Newsletter – April 24


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NEWSLETTER No 26 – April 2024

Hi – we hope this month’s offering finds you and yours feeling Spring in the air at last 😊



News from the front –

We are getting excited about kicking our season off on 14 April with The Ram 80-mile Yorkshire Dales Sportive

"the ram" 80 mile yorkshire dales sportive


This memorable ride takes place in the shadows of the Yorkshire Dales infamous 3 Peaks of Ingleborough, Pen y Gent and Whernside.  More sheep than people will be encountered through the day, and the memory of grinding up and over The Coal Road will make many other hills seem rather insignificant.


Other NW Sportives are available @  UK CYCLING EVENTS 2024

coffee cups


We are happy that the problem of serving hot drinks at feed stations has been resolved with the purchase of another hot water boiler – now riders can enjoy a brew en route and at the finish too.


Coaches Corner – By Ben Barlow – British Cycling L2 Coach

Following on from March’s training article, this month we’re going to have a look at event preparation.

I’ll split this into a few sections and overview the different things we want to look at when going into our target events.

TAPERING – is getting you ready for race day.

the boxer 23

A careful balance to reduce the quantity of training leading up to the event to minimise fatigue while sustaining your progressing fitness.


For our key goals and events, we start tapering a week or so before the event.

Firstly, we’ll look at the volume of our training where most of our fatigue is created (especially if you’re following a high-volume plan). This is where we need to drop the number of hours you spend on the bike. As an example, if you’d normally do a 90-minute ride on a Wednesday, drop this down to 60.

Next, we focus on high-intensity work. Hard efforts will make your legs feel sore, but they generally don’t create too much fatigue.  This slight discomfort will ease quickly if you’ve been training consistently. During the taper period, you are looking at a few short, sharp efforts with plenty of recovery between each one. You’ll probably only want to do this once or twice during your taper depending on what your target event is.

NUTRITION – I’ll keep this topic brief as I’m planning on going into more detail in a future article.

good foodYour big focus leading up to your event needs to be on good quality, nutritional food, avoiding any fast food where possible. You will need enough carbohydrates and protein to fuel and recover from the workouts throughout your taper week. Depending on how long your event is, you should eat lots of carbohydrates in the 1-3 days leading up to your event.

On the day of your event, make sure you’ve got plenty of high-carb food with you. The current research suggests around 60g of carbohydrates per hour, or up to 120g/hour if you’ve trained your gut to be able to process that much food. Personally, I think these are somewhat unrealistic for most people.

flapjackPurely based on the sheer quantity of food you’d need to stick in your back pocket. I suggest getting into a habit of taking food with you and eating on rides. Try out a few high-carb energy drinks (I’m a fan of maltodextrin mixed with squash).

Scout out before the event for places to buy snacks on route or if there are any feed stations.

Kit Choices

What kit do you need to prepare for your event?

This is dependent on what the weather is forecast to do, as well as your own personal preferences. It is an easy choice to make if it’s forecast for 25oC, just stick on your favourite pair of shorts and jersey with a sweat wicking vest underneath and you’ll be good to go. However, if your ride has a chilly early start and the forecast is expecting warmer weather, leg and arm warmers and a gilet is a great investment. You can take them off easily as it warms up and they don’t take up too much space. Bar bags are helpful for storing extra kit (rain cape) as well as food.

What should you bring to event day?

Firstly, make sure your bike is in a good working order.

spannersThis will save your energy for when it counts, you should be confident it’s safe and feels great to ride. Book it into a bike shop with plenty of time so you can get it back well before your event.


When packing for event day, try and get everything sorted the night before. Give yourself time to have a good breakfast, chill out, and go. The worst feeling is turning up to an event and realising you’ve left your shoes at home. I’ve found it helpful to have a checklist (bike, kit, food & drink). Remember your British Cycling licence if needed and any medication you might need to take with you to your event.

As an additional sidenote, my website is up and running if anyone would like to check it out.

Ben Barlow

Apogee Performance

Team rides –

The team have been dusting off various bikes and getting out together –

monsal trail

Chris + Lynn (event organisers) are fresh back from a week exploring The Peak District on their Gravel / Adventure bikes. The Monsal Trail being their favourite day out.



steves bike in bog


Steve (Broom Wagon) and his wife joined  Chris + Lynn for a spin from Shap to Barbondale and back on Easter Monday.

tim on thormalay


Tim (marshal + photographer) is getting ready to leave Silverdale and cycle all the way to Gibraltar, the day after The Ram. Some 1600 miles – solo and unsupported.

Follow Tim’s adventure –


+ maybe help him raise some funds for Muscular DystrophyFUNDRAISING 


We hope you are getting out and about too – have a great month’s riding, and we hope to see you for The Ram on 14 April.

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All @ Top Dog Events Limited