Cycling

Back to work and another charity ride.

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On Monday I return to work after the holidays and the opportunity to utilise they gym again. Soon I will be leaving the bike inside more often than not as the winter training programme will kick in. Well I have to have a meeting first to decide what they plan is but I need to assume I have a Ride London place for next August, so allow me to use the winter for the necessary strength work. I’ll get out on the bike when I can on those cold December, January and February mornings. but will be glad of the gym in the real depths of winter. I will have my fingers crossed until February when the Ride London entries are announced.

However before then there is a small matter of either 65 or an 85 mile route on Sunday 15th September for The Children’s Trust. As yet I have not received my route options and I can decide on the day, but I am thinking the 85 mile route is well within me , its just the time. 65 miles should be between 3.5 and 4 hours so 85 would be 4.5 – 5.5 hours depending upon the route and any climbs. One thing is after my delivery today I will have enough gels and electrolyte tabs thanks to the fantastic offers at Wiggle. Don’t forget when you order from them you get a little bonus in your order, enjoy. Past and present customers will know just exactly what the little extra is!

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As you can see with this lot I will enough energy to light up the Blackpool illuminations if they need a hand. It will be interesting to see how the Apple, citrus and natural flavours shape up. So far the orange and summer fruits are good. Hi5 say they use real fruit juice and from the ones I have used so far you can tell.

As I finish off this entry and look out of the window at the evening sky it is another reminder of the need for lights on any evening ride. Mine have never been to far away from my bike since the night ride back in July and the fun which @grabsnowblog and I had with lights on that particular ride. It really was an experience.

So a little morning ride tomorrow I think before a very special afternoon as a nice reward!

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Sky and the rise to the top

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Team Sky’s best Grand Tour finishers
2010 Giro d’Italia: Dario David Cioni (17th)
2010 Tour de France: Thomas Lokvist (13th)
2010 Vuelta a Espana: Team withdrew death of team soigneur Txema Gonzalez
2011 Giro d’Italia: Thomas Lokvist (21st)
2011 Tour de France: Rigoberto Uran (24th)
2011 Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome (2nd)
2012 Giro d’Italia: Rigoberto Uran (7th)
2012 Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins (1st)
2012 Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome (4th)
2013 Giro d’Italia: Rigoberto Uran (2nd)
2013 Tour de France: Chris Froome (1st)

From the list above it is clear that @TeamSky are a real force in the WorldPro Tour and especially in the grand tours. Since last year and Wiggo winning the tour Sky have only struggled to get a top 4 finish in the Giro. Froome could have won the Vuelta last year if he hadn’t spend so much energy helping Wiggo win. However it’s a team sport and Froome was the support role in 2011 and the main man in 2012.

So as the 2012 Vuelta stated this week Sky will be lead by Haino with support from Uran. They have a strong squad and will be up there to challenge Astana, headed by Nibali and Movistar with Valverde. It’s another grand tour which will be eventful I’m sure.

This is an impressive record from Sky considering their short existence in the peloton. They arrived with the goal to win the Tour de France within five years. Goal achieved and then defended. The question is now can they break into the other two grand tours and win those. Surely a challenge fir David Brailsford would be to hold all three grand tours and possibly at the same time. This would ensure sky are the best pro team out there. The great thing about this is that Britain would then rule the world on the road as well as the track. The best was to dominate a sport in all its formats, although I’m sure the competition in the peloton and other nations on the track would beg to differ. Isn’t sport great! Especially cycling!

G is for Gaterskins and FB isn’t Facebook

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As you may know from a previous entry due to a puncture I needed a new tyre on the rear wheel of my bike. In supporting the local bike shop I purchased a Continental Gatorskin. I have read many good reviews about these tyres and after one ride I can see why.

I would say to start with they are not the lightest tyre in the world but are one of the strongest. Ideal for the everyday rider which I am. Never before have I had so much confidence in the rear of the bike before. Yes my handling skills are getting better but this has been helped with the Gatorskin. I will replace the front tyre so there is a matching pair. A job for the bank holiday weekend!

