Wristband Roulette Terms and Conditions

Every open water swim session proceeding the Hercules Festival of Sport – Northwood we will be giving away a FREE ENTRY to the event. To win a free entry the swimmer must be receive upon check in, the wrist band with the special number. Here are the terms and conditions for Wristband Roulette:


  • Every swimmer must have paid for their session either on-line or at the lake. Anyone on a free entry to the lake will not be included in the draw
  • If the swimmer has already registered for Hercules Festival of Sport they can either give their FREE ENTRY pass to a friend or use it to enter the Hercules Festival of Sport – St. Albans which will be held on 18th September 2016.
  • The FREE ENTRY may be redeemed against any event within the Hercules Festival of Sport – Northwood
  • The FREE ENTRY must be used in 2016 and cannot be redeemed for any future Hercules Event


If you have any further questions please direct to admin@herculesevents.com and we wish you all the very best of luck!

Hercules Team

Article: Hercules Events Support Hertfordshire Child Tennis Prodigy

Join us in building local talent

Here at Hercules Events we are just mad about sport and when the opportunity arose to support a local girl and assist her in achieving her sporting dreams, we jumped at the chance.Introducing Ekua, an 11year old child tennis prodigy who we think we will be seeing and hearing a lot about for years to come. Since the age of 3 years old Ekua has eaten, slept and dreamt about being the number one seed in women’s tennis.



“I started playing tennis when I was three years old, when I used to tag along with my dad to take my brother to his tennis lessons. My favorite tennis players are Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Andy Murray”

“First, I was selected to join the Mini Aces programme at Batchwood Tennis Centre but it was not long before I moved to the more advanced Tarbes programme. I progressed swiftly through the red ball, orange ball and green balls in the mini tennis programme. My current LTA rating is 7.2″

“I love playing tennis more than anything. I spend a lot of time training and playing in tournaments around the country. I have won many tournaments in different towns and have also been awarded sportsmanship awards twice, for playing fairly and professionally. One day, I will be world number one!”

Ekua has done fantastically well so far and has gone on to win numerous trophies, which has led her to be entered into the 2016 Europe Tennis ‘Nike Junior International Tour’, taking place in Halton Tennis Centre in June. She now needs our help in raising £4,000 so she can take part in the tour. Training for such a prestigious event takes a lot of time and funding as you can imagine as she will need one-to-one coaching sessions, squad training, fitness training, hitting sessions, equipment, match play and entry fees for other tournaments. She has already started a campaign with Hertfordshire University Crowd Funding to help her collate the money and you can find out more about it, as well as donate money to Ekua’s cause, by visiting http://sportinherts.podiumpartners.org/campaign/59-ekua-youri

We hope you will join us in supporting such a promising local talent and we will keep you up to date with her progress.

Go team Ekua!

Article: From Novice to Iron Man – Chris’s Story

Thanks to Hercules…Anything is possible!CHRIS LEIGH3

I first ventured into the open water April 2013 with an introduction to open water swimming with Hercules events in Welwyn at 20 plus stone getting into the wetsuit was the first challenge let alone the temperature of the water.

A few months later I entered my first full distance triathlon with Hercules in Welwyn and continued with the regular sessions in the open water. The sessions gave me more and more confidence in my swimming which hadn’t really been tested since my early teenage years. It has become my strongest discipline in the triathlon event.
The Hercules swimming at Merchant Taylors is enjoyable, relaxed and social, which can’t always be said for long swim sessions in a pool. David, Gifty and the team always make you feel welcome.

In June 2015 I completed Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire and 6 weeks later finished the UK Ironman in Bolton, 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile marathon in 14 hours 50 minutes.

Just over 3 years after first dipping my toe in the water thanks to the support of Hercules and the events team I am 3 stone lighter , can get in my wetsuit and have ticked the box to complete an Ironman and have the tattoo to prove it.

Chris Leigh


Understanding leg cramps – Part 1.



Leg cramps causes and solutions. Part 1.

Hello Hercules subscribers and welcome to some more wisdom from The Flying Physios. Today’s article focusses on Leg cramps, something we as runners, riders and active individuals suffer from at some point in our sporting endeavours. It’s also something we at TFP tend to see a lot of at our race clinics following 10K and especially half marathons. Here we discuss what cramps are and by understanding this we lead on to ways of treating  but more importantly preventing a cramping episode from happening in the first place


What are leg cramps?

