OQ Blogs

The Quince-essentials of what to take with you on a ride

Since 2012 I have been training with my Great Britain Transplant Cycling Team in Mallorca twice a year in the Spring and Autum to fit extra miles in away from the rigours of general busy life. This training has been an intergral part of my season giving my  team and I the chance to ride the beautiful lanes around the stunning countryside  and ride up in the Traumantana mountain range on infamous climbs such Sa Calobra (Col de Reiss), Puig Major, Soller and The Orient (Col d'honor) to name just a few of my favourites. 

Training in Mallorca has given me an increased confidence in my own riding ability and increased skills as well as given me the opportunity to ride on perfect asphalt roads in good riding conditions (I won't rub it in how lovely the weather is here compared to back in the UK as I actually really like having distinct seasons and love wrapping up warm in the winter, honest!) on stunning country roads that are used and respected by all road users, yes that's right very rarely do you get an angry car driver who wants to get somewhere 10 seconds quicker by cutting you up here, a short courteous 'beep' to let you know they are there as they pass giving you plenty of room - sounds nuts but hey that's what generally happens; the exception tend to be bloody foreigners who have rented cars! 

It's also meant I've got to meet some amazing people in and around the cycling industry; even though some of them I didn't quite recognise at first - remind me to tell you about the Sean Kelly story one day. This island is cycling paradise!

When I'm training abroad (or doing recons' abroad before international races with the GB Tx team) it has occurred to me that there are various items I carry on me that I might not necessarily take out on short training rides back home in the UK, so I wanted to share with you which items I stuff into my jersey pockets (and carry on my bike). 
I'm not sponsored by these products/brands (yet! You never know though after a few lovely words what might happen though huh?), I use them because I think they are the best for my individual needs and the best in their field.

(Top L-R)


Whatever you do stay hydrated, take two large bottles with you on rides, the heat and humidity can effect your hydration levels immensely, as well as when the temperature drops; when you get cold you still require high levels of hydration to maintain the body's homoeostasis/thermoregulation. 

On average you should be drinking between 500ml -1 litre or so every hour (yes that sounds like a lot doesn't it) The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend athletes drink 500mL of fluid solution (a mixture of 4-8% carbohydrates - sugars and electrolytes in water) one to two hours prior to an event or training, they also suggest during high intensity training/events that last longer than an hour you should be drinking 600-1200ml of such a fluid solution. 

Keeping on top of your hydration levels will help reduce fluid loss, maintain performance, maintain blood plasma fluid, reduce heat stress and aid recovery. You can check whether your hydration levels are adequate or not by checking your pee when you go to the toilet; yes as mad as it sounds the clearer and less fragrant your pee is the better! (see urine chart).

Nutrition - banana and bars. 

The two B's, this is a personal choice, before my kidney transplant I wasn't allowed banana's and missed them loads. Banana's have their own hygienic wrapper; the skin and contain potassium and loads of energy that is slow release so good for longer rides. I tend to take a bar with me too, normally some kind of cereal bar as I like to physically eat on rides; I don't get on particularly well with gels but that could just be me and the medication that I'm on, plus they get a bit messy and sticky. There are so many varieties of nutritional products on the market my top advice would be try out various ones and go with what you like the taste of and that doesn't give you a crazy dry mouth or the wind of a thousand camels!

Tissues - number 1's/number 2's.  

Pick a number any number...yes tissues are particularly good for us ladies when going for a number 1 or number 2 and for those who don't like doing snot rockets and like to blow their nose like a lady (we've all got those friends who have to stop to blow their nose - I know I have! don't worry I'm teaching them how to snot on the move).
Rain jacket/Race cape/ Kagool. Whatever you want to call it take it with you, always! Most decent cycling brands have small rain jackets that pack away really compact and can fit into your jersey pocket, not only are they good for the obvious protection when it rains but also great for keeping you warm on coffee stops and descending mountains. It gets a lot cooler up in the mountains and the last thing you want is the weather to change and your sweat turn cold. 

Inner tubes. 

Always carry at least two inner tubes. You've got two wheels and the likelihood of puncturing in both when you're only carrying one inner tube is ridiculously high, I think this is 'sod's bloody law!' if you get more than two punctures well....better get finding the nearest bike shop (the map I have has them listed!).


