RacingGreen is a network of amateur athletes, of all abilities, who want to take part in sporting events together and also encourage the events, other clubs and participants to seek the benefits of improved sustainability.
If you want to find out more or want to join, take a look around and feel free to sign up. Alternatively, if you are actually looking for tips on how you, your club or your event could reduce its environmental footprint from sport, take a look at our toolbox and we hope you will find something helpful. For more info please email email@example.com
Sleeping cyclists at the end of the Dunwich Dynamo 2011.
If like Racing Green you are interested in sustainability in sport, look no further than the Dunwich Dynamo for a great example of a big bike event with little or no impact on the environment.
Many cyclosportives see riders arrive and depart by car, often covering tens or even hundreds of miles in the process. Some are all but inaccessible by public transport.
But the Dunwich Dynamo is a masterclass in how different things could be. Featuring machines ranging from penny farthings to aging baker’s bikes it undoubtedly falls into the category of fun mass ride rather than performance-orientated sportive, but the lessons it provides are transferable.
Riders roll out from London Fields at about 9pm and from then on it’s totally unsupported: no sponsors, no broom wagon, just 120 moonlit miles to the Suffolk coast.
But its real triumph only becomes apparent at dawn as the bleary-eyed riders arrive at Dunwich Beach. You might expect many to meet obliging car-owning friends for a cosy lift back to London. Not so. In fact, while a hardcore minority simply turn round and pedal back to London, almost everyone else opts for one of the coach-plus-lorry convoys organised by Southwark Cyclists and the London School of Cycling.
The "Dun Run" leaves no trace on the beautiful route by which it gets to the sea and -- thanks to this admirable bit of planning -- it leaves nothing on the way back either.
You can read a little more about my experience of the 2011 edition of the ride on Man Make Move – a blog by Joe Coulson.
Coincidentally, Racing Green's remarkable success at the Blenheim Triathlon back in June meant that the Blenheim Triathlon organisers provided a lift-sharing website for participants in Bike Blenheim Palace on the 21st of August.
I’d just spent a glorious sunny day cycling through the Surrey Hills. But I was utterly spent. The plan was to get on a train back into London, making the return journey of the train I caught out that morning to avoid spending time and energy cycling on the dirty city roads. So I went direct to the station, only to suddenly realise I was more than likely going to suffer the next day if I didn’t take on some food or drink to help my muscles recover. And I needed it within that critical 20 minute period.
Alas, the newsagent at Dorking station is no sports drink specialist... and then I remembered... something about milk? Was it chocolate milk? Yes! Problem solved.
I went back home and googled it just for peace of mind and future reference. It turns out that previous academic studies have shown that milk, and chocolate milk in particular, provides a perfect combination of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals to aid recovery from exercise. Leaving you ready for more of the same. As an example, here’s a quote from an Australian medical website:
This result supports other studies that show that chocolate milk is a good way to recover ... Karp and colleagues (2006) showed that endurance cyclists could ride for longer periods on chocolate milk when compared with other recovery beverages. Thomas and others (2009) showed that chocolate milk was significantly better at improving time to exhaustion in elite cyclists than other recovery beverages one of which was a carbohydrate and protein mixture.
There is a huge amount of investment made into cutting edge scientific, processed solutions for recovery drinks, yet these solutions seem to make only marginal gains over what mother nature has evolved to provide already: milk. What’s more, if its organic milk, then you’re onto an environmental winner and can sleep even more soundly at night. And milk is a hell of a lot cheaper too!
I feel good today, so it seems to have done the trick. I couldn’t help but imagine Cadel Evans drinking a tall glass of Australia’s favourite, Milo, after that day climbing the Alps before the final stage time trial... who knows, hey?
What a heroic effort from the RG team over the weekend of June 4 and 5th!
Blenheim Palace Triathlon didn't know what hit it. I'm pretty sure if there were newspaper headlines written about the event they wouldn't have been covering the fact that Jenson Button was the 6th fastest male or even that Philippa Middleton ("her royal hotness") graced the relay event. Instead they would have been reporting the sheer dominance of RacingGreen! And if there were an awards ceremony, I think Sara would have won the best "woop" of a participant during the bike section, Mel the biggest wave of the run section, Viv and Celia the award for battling injury / illness, Becca rewarded for boldest intervention when advocating organic cosmetics to the surprised TV interviewer for the Japanese health and beauty channel... I could go on.
