LE COL PARTNER WITH DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM 2018

Dallaglio Cycle Slam has partnered with Le Col, who will become Official Kit Partner of the epic 2018 charity ride. As part of the partnership, Le Col will provide the kit to all participants along with training support, whilst the brand will also support with fundraising.

Dallaglio Cycle Slam 2018 will see up to 300 devoted cyclists including Austin Healey, Andrew Ridgeley and John Hannah take on a 1,800km journey across Europe in just 15 days, spearheaded by England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio. Beginning on 27th May in Evian, France, riders will tackle the infamous French and Swiss Alps then venture across Italian lakes and Slovenian coastlines, before enjoying an idyllic coastal home stretch rolling into Split on 14th June.

As official kit partner, Le Col will provide top-of-the-range cycling apparel to help all riders perform at their physical best throughout those long days in the saddle. Limited edition prize jerseys will also be produced for riders along the route.

Le Col will also donate 20% of all participant retail sales to Lawrence Dallaglio’s charity Dallaglio RugbyWorks, to boost fundraising towards the event’s £1million target.

Launched in 2010, the Dallaglio Cycle Slam has become an iconic event and has raised over £5million. 2012’s record-breaking Athens to London ride raising £2million alone. In 2014 the event was harder than ever, inspired by the climbs and passes of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia; the route was a challenging ride over 2,300km through the Italian Dolomites, Swiss and French Alps and Yorkshire. While 2016 saw a record number of 19 core riders completing a three-week challenge from San Sebastian to Ibiza, tackling well-known climbs the Tourmalet in France and Sa Colabra in Majorca, the 200 riders brought in £1.3million towards Dallaglio RugbyWorks. With 30 Core Riders already signed up and such a stunning route planned 2018 is sure to be the best yet.

Lawrence Dallaglio said:

“We’re delighted to partner with the premium British cycling brand Le Col, to help our team perform and fundraise to their peak ability in 2018. For the first time, our participants will have access to top quality, specialist performance wear to help them as they face up to the challenge of the Cycle Slam.”

Yanto Barker said:

“The Dallaglio Cycle Slam has become a top, very challenging, charity event. With brand values closely aligned to ours, we’re proud to play our part by kitting participants up with the best performance product on the market and providing training support to help all succeed."

Find out more about the Dallaglio Cycle Slam.

December 07, 2017 by Henry Nixon
BETH CRUMPTON'S CROSS CAMPAIGN

BETH CRUMPTON'S CROSS CAMPAIGN

Beth Crumpton of team Storey Racing is hanging on to the series lead in the National Cyclocross Trophy and with it she wears her Le Col Yellow leaders jersey. She is four rounds into the six round series, having won the first two races and she limited damage to her lead in the more recent races after an injury and a crash. We spoke to Beth on the lead up to the fifth race which Beth talks about below.
December 05, 2017 by Lawrence Carpenter

BLACK FRIDAY

FRIDAY 24TH

Black Friday Bibshorts

SATURDAY 25TH

Black Friday Jerseys

SUNDAY 26TH

Black Friday Cycling Jackets

MONDAY 27TH

Black Friday free gift

November 23, 2017 by Henry Nixon

5 Events To Get You Through Winter

Only the most dedicated of us manage to get out of the door at this time of year. The weather’s turned and thanks to daylight saving it’s dark well before 5pm. Thanks to Zwift, finding competition throughout the winter isn’t as hard as it once was, but in case you’re desperate for the real thing and need a date in the diary to motivate you to train, here are Le Col’s best winter events that prove just because it’s a bit dark and cold, the season isn’t over.

 

Love Crossed

Love Crossed Le Col

29 January 2018

Winter’s the perfect time to pick up a different discipline outside of road, and racing through mud, over hurdles and down singletrack descents is all about as much fun as you can have on two wheels. Love Crossed is hosted at the stunning Chavenage House Estate and has a course co-designed and signed off by elite cyclo-cross riders. Taking place on the same day as the World CX Championships, after the elite men finish the Worlds are screened live, if you’re thinking of trying CX or want to race somewhere slightly different than your typical CX league this is the perfect place to race.

Love Crossed

LE COL KIT RECOMMENDATION | SKIN/SPEEDSUIT

South of Bucks Winter Warmer

Winter Warmer Le Col

9 December 2017                                                                                       

The name ‘Winter Warmer’ gives a bit of a false impression of this event, making it sound like a brief winter jaunt, long enough just to get your heart-rate up, and short enough to be home for lunch.

