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I really got into my cycling in the 1980's - back then bikes were pretty much the same and you had binary choices when it came to equipment e.g.:
- Steel or Aluminium
- Reynolds or Columbus
- Campagnolo or Campagnolo
But even though it would be many years before manufacturing processes developed to make carbon fibre comercially available - that didn't stop some pioneers from trying to come up with something different when seeking marginal gaines. Some ideas were borerline genius / crazy and some were weird - but out of the ashes of failure come the roses of success as the saying goes - so here's a few things that I remember from the good old days:
Bottechia Mountain TT Bike:
This was specifically built for a Giro Mountain TT stage with 24" rear wheel to save weight and for better accelleration
PMP 'L' Shaped Cranks plus oval chainrings
The cranks were meant to help eliminate loss of momentum at 'Top Dead Centre' and the chainrings were shaped to spread power over a wider angle of delivery - you don't see cranks like this anymore but the chainring shape looks familiar
Cinelli BiValent Hubs
The beauty of these was that the cassette / freewheel & chain remained in the frame when the wheel dropped out - and front and rear wheels were interchangeable. At the time they were slower to change than normal QR wheels, so never caught on - but with modern materials / disc wheels - this could have been a glimpse of the future?
Cinelli Spinaci Bars
So good, they were banned by the UCI for saftey - so now pros adopt the same position with far more risk!
As well as being lighter than cotton, silk tyres were a lot more supple, could take higher pressures and so rolled like nothing else before or since
Intergrating bars into forks:
I'll add more stuff as I think of it!
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I have been a member of I-team for a few years now but I have been off the bike for many years due to a double slip disc. I have tried to restart my cycling life but have been a sideline supporter, race volunteer and a cycling advocate for my organisation, rather than actually being able to enjoy the sport I love. Now as I fast approach my 50th Birthday I am have made the decision to do something for me. I have already planned to sign up for the Tour de Yorkshire Sportive (100k) in May 2016 and a local off-road Sportive in March 2016 (just 15 miles).
I have gym appointment on Wednesday evening (14-10) to kickstart it all off. You never know I might lead the I-team Strava board for awhile for some of the northern dales climbs e.g Cote de Blubberhouses and Cote de Buttertubs!
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Recent EntriesThe Last Southern Omnium has been: I started off badly in 10th for the 1km pursuit, this tells me I definitely need to work on my standing starts. I then made my way up slowly through the races into 9th but I would still need at least 6th place overall. The last race was underway (points race) and I grabbed some points on the first and second sets. Then me, Charlie and Matt Cox broke away for the remainder of the race stealing all of the points. Overall for that race I came second and beat Charlie in the final sprint. Overall for the Omnium I just managed to get 6th place, thankfully for that last race!
The next race on the list was Reading track league, it wasn't very good as TJ wasn't there. However, I took part in the final 20k elite race at the end, it was a points race. I managed to grab 1st place points in the first two sets, then a break formed and I ended up in a three man chase group, where we worked together for the rest of the race. Towards the end I started getting cold and in one of the sprints my leg completely cramped up and I couldn't move it, it was agony and I'd never had a cramp before, I had to carry on with the rest of the race however with this cramp and just managed to deal with the pain, but next time I'll wear more warm clothes before, during and after races. Overall I got 6th place and 1st for u16.
After this was an Eelmore road series race where me and TJ sat in the bunch and TJ placing 3rd overall with me placing 9th. Was a good race but next time I'm not going to sprint from the bottom corner.
Lastly, was the first Winchester park and ride race of the year, run by vc venta. It started out as a very wet day with dark, grey skies and heavy rain. However, I really wanted to get a good result and wouldn't let weather get in my way. I went for one hour ride before the race to get warmed up and ready. I then signed on and was ready to race. The ground was still very wet and slippery but the race still started off fast. We got up to speed as a group and maintained a fairly high pace, I saw Charlie go for an attack where we both had a good 10m, we saw the opportunity and the gap increased and increased. Soon we were half a lap ahead. We kept at a good pace and knew we had it in the bag. However, I knew Charlie was a much better sprinter than me, so I tried my hardest to get him off my wheel. Nothing worked and I'd admitted defeat, placing me second with £3 prize money!
Overall a good few weeks and plenty of bagged points!
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Stats of the Week:[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Diet: A generally good diet, around 3000-4000 calories a day, I enjoy eating sweets and carbohydrates like cakes and buns..[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Training: standard week =[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Monday: Roller spinning and 2 minute 20 second effort on turbo[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Tuesday: 2 hour 40 mile group ride (avg 20–22mph)[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Wednesday: 2 minute attack paced efforts[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Thursday: 1 hour I-team chaingang[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Friday: one 2km effort (turbo) or i-team training[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Saturday: race or 2-3 hour recovery ride[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Sunday: rest day or roller spinning or race[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Castle Combe youth: 8[/font][/font][/color][sup]th[/sup]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Castle combe youth: 5[/font][/font][/color][sup]th[/sup]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Thruxton youth: 4[/font][/font][/color][sup]th[/sup]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Castle Combe youth: 7[/font][/font][/color][sup]th[/sup]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Thruxton 3[/font][/font][/color][sup]rd[/sup][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica] Cat: 24[/font][/font][/color][sup]th[/sup][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica] ish[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol] [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Scratch race: 1st[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]20km elite scratch: 3rd[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=symbol]· [/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica]South Regional Omnium: 4th[/font][/color]
[font=symbol]· [/font]Eelmore 3[sup]rd[/sup] cat road series race: 9[sup]th[/sup]
[font=symbol]· [/font]Winchester park and ride youth race: 2[sup]nd[/sup]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]200m sprint (rolling start): 12.9 seconds[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]500m sprint TT (standing start): 37 seconds[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]1km Pursuit (standing start): 1 minute 15 seconds[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]2km Pursuit (standing start): 2 minutes 30 seconds[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]10mile time trial (flat): 23 minutes[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]10mile time trial (undulating hills): 25 minutes 20 seconds[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Max power: 1100watts[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Threshold power: 300 watts[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Power-weight ratio (functional threshold) : 4.6 watts per kilogram[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Resting heart rate: 60bpm[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Max heart rate (tested): 210 bpm[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]Threshold heart rate: 180 bpm[/font][/font][/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=symbol]· [/font][/font][/color][color=rgb(40,40,40)][font=helvetica][font=helvetica]VO2 Max (est): 65ml/kg/min[/font][/font][/color]
[font=symbol]· [/font]Race Gloves
[font=symbol]· [/font]Focus Water Bottles
[font=symbol]· [/font]Black Summer Racing Socks
[font=symbol]· [/font]New Headset For Bike
[font=symbol]· [/font]New Bottom Bracket For Bike
[font=symbol]· [/font]New Cleats
And 3 puntures, 2 on road and 1 track tub puncture (sorry Guy :mellow: )
Following a pretty momentous 2013 for me, I had an idea that perhaps this year might have some difficulty in matching all the previous year's highlights. I didn't set any specific aims, but knew that I wanted to have a go at a few more road races and probably do a multi-day road race event. As I was now in the over 50s veterans group, I planned to target the Dunsfold Vets series and hope for a few podium spots or maybe even a win in my age category. Accumulating the 25 points needed to keep my 2nd Cat race licence was something that I wasn't going to think about until I had got a few races under my belt.
