Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats

April 4, 2018 at 5:02
Posted by Rachael Woolston

It’s a famous rite of passage for any cyclist and adventure queen, riding from Lands End to John O’Groats. Here, Ingrid Kane details her incredible experience of riding  969 miles over nine days as part of Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2017 and proves that no matter how busy you are, it is possible to train if you train smart…

How it works

A couple of years ago I thought I would like a new challenge and cycling the length of the UK had always been on my bucket list. However, I struggled to work out how I would fit the event and training in with a busy job. Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB)  seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

The challenge: cycling 969 miles over 9 days

Logistics: luggage limited to 15kg, transferred from camp to camp by organisers

Accommodation: tents (no you don’t have to put them up and down, a kind team do that for you!). In 2017 there was a hotel option – none of that for me!

What you need to know: it’s a tough challenge, but you can do it with some preparation. Be prepared for all weathers – 2017 was the wettest (and muddiest) RAB to date.

What you need: a road bike – doesn’t need to be anything too fancy although you may well get bike envy once you start the ride!

The training

I entered RAB about a year before the start, catching the early bird entry fee and persuaded one of my crazy friends to join me. The organisers provide a detailed training programme, but I knew that with my work and busy life, I was not going to be able to fit in lots of cycling before the event or in the winter months, and so I decided to adapt my training and fit in multiple activities.

Coaches, Rachael, Amy at the Fitbitch camps in Lewes gave me the perfect kick start, and I also did weekly Pilates classes and started running, first within the bootcamp sessions and then with Girls Run the World. I even started back to hockey sessions to build my fitness! Cycling wise, I used  several sportives to help me build up the distances and once Spring arrived, I began cycling 10 hilly miles two and from work twice a week, which was invaluable. .

I work one in three weekends and so fitting long training rides in at the weekend was tricky but I did what I could, completing the fantastic Elfstedentocht cycle tour event in the Netherlands, the Dunwich Dynamo (cycling from London to Suffolk overnight) and the Ride 100 in London. By the time the start approached I had lost weight, felt much fitter and was looking forward to the event …but I was still VERY worried about my ability to cycle nine consecutive days of over 100 miles. Mental attitude is key, but I felt I had an advantage in being used to working longs hours on limited sleep!

The Start

Crossing the start line on a windy day in Lands End was amazing; suddenly all my anxieties disappeared as I started cycling with  approximately 700 people from all walks of life but it was a tough day – who knew Cornwall and Devon were so hilly?! We climbed over 6000 feet on that first day and boy did I sleep well. By the time I’d completed day two, I felt strong and confident that I’d complete the event, barring any accidents.  Mentally, I knew I would have to dig deep at times – most notably leaving Bath in  in torrential rain with water coming up out of drains and flowing uphill!


The Finish

Crossing the finish line was incredibly emotional, and I felt an unbelievable sense of achievement, but it was also rather sad. After nine days spent experiencing such highs and lows with people I met along the way,  so many people had to rush off to catch trains and planes. I’d definitely recommend arranging a hotel near the finish like I did so you get the opportunity to explore Orkney and let it all sink in. I ended up catching up with a friend I’d cycled with in Israel over 25 years previously. It was an amazing experience and I’d do it again like a shot!

The Highs

Experiencing the incredible country we live in on two wheels.

Making it 969 miles without walking any of the route.

The summit of Shap.

Completing the 126 miles from Hamilton to Fort William through spectacular Glen Coe

Meeting some inspiring people

Lulu’s food in camp

Camping, even in the mud!

Surviving with no mechanical issues and no punctures – still can’t quite believe that!

The Lows

Damp clothes, even after a night in the ‘drying’ room.

A couple of 4.30am starts.

The queue for the coffee van at pit stops!

What everyone always wants to know.

The Nitty Gritty

Food: the event is fully catered and the food was better than I could have imagined, with al dietary requirements are catered for. Lulu and her staff manage to provide food for around 900 (including all the logistics team) everyday from breakfast (porridge and fruit to a full English) to a choice of four main courses for supper. The bonus of an event like this is that you can eat as much as you like! During the day there are at least two pit stops – again plenty of food. Pork pies and Muller rice seemed particular favourites!