It’s 207km. In December.

In typical audax fashion riders are given a Brevet card to present at each checkpoint throughout the ride, presumably where the only real ‘warming’ on the ride takes place. If you’re lacking a ride that garners big Kudos in December, this is how you’ll get it.

Winter Warmer

LE COL KIT RECOMMENDATION | MEN'S HC JACKET NERO/BATTLESHIP & WOMEN'S HC JACKET NAVY AZZURO

Santa Ride North & South

10 December 2017

Preston and Farnborough each host the Santa Ride North & South respectively this year. Organised by UK Cycling Events, these are two sportives offering a great reason to get out and enjoy the countryside when a cup of tea and the sofa are at their most tempting. With three route distances down South and two up North, there’s something for everyone, especially as kids ride free on the day.

The long distances for both fall just under 100km, however the ‘Epic Route’ in Santa Ride South has substantially more climbing than Santa Ride North, as it heads out in to Hampshire’s Meon Valley.  

Santa Ride North | Santa Ride South

British National Cyclocross Championships

National Cyclo Cross Championships

13-14 January

Ian Field aims to take a sixth Men’s National Title and Nikki Brammeier looks to make it three titles in a row in Sunderland as Britain’s best CX athletes race for the red, white and blue stripes for the 2018/2019 season. 

The National Trophy, a series rather than a single Championship race, tours the country from now until the 7th of January, with Gravesend, Bradford and Ipswich still left to race before the Champs. Get yourself along to see how easy professionals make it all look.

National Cyclo Cross Championships

Hell of The Ashdown

18 February 2018

Short and steep. Two words that give you a great idea of the Hell of the Ashdown. At only 106km, but with 1,439m of ascent this route seeks out Kent’s challenging climbs totaling 11 on the route, this is an event to put a bit of training in for. Especially for Kidd’s Hill, locally known as ‘The Wall’.

Full mechanical and nutritional support as well as NEG motorbike marshals guiding throughout, getting this in your 2018 calendar is guaranteed to start the season with a bang.*

Hell of The Ashdown

LE COL KIT RECOMMENDATION | MEN'S THERMA GILET & WOMEN'S THERMA GILET

 

*Or a bonk. Depends how many mince pies you manage between now and then.

November 15, 2017 by Henry Nixon

Yanto's Pro Guide: What to Wear for Winter

The biggest difference about winter riding from autumn and spring is the range of temperature is smaller, so you can dress with a lower need for flexibility required from your kit. On a cold autumn morning you might need a jacket and tights, but by the afternoon it can be 10 or 15 degrees warmer so a jersey and bibshorts would be suitable. In winter the temperature will only change by a few degrees so your jacket and tights are the right choice all day.

"It takes a bit of trial and error to get your winter kit combination exactly right"

It’s easier to dress for winter and your choice should be a basic combination of undervest, jacket, tights and socks. You should adjust your type of undervest to get the right temperature management and this helps make the jacket appropriate for a wider range of conditions. 

Recommended: Men's Thermal LS Undervest | Women's Thermal LS Undervest

When the cold weather really starts to bite, arm warmers, thermal hats, buffs, caps and overshoes complement your outfit to get your temperature perfectly right all over. This can be a delicate balance and you’ve got to protect your extremeties.

It's all about the accessories

The head loses a lot of heat and so in really cold conditions a very warm hat or buff worn under your helmet is great to lock in that much needed heat. Hands and feet suffer the most on winter rides. Arm warmers under your jacket can really help keep hands warm without making your core area sweat when the rest of your body is warm enough.

Last of all a really good pair of thermal socks and thermal overshoes are an excellent combination to help keep your feet warm. Be sure to also leave your shoe straps loose. Restricting blood flow through over tightening shoe straps is one of the most common mistakes that can make feet feel significantly colder. 

Recommended: Windtex Overshoes

Winter Riding Le Col

Almost all good winter kit should focus on warmth. Staying dry on very wet days is almost impossible but for those rare times that you are caught out far from home in the pouring rain, a seriously good rain jacket is a life saver. This should have taped seams, be fully waterproof and be able to be carried in your pocket just in case it’s needed. Take one on almost all rides just in case but don’t wear it unless it’s seriously wet otherwise it will make you sweat and this can cause a chill. 

 It takes a bit of trial and error to get your kit combination exactly right and when you do, there’s no excuse to lose fitness through the winter months.

