Showing posts from July, 2012

Ride Stats: July

Good month July, more miles than any other month this year at 1104 and a high average speed of 19.2mph, helped by my racing and fast paced training rides this month. Race results have been good with a win and consistent top ten places. I've got a bit of a break for the first half of August because of work and a family holiday, hopefully more big miles and good race results in the later part of the month and into September though.

Race Report: Portsmouth CTL Circuits 25th July - Missed the Break! Doh!

Good race last night, just glad I made the start line, as I've started work down at the sailing club now and it makes getting over to Portsmouth a bit tricky. The legs didn't feel great from the off, not sure why, but I was struggling. I've put in a fair few miles in the last week and I think that I overdid it a few days ago and was still feeling the effects. Anyway, I was having to work hard to pull a few attacks back throughout the race and the legs were feeling the strain. It amazes me how different each race over at the track is, this one seemed to be a 'to-and-fro' i.e. a break would go, the pack would wait a while to see how it was working, then a few individuals in the pack would decide that enough was enough and pull the break back. It seemed that Wightlink Race Team did a lot of work to pull back break after break throughout this race, which at least proves that we are all getting stronger! I say that the race was a 'to-and-fro', but I got it

Race Prep: Clearing The Airways

As the final time trial of the Tour de France approaches, I thought I would let any new-comers to the sport know the reasoning and science behind the bits of cotton wool that riders stuff up their noses when they are warming up on the turbo trainers before a Time Trial. Or in the case of Chris Froome, forgetting to take them out before the prologue time trial of The Tour began. The small bits of cotton wool are soaked in inhalant decongestant, or as most of us know it by the brand name Olbas Oil. The natural remedy, used by most of us when we have bunged up noses and sinus trouble is used by the riders to ensure every last bit of catarrh and particulates is removed from their airways. So that every breath transports the maximum amount of oxygen to their lungs. I can't say that I have ever used it before a race, but when milliseconds make the difference in a time trial, then the riders try to make every possible tiny gain they can. Let's hope Froomey remembers to take

Nutrition: Cycling Puddings

Puddings are a treat, right? Well we all need a bit of a treat sometimes, and sometimes those treats can actually do us and our cycling good. The four puddings below are examples of these; they all have different merits and nutritional benefits. Crumble Full of low GI oats and with a good portion of fruit per serving, crumble ticks more than one box as a healthy dessert; ideal for replacing lost calories after a long ride, or topping up the carbo-loading pre-ride. Recipe ( Serves 6) : Fruit e.g. cooking apples (peeled, cored and cut into 2cm slices); cooking apples and blackberries; rhubarb (cut into 2cm chunks); gooseberries; plums (stoned and halved); pears (in 2cm slices); blackcurrants 100g jumbo oats 100g plain flour 100g butter, softened and cut into small chunks 100g Demerara sugar 1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. 2. If the fruit is fresh rather than frozen/from a jar or tin, bring to the boil in a centimetre of water and simmer for a couple of minutes, then drain. Sp

Race Report: Portsmouth CTL Circuits 18th July - Breakaway Boys

After last week's horrific DQ I was back to try and take revenge at Pompey track on Wednesday evening, in what proved to be an interesting race. For the first ten minutes or so I rode in the pack, warming up and getting a feel for the track and who was riding. Once again there was a strong headwind on one side of the track, which promised to make a break difficult. At about ten minutes into the forty minute race I got in a break of about six riders and we began to work well together. I thought it could work and for about twenty minutes we stayed away from the bunch; but certain riders in the group weren't pulling their weight and as the workers in the group began to catch onto that fact they too tried to take shorter turns on the front and as a result the pace of the group slowed. The peloton kept chasing and the hopes of staying away were gradually lost as we were reeled back in. For a few minutes I sat back in the pack. Then Robbie, one of the lads from the Island, came

Race Report: Sotonia CC Heath Race 2 - Breakaway Flyers and A Futile Chase

First road race in a while last night - over in the New Forest for the Sotonia CC Heath Race. A good field of 40 riders, a reasonably strong wind and a rare sunny evening (for July?!) looked set to make for an interesting race. The course was made up of five laps of the six mile circuit, with a few rolling hills and some fast wooded descents. Jimbo got in an early break during the first lap, but it was pulled back in by the second time we rolled through the line. Then almost immediately another attack of three riders went off the front. Unfortunately Wightlink RT didn't manage to get anyone in that break, and to our annoyance it was the one that stuck! During lap three I did some hard efforts on the front, desperately trying to reel the break back in. However, as the big teams Cannondale, VC. St. Raph. and Andover Wheelers had riders in the break there weren't many riders willing to work to pull the escapees back in. After five minutes or so sat on the front trying to pull