Facilities: a hot shower is available everyday courtesy of posh wash showers, along with toilets

Medical support: available at camp and en route each day, and every third night, you are allocate a physio session

Broom wagon: there is a cut off of about 12 hours each day. A bus picks up anyone who is struggling, with medical issues or drastic mechanical issues that the mechanics are unable to fix on the road.


If you would like to read more about Ingrid’s experience, you can read her blog here. She raised £3000 for the Stroke Association and Karuna

In July 2018, another Fitbitch is undertaking LEJOG, this time unaided and unsupported. If you’d like to join her on some of it, or simply come and do some of the training rides, join our free Fitbitch ride community here.




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March 30, 2018 at 6:30
Posted by Rachael Woolston

If you’re training for a running race, cycle event or triathlon, fitting in the necessary strength and conditioning is REALLY difficult. And so most people ignore it but you do so at your peril!

Strength and conditioning will not only IMPROVE your performance and could help make you faster, more importantly, it can help prevent injury and ensure you can carry on participating and doing the things  you love no matter what your age.

And even if you are NOT training for sport but want to get super fit and strong and lose weight but on half the time, then HIIT is your answer.

This 30 minute session incorporates interval style strength training, some with weights, some using body weight and we have time for a mobility/yoga warm down to help ensure you get your strength, aerobic and flexibility hit in one go.

Hiit SQUAD sessions are open to men and women. It is NOT suitable if you a new mum.

We meet by the cafe on The Level. Please bring a yoga mat if you have one.

Pay as you go online by booking before 7.30pm the night before, or book a class pass of 10, £80 or 5, £45 (to be used within 12 or 7 weeks of purchase).

SPECIAL OFFER HALF PRICE on a 10 class pass for new members if booked before midnight April 1st


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Rise & Shine

January 8, 2018 at 6:15
Posted by Rachael Woolston


EARLY BIRD CODE VALID MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 14. INPUT CODE R&S at checkout. Only valid with full six/four week course bookings.


Reset your fitness, health and well being with this four or five week course, three mornings per week. It will help you to detox and re-focus on the kind of fitness and healthy lifestyle choices that will make you feel fantastic.

Weight-loss is a given with this course, although that’s not our focus, it’s on making  you fitter, stronger, more flexible and confident about what you are capable of achieving.

All those who commit to the six and four week course will get an complimentary one on one assessment before and after the course, where we will discuss your goals and measure your body statistics so that you can see the difference from the beginning to the end. The course, as always, comes with our complimentary eating plans which have helped hundreds of women lose weight with our courses over the last eight years.

What you get with this course is personalised training in a group environment, all-female coaches who understand your body, your motivations and your goals, whatever age, life or fitness stage you are at right now.

We don’t do large, impersonal classes, we get to know you, what motivates you and just what you’re capable of achieving in fitness terms.

It’s likely that you will have spent the last two weeks in a food and drink coma, or at the least, taking care of everyone else in your family except yourself. So, why not give your mind, body and soul a little bit of the me time that  you deserve? Being fit and feeling healthy is not a luxury, it changes how you approach your life, work and relationships. If you feel good, life is much more straightforward!

So, why not devote this course to being about you? Get fit, lean, supple and calm with our courses that blend everything from body balancing strength work to boxing, Pilates style core work to serotonin soaring fitness games along with yoga sessions that work to help to destress and detox the body while boosting the parasympathetic nervous system.

Our courses are not just an exercise class – we offer you a supportive, fun journey that is as much behaviour changing as butt changing …although it does that too!

Here are your price options

EARLY BIRD CODE VALID UNILT MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 14. INPUT CODE RISE & SHINE at checkout. Only valid with full six or four week course bookings.

Five week course, £150 or £135 with 10% early bird discount code. This includes a one to one assessment and works out at £9 per session

Four week course, JAN 8TH – FEB 1ST , £140 or £126 with 10% early bird discount code. Same as above but works out at £10.50 per session.