None of us could have reckoned on the two shocking events that were to cast such long dark shadows over the year though.
After a winter when we all wondered if it would ever stop raining and riding through so many roads that were ankle deep in water for weeks on end, it was a relief to finally get out and do some riding in good conditions with all the usual suspects during February, including a great club ride around the Isle of Wight at the end of the month.
After following Sam's training programme since the beginning of the year, I was feeling pretty fit and ready to start racing going into March. My first race of the year was a 2/3 road race on the Dunsfold road circuit, which went well and I was happy with a comfortable bunch finish after a big break had got away. There were plenty of races at Mountbatten coming up and I planned to use one or two of these as a means to check if I was at the required fitness level to enable me to compete and not just get 'spat out'. After racing at Dunsfold on the Saturday, I decided to give the Mountbatten race on Sunday 9th a miss though and went out for a ride with Helen on the tandem.
Later that evening, news of a dreadful crash at Mountbatten started to filter through as there were a number of people from our club present either racing or helping. There had been a number of casualties, including our own young Luke Stace, but the worst injuries had been sustained by Richard Philips-Schofield, who was riding with the Hantspol team. Sadly, Richard died of his injuries two days afterwards. This tragic event sent shock waves throughout the local and national cycling community; everyone that races accepts there are risks, but this was something that nobody had ever really considered possible, right on our own doorstep. Helen told me that she did not want me to race at Mountbatten any more and that she thought I should seriously think about stopping racing altogether as it just seemed to be too dangerous.
With the closure of Mountbatten, and no other races planned, I now had a few weeks to consider what I wanted to do. It was on a club ride at the end of March, when for some daft reason I just kept on riding afterwards and thinking about life in general that I had a moment of clarity that told me I should carry on racing. I also recorded my longest ever ride of 209km whilst I was mulling it all over One of the Strava comments put up on my ride afterwards made me smile - it was from Howard asking me if I had forgotten where I lived?
Early April saw a large contingent of the club travel over to Belgium for the Tour of Flanders Sportive. This was a memorable weekend both socially and for an epic ride over the cobbles. The memory of seeing so many riders literally falling off and scrabbling around all over the place will stick in my mind for a long time Somehow, I managed to pick my way through the carnage and a few of us had a fantastic smash up for the last open road stretch into the finish. Watching the pro riders in the main event the following day was a real privilege.
At the end of April, we embarked on our annual memorial ride, which saw a welcome change of route taking in the isle of Wight and the New Forest for a very long hard day in the saddle with over 200k ridden and a very sore bottom by the time I rolled back onto my driveway.
The early May holiday weekend was crunch time for me - could I manage 3 consecutive days of road racing? There was only one way to to find out! Matt, Clint and Dave Mitchell were also asking themselves the same question. Day 1 was the relatively flat but fast Dunsfold road circuit that I was familiar with and I was happy to finish comfortably in the bunch. Day 2 was on the Bletchingley circuit, which I had not previously ridden and it was brutal I rolled in around 20 minutes down with a number of other guys who had found the course (and the pace) just too much to cope with - Matt had a fantastic ride and top ten finish though. Day 3 was on another new circuit for me near Edenbridge in Kent. My legs fell off on the last lap and I finished a few minutes down on the main bunch, but it was great to see all the guys who had ridden over to support and cheer us on. So although I was never realistically going to feature amongst the contenders, I was pretty happy to have completed the event.
After spending a week recovering from the exertions, I had a good start to the Vets race series at Dunsfold and managed a third place in my first outing, just half a bike length behind the winner of the over 50s category. I also noticed that the way these events were being scored by BC seemed somewhat over generous, so those 25 points might be well within reach; it was a race win that I wanted though!
A trip to Gran Canaria with Helen and some old friends of ours was just the ticket later in May and I was able to get some very nice rides in, together with plenty of sunshine. One of the rides (Valley of the Tears or VOTT route) was memorable as a stunningly beautiful one, whilst also being brutally hard. I was also in a spot of trouble when I got back some 3 hours later than I had originally said! Thoroughly recommend Gran Canaria as a cycling holiday venue though.
June saw the races coming thick and fast, with another third place at Dunsfold and a good bunch finish in the National Masters Road Race Championships held up in Buckinghamshire. I also suffered my first ever DQ along with 7 other riders at the National Masters Circuit Championships at Hillingdon after a pretty farcical race with two separate age category races being run together, which resulted in total chaos. I was a bit annoyed after finishing in the top ten, but knew there was no point arguing with the Chief Comm afterwards.
In July, a few of us went over to Bourg to have another go at The Marmotte, prior to joining the rest of the club up at Lake Annecy. The weather up until the day was pretty awful, but on the day we got lucky with some lovely sunshine and perfect conditions. It was great to ride round with Paul, Clint and Dan for pretty much the whole of this fantastic day on the bike. Sadly, and although we didn't find out until the following day, this was also the very day that Howard was to be tragically taken from us back at home.
After driving up to Annecy on the Sunday and meeting everyone else at the rather nice house there, news of Howard's accident had come through. Although it wasn't yet clear that he had been fatally injured we all feared the worst, whilst desperately hoping for the best as we awaited further updates over the next day or so.
We heard of Howard's death during an afternoon ride up the Col du Tamie and there were a few tears shed as we stood quietly together at the side of the road and subsequently back at the house. The rest of the week was understandably a rather muted affair as everyone tried to comprehend what had happened; the weather did its best to join in with some unusually cold, wet and gloomy conditions too. I think we all made the most of what we had though and the poor weather did mean we had an excuse to sit drinking beer whilst watching Nibali ride the cobbles like a master and effectively crush his nearest Tour rivals in the process.
After returning from France, I headed over to Alberta in Canada for the wedding of my nephew. Although I only had a few days there, I took the opportunity to hire a (very ordinary) Felt bike - which cost me a fortune - to sample some of the roads around the area north of Edmonton where my brother lives. I think I can safely say that it was probably the dullest and most uninspiring place that I have ever ridden, with straight, flat and often busy roads that go on forever with nothing to see except oil wells for hundreds of miles It certainly made me appreciate the beauty of what we have right on our doorstep here in Hampshire when I went out for the first time after returning and I have tried to capture this with a few pictures uploaded into the album.
