We sat down with sporting legend and international Rugby superstar Chris Robshaw, who recently took part in the All-Star Commonwealth Games Challenge, for an exclusive interview. Chris discusses what his experience was like, and how Echelon helped support his training.
For me it was a hugely exciting challenge. I watched the velodrome in every major sporting event, Olympics and Commonwealth and been fascinated. It’s one event I’ve always wanted to try. So, I thought I would challenge myself and go for it when Comic Relief offered me the opportunity.
I have to say, I had no idea how steep the velodrome walls actually are until I arrived at the track for the first time. From the TV you can see that they are steep but they’re practically vertical.
When we first got on to the bikes it was a bit daunting – there are no gears and no brakes, and if you stop pedalling the bike jams up, so it’s unlike any other bike I’ve ridden before. For me that was the toughest part of learning how to cycle in the velodrome. Once I got the hang of it you get the thrill of going around the top of the track moving at such speed and it’s a feeling like no other – I just had to keep reminding myself not to stop pedalling to avoid making a prat of myself.
The race was brilliant, and it was great to be part of the Comic/Sport Relief fundraising project to help promote the Games and sports charity across the country.
So, I mainly used the Echelon bike to build up my initial starts – so I used the power classes more than any other I would say. As I said, there are no gears on the bike so with that, it’s all about getting off the line quickly and pushing as hard as possible.
So, we went three laps, going 17/18 seconds a lap meaning about fifty seconds of continuous cycling. It wasn’t a full-on sprint but you do need to get a good start and get out the blocks quickly and maintain a lead – so that’s why my training regime with the Echelon really focussed on the power to give me that edge.
Post the challenge, I’ve done more hill classes. I like to have that kind of leg strength and to challenge myself by adding some resistance and turning it up a gear or two. So that’s been amazing, although unfortunately I haven’t won a class yet!
I’ve sat firmly in the top ten on quite a few which I’ll settle for. The 30-minute classes are my favourite but I love that there are a variety of options in terms of class length, and on the day of the race I simply did a 10/15 minute warm up to get me in the mindset and the blood flowing. That’s a great aspect of the bike for me, I need to do some exercise every day to keep me in check physically and mentally, and the Echelon has a class for everyone on any day – whether a short and sharp burst or a longer beasting session.
I think it’s a great way to feel like you’re exercising as part of a group, which can give you that extra push if you’re having a hard day mentally. I also think it’s great that there’s someone else there to motivate you, especially as we move into the colder and wetter months.
Instead of having half a pack of biscuits and hunkering down you know you’ve got someone there who can egg you on and push you. It’s something to look forward to, rather than relying on yourself to get down to the gym and work out alone – its mentally a lot tougher to inspire yourself.
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