We fight for the right to live – A visit to Team Type 1 Foundation.

This week I have been in Atlanta for the Small Cell Forum Plenary meetings looking ahead to the advent of 5G mobile technology.  Atlanta is also the home of Team Type 1 Foundation, the charity for which I am riding the Haute Route Alps in just 4 weeks time.  So I popped into say hello and collect a few things ahead of the race next month.

Amber Medley who is responsible for Elite Racing and Outreach for both TT1 and the pro team Team Novo Nordisk took me for a brief tour of the offices and warehouse where they were getting ready for the elite mens participation in the Tour of Utah.  She shared a little more of the work that Team Type 1 Foundation are doing in their cornerstone programs.

Sustainable Diabetes Program.

TT1SBP

The Sustainable Diabetes Program saves lives in third-world countries by providing glucose meters, test strips and diabetes management education to thousands who would otherwise suffer debilitating complications and early death.

To date, Team Type 1 Foundation have provided the people of Rwanda with 2.2 million test strips and 1,750 glucose meters.

More importantly, the supplies and education have dropped the collective A1C of diabetics in Rwanda from 10% to 8.9%.

That means TT1 are saving lives TODAY.

Global Ambassador Scholarship Program.

The Global Ambassador Leadership Training Initiative makes heroes out of today’s university students with diabetes.

TT1GLobalAmbassador

This scholarship-based program recognizes athletes with type 1 diabetes who are using sport as a platform to educate, empower, and inspire those around them with diabetes via community outreach. And, the awarded funds offset the financial burden diabetes care places on families.

Currently, 130 students have applied for the 2017-2018 school year. It is our desire to not turn any away and to ensure that we can empower each student to become a leader in their community via outreach and leadership development.

TT1Cornerstone

The Team Type 1 Foundation fights for the right to live through a global mission of education, empowerment and equal access to medicine for everyone affected by diabetes.

Your donations go directly to support these cornerstone programs, expanding the reach and breadth of Team Type 1’s influence for good in helping achieve global eduction, empowerment and equal access to medicine.

Thank you for your support. To donate visit the JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/MarksTT1Fundraising

TT1logo2

Today, Watch the pro’s ride the same mountains I will be riding next month.

Today the Tour de France reaches the Alps and climbs iconic mountain cols such as Glandon, Telegraphe & Galibier. Tomorrow (Thursday 20th) the professionals climb the massive Col d’Izoard, which sits just a few kilometers from the Italian border in the french Alps.  

profilcolscotes_2
Col d’Izoard profile, image credit http://www.letour.fr 

At 2360m above sea level and rising 1000m over 14.1km with an average gradient of 7.3% from the valley floor this high mountain top finish will test the professionals after they have already climbed over the 1st category Col de Vars.   

profilcolscotes_1

Ahead of the Tour,  the women’s La Course road race will also roll out from Briancon, racing along the valley to Guillestre and climbing the same 14km climb to finish atop Izoard.

These are the same roads that I will be racing in just over 4 weeks time.  Spare a thought for me when you watch the pros suffering on the gradients, in the heat and at altitude. That will be me on Tuesday 22nd August as the Haute Route rides 127km from Pra Loup to Col du Granon just north of Briancon over the Col de Vars and Col d’Izoard.

To sponsor me raising money for Team Type 1 Foundation click here.

justgiving

A challenging couple of weeks in preparation for Haute Route.

A couple of things have come up in the last 10 days that have been a bit of a bump in the road in the preparations for Haute Route next month.

First of all, my local doctors surgery Alma Road Surgery in Romsey, decided that they would no longer provide a medical certificate/doctors signature to allow me to participate.   Not that this was something they were not allowed to do but simply decided they don’t want to do it anymore as a practice as three years ago they were willing to do it for a fee. So as a result I have had to change doctors surgery to one that is willing to do these things, and register with a new GP, but being somewhat pressed for time, it may be a close call to get my medical form signed in time.  An unnecessary impediment, which is a real inconvenience, but at least I now know for the future.  The frustrating thing is I have been with that GP surgery for 20 years since moving to Romsey.  My doctor actually retired in that time and I didn’t find out for 4 years, that’s how often I have had to go to the GP.

Then on the same day I find out that my bike has a terminal problem with the frame at the bottom bracket causing the drivechain (the pedals and front mechanism) to move up and down when pedaling (not just round).  The upshot being that it  necessitates a whole new frame.   This is where it pays to buy from a reputable bike shop and authorised dealer. The other advantage of buying from my local bike shop is that they know me and they know the riding I do, so they were able to make a quick call to the distributors and manufacturers, explain the problem and it is being sorted under warranty.