August saw a chance to re-visit Ride London and although the route had to be shortened due to the biblical downpour we endured, this did not dampen my enthusiasm for having a monster tear up with Sam in the company of the great Marianne Vos. It was an honour to have my legs well and truly shredded by such a great rider yet clearly a lovely and most un-assuming athlete who was happy to chat away in the bunch when she wasn't smashing it on the front! Definitely my highlight of the year and I was astonished to see the time of 3hrs 35mins for the 86 miles covered against my name afterwards.
On the Monday after, we all said our final goodbyes to Howard. Although it was a desperately sad occasion, I also found it to be an uplifting experience to see so many friends, relatives and sporting acquaintances there, all of whom had nothing but love and great stories of Howard to share. He is much missed, but we are all surely very lucky to have known him.
Our club sponsored race at Alfold went well as usual and I was happy with a solid bunch finish behind Sam and Matt. Thanks again for plenty of support on the day from many of our club members and well done to Guy for persevering with the barbecue despite the worst of the rain coming down on his sausages!
By now, I had accumulated 30 race points, so had more than enough to retain my 2nd Cat licence for next year, although I was definitely feeling like I was starting to run out of gas in the tank. I also didn't get so much satisfaction out of the points this year as I felt that they were won somewhat cheaply compared to the brutal road race events that I was not really top ten material in. I had also not managed to improve on my two third place finishes, so the top spot would have to wait for another year
My final competitive event of the year was the 4 up team time trial, where together with Paul, Gerry and Dave we formed the 200 year up club Although we rode a much faster time than last year, so did everyone else, so we were some way off taking the veterans crown. Have to say that the SDV vets were awesome on the day though and I was utterly exhausted at the finish - my season's race legs had definitely just come off!
Following a holiday in Greece, with a few nice rides thrown in, I spent October just doing a few rides here and there and generally trying to re-charge. Unfortunately, this did mean that I failed to get any 100k rides in for the first month since we all started this particular caper. However, November's traditional ride over to Alfriston more than made up for this lapse as we had a fantastic group turnout for our annual remembrance weekend trip. The turnout in Ditchling at 11am on the Sunday was exemplary and very poignant and we turned the last 20 miles into quite some smash up in the pouring rain once again!
December saw us heading over to a new venue for the annual mince pie ride and what a venue it was - if Carlsberg made man caves, then they would surely be like the one we found nestled at the bottom of Jon Belfield's garden! Thanks to Jon and Wendy for making everyone so welcome. There was just enough time in the year left to fit our club Christmas dinner evening in the following weekend, which saw a great turnout of around 30 in the Italian enjoying the food, wine and (sort of) entertainment
So that's pretty much it really. I'm not usually one for too much soul searching or introspection, but sometimes there are events that naturally lead one to question all sorts of things about life and this has certainly been the case for me this year. Tragic and unfathomable events such as these just reinforce my belief that we should be grateful for everything we have, treasure our families and friendships and enjoy life to the full for as long as we are able to. My daughter Fiona bought me the picture at the top for Christmas and it really does seem to sum things up perfectly for me.
Most of all though, be happy - just like Howard always was.
Happy New Year everyone.
Winter Training Camp
Firstly I would like to share a shot of my "winter training camp", It's a place where I spend a fair bit of time at the moment. Not as warm as some and the altitude is somewhat fabricated but......
Training is going well but I'd like to get out a little more!!
Cervelo On Twitter!!
A couple of weeks ago I was buying some decals from a site and was offered to do a review of my bike on another site owned by the same company so I thought why not. I added the review as well as the shots I'd done of my Cervelo and thought no more of it. That is until a couple of days ago when blow me down I recognised a shot on a post placed on the official Cervelo Twitter page!!!. So now my bike is famous and featured on Cervelo . lol
Southampton Parkrun Shoot
Finally This entry, Something not strictly about cycling but maybe of interest to triathletes and any who may do a spot of running or film making. I couldn't make it to the iteam ride last weekend as I had been invited to Southampton Parkrun by Ordnance Survey. Their running club was hosting and marshalling the event and had asked if I would take some photos. I attended primarily with the intention of getting shots of as many runners in the short 5k distance as possible and had 2 GoPro's clamped to a pole do just that. One shooting stills and another shooting video just in case.
I also had my main camera
After the event I spent a few hours editing the shots and getting them uploaded to my flickr account and then shared over to the Southampton Parkrun flickr pool. There were 944 of them but I wanted every runner to at least be able to have one or two shots of themselves. In all 503 runners finished!!!, this is a pretty normal amount for Southampton apparently, as it's one of the bigger parkruns in the UK.
After sorting out the shots I turned my attention to the video footage to see if there was anything I could use as a short viral video for them. The video was a bit limited due to my not being able to get round much of the course in the 20-30 mins that it would take most of the runners to finish it, and I was primarily focussing on photos and so was methodically shooting runners rather than thinking about film and so was in static locations most of the time.
But after looking at the footage I thought there was maybe enough to throw something together and so set about processing and editing the vid and then compiling something in premiere.
OS and Parkrun are very happy with the results and are using it to promote their events and Parkrun UK are now interested in one for the national site.
All in all a very interesting and entertaining event, a great atmosphere even though it was frosty and one I would recommend to any tri runners to check out for a bit of additional training.
<iframe src=//player.vimeo.com/video/113977020" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Southampton Parkrun - 6th December 2014</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user30257732">Cloudbase Aerial Art</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
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well i am back in spain this week been out everyday this week yesterday was a great day and a hard day did the hondon ride which is used in the veltra espana tour it a tough climb alright from albaceta to he top its 11kms long with some serious steep bits in after about 4-5kms its starts to ramp up it goes 13 percent drops to 10 per cent then near the top with the crash barries it has 2 13 per cent sections brutal is one way of loooking at it .
today was easy ride this afternoon diong the lake ride via terrmendo this is a decent climb from the bottom the local clubs are very helpfull here there is always a group to ride with today i saw 2 groups this afternoon on a thursday both groups had about 30 riders.
in them did it split on the climbs just fragmented but the costa blanca is great cyling place always someone out at weekends its heaving with cyclists i have had had a great week here on my second trip to spain i have already booked next months just look on a sunday here loads of big groups well i just thought i would post up a blog i dont think anyone will read it or post as normall long ride friday
cheers rob c
Today Dave and I rode up to the summit of the first cat 3 KOM, near Marmelete on the road to Monchique. Three in the breakaway, rapidly being caught by the Peloton, which was being driven hard by Tinkoff. Cav struggling back in the cars, not looking happy
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Having ridden and raced at a high standard back in my teens/early twenties, I circumed to the virtues of beer and women.....
