Month: June 2013

Well it’s here

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After many months of waiting it it finally here. The 100 TV Tour de France or Le Tour has its grand depart today in Corsica. We will, over the next three weeks, get to see who can battle the course to be champion in Paris. We know it won’t be easy and Froome will be up there with Contador plus a few others for the fight for the title.

That battle for yellow overall won’t be won today. That will be for the sprinters. Let’s hope Mark Cavendish it’s the best in the bunch sprint and gets to wear yellow for a day at least, before focusing for the green points jersey.

Like many others who will be watching this years tour offers something different from the last two. Yes we have a clear favourite, plus he is in the form of his life, but there are so many other contentious out there.

Let’s see what happens over the next three weeks. Enjoy.

As if you didn’t know I’m supporting TeamSky

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Marketing it maybe and a good idea it is too. Team Sky though their Facebook page can Imageget you to feel a little close to the action come Saturday with your own personalised Team Sky Jersey (if only in an avatar at this stage!)

So being a fan and supporting the only British team in the Tour de France InThePeloton now has its very own Team Sky jersey. At this stage it is only an avatar but I’m sure someone at Raffa or one of the other sponsors will get these into production especially if Froom wins.

Well that may be a few weeks away, and until then I’ll wear my avatar with pride, or the blog will anyway.

Just 3 days to go until the 100th Tour de France

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The waiting is nearly over. 3 days until the start of the 100th Tour de France. Will Mark Cavendish be in Yellow at the end of the first day which is set up for the Sprinters. Lets hope so. Image

I think the 100th tour will be a good one. Last year returned Sir Brad as the first British winner and with a bit of luck we could have Froom taking the honours in Paris in three weeks with Cav returning to glory in Green.  At this rate the UK will be targeting all the jerseys, although the King of the mountains could be a struggle this year. The route is an interesting one. It is a shame Sir Wiggo won’t be there to defend his title and we will never know if he decides not to ride the tour again. Lets wait and see.

There are many stages to look out for in this years race. I think one of the most important ones will be Stage 18 Gap to Alpe D’Huez where the riders will climb the famous mountain twice with the finish line at the top of the second summit. If Froome manages this with a lead or gains the lead on this stage he will be in an excellent position to take the 100th tour, his first victory and the second for a British rider. Image

It might only be 168km long but the fact on this stage they are going over 4 big climbs at a high altitude before the final climb up Alpe D’Huez for the finish.

In my opinion its stages like this that make the tour what it is. The physical and mental challenge the riders face must be phenomenal, just for this stage alone, but the fact they have been riding for 17 stages before this just proves these riders are something special.

So I all starts on Saturday, at last. For the next three weeks cycling will rule my life, watching the tour as well as a certain ride In doing on 14th July, eek!

Images taken from http://inrng.com/2012/10/2013-tour-de-france/

One of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and…

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no live coverage on the two television channels of the National Road Race Championships. At least there is highlights tomorrow night (Monday 24th June) on ITV4!

Next weekend and for the following three weeks both British Eurosport and ITV4 will show live coverage and highlights of the 100th Tour de France, but today nothing. Please, please get this sorted for 2014! I know there would have been reasons for not covering the race live, but I think a glorious opportunity was lost today.

I ask why that one of the biggest events in the road cycling calendar is not covered live? Later in September they will be coverage if the Tour of Britain which is great but over the weekend we have had many of the worlds top rivers in UK road fighting it or for the honour of wearing the national champions jersey.

I have to say a massive thank you to Twitter for my coverage of the race. It certainly added something, as it was very nerve wracking watching the action unfold in 140 characters or less but annoying I could not watch the action live on TV. After all the south east is along way from Glasgow where the championships took place so couldn’t attend live. @BriSmith (Brian Smith Eurosport &ITV4 commentator) @cyclingweekly and @ BritisjCycling et al kept me and the world updated which the action. Without this fantastic service it works be the old fashioned way of finding our the result in the paper tomorrow or doing A Likely Lads and trying to avoid the result until watching the highlights tomorrow evening.

So the result. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know the result of both the men’s and women’s races. AllI will say before saying who won I’d I might be getting one if the jerseys when they are on sale which I have a feeling will be very soon.

So here it is the result. A big well done to ladies champion Lizzie Armistead who won on Saturday and the men’s champion, yes you guessed it, the Manx missile Mark Cavendish. He will wear his new national champions jersey in the tour next week, well until he gets the yellow one after stage one and the green points jersey for leading the points classification. I think the OPQS jersey in UK champions decorations will be a nice sight to see. We have seen the Sky version with Ian Stannard and Wiggo a few years back, but now its Cav’s.

