AIDAN HAMMOND will be holding a bikefitting day for Wicklow 200 participants on Saturday 17th May near Bray Co. Wicklow. This will be by appointment only and will be at a reduced rate of 70 euro (40% discount). For any rider unable to make the fitting they can avail of a 25 % discount 90 euro prior to the event. This offer will be available Monday to Friday only 8am until 8pm. Weekend bookings will be 120 euro.
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Each fitting will take approx. 1 hour and is carried out by a fully trained sports Injury therapist and Cycling Ireland coach and tutor. Aidan has also worked for over 20 years supplying into the bike industry and can offer solid advice on equipment.
To determine the optimal riding position for both power output and comfort, helping to prevent injuries / wear and tear, while improving performance the following is carried out:
Note: This article was written some years back around the month of March. Plenty of time to build your base fitness level by getting in some low intensity 40 mile spins before taking on longer distances.
This advice is aimed at the inexperienced cyclist who may have taken up serious cycling in the past two years and has not yet completed a Wicklow 200. I don’t claim any specialist knowledge, other than I took up cycling four years ago at the age of 37 and enjoy every minute I spend on the bike! By the month of March you will have under 100 days to go and you should be able to tackle spins of 40 to 50 miles at a relatively low intensity. Your training should be geared at building aerobic fitness and endurance. This is done by building up the distance of your spins each week. For most of us the weekend is the only time we get to do a long spin. So aim to get out on Saturday for at least 4 hours. By aiming for Saturday if you miss it because of the weather or a night in the pub on Friday there is always Sunday!
Aerobic fitness is built by training at a speed that enables you to still carry out a conversation. If you have a heart monitor use it, and as a rule of thumb you should aim to keep your heart rate at about 65% of you max heart rate. Again applying a rule of thumb your max heart rate is 220 minus your age (so at 41 years of age mine is theoretically 179). Hills will obviously cause your heart rate to rise, however you should get it back down into the correct zone as quickly afterwards. Resist the urge to free wheel down hill. When you get to the bottom and have to put in some effort you will find that you may have cooled down and the legs may have stiffened slightly. Instead as you go over the crest of the hill, put the bike in a high gear and keep the legs spinning on the way down. I made this mistake on the descent from Slieve Maan last year and it took me about 10 minutes to get the legs moving smoothly again.
The evenings are getting brighter now and it is possible to get out for a spin. Aim to do at least an hour twice or three times a week. Two of these should aim to build power into the legs. You will have to do a lot of climbing on the Wicklow 200 so you will need to build power. This is done by cycling up hills in a relatively high gear. Don’t be tempted to go for too high a gear, otherwise the knees will suffer. Go into a high gear for 5 minutes, then go back to one that is easier to spin. Give yourself time to recover and then do another 5 minutes. Three or four such intervals will help immensely. When doing these type of sessions give yourself 10 to 15 minutes easy spinning at the end to flush out lactic acid from the muscles. You will also have to give yourself adequate time to warm up before tackling the high intensity stuff. Unfortunately as you get older it takes longer to warm up properly! If you begin to feel unduly uncomfortable during these sessions slow down and take it a bit easier. Recovery between sessions is as important as the training itself. Don’t do two high intensity sessions on consecutive days. If possible fit in a low intensity session between the two high intensity sessions. This gives your body time to recover between sessions. It is this repair process that helps you to improve your performance.
For example the following regime provides a good balance between high intensity and recovery.
The high intensity session could go like this:
The recovery session should be at about 60% of max heart rate.
Build your distance gradually, and again applying a well tested rule of thumb increase your mileage each week by no more than 10%, and increase your long spin by no more than the same percentage. After each session you should spend 10 to 15 minutes stretching, paying particular attention to the quads, hamstring, calf and back muscles.
Drink plenty of fluids before and during your sessions. Eat at least every 90 minutes on your long spin. When you finish your long spin you should eat a high carbohydrate snack (energy bar, two bananas, or something similar as soon as possible after you finish). Following this regime will mean that you will arrive at the big day well prepared for the challenge, and secure in the knowledge that you have prepared well. This knowledge alone will be a big help on the day. For first timers I would suggest that this preparation is the best approach.
Q We’re entering a tandem. Do we have to pay two entry fees?
