Sunday, 24 January 2010



I must have watched this twenty or more times. It never fails to convey the magic in why the Ronde is so special. There is no race like it, and I love it.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Ride, or how we remain inspired

Today I've been out on the bike. That in itself is nothing special, except for the fact that this was my first ride for pleasure since I got Swine Flu. The Flu itself was grim at times, but I think the after effects where probably worse. Lacking energy and any hunger to enter the pain cave the weeks rolled by and six weeks came since the dreaded virus.

The downside is that the 3th of April is looming and I have massive gaps to make up on the fitness level. The exercises I posted come from my Coach, Yes Coach. Why, well I'm crap (desperate to be better) and any help makes me a better rider and I love having something to focus towards. Otherwise all of my rides on my own would end up being a pootle (or bimble) round the lanes and I wouldn't progress.

Progression as a cyclist is what we crave, even if the process of getting better is just small steps. To see the progress is easy if you keep a log of rides/training. It doesn't have to be a bind and reduce you to a mess of noting how many times you've been to loo or weighing food for instance.

So the uphill challenge is on, my route to Flanders has been tougher than I was planning. I'll be in contact with my coach to see what he suggests on geting me ride fit by time end of March. I guess it maybe be even more painful than my comeback sessions in November. But the perverse thing is that I know come the Sportive all the suffering, pain and sweat will be worth it when I beat my own targets, and that is surely the great attraction of any Sportive.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Back in the Game

Today I did my first off the bike excercises since the dreaded Swine Flu. It was hard but I'm back on it. got a long period of travelling so these excercises will be used to keep the blood flowing and hopefully slightly dull the pain of getting back on a bike on the 27th, I've posted these before but for those who don't follow me on Twitter here you go.

Description ~ No rest between exercises A
Minutes skipping or "pretend skipping" 2  
Hindu Squats

Push Ups
Sit Ups

Push Ups
Hindu Squats

Minutes skipping or "pretend skipping" 2  
Minutes Recovery


x 3 sets

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Saxo Bank, the Jersey (and a little about the shorts)

I managed to get some pictures of the new Team Jersey, nice isn't it. Although the graphics are familiar I like it, but it is the fabric and cut that lies beneath the sponsors billboard that is really firing me up. Aero has been a buzz word on bikes for a few years and in the last 12-18 months has also been applied to kits. Timetrailing skin suits have had lots of new wind cheating technology thrown at them in recent years with Teams spending time in the windtunnel to gain precious seconds.

Now what used to be a regular road jersey and shorts have had the same process applied to them. There maybe some argument over who created it but I think that Castelli rightly earns that badge. The energy saved by applying science to the clothing benefits the rider by shaving 10 watts (at 40kmph) compared to a traditional jersey. The attention to detail is massive and all angles have been thought about. The shorts look amazing as there are no seams facing into the wind (in a frontal direction) and have been moved out of the way to the back of the garment. This must be an expensive process as the cutting of the panels must be more complicated. Dual fabrics have been used here, a tough (as in as tough as Cordura) but soft fabric has been used for the seating area. The outside edge of the shorts uses a material which mimics the benefits of a golf balls indentations. The pad itself is a completely new item which looks flat to the eye and the top section is. The riders wanted a pad that had no moulding or ridges, but with Sportfuls knowledge they knew that the pad had to be multi density to other the riders the best solution while riding in different positions. I am sure at some point in the Spring of 2011 we will see this filter through to the stand alone collection.

The jerseys employs similar fabrics, although looking the same the hexagon 'golf ball' fabric is around 30% lighter that the similar looking material used on the shorts. Again each point has been looked at to take into account where seams should be placed and how to maximise aerodynamics but at the same time to ensure that comfort has been retained. This comfort comes from the fabrics which on the Aero Jersey has up to 400% stretch in certain panels, so aiding comfort by not being restrictive in the way a rider moves on a bike.