The top four in the rave will all be of to the tour next week so it easy a strong fiend which you expect for your national championships. Well done to the top riders for their participation. Next year lets hope this key event in the cycling calendar is covered live so we can all enjoy the event. After all isn’t cycling gaining more popularity? It would gain more covering it live!

Its real.

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I knew our challenge was real as I experienced the ride last year. However when talking to another participant of this years ride yesterday they said they had received their pack, and mine had not yet arrived. As you can see mine came today. Again like last year the fact I will cycle from London to Brighton has really got home again.

The strange thing is I feel ready for the ride and knew it was coming. The sponsorship is getting there (£40 to go), the bike is a dream to ride and I feel good about attacking the route for a sub for hour time. It’s not until your pack arrives that it seems task and I don’t know why but it is.

I have to say the pack is a great improvement from last year. The map us in much more detail, taken from an OS map. It is the size if a map too which is good but lets face it you are unlikely to get lost just follow every other rider. Saying this we did take a wrong turn last year due to a marshall not being in the right place.

So now it’s time to put the finishing touches to my ride preparations. Time to get my gels from the local bike shop, get the bike serviced in the final week before event day and arrange two light rides for the final week. Also need to eat chicken with some pasta on the Friday and get some sleep Saturday afternoon. This I didn’t manage last year as it was so got on event day.

I now feel part of the team now my pack has arrived. It real. I am doing this and helping make a difference. I have been able to combine raising money for an excellent cause by completing an activity I really enjoy. I really am quite lucky to be able to have this opportunity. Sub for hours here we come. Fingers Crossed.

Its real.

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I knew our challenge was real as I experienced the ride last year. However when talking to another participant of this years rife yesterday they said they had received their pack, and mine had not yet arrived. As you can see mine came today. Again like last year the fact I will cycle from London to Brighton has really got home again.

The strange thing is I feel ready for the ride and knew it was coming. The sponsorship is getting there (£40 to go), the bike is a dream to ride and I feel good about attacking the route for a sub for hour time. It’s not until your pack arrives that it seems task and I don’t know why but it is.

I have to say the pack is a great improvement from last year. The map us in much more detail, taken from an OS map. It is the size if a map too which is good but lets face it you are unlikely to get lost just follow every other rider. Saying this we did take a wrong turn last year due to a marshall not being in the right place.

So now it’s time to put the finishing touches to my ride preparations. Time to get my gels from the local bike shop, get the bike serviced in the final week before event day and arrange two light rides for the final week. Also need to eat chicken with some pasta on the Friday and get some sleep Saturday afternoon. This I didn’t manage last year as it was so got on event day.

I now feel part of the team now my pack has arrived. It real. I am doing this and helping make a difference. I have been able to combine raising money for an excellent cause by completing an activity I really enjoy. I really am quite lucky to be able to have this opportunity. Sub for hours here we come. Fingers Crossed.

Fantasy Cycling!

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Well you can now get close to the action as your own Director Sportif by selecting a 9 man team from the pro riders who are riding in the 2013 Tour De France. You get 20m Euros to build your squad and can have no more than 2 riders from any Pro Team. Unlimited changes until the start of the tour and then 20 throughout the three week race, with a maximum of three per stage. You don’t have to do the maths to say you need to be cleaver with your choices.

I would normally now justify my choices. Well if I did that would be giving others an advantage, or would it? Go on spend a few minutes putting together your team and lets see how we all get on. You can see my team here http://rcuktourdefrance.fantasyleague.com/Team.aspx. Its totally free and a bit of good harmless fun.

Relish the moment… It might not happen again!!

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Like many cyclists I like to track my rides with GPS mapping software or apps. I have used many in the past, from Google’s My Tracks, Endomondo but found myself

Imagereturning to MapMyRide. I have found these apps are very much a personal choice, however after reviewing my training progress over the weekend I found I had managed to earn a badge in each of the seconds, and was quite frankly “well chuffed”. Others have rated Strava but as yet I have not tried it so an unable to comment. I will however download and try it out soon I’m sure.

From the graphic you could get the impression of an all rounder. I kid you not the climbs are not anything you would find on the UCI tours and probably wouldn’t even get a lump or bumps mention from Carlton Kirby, Brian Smith or Sean Kelly et al on British Eurosport in their excellent cycling coverage. However they are my achievements and that matters to me. One day I will have the confidence and ability to tackle the Cat 1 and HC climbs found in Europe (probably in a car first), but until then I’ll take comfort in my (small) achievements as displayed on MapMyRide. After all its all good preparation for next month and The British Heart Foundation 2nd Night Ride from London to Brighton. Lets hope it all pays off! Talking of paying off I will plug my fundraising page again here.