8 single session drop ins, £100 to be used over the five weeks.

Coaches: Rachael & Tara



Rise & Shine Hove Recurring Payments
Time Slot

(no assessment or eating plan included)

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Fitbitch Challenges, Brighton & Hove Triathlon

September 11, 2016 at 8:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

As part of our year long list of community challenges, join us in training and entering the first triathlon in Brighton. You can do it solo or join one of our many relay teams. Yes, it’s a challenge if you have never done a triathlon but challenges are the things that help you grow! Read about the  Fitbitch Challenge community here 


We will also be holding cycle & run brick training and joining for open water swimming

Brighton and Hove Triathlon SuperSprint, Sprint, Relay or Olympic

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Fitbitch Challenges, Pells Pool Aqualathon

August 3, 2016 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Always fancied the idea of a triathlon but too scared of the bike bit? These great events at Pells Pool are the answer. A friendly outdoor swim and run and a short distance so you get to experience the thrill of a triathlon in a supportive environment without…well, the really hard bit! Part of our Fitbitch Challenges.


3rd August Tri It Aqualathon Pells Pool Lewes  (350m swim,3km run)


Join the Fitbitch Challenge Community 2016

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Race Review: Arundel Triathlon

June 26, 2016 at 12:04
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Taking on a fitness challenge, whatever this is for YOU personally is guaranteed to make you feel nervous, anxious and just a little bit sick. BUT it is the willingness to take on challenges, in all aspects of life, that helps change you. We’ve created an entire list of events that you can train with us and take part in this year at Fitbitch – find them HERE. But I don’t think it’s fair to challenge the Fitbitch community and not follow this maxim myself…



If someone had told me, even two months ago, that I’d be swimming up a river at 5.30am in the morning, I would have said they were mad. I was useless at swimming as a kid, spending weeks trying to get that stupid Bronze swimming badge at school, unable to pick up the rubber brick off the swimming pool floor. Remember that? Maybe you don’t if you’re not a child of the 1970s but you get the picture.

But at the beginning of the year, I started taking a Pool to Pier swimming course in Brighton, first doing lessons once a week in the pool and then going into the sea. My very first session, I swam 1.8km. Before that, I’d only ever thought myself capable of swimming 400m in any one go. Amazing what you can do if someone just tells you to do it.

Then in June I took on my first open water sprint triathlon in a reservoir, which meant swimming 750m. It was a revelation. Up until that point I’d only done 3 triathlons before (one per year!) in a swimming pool. Having to wait for hours to get into the water, then worrying about getting in the way of people wanting to swim faster always made it an anxious experience. Swimming in a reservoir however on a gorgeous sunny morning in June? What a difference.

Which is how I found myself signing up to an Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike ride, 10km run) just three weeks later, put on by Raw Energy Pursuits. Did I think I was capable of it? Frankly, no. I just signed up and figured that it would all work out. Worse comes to worse, I’d breast stroke my way to the finish of the swim. But then it’s quite easy to feel laid-back when pressing Pay on a computer screen. It was NOT how I felt as I stood on the riverbank at 5.15am in the morning, looking at a chocolate coloured river, strewn with seaweed and the bobbing yellow hats of the faster swimmers all ready for the off.

Far left of the picture, looking terrified with Fitbitch Cath front

Far left of the picture, looking terrified with Fitbitch Cath front

But then the beauty of a triathlon compared to a running race, is that it all starts very quickly so you don’t have time to get too terrified. In this situation it was faster than most race starts for the Arun river is fast flowing and we had to do an out and back, which meant doing it before the river picked up speed.  Into the water, which wasn’t too cold and then we were off, no big race guns or countdown. Big thumbs up for the race organisers who managed to pull this off seamlessly.

There was flailing arms, seaweed and a sky just tinged pink with the rising sun as I set off down the river. Growing up watching Jaws as a child, I’d always been terrified of things touching me in the water. I’m not sure what has changed but I felt really relaxed even as I swam through pockets of seaweed, had my feet touched by swimmers behind me and the bubbles of kicking feet in front of me. It was amazing. And I’m sure my relaxed state of mind was partly due to the number of kayakers who were on the river, looking out for all the swimmers.

