A new Venture: Project Donkey pt 2

It is always great to make a few notes as an end of season review. It helps give focus when building for the coming season. Here Sportstest coaching Alex Taylor gives an honest and useful review of the season.

If you have done something similar we would love to hear from you….

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey

I’m writing this now having finished my last main event of the year. It’s been a brilliant year for me, I’ve learnt so much, met some great people and got fitter than I ever thought I could. I wanted to wait until now to have a good overall perspective. This is a long post for me. Bear with it.

End of 2015

At the end of part 1 I explained how I had gotten a little bored and was looking at a new challenge. I didn’t want to go back to bunch racing due to the risks. I was finding the training for Time Trialling a little dull.

I’d been to Aerocoach for a session there to get me more aero, resulting in potential savings of around 30seconds over 10 miles, however I never got to ride the new position on the road as I managed to defect my bike…

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3 Peaks – Crazy Race!

Sportstest RT

In a moment of madness back in June, when I was probably still zoned out on morphine and cocodamol, I put my name into the hat to get a start at the 3 Peaks Cyclocross race. I didn’t necessarily expect to get a place, with both suitable demonstration of experience and a little bit of luck required for first timers. But a few weeks later the email arrived confirming my place.

It was always going to be a stretch to get ready, with a few hurdles in the way first. I didn’t touch my cross bike until I got back from Haute Route, so although the endurance fitness was there in bucket loads, the technical skill required to get down each of the 3 Peaks safely probably wasn’t. And with ‘normal’ cross season starting in parallel (grassy cornering doesn’t really compare to gnarly rocky descents that go on for ever)…

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Good days and bad days

Midway through the Haute Route, Sportstest coached Karen Poole shares her highs and lows…

Sportstest RT

So somehow 4 days of Haute Route has already been and gone. And despite my best intentions of blogging every day, this will be my first full update. The logistics of moving hotel almost every day, finding wifi, plus the oh so critical recovery has got in the way.

With recovery in mind, I shall keep this brief. The title of the blog kind of says it all really.

We started from Anglet near Biarritz on Saturday, with a rolling stage into the foothills of the Pyrenees and finishing up the brutal Pierre St Martin climb. To make it even tougher, the rain decided to fall, making road surfaces slippery and some sketchy moments. I made several conscious decisions to sit up, letting groups push on, knowing I needed to spare my legs not just for the climbs at the end of the stage but for the remaining 6 days…

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Le Tour….l’offre…

Well it’s that special time of year again when both cycling and non-cycling fans tune in to watch the daily drama of the Tour de France. This year could have been rather dull and tedious (despite the stunning scenery), but seems to be turning into one of excitement.


Froome’s “unusual” descending technique….dangerous or pure genius?


Whether you consider rather unusual tactics of Froome to be fantastic, unsafe, or just spectacular, he has certainly set the GC alight. Likewise, after yesterday’s epic breakaway by Sagan (and Froome) can Cav get the Green Jersey back….and will he last the Tour, or drop out in favour of the forthcoming Olympics???  That brings us to the Ventoux….wow!!!

Whatever your views of this year’s Tour, we hope it has inspired you to get fitter, faster, stronger and leaner!

However, to help motivate you further we are offering a massive 20% discount on testing for the four weeks following the Tour. Simply log on to our booking site (www.sportstest.me) and use the discount code “FASTER” to make the most of this offer, regardless of whether you are a cyclist, runner or triathlete!

Want to know more  about how our services can help, then check out our previous blog on what the testing will tell you (or contact us directly), and make the most of this offer!  You may not ride like a Tour rider (or even be a cyclist), but will we certainly get you in your best possible shape!

Look forward to hearing from you soon


A new venture pt 1: Operation Donkey

Some great musings from Alex Taylor as we turn him from donkey into a race horse and then…

Alex Taylor - Project: Donkey


At the start of 2014 I was lost. My training was going nowhere. I had enjoyed doing some sessions on the track and had managed to get my Accreditation at Manchester Velodrome however I felt like I was going backwards.

