Cycling UK » tejvan Cycling info - advice and tips Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:15:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Puncture repair kits and cyclists by the side of the road Fri, 16 Aug 2013 20:06:15 +0000 I was out training around Stokenchurch and Marlow; and after several hill intervals, I was looking for a reason to take a breather.


On a quiet country  lane near Frieth, I saw a cyclist walking along the road, not looking terribly happy. I stopped to ask if there was a problem. He replied a double puncture, and he was walking home to Marlow. That’s a fair walk when you’ve got cycling shoes, and even though it was a nice day – it was not something I’d want to have to do myself. I offered to give an inner tube to fix the puncture. I thought it would be a pinch puncture (a common cause of double punctures) but on removing the tube, I found it was actually a puncture patch not quite working. We threw the old tube away and put in the new one. The tyre was up an running in a few minutes (one of quickest punctures I’ve repaired). Peter (the chap with a puncture) was grateful to get his bike going again. He had just started cycling a few months ago, and was a bit inexperienced. But, enjoying getting out a few times a week.

  • My top tip is to always carry two spare inner tubes. Forget about a puncture repair kit. If you can buy new inner tubes for £2 a go, it’s really not worth the hassle of repairing – especially when there’s no guarantee they will work when you need it. (also if it was raining or cold, who wants to fix a puncture by side of road?)
  • The other advice I’d give to newbie cyclists is – you don’t have to spend a lot of money on cycling, but money on good puncture resistance tyres is very worthwhile. Peter’s tyres looked pretty cheap (though very easy to remove from rim)

Just a few weeks ago, I was very grateful when a couple stopped to help me put on a tyre in Grassington (I’d had a double puncture and was really unable to fix it third time. So today it was nice to be able to return the favour to a fellow cyclist.

The good thing about buying 10 inner tubes for £20, is that it feels quite easy to give a few inner tubes away on the very rare occasions you see a stranded cyclist.

There are a huge range of cyclists on the road these days, and it’s nice there is a certain camaraderie amongst cyclists. It’s not a big deal to stop and offer a little help for a cyclist stranded by the road, but it gives a rare opportunity to offer a little help. If you saw a car broken down, I would just drive on. But, a cyclist walking by the side of the road will always grab my attention.

Perhaps it’s also believing in Karma. You help a cyclist – because if you were in that situation, you would appreciate a bit of help yourself.

Power PB

Apart from my good deed for the month, the other great excitement was setting a power meter reading for my favourite climb on Stokenchurch A40. I’ve been testing my time on this climb for the past 5 years (5% constant gradient. length, 2.5km, height gain 118m).

It’s a very rough guide to form. (with much effort I reduced pb time from 5.08 to 4.52 in past two years) Though times can vary by 20-30 seconds depending on the wind direction / temp e.t.c. This was first time I could record my power reading (average power for climb: 439 watts for 4.59. (watt /kg 7.0)

Next time I go up, I will have a power meter reading to compare! Though I promise this blog, won’t become full of my power meter readings and other statos.

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My moment of fame slips away Sun, 21 Jul 2013 16:36:50 +0000 After last weekends 100 mile TT, it was back down to more familiar territory this weekend – a 10 and a 25. This week saw little training. A nice easy week, motivated by a combination of

  • Tiredness after national 100
  • Tour de France in the third week on TV
  • After two big national events, it feels like a good time to take a breather before the next big push for the end of October.


First up was a local 10 mile time trial organised by Oxonains CC on the Kingston Bagpuize H10/17R. This is close enough to cycle out to event and it was a good days cycling.

It was warm, but not uncomfortable hot. So it was a reasonably good day for racing – the only problem with the wind in the wrong direction. Out to the turn is about 5.6 miles. I managed this at 44 km/h. Before hitting the Tubney roundabout and flying back at over 54 km/h. I was quite pleased with my time of 20.23. I might have dipped under 20, if conditions had been perfect. (though when are conditions ever perfect and the wind in the right direction?)

The highlight of the race, was the most welcome addition of two spectators. My friend Andy had said he might come and watch. But, I think the idea of someone spectating at a time trial didn’t really register. Grovelling into the wind, I heard a shout and cheer. But, was more confused than appreciative. On the last  1 mile back to the roundabout I was flying with the tailwind and a had a better sighting of these two super-enthusiastic supporters by the road. It wasn’t exactly Alpe d’Huez, but it was rather an honour to have ‘spectator corner’ on the old A420. A few other riders commented on the novelty of being cheered on by two spectators. One rider said she thought of packing at the first roundabout, but the big smile of the spectator made her go on and finish. Andy and Ketsy were model spectators. No bizarre costume, no attempt to run along by side of road waving a flag in my face, just a big friendly smile and cheer. It’s not so difficult this spectating lark after all (see: spectators at the tour de France.) My time of 20.23 was good enough for first place and the Oxonian 10 mile TT trophy which I seem to remember is incredibly large.