Out of the water under 35 minutes, I was running to transition not quite able to believe I’d just swam in a river and more to the point, why had I not bloody done it before! The thing about challenges is sometimes, we can let them grow so big in our minds that we drop out and don’t step up to it. And yet nine times out of ten, it ends up being something that can be just that little bit life changing. That sounds like a big claim, I know, but achieve something that you think is totally beyond you and it leaves you thinking, ‘Well, what else can I achieve?’

As usual, I seemed to spend three times as long in transition as everyone else, trying to have a chat with the others shrugging off their wetsuits who were trying to be serious then it was off for a beautiful ride through lovely roads around West Sussex just outside of Arundel Castle. I’m pretty inept at taking on gels when I run, getting it all over my hands. It appears the same is true of doing it on a bike except that when you’re sitting down, it means you also get it all over your legs, and your hands. And of course, my handlebars.


Off the bike, I grabbed my running shoes and took off for a two lap, absolutely beautiful trail run through the countryside around Arundel Castle. My feet were frozen from being on the bike so it was a bit like running on wooden blocks. But by the second lap my feet started warming up and my right foot in particular felt strange. I pushed on, the sun shining as I ran up the trail and out onto the open green, running past a little chapel of the castle before running straight through town past the castle to the finish.

It was only on finishing the race that I was finally able to take my shoe off and discover that the carefully placed gel, put in my shoe so that I could grab it off the bike had actually slipped right into my shoe (I had wondered where it had gone!) and I’d run the entire 10km with a great big gel sachet by my big toe. Ouch!

ouch! Gel induced blood blister

ouch! Gel induced blood blister

The Arundel Triathlon is put on by Raw Energy Pursuits. Well organised, on time and a great race pack which included a t-shirt (a tech t-shirt may have been preferable but small gripe) and snack bar. No medal but they do organise a free breakfast bap from the riverside cafe. I’ve done events with this company before and they get the big thumbs up from me, particularly for the huge number of marshalls they have on the river, out on the bike course and on the run.

Fancy joining us for training for the Brighton & Hove triathlon in September? They offer distances as small as 25o metres as well as the opportunity to join a relay team if you only want to do one of the disciplines. We currently have around 20 women interested in taking part including lots looking for teams. If you’re interested, email

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HiiT for Runners

April 6, 2016 at 6:30
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Find your inner athlete

Conditioning for running for men and women

£10 drop in or £80 for 10 to be used within 8 weeks of purchase

One of the most essential elements of training for any runner is strength training. If your muscles are conditioned it helps you to avoid injury, and it will help you to feel stronger and become faster.

These 30 minute sessions are high intensity and designed specifically for runners – they will even help you lose weight too.


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Join our Dream Challenge Triathlon Team – starts May 2nd

April 4, 2015 at 3:31
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Want to join our FREE Dream Challenge triathlon training? Don’t worry, we’ll be a little more professional than this although actually we do quite like the idea of doing this on the side of the pool before our triathlon. It will certainly give everyone a giggle…


Throughout 2015, here at Fitbitch and Hiit Squad UK, we will be getting training groups together to enter events, ranging from triathlons to cycle sportives, trail races to mountain ascents and coast to coast challenges.

We will be helping to raise money for Martlett’s Hospice along the way, with the profits from the sale of special Dream Team t-shirts, although if you have your own charity fundraising aim, that’s fine too.

First up, is the Ardingly Triathlon on Sunday May 31st, where you can train for a super sprint, sprint or the Olympic distance.

Our team training is free, and will consist of four Saturday’s leading up to the event beginning on May 2nd. You can join us for all of the Saturday’s or drop in when you can.

The training is community-led, with some of the team that took part last year, helping to guide and lead some of the training along with Fitbitch coach, Rachael.

If you would like to train with us, simply register your interest HERE and you will receive our information pack in the next week.

If you would like to read our review of the event from last year, click here.

