Thursday, 30 December 2010

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 1991: 4 victorias para Argentin


> > > > Powered by EPO, history seems to indicate this to be true, but with a strong over riding desire to win. I wonder as we crested the wave of the drug that was 'no more dangerous than orange juice', who in the top ten was clean. Rocket fuelled or not, the racing was good which as an staunch anti doping advocate always leaves me feeling a little funny, as I enjoy watching the clips from years gone by, to the modern 'cleaner era'. > > Argentin was riding a Colnago bicycle, in the previous season he had been aboard a DeRosa titanium. Both bikes where held (& still are) as fantastic machines. Many Colnago fans site the > 1991 colour scheme to be a classic & one of their best. I'm not sure myself as I really prefer the Saroni bike of tge 80's. > > >
> > >

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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Breakfast is served

If breakfast is the point at which you stop the fast, or break the point when you last ate, well yesterday I had ridings equivalent. Not sure I can think of a clever word play on this to bring into existence a new phrase.

So after three weeks it was a welcome interlude between spending time with the family, which has been chilled. The ride itself, while nothing special from a kilometres covered point of view, came as a welcome breather and as a stern reminder that I am a man of many parts, all of which need to be exercised and fed. I hope your holiday break is as refreshing as mine, ciao.

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Monday, 27 December 2010

The Specialists

It's funny, just after I post my article on the 'End of an Era', Wiggins goes on to talk about Boasson Hagen being the future of cycling and could win anything. Wiggin's goes on to say with the interview with Susan Westemeyer of Cycling News that On the list, you can include races like Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, stages in the Tour de France and everything else you want to win as a cyclist. It's kind of scary. He can still choose to go the way of the classics or multi-stage events, and potentially win all the races he decides. His talent is that great, but he's still continuing to develop and find out where he best fits in the sport.”  (to read the full interview click here:

Wow was my initial response as this means we have a star looming and one that's path is yet undecided. If you'd base it on current form, wins and experience, you'd have to say that the Classics are beckoning. He's possibly the only current rider who could win all of the monuments, at 1.81m tall and weighing 76kg he's in the right ball park for numbers. Apparently the big numbers that count i.e. Watts are also pretty impressive. Having watched him at the Tour of Britain over the last couple of years it bodes well. You can't expect anyone to win the Tour without winning smaller events first. An obvious tick box to complete will be Paris Nice and the the Tour de Swisse as they represent hard shorter stage racers but provide the good training for the big Grand Tours.

Could Edvald buck the current trend of specialisation (just remember for a moment that he's only 23)? I'm a little too excited to really entertain the thought properly, but for a minute I hope so. It will no doubt depend on the war on PED's, supporting the riders and maybe looking at the system as a whole. With less PED's in the peloton the riding would be far more exciting as the human stamina would come into play, all those hours of conditioning, training and hard work would pay off. I am all for technological gains over pharmaceutical advantages as rider health is paramount for me. PED's feel like cheating whereas cheating time, wind and using less energy through technology doesn't, I'm sure some can make a case for these to be banned also (some man at the UCI no doubt).

I read also today that Boom pops along to a CX race (Zolder), blows the field apart and then says "For me this is the most ideal way to prepare for the road season, but don't think I have no respect for the real cyclo-cross riders. Of course, I'm starting these races with a little bit of ambition because I don't want to come here and finish 20th," (Brecht Decaluwé Cycling News). I love the fact that alothough he has been a World Champion and multiple National Champion in CX he has aspirations to master the pave of the Northern Classics, and no doubt his goals lie further afield again.

As the road season has got longer and now runs from Jan to Oct it means that many of the riders have used the CX season less and less to maintain fitness. You can also see this in the reduction of road riders in the Six Days as this used to be a good way to keep a riders form over the WInter months plus bag some extra cash on top of their normal salary. Maybe due to the better wages (on average) many riders can pick and choose more, hence the need not to extend their seasons. I think you can see that over the past twenty years or so that the riders who raced a lot where those that loved the bike as well as the sport, Zabel springs to mind, and I'm sure there are many others that spring to mind.

Thanks again to my friend Kristof for the fantastic images which help to tell my story today. Point your browser here and you'll be able to find the medium you want to follow his wonderful work.

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The End of an Era

The for me Eighties signals the end of an era, when Cyclists in the professional peloton used to race all events. The Tour Contenders where active in races like Paris Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, you'd also see the same at the end of the season with races like Giro di Lomardia being important.