They say a 10 mile is always a good precursor for a 25 mile. So  I was looking forward to the Hounslow & District 25 the next morning on the H25/8 Bentley course. Sometimes it’s harder to get going in the mornings, but a tailwind got you up to speed on the first hill of the day and I managed to hold reasonable speed on the way back into the headwind. I think I managed a negative split (a posh way of saying faster second half) I  came home in a time of 51.49.

A first glance of the result board, put me in 1st place, and as a result I got interviewed by the Hounslow & District CC publicity man. The nice chap asked for a few words on the race. So I struggled to think of anything meaningful and realised how difficult post race interviews can be. It’s hard not just to state the obvious. ‘yes, well er, it was a good race’But, after stumbling for words, we did get on to a good chat about the heady days of Hounslow CC in the 1970s. On the plus side, there were no grillings about my average power output readings pre 2011. . Anyway it turned out that my stunning words of wisdom may not hit the pages of the Hounslow Gazette after all. Seb Ader’s time was corrected after a transmission error and he ran into first place with a 51.36, putting me in second.

Such is life. one minute you’re catapulted to stardom and fame -  heading for  the back page of the Hounslow Gazzette, the next minute you’re just the nearly man. Well, I was very happy  to drown my sorrows with a nice cup of tea and piece of flapjack. Anyway after riding through the cheering crowds on Saturday, any more fame and it might start go to my head.

Importantly, the form feels reasonably good and it was nice to get back to a few 55 km/h blasts for short 10s. 1st and second place for the weekend, not bad.

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A superfast course, except when there’s a gale – F11/10 2013 Mon, 17 Jun 2013 07:53:03 +0000 At the weekend was two 10 mile time trials. The first one was the Hemel Hempstead 10 mile on the ‘super fast’ F11/10. The event had attracted a large entry, with the hope that the course would produce some fast times. The entry field look more like a national championship than a ‘fish and chipper’ the qualifying time for the fastest 120 men was something like 21.19 or something crazy. In the morning I was down in London marshalling a 10km running race, so I arrived in plenty of time – a couple of hours before my start. My warm up mainly consisted of sitting in the car, glad that I wasn’t an early starter and riding in the freezing rain. I was putting my number on in the hq and overheard a rider who had just come back from the race saying something along the lines of ‘well that was crazy a big 14 stone guy like me and shivering to death – I’ve never been so cold in June. But, it’s quick. Be careful of slippy turns though‘ – That didn’t bode well, if a short stock 14 stone guy is getting cold, that’s bad news for my 62kg, 187cm frame. I get cold when it’s warm and sunny. So I went back to car and put on several layers of clothes and a couple of thermal socks. After messing around for so long, I only had a warm up of about 20 minutes. Fortunately, as I got on the rollers, the sun came out, and it warmed up quite a lot. The only problem is that now I was sweating like anything, and I had to take one of my thermal vests off. I was spending more time messing around with clothes than actually warming up – so much for arriving 2 hours before the start. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take off my thick pair of thermal socks. More than anything, they spoilt the ‘aero’ look. Before the race, I’d cleaned and stripped down the bike to make it as aero as possible. I was also wearing some (ridiculously expensive i.e. £80) Smart Aero socks. So it looked a bit incongruous with these fuzzy socks appearing around these sleak lycra oversocks. Anyway off to the start and up for the race. The only hill of the day is getting to the start.


You start on a slip road. For the first 2 miles you pass over a very lumpy and bumpy surface, you vainly try to find a pothole free route, but it’s not happening because the bumps go across the carriageway. Then you have 2 roundabouts to negotiate. I took it a little cautious given I’d already seen someone fall off back at the hq. The turn was helped by enthusiastic marshalling which gave an indication over coming traffic. Then there is the long return leg. Initially it felt relatively sheltered from the wind, and then you hit the famous F11/10 descent a long downhill section, where you have people reporting being able to spin out at 50mph. Someone I chatted to after the race said he was dissappointed he couldn’t really use his 62 chain ring like usual, the wind was taking the edge off.