 

Tour Of Britain: Stage 1 -4 round up

Tour Of Britain: Stage 1 -4 round up

Yanto is out on loan from Le Col HQ this week, commentating for ITV4 on the Tour of Britain. A lot can happen in the space of four days, and with stage five of the Tour now underway, you’d be forgiven for not having yet caught up on all the crashes, breaks, and jersey battles. Luckily, with the help of the BIKE Channel Canyon press team, we’ve whipped together a round-up…

DAY 1 

Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan clinched stage glory – and the first leader’s jersey – from two-time champion Edvald Boasson Hagen in a stunning sprint finish on the Kelso cobbles.

Defining moment of the day: A crash which happened towards the front of the bunch just 16km after the roll out in Edinburgh. This helped a group of eight men jump clear and establish the day’s breakaway.

How did our BIKE Channel Canyon boys do?

BIKE Channel Canyon’s Rob Partridge kicked off his record-equalling 11th Tour of Britain with a brilliant day up the road. All six of the remaining BIKE Channel Canyon team finished safely, with Dexter Gardias inside the front group in 54th. Rory Townsend was next home, 1min 50sec adrift in 74th. James Lowsley-Williams and Harry Tanfield crossed the line at 6.26, while Chris Opie, who was caught up in an early crash, and Partridge rolled over the line together at 12.43. 

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine sprinter’s jersey: Won by Karol Domagalski (ONE Pro Cycling)

Skoda King Of The Mountains Jersey: Won by Lukasz Owsian (CCC)

Leader’s Jersey: Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott)

DAY 2

The 211.7km ‘queen stage’ saw Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinting across the line first for Dimension Data. However, the two-time champion was later relegated for impeding his rivals as he veered left in the bunch kick, with Team Sky’s Elia Viviani handed the win and the leader’s jersey.

Defining moment of the day: BIKE Channel Canyon’s, Rory Townsend dug deep to take on the longest stage of the 2017 Tour from the very front. The 22-year-old, from Addlestone in Surrey, spent almost 190km at the head of affairs as he starred in a seven-man breakaway, within 5km of the start line. 

How did our BIKE Channel Canyon boys do?

After being caught up in a crash during the opening kilometres of stage 1, Chris Opie managed to get himself back on the start line for day 2. He said:

“I’ve got some tyre burn and some sore muscles but otherwise I’m good. It seems to be tradition. Every time Rob [Partridge] and I are team-mates, I crash on stage one in Scotland!”

In front of huge crowds on the roadside and millions watching the footage live on ITV, the team refused to be overawed by their World Tour rivals. James Lowsley-Williams, Harry Tanfield, Dexter Gardias and Rob Partridge all finished in the main bunch, with Rory Townsend and Chris Opie home 1min 17sec later.

Skoda King Of The Mountains Jersey: Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction)

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine sprinter’s jersey: Retained by Karol Domagalski (ONE Pro Cycling)

Leader’s Jersey: Elia Viviani (Team Sky)

DAY 3

Orica-Scott teed up Caleb Ewan to outgun Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff at the line. The Aussie sprinter, who won stage one in Kelso, regained the lead in the general classification – just six seconds ahead of Elia Viviani and seven in front of Boasson Hagen.

How did our BIKE Channel Canyon boys do?

Harry Tanfield showcased his growing potential, before Caleb Ewan sprinted to glory. The 22-year-old Great Ayton talent was rewarded with the High5 combativity prize after spending more than 150km up the road in grim conditions in North Lincolnshire.

After helping light up the 176.9km battle from Normanby Hall & Country Park to Scunthorpe in a five-man break, Tanfield clinched BIKE Channel Canyon‘s maiden podium in Britain’s premier road race.

Dexter Gadrias and James Lowsley-Williams finished in the main bunch – the latter making a remarkable recovery from a heavy early crash – as the team produced another impressive performance.

Skoda King Of The Mountains Jersey: Graham Briggs (JLT Condor)

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine sprinter’s jersey: Graham Briggs (JLT Condor)

Leader’s Jersey: Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott)

DAY 4

Fernando Gaviria, of Quick-Step Floors, celebrated the victory ahead of Elia Viviani, Alexander Kristoff and Dylan Groenewegen. Alan Banaszek of CCC, was fifth and Wanty Groupe Gobert’s Andrea Pasqualon sixth ahead of the superb Harry Tanfield (BIKE Channel Canyon), who was the first British rider across the line.

How did our BIKE Channel Canyon boys do?

