KARMAN GORDON

Reflections on preparing for a massive challenge with a personalised plan from Njinga.

ACHIEVEMENT HIGHLIGHTS

20 MINUTE FTP SCORE

228 Watts. 3rd highest female score seen in the Njinga Lab.

6-SECOND PEAK POWER

1033 Watts. 5th highest female score seen in the Njinga Lab.

Club Des Cingles Club

3 ways up Mount Ventoux in 8 hours and 25 minutes - 140km and 4300m of climbing.

MALLORCA 70.3 IRONMAN

Bike leg at Mallorca 70.3 Ironman team relay. Since joining Njinga improved time from 3 hours 42 minutes to 3 hours 7 minutes in 2018 - The fastest women’s relay bike leg.

When it came to preparing for Ventoux, I needed something bespoke.

The start of my journey to conquer Ventoux

I'd been a regular Njinga Rider for a couple of years before I discovered the Ventoux Triple and, after reading about it in an Njinga newsletter, I decided to set it as my next cycling goal.

I considered myself a 
weak climber and I thought this would be the challenge to motivate and help me improve this specific aspect of my cycling.

Having not climbed anything much longer than Box Hill, I'd no idea whether I'd be able to make it up once, let alone three times.

I'd done a couple
Njinga training programmes before – (Train Smarter Autumn FTP Booster and Gran Fondo World Championship Qualifier Group Indoor Training Programme) – and they were both very effective (especially the Tour of Cambridgeshire one).

Karman at the top of Mont Ventoux.

Karman descending Mont Ventoux.

Karman on our Ventoux Triple Challenge Ride.

But when it came to preparing for Ventoux, I needed something bespoke,

particularly as I needed flexibility in terms of the classes; I couldn't commit to being able to show up every Monday and Wednesday.

I sat down with Njinga co-founder and head performance coach, Togo, for a very useful session. We discussed my goals, availability, and extent of flexibility needed. He used this information to prepare me a training schedule to suit. There were the options to have regular check-in sessions and also nutrition assistance, but I decided the schedule alone would give me what I needed.

THE VENTOUX TRIPLE

My preparation included: following my 
bespoke programme; freaking myself out watching YouTube videos; understanding how to pace myself; and getting my nutrition strategy right. After 2-3 months of this, I felt as ready as I'd ever be.
But of course, you never know what might strike on the day – cramps, storms, gale force winds?!

In the end, the trip was absolutely brilliant.

Ventoux conquered not once but three times

The region was beautiful, the accommodation stunning, and Leigh's cooking amazing as ever. The group was a lovely, fun, and supportive bunch, too. On the triple day, the weather was near perfect (barring a minor blip in the middle to give us a taste of what Ventoux can offer and an unwelcome headwind at the very end). It was fantastic to have, not one, but two support vehicles providing water and other sustenance and shouting encouragement. And although we all rode at our own pace, everyone was really encouraging when we passed each other or met at the top or bottom.

I got my strategy right: I paced myself, and ate and drank regularly.

And although there were some very difficult sections (particularly the second climb and the last 6km of the third), there wasn't a single moment when I thought I wouldn't be able to make it.

So either I'm better at climbing than I thought or the training really worked. I guess the real answer is both.

Karman on our end of season tour in Tuscany.

Karman at  the top of Cat 1 climb, Rocacorba, in Girona on our Challenge Ride No.3..

It's the best day I've ever spent on a bike so far. And I can't think of a better bunch of people to have shared it with.

In one word: awesome! What's the next challenge?

Karman on our Ventoux Triple Cycling trip..

Karman riding the Ventoux Triple.

Karman at the top of Mont Ventoux having conquered the iconic climb 3 times in 24 hours.

There wasn't a single moment when I thought I wouldn't be able to make it.

KARMAN'S TAKE ON A BESPOKE PROGRAMME

THE POSITIVES

What I loved about my bespoke programme was that it gave me a diverse palate of classes: the usual ones, steady zone 2 sessions, and outdoor rides which included hill reps. Having a programme helped to keep me on track and the fact that it also built in flexibility kept me motivated through the tough weeks of preparation. I didn't ask for any follow-up sessions with Togo, but I knew that, if necessary, I could add these on, and this in itself was reassuring (for example, if I got injured or felt that I was not making enough process).

THE CHALLENGES

A bespoke programme requires a high level of self-motivation, more so than the class training programmes, simply because they're more flexible and you're doing it on your own (with the added support, if you need it). This didn't come as a surprise: Togo was very clear that I'd have to be prepared to work hard and maintain my motivation to get the most out of the prepared programme. Fortunately, this was (mostly) not a problem. Although it was undoubtedly challenging (and even tedious – I've done enough repetitions of Staples lane to last a lifetime, cheers Togo!) at times, it really paid dividends when I reached the bottom of Ventoux for the first time and stared up at the road rising ahead of me.

It's the best day I've ever spent on a bike so far. And I can't think of a better bunch of people to have shared it with.
WHERE IS KARMAN NOW?

Insert text.
A NOTE FROM THE COACH

Insert text.

– Togo Keynes, Head Performance Coach at Njinga Cycling Academy

WANT TO GET YOUR STORY STARTED?

BOOK A 
FREE 15 MIN
COACH CALL

WE'LL HELP YOU FIGURE OUT YOUR NEXT.

YOUR NEXT 
STARTS NOW