Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is a pro cycling team with a difference. They believe that #BicyclesChangeLives. Qhubeka is the reason why the teams 28 riders clip into their pedals, train and compete in some of the worlds toughest bicycle races. Every single rider, staff member, sponsor and friend of the team believe in making a difference through the power and love of cycling.

Team Principal Doug Ryder is the man with the vision that started the team’s mission, “To me Qhubeka means Hope. By receiving a bike I have a chance to a better life, a chance to realise my dreams. It gives me hope.”

What does Qhubeka mean to the riders?

South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg believes the team can make a real difference to children in Africa, “Qhubeka helps to change people’s lives. People that have been less fortunate than most of us. Children, for example, use the bicycles Qhubeka provides to get to school and, I think, education is something that can free people from poverty. In this regard we can have a big impact by racing to raise awareness for Qhubeka and to enable more people to #BicyclesChangeLivesreceive bicycles through the charity”

Tyler Farrar has been in the pro peloton for many years, and he knows how special this team is, “Qhubeka’s story is certainly a special one. It is pretty unique and makes a positive impact. For me as a professional athlete this is something rather rare to be associated with. It might seem to be only a small impact that one can make, but it is all worth it to get the message out every day and to raise awareness for the charity to get more people on bikes.”

Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings has been one of the key riders on the team. His TDF victory on Mandela day in 2015 was one of the wins that defined this team. His 5 finger salut when he crossed the finish line raised awareness in front of millions of spectators for the teams aim to fund 5.000 bicycles for children in Africa, “Qhubeka is about giving people a hand, it is about helping and supporting them to sort of fend for themselves. And that is pretty powerful, I think.”

What is Qhubeka?

Qhubeka is a Nguni word which means “to carry on”, “to progress” and “to move forward”. Qhubeka helps people move forward by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic work. Bicycles change lives by increasing the distance people can travel, reducing travel time and also influence where people can go.

The teams mission is important to all the partners and a major reason to support the team by providing them with the best possible tools and equipment to succeed. If you also want to #DoYourPart, then head to the Qhubeka website.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka ride to raisei-sZHRTdR-X3 cropped funds for people like Olwethu. She is 18 years old and lives in the Kayamandi informal settlement in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Before she had a bicycle, Olwethu had to walk about 3km per day between getting to and from school and collecting water for the household (one of her daily chores). Olwethu earned her bike from Qhubeka by achieving excellent marks in school despite trying obstacles that stand in her way.

Olwethu dreams of studying medicine, and now that she is able to get to school faster, more safely and more regularly, her dream is one step closer. After receiving her bicycle, she rode through the streets of Kayamandi near her home, crowds of children running behind, ringing the bike bell, and asking for rides themselves. Olwethu had just learned to ride her bike, but already she was beaming as she rode, talking about all of the places this bike will carry her.

She is also enjoying the freedom that cycling gives her, and is happy to share the bike with her siblings. The whole family is now enjoying increased mobility, thanks to one bicycle.

The need for bicycles in communities like Olwethu’s is great and you can help Team Dimension Data and Qhubeka to change more lives by making a donation to BicyclesChangeLives.

Edvald Boasson Hagen

Images: Stiehl Photography, Scott Mitchell

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10 Reasons to join a RIDE IT event in 2017

If you’re looking for a challenge or just need some extra motivation to get out on your bike in 2017 then here’s 10 reasons why you should check out the Evans Cycles RIDE IT series.

1. Explore new areas
RIDE IT events take place right across the country, so offers a great way for riders to explore some new regions with the knowledge you’ll be riding routes designed to take in the best cycling those areas have to offer. There are some real bucket list riding spots on the schedule that every cyclist should experience at least once; Such as the Yorkshire Moors, Brecon Beacons, Peak District, North Wales and South Downs to name a few.
2. Ride with others
Sometimes things are better together and that’s definitely true for cycling, whether it’s the friendly encouragement to get over that hill, the thrill of riding in a group or the wheel that brings you to the finish when your legs are tired, you’ll usually find some new RIDE IT friends along the way.
3. Try another cycling discipline
RIDE IT events feature a choice of road sportives, off road MTB rides and increasingly popular mixed terrain Sportive Cross rides aimed at those with cyclocross or adventure road bikes. If you only ever ride on the road or you’re a die-hard mountain biker that never ventures on to the tarmac you could be missing out on some of the fun so why not set yourself a goal to try something different in 2017?