James Lowsley-Williams admitted he is battered and bruised after his on yesterday's rain soaked stage, but the 25-year-old, from Tetbury in Gloucestershire vowed to fight on, in the hope his injuries would ease. He said:

“It’s not the greatest feeling crashing hard then having more than 100 miles of hard racing to do in front of you. I have got a fair bit of road rash and a swollen knee but I’m hoping it will loosen off during today’s stage.”

Sadly, despite starting stage 4, Lowsley-Williams saw his race ended when he was disqualified for illegally attacking on the pavement in a desperate bid to bridge across to the leaders up the road.

Harry Tanfield sprinted to seventh place in a high-class finale. The 22-year-old, from Great Ayton in North Yorkshire, backed up his day in the break on stage three with a superb kick in Newark-on-Trent.

Skoda King Of The Mountains Jersey: Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction’s 

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine sprinter’s jersey: Mark McNally (Wanty Groupe Gobert)

Leader’s Jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)

STAGE 5

There are still currently 62 riders all within 20 seconds of the race leader’s OVO Energy Green jersey, going into what likely to be the decisive day in the 2017 race, as the riders gear up for a time trial through Essex. Tune in to ITV4 for live coverage and to catch Yanto's commentary.

September 06, 2017 by Anna McNuff
Meet World Record Breaking Cyclist - Jamie McDonald

Meet World Record Breaking Cyclist - Jamie McDonald

After overcoming a serious illness as a child, Jamie McDonald has become somewhat of reluctant Superhero. Now a world-record-holding adventurer, a bestselling author, motivational speaker and founder of the Superhero Foundation – he has won a Pride of Britain award for his fundraising achievements – which stretch into the millions of pounds.

In 2012, Jamie set out to break the Guinness World Record for marathon static cycling, and on December 20th stepped off the bike after a whopping 268 hours and 32 minutes.

Hi Jamie, thanks for taking the time for a chat with Le Col. Can I start by asking you to tell our readers who are you are, and what you do?

Sure, I’m Jamie McDonald, aka ‘Adventureman’. I am an author, an adventurer, and a motivational speaker. And I’m the co-founder of a UK charity called the Superhero Foundation. 

You did something rather special back in 2012 – you broke a world record – tell us about that?

I sat on a stationary bike (like the spin bikes you get in a gym) for nearly 12 days non-stop, and I ended up breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest time for static cycling.

Crikey. And what was the previous record you were trying to break?

The previous record was set by an Italian guy, and it stood at 224 hours and 24 minutes.

So talk to me about why you took on that kind of challenge? Why would anyone want to sit on a bike for almost 12 days non-stop?!

So, if I take it back to about a year before the world record. I was a tennis teacher and I was saving up to put a deposit on a house. I was just about to buy the house, I mean, I had the papers in front of me and everything, but something just felt wrong. I had this gut feeling that it just wasn’t the right thing to be doing – so I put the pen down, pulled out of buying the house and decided to take a bit of time out.

I sat back and thought about what I wanted from life. I kind of reflected a little bit. And I started thinking about everything, and that included my life as a kid – when I was actually really sick, in and out of hospital all the time.

Why were you so sick??

I have a really rare spinal condition called Syringomyelia – try spelling that one! It’s a pooling of the spinal fluid, and means that as a kid I’d have epileptic fits, I had an immune-deficiency, and sometimes when it got really bad, I couldn’t move my legs at all. Luckily at about 9 years old, my mum dragged me out into the back garden to play tennis, she put up a piece of string across the garden to act as a net, and we started to play. Something happened from that point on. She got me moving, and the movement seemed to help with it all, with the illness, with everything. And gradually I started to get better.

I’m really lucky, most people with the disease end up immobile or in a wheelchair, but I didn’t - I managed to regain my health. Obviously then I had this vision that I’d be the next Roger Federer, or Tim Henman as it was then… but then I realized I was really (really) crap at tennis.

So back to the moment with the house… after pulling out on that I started reflecting on all the nurses and doctors that had helped me as kid. So I went to visit the children’s hospital, and it got me thinking. That I should, or I could, be doing something to give back to the world, and to all those people that helped me as a kid.

I’d heard about this guy, Joe, who was cycling around the world, and I actually ended up meeting him. I thought it was pretty awesome what he was doing, but when I chatted to him I realized that he was genuinely just normal bloke. And so I thought if a normal bloke could do that kind of thing, then maybe I could do it too.

