Hayden on upward trajectory after signing for race team

August 30 2017
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PROMISING cyclist Hayden Allen has taken the next step on his cycling journey by joining a race team for the 2018 campaign.

The 23-year-old, from Wells, has signed for THRE (Train Hard Race Easy) Datawolves and will now receive financial support while taking part in events around the country.

“I have always enjoyed riding a bike,” said former Blue School pupil Hayden, who is currently studying for a PhD at Leeds Beckett University investigating exercise-induced asthma in endurance athletes.

“As a child I used to ride around the lanes of Burcott with the family, and then as I grew older it was more about doing ‘skids’ with my friends, but I never considered it as a sport.

“My main sport growing up was basketball which I played all the way through to my Masters year of university. As basketball stagnated, my university housemates suggested going on a cycling trip in Europe. I didn’t even have a road bike but I bought one and trained for our ride from Barcelona to Montpellier.

“Training for the trip presented a new challenge and I was quite quickly hooked. Upon moving to Leeds I joined and raced for the AlbaRosa cycling club, to whom I owe many thanks. Now at the end of my first season, my passion for cycling seems to be increasing week on week.”

Hayden was snapped up by Yorkshire-based THRE Datawolves after sending the team manager his impressive CV containing a summary of all his results in 2017 along with his fitness testing data.

“I’ve always dreamt of being an athlete. Unfortunately given my build and height I was never cut out for basketball but cycling seems to suit me better,” said Hayden.

“As a physiology PhD student, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct a lot of fitness testing, which has highlighted some great potential, but to reach the top I need to combine this with race craft that I’m constantly learning. I’d love to race full-time one day, but I’m not getting ahead of myself at this stage. I’ll just continue working as hard as I can on the bike and see what comes.”

He trains for 12-15 hours a week, covering 350km to 450km. Some days will be longer, easier rides, and others hard interval sessions. Hayden also takes great care with his diet.

“It’s not possible to do the amount of quality training necessary to succeed without a good diet,” he said.

“Exercise physiology and nutrition go hand in hand, and I read the science around nutrition for endurance performance in my spare time. In general, I’ll eat a lot of complex carbohydrates, such as oats, rice and pasta, along with a lot of legumes, vegetables and fruit. Protein is also essential for recovery and adaptation to training.”

When he is back in Wells, there is nothing Hayden likes more than getting out on his bike to revisit some of his favourite routes.

“Wells is such a good base for training as you’ve got the Mendips one side and the Somerset Levels the other,” he said.

“My favourite climb is without a doubt Cheddar Gorge. Most times I am home I’ll go for an all-out effort up the gorge, and use it as a test to see if I am making improvements. Currently I’m the 10th all-time fastest person up there on Strava (an app that records your ride using GPS).

“Following closely behind the gorge is the lesser known, but equally spectacular climb, Burrington Combe. Similar in length and gradient, it’s also a cracker.

“To be honest most of the Mendip hills are great for training. If I don’t fancy hills, my go-to two-hour flat loop from Wells encompasses Wedmore, Mark, Woolavington, the back road through to Shapwick and then on to Meare and Glastonbury and back into Wells.

“I’m spoilt with the road offerings of the Yorkshire Dales for most of the year, but I always look forward to returning to Wells to thrash around the Mendips, whether it’s just for the weekend or longer breaks around Easter and Christmas.”