Review: Maxxis Ignitor XC Tyre

Tyre choice is always a tough topic, even more so on the XC circuit, where conditions and courses dictate the choice even more so than on tarmac. When I bought the On One Whippet frame last summer for the Natwest International Island Games XC Event , I needed a set of tyres that I could mount up tubeless and leave on the bike. They needed to be reasonably hard wearing, good in all conditions, fast rolling and good value. After doing a bit of shopping around the Maxxis Ignitor tyre seemed like a good option. I found them for around £27 each online and mounted them up on the Hope Hoops that I am running with ZTR Crest Rims on the Whippet. Here's what I thought: Speed:  These are pretty fast! OK they might not be quite as rapid as Rocket Rons, but I reckon they are comparable almost to Racing Ralph in terms of low rolling resistance and speed. Durability:  This is where I think these tyres come into their own, they come in different compounds and with the harder compound o

Photo Blog: Newly Built Commuter Bike

Bit of a random assortment of parts, but it seems to work. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. Tortec Expedition Rack will take up to 35kgs. Triple Chainset and large cassette allow those loads to get up hills. Bar Ends and Suspension help make the ride more comfortable Deore Disk Brakes should overcome the stopping power problems in the wet and gritty conditions of UK winter (or summer?!) Some serious recycling of parts off the race bike. This XT Rear Shadow Derailluer has got a home-made inner-plate. Hopefully shouldn't bend this one on as it's stainless steel. Geax Roadster Tyres are reckoned to be one of the hardest wearing Asphalt tyres around, and they  are meant to have very good puncture protection even when occasionally used off-road The recycled XT Shadow rear mech and large 34T cassette should mean I can get up most inclines even fully loaded. 

Race Report: Portsmouth CTL Circuits 11th July 2012: A Bitter Victory

Think I've calmed down enough now to write a blog on Wednesday's race. Which was possibly one of the most gutting experiences of my life. My first race back at Portsmouth Mountbatten Track after exams and sickness didn't start that well. The legs didn't feel like they were there for the first ten minutes of the race, I wasn't surprised given the lack of preparation that I have had in the past month. However, by fifteen minutes in something was coming, I was active on the front chasing down breaks and I was able to ride in the wheels fairly well, dodging the brutal headwind that was hitting us on one side of the track. The majority of the race was fairly standard; a few breaks went off the front, but we chased them down reasonably well. The only thing that I did note was that the bunch really wasn't working very well together, certainly compared to the E.1.2.3 BUCS Road Race that I did back in May (the last race I rode). There was a select group that was work

Discussion Post: Chain Lubes

OK, I'm going to try something new...below are four chain lubes that I have used and reviewed, with the Morgan Blue Extra Dry Lube coming out on top. I'm interested to hear what other people think about their chain lube of choice and what their recommendations are. Let's see if we can get a discussion going in the comments section at the bottom of the post. Morgan Blue Extra Dry Chain Lube Positives: - The most effective dry lube I've used - doesn't attract dust or grime, leaving the chain looking clean and running smooth for a long time - Easy to apply with long nozzle - Just as good for the road bike as the mountain bike or tourer (despite the description on the label) - Surprisingly good value £4.49 for 125ml (Wiggle) Negatives: - Still a bit more expensive than other brands, but worth it in my opinion for pro-level lube - Does need re-application perhaps more often than alternative brands of Wet Lube Weldtite TF2 Extreme Synthetic Wet  Chain

The 1910 Challenge - Plans for Summer 2013

Last term at Uni I spent nine weeks sat at a desk revising and eventually sitting exams, you can't focus your whole mind on Economics for all your waking hours though, and although I managed to get out on the bike a bit I also spent a fair bit of time sat at my desk daydreaming about future rides, challenges, races and training that I could do. Back in January I found the video of the Rapha '1910 Challenge' and posted it as one of my Weekend Watch  clips. As I watched it again last term I increasingly felt the urge to try it myself, and over the last few weeks, I have drummed it into my head that this ride is definitely on the cards for next summer. So this blog post looks at the route, the history and why some crazy fool like me might want to take up the most arduous mountain stage ever played out in the Tour de France: The History: In 1910, after just eight years since it's genesis, the organisers of the Tour de France first took its competitors to the hi