Basically cramps are an involuntary action by your muscle- a spasm- which involves one or more muscles contracting too hard. Key hotspots for cramps are your calves, behind/below the knee, your foot, the front and back of the thigh, hands, arms and abdomen. We mostly see cramps in the calf or foot. Most cramping episodes are classed as spasms and because spasms tend to be a result of the body guarding itself we can potentially see cramps as a way of your body letting you now there is a problem, be it down to exertion, a nervous system issue, dietary issues or possibly as a result of disease.

A cramp typically lasts a few minutes but it can last a matter of a few seconds. We have known them last 10 minutes, heaven forbid. The severity of the pain can vary with the muscle remaining tender some 24 hours after the initial complaint. If they don’t get you following a long run then they tend to visit late at night in bed- which are labelled as night cramps.


Who gets leg cramps?

You, me, everybody! We see runners and riders with long term cramping issues fairly regularly and certainly in our post race massage clinics. Being a seasoned runner or rider can play a part in limiting episodes if you listen to your body. Older individuals tend to suffer more often with 1 in 3 over 60 and around 50% of people over 80 suffering regularity. It is also known for individuals to suffer 3 to 4 attacks a week whilst some will cramp everyday.


What are the possible causes?

We say ‘possible’ causes simply because the root cause can often be hard to identify. There can be one or a number of factors involved in you suffering a cramp so see which ones you feel may apply to you.

Possibly causes include:

  • overexertion of the muscle whilst training or competing
  • insufficient preparation for an activity- not stretching is an example
  • exercising in the heat
  • dehydration
  • poor blood circulation in the legs or other parts of the body
  • muscle fatigue
  • nerve impingement
  • magnesium or potassium deficiency
  • calcium deficiency

The fact is one or more of these conditions may apply to you so it pays not to ignore them.


How to treat an attack of the cramps?

Stretching and massaging the affected muscle can usually relieve an attack of cramp. Most cramps soon ease off. Painkillers are not usually helpful as they do not act quickly enough. However, a painkiller such as paracetamol may help to ease muscle discomfort and tenderness that sometimes persists for up to 24 hours after a cramp has gone.

An immediate remedy that can help with the sudden onset is to activate the opposite muscle to the one that has cramped. By ‘activating’ we mean use it. For example, cramping of the calf muscle can be alleviated by pointing your toes up wards towards your head. This activates the opposing muscle to the calf (the one on the front of your shin) which makes the cramped muscle relax and elongate with a little effort. Having someone to help with this process is often advised as to be honest you may not feel up to the effort during an attack.


How to prevent them in the first place.

If cramps don’t occur often then no particular treatment is usually required. But for frequent cramping consider the following:

  • If overexertion is causing the problem then wind back the amount of training you are doing and assess muscle imbalances that may be occurring in the region and the body as a whole as this may be a root cause.
  • If a lack of stretching is a key factor then consult someone who can offer advice on an effective stretching regime.
  • If you tend to cramp during the hot weather then prepare for it by taking on fluids that will replenish your body and limit the opportunity for cramping. Dehydration is a key reason for cramps appearing.
  • If you tend to cramp due to poor circulation in your legs then maybe it is worth investing in a massage as a part of your training regime.
  • If you think your nervous system may be the issue then you need to consult a professional to determine your suspicions. A heath screening from a Physio can help to determine a course of action.
  • If fatigue is a key reason for you suffering repeated cramping attacks then look at your diet. Deficiency in Potassium or magnesium for example can play a part in the regularity of your cramping attacks.


So if you are regularly suffering cramping episodes then digest the info above and put it into play. In the next instalment of our advice on dealing with cramps we will look at alternative options for individuals who suffer from the chronic cramping or seeking alternative remedies. Bye for now from The Flying Physios and remember we are always on hand for treatment and advice on 01727 758846 or at info@theflyingphysios.com

What is a tyre made of?

cycle tech



There are three basic parts to a bicycle tyre, the carcass, the bead core and the rubber tyre tread.  Furthermore, almost all Schwalbe and Continental tyres have a puncture protection belt.

What a tyre is made of Pic 1What a tyre is made of Pic 2What a tyre is made of Pic 3What a tyre is made of Pic 4









The carcass is a rubberised textile fabric, which is laid around the bead cores. The carcass is then coated with a rubber compound. The tyre tread is applied and the whole assembly is vulcanised.

