Category Archives: Cycling

RideLondon-Surrey 2016

This was to be my third time at this event, out of four running and so I was pretty ok with the course. No surprises to be had with the course. I was only concerned about the state of my legs. Would they have recovered from Comrades, especially given the fail at C2C? The answer was yes there were fine. 

As with the year before I was orange wave C setting off at 6:18

The clouds loomed but it turned out to not be a problem. 

Unlike last year there were a lot of fast groups heading out of the city and back in again. I was able to tag on the the back of these groups and cling on for dear life! The hills like last year proved no problem and once at the bottom of Box Hill tagged on the back of another group or two and smashed myself all the way to the Mall. Looked at the watch, 4:28! Awesome. 


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RideLondon-Surrey 2015

 

After the long ride of the Etape De Yorkshire I was feeling hopeful about getting a good ride in at my second attendance at ride London.  However I still wasn’t 100% happy with how I was feeling on the bike especially with Midnightman just two weeks later. As per normal with London based events I headed down and stayed with a friend in Shireditch, a few beers and a big pasta dinner before finally getting round to putting the numbers on my bike. 
A 6:15 start time meant I had to be up at 4:45 and I was still very bleary eyed on my ride to the start line. Upon arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park it seemed that all 27,000 participants where already there and trying to drop off their bags. Carnage! Still I made my way to my start pen and had a short while to chat to some of those around me. 

 
Off we went! As with last time the first few kilometres was a mix of people trying to get warmed up and get going, and some people who were clearly on a mission and smashing it from the get go. In concentrated on staying out of trouble, and trying to enjoy the closed London roads. Going wheel to wheel and trying to find groups to ride with, often a little tricky given the mix of people, I was soon at the 20mile mark in Richmond park where I saw my sister-in-law, who managed to see me smiling in amongst the thousands of other cyclists.  

  

 
As you can see, the sun hadn’t been up very long. At this point I was 8 minutes up on where I was last year, things where going good. The next 30 miles rolled by and where pretty uneventful, rolling through the countryside, going from group to group making good time. 

The first hill came and went, there was a lot of grumbling from people around me, but it was nothing compared to the Yorkshire countryside. 

  
Leith hill came at about 55 miles. Although not as notorious as Box hill it is the bigger, harder hill with a bit of a kick in it’s tail. As per usual the going up went quite well, it was the coming down which was the problem. Once again my inability to decend cost me time as all the people I had blasted past on the way up came hammering past me on the way down. I do descend like a granny. 

  
More smooth riding until box hill. Part of the notoriety came from its inclusion in the 2012 Olymic road race, where the loops took them up it 9 times. We were doing one ascent. Turns out that it was a piece of piss. I flew up it making great time and only with minimal (for me) swearing at my legs. It’s hard and pretty but has nothing from the Côte de Buttertubbs of a few few weeks ago. I may be biased but Yorkshire kicks Surreys ass in the beauty stakes. 

After Box Hill it was a fairly flat run in back to London (apart from the small lump at Wimbledone, but more about that shortly)

Here was where I stated making good time. I lucked upon a few god riders who we’re going hard, and we formed a bit of a pace line. Everyone was taking turns on the from before pulling off and we were flying. The miles were going down and it was all good. Until Wimbledone hill. The group were working hard and I was at my limit, not a problem on the flat but on this hill, which isn’t huge my legs went and I lost contact with the group. The biggest issue was that I then couldn’t get back into the big ring on the front and chase down the group. After working hard I could only watch as they disappeared into the distance. Bummer. 

However once I was back in the big ring and was going properly again I was back to making good time and managed to catch another group and recover my legs a bit. I followed them in until the last 5km whereby I opened up with everything and pushed hard. This is the pout where the course follows the embankment of the Thames so is flat and straight. Once again I was able to catch groups, recover and push on. Coming through the last mile upto and through Marble Arch and along the Mall I emptied myself, giving it everything I had. Gunning for the line my finally sprint was not pretty, but quicker than last time!

  At the finish i recovers myself before collecting my bag and going to find my family, a steak and a recovery beer, or two. 

  
My time last time had been 4:59:48 and I had been hoping to beat that. With an ultimate goal of going under 4:45. Finish time 4:43:41. Get in! Can’t wait to try and get in for next year.  

   
Pretty snazzy finishers medal too. 

Etape de Yorkshire

What an awesome bike ride. Even in the drizzle Yorkshire is the most beautiful part of the UK, maybe even the world. 

