Men's Health (UK) - - The Body Issue 2017 -

Time tri­als needn’t be lim­ited to a quick 20-minute sprint around the velo­drome, as this epic cross­county drive cer­tainly proves The St Austell Clay Pits Push, Corn­wall, cho­sen by Chris Opie, first Bri­tish rider to win the Ronde van Mid­den-ned­er­land, now rid­ing for Bike Channel Canyon

DIS­TANCE 125 miles TO­TAL CLIMB 2970m TAR­GET TIME 6-12 hours DIF­FI­CULTY 9/10 ROUTE LINK strava.com/ ac­tiv­i­ties/155871810

I wouldn’t rec­om­mend at­tempt­ing this on a whim; it’s a tough day out with re­fu­elling spots few and far be­tween. It takes me six hours at my best, but for an ama­teur, do­ing it in un­der 10 is an achieve­ment. Hav­ing said that, for an ex­pe­ri­enced rider, it’s an ideal train­ing ses­sion in the build up to a big race.

Start­ing near Truro and tak­ing in the St Austell clay pits, Bod­min Moor and the North Cor­nish Coast, this huge loop ri­vals the Tour’s ‘Grande Boucle’ while of­fer­ing up the tough­est ter­rain in the south­west. But it’s not with­out its re­wards; work­ing at an av­er­age of 280 watts, you’ll burn 6050 calo­ries over the course of the track – re­turn­ing nearly a kilo lighter (and in­fin­itely fit­ter).

If you do de­cide to tackle it, get a good break­fast down you. I like to have 180g por­ridge with 100g berries, plus a four-egg omelette. Usu­ally, I take four 750ml elec­trolyte drinks out with me, and aim to eat 80g of carbs and 15g of pro­tein for each hour I’m out. Pack­ing ba­con and egg with rice cakes is a good shout – they don’t taste half as bad as they sound, ei­ther.

There are a lot of hills through­out, with climbs rang­ing from 2-12 min­utes in length. But there are also a lot of flat, fast sec­tions that are great for sprints and claim­ing back pre­cious sec­onds. A par­tic­u­lar high­light for me has to be rid­ing over the eerie but peace­ful moors chased by a strong tail wind – there’s noth­ing quite like the feel­ing. The Rest Stop – The Sort­ing Of­fice café in St Agnes has a re­ally di­verse range of su­gar-free good­ies and the best cof­fee around. Opt for a large one. You’ll need it.


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