Tube Protection: what is it/what does it do?

Dr Sludge / Slime:  This is generally put in when a new tyre is fitted and sits in the inner tube and is forgotten about. It works without you even being aware that it is working.  The disadvantages are that quite a number of ‘Presta’ valves do not have removable cores and therefore cannot be used, in which case you need to buy a ready filled Dr Sludge or Slime inner tube, and that they do add a small amount of weight which might affect some racing bikes.


 Tube protection Pic 1Tube protection Pic 2





Protection Tapes:  These give good protections but the tyres must be kept fully inflated, otherwise they will slip and can cause punctures. Again the racing fraternity  might notice the weight.

The bead core of the tyre determines its diameter and ensures a secure fit on the rim.  Generally the bead core of a tyre is made of steel wire.

In folding tyres, the steel wire is replaced with a hoop of Kevlar fiber.  The advantage is that the tyre can be folded and that, depending on the size, its weight can be reduced by 50 to 90g.

Tube protection 3Tube protection Pic 4

What is Clincher Tyre?

These days clincher tyres are the standard for bicycle tyres (see tyre construction). The wire tyre bead prevents the tyre from expanding with the pressure and thus from rolling off the rim.

What is a Clincher Tyre Pic 1

What is a Folding Tyre?

A folding tyre is, in a way, a special version of the clincher tyre (see tyre construction, bead core). In this tyre, the wire is replaced with a bundle of Kevlar fibres that allows it to fold easily and also makes the tyre lighter by about 50-90g.

What is a folding tyre Pic 1

Why ride a Slick Tyre?

Even in wet conditions, on a normal, smooth road, a slick tyre actually provides better grip than a tyre with a tread, because the contact area is larger.

The situation is much different on a rough road and even worse on a dirt trail as in these cases the degree of control provided by a slick tyre is extremely limited.

A slightly serrated surface on the tyre tread can have a positive effect on tyre grip, as it creates micro interlocking with rough asphalt.

What do the direction arrows mean?

What is a Slick Tyre Pic 1 What is a Slick Tyre Pic 2 What is a Slick Tyre Pic 3

Most Schwalbe tyre sidewalls are marked with a ‘Drive’ arrow, which indicates the recommended rolling direction.  When in use, the tyre should run in the direction of the arrow.

Many MTB tyres are marked with a ‘Front’ and a ‘Rear’ arrow. The ‘Front’ arrow indicates the recommended rolling direction for the front wheel and respectively the ‘Rear’ arrow is the direction for the rear wheel.


What to stretch, when to stretch and how to stretch – Part 1.



This article is designed to address the confusion surrounding the benefits of stretching and if it should be a part of your training regime. Just the other day having spoken to a new patient, their response to our question of ‘do you stretch regularly?’ was to reply with ‘do I need to?’- so that where we will begin.

Do I need to stretch?

In our opinion and that of many others- yes you should. Its certainly a good idea to stretch the major muscle groups of the body at least twice a week, more so if you are training hard. The idea behind stretching is to stay flexible and flexibility is something we lose proportionally as we get older. Staying flexible will help you to move better and can limit injuries. Stretching or flexibility exercises should become a part of a regular program long term. .

When should I stretch?

Some say you can stretch before exercise as well as after- but if nothing else make sure you stretch AFTER you exercise. Some people swear by stretching before you exercise or before your run or race. Its a personal thing and to us there is no right or wrong. What we do see as a benefit to stretching beforehand is that its a great form of mental preparation- a chance to get psyched up and ground yourself. If you do choose to stretch before your run or race make sure you take 5 minutes to warm up the areas to be stretch- make sure you never stretch COLD- warm things up  with arm swings, gentle legs swings and some figure of 8 runs to get that blood pumping!

A word of caution; studies have shown that too much ‘static’ stretching beforehand can weaken performance such as your sprinting speed. The reason they believe is that too much stretching can actually tire out your muscles.

What stretches should I do?

A particular type of stretch needs to be employed if you choose to stretch BEFOREHAND. ‘DYNAMIC STRETCHES’*. Your dynamic stretches should mimic the type of exercise or activity you are going to be performing, the only difference is the intensity of the stretch should be far less than the intensity you will put into your run or race. For example we recommend  the following dynamics exercises/stretches if you were due to be running; brisk walk followed by walking lunges, leg swings, high steps or butt kicks. The golden rule is start easy and build up the intensity.

