Sundried ambassador John Fitzgerald from Fitzedgear completes 467km distance to celebrate the 117th anniversary of the inaugural stage of the Tour de France on his 1940s fixed gear bike.
So after weeks of building up an 80 year-old frame with parts from eBay and anywhere else I could find them, the 1st of July arrived. The 1st of July is significant because it marks the 117th anniversary of the inaugural stage of the 1903 Tour de France.
Ever since I first heard of the Tour de France, I decided I wanted to do the 467km distance they covered on my vintage bike. The original start time was 3.16pm, so I lined up at the canal with a few minutes to go as the pocket watch on my moustache handlebars ticked down to 3.16pm. As I set off, the excitement of what was ahead and the historic significance of the time and date was going around in my head, so much so that 2 minutes passed before I started my GPS.
As I settled in, I realised I had a long way to go. The area I picked was the canal in loais, Ireland with many back roads and routes so I constantly changed routes and directions so as not to get too familiar with any one loop. Strangely, after 24 hours, 48 minutes, and 50 seconds, all routes look familiar!
After 10pm, with the night shift coming in and 140km done, I put on my high visibility jacket but then took it straight back off to put on my rain jacket as it began to rain and continued to rain for the next 6 hours. By the time the sun started to come back up it was 4.30am; I was tired as the night and rain had drained most of the power out of my legs. I was on 235km (roughly half way) and felt broken. I knew I could go on but that feeling of how fresh I had been at 3.16pm heading into the first 235km and then the realisation of how I was now feeling did play some mind games on me.
I carried on and, like a solar panel, I could feel my battery recharge as the sun came out. At 11am, the 300km mark was passed and it was a strange moment. I have done full Ironman triathlon in the past and the cycle stage of 180km is hard, but somehow with 167km to go on this adventure I persuaded myself I was nearly there. I still hadn't got my speed up to where I wanted to be but I was feeling good.
My bike is a 1940s track bike built up to be a path racer with a 16t fixed gear. A fixed gear is a bike with no freewheel so if you stop cycling, the bike stops moving. I like that about fixed gear bikes as when you have finished your cycle, when you look at the distance travelled you know you pedalled every single one of the metres shown.
At around 4pm I entered into the last 100km. At this point I really persuaded myself I was nearly done and at one of my food stops, which was at the wall of my house, my two children ran out to meet me with an excitement of "are you finished?" I could tell if I had been finished they had something planned, but unfortunately I had to say no. After saying goodbye to my children, I rang my wife who informed me they had made up a poster for the finish. A quick calculation told me I'd be finishing at 10pm - a good bit after my 3 year-old's bedtime - so a quick plan to do a fake finish at 8pm was hatched. I continued to cycle and was feeling good, but still with a lower speed than I had hoped.
8pm arrived and I was met on the road by my family with a giant "bravo papa" sign and a drawing of a bicycle with a sun and moon. It was amazing to see them but it would have been a lot better if I was returning home with them and heading to bed. Unfortunately I had 40km still to do, but the break, which had been the longest of the trip, had given me my legs back so I powered on and the last 40km seemed to fly by. I felt as strong as I did 31 hours earlier.
At 10.37pm, after 467km, I finished my anniversary of the inaugural stage of the Tour de France. I would have been placed 33rd out of the 60 starters but remembering I did it on modern roads not the dirt tracks these early pioneers did it on. The winner of this stage and overall winner was Maurice Garin who did the stage in 17 hours 45 minutes 13 seconds, averaging 27km/h.
Would I do it again? Yes! Am I going to do something different? Yes! As I was doing it, I hatched a plan to complete the Mizan to Malin bottom-to-top of Ireland and since completing my 1903 challenge I haven't found anyone who has done it on a fixed gear 80 year-old bike so this could be next. As someone once said, "if you want to be the best in your field, make it a small field."
Having a strong core is one of the most important parts of being fit and healthy. Whether you're male, female, young, old, we all need to have a strong core to be able to function well in other movements and to thrive in daily life. It's more than just having a six-pack or a toned tummy, a strong core goes much deeper and so you'll need to spend time working on it. Here are some key exercises and movements that you should incorporate into your weekly training to make sure yours is on point.