Today's film covers the Paris Roubaix  finish in 1988 where the eventual winner would be a Dirk Demol. What is strange is that the finish is a traditional sprint finish and not in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome (the finish would return in 1989 when Jean-Marie Wampers would win).

Watchin Fignon fly over the pave is a fantastic site, his long stretched out position, compared to Kelly's more upright, and in some ways more modern, was a beautiful contrast to see, Laurent was in good form, winning the Italian Classic San Remo abour six weeks earlier. These are the types of racers that I miss, competitive from March to October, unfortunately EPO changed all that, along with the dominance of riders like Big Mig in the Tour.

We are as unlikely to see these days again as we are to see Pro's riding on Steel machines with downtube shifters. So enjoy the film, the quality is crap but soak up the atmosphere.

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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Race Moment of the Year ...

Could there be any other moment this year which over shadowed the race itself? Well it has to go to Fabian Cancellara passed Tom Boonen on the Muur. I've watched it countless times and it still leaves me stunned to see the ease in which he moves past, almost like the hill wasn't there. I'm not for a minute casting any doubts on his perfromance, no batteries required I think.

This short portion of the film captures the moment and stops before all the show boating begins. I think if there hadn't been all of that going on it would have probably won Race of the Year.

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Friday, 24 December 2010

Mad Fiber Road Wheels

Wheels have come on in leaps and bounds over the years. I remember when the Mavic Helium came out, they where light, red and (for the day) pretty light. They didn't exist long and where superseded by the now very famous Kysriums. Top end wheels come along now and again and the Madfiber ones look pretty cool.

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CHRISTmas Message

I live this final week leading up to the 25th of December, the day adopted by early Christians to avoid the persecution of the Roman rulers. I love it because people are generally much nicer to each other, spreading a bit of joy, love and peace.

For me this time of year is really special as the reason for the season is what moves me. As an adult the joy of receiving a present was replaced by the giving of them. For me this is important in my life and is something which has shaped me as a man, by following the Ultimate CHRISTmas Gift, Jesus.

So later on today I'm turning all outside communication off to spend time with my beautiful family, who over the last few months I feel I've really neglected. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife (who's my best friend), and three wonderful individual interesting boys.

The bike and I will become reacquainted and I'll find a little time to find me again. It's important for everyone to take a little time out and think about what's really important in life.

I hope that whoever reads this today has a wonderful time and enjoys this break to the full, Merry Christmas ~ Rich.

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Saturday, 18 December 2010

New Quick Step jersey

Sticking with a theme the new Quick Step jersey sticks with their current colours but adds flashes of red to the sides, reminiscent of the Cervélo Test Team.

Good news for Classic's fans everywhere that Boonen is looking well fit, check out the size of his legs! I think Tom has San Remo in his sights and if Steegmans comes back to the Team he will have a trusted lead out man to do the job.

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Paris Roubaix Sportive

TDW Sport

There has been a Sportive run over the course every two years, but unlike the Ronde van Vlaanderen it isn't run off the day before but takes place in June. So although it's been a long time in coming the ASO has finally put together a course which will take in parts of the route. At a 162 km in length and featuring 18 pave sectors it will remain a challenge for even the toughest of riders, what the French refer to as Flahutes (the Ferench version of Flandriens), the tough men who thrive in adverse conditions which usually include pave.

TDW Sport

I've just been looking at the costs and it ain't going to be a cheap weekend, unlike Flanders which can be done for not a lot of cash in the grand scheme of things. So pricing from entry open option. Increasingly ASO have made this harder and harder to do on the Tour Etape. It may solve a few issues in regards of how to deal with the start/finish scenario as the logistics can be a challenge, and frankly do you really want to have to find your way back to your hotel, then deal with cars etc, the mind boggles. As much as I would normally go 'yeah no worries' the A to B start finish option compared to the circular route of the Ronde makes it a little harder.

TDW Sport

Is this on the cards, well for various reasons I've missed the chance to do the last two versions in June (accidents, work, you know real life stuff), so the draw is pretty big. I made the decision that after this years Flanders I wouldn't be back next year. So this could be my Spring challenge.


So it's time to really think about this, and if I'm going to do it I better get some serious training in. Then there will be no doubt a lot of lammenting on bike and kit (including clothing). For more information see these sites.



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More from hell...

I love this film and don't get tired of watching it, although I think it's a shame that nobody has been able to match, never mind better it. This is a short 10 minute extract for the full version search 'A Sunday in Hell' on the site & the full movie is on there.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

GPS Klier

Why do they call him that, well it goes back to the early days of when he started to live in Flanders. He first went out with Peter Van Petegem on a cold wet day, he managed to hang on, respect earned he could then go out to learn from the Master. Van Petegem was known to know every stone of the pave, every wind direction, the turns, the pitch of the roads, he basically had an internal map of the West Flanders region ingrained into his very being.

