on my sunburnt face. It will not be long until we are indeed back out on those open roads and enjoying those epic events, until then, I shall be quite content to cycle the muddy wet Kentish lanes in search of my Oslo Blue.

Photos by Sheila Woolam.

2021.RIDERS – SHEILAWOOLLAM Sheila picked up a bicycle nine years ago and rode the Camino from Canterbury to Santiago de Compostella. That’s quite a first ride but since then she’s ridden unsupported around Iceland, from Tunbridge Wells to Budapest, completed the London-Edinburgh-London event and competed in the 2018 Transcontinental, riding 4,202km / 39,352m in 21 days. 2019 saw Sheila winning the long route in the Race around the Netherlands, and after a few weeks of rest, Sheila competed in the Pan Celtic Race around Scotland, Ireland and Wales placing 2nd Solo Female on the long route. What’s next? Watch this space for updates! #TCRNo6cap127 #RATNCapNo88


#aeightbikeco – In training, as in racing, by working together several riders can be faster than the individual. The C Ø L L E C T I V E is a brotherhood of riders on different clubs and teams who race, train and ride together to improve their results collectively… The common factor isn’t the jersey, it’s the equipment – we race custom steel frames and use similar kit so we can support one another at events with spare wheels, parts and even complete bikes. If you’d like to race with us then get in touch via the details below.

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