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Team Wattbike: Our Preparations For Liege Bastogne Liege

This weekend, members of the Wattbike team will be taking part in the 158km Liege Bastogne Liege (LBL) sportive, ahead of the pro race on Sunday. We caught up with the following members of the team to find out how their preparations have been going. 

Steve E: 53, Finance Director 

Rich: 42, Commercial Director

Steve M: 35, UK Sales Manager

Kirstie: 24, Project Manager

Hannah: 32, Social Media Manager 

What is your motivation behind doing LBL?  

Steve E: I did it last year and vowed to come back this year fitter stronger and lighter. Sadly..... 

Rich: As the oldest classics race and the arguably the most challenging of the Ardenne classics it has always been on the 'must do list' with the rich race history and the historical value of the region

Steve M: 6 months ago, before I saw the profile, it sounded a great idea

Kirstie: I've recently seen the light and moved from rowing to cycling, so LBL is going to be a baptism of fire

Hannah: Still trying to work that out! 

How often do you typically ride? What kind of cyclist are you?  

Steve E: I am a Wattbike cyclist who ventures out onto the road usually when the sun shines

Rich: I try and ride 3-4 times a week?...classification: a get round rider

Steve M: Wattbike 2/3 a week, road bike for social rides and events

Kirstie: Road and I'm just starting out on the track

Hannah: Pretty regularly in the week but I’m no racing snake

Tell us one interesting fact about you we wouldn't know 

Steve E: Born in London claims to be Welsh

Rich: Recent Dad and multiple Ironman finisher 

Steve M: Speak French and Italian and used to teach it in school

Kirstie: I can hold my own in a keep-up challenge

Hannah: My first time riding with cleats I got a successful 10 metres before hitting the deck

What is the one rule you always adhere to when cycling?  

Steve E: Only when the sun is shining 

Rich: Mindfulness 

Steve M: Try to find someone bigger than me to ride behind (it's not easy when you are 6 foot 3)

Kirstie: Number 5

Hannah: Tuck your labels in 

Who is your biggest cycling inspiration and why?  

Steve E: It has to be Geraint Thomas...1) we both went to the Whitchurch High - elite sporting academy in Cardiff 2) He is Welsh 3) He manages to combine being a top professional with being a character 

Rich: Sean Kelly. A different area and one that didn't have 'specialist' as we know it today but his ability to win over any terrain and the tougher the conditions, the stronger he became. He also oozed class.?

Steve M: Jens Voigt, big character, awesome engine, ability to push himself very hard mentally and physically

Kirstie: Laura Trott, after watching her win the Omnium at the 2016 World Track Champs

Hannah: Nicole Cooke....a picture of her at the 2006 Commonwealth Games stay in my mind. She is stepping up to the podium against a five-strong Australian team to shake hands on their win, completely alone. To achieve what she did minus some of the support female athletes get today…you have to respect that. 

What are you most looking forward to on LBL? 

Steve E: Being surrounded by cyclists from all over Europe - there is a great atmosphere great camaraderie and the chance of bumping into several of the top cyclists

Rich: Cote de la Redoute

Steve M: Getting some miles in on the road and the atmosphere

Kirstie: The downhills!

Hannah: Chance to ride on a classic course with my teammies; an experience to remember 

Which climb you're most dreading and why? 

Steve E: The LBL climbs are all well documented - the ones I am fearing are all the climbs that are not documented which should be!

Rich: Cote de la Roche Aux Falcons...1.5km and averaging 9.9%...and after 100 miles of riding...

Steve M: There are climbs on this ride? I thought it was mostly flat?!

Kirstie: When the leg burn hits on the 20% of the Cote de la Redoute

Hannah: All of them …. (little legs!) 

How have you used the Wattbike during your preparations?  

Steve E: The Wattbike has been THE preparation. I have been following Eddie Fletcher, Wattbike’s sports scientist’s, training plan

Rich: I’ve been focusing on sustained sub-maximal efforts to improve my efficiency for those long climbs?

Steve M: A combination of steady sessions and interval-based ones across the week. I've been following the endurance sessions via the Wattbike Hub

Kirstie: I've been working on my pedaling technique, so I've been doing longer endurance sessions and trying to keep a consistent sausage. 

Hannah: Recently did an FTP test on the Wattbike so been getting used to training in my zones – it’s definitely paying off 

What else have you been doing to boost your training?  

Steve E: Beer

Rich: This year really has been a difficult one. It has simply been about balancing work, family, Wattbike training and nutrition. I am not where I would normally be but am strong enough to get around with a smile on my face (this could be mis-read as a grimace).

Steve M: A few runs to mix it up and a few Sufferfest videos

Kirstie: Cutting down on the cake

Hannah: Watching movies and eating cheese (recovery!) 

Tell us one really useful Wattbike session you'd recommend to prepare for challenges like LBL?

Rich:  20-min warm-up, 4 x 30-sec @ 2 x MMP, 30-sec recovery, 5-min easy

4 x 8-min at 85-80% FTP as:

Set 1 - 100rpm?

Set 2 - 90rpm

Set 3 - 80rpm

Set 4 - 70rpm

2-min rec between sets

10-min warm-down with 3 x 5-sec rev outs

Steve M: The descending pyramid speed session on the Wattbike Hub is great for a tough 40 min ride

Kirstie: 20' on 40' recovery x 10

Who do you think will be first to the bar at the end of the ride? 

Steve E: Me as long as someone is prepared to carry me there as I won’t be able to walk

Rich: hopefully me!?

Steve M: Steve Evans, he will make sure we rehydrate

Kirstie: It won't be me, unless I find a short cut 

Hannah: I’m fully expecting Kirstie to whip up a sprint for the beer line 

What 'must have' item are you packing in your case to help you get through LBL?

Steve E: A smile 

Rich: Precision Hydration?

Steve M: Snacks and lots of them, if you know me you'll know I need to constantly eat

Kirstie: Emergency Mars bars

Hannah: Overshoes. Potential snow forecast even for the pro race and cold feet are no fun

What are the few last words you will say on the start line to your fellow Wattbike team mates?  

Steve E: Wait for me at the first stop

Steve M: Courage mes braves!

Kirstie: 'Easy' pace Rich?

Hannah: Allez Allez Allez