He became the wheel to follow and probably should have won it more. Thankfully Andreas was a good learner and the skills that Peter had he passed on to him. This made him invaluable for Telecom/T-Mobile while there and also for the last two years at Cervelo Test Team. It's a great shame he's never won it, and in the twilight years of his career (although he's still damn fast, and probably could) he's unlikely to win it as his job is to be a road Captain, and I am sure this is a role he will take up again at the new Garmin Cervelo Team.

Now he is the man every rider wants to get behind, to catch his wheel as the peloton knows that this man from Germany knows the pave, the small beautiful lanes better than anyone else. So the question I end with is who will be the man to replace him. Of the current crop of riders my guess would fall with his Team mates. Dan Lloyd is my top tip, a super domestique and pave lover, he represents my first choice as he's as strong as a ox and people like him. Good qualities in a Road Captain. The other two are more long shots, Heinrich Haussler and Tyler Farrar. Both love Flanders, and depending on how far down the rabbit hole they go it will depend on how many stones they know by name.

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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cav's Tour of Flanders Set Up

Short little video today, Cav being a little bit of a bike geek. This makes me like him a little bit more, and it also makes me realise that he loves riding his bike, and I think that translates well into his riding.

TDW Sport


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Sunday, 21 November 2010

What I wore on my ride today ... Sunday 8°C

I've thought a lot about doing this when I get a chance and remeber what I've had on, but I've always forgot to do it. So today is a strange day, not typically cold at 8°C with a 13 mph wind, so it can be a descison in what to wear and where you are riding may influence your choice of gear.

Although many jackets claim to be a broad church (with the Castelli Radiation Jacket being one of the best excamples on paper) I decided to go for a multi layer approach as it gave me some flexibility if the conditions changed, so heres my list.

Base Layer - I went for Descente Pro V seamless. Super soft and wicks really well. Good option if you have long arms.

On the legs I went with the Castelli Nanoflex Leg warmers. These I have to admit had me slightly worried. You see they are super thin and I thought that they wouldn't keep me warm. They are a water resistant fabric which are meant to perform the same as the companies Thermoflex ones. I have to say that not once did I feel cold. I reckon these would be a great choice for racing as they are light and don't restrict movement. I'll be packing them in the bag come April.

I used Bib Shorts, but of the thermal variety. I've long been a fan of this product and I have maybe around 4 pairs in my wardrobe. The Castelli Claudio bib short was excellent. Castelli quote a temperature range of 10° - 18°, as I said earlier it was 8°C and I had zero issues at all. I reckon if you where pushing hard and going quick (thus generating a lot more natural heat) I'd think in those circumstances you'd be able to go as low as 6°, but everyone is different. The fabric is a bit thicker than what is used on the Leg warmers, in an ideal world I'd like that same lush feel to be applied there as to the shorts.

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]I was testing a product from Teko, a Merino cycling sock. Fit and construction was excellent. The only issue I had was that they weren't warm enough for this Fall/Early Winter day. My feet never froze but they would be better placed when the temperature dial is above 10°. Also on the feet was a pair of Northwave Aerlite shoes but with a pair of Castelli Nano booties over the top. Castelli claim a temperature range: 6° - 14°, my feet where never frozen, but I wouldn't say they where warm. They are really light and super stretchy, and very aero. As they provide no warmth as such (except for blocking out the wind) they do a very good job. I suspect that using either the Castelli Quindici or the DeMarchi Contour Plus would make that 6° a reality. I'll test the theory out and get back to you. But I can see these being used a lot when the days are a little warmer.

I had an older dhb mid layer Long Sleeve brushed jersey on. I've has this ages and it works well wicking the sweat away and keeping me warm. I was never a fan of mid layers until I left the big smoke, now they work really well for me combined with a gilet or a shell.

I've had the Gore Xenon AS (active shell) for a while now and to be honest it's a go to piece. Not waterproof as such but I know from having an older model I can do 45 minutes in tipping rain and it only starts to come through on the seams, where it isn't taped. The benefit over a full on waterproof is that it breaths better leaving you less moist, it fact today the combination of layers left me bone dry, which I put down to all three layers working well together.