This lead me down a difficult path and ultimately caused an enforced period of leave from my two wheeled commrades!!!
Football, festivals and other alcohol fuelled activities filled my time and emptied my wallet from this point on.
FWD 20 odd years and a challenge of completing a sprint triathlon, May 2012, was a temptation too far and the competitive gears began to turn again, all beit a little slower than they used to.
This was the catalyst that got me back on the bike. The two triathlons that I did were good fun but this only lead me towards bettering myself on the bike again.
August 2012 and I entered the Jurassic Classic in Exmouth...100km that tested my return but gave me hope that with a little more time and the loss of excess weight I could gain some kind of baseline fitness.
Having completed the 60 miles in Exmouth the competitive spirit surged and I scoured the sportive calendar for a more challenging ride.
The Etape Cymru fitted that bill....92 miles in the hilly terrain of north wales. Training completed this was done in a reasonable 6hr 20mins.
It was at this point my mind turned to completing the ton...
100 miles on a bike!!!
I hadnt even contemplated this since my racing days.
Back to the caledar and the Exmoor Beast jumped out.....
This was brutal...rain coming down in stair rods, hail, winds and bitter cold. Even the cattle up on the high moors looked fed up. At one point I considered climbing into the support van, with no feeling in my hands and the numbness creeping up my arms, it was looking bleak. Thankfully a climb was next to negotiate and this enabled blood flow and feeling to return.
A winter riding with a local group facilitated more base miles and the plans began for this year.
The fred Whitton Challenge....mythical by name, mythical by nature.
More rain than Ive ever seen before, like being water boarded on a bike, rain that only the lake district can provide.
If I thought the Exmoor Beast was tough, this was torture. One after another they came, short but extremely steep climbs, and they conquered me. Severe cramp on the 30% section at 100 miles meant I had to to do the walk of shame.
Going back next year (ballot depending)...unfinished business!!!
The Dragon Ride...
Complete opposite to the Fred. Lovely sunshine, long shallow (average 10%)climbs into the Welsh Mountains and decents that seemed to go on for ever. This was a pleasure to ride, a day that makes you realise why you do the miles and put the time in on the bike.
Another perfect day.
Warm, sunshine, closed roads and pan flat compared to ther rides I'd completed.
Target time was approx 5hr 30mins, so to come home in 4:40 was incredible.
This was a fast course and the strong tail wind for the last 30 mile was a dream as you headed up the Mall.
This was to be my return to the Etape Cymru but my trusty VW campervan had other ideas and the trip had to be aborted.
As I type this I have completed my training for the Exmoor Beast (20th)and am basking in the knowledge that one more big effort will complete a good first full year back on the bike.
The next problem is.....
to race or not to race???
This year has been my best ever year in bike racing, I can honestly say that in just over 30 years of watching bike races, of racing bike races and of coaching others to race I've never had so much fun or enjoyed myself so much.
What's happened this year is I've started running a women's racing team - Team 22 ( @team22wrt / www.facebook.com/Team22WRT ) and it's with the exception of qualifying as a coach, the best thing I've ever done in cycling.
I started the year with a cheque for £500 from a sponsor and a single rider, but my theory was pretty simple, women's bike racing is expanding and there are new riders arriving into the sport all the time, so I bought far more kit than a single rider would ever wear and waited
I didn't have to wait for long, we now have a team of 5 riders (including an ex National Champion and a current World Duathlon champion) and we're going from strength to strength (although we still haven't got much more than £500, still that's what a credit card is for eh?) The team is doing exactly what I intended it to do, offer a chance to good riders new to the bike racing and a place where others can share their experiences and we can all have fun and learn from each other.
Our first year has coincided with the creation of the CDNW's women’s racing league, although only 5 races strong this year it's attracting fields approaching 50 and we're bringing on riders from across the border (both Scotland and Yorkshire ) The courses have been a good mixture of flat and hilly so there's something for everyone. Next year there will be more races and a rumour that the legendary Capernwray circuit will be used (less a case of hilly, more a case of 'Is that Chris Froome pushing his bike up the hill' ). Alongside this there’s the early season crit series run by Cath Wiggins at Salt Ayre, (this year she obviously twisted her old mans arm and there was funding from the Bradley Wiggins foundation). Those along with existing events means that the team can race women only races most weeks.
The thing I've really liked about the races this year is the atmosphere, you get the feeling that everyone is pulling together to make things better, get more races, bigger fields, attract new riders and sponsors. It does feel that there is a common cause and that people are supporting each other as individuals and teams as well as supporting the races. I guess it's down to a few organisers and clubs, but as with Team 22 I am a firm believer in 'if you build it they will come' and with fields getting on for 50 that seems to be the case.
There have been some great (and brutal) races and there have been loads of people who just love bike racing, we've been to some wonderful places - Buxton Mountain TT & Holme Valley stage race are amazing events in picture postcard scenery and we have been to some places we will NEVER EVER go back to - a race HQ in a horse riding school saw the riders riding through inches of mud and horse crap on the way to the start, but it's been a legendary year in a great place for the sport.
So with the last couple of races to run in the next couple of weeks the season draws to a close and for me the work starts for next year, hunting for new sponsors and wondering if the credit card will support another rider
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Having had to cancel my entry last year due to work commitments the FW was my main plan for this year. Coming from just south of the Lake District I am somewhat familiar with the area and planned this year to do it with Adrian a friend of mine who is from the Lakes. I felt somewhat unprepared with just the Hell of Ashdown under my belt this year (and that felt pretty tough at the time) plus a few Cowplain rides but took comfort in the fact that Adrian was in a similar situation albeit with a few rides in the Lakes to familiarise his legs. We set off with the plan of riding round more or less together and just seeing how it went but trying to resist the temptation of following any wheels that came past to protect ourselves from later in the ride. With 1700 riders entered I was expecting check-in carnage so opted for registering the day before and was introduced to a level of efficiency I have not yet experienced in a Sportive including photo ID checks and personally applied ’dibbers’.
With a cut-off at 60 miles of 12.30pm and rain predicted to properly set in around that time we opted for an early start and were off very smoothly with no queues at 6.20am. The first few climbs of the day indicated the way of the rest of the ride with me pulling a gap out on the climbs and Adrian closing it rapidly on the descents . The weather for the first few hours was cool and slighty drizzly and we made good time to Keswick with having covered the first 2 passes of Kirkstone and Matterdale assisted by our inability to resist temptation and contour Ulswater with some fast moving riders. I rode a few miles with a couple of whippets who mentioned they were aiming for 7 hours so I realised that I would be best not to try to hang on for too long but it was good while it lasted.