Me an a large group of Alba Rosa riders set off first at the 7am start. Winding out way out if the grounds of Harewood House we separated ourselves from the other riders and then started chain gaining out towards Ilkley. We were making awesome time and it was all going well. Until we hit the first incline where my broken lungs meant I got dropped, pretty quickly. A mate dropped back and paced me back up to the group but again at the next incline I was gone. We we 50k (of about 200) in so there was still a long way to go on my own. 
Still, not to worry. I had planned to go out with the first group so when I inevitably got dropped I could then ride witht the second Alba group. That didn’t quite happen though. Being dropped after 1hr it wasn’t until 3hrs of riding I saw another rider when a group came smashing past me, and again I was on my own. After 6 hours a small group of four came blasting past, offering me the chance to join them, but I couldn’t keep up. Turns out they where doing the short route and had missed out the last two climbs. That explains why they were so fast! 

The first hill the Côte de Cray was pretty uneventful,  as was the Côte de Buttertubs. The drizzle making the climbs cooler. Unlike when Jens Voigt did it last year there wasn’t 10,000 people lining the climb to the top of Buttertubs. Just a bloke with a camera waiting to snap photos of knackered riders. 

As per the forecast the sun came out at midday, which just so happend to coincide with the climb of Côte de Grinton Moor. It wasn’t a bad climb, the incline was fine but the sudden heat was more than a little unpleasant. There was however a nice cooling breeze, indeed a tail wind, along the top an I manged to blast along fairly easily at 50km/h. 

After that it was a faily un eventful run back to Harewood via Harrogate only for me to be overtaken by another small group in the last half kilometre. Crossed the line, collected my medal and got a burger.  

 Checking the time of the official results showed a time of just under 8:40.  

 All in all a good days (mostly) solo effort. Same again next year!

Etape de Yorkshire

In the morning I’ll be riding the Etape de Yorkshire. Starting at Harewood House (which I’ll cycle out to) the route covers the whole of the first stage of last years Tour de France. All 126 miles of it. I’ve not done enough miles due to injury but with the help of the rest of the cycle club who are going I should get round, eventually. The biggest problem is working out how to layer myself given the weather.   

   We start at 7 so I’ll be leaving home a little after six. Pissing rain then pretty hot.  That’s an awesome combination. I’m just hoping I’ll have eaten enough by the point it starts to warm up that there will be space for my rain jacket in the back of my cycling jersey. 

Never make assumptions

I learnt a painful lesson on Sunday. I made an assumption about someone on the road and it came back to bite me in the ass. Or shoulder. 

I was following a car down the road at 30mph at a distance of about 30m and it indicated, stopped, and then didn’t manoeuvre. I assumed it would make the right turn it was indicating for given there was no on coming traffic but it didn’t.  I braked a fraction too late and ended up going into the back of them. Hard. 

The important thing is the bike is fine. 

I’m fine too, my shoulder is a bit buggered, some internal bruising. Swelling has mostly gone and I can now swim, just about. 

Pay attention folks. The roads are a dangerous place and you need to be paying attention. It’s not always about what people do, so,è times it’s about what they don’t do. 

Never make assumptions. 

Tour de Yorkshire

If all goes acording to plan next weekend me and some of the guys (&girls) from the trick un will be cycling the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire. The stage went from Wakefield to Leeds, finishing in Roundhay park. I can’t quite see the park from my house but I know it’s a 7 minute run away. 

Should be fun. And hill….

Don’t fall off, don’t finish last…

These where the two goals I had as I entered my first ever crit cycle race. Based at York sport, just outside York there is a series of races round the 1km flat looped track. Everyone goes off and you try not to get dropped too soon or crash.  

 The race format is 30 minutes, but if you get lapped you get pulled out 5 minutes before the end so you don’t get in the way of the sprint finish. For my first ever race I wasn’t expecting much, and I did egg dropped quite quickly, and then lapped. Despite this me a 2 other fellows made a little group and raced round with me barely hanging on to their coat tails. It was 8 days post marathon and I was here to have fun. 

It was awesome and we did get pulled itu, just before it finished but I resolved to come back and do better. So I went home and finally got round to putting my new race wheels (a nice set of 52mm carbons) onto my road bike.  

This time it was an utter shower of shit. Running late I didn’t quite warmed up enough and my legs failed. Plus my new wheels were fractionally wider and so rubbed ever so slightly on the brakes making it feel like I was in a perminent headwind, something I didn’t discover till later on. That problem has been resolved, I’ve recovered properly post marathon and hitting the bike hard so when I return I should be better.  

How bad was that second race? Well I got lapped twice by the entire field and bailed after 10 minutes. Utter disaster.