Monday, 17 December 2012

Roller Racin’ – First impressions

Last week saw Cult Racing run a Xmas Roller Racing event at their shop in Pool Head Lane, Earlswood.  For a £5 donation into Mel’s charity challenge pot, folks would be entered for racing and also have some hot food available afterwards.

It was a cold and frosty evening when I turned up for an evening of festive fun and frivolity.  After I picked Nik up on route through Earlswood, we were both greeted with Cult Racing’s famous warm and friendly welcome.   Along with the usual hot drinks there was festive mulled wine, to keep out that chill, and plenty of nibbles to keep everyone happy.

There were a few lads and lasses already there when we arrived, with the racing rigs dressed in sparkly lights and ready to go.  With music on and disco lights flashing the atmosphere was building.  A couple of the guys had been before and were warming up on their rollers and turbos at the back of the shop. Serious stuff compared to my warm-up, which consisted mainly of standing by the gas fire and a few stretches.   

First up were 250m time trials for all, followed then by a knock-out system of 250m races and a 500m grand finale.  Paul compiled the knockout rounds based on the seeding from the TTs, with Mel and Jo having their own head-to-head for the ladies league.  The grand finale can be seen here!

Shouting and cheering was obligatory for each race off, with Paul performing sterling MC duties on the mike.  This meant there was a great amount of support for all of the riders and a great, relaxed atmosphere all round.  New acquaintances were made, and no doubt new rivalries too.

I took the relaxed approach to the racing, in jeans and trainers, whilst most of the other riders were in some kind of lycra outfits.  But it didn’t matter what folks were wearing, they all gave their best and had a great evening with some excellent racing and rounded off with a good natter over some steaming hot curry.

The 250m TT Tower of Power league has now been posted ...
 and I can’t wait for the next round.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Making the Leap

Over the last 6 months a lot of things have changed in the international cycling world and within my own cycling world.

We have seen Fast Phil decidedly off form in the early season classics, only to try hard in Le Tour and not quite make it, then finally come back to the heights of becoming World Road Race Champion.  Definitely a roller coaster season for the popular Belgian.

Next we have seen Team Sky clinically execute their 5 year plan, bringing Bradley home to be the first Briton to win Le Grand Boucle during Olympic year where he went on to take home the gold in the men's time trial.

Now the USADA report has sent "apparent" shockwaves through the sporting most folks thought these guys were on bread and water, have they never tried riding a bike!  But the fall out will continue in the coming months, already Rabobank have withdrawn from sponsorship of the longest running trade teams in the peleton and who will be next?  UCI executives? 

Maybe a clean sweep is needed, to wipe away what has gone before and change or restructure cycling around different ethics.  

My own cycling world has changed too.  Over the last 6 months I have been riding a flat-bar, carbon framed, discy to work and for fun along with my more traditional dropped bar, metal framed, campag geared road bike.  I have ridden a few time-trials, roadman style - on the drops, now I am lining up for a short season of cyclocross after swithcing the flat-bars to drops and making the leap from Campag to SRAM.  

For the first time I went to see someone about bike position, and with the advice from former Tour rider and a long time hero from the ANC days, Adrian Timmis, I have a setup that seems to be dialled in for me and the type of riding I like to do.  I've been trying this new setup over the last few weeks, with long solo 50 milers, the usual commutes to work and some blasts around the local parks, but unfortunately time constraints have meant I have only managed a couple of local muddy cross races so far.

Next up are some good cross racing over the festive Christmas period, starting with round 5 of the National Trophy at Shrewsbury on Sunday, then the traditional Boxing Day 'Cross at Kenilworth, another local race just before New Year and finishing off with the final round of the National Trophy at Derby.

 Expecting more of this over the festive period.


Friday, 18 May 2012


Now that the rain has abated (slightly) it was time to clean of the winter sludge and revamp the road bike.

Built around a dedacciai scandium alloy semi-compact road frame with full carbon Lokk HCS 4 forks, it weighs in at around 8kg(ish).  With a mix of components picked for there performance and quality, though possibly a little dated.  With a Franco-Italian theme for the Grand Tours; Mavic provide the wheelset and brakes from their SSC pro range, Stronglight Pulsion chainset with TT rings, Campag gear levers and mechs, a Fizik Arione saddle and a Deda Magic finishing kit.  Dressed with HCtB decals and BBB red cork tape.


Friday, 27 April 2012

Whether the weather be good or ...

Following on from my last post, the April weather this year has been in stark contrast to last year.  So far, I think it has rained more days than not and probably almost all days have at least a shower.

This morning, once again I was caught in the rain.  This time it started as soon as I got the bike out of the garage and didn't stop.  Friday's are one of my long ride days, usually at least 25 miles going into work and a bit of rain wasn't going to put me off.  In fact I'm sure I ride harder in bad weather than in good.  I find myself pushing hard through the adverse conditions, keeping in the big ring on the undulations and pushing on over the tops.  There is a certain something about crashing through the torrents of water running across the roads, trying to keep extremities warm and torso cool...this is what monuments are made of <lol>


Thursday, 19 April 2012

The end is nigh...

...well at least the end of the Ardennes week, and the Spring classics.

If you think that the weather hasn't been too favourable this April, one only has to look back to 1980 when Liege-Bastonge-Liege was raced in blizzard conditions on April 20th.  It was so cold and frozen that only 21 of the 174 riders who set off from Liege made it back.  This edition has become one of the top major classic races in recent history.  After two riders, Rudy Prevenage and Ludo Peeters, broke clear and gained 2mins on the frozen remnants of the peloton, Bernard Hinault and 2 others gave chase for 20km through the blizzard conditions.  Once the escapees had been caught, Hinault rode away into the snow to cover the remaining 80km alone in the blizzard.  By the finish, Hinault had a lead of over 9 minutes on the next rider home, and the average speed was just below 22mph!

Apparently it took over 2 weeks for Hinault's hands to thaw out, and to this day he has problems with the feelings on some of his fingers.

Hinault presses on to Liege
The forecast for this weekend in Belgium isn't anywhere near as bad as then, but another classic race like last year will no doubt unfold - who'd have thought that the Schlecks would mess up the finish like that and allow Fast Phil to complete a week of victories in the Ardennes.