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
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