Five steps to nailing the hardest ride you've ever done

James Shrubsall goes in search of coaching advice for his bucket list mega-ride attempt

Cycling up a mountain in Spain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It seems that after several years of little more than bimbling around, and with serious back issues along the way, I've found myself staring down the barrel of what might be the hardest thing I've ever done on a bike.

Unfortunately, said purposeless bimbling has delivered me to my (very) late forties with fitness levels so low you'd need mining equipment to find them. FTP? More like FGS.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 


Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.


A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.