This is a classic exercise that most of us have done at one point in our lives - whether voluntarily or not! The plank targets deep into the core and works all of the abdominal muscles, not just the superficial ones. Make sure you keep your shoulders over your elbows and suck your stomach inwards and upwards throughout the hold. Practice this move as often as you can and see if you can beat your previous time. To work your core even more, try this variation.
This movement is one of the biggest strength exercises you can do as it targets almost every muscle group in the body. As it is weighted, the added resistance works your core more than just do basic ab exercises and you'll feel a real difference. This exercise also works your back so you will get more benefits. Keep your back straight throughout the lift and keep your stomach locked in tight for best results.
This is a gym-based exercise which requires some resistance from a cable machine. If you don't have access to a gym, you can also do this exercise with a resistance band. Hold one handle with both hands and stand away from the machine. Lock your abs tight and twist away from the weights. Squeeze your stomach inwards and feel the burn!
As a cardio exercise, most people probably wouldn't consider this to work their core. As the weight swings up into the air, squeeze your abs and feel them working. Make sure you sit into a deep squat and keep your back straight.
This is another exercise that you probably wouldn't usually consider to be a core exercise. If you do your press ups properly, you should feel your core working throughout. Keep your head in line with your spine and don't look down at the floor. Suck your stomach upwards throughout the movement and drop as low as you can each time. Try not to let your legs and back raise up into the air and keep a smooth line.
It is now easier than ever to choose fair trade, sustainable clothing instead of opting for cheap, fast fashion which is bad for both the environment and the people in the production chain. We take a closer look at the best eco friendly products when buying sustainable clothing.
Biodegradable Fitness Tops
The t-shirt in the photo above looks pretty unremarkable, doesn't it? A quality white t-shirt which is stretchy, comfortable, and features performance technology such as sweat wicking and anti odour. Well, that's not so hard to find, right? What if I told you that the t-shirt in the photo is actually biodegradable, and instead of laying in landfill for the next century, it would decompose naturally in three short years? Pretty incredible!
The t-shirt in question is the Eco Tech women's fitness top by Sundried and is made from the world's first biodegradable polyamide yarn. In a world of fast fashion, we rarely think about where our clothes end up once we throw them out. Do they get recycled? Do they get given to the homeless? Not really. In fact, 85% of textil waste ends up in landfill where it will stay for hundreds of years, taking up space and hurting the environment.
Instead, why not invest in a technical, performance-enhance biodegradable fitness t-shirt such as the Sundried Eco Tech women's fitness top? It features some of the world's best performance qualities so is perfect for running, cycling, yoga, Pilates, gym workouts, and all number of sports.
Bamboo is a natural, organic raw material which is sustainable and perfect for clothing as well as accessories like gloves. Bamboo is an eco-friendly replacement for plastic as it is renewable and can be replenished quickly. Bamboo grows extremely quickly – some species up to a metre a day! – which means it's perfect for harvesting at high rates for turning into textiles and is easily renewable. When it comes to greenhouse emissions, bamboo minimises CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
There are now lots of different brands and companies who use bamboo as a raw material for their textiles, including Sundried. It has many advantages over cotton and hopefully will be used more widely as time goes on.
Organic workout clothes
When you think organic, chances are you think about food. Organic food is not treated with pesticides and organic meat, dairy and poultry comes from animals which have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics.
Organic textiles are clothing made from materials raised in or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Organic clothing may be composed of materials like cotton or jute. Sundried's yoga mat is made from organic jute fibre which is a vegetable fibre similar to hemp or flax. Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibres, second only to cotton in the amount produced and variety of uses. This means it is an excellent choice for textiles and products like the Sundried yoga mat as well as products like yoga clothes.
It was announced today that USA Triathlon and the Professional Triathletes Organisation have joined forces with Challenge North America to be part of its iconic Challenge Daytona race at Daytona International Speedway on December 4th, 5th and 6th. The three-day triathlon festival will attract athletes from around the world to compete at the “World Centre of Racing” and will feature an array of different events, including age-grouper sprint and middle-distance events, junior challenges, a Pro-Am relay and will culminate with a PTO Middle Distance World Championship Race with a $1,000,000 prize purse for the world’s top professional triathletes.
