The road to Ride London


This blog is written by Lisa Opie MBE, MOst, BSc hons who is raising funds for UK Youth by tackling Ride London this month. You can donate to her fundraising here

May bank holiday weekend; a tweet from a friend popped up and caught my attention. Caitlin, Creative Director of Art for Youth London (AFYL), was asking if any of her cycling friends would like to take up the challenge of cycling the Ride100 for UK Youth, a charity that is close to her heart and also supported by AFYL.

Well, it doesn’t take an ex pro squash player very long to accept a sporting challenge, so I grabbed the place and signed up within the hour. Next challenge was to raise funds and reach my sponsorship target for this fantastic charity. Friends and family were extremely generous and the target was hit within 10 days, this prompted me to adjust and raise my target from £550-£1000.

My training programme

So with 8.5 weeks to be ready for the 100-mile cycle, I started to organise my training programme. I have to admit that for the first week I thought that it was 100k and not 100 miles. Being a regular cyclist I was fairly comfortable with the 100k, but the longer distance of 160k was another story and would require serious training.

Being the principal osteopath and business owner at Osteopath West, I have been able to dedicate more of the time I usually set aside for admin & marketing to my training schedule. Another bonus is having generous colleagues at hand to grab for a treatment or massage when my legs are feeling tired and heavy.

Over the last 4 weeks I have split my training between:

  • Long endurance cycles of 80-100k with either Njinja cycling group, a couple of friends or a sporting event. A couple of weeks ago I completed the Magnificat 100k ride from Newbury with 360ft of climbing so that was a great ride to prepare for the Surrey Hills. This weekend, we tackled a 158k round trip from Kingston to Dame Kelly Holmes’ cycle café in Kent.
  • Watt bike classes at Njinja cycling studio once a week. These are intense 45-60 min classes focused on pedal technique, increasing speed, climbing strength and generally improving overall cycling performance. Followed by one of their ready-waiting recovery shakes!
  • Shorter road cycles of 30-50k, usually laps of Richmond Park. These rides are continuous and usually at a slightly higher pace than the longer rides, again to improve overall speed. Riding at a pace slightly out of our comfort zone increases our threshold to pain and ultimately our overall race performance (in theory)!
  • Swimming is a passion of mine; preferably open water. Years of playing squash can be hard on the body and swimming has been fantastic for my low back and general core strength and being non-weight bearing is a great activity to combine with any sport to reduce the chance of injury. Swimming after the tough watt bike class aids recovery by speeding up lactic acid removal so I try to build in 2 swim sessions of 2-2.5k a week too.

My advice

It is important to have long and short-term goals in life as this drives us to achieve. Goal setting for a professional sports person is a given and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience that feeling of striving towards a sporting goal again. Even more satisfying is that I am able to do this whilst supporting a charity that empowers young people, from all backgrounds, to build bright futures.

With less than 4 weeks to the start of the Prudential Ride 100 I have reached my sponsorship target for UK Youth. I would be thrilled if you could help me fundraise even more by making a small donation.

What’s next?

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