This morning was a test and was a short ride of just 24km. In the rain too so the pace was not as quick as it is in the dry. Saying this on the final small climb of the ride I was feeling good and thought I would attack the climb. I stayed in the highest possible gear I could, forgot the world and pedalled for all I was worth. It worked! I was 3 seconds faster than the quickest time going up a 5% climb. I can only assume I should be able to go faster in the dry. Let’s see. For now I am happy with my achievement so far. At this point can I add this is the fastest time on the MapMyRide course. The real test comes if I can quicken my time by another 20 seconds to take the number one spot on Strava. That will take a while but the only way to improve I’d to keep beating your own times on courses and segments and eventually you will climb the leader boards.

So back to the title. G is for Garorskin and from the reviews I have read and the test I have completed myself the FB is for fucking brilliant. I love these tyres for the cycling I do. The only drawback mentioned in some of the reviews is they are a little tight to but on the wheel. However with a tyre leaver they fit very well on mine and the performance today was very impressive. I’ll try a longer ride in the morning in hopefully dryer conditions, however if it rains it rains. You only get wet once and once your wet you’re wet. Rule 9 is there for a reason!

Cycling books

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I’ve never been a big reader but maybe as I get older its something this summer I have indulged in . I have read two books on cycling, both autobiographies and both cover the aspect of doping during the nineties and 2000’s.

The first was The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton and the second was David Millar’s book The fall and Rise of David Millar. Both books are very good and well with a read. I felt with Hamilton’s book you got an insight of what it was like in a team which was controlled by Lance Armstrong and whilst Millar was also a teammate of Armstrong before his cancer diagnosis, his books gave you a different perspective.
Cycling’s murky past is disappointing from the sports point of view but there is something about it which it interesting to find out what went on. Anyway my love for cycling books is getting the same as wanting to get out on the bike. So to solve this problem I have purchased my own copy of the Rules, which from this blog is a must, as well as the Eddy Merck’s book by William Fortheringham. If there was ever a great bike racer then Merck’s is up there in the top spot.

So whilst reading these beauties I will try and fit in more cycling, oh and return to work which will all add time pressures. I’ll blog too. There just might not be enough hours in the day!

Sorry mate I didn’t see you.

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This is the comment I received today just before I set off on another ride. I knew he hasn’t seen me which is why I didn’t start riding as the large van would have done some serious damage to me and the bike. I’ll re-write that last bit, the bike and me, as followers of the rules will know the bike comes first! (see rule #11)

I have never really got into the whole debate about the position and standing of cyclists on the road before now. On the roads I ride you simply can’t ride close to the curb. If I did I would either end up in a bush or tree or after being smashed by a stray branch end up in the middle of the road. I don’t much fancy eating tarmac and damaging the gear. Most of the time I have only encountered ” helpful” or drivers who respect by position on the road. Where possible I will try and wave cars through if I can see they can pass safely, especially I’d they have given me some space and time. 

There has also recently been the driver who doesn’t seem to care for other road users, not just cyclists but cars, pedestrians and others. This week I was out and I had the driver who passed me without much of a turn of the starring wheel. If I was any fatter I would have been the polish on the car. It was an expensive make an model too and my bike would have make a lovely scratch in the metallic paint work and my heavy body weight would have made the body very much less aerodynamic! Saying that the driver could have had the attitude of why are you in my way or just didn’t see me. Only they will know!

The way forward is clear. Since riding a lot I have gained an appreciation of life as a cyclist, especially in the commute. All drivers should have to experience using the road outside of their vehicle, especially on a bike. This real life experience won’t solve every car v cyclist incident but if more drivers experienced the viewpoint from the cyclist it would help. On the flip side cyclists also need to not jump red lights etc and help vehicles out by not riding unresponsively.

We need to have more people cycling to help the environment, save money in these financially difficult times, help with the health of the nation which are all personal benefits, but the state need to help out too. More cycle to work schemes need to be available, all future road plans in the UK need to include the viewpoint from the cyclist, car, lorry and bus etc. Only then we will start to get a system which work for everyone and not just the vehicles.

If other countries can make the change I’m sure the UK can as well. Come on Government, take the road by the handlebars and make the UK the envy of the world for cycling and not just in sport on the track and in the Tour de France!

