Thursday, 28 February 2013

I'm ready (I think)

The Winter base miles have helped me maintain a good level of fitness and my speed, strength and endurance now is comparable with my peaks in June and August last year.

Is it going to be good enough for the first road race of the season?

Today's lunchtime solo training ride went well and, despite the blustery weather, I am beating or getting close to my Personal Records.  Those above me on segments appear to be in a higher race category than me and are almost certainly younger than me, so I shouldn't be racing them in either BC or LVRC events. Phew!

Preparation: I'm in the process of servicing my race bike to make sure I have no excuses - The blustery weather has been bad enough to get me to ride on the drops for long periods of time - I am able to keep up with the fast group on the local club training rides - I'm getting up hills reasonably well and I'm still dieting - I'm practicing for sprints - I have renewed my race licence and I have my club kit.

The first race of the season is on a closed road for 1 hour and 5 laps.  My only concern is whether I can maintain the necessary speed to finish with dignity (and maybe some points). I recall seeing the average speed for the circuit was over 23mph!

I'm ready - I think.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A fortnight in the life of Mr Beds

It seems like ages ago, but one weekend it was warm enough to use the hose pipe and clean the bikes that had been used during the previous weeks and shamefully put away in a dirty state.  Thankfully I have several bikes to abuse but there is no excuse for being negligent.
Five bicycles to clean!
During the TLC I had to fix three punctures, replace two chains, replace one bottom bracket, fit new brake cartridges and I made a start on servicing the hubs on three sets of road wheels.
Whilst I get a lot of satisfaction in cleaning and servicing my bicycles, it cannot compare to getting out on the bike.  My first race of the season is now only two weeks away and so I have been concentrating on building on my strength and speed and not so much on endurance.
Eight Brompton commutes, now on a new Green Label rear tyre = a very pleasing, fast 88 miles.
Two lunchtime road training rides = 34 miles and some new PBs on Strava despite the blustery weather
A 31 mile ride weekend solo leg spinner on icy roads
A training ride with my 11 year old son
And a superb 66 mile cycle sportive with my friend Rick in sub-zero temperatures, on icy roads.
I shall leave it up to Rick to say how essential it is to keep your bike cleaned and serviced and what spares should be carried...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Festive souvenir

"Congratulations for completing the 2012 Rapha festive 500. This is a tremendous achievement, clocking up 500-plus kilometres during a week when even the pros stay at home. To complete this amount of riding during the holiday season shows guts, determination and a fine per of legs."

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pedalling through treacle

In September last year I purchased a Panaracer Crosstown to replace the Schwalbe Marathon rear tyre on my Brompton.  The wet weather handling was greatly improved with the Panaracer which has also proven to be quite good in the snow. But I thought I would get more than 4 months life out of it...

I had a slow puncture on Friday and replaced the inner tube over the weekend without spotting anything wrong with the tyre. On returning to work on Monday I could feel a weird wobbling sensation from the rear wheel and thought perhaps the hub nut and cone had loosened or maybe I had broken a spoke.  I checked the spokes and hub on Monday evening and couldn't find anything wrong.

This morning the wobble was still there, maybe worse, so I stopped and spun the wheel and could hear a rubbing. The rim wasn't rubbing on the brake pads and the wheel appeared true but then I noticed the bulge in the tyre with the inner tube protruding like a black egg. 

In desparation I went into Evans Cycles at lunchtime and they had a Green Label Brompton tyre in stock (but nothing else). I fitted the tyre surprisingly quickly without the need to use levers to pop it over the rim, so that was an improvement on every other tyre I have tried.

My evening commute - much quicker!

The new Brompton tyre is noticeably faster than the Panaracer which, by comparison felt like cycling through treacle.  Result. I just hope it is good in the rain (and snow).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Cookies in my basket

Since May 2012 EU websites have to state whether they deposit cookies on your PC and seek your approval. In the UK, the law is slightly different, notice has to be provided and if you choose to continue then approval is implied.

An example of a cookie from a website could be a shopping wishlist or a basket of goodies that you dream of owning, maybe your ultimate bike a Colnago C59 with Campagnolo EPS perhaps?

Once this cookie is downloaded onto your website you need to keep your wits about you. If you return to the same site at a later date to innocently buy some ball bearings for instance, then the £1.99 purchase may turn into the surprise delivery of the Colnago with a spurious bag of stainless balls.

I have some unexpected goodies currently being couriered to my door.

On Sunday I rode over to Cardington to participate in the Beds Road cc reliability ride and by the time I had got home with 86 miles in my legs I was spent. On the ride I noticed that my rear RS80-C50 wheel was making some groaning noises, so, back at home, I searched the internet for the appropriate service parts and pressed buy it now without giving any regard to the content of my basket. I spent more than I anticipated.

Fortunately the site wasn't the one where I build my dream bike but the one where I buy many of the replacement parts for my Brompton and my cookie contained the new parts I was considering for my S2L.  A shame really as I'd prefer to be riding around on a lovely piece of Italian carbon this weekend rather than fitting some new mudguards to my Brompton.