So what did you do then?

Instead of the house, I bought a £50 bike off eBay (she’s called ‘My Dear’), and I flew to Bangkok to begin a 14,000 mile ride back to my home in Gloucester.

Love it! That’s quite a change of heart. Why Bangkok??

I went there on a holiday with some friends when I was 16. They make a great curry in Thailand. I liked it, so I thought I’d go back.

How long did that 14,000 mile cycle take?

Around about a year, I mean, I was on a 50 quid bike and in my flip flops, and I had no idea what I was doing. I rode through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzebekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and then through Europe to home in Gloucester.

So when did the idea to try an break the static cycling World record come in??

When I was going through Iran. I was spending so much time on the bike that I started wondering what the longest time anyone had ever spent on a bike was. So I googled it, and it came up with this Italian guy – he’d sat on the bike for 224 hours and 24 minutes – around 10 days. And at first I thought ‘that’s impossible!’. But then I thought, well hang on, if he’s done it, then surely I could do it. So I emailed Guinness to register the record, they accepted it, and that was it booked in. I was going to do it when I arrived back in Gloucester that December.

I got straight off the bike after 14,000 miles and thought ‘there is no better time to attempt this world record!’ Literally a few days after getting home, I jumped on the static bike to start.

Where did the challenge take place – were you just cycling staring at a wall??!

No we did it at Gloucester Docks – a beautiful spot! We had a massive marquee tent, which overlooked the water. It was pretty small, but it had a little corner in there for my bed.

So how did the challenge work? Are you allowed to sleep at all? To pee? To poop?

The Guinness rules state that for every hour that you’re on the bike, you accumulate a five minute break. We knew that the last record holder was cycling for 4 hours and then taking a 20 minute break, and trying to get a nap in that,. But I had someone from my team advise that if I was going to smash the record, I should cycle for 24 hours, and then build up to a 2 hour break, so that I could fit a full 1 and half hour sleep cycle in that rest period. So that’s what I went for!

And what kind speed did you have to cycle at?

The rules are that you have to stay above 12mph at all times on the bike, if you drop below it once – the record’s over.

So how did it feel, starting off on what would be almost 12 days of cycling non-stop??

There was a massive countdown, loads of adrenaline. I’d spent the last few days wondering what I was doing. You know, I’m not an athlete or anything. But in that moment on the start, there was just so much adrenaline. I was just like: “COME ON!!!”

Ha, so you went Hulk on it?!

Yeah. I went Hulk!

Tell me about a point in those 12 days when you thought about giving up?

I think it was around day 7, when this weird thing started happening. It turned to night outside, and I turned to a volunteer and said: “What’s going on? Why are in we in a different room?!” And they said: “No, no, Jamie – we’re in the same room.” And I kept insisting that they’d taken me into a different room.

From that point on, every time it turned from dark to light outside, my brain told me that I was in a different room. I think it was a coping mechanism that went on, I didn’t want my brain to do that, but it just did it.

The time when I really thought about giving up, was on day 8. When my bum started to bleed, blister and become infected. There were proper man-tears and everything. Because it was infected, everyone started to panic – so they got some NHS skin specialists to come and check it out. Check out my bum, that is. And everyone was worried that it might end the challenge, the state it was in back there.

So the nurses came in and took a photo of my bum, and then they showed me it! And I was like ‘why would you show me that?!’ It looked horrendous. At first they told me there was nothing they could do, and they advised me to get off the bike. They left, but I couldn’t stop – so I just carried on pedaling in total agony.

Then one of the volunteers suggested that Manuka honey was really good for healing things, so we ended up slapping Manuka honey on my bum, while I was cycling , and that started making it heal. It was magic, it got rid of the infection, and I kept on pedaling!

So you managed to break the World Record – how did that feel??

Ah it felt phenomenal!! Literally the whole of Gloucester turned out to see me, it was incredible. My family, my friends, everyone. They did a big countdown, and my dad had arranged for fireworks to be set off over the docks. And I remember saying in that moment ‘I think as humans, it’s possible you know - we can do anything!’ And I truly felt that. I really connected with it. And that stays with me until now.

So you broke the record, but is it right that you carried on cycling?

Yeah! I’d passed the 224 hour record, but I just carried on for another 44 more hours. I did think about getting off straight away, but I don’t know, I just thought – I’m fuelled with adrenaline now, I should just keep smashing it! 