A massive thank you – to everyone who has donated

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Efforts

As you know last weekend I completed the London to brighton night ride in 4 hours 38 minutes. When I crossed the start line at the weekend I was happy to have just beaten my fundrasing target of £250 so this job was done. This meant one part of the evening was a success and I just need to focus on the ride ahead. I always new there would be some people who wanted to wait until after I had completed the ride before they donated and this is to be expected. However I didn’t bank on the massive response from those who I work with, and have other involement with through youth football etc. I have to say it is very humbling. As the graphic shows I have well and truly smashed my fundrasing target and am now hoping I can climb over £500 doubleing my initial target. On the day the Tour de France has a double clim of Alpe D’Huez on stage 18 I am rather hoping I can achieve my own double, and reach £500.

My page is still open for those people who have not yet got around to making a donation. the page is here

London to Brighton 2 weeks to go!

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The 14th July is just under two weeks away (at the time of writing) and its the time I will attempt to cycle from London to Brighton (#l2b) in sub four hours raising money for The British Heart Foundation. There is still time to get in a few more training rides this week, a big one at the weekend and then taper it off next week before the big day (or night). There is still time to show your support by visiting my fundraising page and push me over my target. I know you’ve been busy, but go on do it now! Every little helps.

 

As well as the training for the event I have had to look again at my equipment, train with it on so we know how it feels and how it and I perform with it all in place. Earlier posts refer to the bike, shoes, mits, pedals and jacket which will be the main part of my equipment for this challenge. Within the last two weeks my ride pack has arrived containing my number, map and other useful information. I also need to have alternative footwear for the time in Brighton before the travel service back to London, and therefore a small back pack to wear on the ride. Lessons from last year are this needs to be small as last year my rucksack was too big and didn’t help. I had thought of not having a bag and just use the pockets on jackets and saddle bag, but no space for footwear.

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A solution has been found. I have managed to pick up this bright, reflective and very light backpack which is big enough to contain my jacket, flip flops (very stylish I know), wallet, keys and the mobile. This will leave the pockets in the jersey for the gels and food. The bag is also waterproof, especially as it has now been sprayed with some very good waterproofing spray from Millets before they disappeared from our high streets.

 

 

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I have ordered my nutrition for the event from Wiggle who had a good deal to get the water bottle free. £3.19 for 5 energy bars is i thought a good deal so ordered two. This means ill have two bottles as well so ideal for the ride.

 

Also on order are some arm warmers as I will be wearing a short sleeved shirt and these will be easy to roll down when the weather gets warmer as we reach Brighton. I have checked the long range forecast and the Sunday afternoon could have sunny weather and 25 degrees C! Image If that is the case there will be a need for me to use the other lenses which will arrive with my new cycling glasses. The clear lenses will be ideal for the dark, or I could use the lo light ones, before changing them again for the sunny weather we could get come Sunday afternoon. Again these were available on Wiggle with an offer. The fact these have been recommended by Cycling Plus and you get the interchangeable lenses included, what a bargain (£32).

 

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It would get cold without the jersey. It was a present from my last workplace and I now have an opportunity to wear it other than on a normal ride. It is tight, but then again cycling clothing is supposed to be, but this is the most snug I have ever felt in a cycle jersey. It isn’t too small (at L) and i have some idea of what the pro riders feel like when their wear their skin suits on time trials. I say some idea as this jersey is certainly not a second skin, but very close to it.

 

I think I am ready. Well I know i am ready. Just a few emails to chase by return coach and truck ticket, but I am sure this is in hand, and with a few more rides then it show time. Watch out people no. 2091 will be on his way in an attempt to complete 60 miles in sub four hours, in the process raising more then £250 for The British Heart Foundation. Please if you have read this and not get sponsored me please visit my fundraising page and help me make a different to people we don’t even know. Heart failure can affect anyone of us at any time, and I sure want a cure, so in the future, I am diagnosed with heart failure I might have a chance of living a different life to those present sufferers from the disease.

 

Thank you for supporting this great charity and fantastic cause. Also thank you to all the people who have wished me luck with my own personal challenge.

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