Last weekend, our new 2023/24 scholars dove straight in at the deep end. Even before being officially announced as UDS recipients, they were already in the studio at Foundation Fit, getting adjustments for their new training schedules, as well as their eventual new bicycles.
First let us introduce our 3 wonderful UDS scholars for 2023/24! It was a difficult and intense selection process with what we call a ‘long-shortlist’ of candidates getting the opportunity to interview with our selection committee. A huge thanks to our selection committee as well (which consists entirely of volunteers) who give approximately 20-30 hours of their time over 2 weeks to choose new UDS recipients. A special thank you to Dulce Pedroso who stepped in to lend an outside voice to our proceedings!
Without further ado here are our new scholars:
Image: From left to right - Musa Akinosho, Fatima Ahmed and Cai Wang. Image Credits: Liz Seabrook @lizseabrook
So back to the bike fitting! One of the first things we do with our scholars is get them in for a fit with the experts at Foundation Fit. A good bike fit for Ultra Distance Cyclist is crucial to success and could easily make the difference between finishing and scratching. We go one step further at the Ultra Distance Scholarship. Since 2021 each of our scholars has received a custom-built endurance cycle from our sponsors Stayer Cycles based on the initial fits, they receive at Foundation Fit. Whilst they’re waiting for their new steeds, they have their current cycles adjusted to reduce the potential for injury during the initial training phase. Wow!
We were also incredibly fortunate to have a volunteer photographer attend the fit sessions and take portraits of our lovely new faces. Thank you to Liz Seabrook (@lizseabrook) for these stunning images of our new scholars! Each of them has written a few words about the experience below… check it out!
Cai's Bike Fitting Experience
Cai - "This was my first ever bike fit and I didn't know quite what to expect but Wei and Matt were so patient with me and explained every step of the process. They reiterated that having a bike fit was not a one stop shop but a continuous journey of assessing and reassessing, listening to your body, and figuring out what it might be telling you. Riding long distances can put immense strain onto your body and doing the same repetitive movement over and over can turn something seemingly insignificant like a slight twinge in your knee to something much more serious after multiple back-to-back days of riding through the pain.
Prevention is better than cure! Our bodies are all built differently so it makes sense that the setup of our bikes should also be different. Since my first session and the adjustments made to my bike, there has been a noticeable improvement in level of comfort during my work commute and I can't wait to test it out on longer rides as I begin to train for the Pan Celtic Race next summer."
Musa's Bike Fitting Experience
Musa - "The bike fit experience was amazing and it was a great way to see how my body was on the bike. It's actually given me food for thought knowing most off the shelf bikes will require a change for me personally ie 165mm cranks but because I have a great level of mobility I can easily adapt.
Matt and Wei were brilliant. My expectations was to be 1) comfortable on the bike in the position that best suits me and 2) as efficient as can be on the bike."
Fatima's Bike Fitting Experience
Fatima - "Last week I went for a bike fit with Wei and Matt at Foundation Bike Fit which was incredibly at the advanced level compared to my previous experience of a bike fit, all the minor and precise changes made to both to my bike and cleats immediately felt comfortable. Loved all the advice that was given on off the bike things I needed to correct and work on.
My regular ride yesterday to Richmond Park, without giving it my all was an improvement both in comfort and output, my Strava recorded achievements!!
Any more tips on keep my feet warm?? Thank you both."
So, there you have it! Thank you to Wei and Matt at Foundation Bike Fit for all your hard work and for supporting the UDS. You may also have noticed that some of our scholars are already in some snazzy Albion Kit (it was a busy weekend!). More on that soon!