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We would like to introduce two brave men JP Gibbons and Paul Gilmartin. Two men who are completely new to the world of cycling will attempt to complete the 80K route. They are currently completing the Westportif 80K training plan provided by FitScience.

We asked the lads a few questions:

What is your age?

JP: 36

Paul: 36

Have you ever done a sportif or long cycle before?

JP: No

Paul: No

How long have you been cycling?

JP: 3 weeks

Paul: 2 1/2 to 3 years

Paul have you ever been in a cycling club? No but I did go for cycles with a group when I was in Australia which consisted of Saturday spin up to 35 k

What is the furthest you have ever cycled?

JP: 36k (this morning)

Paul: 50k

On a scale of 1 to 10 how hard do you think Westportif will be for you? (0 being easy, 10 being life changing)

JP: 7 or 8

Paul:  6 ish

Are you following the FitScience training plan?

JP: As much as possible. Life gets in the way but FitScience told us that it was important to include hill work in our training and also trying to train on consecutive days to build up strength.

Paul: I agree, they also opened my eyes with some pointers around a good diet for training. I didn’t realize how important it was to eat directly after a training session. I am watching what I eat very carefully and I have noticed weight loss since starting the plan.

How is the plan going for you?

JP: I took up cycling because of a pre-existing knee injury so cycling helps me keep weight off my knee. I am also attending a nutritionist to help me with weight loss. I am really happy with my progress so far.

How is your knee holding up?  The lads in fit science set my bike up so it fits me really well and as a result I have no issues..

Paul: I am a bit disappointed in myself, the lads give us some really good pointers but I haven’t stuck to them.  I have not been getting out enough on the bike. I have however been looking very closely at my diet, but I need to start doing more work on the bike!

What is the one thing you have found the most difficult about preparing for Westportif?

JP: The saddle

Paul: The weather

What has been the most enjoyable thing about the plan so far?

JP: It’s great getting outside, clearing the head, getting fresh air and also seeing the improvement in fitness by challenging yourself and sticking to the plan. I won’t deny it has been tough it was really hard at the beginning but it is getting easier.

Paul: I enjoy spending time with my friend JP  and I also enjoy sharing my cycling knowledge with him. It also helps me because I’m getting out cycling more as a result.

JP: Oh yeah and there’s always a small bit of rivalry ha ha. We keep pushing one another, if I hear that Paul has been out training then I  know that I need to get out.

The plan is based on around 5 days week which is quite hard work, given you have jobs and family commitments, how many days have you actually been getting out?

JP: 3 days most weeks, a long cycle at the weekend and two short ones during the week. FitScience advised us that it’s important to get out for a spin during the week even if it’s only for an hour. Have a 15 minute warm up push yourself for 20 minutes maybe on hills or on the flat and then do a cool down for 15 minutes. If there is a hill close to where you live go up and down two or three times then do your cool down this only takes an hour. Make sure you push yourself in every session though.

Paul:  I aim go out three days a week and also do a run as well.  If I do any more than 3 sometimes my back hurts.

Are you doing the core work?

JP: No

Paul: No

What’s your greatest fear around Westportif?

JP:  Not being able to finish the 80K. Before this training plan I have done very little cycling so I was worried that it would be too much for me.

Paul: I just hope that myself and JP can finish together and that we finish comfortably.

To lads will keep us posted with updates as to how they are progressing through their plan.