NEWSLETTER – February 2024


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NEWSLETTER No 23 – February 2024

Hi – we hope you have weathered the storms of late and are looking forward to hitting dry roads and trails again 😊


Signs that Spring is coming – Snow Drops on Cartmel Fell in Lakes.

News from the front –

Mainly that all 4 of our sportives have been registered with British Cycling. and Local Police Forces, Hospitals, Highways Agencies, Safety Advisory Groups and Councils have all been notified.

Medical cover has been booked and our team of brilliant helpers have also been asked which events they can attend.

"the ram" 80 mile yorkshire dales sportive

"the raptor" 63 mile forest of bowland sportive"the beast" 108 mile lake district sportive

"the boxer" 66 mile south lakes sportive




We hope that you can join us in Lancaster for one or more of these great rides (enter all 4 and get a free medal for each event).

Events News –

Online entry is open and our January Sale offer of £5.00 off each event closes midnight 31 January – so don’t miss out.

2024 Event Details

After riders have kindly sent their feedback when asked, we have decided to continue manually timing our events and doing away with goody bags at the finish line – to prevent entry fee increases.  We will instead be providing hot drinks at the feed station en route and e mailing a completion certificate to all finishers post ride.

Coaches Corner –

We have a new coach on the team, Coach Chris has given us his blessing for this, as he focuses on his growing family.

So, we have invited Ben Barlow (son of Eleanor and Andy – some mountain biking friends) to take over the reins, and here is the 1st of his monthly guidelines –

This is my first contribution to the newsletter.  My name is Ben Barlow, a cycling coach at Apogee Performance.  I am currently studying Sports and Exercise Science down at Loughborough University and am a British Cycling Level 2 qualified coach.

gravel bikingI have previously competed at the highest level of UK and junior UCI races (occasionally managing to win), but currently prefer to spend my time exploring bridleways and heading out for adventures on my gravel bike.

As we’re now (hopefully) leaving the worst of the winter weather behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to the summer and deciding what we want to target. Chris Booth did a really good job of covering this topic in one of newsletters last year so I’m going to try and keep this quite short and just cover some of the key points.

Goal setting is the cornerstone to starting any training plan. It helps determine how we need to spend our time, keeping us motivated to head out and get the miles in for when it’s blowing a gale. Whilst it’s not an exact science, I’ve always liked to imagine it as two lines of thinking when it comes to setting your goals. The first being a process-based goal-setting model, and the other being a more outcome-based model. There’s a certain amount of overlap between the two types of goals. I find it’s a good idea to have both types of goals as the year progresses but which one you put more focus on is a personal choice.

notebook and pen

An outcome goal should be your overall aim for the year. I’d suggest not having more than a couple of these so you can really focus on them without having loads of other events to worry about. A good example of an outcome goal is to complete “The Beast” in under 10 hours. This needs to be something that you want to achieve, and something that’s going to give you that drive in the months leading up to the event. However, our big issue with outcome goals is that things can go wrong on the day, for example, punctures, mechanical issues and weather. And whilst I’d hope the weather in mid-August will be nice and sunny, it is the Lake District, so I’m not too sure I’d want to bet any money on it! This is where our process goals come into play.

Process goals in effect are the small goals that we can tick off throughout the year without too much stress which help contribute to the success of our outcome goal. For me personally, I’d like to get in 10 hours a week on the bike and then try and squeeze in a couple of runs as well. Process goals can be anything from trying a new route each week, raising your FTP, losing weight, etc.

What makes a good goal?

tim on thormalayThere’s a few ‘rules’ we can follow when deciding on our goals for the year. I’m sure most will have heard of SMART targets before.

  • Specific: What is it exactly that you want to do?
  • Measurable: You know you want to go faster. but by how much?
  • Achievable: Is the goal you’re setting out realistic?

It is all about balance. You need to push yourself enough so that it keeps you motivated, but, if your goal is too far out of reach it could have the opposite effect.

  • Relevant: Why is this a goal you want to achieve?
  • Time: How long do you have to achieve your goal / what’s the deadline?

It’s worth relating your time targets to your achievable to determine how much time you have to improve.

Ben Barlow

Cycling coach at Apogee Performance

[email protected]

Team Riding –

Our own goals for 2024 include –

Tim – Local time trials, riding from Gibraltar Farm (his house nr Lancaster) to Gibraltar, starting the day after The Ram in April, exploring The Dolomites – Bergamo to Venice.

Lynn – Longer on and off-road rides, more overnight / multi day adventures + exploring France.

Bex – Qualify as a teacher+ organize Lancaster Cycling Club Centenary celebrations.

Steve – 3 x day Bob Graham walk, riding The Kintyre Way and Arran + Pics de Europa north of Spain.

Chris – Organize 4 x great events, ride Coast to Coast and back (various on and off road options) + lots more gravel and adventure rides.

Paul – Tweed Love Cycling Festival Enduro events, riding Wales C2C North to South + King Alfred’s Way.

lady cyclist

Let us know your own goals by e mail or on the Top Dog Events Facebook Group.

Have a great months riding.

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