Month: September 2013

so it’s Life of Brian

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Well done Brian Cookson who yesterday became the president of the UCI. He was elected after a 24-18 vote over Pat McQuaid, but the vote could only take place after Cookson himself took to the stage and said he would face McQuaid in the vote. For those who don’t know McQuaid has failed to gain a nomination for the vote from his home cycling union and he tried to change the UCI constitution to allow him to stand. In my opinion this is one issue Cookson needs to sort out so we don’t witness this farce again. It took about 4 hours for the vote to happen after debates if McQuaid should be allowed to stand. From an outsiders perspective well done Cookson for saying enough was enough and forcing a vote. It was a risk as he could have lost, but he didn’t and as said yesterday the work starts this weekend.

It certainly is a big job to clean up the image of cycling due to its past and the high profile drugs issue which has dogged the sport in the past. I think a culture shift is happening within the sport lead by world pro teams such as Garmin Sharp, Orica Greenedge and the total zero tolerance approach of Team Sky, and this will help but the UCI need to take a close look at its internal operations and get its own house in order. Evidence of this can be seen from the debates or debacle of the congress yesterday which we only know about as the media were allowed in to witness the events.

The public now know much more about what went on in the past, Tyler Hamilton and David Millar have shared their personal accounts of how doping affected their careers and finally Lance Armstrong admitted on TV that he had doped during the Tour de France which resulted in his name being removed from the record books. However when Chris Froome is booed when on one of the stages of this years tour and then a 41 year old (Chris Horner) wins the Veulta, one of the first questions is we’re they doping, or what have they used to get around the tests? If nothing else this proves the UCI has a long way to go to restore the image and confidence with the public worldwide that cycling is clean.

It will be interesting to see how Brain Cookson does with his goal to repair cycling and it’s image. It has to be said that he has done a superb job in transforming British Cycling over the past 16 years and hope he can do the same with the UCI. It is certainly going to be a difficult job but I have the belief if you want the job done then get the right person in to do it. I think they have. Well done Brain and we look forward to the UCI and cycling becoming a sport with a reputation it should be proud of, one for great sporting challenges and fantastic sporting moments.

UCI Road Cycling Championships BBC Coverage

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Tuesday 24 September

1330-1550 Live Women’s Time Trial – Red Button, Red Button HD, Online & Connected TV

Wednesday 25 September

1215-1610 Live Men’s Time Trial – 1215-1410 on Red Button & Red Button HD, 1340-1610 on BBC Two, with continuous coverage Online and on Connected TV

Saturday 28 September

1300-1700 Live Women’s Road Race – 1500-1600 on BBC One, 1600-1715 on BBC Two, with continuous coverage 1300-1715 Online and on Connected TV

Sunday 29 September

0900-1615 Live Men’s Road Race – 1230-1445 on Red Button & Red Button HD, 1415-1615 on BBC Two, with continuous coverage 0900-1615 Online and on Connected TV

Cycling adventures, the possibilities

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I have been away from the blog for a few days and there has been good reasons for this. Work has started again and this is taking more of my time. I have access to the gym again and this has again taken me away from the road and the blog but still helps with the general cardio work. I have also taken to reading as a leisure activity and reading ebooks. I have downloaded a few and will work my way through these over the coming weeks and months.

This may seem as not much of a big deal as thousands of people read ebooks and real books on a daily basis. I am coming to the party very much as a latecomer and if I left it any longer it could be argued I could have missed the boat all together. The fact is I have never felt I had the time to read but after trying it I have decided that I need more of a work like balance and reading is helping me in this regard, for the time being.

So what am I reading. Well I’ve the summer I have read two “normal” books as outlined in an earlier entry, and the cycling theme continues with the latest read. However the book of the moment is a very interesting account of a teacher who cycled from England to Italy over 5 weeks during the summer holidays. Crossing Europe on a bike called Reggie by Andrew Sykes. Since the first adventure Andrew and Reggie have cycled across Europe again (along a different route) and I will no doubt read about this latest adventure in due course. I am yet to finish the book but after 129 pages it is a good read and I long for the time I can read the next chapter. I will be doing exactly that after this entry has been completed.

This has also got me thinking. They say teachers should, inspire people. Andrew has inspired me to take on and complete a long distance cycling challenge. At this stage I don’t know what this could be but I will give it some serious thought over the next few months and like Andrew I might take some inspiration from you people out there.

