Sunday, 31 March 2013


Yesterday's race was great fun and I learned a few more lessons. At both races I have been able to power away on the climbs but I need to maintain my pace a little better to make a break stick.

I went out for a 100km recovery ride this morning so that I can continue my Metric Century Challenge statistics but also to ponder over how I can improve my racing. I need to stay closer to the front and use some tactics to either make a breakaway stick or put me in a better position to sprint for the finish.

This is the view I'd like the other competitors to see more derrier!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

More racing

No points today but I wasn't even expecting to keep up so I am not disappointed. 

Today's race was the Phil Corley sponsored 4th Cat, 19 miles (45 minutes and 3 laps) MK Bowl counter-clockwise. I recognised a group of racers from team Twenty3C and realised that they had spent the last two weeks at a training camp in Mallorca.  Fast then... nope, in fact the tempo felt relaxed but as a result the bunch were very tightly packed.


I got to the front on a couple of occasions and tried to attack but got reeled in each time.

Nearing the finish I managed to avoid the crashes but I got boxed in and wasn't able to sprint for the line. A quick count of the riders ahead of me over the line and I was perhaps 12th or 13th.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Big ring rouleur

As things change imperceptibly it can often require an event or passing comment to realise the difference.

This week I replaced the gear cable on my Brompton S2L as I had noticed a pronounced kink in the outer when the bicycle was folded. What I hadn't appreciated was the effort required in flicking the gear selector lever, that is until I rode the bike once the cable was replaced.  After two and half years of constant use I guess it was about time the cable was replaced and, as it turned out, the job was straightforward albeit a little fiddly.

Another trigger occurred during a recent cycle sportive when I received a comment that I had powered up a reasonably steep and long climb seemingly effortlessly whilst still on the big ring and to the dismay of several other cyclists struggling up the climb on their granny rings.  It genuinely hadn't occurred to me that I was doing it, but then I remembered that four years earlier I was the one struggling up a climb and listening to the mutterings of others on the ability of my (Ironman) friend dropping everybody whilst still on his big ring. I'm not in the same league as my friend but I'm (now) noticeably a stronger rider than I was.

To convince myself I have created a private Strava segment on my Long Lane training ride where I can compare my times on a stretch of road that I try to power up. I don't have a power meter but Strava claims I'm generating 590 watts and, of course, I'm KOM (since it is a private segment).

Saturday, 23 March 2013


The results of my initial 2013 road race have been published and I'm not listed in the points. I have watched the video of the sprint and it clearly shows me finishing in tenth place so I have been racking my brain trying to think of an explanation for the Commissaire's error.

My dossard (race number) was thirteen, so according to rule #13 I pinned it upside down on my back. I wonder if the Commissaire suffers from dyscalculia?

It's not unusual.

The now snow white-haired, distinguished looking Tom Jones brought out this record in the mid-sixties and in the same era I was born on a snowy Easter Sunday.

 (spray tan oran)
Snow around this time of year is not unusual but it is unexpected and has resulted in the cancellation of today's road race and the deferment of tomorrow's charity cycle sportive that my son and I were planning to ride.
It is frustrating because my son and I have been training, even braving the wet and cold weather last weekend to complete my 17 mile Long Lane route.  I also put in a training ride mid-week in an effort to remain competitive for today's planned road race, especially since Strava revealed that my fellow racers were on a Mallorca training camp during the week.
At least the organisers were courteous enough to alert me to the cancellation of the weekend's events. I jokingly suggested that today's road race be altered to be an hour long coach ride after the sign on, with just a quick 5-lap race similar to this year's Milan-San Remo, Primavera race.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pedaling and peddling

Here's a theory - Obsessive Compulsives like to play with train sets and are happy to create diorama's and play alone whereas Obsessive Competitors prefer Scalextric because they have two lanes and provide the means to race against someone...

I peddled my son's KMX Kart recently as he had outgrown it and, since I had already bought him an adults version to replace it, I thought he was happy.  However, he's clearly not the train set sort of person and whilst we had two karts he had enjoyed racing me, both of us pedaling around our quiet close. He stated we needed another bike and also managed to convince my wife :-)


So I went on a quest to find another adult Kart and was lucky to procure a really good, hardly used model.

N=19 again :-)

Monday, 11 March 2013

Racing is life... everything before and after is just training

Team Milton Keynes early season road race at the MK Bowl and my first road race of 2013.

4th Cat race, 1 hour plus 5 laps of the 0.7 mile circuit and, at sign on, I looked down the list of names and date of births and thought 'Crikey, I'm old enough to be their dad'. Hopefully these boys were playing with their Action Man toys over Christmas whilst I was out putting in the training.

After warming up I joined the forty or so other 4th Cats on the line, strained to hear the Commissaire give her speach and then we were off - fast and close.
On my warm up I had made a mental note to avoid the standing water on the side of the climb and yet first lap of the race I found myself on the outside riding straight through it, getting a faceful from the wheel in front.  Whilst the pace was fast I felt that I could go quicker, yet when I did my turn on the front I realised it was a lot harder to maintain the speed. I drifted back into the peloton and then found myself sat at the back so I worked my way back up closer to the front on the climb each time around.
Whilst drifting to the back I saw three riders go away and realised that they were going to make it stick, especially since no one was making an effort to chase them down.
The next lesson I hope was learned by two other novice riders; one who jumped across the peloton nearly bringing down several riders, and another who veered off his line and had the cheek to criticise me when his handlebar clashed with mine. Thankfully no one crashed, even though the road was slippery in places.
With three up the road the race was going to be a sprint for fourth place. On the hour, with five laps to go the pace lifted and I found I had to maintain the pedalling on the descent to keep up. I managed to find some space on the climb and approaching four laps to go I decided to attack. I raced past the head of the peloton, hands on the drops and pushed myself to try to get some distance. Sadly it only lasted half a lap and I was caught before hitting the climb again. I sat in the bunch and rested my legs in preparation for any other attacks or the sprint.
With a lap to go we started to catch some riders and I realised that they must have gone out the back when the pace lifted and they were being lapped. Thankfully I was still feeling pretty good.
As we hit the climb I found myself boxed in, but I flicked it down a few sprockets and started the wind up for the sprint. I could see several riders beside me blow and I managed to get round the rider in front and out sprint them across the line.
One...two...three...six riders ahead of me, plus three up the road. Yes, 10th place and 1 point! No disgrace.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Lily white legs

The first signs of Spring? The Snow Drops are in bloom and my lily white legs on display.

Temperatures have been hovering around the 4 degrees during the week but it began to warm up this weekend and I made the decision to go for a 'short' pedal today wearing bib shorts. I didn't regret choosing to bare the knees but I noticed that I was the only shorts-wearing cyclist out today.  Is this the start of Spring and can the bib tights be pushed to the back of the drawer?

I refrained from going on a long distance cycle ride to focus on next weekend's race. My knees and hips are aching a little; a gentle reminder that I have been pushing myself hard and that I ought to ease up a bit ahead of the race (tapering?).  Despite taking it easy I still surprised myself by completing the hilly 50km in a good average speed and getting close to the leaders on a lot of Strava segments.

I put the good speed down to riding my Wilier Izoard. I finished servicing it on Saturday and used today's pedal to check for niggles.  Everything appears fine, so no mechanical excuses next weekend.

The Wilier is now firmly my race bike.  I say this because I bought and fitted a new KMC X10-SL chain with only 105 links.  I bought it online and didn't appreciate that it was two links shorter than I really needed, so I'm restricted to using an 11-23 cassette (or an 11-25 providing I don't run the 53 big ring to the 25 sprocket).  It is a bit lighter though!