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4. A day out with the family
At all the RIDE IT events kids under 16 can ride for free when accompanied by an adult so they’re a great way to get the family out on their bikes and enjoying a ride together. At many of the events there are fun route distances of around 15 miles that are ideal for novice and younger riders.
5. Set yourself a challenge
One question the RIDE IT team often get asked is “Am I good enough to take part”? With this in mind the event series is designed to cater for riders of all abilities. The events feature a range of route options which make it easy to find a challenge that’s suited to your ability whether you’re a novice or experienced rider. There’s everything from 15 mile fun rides and local rides from Evans Cycles stores rides right up to 100 mile plus epic challenges such as the King of The Downs.
6. Ride with an Olympic legend
Riders taking part in the HOY 100 sportive could find themselves riding alongside Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy. The ride is based in Cheshire and features a choice of 100km or 100 mile routes that offer a great mix of flat and fast lanes across the Cheshire Plains as well as some challenging climbs on the edge of the Peak District.
7. Be king for a day
For those looking for a real challenge then the King of The Downs is the flagship event of the RIDE IT series. It’s harder, longer and hillier than the rest, offering cyclists a chance to test their legs against some of the toughest hills in the South East. The 115 mile route has over 9,000 feet of ascent and takes in 10 iconic climbs that will be familiar to many cyclists with them having featured in events such as the 2012 Olympic road race route and the RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
8. Well stocked feed stations
Every cyclist knows a decent bit of cake can make a ride. The cherry loaf and lemon drizzle at the RIDE IT feed stops gets regular compliments from participants. As well as the cake the feed stops are supported by HIGH5 so there’s a selection of their sports nutrition products alongside a range of regular food on offer to fuel you to the end of your ride.
9. Mechanical back up should things go wrong
Hopefully your ride goes smoothly and you never need the services of the support van but it’s great to know that should you have a mechanical or your legs just decide they’ve really had enough then there’s someone to call on to come your aid. Often they’ll be able to fix mechanical issues at the road side so you can continue your ride but if not they’ll bring you and your bike back to the event centre.
10. Enter early for some HIGH5 freebies
The RIDE IT series is supported by HIGH5, not only are the feed stops well stocked with HIGH5 sports nutrition products, all riders who enter an event more than 8 weeks in advance can claim a free HIGH5 Bottle pack at the event.

For more information on any of the RIDE IT events visit – http://www.evanscycles.com/ride-it

To find out how you and a friend can win one of five pairs of free entries to an Evans RIDE IT of your choice, simply click here.

 

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winter running

How to survive the winter running

Keeping yourself motivated when the weather turns cold and dark is the hardest part about being a runner. Running can start to feel like a chore. A mental barrier appears with numerous excuses stopping you from lacing up and getting out the front door. If this is you, then you aren’t the only one! We all have these mental battles, however it’s how you deal with them that matters. Plan your day accordingly: plan what time you are going to run and stick to it! Write it down, meet a friend, tell your partner when you’re heading out. Being this disciplined will keep you training and motivated.

2Staying warm is key! Make sure you don’t have the “it’s too cold to run” excuse lined up. Base layers, thermal tights and a jacket will keep you warm and dry. Make sure you are seen when out running in the dark, so a head torch is a must as well as highly visible kit. Not only does it keep you safe but also saves you from unseen potholes and puddles of water that you’re likely to run through.

Having enough energy to run can be the difference between a ‘good run’ and a ‘bad run’. You don’t want to come home from work, having to then force yourself to get out of the door lacking energy, feeling hungry and tired. Snacking between main meals is crucial to maintaining blood sugar levels throughout the day. A HIGH5 Protein Hit (Peanut & Caramel, Cacao & Orange, Coconut, Lemon & Raspberry) mid-afternoon is a perfect pre-training snack. It provides a good balance of carbs to protein to ensure you have enough energy for your evening run. The flavours are delicious, removes the ‘hangry’ [hungry & angry!] feeling on your commute home and fills you up without feeling full.

