Ash Beech has made a name for himself pushing his body to the limits on Zwift live streams on his YouTube channel. We recently caught up with Ash to talk about his cycling journey from 2016 to now, where he tells us how going back to basics and riding in the moment makes him feel his happiest.
Ash Beech pushed his body to the limit for the whole of the Internet to see. He put himself through gruelling workouts and hundreds if not thousands of hill repeats. The goal was to achieve pro-level fitness. Here, the Londoner tells us how he achieved his ultimate goal, and how his new challenge is a whole lot simpler.
I headed down south to meet Ash – a cycling YouTuber and all-round powerhouse on the bike.
Over the past few years, he has pushed his fitness to the next level. Ash maxed out efforts on any hill or gradient he could find in the hopes of reaching a pro-level of fitness. His goal was to push 5 watts per kilo for an hour – which is the benchmark of competitive pro riders. Once he accomplished this goal, he realised what his true passion for cycling was. But it was a very different ending to the story he had initially planned.
Meeting Ash, he’s a cheeky Londoner with bags of enthusiasm for the bike. He raves about how cycling has changed his life since first getting into riding with a Boris bike ( rental bikes in London).
He owes his first bike purchase to exploring London using these bikes and as a way to avoid the overcrowding of buses and tubes.
Ash, 35, said: “I was fed up of wasting money on buses and tubes and also they didn’t seem the healthiest way to travel. So, I tried a Boris bike and I couldn’t believe how close everything was. I decided to invest and bought my first road bike and I haven’t looked back since.”
He started cycle commuting into work and it quickly became the highlight of his day.
But the competitive edge came out while on those commutes and he wanted to push himself to get faster each day – to get to work ever faster than the preceding day or week.
That’s when he started training on the few hills London has to offer.
Alexandra Palace’s 0.65km section at an average of 6% was what pushed Ash to get fitter. He would smash up that climb ten times, three times a week, in the search for his peak fitness. That was to achieve five watts per kilo for an hour (in simple terms, for Ash this meant pushing his 65kg body to hold 325w for an hour). This number is what is considered pro-level fitness. But to be able to push himself on longer more brutal climbs, he took to the online training platform, Zwift.
Ash said: “The cars and traffic in London really held me back from pushing as hard as I wanted. So Zwift, and in particular Zwift racing was the stimulus I needed to really let go and be able to push as hard as I wanted for as long as I wanted.”
After months of training, and really dialling in his nutrition and even testing his blood to ensure it was at peak oxygen-carrying levels, he hit his goal in a live Zwift racing event.
But the achievement left Ash feeling a little deflated.
He said: “After I did it, it initially felt great but then I was like, ‘what’s next?’. There wasn’t that will or drive to keep going, because I had done what I set out to achieve.”
We rode up Alexandra Palace and Swain’s Lane (another of London’s steepest climbs) and it’s clear Ash loves pushing himself. He stated that after a punishing Zwift race or pushing his body to the limit up the 20% gradient of Swain’s Lane, “everyday life felt a lot easier”.
But it wasn’t until we hit some off-road, gravel and greenery that Ash really came to life.
Yes, he can bust out 350w but seeing him riding his steed on the gravel showed a different side to the former Zwift enthusiast.
He said: “My challenge now is to not have a challenge.”
Ash added: “For me now riding the CGR off-road in the woods, with no power data, metrics or anything is what is making me happy.
“I find it hard to not look at numbers. But numbers can take you away from the pure joy of cycling that we have when we first start out. So, I’m getting back to that with no pressure. Just riding at doing what I want, in the moment.”
Watch the video here.
If you want to see what Ash is up to now, head over to his YouTube channel here.
You can also look at his bike in more detail here.
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