So in a few days I should have my rebuilt bike back and be back on the road on that.  In the meantime, I have dusted off my trusty aluminium winter road bike, the original bike that got me back riding and am putting the miles back on that one.

IMG_3940

Thanks to Tony, Chris and the team at The Bike Centre for keeping me on the road and working with Tifosi bikes to get my bike rebuilt in time for the Haute Route.

bc main red

As a little postscript to this story, I had my NHS over 40 healthcheck at my new surgery this week (incidentally I would have had to wait until September with Alma Road) and my risk factor of having a heart attack in the next 10 years is 1.48% .  So I should be ok.

 

 

Less than 100 days to go….

An important milestone was reached last week – 100 days to go before the start of the Haute Route Alps.

At this stage the preparation changes from purely doing the kilometers on the bike to getting some climbing into the training regime.

Recently I have been traveling again with work with business trips to Japan, Korea, Australia and France and my bike travelled with me yet again.   In these trips I looked for routes to provide good climbing experience.

Mt Fuji.

Two days of climbing around Mt Fuji.  I caught the train out from Shinjuki station in the west of Tokyo (not far from Rapha Tokyo), that each day handles over 2 million passengers out to the local town of Sagamiko about 45mins by train west of Tokyo. Bicycles are allowed on the trains in Japan but must be carried in a bike bag and so it is possible to purchase lightweight roll up bags that can then be packed small enough to attach to your frame or stick in the jersey back pocket.

So before heading out from the station I grabbed a bike bag from a local sport shop and packed my bike by removing the wheels, strapping them to the frame and attaching the carry straps.

Day 1 – Sagamiko – Lake Yamanakako – Takao – 137km, 1934m

This route started with a long and steady climb of 45km from 200m elevation up to 1,110m along the Doshi valley to Lake Yamanakako at the foot of Mt Fuji.   Continue reading “Less than 100 days to go….”

A wake up call ahead of the Haute Route

I took a couple of days off work this week to go out to Mallorca with my brother and our friend Andy.  This time last year we were in Belgium riding the Tour of Flanders sportive.  This year we wanted something a little warmer and I need climbing training.  So a plan was hatched in the middle of winter to head out to Mallorca and spend a few days riding around the Serra de Tramuntana mountains that rise from the northern coast of the island.

IMG_3036

This time instead of travelling with our bikes we opted to hire bikes locally on the island. Chris and I rode Trek Emonda S6, whilst Andy was riding the S7.  This made the transfer from the airport a lot simpler than having to move three bike boxes as well as ourselves.  We based ourselves in Porta Pollenca close to the mountains and stayed at the Hosposa Sporthotel, a hotel specifically designed for active holidays, one of the key features is an excellent bike locker IMG_3041

Day 1 – Cafe stop spin up to the lighthouse at Cap Formentor and then along the bay to Alcudia, overall 60km and 1000m of climbing punctuated by a cafe stop or two….  Very pleasant.

Day 2 – Before the others were awake, I went out for a sunrise spin back out towards the Cap.  It was still pitch black by the time I reached the top of the climb so I had to wait for the sun to rise before attempting the descent.

After getting back to the hotel and grabbing some breakfast we headed west steadily climbing along the valley floor before turning north Selva and over the Coll de Sa Batalia (8km, 5.5% avg gradient) before descending towards Sa Calobra.  A short break there before turning around to face the bucket list climb out, 9.4km long avg 7% but with the top 3km kicking up to 13%.  A monster of a climb and superb training.  From the top of the climb the road then rolls up and down until the main 15km descent back to Pollenca.

Overall 130km for the day and 2500m of climbing.

Day 3 – After the pain of day 2, day 3 was always going to be a challenge and this was the essence of the trip for me.  How do I handle a couple of big days in a row.   Our plan for this day was to again head out west along the valley steadily climbing through Campanet, Selva, over Coll De Orient into Bunyola and then turning north over the Coll de Soller. Then into Soller for lunch before tackling the long climb up to Puig Major (14km, Avg 6.5%).  We would then join up with the road at the top of Sa Calobra and follow the same route back to Puerta Pollenca.    It was a hard day with another 2500m of climbing and 135km of riding.  I had a brief conference call that I had to join so had a little extra time for lunch and I am sure that helped.   It was a real wake up call to what is ahead of me on the Haute Route.

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 3.24.30 PM

Day 4 – Heading back home and so just a short recovery ride out in the morning just to keep the legs turning. 25km with 400m of climbing, bringing to end a 400km, 7000m week.  My muscles were tired and a little tight,  there is a lot of work to do before the Haute Route in August.   As a comparison the haute route is 7 days, 900km and 22,000m of climbing.   On the haute route I will do nearly the same distance and as much climbing that I have done this week in the first 2 days. It is no easy task.

