• Southend Triathlon 2019

    Sundried Southend Triathlon 2019

    Southend Triathlon is returning for its third year on Sunday 16th June 2019. The route is reverting back to that of the 2017 race with an open road bike course around the quiet country lanes of Great Wakering and Barling.

    Southend Triathlon 2019 information advice Sundried

    For 2019, Southend Triathlon will be capped at 400 competitors and the race will be set off in waves of 50 competitors according to ability with the faster athletes starting first. Registration will be available the day before, Saturday 15th June, as well as on the day. The first swim wave will start the race at 10:30am and all competitors are expected to have finished by 2pm.

    The Swim

    The swim is a 750m route in the open water of the Thames Estuary. Wetsuits may not be mandatory but they are very strongly advised as wearing one aids with buoyancy and could increase your speed! The swim starts at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Shoeburyness and is an out-and-back route parallel to the shoreline. 

    The Bike

    The bike is a 20km cycle out from Shoeburyness and into Great Wakering and Barling. All participants must adhere to the highway code. There will be marshals on route and anyone caught flouting these rules will be instantly disqualified.

    There is a set of traffic lights on the bike course which will be marshaled throughout the race. If you are stuck at a red light, don't worry, you will be awarded a time bonus at the end of the race.

    The Run

    The run follows the same route as the 2018 race and is 3 laps of Gunner's Park on the Garrison. A beautiful, traffic-free run will take you to the finish line back by Uncle Tom's Cabin.

    For more information and a full FAQ please visit www.southendtriathlon.com

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • The Virgin Strive Challenge 2018

    Virgin Strive Challenge 2018 cycling charity

    August 31st 2018 and it’s 40 degrees in Cagliari, Sardinia. I’m back on the road bike. To be entirely honest, I only ever pick up a road bike for the Virgin Strive Challenge. It started back in 2014 when I was asked to join Sam Branson on his inaugural ‘Strive’ for Big Change. Sam wanted 9 other people to join him in the core team going from the O2 in London to the top of the Matterhorn under human power only. And so we did.

    We ran to Dover, rowed the Channel, cycled to Verbier, hiked to Zermatt, and climbed the Matterhorn. I tell you what; earlier that year, at home with 2 kids and my own fitness business the thought that I could have achieved something like this in a 4 week period was beyond my wildest dreams. Not only was it an amazing physical challenge (especially for a non cyclist) but it was a month to be me…. Lara…. Not mum, wife, PT, sister, daughter….. total freedom doing what I love – exercise outdoors and for a youth charity.

    Virgin Strive Challenge 2016 Launch charity fundraising cycle sport

    2016 dawned. And with it a new Strive Challenge. Bigger, further, harder. And three times as much cycling. I had to say yes through gritted teeth because I knew I could not say no. Our first day in September 2016 took us straight up to over 3000m as we hiked from the Matterhorn into Northern Italy. 5 days later we started our 15 days of cycling – over 160km a day to cover the length of Italy. There is not enough space in this blog to describe how tough this was; to describe the roller coaster of emotions, highs and lows; to describe the stunning views and heat but also the pot holes, the dogs, the Italian drivers and who knew there were HUGE hills in the ‘toe’ of Italy. 15 days on the bike and over 3,000km later and I had no words left. I am not sure where or who I was but I knew we still had to swim to Sicily, mountain bike to Etna and run up it. And we did.

    I guess you know what’s coming next? Ah yes. 2018. The Strive Challenge continues. I was honoured to be asked to be the Official Fitness Partner for the challenge and responsible for putting together the 16 week training schedule to get the core team ready for their four-week journey from Sardinia to the top of Mont Blanc via a combination of cycling, kayaking, sailing, hiking and climbing. I joined the team for Stage One this year; cycling 400km and kayaking for 2 days to reach the north of Sardinia.

    As I write, the core team have just reached the summit of Mont Blanc and to be honest we are lucky to have Sir Richard and Sam Branson still with us.