It is against the law not to carry ID on you in Spain and although this isn't true of other countries its very handy to have on you just in case of an emergency.

European Health card (E1 11). 

When travelling within the EU these cards are priceless; if you require emergency medical attention within EU countries this little bad boy will cover your medical expenses, including a scenic ambulance journey off of Puig Major and over Soller with Lou Reed Walk on The Wild side as the theme tune (I feel another blog coming on...).
Credit card. When you haven't got enough cash for that uber cool jersey that you have to HAVE NOW at the boutique cycling shop high in the mountains or if you need a bloody expensive taxi home or new tyres and only have enough Euro's for a slice of cake and a cafe con leche.

Multi tool. 

When things become a little loose and need tightening (on your bike of course!) altering particularly when you're riding a hire bike and although you have your exact measurements and set up on your smart phone it just doesn't quite feel right. All bikes have different geometries and may need tinkering with.

Garmin bike computer. 

This is the second Garmin I've owned, obviously there are other bicycle computers but I'm a 'Garmin girl' no I'm not sponsored by them but I like the simplistic set up and 'Otts friendly' set up. This one is the latest Garmin 520 it has some really sweet features like the Bluetooth connectivity; you can pair your smart phone with it so you can see when calls/text messages are coming through so you'll never miss a call from your Mum ever again (believe me I owe her big time!). You can also upload your ride data to Garmin Connect, Strava or Training Peaks immediately without having to plug it in to a laptop or PC.

Pocket pump. 

Keeping your forearms toned since the 1980's...oo err! I don't care what anyone says there is no way you can pump up a tyre up to the same level as a sturdy reliable track pump but they really are handy when you're out on the road, you'll be able to get up to 90+psi enough to get you home or to the nearest slice of almond cake. My 'Topeak Race Rocket Master Blaster' is great as it has an extendible hose that helps take stress off the valve stem when furiously pumping hard and you don't have to hold it on whilst pumping (oo err!!).

Tyre levers. 

Cheap and cheerful, without these it's back to the spoons like you did when you was a kid. The Park Tool signature blue tyre levels haven't broken yet! I've managed to break a couple of sets of other branded tyre levers in these big hands but these have lasted ages and at under £3 a pair worth every penny.

Electrolyte powder. 

When only water won't do. These handy little sachets of SiS electrolyte powder easily tuck away in your jersey pocket and can be added to your bidon drink mid ride or when you stop to refuel. When you sweat you lose key salts (electrolytes) which if not replenished can cause fatigue and cramp and no one wants that whilst out or when you return and involuntary standing occurs....PING! When your hamstrings and quads cramp at the same time!

Money - coins and notes. 

ALWAYS take both coins and notes, believe me grumpy man at The Orange Shack (who I'm sure is lovely really) hates having to change a 50 Euro note when coffees are 2.50! Carry a couple of notes too, the Euro notes are waterproof and my mate 'Big Dave' gave me a great tip; if you damage your tyre you can fold it up into quarter the size and put it inside to stop the inner tube herniating out till you get to the nearest bike shop - it works too!

Smart phone. 

Why would you not own one? Unless you're my mate 'Big Dave' who loves playing Snake and using his torch out on rides. Like most iPhone owners I haven't figured everything to do on mine yet but it's functions are endless especially Google Maps, checking Facebook, instagram, Twitter oh yeah and making telephone calls (NB. for emergencies call 112) or buy a BiciRescue recovery package and call them!

Waterproof pouch. 

A sandwich bag will do, but I lashed out a grand total of £2 on eBay and bought this flash waterproof pouch that I can put my phone in if it starts raining. 

Waterproof map. 

Most bike hire shops have these waterproof and tear-proof maps of the island, they're an essential item to carry and cover coffee tables pretty well too! I know my mates down at Pinarello Experience in  Puerto Pollensa sell them for about 7 Euros amongst all the other cool must have Tolos cycling kit.