For more information on why I am doing this click here.    Please support me and this charity, your donations provide me with motivation to do this.  Please note that all of your donation goes directly to the charity Team Type 1 Foundation.  www.justgiving.com/MarksTT1Fundraising

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Still trying to keep the fitness up.

I’m sat in the airport lounge in Ottawa Airport watching the snow fall on the runway and the small army of snow ploughs and trucks keep the path clear.  I am hoping that my flight home isn’t delayed.  This week I have been in Canada for a series of workshops and meetings with the engineering teams in Ciena on the emerging technologies for 5th Generation Mobile or 5G.   It has been a very productive week in that regard and the week has been very much a success.  It has however been a lean week for training for the Haute Route later this year.   With just a few months to go, the training and the fundraising has got to increase.

Last Saturday I joined the Rapha Cycling Club on a great day with a tribute to the Milan San-Remo pro’s race by cycling 167km from the London Soho Clubhouse to Hayling Island on the coast. First time this year pushing over the 100mile mark in a single ride and also pushing the climbing total up a little.  It was a fantastic day on the bike and a great group to ride with.

IMG_2852
photo credit @Alberto K

But then on Sunday evening, after an emotional day at Church, I was heading out from London Heathrow to Canada. After a careful study of the weather forecast for the week, I decided that the safer course of action for this week was not to bring the bike with me.  Temperatures throughout the week of -15deg C and a good amount of snow still on the ground and more falling proved this to be a wise decision.  So training this week was confined to a couple of sessions in the pool and a decent spin on the indoor bike in the hotel.

The training will step up a notch next week when I head out with my brother Chris and our mate Andy to get four solid days on the bike in the hills.

In the meantime, I hope this snow eases up a little as I want my flight to leave tonight.  Lisa and I are supposed to be Tandem Skydiving tomorrow, a 40th birthday present from my mum.  We are not diving tandem together I hasten to add, although the kids have been referring to it as the day we orphan them….

 

#MWC17 & keeping up the training

 

I have been in the mobile industry for over 20 years and in March this year, I finally got the opportunity to go to the annual Mobile World Congress that for the last few years has been held in Barcelona.  It has become the largest mobile industry event of it’s kind and each year, the company I work for, Ciena, regularly has a presence at the show.  I was invited to go along to speak to customers and industry experts about the evolution of mobile networks towards 5G in 2019/2020.

IMG_2740

As well as hosting over 25 meetings with operators and partners from all across the globe over the 4 days of the conference, I also looked for opportunities to get out on the bike and cover some training miles. With a bit of investigation ahead of time through the Rapha Cycling Club, I found out that there was a cycling networking group organized by AdobeCycling .  So taking advantage of this I joined up with them for early morning rides around Barcelona, ahead of the conference start days.

DSC00762
Ciena/Bike Centre Training Shirt looking good image credit – @benrabner @adobecycling

My original plan to ride with the group was scuppered when my rear mech cable snapped in the internal routing on my way from the hotel to the meeting point at the On Y Va cycling cafe. Continue reading “#MWC17 & keeping up the training”

Training must follow my work..

… which isn’t so bad if work requires me to fly to the other side of the world where it is the height of summer.  Not great if the location is in the middle of winter.    Very confusing if one’s travel is via both in the space of a week.

I have just got back from a recent business trip that took me from the UK to Washington DC (landing right in the middle of the protests surrounding President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from certain muslim countries), and on to San Francisco before doubling back to the UK and then across the equator to Sydney, Australia.

Work commitments, weather and the exorbitant costs of flying with my bike Continue reading “Training must follow my work..”

Cycling in Taipei

This week I have been out in Taiwan on a business trip.  With the Haute Route charity ride looming on the summer horizon I cannot afford to slacken up on time on the bike.  So I googled cycling in taiwan to see what the results suggested. After looking on a couple of resources like David’s guide to cycling in Taiwan   I decided it was worth trying to sort out some cycling. In Taiwan at this time Continue reading “Cycling in Taipei”

The 2017 Alps Haute Route Challenge

This post is designed to answer the question, what is this Charity ride you are doing?

The 2017 edition of the Haute Route Alps will take place over 7 consecutive days (or stages) from Nice on the southern Mediterranean coast of France to Geneva in the heart of the Alps on the Swiss/French border.

In those 7 stages I will cover 897 Km and ride up 22,000m of mountain roads as I raise money for the official charity of the event Team Type 1 Foundation.

HR_Alps_Map_General.png
2017 Alps Route image credit www.hauteroute.org

Each of the stages are pretty daunting as the route climbs from the southern coastline of France passing through the Maritime Alpes Continue reading “The 2017 Alps Haute Route Challenge”