William Christy, CEO of Challenge North America said, “In often a divided world, triathlon has been a unifying force for athletes across the globe. We come together to compete as a family of global athletes. The global pandemic has displaced athletes and cancelled races and now more than ever, our world needs to unite. Our festival allows us to cheer and compete for a shared cause.”
Charles Adamo, PTO Chairman, said “The PTO is pleased to be able to work with the USA Triathlon and Challenge Daytona to support the triathlon community to provide race opportunities for athletes. Since many professional events have been cancelled and some races rescheduled without a professional prize purse, the PTO is committing $1,000,000 of prize money for the PTO Middle Distance World Championship.”
In addition, the PTO Championships on December 6th, the Challenge Daytona Festival weekend will include a wide array of events catering to athletes of all ages and abilities. The event weekend is anticipated to host the following events:
- PTO Middle Distance World Championships
- Sprint and Middle-Distance Triathlons
- Junior Challenge kids’ race
- Pro Am Relay Race
- 5K/10K run/walk events
- Relay categories
- Duathlon and Aquabike events
The top six male and female finishers in each Middle-Distance Triathlon age group will qualify for entry in The Championship, to be held in May 2021 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.
Zibi Szlufcik, Challenge Family President of the Board, commented, “While there is still uncertainty associated with the effects of the global pandemic, we know that planning, preparation and hope must continue for the triathlon community. Our teams are busy making the necessary preparations for what we all hope will be a tribute to our sport.”
About Challenge North America
Challenge North America is led by athletes to enhance race experience for athletes and their families. Their mission is to advance the sport with family-friendly, professionally managed and family inspired races for all ages and all race abilities. Challenge North America is extending the legacy of Challenge Family to the North American triathlon market. With the experience of almost 40 full and middle distances in 26 different countries, Challenge North America has founded a new hallmark event at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, home of “The Great American Race”—the Daytona 500, and voted “Best New Race” 2018 by Triathlete Magazine.
About Challenge Daytona
Are you ready to swim, bike, and run at the “World Centre of Racing”? From December 4th- 6th, 2020, Daytona International Speedway will welcome triathletes and triathlon fans from around the world to Challenge Daytona. Named “Best New Race” 2018 by Triathlete Magazine, the entire festival of events will take place at the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, home of “The Great American Race”—the Daytona 500.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon in the United States, as well as duathlon, aquathon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and para-triathlon. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multi-sport organisation in the world.
In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About The Professional Triathletes Organisation
The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity representing the body of professional triathletes and seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who are a part of the triathlon community.
Ethan is a young triathlete who has big hopes for the future. He talks to Sundried about the highs and lows of racing.
How did you first get into triathlon?
My triathlon journey started back in 2012 when the Olympics were on and I watched the triathlon. I saw the Brownlee brothers and aspired to be like them one day. I entered a local triathlon, came 3rd, and the rest is history.
What's been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race was definitely Eton Dorney Banana Man triathlon as I didn’t have the best of swims but I managed to sit on the front of the pack on the bike and made up 1.15 minutes and caught the leaders resulting in 12th place.
And your proudest achievement?
I’m really proud of achieving a top 20 finish in the GC this year for the super series triathlon.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
Last year, my first race in Wales was an 8-hour drive to the venue and I managed to come out of the swim with a bust lip and I lost a tooth. I placed 36th. This was a big shock so I came back from that race and trained hard for the next one, knowing that the standards of racing were high.
Then two years ago I faced a broken collarbone, setting me back 12 weeks on the super series performance assessment weekend. I also broke my wrist at a national cycle series race around Newcastle towards the end of last season forcing me to miss out on one of the last races of the season.
What are your goals?
For 2020, if the season does go ahead, I hope to qualify for super league triathlon and represent the country.
Who inspires you?
Someone who inspires me a lot is Tim Don as he has had major set backs and I can relate.
What do you like about Sundried?
I like Sundried because they use recycled fabrics. I find this to be a great gap in the market for sportswear as it is environmentally-friendly. I especially like the cycle clothing as it is smart and comfortable.