Talking of the fundraising I have finally reached half way of my target. I have a feeling the second half will be a little easier to achieve than the first half (well hope it is anyway). If you haven’t already I understand why as we are all very busy people but if you could spare a  few minutes and a few quid it will really help me out, but more importantly will help The British Heart Foundation find a cure for heart disease.

Unlike a GPS tracking device I went a little off track there, sorry. I’m sure these features are available in all the different apps out there but I like the fact I can design a route on my PC/laptop and then sync it to my phone and then have my performance monitored and recorded. I do like the fact that when your route goes over a climb or course someone has added your performance is recorded and then points awarded. The fact is acts as a virtual race means you can set yourself targets to improve which give a little more edge and fun to your cycling.

Whatever app or device you use I’m sure it does the job for you, which is the main thing. At the moment I am a MapMyRide convert and whilst I might stray at the moment I’ll stick with what I’ve got.  I just wonder how long I’ll have those badges for, probably not long!

I just can’t wait…

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For the Tour De France which has its grand depart at the end of June and for my own challenge if London to Brighton at night for the second year running.

Let’s start with my own challenge, London to Brighton. The distance isn’t a problem, 60 miles, it’s can we do it in sub four hours. This involves a moving average of 25kmph. Sounds straight forward enough, especially on a road bike which I an becoming very comfortable on. Stock up with water, gels and a Jaffa cake or two and as long as we don’t need to stop, the target is on. Even with the big hill, Devil’s Dike at about 48 miles the rest of the ride should allow time to be made up before we reach the climb. I know this as I know the route from last year and I know what shape I’m in with my new bike. Plus there is still four weeks left to lose a few more pounds (as he puts the lovely point of Adnams down). Monday will see the serious diet and proper food prep I tell myself. The training ride in the morning will help, as we are going a power hour. This is a short warm up then go hell for leather in one direction for 30 minutes, then turn as around and come back. The plan is to build the power and operating at a high tempo. On another point good luck to all doing the day ride tomorrow. Your doing a great job well done. I can’t wait for my chance to see if I can achieve my goal of sub for hours, as I know I’ll be raising some money for The British Heart Foundation to find a cure for heart failure. You can show your support by sponsoring me a few pounds, Dollars, Euros or whatever your currency is here. Thank you your help is really appreciated.

As I complete my challenge the greatest cycle race will be two weeks old as the Rogers prepare for the final week. Hopefully Chris Froome will be in yellow and with the support of Team Sky will hold off any final attacks from the likes of Contador et al and we can have another British winner of Le Tour. With a bit of good fortune, which you need in cycling, winning The Tour Dr France could be like waiting for a bus. You wait for ages then two come along at once! Come on Froomy make your great form count now! Last year they said the course was perfect for Wiggins, well I said when this course was announced it was suited to Froome. Only time will tell but I hope he does the business.

I know there are many others who are just waiting for the Tour to start. At least we age nearly there. Let’s cross everything and hope for a great double, sub four hours for me (& reaching my target) and a second British winner of The Tour de France.

D2B Rotation Jacket review

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Wind and waterproof, 13 June 2013

 
By InThePeloton 4/5 starsImage

I have had many D2B products in the past and they have always been reliable and did the job. This was my reasoning to returning to the brand for this item.

It is a bright item and helps keep you seen on the road during morning and evening commutes to work. I wore it yesterday in a light shower and was kept very dry. I believe it could cope with more rain as it is made of a good quality material and looks good.

I didn’t have a base layer on underneath just a short sleeved cycling jersey and as a result my arms got a bit sticky. I think with a base layer to wick away sweat this wouldn’t be a problem.

Unlike many reviews I have read for other jackets the sizing of this come up a little bigger in my experience. After looking at the size guide I thought a large would be suitable (6’1″ tall and 90kg) however I’m glad I tried on the jackets first. I have a medium and this is still big enough to allow for extra layers underneath in the winter if required. You have loads of room to move around on the bike on those commutes or leisure rides. You wouldn’t be using this type of jacket in race conditions so I don’t believe this is a problem. However you have the option to size down as per your requirements.

I got my discount form in store and this allowed for the discount price to be awarded straight away, so I have already repaid the cost of my discount card in one visit. I will get the benefit when I need a tent later in the year for camping etc so well worth the £5.

Staff in store were helpful and answered all the questions I had, thank you GO.

Read the review on the GO website here