Andrew can be followed via his blog as well as on Twitter or @cyclingeurope. You can also follow Reggie on Twitter to @ReggieTheBike. At this stage I would like to thank Andrew for sharing his adventures and the fact that if I copy him and complete my own challenge I would also have to set up a Twitter account for my bike. This would have to take part of the planning and could take a serious amount of time.

The question is what will be my challenge? Will it involve Europe. I would like to say that at this stage I can’t see me doing this alone and would feel a lot safer with another cyclist present. If nothing else to talk to and share the experience with.

Go on give it a go.

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It has been a busy first week back at work after the summer break but I am now starting to get back into the swing of things. It also means I get to utilise my very expensive gym membership and use the facilities work has to offer. I think I might have just about got value for money from the £20 it costs per annum! The benefits of having a leisure centre on site really helps. It is a no brainier for staff to take up this perk in my opinion, so I did. I will certainly renew which will be the first time I can remember renewing a gym membership.

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This morning I decided to enter the said gym just to familiarise myself with the equipment again. I had actually forgot to note down the levels and speeds I use on the cardio machines, or the weights I use in a workout. Shocking I know but this will change in the new training plan. Another addition I think I will introduce will be some of the classes. The new bike for the spinning classes arrived a few months back and I really feel like giving this a go. It would be a great way to get fitter and stay in shape for the sportives planned for 2014. However the class I have tried today was a simple circuit training class. It was a good solid workout of 45 mins. This consisted of a warm up then one minute circuits on each of the eleven stations, a mix of cardio and weight workouts. Once you have completed in circuit the time reduced to 40 seconds at each station but you up the intensity thus improving your fitness. Well I certainly felt certain muscle groups being worked and got a sweat on. As the studio is air conditioned it must have been down to the workout.

It was an enjoyable session. It was with colleagues which made the social aspect very enjoyable. Everyone new each other so this helped and everyone went at their own pace. At the end of the day you attend to improve your own fitness and if you’re getting fitter after a few classes then the goal has been achieved. I will certainly be attending next week but might just have to start pushing myself a bit harder, if I can.

What every cyclist experiences….. Eventually!

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It’s not the forts time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time today will repeat itself, but on the afternoon ride today just at the end of one of the courses I complete I has a crash. Quite a big one for an amateur cyclist. The first thing you need to know is about the bike. Rule 4 “It’s all about the bike” is so true in this instance. In the coming week the bike was due to be in for a service and now it looks like the service will be also a repair to some areas of her lovely frame and other parts. However despite the crash she has held up fairly well despite having me land on her which is never a nice thing to happen!

So the action. As previously mentioned I had just finished a course which I get up to about 40kmph at the top speed and I was on a section of road which I use to slow down after finishing the run and I was overtaken by a car. Nothing strange here except the car didn’t give enough room in my opinion and I then clip the kerb in the verge. Bang crash whallop, my foot was stuck in the pedal and I was on the way down. It felt like an age before I actually hit the ground with a crunch right on top of my bike, then the momentum rolled me over and shoe still in the clip-less pedal I have a bike on top of me. A very intimate position indeed for my bike and me to find ourselves in. At this point the world is looking a very strange place. Thankfully I was, as always, wearing my helmet. I still believe it is personal choice if you want to wear one but I always do and today my decision worked in my favour.

After checking the bike over and doing the best repair job to be me the 4 km home I pop back on and gingerly ride home. I have a few scraps and dents in me legs and arms but this will heal with time and rule 4 kicks in here with some help from rule 5! It really is all about the bike and harden the fuck up! Without the bike I cannot be a cyclist or enjoy cycling. Without a bike I am not a full member of the cycling community. I suppose this is why rule 12 come into its own. With more than one bike you can deal with these incidents and continue to get out on the road. Thankfully I have a spare and this will allow me to return to the road once rule 5 has been fully completed.

I am ok as far as I can tell. I can walk and communicate, although you may not know the difference, and despite a few aches and pains which will no doubt make sleeping difficult tonight I know I will be fine for the return to work in a while. Oh yes work, the joys of being employed and returning to work after your summer break. Oh well I’ve had my rest and now it is the turn of my bike to receive some professional pampering as the service and repair job starts mid week. My quest for the London to Canterbury bike ride will not be affected by this timely crash is ever these was such a thing.

The rules are here’s for anyone who is unfamiliar with them.