Showing posts from September, 2012

Weekend Watch: Behind the Scenes at the Tour of Britain 2012

Tour of Britain 2012 - Behind The Scenes (Montage) from Mat Pennell on Vimeo .

SportPursuit - Top Brand Bargains From A Top UK Firm

A company review is not something that I've blogged before; I've mentioned my Favourite Bike Brands  in a previous post and discussed why British companies often win my heart (and wallet) over for their understanding of the consumer. SportPursuit is something a bit different though, not a brand as such, but a UK company that is well worth knowing about because of the massive discounts that they provide. The company is the UK's leading 'Outdoor Specialist Flash Sale' site. So what's a 'Flash sale'? Well... " A 'Deal of the Day' or 'Flash Sale' is a type of e-commerce, by which a website will provide certain products at large discount for a short period of time. Members of the site can receive these online offers and are notified of which sales are currently in session. " SportPursuit  does just that then; when you visit their website for the first time you will be asked to Join Up , a simple case of entering your name

Race Report: Seven Hills Killer 2012

It's the time of season when it is all too tempting to put your feet up and call it a day; most of the major races are over, there is the UCI World Champs on TV, and it's pissing it down outside with gale force winds. Unfortunately, I seem to have an addiction to my bike and to racing. Even when the rational part of my brain looked out the window this morning and shook its head at the ridiculous headwind and pouring rain, it was the childish, excited part that quickly won over, flashing up the words "RACE", "COMPETITION", "MUD", "FUN?" in neon lights. So it was that I started my fourth? (done a few of these, can't remember how many) Seven Hills this morning in horrendous conditions. I was pleased to see that there were plenty of other Isle of Wighters and Mainland folk braving the conditions as well. I sacked off my warm up, opting instead to sit in the warmth of James' van eating Jelly Babies and reciting the checkpoints. T

Weekend Watch: Giro d'Italia 2013 Promo


Review: Hope Vision 2 Front Light

Hope made it into my list of 'Favourite Bike Brands'  for a good reason; their equipment is flawlessly made, to the highest level in their UK factory. Having been so impressed by my Pro 2 hubs, the Hope Vision 2 front light was a favourable choice when I was looking for a light to use for the Chain Reaction Mountain Bike Night Marathon in Ruthin last weekend. Straight from the box the light doesn't disappoint, it is beautifully made from robust and strong, precision CNC machined stainless. The light comes from two high power LEDs, which on full chat will push out 480 lumens of light. In my opinion, and experience of going down some bloody big Welsh mountains in the dark with this light, this candle-power is easily enough for almost all night riding. The handlebar mount is secure and well made, with a superb quick release clamp allowing good grip on the bar, far better than the perishable rubber bands that are used on some cheaper lights to secure the lamp unit. Cha

The Alternative Lads' Weekend - CRC Mountain Bike Marathon Weekend Ruthin

When you think of a lads' weekend away, most think of cheap hotels, beers and clubbing. That's not the way the Wightlink Race Team lads went about it this weekend on our visit to Ruthin in North Wales though. Sam, James and I travelled a long five and a half hours drive from the Island to take part in one awesome, action packed Chain Reaction Mountain Bike Marathon Weekend. Chip Shop Dinner - It's the end of the season! We set off Friday, taking our time to get up to the site and enjoying the roads in Wales such as the awesome Horseshoe Pass; definitely one that I would like to revisit on a road bike! The remainder of the afternoon was then spent in the pub, or getting dinner from the chippy and discussing what an awesome first season we've had together as a team. Camping next to a duck pond turned out not to be our brightest idea, and Friday night wasn't the best night's sleep; but we woke up early on Saturday to bright sunshine and the prospect of bike