And then eventually one of my friends, the sensible one, came over to me and said – “Jamie you are at place now where no man has been, and I think we should worry about your health, we don’t know what this is doing to you.” And he was right. If someone called my name, there would be a 6 second delay before I responded to look at them. My brain was in a right state.

So, sensibly it was decided I should get off the bike. And also, it was now a few days before Christmas, and all the volunteers and supporters needed to go and do their Christmas shopping! So I got off after 268 hours and 32 minutes.

Wow. That is impressive! Okay, last question. Do you think anyone can do what you did, break records, push themselves to the edge?

I think most people wouldn’t put themselves through something like that – the marathon cycle I mean, it’s a bit nuts. But I do think that if someone has an inkling to jump in at the deep end and have a crack, I think, in fact I know – that they’d really surprise themselves. We can go so much further than we think, all it needs is the decision to do it.

You can read more about Jamie and his story at www.jamiecdonald.org.

Jamie’s book: Adventureman: Anyone Can be a Superhero is available on Amazon.

And you can find Jamie on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

August 24, 2017 by Anna McNuff
Ride London Race Report

Ride London Race Report

It’s 4.15am when my alarm goes and I roll over and punch the snooze button. It’s a dangerous move, everyone knows that nothing good ever comes of the snooze button. Five minutes later the shrill of my selected ‘natural wake up’ tune pierces the air again. Where am I? What day is it?! I remember that it is Sunday, and I’m in my friend’s flat in Stoke Newington, North East London.

Today I am joining 25,000 others to ride on closed roads through the streets of London, into the narrow lanes of the Surrey hills and back again as part of the Prudential Ride London Classic. I am taking part as one of a team of four. Joining me are two guys - Greeno and Dan – who I have ridden with a few times, clinging on to their back wheels on the commute home. And then there’s my fellow female in arms – Keri. Keri bought shoes and clips just this week and took them out for a ‘test spin’ on Wednesday. We are underprepared to say the least. 

Of course, beyond our more ‘leisurely’ team there are several more professional Le Col’ers out on the course today. In fact everyone from Le Col HQ office is out there somewhere, and a few of them are starting at the head of the course, Yanto included.

Getting ready for Ride London with Team Le Col  

A TRAFFIC JAM OF A DIFFERENT KIND

Approaching Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford, I am far from alone. Riders funnel in from every side road like tributaries trickling into a river, until that’s all there is - one gigantic stream of people and bikes. Lights blinking, race numbers flapping on seat posts, nervous smiles and excited chatter against a backdrop of dawn light.

To see that many cyclists in one place, I couldn’t help but feel a little swell in my heart. As we near the park and the mass of riders slow, I realise that this is one traffic jam I don’t mind waiting in. 

I am in Black wave B, and so follow the signs to my appropriate colour area. There are morning hugs as I meet up with the rest of the team, more nervous smiles and a couple of confessions that some team members may have not entirely recovered from Friday night’s drinking escapades. Still we are all here - excited and ready to roll.

I note that some double standards seem to have been applied when it comes to health and safety in the start area. I look across to the baggage truck and note that the workers standing in the back of the trucks are secured in place with a harness around their waist. Hopes of being treated to an early morning performance of Cirque du Soleil are quickly dashed when I gather that the harnesses are there to prevent the baggage handlers from falling off the truck and onto the heads of the competitors as they reach for their bags.

Although I whole heartedly applaud the protection of said baggage handlers, organisers seem to have overlooked the fact that in order for the thousands of riders to get to the baggage truck, they must negotiate their way across a slippery concrete slope. Not something easily done in cleats, and undeniably entertaining to watch. Most opt to stay low to the ground, indulging in a little unexpected morning yoga, adopting a backwards crab-downward-dog-hybrid position to ensure they don’t risk injury so close to the start.

READY FOR THE OFF

By 6.15am my team and I are in our start pen. The rush to get here, the registration stress, the setting of five alarms, the last-minute bike checks – all now seems rather anti-climactic as we realise that we have over an hour until the starting gun.

We pass the time taking selfies and passing comment on one another’s kit. Dan has opted for a snugly fitting and well ventilated Pro Air Jersey, Greeno has gone for full Pro jersey and bibs attire and Keri and I are (much to our delight) sporting matching women’s Sport Jerseys.

After the obligatory ‘can you hold my bike while I pee?’ requests and various dashes to the salubrious porter-loos, we begin chatting to a 60-year-old woman who’s sporting a woollen jersey, leather mitts, tailored shoes and is riding a vintage bike with down-tube shifters. She has long silvery hair secured in a plait that runs down her back, and her blue eyes carry just a hint of mischief.

