Meet Iona, The 2018 Touro Training Challenge Test Pilot and Blogger

Along with our go-to training guru Phil Mack, we’ve been looking for someone to take on this year’s Touro training challenge – and then tell the world about how they got on (or didn’t get on, as the case may be!).

This year’s training is aimed at riders who already enjoy their bikes, but either want to improve their performance, or want to step up to the challenge of an event like Tour O The Borders.

Step forward Iona MacArthur, who (after a certain amount of friendly persuasion!) agreed to take this all on and share the ups and downs with the world via an online blog. Iona is a busy professional, and like lots of folk has trouble fitting this kind of sport and ‘looking-after-our-fitness’ activity into the weekly schedule. We know she’s concerned about whether she can manage it, but chapeau to you Iona, and good luck! Now it’s over to you…

About me…. I work as Regional Sales Manager for Crieff and Peebles Hydro hotels and have decided to take on the Touro Challenge after getting a road bike recently and getting a taste for cycling. This will be a huge challenge for me, and in particular fitting the training into my very busy schedule.

Training Plan – Having received the training plan from Phil Mack, my first thought was – how am I going to manage to fit this into my current lifestyle? I work long hours and spend a lot of time commuting with a 1.5-2 hour drive each way to work, leaving at 7am and returning at 7pm. This is going to take a bit of work from my side and a re-thinking of how I manage my schedule to fit it all in.

My first thought is to take my bike to work and, with the longer summer nights I will manage to fit in one evening ride per week, and I’ll also try fitting cycling into my daily schedule by cycling to meetings, to meet with friends and, to the gym instead of driving.

Looking at the breakdown of Phil’s plan and living in Edinburgh I’m lucky enough to have plenty of routes out of the city for the longer rides and I have found the perfect spot for my hill repeats – Arthur’s seat! So now to put it into practice…

Fully embracing the plan, I headed out for my first long ride and headed north across the Forth Road Bridge into Fife. Unfortunately, I struggled a lot with my first long cycle (I went a bit further and had more hills than planned) but I did learn one good piece of advice from Phil’s training plan, which is to take sufficient snacks and fluids – I learnt this the hard way 70km in!

However, despite my first long ride not being perfect, all in all the first couple of weeks have been good – now that’s out of the way I’m looking forward to moving on with the training and being a little more prepared by knowing what to expect.


Download Weeks 1 & 2 of the Yellow Jersey Training plan here

Download Weeks 3 & 4 of the Yellow Jersey Training plan here

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This post was written by Alex Simpkin