Keeping yourself hydrated in the winter is just as important as it is in the summer. Dehydration can increase your risk of getting ill, catching colds and resulting in time off training. HIGH5 ZERO tablets are a great source of electrolytes. One tablet added to 500 or 750ml of water (try warm or boiling water in the winter!) reduces tiredness and fatigue allowing you to train better for longer.

Get a race in the diary! This will give you a purpose to your training during the winter. Have a countdown, choose one of our online training plans and set yourself a goal. Planning, preparation, keeping warm and energised are the main factors to surviving training throughout the winter. Running is hobby, make time for it and remember to enjoy it!

Tips to take awaywarmzero
  • Stay warm and dryn’t ofrlet people know about your running plans, they will help to motivate you
  • Keep your energy levels up
  • Stay hydrated

Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a pair of Saucony Guide 10’s and a HIGH5 nutrition pack. Click Here to enter.

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Improve your swim performance

For most athletes, the swim can often be the least trained and most disliked discpline of a triathlon. With this in mind we recently spoke to #HIGH5fuelled Matt Trautman to get his advice on how to improve the swim section of your next triathlon.

hever_2016-4As a triathlete, squeezing in three different disciplines whilst juggling work and family commitments means you have to be very smart in how you allocate your training time. While the swim may be the shortest discipline and most people’s least enjoyable part of a triathlon, it is critical that you have enough swim fitness so that the rest of your race isn’t ruined before it really begins. Ensuring you aren’t overly fatigued when you leave the water will make a massive difference in being able to ride and run to your full potential.

For age group triathletes, the water temperature needs to be above 24°C before it becomes a wetsuit illegal swim. It means there is a pretty high chance you are going to be donning your neoprene come race day, and im_2in the tropical climates with warm water temperatures the swim is more often than in the sea. The wonderful thing about a wetsuit or swimming in salt water is that you are more buoyant, meaning you don’t have to kick as much so you can preserve your legs for the all important bike and run sections.

So how do we enhance our swimming? Quite simply you need to spend as much time as possible practicing and swimming your race stroke. This may seem obvious, but you still see numerous age group triathletes who are only able to swim 2-3 times a week spending half of their session doing kick sets or working on drills trying to get a ‘feel’ for the water.

A strong leg kick is not a top priority in a wetsuit legal swim. It gives you minimal propulsion and also fatigues those valuable leg muscles before the bike/run has started. Swimming as fast as possible with as little use of the legs should be a priority as a triathlete, especially over the longer distances.  Besides there being a very small chance of getting a good ‘feel’ for water, triathlons are not raced in a pool. Open water swims will be choppy if not from wind and waves then definitely from the hundreds of other competitors around you. Any chance of feeling the water and swimming smooth goes straight out the window.

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Building upper body strength and resilience to complete a long distance swim comfortably, takes time and consistency in the pool. In order to put in the necessary mileage in the pool without getting overly fatigued, there are numerous swim aids you can use. The most important for a triathlete being the pull buoy followed by hand paddles. A pull buoy helps you focus on your stoke without the added stress of trying to stay afloat. It also mimics the body position you’ll have when wearing a wetsuit or even in a salt water swim and minimizes the propulsion you get from your leg kick.castle_series_howard-87

If you are new to swimming or even if you are a very experienced triathlete, doing the majority of your swim workouts with a pull buoy in place is not a problem. If it makes your swimming more enjoyable and means you’re spending more time in the pool, then even better!

There are numerous beneficial swim workouts you can do. If you don’t have a coach, then check out some of the hundreds of sessions that can be found online. The main thing is finding consistency and a swim rhythm that is going to propel you to a comfortable and hopefully fast swim time.

Mixing up aerobic swim sets with anaerobic (sprints) and strength (paddles) work during the week, or even within a session, will be beneficial and stop you from plateauing.

Here is a simple aerobic swim set that will help develop your pace awareness.