A Yes. Each rider must complete an entry form and pay the entry fee.
Q Is a mountain bike suitable for the Wicklow 200?
A While most riders use drop-handlebar road bikes, some ride mountain bikes. The principal drawback of a mountain bike on the Wicklow 200 is the extra road friction due to fat ‘chunky’ tyres.
Q Can I ride a recumbant? A penny-farthing? A unicycle?
A We’ve had them all (except a unicycle), so yes, you can ride more or less anything as long as it’s legal on public roads. The use of TRI_BARS is NOT allowed.
Remember that you are responsible for ensuring that your cycle is safe and suitable for the event. The Wicklow 200 is a serious challenge on any cycle, so only attempt it on a cycle that you are confident and safe on.
Q Can you help me find accommodation?
A We don’t provide an accommodation service. Look at our www.wicklow200.ie for some help on finding accommodation.
Q Do you have any discounts for ferries from Britain?
A More details to follow.
Q How do I enter?
A You have to complete an entry form and pay the entry fee in advance. You can use the online entry form and pay by credit card, or you can use the paper form and pay by cheque. Full details on our entry page.
Q I want to enter more than on rider. Do I have to fill in separate entry forms for each one?
A Yes. You must fill in separate entry forms for each rider. You can copy or print as many copies of the form as you need.
Q How secure is the online credit card payment system?
A We use WorldPay to handle our online credit card payments. WorldPay is a division of the Bank of Scotland, and is a world leader in secure online payment systems. On your credit card statement the transaction will be described as “WP-Irish Veteran Cyclists Association” (WP stands for WorldPay). The organisers of the Wicklow 200 do not store or even see your credit card details.
Q How much is the entry fee for 2015?
A Entry fee for 2015 is €40.00 up to NOON on the 13th April and €45.00 from then up to the closing date of NOON on Monday May 18th
Q What do I get for the entry fee?
A The fee includes use of facilities such as all-day parking, changing rooms and showers at the start/finish in Shoreline Leisure Centre, Greystones, light refreshments at two stops on the route and at the finish, and other support services on the day. It also includes your 2015 Wicklow 200 medal and your 2015 Wicklow 200 certificate.
Q When do entries close?
A Entry for 2015 will close at NOON on Monday May 18th
Q Can I pay the entry fee in cash?
A No, we only accept payment by cheque (posted to us, with the paper entry form), or credit card (via the online entry form). Please don’t send cash by post.
Q What is the control card?
A The control card is a small plastic card with your name and Wicklow 200 number on it. You must show it during the Wicklow 200 to be allowed use any of the services provided for participants.
Q What do I do with the pin-on number?
A Pin it to the back of your jersey during the 2015 Wicklow 200, so that you can be identified on the route as a participant in the event.
Q When will I get my Wicklow 200 control card and pin-on number?
A The control card, pin-on number and final instructions will be posted to you during the two weeks before the Wicklow 200.
Q What if my control card and number don’t arrive before I leave home?
A We will provide an emergency control card and number service at the start of the Wicklow 200 on 7th June 2015. You should allow extra time at the start if you need to do this.
Q What if I lose my control card or number before the Wicklow 200?
A We will provide a replacement control card and number service at the start of the Wicklow 200 on 7th June 2015. You should allow extra time at the start to get a replacement card.
Q What if I forget to bring my card or number to the start of the Wicklow 200?
A You can use the replacement control card and number service at the start of the Wicklow 200, but it will take you longer to go through the sign-in.
Q What if I lose my control card during the Wicklow 200?
A Then I’m afraid you may have difficulty getting into the refreshment stops. Due to significant numbers of non-paying riders using Wicklow 200 facilities we will be imposing strict control on access this year. So look after your card very carefully. (If you find someone else’s card please hand it in at the next checkpoint).
Q Is there a Wicklow 200 jersey this year?
A No, there is no official jersey for the 2015 Wicklow 200. Participants will be identified by the official number pinned to their back.
Q Where is the start of the Wicklow 200?
A The start and finish of both the Wicklow 200 and the Wicklow Challenge will be at the Shoreline Leisure Centre, Greystones. Detailed directions to the start will be published on the website and will be included in the pack posted to you in the two weeks before the event.
Q Where and when will the sign-in be?