“Long ride today, eh? How are you feeling about it?” I ask her.

“Oh it’ll be okay.” She replies with a smile. “I did the Colossus last week. Have you heard of it?” All three of us shake our head (Dan’s gone for a pee at this point).

“It’s a 300 kilometre ride through the Yorkshire dales. You have 18 hours to make it round… I made it, just.” We stare back at her blank faced, all of our jaws hanging slightly lower to the floor.

At last,  we are just moments from the starter gun. Thanks to the startline MC we have endured blasts of Tina Turner, Rick Astley and a dash of ‘Highway to Hell’. We’ve even been asked to vote between Fat Boy Slim and The Beatles (how does one choose?!). Just as the MC has us all doing the YMCA, I’m starting to warm to him, but it’s too late – we’re off!

Startline selfies for Team Le Col at Ride London

FLATS AND FALLS IN THE FIRST 50

The start is frantic and everyone seems, for want of a better word, twitchy. Rider trains begin to form as people hop from one to the other, eager to get an early build-up of speed and conserve energy for the miles ahead.

I get a puncture one mile from the start (yes, one mile into a hundred-mile race!) and fumble to fix the damn thing on the central reservation just shy of the entrance to the Limehouse Link tunnel. I am surrounded by the noise of spinning rear cassettes, clunky gear changes, and catch snippets of conversation as other riders pass.

Back on the bike and back in the action, I zoom through central London. The novelty of riding carefree through Kensington is not lost on me and I am grinning for ear to ear. This has to be the cycling version of the Monaco Grand Prix, I think. Tight bends, weaving in between traffic islands, the pack splitting to take different courses across the roundabouts – it’s a sight to behold, and a joy to be in the middle of it.

Where I can, I hop on the back of those who have decided to form trains, clinging on for as long as possible before being dropped and picking up a new one. I zoom through Chiswick, then Richmond {ark, basking in the cheers of the supporters lining the barriers at the road edge, through Kingston (a quick wave from my mum and dad), onto Weybridge and out into Surrey, proper.

Yanto Barker at the starline of Ride London

YANTO BREAKS SOME COURSE RECORDS

After a second puncture at mile 30 (thanks for nothing puncture gods), I am sat on a grass verge at mile 45 just shy of Newland’s Corner, wrestling with my chain and bending my front derailleur back into position after a dodgy gear change. I am out of inner tubes and wondering whether the game is up, and so go as far as to consult Google Maps for the nearest train station.

As I check my phone, reports from the pro part of the Le Col HQ team begin to flood in. Yanto has long since finished by now. After leading the race, and breaking away from the peloton with one other rider, the puncture gods dealt him a blow on the descent of Leith Hill. The time lost to fixing the flat put him out of the running to challenge for an overall win, but didn’t stop him tearing around sections of the course in record times.

On Strava, Yanto managed to take one King of the Mountains and two course records. Against a backdrop of 30,154 attempts he claimed a King Of The Mountains on the 21.6 mile section between Newlands and Box Hill, including taking the record for the fastest descent down Newlands – in which he covered one mile in an eye watering 1 minute 35 seconds. And to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’, he claimed the Ride London Ripley segment course record – covering 19.8 miles at an average of 23.5 mph. 

Yanto Barker's Legs after Ride London 2017

I’m busy considering how on earth it’s possible to go that fast when, just then, another text comes through from a different Le Col HQ team member, James. James started alongside Yanto at the front of the race, but was now making friends with the ambulance service, after a crash at 26 miles per hour. Yikes.

It seems a sad fact of such a popular event that crashes are inevitable. And a few miles further on I get my own taste of it as a poor girl collides with the tarmac just in front of me. She’s in a bad way with what looks like a rather messed up collar bone and so I wait with her and others until a medic arrives.

CRASHES AND THE HILLS AT LAST 

Compared to the stops and starts of the first 50 miles - the second half is an absolute dream!! Thanks to the multiple hold ups, I have more energy than expected and  besides, I LOVE going uphill. The hills then come thick and fast – Abinger, followed by Leith… we are escorted by motorbike through the centre of Dorking, and the town crier yells out: ‘Welcome to Dorking!! Best Town in England. Enjoy Box Hill!” And enjoy it I did. Hailing from Kingston-Upon-Thames, Box is like an old friend, after all. I am flying up it (well, flying by my own standards, which is more like cruising to most).