* A dynamic stretch moves a muscle group fluidly through an entire range of motion safely. Pendulum leg swings are an example.

If I stretch before a run or race, do I need to stretch after?


After you come over the finish line you should definitely be stretching. The fact is everyone is more flexible after exercise because you have increased the circulation to your muscles and joints.


So I can do dynamic stretches after I finish my race?

No. Now that you have exercised you should perform ‘static stretching’* as you will get more benefit from them now. But before you stretch make sure you cool down a little first. A walk around for a few minutes before you stretch should suffice.

*Static stretching involves stretching a muscle to the full extent of your ability and holding it for 15 to 30 seconds is what’s called a static stretch. Just make sure you feel the stretch and not pain. If you feel pain stop immediately.

How long do I need to stretch for when I finish?

First of all you have a golden period of 2 hours after your race in which to stretch and stretch effectively. How long you stretch for is then up to you. We recommend each stretch you do should be held for 30 seconds to get maximum benefit. We also recommend that you create a routine that you can efficiently and safely perform.

I am a runner, what areas need stretching?

Need inspiration? In our next article we will provide you with what we consider are the 8 top to toe stretches that every runner or rider should follow.

The Flying Physios are offering all subscribers and competitors to Hercules Events a 30 minutes treatment at our London Colney clinic for just £20.00. The 30 minutes will consist of sports & remedial massage therapy. To book call the clinic on 01727 758846 or email info@theflyingphysios.com

Understanding ITB Sydrome




Hi everyone- its Flying Physios time again. The last fortnight has seen a few folks through our doors with a very common running condition know as ITB syndrome. But what does it mean to have a syndrome such as this? For starters it sounds a lot worse than it is, so If you do suffer from this condition don’t panic- with sensible application and listening to your body and your therapist you should be fine. Not sure if you have the condition? Read on and you soon will. To discuss anything in this article further please feel free to call the clinic on 01727 758846.


ITB syndrome- have I got it? What does it mean? How do I treat it?


Have I got an ITB?

For starters everyone has an ITB- Iliotibial band- a ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip all the way to the shin, stopping off along the way to attach to the outside of the knee. As a part of our body mechanics it helps to stabilise the knee and plays a part in the knee joints movement.


But do I have ITB syndrome?

When the ITB isn’t working properly, knee bending and all activities associated with knee bending-including running- become very painful.


What are the symptoms of ITB syndrome?

The most notable symptom is swelling and pain on the outside of the knee- a little more to the outside of the knee than on the knee itself- ruling out the fact that may be a knee injury as sufferers often think initially. The best way to determine if it is ITB syndrome is to bend your knee to 45 degrees or bend quite a lot in simple terms. If you feel pain on the outside of the knee then there is a very good chance that you have ITB syndrome.


How can I be sure this what I am feeling?

Make an appointment with a qualified therapist to diagnose the condition and treat effectively. The team at The Flying Physios www.theflyingphysios.com can help with this.


Will I be OK?

Its important to know that everyone is prone to this condition arising at some time/any time- in fact its more common than you think. It can be classed as an overuse injury or condition- we don’t like to use the term injury always as it can make the condition sound more complicated than it potentially is. With the right help it can remedied relatively quickly- a majority of the time.


What causes ITB syndrome?

It can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inwards repeatedly- remember it is a condition that occurs due to overuse. Examples include

  • warn out shoes
  • running down hill or on banked, uneven surfaces
  • running too many track circuits in the same direction
  • running too many miles too soon or too often
  • or weak hip muscles, very common in the case of unseasoned athletes, as weak hip muscles can cause legs to turn in


The pain you feel is due to friction on the ITB. As it approaches the knee it narrows and it is at this point where band meets bone that problems occur. Rubbing causes inflammation, inflammation causes pain and so on.


How do I treat my ITB syndrome?

The moment you notice ITB pain the best way to get rid of it full stop is to rest immediately. This means LESS miles or NO RUNNING AT ALL. The days of running through the pain are gone for a good reason. Resting immediately will result in  preventing the pain from returning. If you don’t rest the condition will continue and will become a chronic condition- not something you want!


