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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.

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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

One month today

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This time next month I’ll be gearing up for the London to Brighton ride raising money for The British Heart Foundation The training is slowly coming together and I have found a comfortable pace on y bike which I feel I can maintain throughout the ride. This should give me the opportunity to gain time on the flatter sections to allow for the inevitable reduction  pace of the category 3 climb over Devils Dyke. It is nothing for the pro riders but for us mortals then its a challenge at the end of a fairly long ride.

 

I am nearly kitted out, now my new jacket has arrived. It is certainly bright and will help meImage be seen. However I hope I don’t have to wear it as the weather will be nice for the duration of the ride! Yes I am being silly to think I could possibly rely on the British weather! As you can see it is certainly bright!

 

I want you all to sleep well on the weekend of 13/14th July. I believe you can achieve this my helping me reach my fundraising target. Just click on my link and help me get to £250. If every reader of this blog, attached Twitter and Facebook account just gave £1 I would achieve my target in minutes. This is nothing to you an me, but vital to those people who are supported by The British Heart Foundation after they have suffered from heart attacks and broken hearts. Please I know this is annoying and you already do loads for charities close to you, but if you could spare a few £ it really will make a difference  to those who have to live with a condition which at the time of writing has no cure. With your help that cure becomes a step closer and one day might just help one of us or our children. Just by clicking on the link to my fundraising page will allow you to sleep a lot easier during mid July whilst I cycle my heart out to help people less fortunate than ourselves.

Thank you for your help. It means a lot! 

You know you’re hooked when ….

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Its still (just) over a month until I complete London to Brighton again Raising money for The British Heart Foundation (you can sponsor me here) and I find myself looking at the next challenge. This happened last year to a degree, but it stopped when I just decided to redo the same ride. However this year it is different. Yes this year I have upped the anti and set myself the challenge of #l2b in sub 4 hours, but i am now thinking of which other rides could be completed.

To date I have briefly looked at the Surrey 100 which includes Box hill as used in the Olympic road race in 2012, but is could be a case of biting off more than I can chew, or a more realistic possibility the 2014 Dunwich Dynamo. Briefly this is a turn up and ride 120 miles from North London to the Suffolk coast. No fundraising involved which might take the pressure off, just a ride for the fun of it and off course the challenge of completing it. However I will do some fundraising for someone, I just know it.

Other possibilities have been incorporating cycling with the love of cricket my friends and I have. There is something appealing about cycling to a test ground, or between test grounds and then getting to watch a days test cricket, or more! I also want to attempt to cycle up Alpe D’Huez just so I can say I have cycled up a famous Tour de France climb. All I know is I certainly have been hooked on cycling and trying to push myself longer, further and possibly higher than I’ve gone before. Mad I may be but I know its going to be fun!

It is all coming together

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Training for a long bike tide for charity or any other reason requires you to put in the long rides. Today was that day to see just what I had in the tank. We (5 which became 4) managed a good 58km in around 2 hours 20 minutes which wasn’t a bad run. We did have a 10 minute stop to catch our breath and up until this we had a moving average speed above 24kph. I’ll take this as its the first long ride with the new kit and it as well as me shaped up well.

So London to Brighton in under 4 hours? I think so. Getting into a rhythm and a steady pace will help plus proper food intake and preparation the week before should help with the sub 4 hour challenge. Just need to hope for no mechanical problems and this is on.

So when you are sleeping on the weekend of 13/14 July I’ll be pacing myself through the Surrey and Sussex countryside guided by the moon and the stars looking forward to a nice relaxing time on the beach and a well deserved full English breakfast.