Even though the descent may not have been as fast as usual, you still had a pretty good speed coming off the descent. But, then there is a drag to the last turn. Here the wind was really in your face, gusting really strong. The headwind was a like a great block and you felt you were pedalling squares. On this section, I overtook 2 riders who seemed to be struggling even more. That was good for morale, but it seemed strange on this super-fast course to be going so slow. I toyed with the idea of putting it in the little ring, but resisted and churned away mashing the gears until the roundabout finally came into view. The last two miles was super fast. With the same gale blowing you back. I couldn’t decide between using 56*11 or 56*12 and was switching between the two. It was probably faster here, than down the slope. I finished in a time of 20.19 and 25th place. I never seem to go so well on this course (relatively) I was over a minute faster when riding the V718 (19.07), and I’ve been faster on local Bentley courses. Many said that on that day, it was up to a minute slower than ideal conditions, which made the superfast rides of the day look even more impressive – Rob Pear 19.19, Matt Clinton 19.21, Adam Topham 19.29. (results)

The bad news is Matt Bottrill crashed going over a pothole on the way back, nothing broken but quite a bit of road rash. I also noticed quite a few riders had the dreaded F11/10 handlebar droop. 3 miles of potholes and your aerobars come lose – it happened to me last year. Torque past and torque wrench highly advised pre racing F11/10!


I’m not enamoured of the F11/10. It’s a bit of a cheat course because of the drop. It’s hard to get into a rhythm and aero tuck, because you really have to concentrate on the road surface. But, mainly I don’t like it because it gives no advantage to being a super-light-weight like me.  It’s not a course I would have designed. But, I’ll probably come back because it’s close to Oxford, and even though I’m not keen on the course, I still like getting the odd fast times.

Sunday, was a different kind of race and course. The Chris Hart memorial 10 mile TT promoted by West London C.A. on the H10/2 Knowl Hill course. After yesterday’s gales it was nice weather so I decided to ride down to the event from Oxford. A good 27 mile warm up through Henley on Thames. The race was good. I did 21.16 which was 10 seconds slower than last year. A bit disappointing, but that’s time trialling you can never always go in the direction you want. Sometimes, you’re just not as fast as you’d like to be.

Anyway, the race was very good and a nice prize presentation after. Gordon Wright (supreme interval training coach) handed out the prize and Ann Hart (Chris’ late wife) was present to hand out the trophies. I like to do the event because it’s a good friendly atmosphere, plus I was quite fond of Chris Hart, who was very helpful in setting up my own event. I also enjoyed chatting to Brain James (Brighton Mitre CC) it was one day before his 83rd birthday, but he still did a very creditable 31 minute 10.


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Frocester Hill Tue, 28 May 2013 08:41:17 +0000 On Saturday, I was riding the Farnham 10 mile TT open time trial. Off number 100 in a field of 101. It was a good race; despite a north westerly wind, it felt fast. I managed to do the 10 miles in 20.21, which was just enough for first place, pushing Nick Dwyer into second place by 1 second in 20.22. For the first time in the year, I took off my waterbottle cage to make the bike more aerodynamic, perhaps that was the second there… Marginal gains and all that.

My Garmin told me I’d done 20.04. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from organising time trials – the timekeeper is always right, Garmins are wrong!

Anyway, it’s always quite exhilarating doing a 30mph ride, especially on a ‘fair’ course like Bentley A31. There are a couple of significant drags. Traffic makes a difference, but there aren’t really any lorries, and traffic’s not too heavy like some courses. It’s a big target to do a 19 on the H10/8, though it will have to wait for a better day.

The next day I was down to ride the Hounslow & District 100 mile TT. I was quite dissappointed not to make it, with an unexpected commitment in London. With reasonable weather, I was fairly confident of breaking my 100 mile pb of 3.52. It would have been an important confidence boost before entering the national 100 and national 12 hour later in the year.

With Sunday off the bike, and heavy rain forecast for Tues and Wed, on Monday I decided to cycle off to Frocester. It’s about 58 miles as the crow flies so quite a long ride. It ended up being 123 miles all round, just shy of 200km. The aim of the ride was two fold. Firstly, reconnoitre a possible venue for a 24 hour hill climb, and secondly get some training in for a 12 hour time trial in August. Because I was training for a possible 12 hour time trial, I thought I ought to do the ride on a time trial bike. This is a hard call, a time trial bike just isn’t designed for a comfortable 7 hours ride.  But, if I’m going to do a 12 hour time trial, I need to get used to being in a low position for a long time. The main drawback of the ride was the growing pain in the shoulders and neck from being in the TT position for so long. The ride would have been more enjoyable on a road bike. There were times during the ride when I was thinking, what are you doing – 7 hours on a TT bike, why not just stick to the short stuff?

