Friday, 25 September 2009
'Pig cleared for Take-Off
So we're all set for another week long stage race, although I think this one might be a bit more relaxed. Pies 'n' Thighs will be competing against each other (possibly in wine consumption as well) as we get to race and explore the sunny Mediterranean pre-Alps of France riding from Gap to Monaco and taking in what promises to be some fantastic singletrack.
Everything is almost packed, Nice beckons and we'll report back during the week as we do our best to ride this inaugural event.
Check later for updates - http://www.trans-provence.com/
The Cycle to Cannes charity challenge is an annual 6-day 1500km cycling endurance event suitable for fit commuters as well cyclosportive riders. It is probably the closest an amateur cyclist will get to feeling like a "pro" having full support, rolling road closures and covering up to 300km a day. After completing the ride, cyclists – all professionals in development, architecture or planning - change their lycra for their business suits and take part in the MIPIM Property Fair.
Lots of reflective stuff
The Bike Feature is a collaboration with 100% Design and Jorg & Olif and is being produced to expose and excite the design community to the many creative and experimental projects emerging in and around bike design and bike culture......
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Following an early bagging of points in the London League (6th place) the week previously, I had hoped for a reasonable show on Sunday. Not getting lapped by the leaders was my primary objective but it wasn't to be. The heat was scorching and the dust was unbearable! A combination of external factors in the run-up to Sunday's event had left me fatigued and unable to get my heart-rate up to race-pace. I crept around the course, watching my peers semmingly ride away from me into the dust storm. After an age, the leading pair of Paul Oldham and Jan Van Dael caught me on the bell-lap at 53 minutes. Now, I find that there's nothing like doing badly to spur one on to train harder. As I was 'racing' I was already planning what training I would do before the next round!
Sunday coming sees the next round of the London Cyclo Cross League at Deer's Leap where I've always done reasonably well so here's hoping! Then, Round 2 of the National Trophy where I hope to build upon my previous performance by not getting lapped and hopefully, creeping into the top 30 -there, I said it!
(Picture - Joolze Dymond)
Monday, 21 September 2009
A Rocky Ride in the Rockies – what else... (awesome riding by the cycling Professor - Mule Pete Turnbull)
After our problems in the Alps, we were looking forward to a good race in the Rockies. This race was always our big target for 2009 – a proper mountain bike race dominated by single-track and rocky terrain, just how we like it.
We arrived in Panorama, the starting village, in good spirits. We had already made friends with a group of fellow riders from the UK and Ireland, the sun was shining, and there were plenty of distractions in the race village – a one-mile cable ride and downhill MTB course, off-road trails in abundance, “beach” volley ball (OK, a big sandpit with a net),and white water rafting. The latter was great fun, especially when our Australian skipper directed the boat over the rapids early on and dislodged one of our party (big Ian from Liverpool). With adrenalin flowing we were ready for the Rockies.
I was in great shape for the race. The weekend after returning from the Trans-Alps I made the trip to Scotland for the Merida 100 at Selkirk, enjoying a fast ride and feeling really strong. Jon, on the other hand, was resting, hoping to recover from the illness he picked up in the Alps. As we pedalled up the first big climb on Stage 1 of the Trans-Rockies it was soon apparent that Jon had not recovered – his heart rate was in the red zone, he vision became blurred, he suffered cramp after less than an hour of race, and the contents of his stomach made an appearance on the trail. After less than 2 hours of racing, Jon was forced to abandon the race. We waiting for medical support and then I rode on alone, once again, the Stage finish.
Without a partner I was forced to start Stage 2 at the back of the field, but quickly passed the slower riders and finished the stage in the top 10. Thereafter I was allowed to line up each day with the lead riders. Initially I rode with two American teams who were placed third in the GC and 2nd in the masters category, but on each stage I finished much stronger than my trans-Atlantic partners. As the race progressed, and the rain began to fall, the Mule was really “kickin’ some ass”. For me, the final two stages epitomised what mountain biking is all about
Stage 6, from Elkford to Crowsnest pass, was one of the longest stages (just over 100km) and it rained all day. There was a lead group of 3 teams - Rocky Mountain (eventual race winners), Czech Masters (who won the masters/80+ category) and Team Amarante BikeZone-Onbike from Portugal (2nd in the GC). I was in the chasing group with two American teams, the 3rd placed team in the GC and the 2nd place team in the masters. I dropped them both on the first big climb of the day and then rode 60km on my own to the finish line. Much of the stage was along "logging roads", which Jon rides really well – he likes to turn a big gear on this terrain and he usually does more than his fair share of the work.
This was a lonely day when I really missed not having a partner. Mentally, I found myself in a very “dark place” around 80km, having lost concentration and neglected my nutrition. A Mulebar and a caffeine gel got me back on track. I rediscovered my mojo with about 10-15km to go and absolutely hammered the final 5km, despite my tiredness. This was one of those “outer body” experiences, every part of the body was screaming to stop and get off the bike but there’s something in your head that won’t let you stop until you get to the finish line. It was worth all the training, all the racing in 2009, just for those last 5km of Stage 6.
On the final Stage we hit a road climb early on out of Crowsnest Pass, where the Rocky Mountain team and the Czech Masters pulled away from the chasing teams. The Portugese
team tried to go with them but one of the pair was really struggling. Along the next section of single track I dropped all the other chasing teams and caught the Portugese riders. I helped them along a long road section before we hit the next off-road section. We rode well together through the next section and on a short stretch of road which took us to the bottom of the big climb of the day we caught the two leading teams.
On the climb to the second feed station the Rocky Mountain guys really turned the screw. The Czech masters were sitting on their wheel looking really comfortable, I was on the back with the Portugese riders holding on for dear life! My legs were screaming up the climb but I knew if I was dropped it would be a long lonely ride to the finish. At the 2nd and final feed station the Rocky Mountain guys made a very quick stop, which caught everyone on the hop. The Portugese team were quickest to react and I chased after them, but on the first part of the descent my chain came off and the Czech Masters flew past. Having survived the big climb I knew I could take 2nd place overall, having already beaten the Czech and Portugese riders on 2 previous stages. The chase was on.
The final part of the course was technical riding with a fantastic single track section through the forest on the outskirts of Fernie. My previous victories over the Czech and Portugese teams came on stages with more technical riding, so I knew I was in with a shout. I caught and passed the Czech team on the first technical section at the bottom of the descent and then really put some time into them. I was chasing down the Portugese team when they unfortunately had a puncture. The slower of the Portugese pair, who had been struggling all day, rode on, with the quicker rider repairing the puncture. The final climb was short but really steep, a tough granny ring climb. Once over the summit, it was single-track heaven to the finish line in Fernie. Once out of the forest it was just a short blast in the big ring into the town centre. It’s difficult to explain how sweet it was to know that I had time to whip out the British flag and ride past the crowd along the high street in 2nd place. I was completely “mangled”, but proud to have finished such a tough mountain bike challenge – the Cape Epic, Trans-Alps and Trans-Rockies, all in one season, all fuelled by Mulebar.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
The Norwegian clinched the final Bikeability Yellow Jersey to round out an impressive ride in The Tour that has seen him win four stages and also take The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey thanks to his consistent placings.
Various riders throughout the stage tried to improve their overall positions by collecting bonus seconds at the three intermediate Sprint points, but in the end no one could escape the fast moving peloton on the run in, allowing Merlo to hit the front at around 200 metres to go, with the Italian taking his first victory as a professional.