Newcastle Falcons gear up for Virgin Money Cyclone
- By Greg Rose -
- Apr 26, 2012
The Newcastle Falcons are gearing up for the inaugural Virgin Money Cyclone. Here's why the rugby stars are swapping scrums for bicycles...
For any professional playing sport, the temptation to sit back and have a well-earned break during the close season can be difficult to resist. This is especially true for professional rugby players. Having put their bodies through extreme punishment for nine months, players could possibly be forgiven for wanting to take a few months to recover in preparation of another body battering season.
However, the old stereotypes of overweight beer-lovers, who considered the social aspects of the game as more of a challenge than the playing side, are long gone. Since rugby union turned professional in 1995, players and clubs have evolved rapidly and the fitness of players both in and out of season is of paramount importance.
The approach to the modern game is no more evident than at Kingston Park, the home of the Newcastle Falcons. Falcons players are regularly fitness tested, with overall fitness and conditioning being as important as strength for players. In a recent fitness test in South Africa, a 17 stone lock forward ran 100 metres in a little over 14 seconds. Imagine trying to tackle that much weight travelling at almost 16 miles per hour!
Given the focus on fitness, the Falcons invest heavily in state of the art equipment. Their gym includes the usual array of weights, running machines and spinning bikes, but also has slightly more exotic machinery, such as an anti-gravitational treadmill and a number of Wattbikes.
The Wattbike was developed with by British Cycling to enable riders to replicate any desired training session, from low intensity recovery riding to maximum intensity sprints. It also allows the rider to train as if they very were riding on the road or track no matter what resistance chosen. The Falcons players use the Wattbikes as a way of maintaining their fitness levels, and also bring in an element of competition, as the Wattbikes measure power, energy and pace, which are fed into a leader board so players can see where they stand.
One of the ways the Falcons plan to maintain fitness following the end of the season later in April is to continue cycling. As the weather improves, the level of outdoor cycling can increase, and this year the Falcons will be taking part in the inaugural Virgin Money Cyclone.
The Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge begins and ends at the Falcons ground at Kingston Park, taking in the picturesque Northumberland countryside along the way – so the Falcons players taking part should feel right at home.
Falcons skipper, James Hudson said: “The close season is not really what you can call time off as we will keep ticking over fitness wise. Taking part in the Virgin Money Cyclone is an ideal way of keeping fit outside rather than in the confines of the gym. Hopefully the North East weather will be kind to us and it should be a great day cycling!”
Find our more information about the Virgin Money Cyclone.