Riding solo in cycling paradise

Yesterday's ride was perfect; the sun was shining it was late in the afternoon and still 15 degrees (a little cooler in the mountains) a solo ride out from Puerto Pollença over to Alcudia onto the stunning  'Reeds Road' S'Albufera to Sa Pobla - potato capital of Europe, round the ring road to Campanet. Up the crappy bumpy road to Selva then up and over Lluc to the Coll de Sabataia before the short climb onto the Coll de Femenia.

A quick can of Coke and a kind offer of a newspaper to tuck down the front of my jersey from The Repsol gas station dude for my descent as it was getting a bit chillier - down to 10 degrees (I had a jacket so I was good to go) then it was time to chase the sunset back into Puerto Pollensa.

80 kilometres clocked up in just under 3 hours. A few members of Team Sky (Christian Knees, Ian Bosswell et al) passed and those lovely GCN guys Matt Stephens & Dan Lloyd passed on the climb. Nice.

Another day riding on the beautiful island of Mallorca. 

If you're heading to Mallorca for some training/riding and would like me to be your guide for the day go to my contact page drop me a message and I can let you know prices including cake of course.
The Reeds Road (S'Albufera) from Alcudia to Sa Pobla.
Over to Campanet towards The Coves from Sa Pobla.
Time for an OQ selfie in my CC Luton club kit.
Colourful houses in Selva.
The start of the climb up to Lluc from Caimari.
The view over towards Puerto Pollensa on ride up the coll de Sabataia.
Beautiful asphalt roads in the Tramuntana mountains.
Repsol garage and restaurant, best almond cake con queso!
Catching the sunset on way home to Puerto Pollensa.
GB Tx Cycling Team still number one in the world? (of course!!!)

I was very fortunate to represent my country once again this summer at the 2015 World Transplant games in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. This time I was captain and very proud too!
Check out the GB Tx Cycling blog below to find out how we all got on.

Lucky me? No just work hard and it'll pay off...

Lately I've been told I'm lucky? No, not really looking back at how my life has gone so far it's been far from lucky, but I do feel very fortunate to work in two jobs that I love. 

Firstly working for myself as a sports therapist after working full time as a teacher and then part time as a sports therapist at the same time, working long days building up my client base over 8 years before making the exciting/ some what scary jump to full time sports therapist. 

Secondly working freelance as a co-commentating/moto reporter in cycling. This is the second year of working in cycling and today I got to meet my cycling hero again...Sir Bradley Wiggins whilst working on this year's Tour of Qatar for BEINSports. I first got into cycling after my kidney transplant in 2007 http://m.bbc.com/sport/cycling as a way of becoming fitter as I was no longer allowed to play football (due to the position of my new kidney in my lower abdomen, the doctors said it was too risky and I may get injured easily and damage my only kidney).when I started cycling I would go out for up to 30 minutes on my bike in the Bedfordshire countryside and I could barely complete half a spin class in the gym, seven and a half years on I'm training as much as I can and love all things cycling. Back in 2012 during the Tour de France Sir Bradley Wiggins inspired me to do more on my bike, I started to take part in local 10 mile time trials as well as track racing too. The man is the epitome of coolness!

Here's some photos from today's stage of The Tour of Qatar, stage three the individual time trial.....(when I get time I'll put together a blog of both the women's & men's tour of Qatar, promise!).

BEInSports, Doha, Qatar

After arriving in Qatar to work on the Women's and Men's Tour of Qatar my colleague and I Marty MacDonald were given a tour of BEINSports HQ. We were shown around the offices, meeting rooms and studios. What an incredible place! Here's some photos of just some of the studios.....ps they love the colour purple (no not the film!) 

NBA Studio
African Cup Studio
Champions League Studio

Photos from the race...

Photographs from the Woolly MAMIL winter series women's E/1/2/3/4 Crit race on Saturday 17th January 2015. Thanks to Gareth Evans, David Perry & Rich Smith for your pictures guys. For more information regarding the winter series check out the MAMIL Cycling site http://www.mamilcycling.co.uk
More photos from Saturday's races click here - David Perry

Points on the board...

A very cold early start on Saturday morning for my drive from Luton, Bedfordshire up to Stourport Sports Club in Worstershire for the first of the MAMIL cycling Wooly MAMIL winter series Crit races.