Warm Up: im_1-cropped
  • 8 x 25m (3 easy / 1 fast, 3 easy / 1 fast)
  • 6 x 25m (2 easy / 1 fast, 2 easy / 1 fast)
  • 4 x 25m (1 easy / 1 fast)
  • 2 x 25m (both fast)

10 second rest between each 25m, Pull Buoy optional

Main Set:
  • 2 x 400m paddles/pullbuoy. 70% effort
  • 4 x 200m pullbuoy only. 80% effort
  • 8 x 100 pullbuoy or swim only. All out effort but maintainable for all 8 reps

20 seconds rest for each set

Cool Down:
  • 1 x 200 easy

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winter nutrition

Winter Training Blog – Part 1

Winter offers a great opportunity to spice up your training and to try new sessions. We asked our friends at Andy Cook Cycling how to keep yourself riding through those cold winter months.

  1. Try riding your usual routes the other way round for a change and to add variety.
  2. Devise some small road circuits for use in the winter months, around 6-8 miles long. This means you are never too far from home should the weather turn or you run out of energy. Time yourself and try to beat it on the following lap!
  3. Commuting to work on a bike is a great way to utilise your travelling time and will keep your fitness ticking over.
  4. Keep motivated by looking back on your season and evaluate what you have achieved. Then look ahead to next season. Identify your goals and plan accordingly. Think about the events you want to enter.
  5. Join a club or go out with a group of like-minded friends. You’re more likely to get out of bed if you’ve arranged a meeting time and point. Riding in a group with the inevitable banter and competitive edge will make the miles more enjoyable and the hours pass far quicker. Other benefits include the fact that you’ll always have someone with you should you run into trouble to give a helping hand with mechanical issues. Sprint up the hills and then regroup at the top. Joining a club is also a great way to learn from experienced cyclists. You will learn the etiquette and skills of group riding. This will help at your next events.
  6. If you like to use events to keep you focused and motivated, try some winter sportives, reliability trials or Audax events.

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If you don’t get the chance to ride during daylight, it can be daunting to ride in the dark but there are still options to stay on the bike:

  1. Try some of your local industrial estates. They are usually well-lit and traffic-free in the evenings: great for an hour’s tempo ride or intervals. It’s also a good opportunity to perfect cornering/gearing technique. Sprinting out of corners on a short 1 km circuit is great interval training.
  2. Try the Velodrome (if you live near a velodrome – there are more and more popping up around the country), they often have winter track leagues or sessions on during the evenings. It’s a great way of completing a good session in the warm and dry.
  3. Outdoor velodromes or cycling circuits often put on training sessions during the winter months. A great way to get some riding in on traffic free roads!
  4. Hit the turbo. High intensity interval sessions are very effective for maintaining and improving your fitness without needing to spend hours on the bike.

There are a lot of tips and tricks to keep you riding throughout the winter. It is after all the best opportunity to improve on areas of weakness and test out that new bike you want for Christmas.

In part 2 of the winter training series of blogs we will delve into some great turbo sessions for those days that you just to want to stay indoors.

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Tips on becoming a better mountain biker

Looking to improve your off road skills? We asked Jurgens Uys of Kargo Pro MTB team for his tips on the best way to quickly develop the techniques you are going to need to light up the trails.

 Technical single track ridingckb83ilxiaqkpg8

  •  Ride with people or friends that are faster and more technical than you, this will help you to explore your limits and ride outside your own comfort zone. Push your boundaries.
  • A good technique is to stick on the wheel of someone you know to be faster than you and try to hold on for as long as you possibly can. This technique will really help to make you fast on the single tracks and will increase your skill level quickly. This will also teach you how to take better lines and when to break and when to just let go and ride fast.
  • For those times when you don’t have friends to ride with regularly, use Strava and go ride down a technical single track. Create your own single track segment and repeat it a few times over, each time pushing yourself to beat your previous time. This is one of the best ways to test yourself. Remember to save and record all your data to see if you are improving or not.