[[posterous-content:pid___1]]Buying an expensive shell may seem like an over indulgance, but if you like your gear you won't be left unhappy as it really performs well and as its Gore it will last and last. That is one thing you can say about GBW, they make things that last. Head wear, well for most of the ride it was a classic cotton cap, but as I've been suffering with my ears I stuffed a Risvolto cap in one rear pocket. I popped it on in the last 10km. I'm always amazed how much difference making sure your extremities are warm everything else suddenly feels warmer. Theres solid logic, the hands and the feet are further away from the vital organs and the brain uses a lot of blood and energy, so you lose heat.

[[posterous-content:pid___2]]And finally I used my trusty Super Nano gloves. This is my second winter on them and they show very little sign of wear. They are a Spring/Fall glove but as it has to be very cold before I don something warmer so I have used them loads. Great product, no padding so you really feel in touch with the handlebar.

[[posterous-content:pid___3]]So that was my kit today, a very Castelli day for sure. If you've found this interesting I'll post another, or if you want a more detailed thoughts on a piece listed leave a comment.



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Lacking motivation

April seems a long way off and not knowing exactly what events I'll be doing isn't helping. I need to get myself a 2011 wall planner and get on it.

So I rolled out of the house late today with riding on my mind, not training, not focussing on my weak areas, just riding.

Today while out it felt effortless regardless of the head and cross winds. West Sussex and Hampshire are blessed with some amazing little lanes straight out of the Flanders text book '101 Lanes that you could ride Forever'. People are always surprised on the little gems I have found so far.

A short ride of a few hours ended up being a really good ride. In previous years I've started my De Ronde training in October. And for the last two years I've either got sick or had some life changing event to screw it up. So maybe with this looming in the back of my head I've held off. Training begins in December and hopefully the enthusiasm will be easier to keep going and I won't get sick.

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Friday, 19 November 2010

Sportful No Rain Overshoes ~ the story so far

Every two winters I generally have to replace my overshoes. I wanted to try something different and having been really impressed with the No Rain arm/knee warmers I'd bought a month before I thought I'd give them a go.

First thing you notice out of the packet is how soft the material is, it feels like a cross between an arm warmer and neoprene. The second thing is that the overshoes have a double cuff. A super thin neoprene one and then an outer one made of the No Rain material.

So far I'm yet to use them in really shitty weather so I can't comment on how waterproof they are. What I can say is that in light showers and through puddles they have performed superbly. A full more in depth review once I've had some fowl weather.

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Castelli Sorpasso Bib Tight ~ a first look

This isn't a full review as I've not ridden them enough yet, more of a first impression.

So the first thing you notice when trying them on is the straps on the bibs, super thin & stretchy. I was blissfully aware of not being aware of them. It was like a David Blaine magic trick. It feels delicate but the fabric appears to be super tough. Long term wearing it will confirm or deny that. (the fabric is called Giro++ for tech heads)

I am really impressed with the pad/chamois (although really as it's a synthetic it's a pad) as riding it in today the first thing you notice is nothing. No pulling, snagging, weird lumps or over complicated gizmos. The pad is smooth to the appearance but is a multi density configuration, which is actually a two piece set up.

It's not the first two piece pad, as that first belongs to Assos who had it on a F1:13 (S3 pad), it was a tremendous clever invention which has served me well on long gruelling sportives. Initial feelings is that the Progetto X2 is a better version of it. I'm looking forward to having a long ride to really seeing if it cuts the mustard.

Well it's so far so good. I'll be back once I've logged some serious miles to feedback on how the fabric performs.

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Specialized BG Toupe Saddle ~ Review

Body Geometry (BG) saddles come in various guises both on a price and intended use level. Unlike many other saddle manufacturers they also can have up to three widths to choose from. The first thing you need to ascertain is the correct width for your sit bones. This in itself is a simple process that requires you to sit on a Gel pad to gain the information (it has makers on one side and a conversion table on the other side). Once performed it was calculated that I would need a 143 size, but depending on which bike or your given riding style you may need to reduce this, I am particularly thinking about time trailing or track riding when your position may be slightly more extreme than your regular road one.

When you are setting up the saddle you will need to take in to account the plastic nose and tail sections as these end up making the seating area smaller than their other saddles like the Alias. Compared to the original Toupe the Gel version has received a stiffer shell due to the increased amount of carbon now used. As indicated this version now has Gel on the sit bone area to increase comfort with a small increase in the weight of the saddle. With two colour options (black or white) it should suit most bicycles. The same hollow Ti rails remain from the original model, as there is no need to chuck the baby out with the bath water.

