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My name is Oliver, I’m 33 years old, and I’m almost five weeks into my challenge. I’m attempting to show that a rugby player can successfully transform into a cyclist in just six weeks, with the help of Windows 10.
To measure whether I’ve succeeded or not I’ll be taking on a 40-mile sportive in just a matter of days. It’s funny how I felt the end goal was so far off and now as I’m sat in my kit, typing this it’s dawning on me that the ride is almost here and I’m actually starting to feel like a cyclist.
I thought you had to be a whippet to get on a road bike, I thought you had to be super-serious to be accepted into the Lycra-clad gang and I never thought a rugby player would have become so obsessed with cycling in just six weeks. The interesting thing is that everyone has been so helpful and welcoming, not at all how I’d worried it may be.
Last time, those of you who have also been tracking my progress will know that I had the incredible opportunity to ride alongside pro rider Alex Dowsett. I must admit I was so nervous about falling off that I didn’t really get a chance to thank him for everything he taught me.
It’s not every day you get mentored by a Commonwealth champion who’s won a Grand Tour stage and I really didn’t want to be responsible for taking him out due to an impromptu speed (slow) wobble.
When the guys from Cycling Weekly called this week I didn’t know what to expect, as there have been a lot of surprises so far. I was invited along to the Blue Egg café again in Essex, Alex Dowsett’s favourite haunt for coffee, so I guessed we’d be heading out on the road for more training drills.
Instead, I got to put my feet up and drink tea while Alex answered questions from CW readers so there were no complaints from me this week.
Though I may look a tad antisocial in the video, I’m actually noting down his advice as I need all the help I can get at the moment. The Surface Pro 3 has been my go-to tool for every step of this challenge and it’s now a gold mine of articles, advice and notes from the best team of mentors I could have asked for.
One of the things Alex told me away from the cameras was about my ‘taper’. I’d heard this mentioned a lot and I didn’t fully appreciate exactly what I should be doing during my final week.
He explained that it was my no means a complete rest, if I didn’t want to go into the sportive feeling stale. Instead I’m to keep my legs ticking over and keep riding but at a much lighter volume and intensity on the whole.
Alex said that you can’t gain fitness in the last week but you can definitely self-sabotage, so I’m to eat well, sleep well and gently remind the legs what they need to do on the big day. He said I need to remain as relaxed as possible because I’ll waste energy and lose vital sleep ahead of the ride if I’m worked up.
Alex also said that he occasionally eats cake, so I’ll definitely be trying to emulate that key to success.
– Cyclists can be a welcoming bunch, don’t be too intimidated to find a club and get started. For those without the luxury of a team of mentors the British Cycling Club Finder is a great resource.
– A taper is exactly that, a taper down, not a complete break. Keep the legs ticking over so that they don’t get a shock on event day when you want them to get going again!
– Stay as relaxed as possible. Adrenaline can be good but not if you’re lying awake at night. Prepare as much as you can the night before rides so you’re not rushing about on the morning.
To find out more about how to upgrade to Windows 10 visit windows.com/10