Friday, 30 March 2012

The Ronde is coming

This weekend's Ronde van Vlaanderan sees a change to the finale for the first time in the last 39 years...will it prove decisive?  It looks more tailored for TV viewers and spectators alike, so I'm anticipating a big finale...

Will Chavanel be able to ride for himself or will he be there for Tom?  Will Fast Phil be back to full fitness?  Will Spartacus just ride away from everyone?  Will Devolder be back to his old self? or will the likes of Sagan and Bossan-Hagen usher in a new era? Can Nuyens repeat his win?

There is only one way to find out...get in front of a Eurosport screening on Sunday and watch the action, unless you are lucky enough to go an see it in the flesh.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

BBB Hardwear Overshoes

There is nothing worse than having wet, soggy and frozen feet when out cycling so a good pair of overshoes are an essential part of any cyclists wardrobe, especially for those that ride throughout the year.

BBB offer a number of different overshoes suitable for all British weather conditions, from oversocks for the cooler Summer days to heavy duty rubberised overboots.

Since Christmas I have been using the BBB Hardwear overshoes on my daily commutes to and from work.  These are mid-range shoe covers and they have performed admirably through freezing temperatures and heavy rain, keeping my feet nice and toastie on all occasions.  Although it is very difficult to have an overshoe that is totally waterproof, as rain always has the potential to run in from the top cuff and road spray enter from beneath, these have been the best I've had for sometime.  Made from 3mm rubberised neoprene with sewn and glued seams, adjustable cuffs, Kevlar reinforced heel and toe, sturdy YKK zippers and plenty of reflective detailing they are packed with features to keep your feet comfortable.  After 3 months of use I've had no issues with durability so far and have used them with both road and off-road shoes, providing a snug fit on both and no interference in the cleat operation.

The only area for improvement would be for the seams to be taped, to give extra protection against persistent heavy rain on long rides.

Overall I have found these to perform well, with easy entry and decent protection from the elements, plus they are good value for money.       

Friday, 16 March 2012

It's coming up ... it's SPRING

I love the Spring.  The anticipation, the new life, the Classics.

First up is La Classica di Primavera (Milan - San Remo) in Italy.  The longest at nearly 300km, racing from the industrial north down to the coast of the Italian RivieraThis is the first of the five "Monuments" and really opens the Spring Classic season.  Followed by Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris Roubaix and Liege Bastogne Liege, with the final Monument, Giro di Lombardia, in Autumn.

Favourites for the win this year must be; Mark Cavendish with a strong Sky team, Fabian Cancellara who's already ridden away for a win at Strade Bianche, Tom Boonen who has had a return to form in the early season, last years winner Matt Goss, 3 time champion Oscar Freire, and with outside chances of Alessandro Petacchi and Andre Greipel.  If it doesn't come down to the usual sprint after the Poggio then the Italians have the advantage with Nibali, Scarponi and Garzelli with Peter Sagon being my favourite outsider.

Here's the finale from 1992, when "King Kelly" manages to keep in the chase group going over the Poggio and then moves to the front to drop like a stone down the decent after Moreno Argentin...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Something new

It's always nice to get something new, and when you get something at a really great bargain price you can't help but beam inside with a glow that radiates out with enthusiasm and joy.  It's a feeling that's seems to be hard to come by these days.

That is how I've been feeling this passed week since the arrival of my new On-One Dirty Disco Flat Bar - a hybrid/commuter based around a carbon fibre 'cross frame with hydraulic disc brakes.  Not only exceptional value from the guys at Planet-X but I got it on the Cycle 2 Work incentive scheme, so I can pay for it before the Inland Revenue take their cut of my hard earned cash.

This morning I had opt'd for the road bike I've been riding most of the winter, as the forecast was for heavy rain moving across the region.  Straight away there was a big difference, mainly due to the narrower dropped bars and the skinny racing tyres and the much more twitchy full-on crit-style geometry.  An early start meant I actually beat the rain, but the wind had me all over the place at times.

I've ridden the Disco into work a few times now, over varied terrain and it has coped more than admirably on all surfaces, making me just want to get back out there on it.  I'm hoping for more like last Friday when I managed 7 sections of bridleway/green lanes on a 15 mile commute in.


Friday, 2 March 2012

HIT and Run

Now the off-season is over, Spring started just yesterday, I have decided to try something different for my training this time around.

I've been trying to get out and run more often over the last few weeks, and have been moderately successful until this week - new bikes don't make for running motivation! 

The other thing I have also started is High Intensity Training (HIT) as result of a few articles I have read/seen recently.  So over the next 6 weeks I intend to  mix in these HIT sessions to 3 of my daily commutes, either to or from work and see what benefits I can get.

After a warm-up, ride flat out for 20secs then recover for 30secs - repeat 3 times.

Oh, more on the new bike soon...