When Polar sent one of their new Polar M430 watches to Ribble HQ, boasting all new technology including wrist based heart rate, connectivity software and app improvements we wanted to put it straight in to testing. Read Joe’s review…
COME AND SEE RIBBLE AT THE NEC CYCLE SHOW AND SAVE 10% ON YOUR TICKETS
Over the last year the Ribble range has been evolving and expanding, we have won awards and received praise from our customers for our exciting bikes and kit.
The annual NEC Cycle Show in Birmingham is one of the occasions where you can touch, feel and admire our complete range and meet and talk to the people behind our bikes, clothing and accessories.
This September at the NEC there will be exclusive first looks of new Ribble bikes and one of the first opportunities to see our new clothing and accessories ranges in the flesh.
Because we want Ribble customers old and new to be part of this we have negotiated discounted tickets with the Cycle Show. You can save 10% on ticket prices using our discount code (RIBBLE) if you book before Thursday 21st September.
We enjoyed meeting you all on the stand twelve months ago, we’ll be in our usual prominent position, and look forward to showing you our exciting new product ranges.
How to save 10% off your ticket(s)
To book your tickets: Click here
Use Discount Code: RIBBLE
Book before: Thursday 21st September 2017
Don’t forget you can also see the Ribble range at our two showrooms in Bamber Bridge, Preston and the Mailbox in Birmingham.
By Jamie Fox
Recently people have asked me “Why did you take up cycling?”
My simple answer would be “for my health”, but let me explain further.
In 2014 I was having a really bad year health wise, the worst I’ve ever had in fact. I’d been in hospital three times and been off sick for nearly a month at a time for every visit plus multiple days off because I simply couldn’t do anything.
I had caught MRSA of the lungs and another bug (the name escapes me at the moment) and just couldn’t shift it or get it under control. The Cystic Fibrosis (CF) that I was diagnosed with at six-months-old was winning.
Another big factor that year was that I was finishing Gene Therapy Trials which I now believe is the reason my lung function had held on for so long because the drugs were helping to my lungs and keep me healthy. In 2013 my lung function had been around 75-80% and gene therapy was doing a really good job, but not long after I had finished the trials I was starting to get sick a lot and my lung function was dropping like a stone and infections were feasting on my lungs like an all you can eat buffet.
By the end of 2014 I was back in hospital for the third time looking for help, looking for answers and getting frustrated with the whole situation. I needed to try to stop my health declining, in hospital I couldn’t breathe and had to be put onto oxygen.
How cycling played its part
I had never felt so ill, so scared and so down mentally let alone physically, this was all new to me. I knew everybody who has CF is different and everybody’s fight is different but this was my first time experiencing this and I was out of my depth thinking I could handle it. I didn’t cope at all, it’s most likely taken me until this year and it was committing to a cycling challenge that played an important part.
It was the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 Ride that got me started in 2015 and this year I want up my game even further to tackle an Olympic distance triathlon with the help of Ribble.
During that lowest point three years ago, I sat with the doctor and said, “Once this admission is done I’m going to go away and assess things. I’m going to prove you wrong that this isn’t going to carry on and that I can help my health and my diabetes, if there’s no more that you can do, I want a go at trying something different”. I appreciated that the doctors were trying to help but I think my mindset was that “I’m going to take things into my own hands and I feel this is something I need to do, if the drugs can’t help then let me find out if I can do something”.
But what would I try?!
I had been looking into big, physical challenges where I could maybe try and see if that helped my health. I’d thought about the London marathon but, I didn’t think I could cope with running that distance with my weak left leg. What about a shorter distance? What about walking up a mountain like Kilimanjaro? I had been wanting to go there for a while but I had to be realistic. With 50% lung function walking up a mountain with the lack of air becoming more and more apparent – I wasn’t sure. What could I do?
I could cycle? I could do that. I liked cycling and I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted and it wouldn’t put too much pressure on me (well so I thought, how wrong I was!)
SO cycling it was. It had to be something big, something I would remember forever and know that I had done it starting from nothing. It had to be something I could say to the doctors “See I did it. Two fingers to your complacency”. I was trawling the internet and came across something that caught my eye.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100
I came across this ride in simple terms its 100 miles on closed roads through beautiful London and surrey countryside taking in the sights of world famous London. I mean 100 miles is big enough for the challenge to be big, catch people’s attention and maybe few a few pennies for the CF Trust. But firstly I needed a bike.
I was fortunate enough that my partner at the time offered to buy me a bike for my birthday (thank you) in November 2014. It wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t a carbon fibre, ‘go fast’ bike, but it was mine. My bike that I hoped would pedal me to great things. I had no idea how far it would take me and what challenges I would achieve, but I loved this bike from the first day I picked it up.
