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.


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.

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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

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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.

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.


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.

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.

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”

10,000 kms becomes 10,000 miles. 

At the beginning of the year I hatched a plan to ride the Haute Route in August 2017. To do so would require a lot of preparation and training, therefore the goal for the year was to cycle 10,000km to establish base fitness before a more structured training regime commences in 2017.

Well here are the key stats for the year.


infographic courtesy of veloviewer.com

  • Total Distance 11,043.6 km
  • Time 432h 8m
  • Elev Gain 115,117 m
  • #of Rides 482
  • Longest ride of the year 230km (Tour of Flanders Sportive)
  • Longest climb 1806m (Galibier as part of La Marmotte)

So now as 2017 begins, the goal shifts from 10,000km to 10,000miles before 1st August 2017.  So another 6000km of focused training and commuting to get ready for the big event on 21st August .  All the time raising money for the official charity Team Type 1.  www.justgiving.com/MarksTT1Fundraising 

Official Training shirt (limited sizes available minimum donation £35)

Charity Cycling Training Shirt available 

Thanks to the company I work for, Ciena I have 15 cycling training shirts specifically designed for my fundraising effort for the Haute Route 2017. 

The fit is “italian” in sizing and I have the following sizes available. 

  • 4x medium
  • 5x large
  • 3x XL
  • 2x XXL
  • 1x 3xL

Minimum donation is £35 – please donate directly onto the JustGiving page. All of your donation goes to fundraising. Ciena have covered the cost of the production of these shirts. 

The shirt is on display at The Bike Centre North Baddersley. 


Kit Sponsorship

As part of the fundraising effort for the   Team Type 1 Foundation Haute Route in 2017, there is the opportunity for local and wider businesses to sponsor my training kit and get visibility on the roads of Hampshire and London.

During August I have been conducting a count of vehicles that pass by me on my regular commutes to and from work.   It astounded me, that even allowing for the inconsistencies in my counting (very manual) that a minimum of 1000 cars, buses, lorries and motorbikes pass by me each day. With so many “eyeballs” on me (hopefully paying attention so as not to knock me off my bike) having a training kit Continue reading “Kit Sponsorship”

One Year to go

The 2016 edition of the Haute Route kicks off 20th August in the Pyrenees.  The route looks formidable.   Profiles_Pyrenees  The following week (28th Aug – 3rd Sept), the event moves to the Alps and the start line in Nice. The route looks even more spectacular.


Then the week after that is into the Swiss Alps and the Italian dolomite’s for the final week.  (5th Sept-11th Sept)


At the moment the plan Continue reading “One Year to go”