Did we help to green it up?
Certainly did. As a direct result of the enthusiasm and energy of RacingGreen, Blenheim Palace are making some great moves for their second major sporting event of the summer: Bike Blenheim Palace on August 21st. They will be setting up a lift share website for participants (up to 90% of sport events carbon footprint comes from travel to the site), are looking to add a "green" page to their website, hope to make RacingGreen the "green guru" of their facebook group and have offered RacingGreen a stall as part of a new "green corner" we are working together on as part of the bike event village (basically a market place type of set up) they hold as part of the weekend activities! Great stuff.
On Sunday just passed, 8 of us were pedalling furiously to complete the Wiggle Super Series no excuses sportive. A great event at 80 or 45 miles long and with some money going to NSPCCC. Good day out, smiles all round as the spring sun reared its head!
We also used it trial and compare ethical and conventional energy products for energy impact, practicality, vfm and environmental credentials. We used a mixture of mule bar, pulsin, torq, science in sport and maxifuel between us over the ride. The results were very interesting, but the trial isn't over yet! We are now going to also trial them in a running context, as the practicality issues and energy needs are slightly different.
We'll share the results with you very soon and hopefully they will help you and others in choosing your energy products for the summer events ahead! We're pitching the story to Guardian bike blog and other channels.
Watch this space! In the mean time, here's a bit of entertainment. Impressively, 4 of us who took part in the Sunday cycle made it into the event video! Check out Andy, Sam, Patrick and I representing.... http://www.
So this weekend RG members will be tentatively edging into the spring/summer season with our first joint event of 2011. We're taking part in a 75 mile sportive in Cambridgeshire. Our mission first and foremost is to get round in good weather and enjoy a full day in the saddle, working hard enough to get that satisfaction at the end of the day.
Our second mission is a bit more unusual though! We'll be trialling energy foods and gels. But not just for the usual criteria of practicality, energy impact, taste and price, but also environmental credentials. We're looking to test the ethical options available like MuleBar and Pulsin against the more conventional options of Lucozade and Science in Sport. Can the ethical options match the conventional energy products for taste and boost? Thats the key question. There's a third category too... homemade bars! Taking some recipes from Nepalese gurkhas and applying an edge of western supermarket options, we'll be baking some "ultra cake" and producing some fuelling drinks.
So we'll let you know how we get on!
We're still working towards the main event of the Blenheim Palace Triathlon in June and have had very productive early discussions with the organisers about how to green the events they host on their grounds. A good team there, looking for fresh and appliable ideas. We'll be working with them and will let you know how we get on..
Although written from a USA perspective, Joanna Burgess puts a convincing case forward that is useful for any triathlete. I think this is a great summary of the issues and a useful guide to whats out there already for us to use.
In particular, she highlights the Council for Responsible Sport and its league table of green events. In their scheme, each category of sustainability is organized on a point system - the more green points a triathlon earns, the higher it is ranked as a sustainable sporting event. In order to be certified as "green" by the Council for Responsible Sport, triathlons must satisfy a list of criteria including:
Wouldn't it be great if we could have access to the same ranking scheme in the UK? Worth putting to the British Triathlon Federation methinks...
Just discovered a whole section of the Brooks (running kit brand) website is dedicated to how they are greening their products. Boom!
So take a look, and the "green silence" running shoe is particularly impressive, though colours may be slightly speculative...!
Having run the Sussex-Beacon Half Marathon in February 2010, I've been building up my distances again recently. Two 10Ks this week! When is racing green taking part in long distance runs this summer? Sarah xx
Did you know?
Crystal Palace Triathlon won the 2010 World British Triathlon Event of the Year award, which was presented at the British Triathlon awards. The event was awarded the prize because 'it's a regular fixture on the calendars of not only triathletes from London, but from around the country and is widely held as one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly events in the UK'.
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