With a brief stop at Keswick we pushed on to Honister and the first brutally steep pitch of the day at 25% where my misgivings about my gearing choice became reality as I fought my way up on a 36/28. I had actually bought a triple chainset last year in order to give myself half a chance to get round but never got round to fitting it and ended up getting a new CX bike so decided to take a chance on it with standard gearing. I was under no illusion that this minor success would mean I would get up the big climbs after 95 miles but my legs were feeling good at this point. The first feed station came at Buttermere (42 miles) with a fantastic layout of 'real’ food (no gels here... ) including my personal favourites of tuna sandwiches and millionaires slice but then straight into Newlands before the first checkpoint at the foot of Whinlatter. True to the weather forecast the wind started to pick up and the rain set in properly on the descent from Whinlatter. I had (incorrectly) pictured Cold Fell as 'undulating’ and yet it proved to be the hardest section of the day with rain, wind, fog and many false flats and as I got colder and wetter I was forced to push on and leave Adrian in order to try and stay warm (I failed ). I was amazed at the number of people who even in this weather were out shouting encouragement. The many riders in shorts must have seriously regretted their clothing choice and as I arrived at the feed station I was greeted by a surreal scene of a car park full of abandonned bikes and a village hall full of foil blanketed cyclists attempting to handle hot drinks with shaky hands. Many had the look of wanting to abandon but without the means of getting home and so were forced to prepare for the hardest climbs still to come. At this point we were met by Adrian's wife and were able to get some dry clothes which I struggled to manipulate with frozen hands so it was some time before we readied ourselves to leave. It was an opportune moment to fit a spare back wheel for Adrian as he had broken a spoke (clearly putting some power down and nothing to do with the weight.... ).
Even with dry shoes and overshoes plus thermal, fleece and two waterproofs along with winter gloves it took half an hour of riding to regain some warmth and stop shivering. It was a sheltered run in to Hardknott, the big climb of the day and still feeling good I felt capable of at least attempting to ride it all although approaching the foot it was possible to see many people walking already. Feeling more of a fight than a climb the gradient tipped from 25% to 30% and I struggled to turn the pedals around at all. I thought at one point I would manage to do it without stopping but was forced to catch my breath just before the final and steepest section but was pleased (even as a MTBer who doesn't mind walking ) to get to the top having ridden it all - not something I had expected when I set out in the morning. As I paused there on the outside of a hairpin I had the alarming experience of watching a car descending the inside of the bend on 3 wheels through the sheer steepness as it crept down at walking speed. It must have been even worse for the rider just behind me who had this coming towards him . The descent was sketchy negotiating the steep hairpins in the wind and rain with potholes and gravel and marshals posted to explicitely slow riders down.....but exciting with it . The final pass of Wrynose would normally feel a tough climb but was mentally in the bag after Hardknott and the descent into the Langdale valley was awesome as the road straightened out we could properly let our brakes off and the view opened up ahead.
Throughout the day we lost count of the times we saw the technical support vehicles from Saddleback (the main sponsor) fixing bikes by the side of the road. The lakeland roads are tough and take their toll on bikes as well as riders. With the first rider in just under 6 hours I am amazed how that sort of pace can be maintained over those roads and hills. Probably because we were not chasing a time (and I luxuriated with some long and plentiful stops ) I managed for the first time to properly eat and drink and can vouch for the Nuun tablets that I found recommended on the I-team pages (Steve Smith was it?) as I suffered no cramping at all. This was a fantastic but tough event that fully lived up to my expectations and I cannot wait to do it again. I might even have the bravery to follow a few wheels next time....
Read the title a la Dusty Springfield. For the youngsters,stick it in you tube to be enlightened!!!
Anyway, 2013, I am a bit aimless from a cycling point of view. The last two years I did the Etape so my cycling was mapped out with that in mind and plenty of rides/sportives lined up. This year I have nothing, owing to a holiday most of my spare cash has to be put in the pot for that. So that puts the mokka’s on the more interesting rides further afield. I also find it hard to part with cash for the ones on my doorstep as I can do the routes anytime!
I have signed up for the Isle of Wight Randonee http://www.cycleisland.co.uk/ and this http://www.spinupinabrewery.com/ as it looks a bit different from stuff I have done. Otherwise nothing. It is my Daughters last year at Uni in Bristol so am thinking of riding there again. Undecided at the moment.
Owing to the weather and overtime my Rowlands Castle attendances have been zero this year. I justify the bad weather excuse as I commute in all weathers, so the rides for pleasure need to be dry (No rain). The one positive thing from the riding point of view is that my commute is about to get longer. I currently work in Cosham, so to there from Cowplain daily. The office is being moved to just off Guildhall Square the last week in February. So, a few more miles daily and in the summer easy to extend. Warmed up before whichever route up Portsdown I decide to take.
So any ideas for free rides gratefully received!
I’m looking for some like-minded folk to join me on a trip through England, France and Spain, including a ‘detour’ to Ibiza! This trip is not about, get as fast as you can from point A to point B but more about enjoying the people we meet and the journey that we create. I’m posting this blog just to get an idea what people think (probably tell me that I’m crazy, I know!)
I know that for a lot of people, taking the time off from work/studies would be difficult. If you are however able to come on part of the journey, or meet me on a leg of the journey that would be fine.
The rough plan is to leave the UK around the 20th July and return around 31st August (42 days). The main route plan is:
- Catching the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre.
- Cycling to my parent’s house near Cosne-sur-Loire for a couple of rest days.
- Cycling from Cosne to Barcelona (more detailed route to follow!)
- Catching the ferry from Barcelona to Ibiza.
- Spending around 7 days in Ibiza.
- Catch the ferry back to Barcelona.
- Cycle from Barcelona to Bilbao.
- Catching the ferry from Bilbao to Portsmouth.
The total cycling distance will be around 2000kms. I imagine the average distance per day would be around 80-100kms. The plan would be to as self sufficient as possible, so would need to carry tents/camping gear etc.
If you think this trip is something you may consider, let me know and I can post up more details…
Here’s a ‘taste’ of a similar trip a good friend of mine completed (make sure you check the videos out!):
P.S Oh, and if that didn't sound crazy enough, I'll be riding a 1950's Humber with a Sturmey Archer 3 Speed gear box!
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I got back on a bike three years ago after many years away from two wheels. The aim was to get a bit fitter, save some petrol cash and lose some excess weight! I purchased a Guess RB1 road bike, weighing in at 10kg, and set to getting back into the spirit of things
In that first year, 2010, I covered a total of 770 miles and managed to commute to work and back 41 times. I was pretty pleased with that at the time. More of the same followed in 2011 but I managed to up my total milage to 1006 miles and commuted 56 times. Was much happier with that, especially breaking four figures for the total milage.