Onto the flatter roads through Leatherhead, Esher and towards Kingston I go. The straight from Thames Ditton to Kingston alongside the Thames is like a TT course. The riders are spread out now so there’s space to cycle more freely.  I hunker down onto the drops, whack myself into a big gear and mash along the straight. I am teetering on the edge of going too hard and blowing myself up, but I can’t help it. I am in pedal-heaven.

The final evil climb up to Wimbledon Village approaches and there is a noticeable split in the pack. Those that still have the legs, and those that don’t. I fix my eyes on a lady in a Royal Air Force set of bibs who is still going strong and chase her to the top. The cheers of those spilling out of pubs onto the pavement spur us on. I spot a couple in the crowd I recognize – they seem as surprised to see me as I am them. They cheer. I cheer. On I go.

With six miles left, and coming out of Putney, I am delirious. Excited, riding high on adrenaline pulsing through my veins, but delirious nonetheless. I steam past a woman who I note is riding head to toe in Le Col clothing, and in my delirium decide not to filter what comes out of my mouth. I raise one hand aloft and shout “Yaaaayyy! Le Cooooollllllll’ at her as I pass. I don’t look back long enough to wait for her bemused response.

Keri at the finish line for Team Le Col

THE FINISH + PIZZA + BEER

At last the finish line comes. I thunder onto the trademark pink tarmac of The Mall and look up to see the '50 metres to go’ sign. I feel a swell of emotion amidst the crowds lining the barriers, and can’t help fall a little bit more in love with the entire human race, as I cross the line and pull on the breaks, just in front of Buckingham Palace.

Waiting in line with a sea of fellow finishers, most taking palace-selfies, or on the phone to their loved ones, I pick up messages from my immediate team mates. Greeno and Dan stormed it round in under 5 hours, and Keri absolutely nailed it on her first big ride in 5 hours 30. Everyone is finished, happy and in one piece.

After making my way to the Amstel hospitality area, inhaling some pizza and a pint of beer I begin dissecting the day’s riding with the rest of the team. I decide it’d be faster to cycle home than get on a train - so as I pedal slowly back through the streets of west London I reflect on a day that was part disaster, part pure joy and full-on urban adventure. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Beers at the finishline of Ride London with team Le Col

 

August 02, 2017 by Anna McNuff
Sir Les Ferdinand in his custom Le Col Kit, ready to ride form London to Amsterdam for Prostate Cancer UK

Sir Les Ferdinand on a Pedal-Pilgrimage to Amsterdam

Football legend Sir Les Ferdinand got suited n' booted in his custom Le Col QPR kit for a 145 mile ride to The Netherlands this weekend, and he wasn’t alone…

Football to Amsterdam is an annual event which sees a mass of football fans join their heroes for a pedal-pilgrimage from London to Amsterdam, raising funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK

Dubbed the 'biggest ride in football' and now in it’s fourth year, the event has become a roaring success, offering fans of the beautiful game and survivors of prostate cancer a chance to push themselves over 145 miles - a distance most have never taken on before.

Of his reasons for taking part in the ride, Sir Les said: “I’ve been in a privileged position as a footballer, coach and now Director of football, but I’m also a son and a father and want to be a role model outside the beautiful game. If men want to be macho, they shouldn’t walk away from problems; they should face it head on.”

This year, Sir Les was joined by fellow football superstars Terry Butcher, Viv Anderson, Alan Smith, Sean Davis and Simon Grayson, but the ride wasn’t about the famous faces - it was much more about the ordinary members of the peloton, who’d signed up to push themselves to their limit.

Like Laura Dear, who took part in the ride along with her dad Paul after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 60. Laura said: “If you’d asked me a year ago to get on a bike without an engine, I would have laughed at you.” 

After being inspired by her dad’s resilience in the face of the disease - Laura saddled up, joined Sir Les and the team and put herself through the mill too.

We couldn’t be prouder of everyone who took part this weekend - a shining example of what we already believe to be true: back yourself - you’re capable of more than you know.
Sky Marketing Director to join premium cycling brand Le Col

Sky Marketing Director to join premium cycling brand Le Col

Simon Creasey, a Director of Marketing at Sky, is joining premium cycling apparel brand Le Col as Chief Marketing Officer in February.  He will lead the ambitious sales and marketing growth plans for Le Col as it scales significantly to become a major player in the global cycling market.
February 01, 2017 by James Emery
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