Monday, 27 July 2009

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

100 miles.
5 hours 26 minutes
6903 feet of ascent
8500 calories

Well, measuring 10 mile splits for evens plus a bit in hand was the plan. If I'd managed to stay on schedule I'd have come in at 4:55 and been happy with that. For the first 50 miles I was slightly up on schedule and although my back and knees were aching I was thinking all was looking good.
At about 60 miles I had a visit from the man with the hammer. He didn't F*** off for the next 40 miles and by the time the century was up I was crawling around in the 42 ring battling an unbelievable headwind on the second, southern half of the course losing 30 minutes in 40 miles and not even able to stay on the tri bars and put any power down. Things are not looking good for the 12 hour and I'm worried that riding fixed all these years is doing my knees in. suggestions for exercises anyone?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ooh scary!

Following the cancellation of the ECCA 100 due to (very) thick fog three weeks ago I have entered the Southern Counties 100. Looking at the very spare course details given on the CTT website it looked like the course was centred on the Crawley area. This is a long way to travel for an early start but I thought it would be OK.
The start sheet has now arrived and I find out the start is just north of Ashingdon. Yes the course does go up to Crawley (twice) but it also goes down to Washington Bostle roundabout (yup, you got it...twice) so it's within a spit of the south coast. I'm aiming to beat 5 hours and from what I can see the course is seriously harder than the Kent CU one I rode 2 years ago when I did 4:59. For those of you who have not ridden a 100 mile time trial, the first 25 miles are generally fairly easy, up to 50 is OK - I've done 2 50's this year so far and I know I can live with the effort - but from about 80 miles onwards it's a real pain fest. Just trying to stay up to 20 mph hurts and any notion of maintaining anything like a real race pace is just fantasy. I can remember parts of the southern end from training rides in the 80's centred on Worthing and it's a tad more than "rolling" so adding in the weather, which if it holds it's current promise will be cool, wet and windy and I'm facing sunday with more than a little trepidation. Wish me luck chaps.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

A classic

A couple of years ago I built up a "classic" bike. It's a 1958 model A.S.Gillott and was in a real state when I got it. After sending it to Bob Jackson for straightning, having a load of non period braze-ons taken off and a classy paint job, the task of adding parts began. Liberal use of Fleabay, cadging off mates and visits to cycle jumbles and the old dear was ready to race. So, last year the Essex Roads CC held its first ever open 25 for classic bikes which clashed with the ECCA 100. I wasn't sure if riding the 25 instead of the planned 100 was a good idea, but it turned out to be as I got my first ever open win as a result.
This year there were no calendar clashes so off went the entry. On paper the competition looked tight and I was thinking I'd rise to the occasion and get second or more likely third. Still a result, but I was not expecting a win. As it happened Steve George scratched so that was threat number one out of the way even if not the way I'd have liked. The next best rider was off a minute behind me and as I came back from the turn looked to be closing fast. He didn't catch me by the finish, which considering he's derailed his chain on the way out, was a real surprise. Having given it everything to the finish I gained about a minute on him from turn to win by 45 seconds.
They'll all be out to get me next year, I bet.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Yellow club kit. Yellow shoes. Want some.

Le Tour

The world's largest annual sporting event is now on. Known to Classics fans as an out of season stage race with minimal influence of what really matters and to the average Joe in the street as the only cycle race there is outside of the Olympics its more of a travelling circus than it deserves to be.
I'm not being curmudgeonly about this...I enjoy all 3 Grand Tours and the TDF is a grand shop window for the sport, but in reality the Giro is usually as intense a race as the Vuelta is boring with the TDF hovering between the two. Certainly the Tour has had elements of both over the years. Indurain riding like a bloody robot for 5 years in a row and Armstrong sucking the life out of it for another 7 has given us a string of very boring and predictable tours in the modern era. On the flip, there have been as many exciting moments to. Fignon losing by 8 seconds, Roche coming out of the mist to ambush the race and Little Tommy holding the yellow jersey through the Alps and against the odds are the sort of moments we all watch cycling for. This years issue is shaping up to be a cracker, but how I wish all those American websites would get over the fact that LA is a to55er and concentrate on things that matter instead of analysing his every fart and (typical yanks) missing the point by a mile.