Newsletter – February 2023

“white boxers”

top dog events logo

newsletter no 11 – february 2023

hi – we hope this month’s offering finds you and yours both fit, well and looking forward to spring (i saw my 1st snowdrops in the lakes on monday) ????


our news

this seasons 4 x sportives are taking shape, and folk are busy booking their places on them all.  most of the behind-the-scenes admin is getting done, with venues, medics, marshals, and insurance (more on this later) being booked and confirmed.  risk assessments and routes have all been revisited and updated, plus the local councils, police and hospitals will be notified about our events this week.

chris and lynn’s retirement riding adventure to the outer hebrides / great glen in may is also coming together, with the order of 2 x bespoke touring bikes from the brilliant spa cycles in harrogate.  and a new spacious tent, which will shelter us on this and many other long-range cycling and canoeing trips.

the ram – yorkshire dales 80 mile sportive

this is a new route and our opening event of the season – so i thought we would take a closer look at it –

"the ram" 80 mile yorkshire dales sportive

the ride starts and finishes in lancaster @ 3-1-5 health club as usual and climbs steadily as it heads into the yorkshire dales national park.

the route skirts round the famous 3 x peaks of pen y gent, ingleborough and whernside before making its way to the infamous coal road, that climbs steeply for 2.8km up and over garsdale common before descending through the hills that lead down to cowgill, in dentdale.

once through the cobbled streets of dent village, with its cafes, pubs and toilets, the most challenging climb of the day is tackled – up gawthrop – a 1km wall of 20% + effort to gain the top of barbon dale, that then plumets for 7km, of stunning scenery back towards devils bridge and kirkby lonsdale.

the ram route profile

a short section of busy a road is necessary to return to the quite lanes that lead through the rolling countryside, for the remainder of the ride, back to lancaster, where a warm welcome and hot drink await your return.

on completion you will have ridden 80 miles / 130km and climbed some 6632ft / 2022mt in one of the best areas to ride a bike in the uk.

further information

enter button



coaches corner

the ‘secret’ to training success.

in a world of fancy kit, gadgets, and social media, it seems every cyclist is looking for the ‘holy grail’ when it comes to making them faster on a bike. i often hear cyclists talking about these ‘superhero’ training sessions set by their coaches which have left them unable to stand, or about their new helmet which will save them 10 watts on a 10-mile tt.

it may make riders faster short term but, in my opinion, this is all just a distraction. the biggest secret as to why professional cyclists are as fast as they are, is the years and years of consistent and progressive training that they have completed to improve their physiology.

pro cyclist

the aim of this article is to outline the fundamental principles that will see you improve your training and performances this season and beyond. clear the fancy gadgets off the counter and prepare to roll back your arm warmers and get cooking…

the most important part of any training programme is consistency.

it appears simple and most riders give it little thought and attention. the truth is that consistency is the hardest thing to get right. when motivated and feeling good, riders always aim to push as hard as possible – whether it be in training intervals, going for a local strava segment or a zwift race. it’s in our nature, i guess. when planning available training time, the tendency is to aim for the maximum number of hours possible each week. this all sounds optimal, doesn’t it? getting maximum intensity out of each session and maximum number of training hours out of each training week. unfortunately, not. this can all lead to a lack of consistency.

consider it from this perspective. the more training set, the more likely you are not to complete it all. the harder the training session, the less likely you are to complete it, let alone the next session. the key to consistency is not letting the heat get so hot that your pan boils over and you must turn the cooker off. this leads to missed training and as a result de-training (reduction in performance). equally your training shouldn’t be so easy that your pan never gets to boiling point. you may be consistent, but you won’t see any improvement.

you want training that will allow your ingredients to simmer and simmer for long periods. the heat can be turned up, but not for so long that your pan boils over and splatters all over the hob. minimising the amount of missed planned training is the critical aspect to improvement. no state-of-the-art turbo or scientifically approved training programme will work if you constantly allow de-training to occur with unplanned, uncompleted, and missed sessions.

some of the most common reasons for unplanned missed training are listed below:

  • illness / injury.
  • too fatigued / overreaching /lack of recovery.
  • lack of sleep.
  • additional commitments and stress.

take preventative measures seriously – consider sleep, hygiene, and strength & conditioning work (perhaps another article on this). do not increase the risk of missing planned training by adding more ingredients into your pan when your pan just isn’t big enough. almost everyone has the capability to find more time in their week by getting up an hour or two earlier to complete a session and then squeezing a little more tomato puree out of the tube. this can be beneficial but only if you assess the cost of doing so in advance. ask yourself the following questions:

  • will i be able to do this when i’m not in such a motivated mood?
  • will i recover from this to complete my next session?
  • are you going to get enough sleep if i do this?
  • is the added stress sustainable for my lifestyle and other commitments?
  • is your pan big enough?

ladies cycling

if you have answered ‘no’ to any of these, it is going to negatively affect your consistency at some point, and you shouldn’t do it. you may keep it up for a month or two but at some point, you are going to boil over. your pan is going to overflow, and you will miss more and more planned training. if you have answered ‘yes’ to all of these and your training has been simmering nicely for some time, crack on and add more training load (increased total volume/ intensity) and ingredients to your pan – it will add extra bulk and volume to your recipe giving you a bigger aerobic engine.

warning: beware of sudden increases in training load. if not added gradually, there is a higher risk of overreaching and missing planned sessions.

a good training programme starts with finding a training load that is sustainable for you as an individual. it should feel like there is slightly more that can be done. this is way better than spilling over and doing too much. getting the right balance of intensity in your week is an important consideration when it comes to consistency. a lot of time crunched riders aim to make every session hard to maximize benefits. it is however widely accepted that most of your training load should be low intensity (about 70-80%) and the rest (about 20-30%) can be moderate and/or high intensity (depending on the training model). this approach will keep your motivation higher; you won’t feel as stressed or fatigued, you will take satisfaction from ticking off each session and enjoy the training process so much more.

set the right temperature on your stove, avoid overfilling your pan and allow your recipe to simmer. doing this will enable your raw ingredients to release more flavour. this is when you will reap the benefits and see bigger improvements in your physiology long term.

by chris booth – british cycling level 3 track and road coach

visit coach chris’s website  

facebook lofo




event insurance

we have decided to continue using british cycling s excellent insurance services for our events.

british cycling logo

all our past events have been registered, scrutinised, and insured by them, and although we have shopped around for alternatives during our year off, we have failed to find any comparable service, support, or cover for us or our riders.

some of our team also hold british cycling coaching (coach chris l3 track and road) and ride leader awards (top dog chris l2 on and off road) and appreciate the organisations continued support.

we are aware that their current sponsorship by shell has caused some concern among fellow riders (some of our riding friends have cancelled their membership) but they remain our sports governing body, and we feel would offer the best possible support should we ever have cause to use their services, make a claim or call on their legal department to represent our company or any of our participants.

we would love to hear your opinion on this and any alternatives to their services.

e mail us  

or join our facebook group facebook lofo



have a great month’s riding.

top dog events logo

all @ top dog events limited