The pressure relief area works very well, and the best thing I can say in using it is that it goes un-noticed when in use. I have used a few other cut out saddles and this has definitely not been the case, with more pain being evident than the saddle reducing it. The real proof in the pudding is when you do jump onto a regular non-pressure relief saddle as you can immediately feel this area under the perineum. So in my books there are no negatives except one on the cut out, on wet rides the spray of the saddle can go up through the whole leaving you with a wet central section. Even if you don’t buy into the BG philosophy, you still end up with a great looking saddle.

The sides of the saddle are nicely sculpted away to leave less interruption from pedal strokes than some other deep-sided saddles. As I mentioned before, the plastic sections can affect set up, you loose 15mm on the front and another 15mm again on the back. This ends up reducing the useable overall length from a possible (measured at the longest point) 275mm to 245mm, making the contact area relatively small. If you have used an Arione before, which has a 300mm length, this will probably feel very strange indeed, but if you have used a Concor it should feel familiar. I would prefer if Specialized went back to a full 275mm length as this offers a wider spectrum of position options. Weight of the saddle is 206g and the useable rail length is 78mm, which is quite long.

For shorter rides, say up to the 80km mark, I found the saddle to be very comfortable with nothing to report back. Using it for longer rides (over 80km) the personality changed greatly. Over the longer distances the sit bones would become sore, to the point that once off the bike and sitting on a normal chair it would offer a mild discomfort. I put this down to two things, 1. The lack of padding available on the saddle, even though the Gel pads were there they did not provide the desired comfort level 2. The small reduction in length which never quite allowed me to achieve my ideal position, and at times forced me to ride on the plastic tail piece. I also threw into the equation that I am a heavier rider, but having talked to some other riders (70kg guys roughly) they also experienced the same issue over longer distances.

Final Words

I can’t fault the saddle on the build quality and I liked the sleekness and general appearance. Saddles are a very personal affair, and while it did not work for me over a long distance I was more than happy on shorter rides. My experience is probably in the minority as this has been one of the top selling saddles over the last 12 months. I would happily fit the Toupe to a track or TT bike where saddle time is less but comfort and weight are still important factors. If you are a mega mile muncher this may not be the saddle for you and you may be better served by looking at the Alias model in their range. Although it is a little heavier it does offer more padding and has a full length to play with, and over long distances presented me with no problems. If you are interested in this saddle (or any other Specialized model) see if you can persuade your local IBD to loan you one, it might just turn out to be your cup of tea.

This article was originally posted on 26th May 2008 on

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Thank God for . . . Assos

Sometimes the greatest break throughs can happen by accident, such as baked beans, the quick release skewer or the lycra short. Toni Maier-Moussa had a vision of making a carbon fibre bicycle. This was the mid '70's when most companies were still relying on steel as the material of choice.

Toni had to seek special permission from US Department of Defense to start his project, as much of the material was being used on top secret projects, so I am sure a Swiss man wanting to use it for a bicycle must have raised a smile.

Once the prototype frame with it's radical teardrop tubes had been made they took the bicycle to the Zurich Technical University. What would take place would be the first ever aerodynamic tests on a bicycle. Two things were discovered in this testing process, 1. that the aerodynamic properties of the tubes were reduced once the rider sat up and 2. the wool clothing caused excessive drag.

Toni and his wife Eliane (who was a apparel and textile technician) began work on a body suit to reduce drag, with Hans Hess, who had worked on downhill ski suits. How the relationship with DuPont (the only people to make Lycra) began is uncertain, but my guess would be that between Hans and Eliane they may have had some knowledge of this new fabric. All I can say is thank you, can you imagine riding in wool shorts today.

Some things don't change and PRO endorsement then made as much sense as it does now as it adds vital testing and credbility to the intorduction of new products. How Tony managed to convince the then No 1 team in the world to use his shorts was nothing short of a marketing master stroke, since the original interest from Peter Post was in the carbon frame. Ti Raleigh team took to the shorts preferring the more aerodynamic lighter weight, and they were also more comfortable to wear. Within a few years nearly every PRO could be seen wearing a version of Toni's short, the lucky few had the "Real McCoy" in the Assos product.

Not one to stand still Assos still lead the pack with their constant evolution of both cut, fabrics and the chamois in the shorts. Along the way Assos have scored many firsts, which leaves others playing catch up. Because of Assos all cycling shorts are now better, and because they constantly innovate they are still the most desired products made for a cyclist.

Thank God for Assos, absolutely.

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Aero, who says so.