After that I set my targets for 2012 at 1200/60. It didn't take long to realise I was going beat those figures hands down and just carryied on as long as I was able. The end result was a total of 3038 miles and 96 commutes! Was very pleased to surpass 3k distance and only missed out on getting the commutes to three figures thanks to bad weather and other pressures on my time.
2012 also saw me take part in my first sportive, the GSD Giant through the South Downs early in September covering 104 miles in a little over 6.5 hours. Was pretty pleased with that, and will admit that a fair chunk of my total milage went into training and building up the endurance.
I also purchased a smart phone back in May and got hooked up on Strava - http://strava.com/athletes/mook - which also helped provide a much increased level of encouragement, and was indeed where I found about this club
July also saw me purchase my second bike, a self built machine consisting of a carbon frame direct from China mated to the latest Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset, CSN Ultraleggera 50mm rim carbon/alloy rims and a few other odds and ends. This one comes in at 8.6kg and the difference in performance over the old bike is very noticable. This is now my summer bike, and the old one is the winter tramp.
So what does 2013 hold? Having survived the Mayen apocalypse I suspect things will only get better. For one I'll pull my finger out and get on some of the club rides! In terms of my targets I'm thinking I should be able to achieve 3500 miles and 100 commutes - the fact I done my first commute this evening is by far the quickest start to a year I've achieved, so that bodes well.
I've also made some friends via Strava and have been invited to join them on the Paris-Roubaix Challenge - riding the 170km course over the famous cobbles of north east France the day before the pros. That would be quite some challenge for me and I've not yet decided one way or the other. Perhaps I should just believe in myself and go for it, how hard can it be... just another day in Hell
In terms of my initial objectives, despite knocking on the door of 40 I've comfortably lost over a stone in weight, feel as fit as I did when I was 25 and have probably saved around £600 in petrol. Job done I reckon
I think I did most of my review of the year a few months ago, after my neck issue, but I thought I'd write a quick update.
After visiting the neck specialist again, the prolapsed disk has shrunk enough to stop pressing on the nerve and my neck pain has mostly gone. The nerve impingement over the summer resulted in a loss of muscle mass in my left tricep and pectoral muscles, so I've spent some time over the autumn and early winter trying to get some strength back into those muscles. The strength has been improving recently, but there is still some way to go in terms of building up the muscle mass, but at least I can lift some reasonably respectable weights again.
In terms of riding, I'm now able to ride for around 3 hours, with the Mince Pie Ride before Christmas the longest ride for probably 6 months. So now its time to start to train again, to lose weight and to gain power. I've got a way to go on both fronts, but I like a good challenge.
The Christmas flu is just about gone, so time to get cracking.
Looking forward to 2013.
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Following Guy's prompt, and my current situation I thought it may be a good time to start a blog.
By situation I mean, that since September I have ridden my bike, oh let me see, once......Well that's not strictly true because I went out today!
You don't tend to realise how much you lose when you don't do much for a few months, it was a real eye opener and very frustrating.
I'd like to go back a few months when some of you may recall me saying that we would be shutting our buisness down just after Christmas. This was due to a lack of a new contract on the horizon from our customer, and this was also creating tensions between myself and my collegue which wasn't pleasant.
This meant that I needed to get our existing orders completed on time, thus meaning not much time on the bike, in fact no time on the bike.
However, about six weeks ago, an enquiry we thought was dead suddenlly came back to life, and since then we have been hard at work producing mock-ups prior to a full prototype over the next few months, with a view to a very large order to follow.
The upside is that we are for the time being, still in buisness, the downside, well, as usual, no time to ride.
Today's ride was short, painfull and depressing. I was so looking forward to getting out and was going to join the others at Rowlands but decided otherwise. A wise decision.
One positive, is that hopefully it will spur me on to trying a bit harder to find the time, I might even have to resort to that instrument of torture........the turbo!
The plan is to get out on New Years day and do a bit more.
It's December, so it must be time for my annual post, following Guy's annual reminder...
After a decent end to 2011, I didn't really do much at all for a big chunk of 2012. I did have a bit of enforced time off with an ear operation in July (the time off work happily coinciding with the first week of the Olympics), followed by most of September in France. But for some reason, I suddenly clicked into it in October. I think I realised that if I didn't start, it would be spring 2013 before I rode again.
In the end I did 400 miles of commuting in 2012, but 300 of it in the last 3 months. This included a couple of really cold days and the wettest day I've ever ridden in, so there's no real excuse not to keep going.
We shall see...
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With a young family, commuting by bike is most often the only chance I have to get out on my bike these days so I feel very lucky to have such a picturesque daily route. Thanks to NCN route 43 that is mixture of canal towpath, converted former railway line route and river side track down the Swansea Valley, coming out to the sea front, crashing waves and the wonderful mumbles, I hardly encounter any traffic apart from the first quarter of a mile from my house and last half mile from sea front to the office. The Boardman Team CX has been pretty good as a commute and winter weekend bike. In October though the one of the gear levers (SRAM Apex) snapped and for 2 months I was stuck on the 16 tooth at the rear and interchanged between the 50 tooth and 34 tooth chain rings until I had a free weekend to overhaul and swap an old ultegra levers from on another bike plus a few new tiagra bits. But with the extra power from riding almost single speed everyday for a couple of months; I find I don't change gear as often I as I used to. I don't even use the small chainring any more, not even on short climbs.
Anyone considering taking up commuting in 2013, I would advise the following: invest in a supply of base layers (cheap ones from Aldi or Lidl are fine for commuting), shorts (i-team ones of course) and socks as your laundry will increase - the magazines never tell you this. I even invested in a tumble dryer this year as a result since we've not quite had the weather for frequent outside drying. My other bit of advice would be tyres: Conti Gator hardshells - not a single puncture in over a year on a pair of 28s. Have now put on a pair of 700x32 of the same version for winter commuting. Finally, if possible make the most of off road cycle routes, they are much more fun, relaxed and safe. It might add a bit to the distance, for example, my route is 9 miles each way but if I stuck to the most direct route on road, it would only be 7 miles.
Went to Pompey track tonight and had a potter round on my new track bike "http://www.i-team.cc/team/index.php?app=gallery&image=1501"
It was really nice to ride, i had a fun time and the evening gave me desire to train a little so that i could possible go a little faster and join in a bit more.
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It's now a tradition that we take a break at Easter (you get a lot of holiday for your money with the bank holidays and all). We generally spend some time with my old Da in Le Busseau (near Poitier) then j(once I have eaten all his food and had enough of his smelly pooches) jog on down to the Pyrenees.
Last year we spent some time in the Barousse Valley ( with some scary B&B owners) and this year we headed across the valley east to Puivert near Foix.
