Back in March, I spoke to Maff Felstead about his Team Shake ‘n’ Bake’s charity ride planned for September. Maff and the boys are setting off from Paris and covering over 500km across France, over the Alps (yes! the flipping ALPS!) and down into Geneva. As bike rides go, it’s a pretty impressive one, so I’m keen to know how the boys are getting on.
Ant: How’s the training going?
Maff: Training is going very well. I think we learnt a lot from our ride to Paris last year where we overtrained. This year, while we have been riding regularly, we haven’t done anywhere near as many sportives as last summer. We would have liked to do a few more hills but I think we are all fairly confident of conquering the Col.
Ant: Are you following a specific training plan?
Maff: Of a sort. Because of my hip problems, I’ve always felt that I lacked a bit of strength and it definitely felt like that on the Paris ride last year. This year I have been doing some cycling-specific strength training with the excellent Chris Walton to try and put that straight. It feels like it’s starting to pay off at the right time.
Ant: What sort of distance rides are you now doing?
Maff: Time permitting, we try to do a 60-mile ride on a weekend morning. We loosely agreed that – based on absolutely nothing scientific – 60 miles should be our minimum from the beginning of the year. A few of the team members also get out during the week for slightly shorter rides of 30-40 miles.
Ant: I noticed that you’d tackled the Wiggle No Excuses sportive across a frozen wasteland back in March. How did that go?
Maff: Ah, you mean the Wiggle Apocalypse sportive. Horrendous conditions. I was honestly expecting Tom Cruise or Will Smith to appear and start trying to save everyone. Half the course was flooded and closed off. Wind and rain stronger and harder than I have ever known. As much as cyclists like to exaggerate I can say, hand on heart, that the wind was so strong I got blown to a standstill and the rain was horizontal and felt like pins being stuck into your face. It took about four days for my body to reach a normal temperature again.
Ant: Did that put you off or have you tackled any other organised events?
Maff: It almost put me off even going outside! We have done a couple of charity events since, not what I would consider serious sportives, but they’ve been brilliantly organised and very nice courses. If I’m honest, with the weather being the way it’s been, we’ve taken it day by day and ridden when we can. Certainly up until March, April time most of my riding was done to a Sufferfest film in my shed.
Ant: Any injuries along the way?
Maff: Only my confidence! In the early stages of training, I was going uphill and was overtaken with some ease by a pheasant – and not content with that, the cheeky bugger stopped and waited for me to go past before doing exactly the same thing again! That one cut deep. Hopefully that will be the only injury we suffer.
Ant: Ha ha! I’m very glad to hear I’m not the only one to suffer being made to look appalling on hills, but I guess what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. [Been listening to Kelly Clarkson again, Ant? – Ed] Now how about the kit? Have you been tempted to indulge in some fancy new gear? What’s your favourite thing you’ve acquired, what would you not be without?
Maff: Oh God, I hope my wife doesn’t get to read this. My addiction to fancy gear is way out of control. The favourite item I bought this year was the Rapha Pro Team Jacket. Superb. Everything it says about it on the Rapha site is true. The item I would not be without would have to be my shoes. I was lucky enough to be given a pair of Specialized 74’s as a gift and they are the most comfortable shoes on the planet. I’d wear them on a night out if the cleats didn’t make dancing difficult.
Ant: How long is it until the off?
Maff: We depart for Paris on 8th September and the ride starts from underneath the Eiffel Tower on the 9th for four days. We will be blogging during the ride so if anyone wants to keep up with events they can do by going to the Shake ‘n’ Bake blog or by following us on Twitter on @L2PShakenBake.