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May 30, 2014 at 6:29
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Fancy taking on a dream challenge, something that takes you out of your comfort zone but rewards you with new found fitness and confidence? Read about our dream challenge tri team who take on a sprint tri this Sunday and how YOU could become part of our next #dreamchallenge team



At the beginning of this year, three women, Bec, Lesley & Adreina, won free spaces at camp to transform their mind, body & spirit. Two had not done exercise in years and we’re in the obese range. This Sunday, all three take on their first triathlon.

It follows three weeks of FREE women only triathlon training, where a group of 18 women, over two thirds who have never done a triathlon before, trained for this Sunday’s sprint distance in Ardingely (500metre swim, 23kms bike ride, 5km run). We wish them a fantastic race. They don’t need luck. They’ve done all the training and are ready.

If you want to join our next #dreamchallenge team training for Stilettoes on Wheels or the Bacchus Half Marathon, keep your eyes on our Facebook page and blog.


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Cycle Challenge: Riding in a pack

July 18, 2013 at 6:50
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Being good at posing against a sunset does not make for good road biking skills

Just over five weeks ago, Fitbitch founder, Rachael Woolston was invited to take part in RideLondon, a 100mile road bike race from London to the Surrey Hills and back. She had never been on a road bike, used cleats or worn tight cycling lycra. She still hasn’t worn tight cycling lycra. Read her latest update on training…

After the relief of cycling 88miles a few weeks ago, I began to feel too comfortable. To the point that I haven’t spent any time on my (road) bike saddle since.  Now, I’m beginning to panic. The ride is in less than three weeks!

I’m not too worried about not being able to do the miles, or even the speed. But I am terrified of not being able to ride in a pack, having no experience of this and so I decided to seek help from Sussex cycling guru, Nick Miles, RPM90, Ultimate Cycling Tours.

What Nick doesn’t know about cycling isn’t worth knowing. He’s competed with clubs in Morzine, done cyclo-cross and once even cycled from London to the Alps with just three gears on a Pashley Guvnor  to raise money for charity.
But his response to my question about riding in a group has given me fear. Big time.
‘Once you feel the buzz of riding in an efficient group then you will further appreciate the masters at work in the professional peleton,’ he told me. ‘ They reach speeds of up to 65kph on the flat in a tight bunch riding into towns in the final kilometres of stage and one day races. ‘
Oh great. But as he says, they all started somewhere.
I’m just pretty sure it wasn’t by watching the fantastic French animated film, BelleVille Rendez-Vous.
But after getting these tips below  I’ve got ‘The Fear’. It can only be a good thing.  It is what got me out on my bike on my third session to ride 88 miles.
I’m just not sure how I find a cycle club willing to take me though. One friend suggested I just tag on to any group I see in tight lycra.
So, if you are out riding next week and suddenly see some mad woman, not in lycra trying to pedal up fast beind you, you may just want to start going a little bit faster.

Ride Smoothly

Think about your fellow groupies in your peleton. Keep a consistent speed even when you come to ride your turn on the front. Keep an eye on your computer to check the speed that the group is working at efficiently. If you stick it up another 5kph every time you come past with your chin down on the stem, you will end up as billy no mates with a split pack behind you. Game over

Simple hand signals

You are not going for an oscar in contemporary mime.  Point to holes and other wheel munching road furniture. A sweeping hand behind the back in the direction that you are about to move will let everyone know you are moving around parked cars, traffic islands and other cyclists. Signals left or right for turns at upcoming junctions and a good clear hand in the air if you are stopping for a junction or have had a mechanical and are slowing down.

Keep it tight

Sticking to that back wheel means super efficiency, but it takes trust, concentration and practice. If you can park another bike between you and the rider in front then your missing some vital drafting and recovery.

Avoid sudden Movements

Once you are comfortable with hugging the back wheel of the rider in front then you need to relax and ride with control. Avoid sudden braking, big swerves as you reach for your water bottle, quick changes of direction around road furniture and bad lines into corners. Try not to let your bike go backwards when you stand up out the saddle, you will probably get a bump from behind and the knock on effect could take down the riders behind.
With thanks to VirginActive


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