Now Easter is very early this year so we did not really know what to expect of the weather. Martin ( this years B&B owner - not a psycho ) tells us they have had some days of 25 degrees since Xmas!
We arrived on the Sunday night at about 4 o clock and I was encouraged to get a ride in before dinner! Off I set (found a 6 mile climb) at this point the heavens opened up and ended to 19 degree sunshine we had Been having up to now! We had brought the weather with us.
Next day Martin suggested a route that would take in 2 or 3 large climbs and end on the hors category plateau de belle 1700m. Wendy to be following in the car by then, it was a pleasant ride taking in the Pas de Soloumbre 1000 metres (highest Wendy has clmbed so chapeau to her) we then dropped like a stone off of the edge of the mountain into Cabannes and the foot of the Plateau de Beille (I am so glad that I didn't have to climb back up that drop it averaged 15% on the way down).
I then made my way up the Plateau, it's at this point I realised that the 39 @ 25 ratio was going to make this a difficult week, the col had snow from 1000 metres and at the top lots of skiing going on. After crepes and coffee having suitably let myself get nice and cold i decided to ride back to Puivert avoiding the previous said descent like a soap dodger dodging soap!
The next day I was given a 75 mile route that takes in 6 cols, (Wendy had made a French friend by then and they were being more sedate).
The weather started out hot I mean I thought I had way too much clothes on and I was getting tanned, the route was superb after the first col (col de Paradis) I was feeling great but too hot, then the mountains decided to show me a display of its awesome power by trying to drown me, I mean I was so wet I might of well have been swimming, and still 5 cols and 50 miles to go. Then the sun came out and burnt me to a crisp, I was cold to the core yet unbelievably sweating my nads off..... The mist as the rain was burning off of the road was. Ecoming a problem as my Rudy Projects were misted up, I was beginning to feel like a Benny Hill sketch.
I had the. Company of some rather large Raptors, I realise they were eyeing me up as a prospective meal!
Another 10k in the bag it decided to thunder and lightening all the way around me, it rattled up and down the valley in a very frightening manner, I was now completely drenched and turned my iPod up in order not hear the Awful thunder!
I was so far into the ride that there was no escape I had to finish what I started, no cafes no shops...... Just pain and wet, I started to think What would Jens Voight do ..... But let's face it I'm no Jens Voight.
Inevitably the mountains hadn't finished with me I was roasting and shivering again at the same time........ Only to be broken by another complete soaking just before the very las Col of the day the Col de la Portel (I was hoping it was a time portal). By this time I had no feelings below my waist at all which was probably for the best,
So the moral of this story is
* Easter in the Pyrenees is best described as unsettled!
* The Mountains are stronger than you .......
* If you can't decide what to wear ..... Wear it all it's bound to come in handy some time in the ride
* I ain't no Jens Voight
But what of Puivert? Well it's perfect for the cyclist lots of Cols and Valleys, big Cols like
pailheres at 2300 metres (I was so pleased it was closed), massive climbs in Andorra if you have the nerve.
Today I have just done 3 Col Day and again spent 30 miles soaked to the skin! Got chased by some bulls that i spooked! Cant wait to come back next year.
What of the B&B?
Www.petitverger.com Martin was a fantastic host a passionate cyclist, footballer, wine drinker and is known on occasion to combine all three disciplines, the B&B is a traditional French style house with large bright warm rooms and a massive plus for me is there is a bath!
We ate mainly at the B&B as there is. It much open at this time of year, the food was resturaunt standard and plenty of it, Martin dealt admirably with the veggie also.
We 50 euros a night for room and 15 euros for the scran. If you like cycling book this B&B!
It's coming to that time of the winter when I am thinking about upping the intensity of the training, and that is after the i-Team winter training camp at the end of January!!
The winter has been all about the base for me, a combination of rollers, turbo and club rides with the emphasis on controlled work. For each week between November and February has been...
1 roller session - 65% ftp power session, 5 x 15 minute efforts
1 turbo session - CTS Hill Repeats session
1 track session at Mountbatten - high intensity session
1 or 2 road rides at the weekend and out on the road if I have a day off
Since Christmas I have also added a Monday night circuit training session in the local village hall, I used to do this a couple of years ago and I have been really pleased with my fitness improvement since the and can feel the benefit of doing this 'off-bike' training too
And the next phase to the clock change at the end of March...
With the upcoming Sportive and racing season it's time for me to increase the intensity and with 2 winters of base in place I think this will be ok.
I have started on the following...
1 turbo session - CTS cycling for fitness or criterium training (for variety)
1 roller session - 85% ftp power session
1 circuit training session
1 Mountbatten track session (weather permitting), I know rule #5 and all that...
try to get in two rides each weekend, The increase on last years is the phased increase in the Saturday club rides to riding to and from home to them (an additional 40 or 50 miles depending on meet point), I already ride to and from Rowlands which means a metric century every other weekend and am riding home from the Cowplain ride (using the train to get almost there in the morning), thanks to all who have kept me company on the return...
There is also a pretty busy looking Sportive and racing program in place so it's looking like a very busy spring!!
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I am currently sitting in a hotel lounge in Warsaw, Poland reading Cycling Plus magazine and I come across an article which features Alan Thew and I think what an example to follow especially after his Marmotte exploits (and it appears that he is a year younger than me!) and it got me thinking. Well I am now into my second year. What am I going to do now? I am no longer a "rookie" although I am a year older. Does the age of your legs and body counteract the additional experience and training that you have gone through? Don't know but it still isn't easy.
I regularly read the entries of my fellow club members and marvel at their exploits and the mileages that they cover and the time in the saddle. I think to myself...wow, wish I could do that. You see, it's not a question of committment but of time! I am lucky if I can get out for a couple of hours at a time. So I have to maximise the time that I can get out. What is the best use of this time? What are my targets? Surely, your targets are based on what you can commit to? Any advice out there? Would like to do the odd sportive (about 100k), but am I doing enough? Will I make it to the end of the course? Well you will only find out by doing it.....so that is my target.
So on Sunday I decided that I would take some extra time out and see how far I could go. Unfortunately my preparation was slightly compromise by a slightly boozy Saturday (England vs Wales at Twickenham)!! But I was determined to go through an "active detox". Headed out from Portmouth, through Bedhampton, Havant then up Forestside. Then the decent down to Finchdean (what a pot-holed bumpy stretch of road that is!). Then up Ditcham to the school, then down the other side. Nearly did a "Geraint Thomas" and understeered at one of the hairpins. How do people go down hills so fast?? Next was the climb upto Buriton before heading over the hills to Clanfield. The constant undulations and rough road surfaces just drained my legs but I kept going. 42 miles in 2 hours 50 mins. A record for me!! I have never ridden that far in my life. Maybe not earth shattering but for me it was a landmark, a sort of benchmark for me to aim at next time because I know I can do it. So here's to the 50 mile mark. It might not be the Premier League but we can always dream of promotion. So here's to next time. There is life in the old dog yet.