The snow held off and thankfully the circuit had managed to defrost in time for the Women's E/1/2/3/4 Crit race (with a little help from the awesome guys at MAMIL Cycling and a lot of grit too). One minor change was put in place for our race as the top hairpin corner was still pretty dicey so the circuit was cut a bit shorter, it still had two good corners, a little wind and a good drag up to the finish line all added to the equation. 

This was a great day for me as a year ago at the same venue, was my very first Crit race against 'normal' cyclists, yes you guys who have all the right organs in all the right places. I remember being incredibly nervous not knowing what to expect seeing the other girls rock up looking incredibly athletic and technically awesome on their bikes. I started the race like I do in everything in life; extremely enthusiastic trying to hide my nerves. I managed to only hold onto the main group for probably about 3 minutes before getting spat out the back riding on my own looking for someone to buddy up with to share the effort to try to gain ground where possible. 
This time round, a year on, a year's worth of training, lots more incredible coaching from my Coach (Rich Smith) and an incredible amount of educating myself in the art of race craft and group riding (my Coach always says be the scholar of your sport) I was able to stay in the main group putting a few (small I know!) efforts on the front and managed to finish in the points coming in at 8th. The field of riders was of a great standard, being a E/1/2/3/4 race is always hard as the range of ability both in terms of fitness, technical ability and effort ranges massively, but as a cat' 4 rider I know it's hard work and we all have to start some where, so trying to put some kind of effort in during the race was good being fairly new to it all still and getting some points early on to my British Cycling licence certainly made me smile. It was also great to catch up with the riders after the race especially riders I've met before at previous races and riders that are new to racing, to hear what they felt of the race was good.

The guys at MAMIL yet again put an incredible day of racing on, with well over 100 riders turning up on an extremely cold Saturday morning in January shows just how cycling is developing at all levels not just Women's cycling; the Men's 4th cat' race was great to watch and finding out it's fully booked for the whole series is brilliant (there's even a list of reserves waiting for people not to show up!). 

Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped the day run so smoothly. I'm now looking forward to seeing you all again next Saturday for more competitive, fun racing and hopefully some more points (and a little bit closer to getting my 3rd cat' licence). 

In the press...

The Kempston Calling local newspaper have a feature on my cycling this week before I head out to Qatar to work as co-commentator on the ASO event; The Women's and Men's tour of Qatar. Thanks to Amy Honeywell for the write up!

2015 what a year and it's only week one!

The first week of 2015 has been a very exciting one here at OQ Sports Therapy and also in terms of my cycling ventures too.

It's been great to see my super motivated clients who are continuing their rehabilitation and fitness work, aiming to smash their New Year's goals and be injury free so that they can progress with their sports and hobbies in 2015.

My training has been non stop over the Christmas break working hard to build on the success of last year's European Championships.

My Coach (@RecycledRich) has increased my training load and we've put together my race schedule for this year focusing on Crit races across the country and of course my main aim this year - The World Transplant games in Argentina in August.

Some of you may or may not know that I had the honour of becoming the Great Britain Transplant Cycling Team's captain at the end of last year which makes Argentina even more important to me, to lead my team out and captain such a great team will be amazing (lots of medals to come back home too - no doubt!)  and to compete in both the road race and time trial to defend my double world titles and hopefully win the consecutive triple (double) golds.

This week I was also flabbergasted (yes I swore a fair bit!) when I found out I had been nominated and even shortlisted for the Total Women's Cycling Awards for 2015. I still can't quite believe I'm a finalist for Cycling Personality for 2015, what's even more crazy is I'm amongst my heros and true legends in cycling, the likes of Giorgia Bronzini, Laura Trott, Rochelle Gilmore et al. 

We've also had the amazing guys over at 3 Legs Cycling (@3LC) http://3lc.tv
support the Great Britain Transplant Cycling Team (@GBTxCyclist). They have provided all 15 of the GB riders who will be competing in Mar de Plata in Argentina in August with their awesome training DVDs to make training when the weather's poor really fun (well super tiring!) indoors on our turbo trainers. Thanks so much guys! 
If you want to help the team out or want to find out more about us check out our website;

There's more exciting news to come in the next few weeks which I'll be sure to tell you all about!

Ottilie :-) 

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