The question with any enthusiast cyclist is 'how low can I go without losing power', initially for me this wasn't a big deal as sorting my general fitness & recovering from a back injury was. Now a few years down the line with my flexibility and fitness improved it has become a quest.

Over this year I've dropped my handle bar height by around 2-2 1/2 centimetres. Part of this discovery occurred when I borrowed a friends bike. It allowed me to explore options that I might well have left alone. So recently I pondered going lower still. Dropping 5mm out of the front end improved the position to a degree and proved fine on my short 25km commute. It was only recently when I went out for a long ride did the time and distance in the saddle expose that (at the moment) it was a set too far. The nagging back pain came back exposing my weak untrained muscles. Also the computer doesn't lie. Trying to cruise around at 35kmph proved to be a challenge whereas in the weeks previos this had become a comfortable experience.

So bars where duly raised back to their previous position and the pains in the lower back and neck eased off some. But bizarrely I was longing for a little bit more cockpit room. Moving the saddle back around 3-5mm seemed to solve the problem. A few more tweaks over the coming weeks led me to change the shape of the bars from the 3T Rotundo to the Ergosum. This was a revelation on the Felt, even more so than on the other bike (Opera) I have them on. With a few more saddle set back adjustments the position seems comfortable, but no doubt the position will be completely refined come spring.

Thankfully the 35 kmph speed was back. In fact one ride it was so good I'd swear that I had entered the fabled 'no chain' zone knocking off 10 minutes off my ride. So aero is nothing really without the sustainability of power, and this my friends is the fine line balance that we all seek.

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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Bernard Hinault , Happy Birthday

Today is Bernard Hinault's birthday. Born 11th November 1954. professional Cyclist from 1975-86. He only ever rode for two teams! Gitane/Renault from '75-83 and La Vie Claire '84-86. His nickname was 'le Blaireau' or 'the Badger' in English. A fierce competitor who took no prisoners and showed a battling spirit long gone from French racing. I long for another French rider to take this mantle over, but I fear that it may be a long time before we see the Breton's successor.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Its Movember

I've wanted to do this for ages and it has been on my mind for some years to do it. It was my Dad having to have check ups once he went over 50 that brought it home. Not that he has cancer or anything but you become more aware when even the check ups hit your life cycle.

Like testicular cancer prostate cancer is curable and in many ways we need to bring attention to it. I'd like to thank the Movember crew for bringing a fun way to bring awareness to it.

Currently I haven't raised any cash and I'm hoping that after the barrage of emails I sent out that some people will sponsor me, not for me but to help fight the fight. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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Friday, 29 October 2010

Paris Roubaix, Cancellara and Sportives

I haven't been to see Roubaix live in ages, yet much of that day from when I last saw it is still clear in my mind. I can remember what I had for breakfast, how cold it was standing by the Roadside and how fast the riders are over the cobbles. I'd made the decision after Flanders this year that I wouldn't be back to watch it in 2011. I've managed it for the last three years, and to be honest it will be strange not watching the Ronde in Flanders. But I knew I had to visit the Queen again, she was calling loud and clear and both races are Super Special.

With the rumours that have been flying around and the now recent announcement that ASO would be holding a Sportive version for amateurs the day before. Unlike Flanders where having 17,000 people trample over the bergs before the Pro's is likely to do little damage, but may actually help clear the course, the same can't be said for Roubaix. I wonder if it may make the Stones worse. Details are sketchy at best, so we really don't know how much it'll cost or how many people will be able to enter. We do know that it will be 135km in length and the date is the 9th of April.

So I'd like to take part, and I'm sure I won't be alone in thinking that it'll be a great day, but I expect it to be tough. Unlike the June version run off every two years, the one the ASO are proposing will get the full Pro effect being the day before. I love Pave, and the more I ride it the better I get. So if I get in this will represent my first goal this year, and the training will have to start, or I'll never get fit in time. I've just watched these excellent videos from Michael at the and it makes me want to have a go at it even more. I am sure it'll be a big challenge, and if the weather is shit a big ask. But it really appeals and I'm hoping to gather a little Team of people so we can ride can tackle the pave together. If I can't get in, I'll be hitting Belgium instead.

The race winning bike, although I'm unlikely to use a Specialized but I love the idea of using Sram, Zipp and FMB tubs. Not afraid of carbon on the cobbles as I won't be hitting then at 50 kmph+.

I'll be happy to finish, much in the same way I was chuffed to finish my first Flanders. Goals and going for a good time can happen on the second edition!


Posted via email from Sprinting for Signs's posterous