Back in 2009 I’d been to see Dr Garry Palmer at http://www. Sportstest.co.uk as I’d got a free session through Cyclepowermeters when buying my first powertap.

I remember it being an enlightening experience, made a fair bit of progress (resulting in me winning the Macclesfield Wheelers 10 mile TT handicap trophy in 2011.)

However following my broken back/shoulder in 2011, in 2012 I was lost again. In 2013 I started doing a bit on the track and a couple of club time trials but I was very poor. I was going nowhere.

It took me until February 2014 to ‘remember’ about Garry’s services. So I booked in for…

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A Picture Says A Thousand Words – European Championships 2016 — jamesphillipstriathlon

At Sportstest we are really proud to be working with James Phillips. We hope you will enjoy his thoughts on what we think is an awesome performance at the European Sprint Triathlon Championships…

I’m on the plane back from my second European Championships, was it a successful trip? If you’d asked me before I left if I’d be happy to come back with a Silver medal I would of said of course a Silver would be great – but why not a Gold? I like to think I’m […]

via A Picture Says A Thousand Words – European Championships 2016 — jamesphillipstriathlon

The Evolution of Sportstest RT

From small acorns, mighty oaks grow!

The start has been a bumpy one, with Karen crashing today and breaking her collar bone. This will need to be operated on, and plated, but whilst it may slow progress, it certainly won’t halt it.

We wish Karen a speedy recovery, and look forward to working with her and anyone else who may be interested in racing for Sportstest 🙂

Sportstest RT

From the outside looking in, it may appear like quite a strange decision for me to leave a perfectly good women’s cycling team half way through a season in favour of essentially becoming a solo rider. Yet the concept of riding in Sportstest colours is much older than that.

When I first started racing back in 2011, I found road racing very hard. I spent a lot of time getting dropped when the pace ramped up after attacks. Garry and I started working together at that time, and I think I am unrecognisable from the rider I was then to the rider I am now. Garry’s method just works for me. Maybe it’s because I have a logical and scientific mind and just understand the principles he preaches. Maybe it’s because I work hard. But having someone in the background who just believes in you is essential to the growing…

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Tat-too go faster!


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Apologies, it has been an age since my last blog!  Life has been really busy: early season fitness testing, training camps, and coaching all take a large amount of my time, however, I also like to keep in touch with my academic background, and over the past few months I have been involved in a fairly large research project…..


It’s not unusual to see elite athletes with tattoos….is there some link with performance?


At present I am unable to reveal full results as we are undergoing the standard peer-review processes that all good academic papers have to be subjected to before they are published to the scientific community.  However, my co-authors have agreed that I can share some of the current finding as we may be looking to expand this work and may need further victims (sorry, I mean subjects).

So what have we been looking at, and what are the results…. Continue reading

Best laid schemes of mice and men (aka the Dambuster Duathlon)

The last chance to enter the 2016 Dambuster Duathlon is tomorrow at noon! Here are my thoughts from the 2015 event….what a lot has happened in the past 12 months.

Hope to see you there (athletes, marshalls and spectators) all welcome!!!!!


What had I done? I’d only gone and entered a duathlon! They hurt even more than triathlon! To add insult to injury I hadn’t raced a multisport event since Ironman Austria (10:30:32) in 2010!

Rutland Water Rutland water makes a perfect race location

That said, I did my first triathlon back in 1987 and made the GB age-group team for Lausanne in 2006 so I am no newcomer. But recurrent injury (now I am getting older and falling apart) has meant for the past few years I have mostly enjoyed cycling events (such as La Marmotte and Paris-Roubiax sportive events), and as coach and exercise physiologist with Sportstest, helping others achieve their own aims.

So the aim for the Dambuster was to get round in one piece, enjoy the experience (haha), and remind myself of the course for the Dambuster Triathlon. Following a recent parkrun event I decided to target 42 mins…

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