Karman Gordon

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

Notable Performances with Njinga

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

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.

The start of my journey to conquer Ventoux

I had done a couple of Njinga training programmes before, which were very effective (especially the Tour of Cambridgeshire one), but when it came to preparing for Ventoux I felt I needed something a bit more 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 didn’t take out a full bespoke programme, but rather had a very useful session with Togo where we discussed my goals, time available, extent of flexibility needed, and he then prepared me a training schedule to suit me. There was the option to have regular check in sessions, and also nutrition assistance, but I decided the schedule alone should give me what I needed.



The pros:

It was great to have something more bespoke put together, as I felt I needed a combination of classes (the usual classes but also steady zone 2 sessions) and outdoor rides (including hill reps) to prepare for Ventoux, and having a programme to follow helped to keep me on track. It also built in flexibility (e.g. if I could not make one class I simply went to a different one), and although I did not follow it religiously - life gets in the way sometimes - it definitely kept me motivated through those tough weeks of preparation. And although I did not ask upfront for any follow up sessions with Togo, knowing that I could add these on if necessary (e.g. if I got injured, or felt that I was not making progress etc.) was also reassuring.

The cons:

I think the bespoke programme requires a higher level of self motivation than the class training programmes, simply because they are more flexible and you are doing it mainly on your own (albeit with support if you need it). Togo was very clear that I would have to be prepared to work hard and maintain my motivation to get the most out of it. Fortunately, I found that this was (mostly) not a problem - although it was undoubtedly challenging, and even tedious, at times. (I have done enough repetitions of Staple Lane to last a lifetime - cheers Togo.) 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.


The Ventoux Triple

I set myself the challenge of the Ventoux Triple when I read about it in the Njinga newsletter late last year. I considered myself to be quite a weak climber, and I thought it would motivate me to improve that specific aspect of my cycling. Having not climbed anything much longer than Box Hill prior to this year, I had no idea whether I would be able to make it up once, let alone three times. Through a quite intensive 2-3 month preparation (following the programme above, freaking myself out watching YouTube videos of what was in store, understanding how to pace myself and getting my nutrition strategy right) I felt as ready as I could be, but of course you never know what might strike on the day - cramp, storms, gale force winds!

In the end, as you have no doubt heard, the trip was absolutely brilliant!

Ventoux Conquered - Not once but 3 times

The region was beautiful, the accommodation huge and stunning, Leigh’s cooking amazing as ever - though she was rather perturbed that we were not eating enough - and the group was a lovely, fun and supportive bunch. 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, 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 one 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 maybe both.

Overall, it was probably the best day I have spent on a bike, and I can’t think of a better bunch of people to have shared it with. In a word: awesome! What’s the next challenge?!



Karman's journey with Njinga has included:

  • Regular wattbike and yoga classes
  • Multiple Group Indoor Training Programmes
  • Weekly rideouts with the Njinga Collective
  • Bespoke Training Plan


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