    Virgin Strive Challenge

    Since the challenge started in 2014, I have covered 5,500km (not including the training mileage) raised about £45k for Big Change and I am a better person, a better trainer and better prepared to always challenge myself

    About the author: Lara Milward is a fitness coach, co-founder of Blitz Fitness and Sundried ambassador

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Cycling Alp d'Huez On A Post Bike By Luke Elgar

    cycling bikes Alps mountain fitness challenge

    For quite a few years a group of us have been taking on somewhat 'out there' challenges for charity. They are usually Royal Mail-themed due to the majority of us being postmen and women. From carrying the mail barrows to each of the 3 peaks (Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike) to cycling various distances on the 3-speed Pashley post bikes, we have almost exhausted every sensible idea.

    With that in mind, this year we decided to push the boundaries - surely we're the first to conquer Alp d'Huez on 25kg bicycles built for delivering post? The idea had been put forward and without a lot of thought, four of us had the “you only live once” moment and agreed that this was the event for the year.

    I think between us we all had doubts about the suitability of the bikes and whether our legs would be able to turn the smallest of the 3 internal hub gears up the unforgiving gradient of Alp d'Huez. However, we all kept our doubts to ourselves in fear of being the party pooper of the group. Fundraising started slowly but as the trip approached and we began to post pictures of our bikes deconstructed to fit onto the roof of the car, people saw that we were both serious and stupid meaning support poured in.

    bike cycling riding mountain France

    Our journey to the Alps in Southern France was a lot more enjoyable as every email notification was another GoFundMe message of generosity and encouragement. The last 12 kilometres to our hotel, however, sent us all cold and silent as we climbed what lay ahead of us the following day. From the car, we witnessed a climb which never seemed to let off and with every hairpin seemed instantly steeper as you exited the turn in the road. Winding up the mountain to the ski lodge at the top we slowly broke our collective silence about our lack of faith in the bikes and our legs. A quick pint and a pizza were probably not Geraint Thomas's recipe for success but these five days were before his victory so we knew who not to email for advice.

    cycling riding challenge charity fundraising event

    Thanks to the timing of our trip coinciding with the Tour de France (albeit missing the stage by a week), we were delighted to see fans in mobile homes readily plotted well in advance to secure prime viewing as the pros struggled on one of the race's most infamous summit finishes. As we rolled down the mountain the following morning - breaks firmly gripped throughout - we were greeted with looks of bafflement and amusement from Dutch, Belgian and other cycling enthusiasts alike. Being passed by slender Frenchmen on life savings' worth of carbon fibre gave us no confidence as we continued down to the start for what seemed like an eternity.

    Gathered at the bottom at around 9 in the morning, the sun was already making itself known and we quickly decided to crack on before we got too comfortable. All the nerves and doubts were there right up to around the second hairpin out of twenty one. I settled into a rhythm and realised quite early that the bike's gearing was fantastically suited and that despite its continuous climbing with no flattening at any point, the smallest gear in which I stayed for its entirety was up to the challenge. The climb in places reached 12% gradient and didn't dip under 8% from start to finish, however knowing that the bike was up to the challenge I had the comfort of knowing it was all down to our fitness. We have all competed in multiple triathlons ranging from sprint distance to Ironman, meaning that the base fitness was there but had we worked hard enough? And how was our hill climbing?

    Around 8km up we hit what is known as Dutch corner where mobs of Tour De France fans swarm the riders in their patriotic orange garments. Despite the pros not arriving for another week, camper vans were already parked and music was pumping from a tangerine gazebo. This was our only break to quickly regroup, refill our drink bottles, and take an energy gel. The last push was noticeably hotter as altitude meant less tree shade and long drags of raising tarmac lay ahead.

    As we hit the summit, the winter ski resort became a Lycra-clad paradise with cafes and cycling boutiques. Fortunately, the bars remain bars and we re-hydrated alongside a French Harley Davidson festival. Ideas for our next challenge have already been bounced around but we are always open to input.

    About the author: Luke Elgar is a full-time postman, triathlete, and Sundried ambassador.

    Posted by Guest Account