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Endurance Tips and strength

  • If it is not base training season don’t waste time doing very long rides, you will find that doing this just tires you out and makes you a bit slower on the explosive side of racing.
  • Make sure you do your intervals properly and give them your all. It’s important to ensure you recover fully after these tough sessions. Drink HIGH5 Protein Recovery as soon as possible after your workout and take a rest day afterwards. You can’t build on your fitness if your body has not recovered completely.
  • Get on your mountain bike every now and then and simulate your race pace. Try doing some time trails, go as fast as possible but sustain effort as you would in a race to make sure you reach the finish line. Your body needs to get use to riding the fast pace for longer durations, while really pushing your limits.
  • Work on your weaknesses! If you are not good up hills then spend more hours on the hills. If your downhill skills need more attention, then you need to head out and ride the downhills and push yourself further each time. Remember to vary your downhill training to include fast cornering, technical sections and smooth fast sections. Speed is your friend and momentum is key.
  • To be a great mountain biker you need to be an all-rounder. Aim to excel in every aspect of mountain biking: up hills, downhills, flats and technical riding are all important facets in the sport and each facet should be trained individually as well as together.14482270_316138165437313_2143478191564521472_n1
General Tips
  • Write down your dreams and goals. Stick them up and remind yourself of them daily.
  • Always stick to your training program, don’t skip due to bad weather. Go out in the cold and wet because it will make your appreciate the good days.
  • Remember it is important to look after your own health and body, but make sure you look after your equipment as well. If you look after your bike it will look after you.

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Training Gym Winter Motivation

Winter Gym Training

It can sometimes be hard to find the time to get to the gym. At this time of year when the nights start drawing in, it can feel like you have even less time to get your important training sessions in. We recently caught up with Rasmus Kostner of SAP Extreme Sailing to discuss the importance of finding the time for the gym in the winter months.

sap-extreme_tristan-stedman_ts22766In an outdoor sport like sailing, the frigid temperatures and limited sunlight of the Nordic winter naturally restricts our on-water training. After a long season with an extremely busy racing schedule, it feels great to get back into a structured gym regime. Getting back in to the gym helps to gain back some of the lost muscle mass that is so hard to maintain while racing every second or third week. Time spent in the gym also plays an important role in the avoidance of common injuries to shoulder and lower back when the next season starts.

For me, daily training consists of weight training, crossfit workouts, as well as core and mobility sessions. The weight training targets the muscle mass increase; with heavy deadlift, squat, clean, push press and pull ups. I always start my training with a plan, but often mix it up by including a one repetition max, or as many repetitions as possible with a fixed weight.

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The benefits of constant variation in my physical training have become more and more obvious for me. For general fitness, it’s hard to beat crossfit training in terms of variation and for challenging weak areas. Training for the diverse physical demands of high-performance sailing, such as fast, unbalanced movements, heavy pulls and cardio-intensive grinding on the winch, crossfit is a near perfect fit. We find that by doing these workouts as a team, we really are able to push and motivate each other, which is a key to high intensity and quality in the workouts. Since everybody has a favourite workout, whether you are tall, heavy or lean there is always someone pushing you. At the same time you know if you do well one day, you might get beaten the next.

At Crossfit Kvadraturensap-extreme_tristan-stedman_ts18621 we use a web-based performance platform called “Beyond the Whiteboard”, there you can analyse and compare your own performance to thousands of athletes from around the world. It’s great how technology can not only help to keep track of the progress you make, but to help you to stay motivated and push harder.

For mobility training I do the daily routine from the streaming service, ROMWOD. To get through the uncomfortable 20 minutes of stretching I need instructions and motivating words. After intense physical training and to get rid of muscle soreness I use a foam roller and a dimple ball, which works wonders. Besides that I just make sure I get enough sleep and eat healthily.

In the winter season I stay hydrated with the HIGH5 ZERO tabs because I believe it is important to consume electrolytes without boosting the insulin levels with sugar. After my training sessions, and in the morning I use Protein Recovery to make sure I have the energy for my next work out and help with the growth of lean muscle.

Tips to take away1603-sap-extreme-high5-24313_1

  • Mix up repetitions and weight
  • Challenge your week areas
  • Workout with someone and keep pushing each other
  • Get enough sleep and eat healthy

For a chance to win a winter training nutrition bundle worth over £300, check out our latest competition here.

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