Starting to ride and falling in love with cycling
I went for my first bike ride a few days later (the picture above is me after my first ride) and it shocked me. I managed a measly six miles, just six miles and I was beat exhausted and my lungs hated me, but I had the bug, I knew I wanted to do this. I fell in love with cycling straight away, Lycra isn’t a fashion statement but knowing your dressed in it sort of gives me a sense of pride because I know I want to achieve something whilst dressed in my cycling gear. Over time I put my training gear on and I know I’m doing it for a purpose, to stay fit, to show others what’s possible and to help the CF trust and hopefully the money raised with help of you lovely people has helped made a difference to others in some way no matter how small.
That day I signed up to the RideLondon-Surrey 100 with the CF Trust and the rest as they say is history.
Since January 2015 I have cycled about 7000 miles and I’ve completed:
- RideLondon-Surrey 100 Bike Ride 2015
- KM Bike Big Ride 50km 2016
- London To Brighton 55 mile bike ride 2016
And I’ve managed to raise around £3,500.00 for the CF trust along the way.
Reaping the benefits
Since I started training at the end of 2014 my hospital fortunes and health have stabilised. I wouldn’t say its improved as such as my lung function hasn’t improved since 2015 but it has most certainly slowed down in its declined and stabilised at around 50 to 55% for the last two and a half years. I am the fittest I’ve ever been even with my lung function and I’m still smiling look ahead to the future and what other challenges I can take on. I won’t lie, it’s been bleeding hard there been days still when I’ve not been able to do anything and my CF has affected me even on good days, but I feel better mentally knowing I’d rather be in pain training than be in pain in hospital or coughing. All the miles, pain, tears and falls have all been worth it.
Since 2015 my hospital visits have decreased massively with two admissions in January 2015 and September 2015. And that is the last time I was admitted to hospital for IV Treatment it’s been 21 months since I had a stay in hospital. It’s not been easy I’ve pushed myself like mad, I’ve still been really sick at times and I’ve still had infections and other problems and bugs have taken their toll on me at time and I’ve swallowed a lot of tablets to fend off sickness but I haven’t had to stay in hospital.
Positive effects of training
All the training has also had a positive effect on my diabetes. I now have much lower levels which I’m still working on to improve and I’ve got it under control and by having a good diabetes control it helps my chest and reduce infections because infections feed off sugar and can turn in to a vicious cycle of problems.
And now you know why I took up cycling, that’s the long and short answer but without deciding to get on two wheels and put my feet on the pedals I have no doubt I would be in that terrible place I had feared two years ago getting more and more used to hospital beds and going insane because I just wouldn’t cope. Thanks to cycling and maybe my stubbornness to prove people wrong, I’m here talking walking and still breathing through my lungs without any further grief.
And what next in 2017?
It had to be another big challenge. I felt it had to be a triathlon, an Olympic distance to be exact. On the 24th September 2017 I’m taking part in the Hever Castle Olympic distance Triathlon to in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust:
1500m swim + 40km bike ride + 10km run
One after the other, all in one go.
Thank you Ribble
I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to Ribble Cycles, I wrote to them this year asking if they could help me at all in lending me a bike and they went above and beyond what I expected. They kindly offered to give me a new bike to help me complete this challenge and my future challenges that I want to take on. The day I visited their new shop in the Birmingham Mailbox was amazing. They are all so lovely, so supportive and couldn’t be any nicer. Their offer of support will never go unappreciated, they have inspired me to keep pushing and wanting to achieve more. Without their help I could never have got a bike like this. So thank you thank you thank you to everyone at Ribble. You are all amazing for helping me and supporting me on this journey and I will forever be in your debt.
Triathlon training commences
I started training in in about October last year nothing too serious, the odd ride, the odd run but I didn’t start swimming until January this year and that’s when I started really upping my training and thinking seriously about attempting a Triathlon. I knew this would be big. The biggest challenge I’ve ever attempted. Hardest thing I’ve ever wanted to finish and the pain and training hasn’t disappointed in challenging me and making me doubt myself that’s for sure.
Training for this has been a whole different world to just biking and it’s getting harder every day. I’m swimming twice a week running twice a week and cycling twice a week plus doing short exercise at home. And not small distances either. I’m now swimming two to three miles every week, cycling 50 miles per week and running about 10km a week at present, I know that may not sound like a lot but I’m still learning still improving and still increasing my distances.
First a Sprint Triathlon
And so far I have managed to complete a sprint Triathlon in April as a practice run but that is nothing compared to the big one and I learnt a lot from that, mostly how hard and painful it is and that was only 250m swim 10 mile bike ride and 3 mile run. That is nothing compared to what I want to attempt.
I now have approximately a dozen weeks to keep training improving and hopefully dodging hospital until the big day. It’s already tough but I’ll write again soon about training progress.
What’s pushing me through this training is my health, my stubbornness and wanting to raise awareness and funds for the CF Trust. This is what inspires me to keep pushing.
These guys deserve a huge thank you for everything they have done for me and I hope to be able to return their generosity one day.