Cheers, see you all soon. Happy peddling.......
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Bit late I know as it has been almost 2 weeks since I got back but I wanted to put down how this event went for me and hopefully not put anyone off with intentions to do this in the near future...
With departure scheduled to start at 6am on the 22nd June I managed to blag a taxi (my Dad) to take me up to Crystal Palace on the 21st for a pre booked overnight stay at Crystal Palace lodge (or should I stay Colditz)...anyway after some meet and greet with fellow riders it was an early night ready for the start in the morning...
Day 1: London to Calais
The challenge began bright and early (6am) from Crystal Palace and we headed south on route to the coast, one poor guy had just left the car park and his rear axle snapped and had to borrow a hybrid for the whole journey. The long journey took us us through rural Kent- the garden of England. The path winded it's way though traditional British countryside, along the North Downs Way before we reached the white cliffs of Dover. We all had to wait for everyone to arrive at the meeting point so we were able to spend an hour or so at the pub over the road waiting for everyone to arrive and enjoy a well earned non-alcoholic drink, we then had a wait at the ferry which took us across to Calais and our first nights resting place and no punctures or mechanical issues, 95 miles (approx).
Day 2: Calais to Abbeville
La belle France! Another really early start and not much sleep I really found the 1st part of day 2 to be a struggle but after 10 miles or so it became a little easier. Stunning picturesque countryside awaited us in northern France as we traveled south through some beautiful quaint villages, we cycled through Desvres, a market town known for its ceramics!! and continued with the windy roads along the valley of the Canche River. The Artois region was amazing with the Spanish influenced town of Hesdin and its tremendous architecture and close proximity to the battle of Agincourt. We spent the night in Abbeville – steeped in history from the war and despite being destroyed in just one night it has managed to retain its beautiful gothic church and no punctures or mechanical issues, 75 miles (approx).
Day 3: Abbeville to Beauvais
Our route in the morning followed the river Somme out of Abbeville. The Somme is perhaps most famous for its battles and you cannot fail to be reminded of the thousands who lost their lives in the war. But the Somme is also a Celtic word meaning tranquility… so summing up the feeling of the day as you cycle through this superb region. After lunch we enjoyed the countryside with a little less ‘undulations’ than previous days. We finished the day in Beauvais where the market square, Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, is a true highlight and no punctures or mechanical issues, 70 miles (approx).
Day 4: Beauvais to Paris
Our final day of cycling was the big push to Paris, our final destination. We were still treated to some stunning countryside including a fantastic lunchtime in wooded area next to the River Oise. After lunch we were near the outskirts of Paris and started to spot the familiar sights of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine. We rendezvoud in a park just north of Paris before joining together to cycle the last few miles along some of the famous boulevards. Our finish point can be seen for miles above the Paris skyline and on arrival the celebrations really began! and no punctures or mechanical issues, 60 miles (approx).
Day 5: Paris to London
The day was ours to soak up the Parisian way of life, explore the city, and visit the landmarks that only yesterday you were cycling by. Sod that for a laugh, I had a nice lay in and got up for breakfast about 9:30. We all then met in the afternoon at the Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar home, arriving at St Pancras where we were reunited with our bikes and commenced the long onward journey home.
All in all I thought the organising for this event was 1st class and there were no hiccups, all routes were clearly marked and it was a brilliant experience and one which I am so glad to have taken part in....now cannot wait for next years challenge...
Did I say I had no punctures or mechanical issues, my trusty steed was a diamond
thanks to Richard Pearman for a wonderful tour of sussex on todays ride.
Nikki was an inspiration riding in the pack and keeping a smile on every climb with some witty banter thrown in.
despite many months of warnings about the sunday rides i failed to take enough water and ran out long before the end. i was trying to blame the headwind from bognor for not being able to do my stint at the front but within a short time it was turning into a total shutdown of energy. the only solution was to re-fuel. this was going to be either a shop or a pub. lucky for me we passed a shop first - as i was going to have to flog the bike to afford beer and food and i think i would still be in the pub now.
some pop and a snack bar with a cruise ride home over portsdown hill gave me the time to reflect on events.
my elderly neibhbour says that she suspects the onset of the infamous 'bonc' which she encountered many years ago and needed poached eggs at a cafe stop to get over.
lesson learnt from today:
1 load up with a pair of large bottles
2 shovel in some go faster powder
3 drink it all !
other suggestions are welcome
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Been a funny old year, training and racing took a big hit, with no racing at all this year. Training has revolved more around not loosing too much fitness as opposed to improvement.
There have been positives this year though.
In February I completed the new UKCC Coach Educator's Course. Will be doing the Assessor's Course next February and will be tutoring the the first ever Level 2 Cycle Coaching course with Welsh Cycling tutors instead of tutors provided by British Cycling. It has been a long time coming but things got held up with a complete reorganisation of Welsh Cycling management.
Completed the Regional Road Racing Commissaire's course in November.
Completed my HNC in Sport Science, enrolled on an MSc in Sport Psychology.
Attended 2 days of a ODP/Talent Team training camp in December held in South Wales. Really good experience. Dani King and Peter Dibben both attended the camp. Good to spend some time the GB coaches and chat and experience what they are doing with the kids.
Commissaired 3 Cyclo Cross events this winter.
So next year. Well work is going to get in the way I know that already with the contracts that have come in recently. There will be more commissairing next year, we are struggling here in Wales for commissares.
March 1st will see a another development, Welsh Cycling have reached agreement with all 4 Welsh police forces with respect to Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), and the first training course is march 1st. Anyone attending the course will have the legal authority to stop traffic during road races, so race organisers will not have to go to the expense to pay the police to stop traffic for right hand turns or traffic lights, etc. on a road race. Welsh Cycling see this as a big step forward for road racing in Wales, which can't be a bad thing after the problems of this year.
As already mentioned we have the first Welsh Cycling run Level 2 Coaching course coming up in April.
Need to also sort out some coaching.
And finally also need to get training on course and get back into some racing. Have some plans in that direction, just need to firm them up over the next few weeks. First race of the year is scheduled for the end of January, will make a final decision in a couple of weeks, lets see how training goes over the next couple of weeks. This week has been good so far, although bike training has been restricted to the turbo trainer. In fact my good bikes are a bit inaccessible at the moment as the bike shed they are in is all hemmed in with scaffolding (we have had a leaking roof and the builders have not taken done their scaffolding yet).
That's it for now
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