Nutrition: Energy Bar Comparison Results

At the start of this year, I was lucky enough to have accumulated a wide variety of energy bars and gels from various competitions and trials. This blog post is a personal comparison of which I think are best: looking at taste, value, palatability (ease of consumption) and the quality of ingredients. I will add to it over time, as I sample new brands, flavours and styles. Home-made Flap-Jack Flavour:  My favourite is banana, fig and raisin Description:  The recipe I use can be found here:  Recipe: High Energy Flapjacks . They are very tasty, cheap, healthy and easy to make. You can actually freeze them quite well, so doing a big batch and the storing them is not a problem. Well worth a try. Taste:  5/5            Value:  5/5 Ingredients:  5/5    Palatability:  4/5 Overall: 19/20 (OK I might be a bit biased!) Mule Bar Apple Strudel Energy Bar Flavour:  Apple Strudel Description:  So good!! My sister lived in Austria for a year and I know a proper Austrian Apfel

Review: Michelin Lithion 2 Road Tyre

When I bought my Planet X around three years ago it came with a set of Michelin Lithion road tyres. Whilst the tyres are now on my training wheels and the back one ran out a long time ago, the front is still going strong and overall I've been very impressed by the quality of them. Retailing on-line in most stores for around £15 for a folding tyre, these are a great deal. They are a lightweight, durable and safe all weather training tyre, which look good on the bike and provide a comfortable ride. Here are a few highlights: Tread:  Lithions are branded as a good all-weather tyre, which is certainly true. The have a slick centre tread, with grooved outer panels. This provides good speed, yet safe and confident cornering even in wet conditions. Puncture Protection:  A high density rubber and inbuilt puncture protection mean that these tyre have a strong resistance to punctures, with the majority of punctures I have encountered coming from pothole pinch-punctures. Durability

Favourite Bike Brands - Morvélo, Hope, Romster, Vélobici, Ortlieb and Brooks

When it comes to cycling apparel and components the choice is endless. It's a constantly growing field; with new competitors joining the market, ranges expanding and variety increasing. It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of products on offer. I started out cycling when I was 14, and predictably tended to buy the cheaper kit. There's a limit to how much your pocket money can buy! I had a starter Gary Fisher mountain bike and a £5 vintage steel road bike; my kit followed a similar theme, with relatively budget shorts and jerseys. However over the years, as finances have allowed and experience has prevailed, I've become very specific in the kind of kit I tend to buy. It's all about build quality, life-span and ultimately value for money. I'm still a big fan of some of the budget brands such as Wiggle's Dhb, and have always been impressed by their quality of clothing. But for the most part my favourite brands follow a theme; higher quality mean

Race Report: Cricklade Kermesse - Rapid!

We travelled up to Wiltshire yesterday to take part in the Cricklade Kermesse, and it proved to be one beast of a race. 15 laps of a fast circuit, then a finish on the narrow, downhill High Street with crowds of spectators. My target for the race was the 'King Of The Mountains' classification; on 5 laps there was an uphill sprint up Common Hill, with the first three taking points. From the start it was pretty evident that the race was going to be FAST, and tight corners were going to make it quite technical at times. By the second lap people were jostling for position for the KOM classification, trying to be near the front for the climb. I did that, but in fact ended up on the front...not so good. I ended up just taking 3rd on that one and gaining one point. The pace kept on climbing, with the average speed for the race in the region of 28mph. Breaks were trying to go off the front, but there wasn't really any chance of them keeping clear for that long, as people pulled

Weekend Watch: Olympics 2012 Cycling Montage


Ride Stats: August

Not a bad month by any means. Considering I was on a boat for the majority of the first three weeks. The mileage this month has been kept high by commuting and the Coast Road Epic 130 mile ride. However, for those reasons and the relatively small number of races that I've done this month, the average speed and HR are somewhat lower than previous months. However, the few races that I have done in August have been a success, most importantly my win on Wednesday, which takes me up to Second Cat. for the remainder of the season and next year. Probably the last Road Race of the season on Sunday, then it's time to bring out the mountain bike and start the hill climb season on the road.