Team Ribble sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll looks back on her 2016 and forward to her new tri season which begins on Gran Canaria on March 26th.
My last race of 2016 was in October and finishing racing that late made for a very long season, yet it was my first ever full season without injury or illness. I got to the end of a season absolutely whacked purely because I completed the season from start to finish. It was the first time I have ever felt like a proper triathlete!! Tick that box off!! Yahoo!
A one mile swim in a cold, but fresh, Ullswater (13 degrees)… a 36 mile (1,489ft of ascent) ride involving a 4.5km category 1 climb up ‘The Struggle’ (which averages 8% gradient and maxes at 20% in places)… followed by a 9 mile (3,118ft of ascent) run to the top of Helvellyn and back down… Those are the three reasons this is deemed as one of the toughest triathlons in the world.
Brutal ride leg
The ride leg alone is so tough that it was described as ‘brutal’ by some of the Tour of Britain riders who followed us up the next day on stage two of the pro race.
As someone who loves a challenge this race was right up my street. I have to admit though that my training for this race had not been my specific focus for the season, my main focus was the middle distance, and to try and go under 5 hours at the Monster Middle a couple of weeks before.
However, there was no way I could pass on this challenge especially as it was on my birthday. I was confident that the strength gained from the middle distance training would get me through the race and if all went well would hopefully see me make the podium!
OK, so on race day my plan was simply to attack the swim, attack the bike and then hit the run as hard as I could. Due to the lack of ‘fell’ specific training I knew that I could not purely rely on my run, although this is often my best discipline.
Ready, Steady, Go!
The water was cold, but fresh and I was excited to get going – I had panicked at a race a month before where I had a disaster of a swim and I was determined not to let these demons get to me – I aimed to start hard and fast. We turned at the first buoy and I could see that I was mid pack and working through the sea of bodies and green hats. I breathed to my left and I could see that there was another female swimmer, so my aim was to not let her go and to try and get out in front. As we hit the final turning buoy to the finish I put in a spurt and managed to grab a few precious seconds getting out the water as 3rd female overall.
Out of T1 the aim was to get my head down and push hard and never look back as we headed towards the famous ‘Struggle’ which takes you to the top of Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside. Although most of the bike route was TT/Tri bike-friendly I had decided to race on my trusty Ribble R872 as I felt this would give me a greater advantage whilst climbing.
The R872 sure didn’t disappoint, this bike really works with you and certainly holds its own when you really want to pick up the pace. Now I’m not going to say it made climbing up ‘The Struggle’ a breeze, but it certainly made easier work than if I had used my triathlon bike. Climbing can be quite awkward and harder on the legs and I needed every ounce of energy I could save ready to tackle the nine mile run up and down the mountain of Helvellyn.
It was only when I got the top of ‘The Struggle’ with its Tour de France type atmosphere – the support was simply epic and electrifying – that I got information from the crowd that I was the leading female and that there was no one else in sight. That was a very nice surprise as I had still thought I was in third and it gave me a confidence boost as I cautiously descended Kirkstone Pass (not taking any risks) and then pushed hard as the road flattened out to T2 thinking of every second!
Heading into the Helvellyn run…
Trail shoes on and a quick drink and I was ready to hit the run into the unknown world of how I would fare on the fells and not feeling quite as confident as I usually am when I get to the run stage. As I hit the steep ascent towards the ‘hole in the wall’, thoughts started creeping into my head… saying that I was going to be caught and that I would not make It to the top.
At this point I was briskly walking with no response from the legs to try to run, but as I hit the flatter section towards the summit I was able to get my legs moving and I soon found my running rhythm. I then gained a further boost of confidence when I saw my dad just before the final ascent and he informed me that I was still clear of the second placed woman. From this point I knew I had to make it to the top and then give it everything I had down to the finish.
The final ascent is up Swirral Edge which requires the skills of a rock climber more than a runner, but this all added to the fun and the challenge of the race. Finally pulling up with my hands I was relieved to reach the summit and from here I knew it was game on and time to attack the final descent and run into the finish. Pushing hard and back into my running rhythm, the negative thoughts of the ascent had well and truly disappeared and I was now starting to enjoy the moment! I ran towards the finish and even managed to muster up the energy to put in a little sprint finish.
Lifted by the cheers of the crowd I could not help but have a great big smile on my face as I crossed the finish line. I was so relieved to have beaten this gruelling challenge – with the added bonus of bringing home the win!
Winning such an iconic race, it sure was a birthday to remember.
On reflection, I was pleased to see that I had taken the lead on the bike as coming from a run background you can still be seen as a runner playing at triathlon and just relying on your run. However coming out of the water in third place and then putting the fastest bike split in by two minutes it finally looks like I am becoming a COMPLETE triathlete!
So that was a wrap for my triathlon season, I’m now having an end of season break in Australia! Until the new season arrives – embrace… enjoy… and ride with a smile😉