Do Aero jerseys work? The test data backs this up but how does that translate into the real world. This would be a massive benefit in any race but those longer races over 200km as the extra energy could be used in the finish. Thor Husvold has never got over the Poggio in such a good position, and although many willl remember the dramtic finish between Mark and Heinrich, what should also be taken into account is that Thor finished third. What doesn't bear thinking (well at least for the competition) is if Cavendish was actually using an Aero Jersey. But most of all if you think about the power houses on Saxo Bank like Cancellara, Voight etc what damage are those guys going to do with an extra 10 watts for free? The mind boggles, roll on March.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Sportful Saxo Bank Team Kit

I have just had the new Saxo Bank kit explained to me. My impression is just Wow. Since the introduction of the Cervelo Test Team the Aero Jerseys and shorts and the rest of the investment they have made has changed the way they are percieved and what riders now what from their kit.

Seeing the new Saxo kit it the level has been raised again. The fabrics and cut have taken the advantage to a new level. The difference between a regular jersey and an aero jersey is worth about 10 watts at 40kmh. In a sport where every second counts and marginal differences make a huge difference over 8 hours or 3 weeks this is not only an advantage in myth, but in reality.

Will you want some, absolutely cycling clothing is now as technical as the bikes the riders are riding.

When does the racing start again?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Monday Monday

looks good to me so the song went. Finally I cracked on Sunday. So much crap weather had got to me. Not having ridden a bike outside since early December had got to me. Okay it's not all the weathers fault, a bout of swine flu stopped me in my tracks for a bit and then the snow came.

I'm not really a fan of the snow. It may go back to the time when I had snow blindness as a kid. I remember starring outside and then nothing for hours until I woke up at home. It was very strange. The thing is that when I was a kid we used to have Winters like this all the time, or at least that is how I remember them.

Walking to school was a mission at the best of times as it was 3-4 miles which when you are 8 is a long way. Anyhow back to the bike. It had got the better off me so on Sunday evening I prepared the cross bike. I knew that the advantages of the cross bike in certain areas also had the potential of being completely the wrong bike for others. So how did it go. Frankly lack of fitness and slugging round the knobbly tyres was hard work. The sections where I thought the cross bike would be good were outweighed by the fact that the tyres couldn't grip throught the ice.

I think as a cyclist we always want a bike that can handle anything, but the reality is that not one is the master of all conditions. So as a bike collector (or tart) I'll be adding some more to my stable. I did see a fantastic Kona which might just be my next winter bike ....... but that as they say is another story.

Be careful out there folks and I hope that the 'cabin fever' doesn't get too bad. You could always drag the turbo/rollers outside.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

King Kelly

Sean Kelly is one of the few PRO's that I have ever got star struck over (along with Eddy Merckx). I met him a few years ago and like a star struck groupie I managed to say hello and that's about it. Irony is that he's one of the more approachable guys out there, according to those who know him well.

As a PRO he rode through three decades and saw many changes in both the technology of bikes (and equipment) and how racing changed. I bet 1/2 a hour with him would provide many useful soundbites and thoughts on racing then and today. It's difficult not to like Kelly, as a rider we won many of the important races, and some more than once. I like him because he's earthy, hard working and even today still loves to ride his bike.

AN Post may not be the biggest of Teams but you have to respect a guy who is busy with commentating and charity duties while at the same time being involved in the team. On the subject of the Team, they will be using CRAFT baselayers (or underwear if we are thinking Euro speak) for next season. The CRAFT kit is excellent and are currently my favorite for moisture management.

Some of the UK magazines have been talking about Cavendish as the greatest Sprinter of all time. This maybe true, but it is difficult to compare generations to one another, although we can't help ourselves. Is he the fastest, probably Yes, but this season will see many of the famous lead out train on different teams and this will no doubt influence the speed he is delivered to the last 250m.

Kelly is harder to pigeon hole. It would be easy to call him a Sprinter, winning the Green jersey four times (and the Vueltas Blue jersey 4 times as well) and Milan San Remo twice. But is Kelly the last of the 'Great Ones', able to win Classics (Paris Roubaix, L-B-L and Tour de Lombardi), Grand Tours (Vuelta) and short stage races (Paris-Nice and Tour de Suisse). I am unsure if we'll see this kind of rider again. For me this is a shame as the true all-rounder is what lifts riders such as Merckx, Hinault and Kelly into that 'Great arena'.

I'm not going to waffle on about his results but these great clips shows more than I can say in words. Hopefully at some point I'd like to interview him, then I'll have something to write about.