A Sign-in will be at the start on the morning of Sunday 7th June 2015 from 6:00 a.m. onwards. Sign-in will be by scanning your control card.
Q What time does the Wicklow 200 start?
A The Wicklow 200 and Wicklow Challenge will start at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday 7th June 2015. The Shoreline Leisure Centre, Greystones will be open from 6:00 a.m. onwards.
Q What is the finishing time?
A The finishing checkpoint, back at Shoreline Leisure Centre, Greystones, will stay open until 8:00 p.m. on 7th June 2015 so you have up to 13 hours to complete the event.
Q Is there all-day parking at the start?
A Yes, there will be LIMITED all-day parking available in designated areas. Arrive early to available of the parking spaces. The organisers of the Wicklow 200 will not accept responsibility for the safety of your car or its contents. Please ensure that you do not leave items of value in your car while it is parked there.
Q What facilities are available at the start/finish?
A In addition to parking, the Shoreline Leisure centre provides male and female changing rooms, showers, and toilets.
Q Are there lockers available at the start/finish?
A No, there are no lockers or secure storage facilities available at the start/finish. If you want to leave items at the start/finish you must make your own arrangements (please don’t leave valuables in a parked car all day).
Q What is the route for the Wicklow 200 and the Wicklow Challenge?
A Details of the route for the Wicklow 200 and the Wicklow Challenge are available on our The 2015 Event page.
Q Should I do the Wicklow 200 or the Wicklow Challenge?
A The Wicklow 200 is a very challenging event. You should only attempt the full 200km route if you have been training for it for a number of months, and are confident that you know what you are taking on.
Q What if I want to change my mind after submitting my entry form?
A You can change your mind, without telling us, at any time up to the moment on 7th June that you arrive at the point on the route where the Wicklow 200 and Wicklow Challenge divide. The only reason that we ask you which you intend to do is so that we can get an idea of the numbers to cater for along the route.
Q How will I stay on the correct road on 7th June 2015?
A The route of the Wicklow 200 and the Wicklow Challenge is marked on the road at every junction where there is a change of direction along the way. Just follow the road marks and you won’t get lost. Even better, tag along with any gang of riders who seem to know where they’re going!
Q Can I get a map of the route for my spouse/partner/friend/slave who will be driving a car?
A We will provide copies of a small sketch map of the route at the start on 7th June 2015. As this will be only a simple sketch map it should not be used to find your way around the Wicklow mountains. It should be used in conjunction with a good road map of the area (see next answer). The routes are on Map My Ride, link on the homepage.
Q What road maps cover the route of the Wicklow 200?
A The excellent sheet 56 and sheet 62 maps from the Ordnance Survey of Ireland provide full coverage of the Wicklow 200 route. Sheet 56 covers most of the route. Sheet 62 is needed for the most southerly part, including Rathdrum, Glenmalure, Slieve Maan, and Glen of Imaal. They can be bought online from the Ordnance Survey or from any decent bookshop or service station in Ireland. There are many other good maps that cover the same area.
Q What food and drink will be available along the route?
A At each checkpoint each rider will get,Tea, coffee and a Sandwich. Water will also be available. There will also be water point the top of Slieve Maan. Light refreshments will be provided at the finish. Note: This may not be enough food by itself to complete the Wicklow 200! See below for further advice.
Q What food and drink should I bring with me?
A The food provided at the checkpoints may not by itself be sufficient to complete the event. You must make your own arrangements to have enough food for the day’s riding. You should bring plenty of water, and food such as energy bars, sandwiches, fruit cake or other suitable snacks. You should drink plenty of water (particularly if it’s a warm day) so two large bidons, refilled at each checkpoint and water stop, are best. Avoid fizzy drinks. Bring whatever snacks you are used to. The Wicklow 200 is not the best place to experiment with new food items. There are shops along the route at Roundwood, Laragh, Baltinglass, and Rathdrum, but remember that they may not open until later in the day.
Q What do I do if I have a mechanical or medical emergency along the route?
A There will be a Wicklow 200 emergency phone number printed on your control card. Ring that number if you need help. If we can we will try to get someone to assist you. However, you are expected to be able to deal with routine problems, such as punctures, yourself. Please remember that the Wicklow 200 is spread over a very large area so it may be some time before help can arrive, particularly if our teams are helping someone else when you call.