Our top tips to help limit your symptoms include:

  • Backing off on your mileage and supplementing your lack of running with some cross-training  such as Swimming, pool running, cycling, and rowing are all fine. Stair-climbing is not, because it is too much like running.
  • Side stretches will also help- source out a good set of ITB stretches. Also consider ice or heat on the area and seek out ultrasound as a way of speeding up the     healing process.
  • If your ITB problem doesn’t get better after several weeks, seek help from a qualified individual. Therapy will often help the problem resolve more rapidly.


How can I prevent ITB syndrome from returning?

  • Ease off on the mileage or take a few days off if you feel the pain on the side of your knee returning.
  • Walk for a while before you start your run, try walking a quarter to half a mile, its a nice way to warm up the area.
  • Check your shoes! If you find wear along the outside of the sole then you really need to replace them.
  • Believe it or not running down the middle of the road where its flat can save your ITB- but of course watch out for traffic.
  • Don’t run on very hard surfaces.
  • If you are track running then remember to change direction regularly.
  • Research the possible need for orthotics

The Flying Physios are offering all subscribers and competitors to Hercules Events a 30 minutes treatment at our London Colney clinic for just £20.00. The 30 minutes will consist of sports & remedial massage therapy designed to help rid you of your ITB syndrome. To book call the clinic on 01727 758846 or email info@theflyingphysios.com

Let’s talk ‘wheels’

cycle tech


Let’s talk ‘wheels’!

At some point we have all experienced a problem with our wheels, and it can appear to be a minefield on how to tackle the problem especially when stranded at a most inconvenient time!

Our quick guide below will take you through step by step on how to remove a wheel correctly, and hopefully allow you to resolve immediately or at least identify the problem.

Rear Wheels ……

  • Shift derailleur to outermost gear (smallest sprocket) and innermost front chain-ring.

Rear 1

  • Release brake quick-release, if any, or loosen the brake cable.

Rear 2

  • Release wheel quick-release by pulling the release lever outward. Pull outward on the end of the quick-release skewer lever. If necessary loosen quick release adjusting nut to clear any tabs at the end of the fork. For wheels with axle nuts, loosen both nuts outside of the dropouts.

Rear 3

  • Ease the wheel out of the dropouts.


Rear 4


  • Pull back on rear derailleur to allow cogs to clear the chain. Lower the wheel, guiding the wheel down through the brake pads and forward to clear the chain and derailleur. Guide the wheel through the brake pads and out of the fork ends.

Rear 5

Front Wheels …….

  • Release brake quick-release, if any, or loosen the brake cable.

Front 1

  • Having released the quick release lever and loosened or loosened the hub nuts, guide the wheel  down and out of the fork.

 Front 2

Replacing the wheels

  • For non-quick release wheels, tighten axle nuts fully.
  • For quick release; in reverse as to removing the rear wheel. When installing the front wheel, simply place the axle evenly up into the fork dropouts, with the quick release lever on the left side of your bike. Make sure the wheel is aligned centrally between the forks. Holding the cap with one hand, spin the lever clockwise, making sure the side marked ‘open’ is facing outwards. When tightening the lever, it should meet resistance at about the halfway point. Now push the lever closed. The lever should be pointing up in the locked position
  • Close the brake quick release mechanism. View the wheel centering in the fork. The wheel should also be centered between the fork blades.
  • Inspect the brake block alignment and centering by closing and opening the brake caliper with the brake lever. If the wheel fails to center in the frame, either the frame or wheel may be misaligned. In this case contact your Cycle Tech Technician for advice.
  • Spin the wheel and double check the brake block alignment on the wheel rim. Be sure that the blocks do not rub on the tyre.
  • Close the brake quick release or attach MTB brake release wire.


For further advice on ‘how to remove a wheel correctly’ why don’t you give our partners –           Cycle Tech Hertfordshire a call on 07767 305064.


Hercules & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Servicing & Repairs


The M Check

Check your bike using the ‘M’ check

Before setting off on any cycle ride whether it’s a quick blast off road, a lengthy road ride or a leisurely day out its essential to make sure your bike is safe to ride before you set off.

Our simple guide will give you some quick and easy check points before setting off.

The ‘M’ check – a quick and easy guide!

The M Check

Once you have made all your checks and all okay enjoy your ride!

If any of the above throws up any problems or queries give us a call at Cycle Tech Hertfordshire on 07767 305064 and we will be happy to advise you.

Over the next few articles we will be breaking down each initial component and how to fix/adjust.


Hercules & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Servicing & Repairs