That’s the dilemma about going up the distances. I get a lot of joy from racing short distances. Moving up to 100 miles, 12 hours and beyond is a different kind of pain and difficulty. There are always times on long rides, when you feel really tired, but after stopping off in Burford for some water, the last 20 miles was OK. I was glad there was a tailwind on the way home though.

On the plus side, the time trial bike was pretty useful for cutting through a really strong wind on the way out. It was hard for the first two hours, and really cold. The other difficulty of riding 60 miles out to Frocester, is that you don’t know the roads, and unless you’re going to stop to look at a map every 5 minutes, it means taking a few more A roads than you would prefer. It wasn’t the most romantic ride. But, I felt good when I got back and was able to sit normally in a chair.

Frocester Hill


View from Frocester Hill

Frocester Hill direction SW

Distance 2.1km
Avg Grade 9.0%
Elev Difference 185m
Elev Gain 220m

Frocester hill is a great climb, you ascend nearly 200 metres in 2.2km. The gradient starts off at 3% from the village of Frocester and then reaches a fairly steady 10% all the way to the top. It’s very nice to climb and is a good test. The road surface is reasonable. From a hill climbing perspective, it would make an ideal hill for the 24 hour hill climb. The only drawback is that it is just a little busy to be doing 300 u-turns in the middle of the road. It’s not as busy as many roads. But, when you imagine doing a u-turn at the bottom of a fast descent, you realise how difficult that is. In the good old days of time trials, ‘dead turns’ in the middle of the road were quite common – because traffic was so light. But, the dead turn has pretty much disappeared from courses these days.

It’s a shame because I’d really like to do it on this hill, but I will have to keep looking for a more suitable climb. Also, when I climbed the hill, there was a perfect headwind making the climb quite difficult. It’s a great view from the top. It felt pretty impressive to be able to see Wales. It’s the first time I’ve gone on a bike ride from Oxford and seen another country!


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Buxton MTT 2013 Tue, 07 May 2013 07:41:10 +0000 Last year, the Buxton MTT was run against a backdrop of quite impressive looking snowdrifts. This year, the original date was cancelled due to even heavier snow, but fortunately was rearranged to this May bank holiday. After all the snow cancellation, it was typical the event would be run under balmy conditions, 17 degrees and sun. But, whatever the weather, the Buxton course around Longnor is one of the hardest time trials on the calender. Over 1,000 metres of climbing in 33 miles. It’s either going up or going down and not very much in between. Because of the hilly parcours it suits me down to a tea. Last year, I was within a minute of Matt Bottrill (who on a flat course would probably put 3-5 mins into me) So this year it was a target for the early season hillies.


Last weekend, after having a heavy cold, I rode quite conservatively in the Little Mountain TT. But, with Buxton I knew every hill and the route quite well, and I decided to ride quite hard from the start and see. The start of the race could easily be a hill climb course. After a short up and down, you face the long drag  up Hollinsclough Moor, which climbs over 200 metres. At the top it’s over 465 metres altitude making it one of the highest time trials in the land.  Then there is a section on the A53 which was a bit of a headwind, before turning left back to Longnor. The descent was pretty fast with a side / tail wind pushing you along. It was pretty useful having a top gear of 56*11, it meant I never really span out of gears, getting close to 50mph on descent.

Quite a few riders entered the road bike competition, but I went for full time trial bike + discwheel. It’s a bit more weight on the hill, but into the headwind you save really quite a lot.  My first lap was very quick – 27.02. I was really flying up the first hill. But, then it was hard work to maintain that speed, and by the third lap I was going down to the lowest gear on the last climb, that third climb is really tough, no matter how much you weigh! There was someone on the course who shouted out a few times that I was on course for the course record. It was an added motivation, but I paid for the first sprint up the hill and was a bit slower on last lap so I missed out. In the end, my time of 1.23.20 was a minute off Stuart Dangerfield’s old course record, 01:22:13 set in August 2003.

Matt Clinton ( was second, and Mike Cuming (Rapha JLT) was third. (though I was lucky Mike Cuming rode a road bike and not a TT bike!) Mike said he’s off to do the Tour of Ireland and then the Tour of Korea in the next few weeks, good luck!

I can’t remember the other results, but hopefully they will be published soon.

I really enjoyed the race, and finished first – winning a nice cake, some coffee cups and £70 from the generous sponsors.

Thanks to the Buxton CC marhalls,  supporters and the organiser, Richard. It was very good event, and maybe if the weather gods are kind in 2014, it might be possible to get a little closer to the course record.

After race, I cycled off to Peaslows hill to have a look. That was really hard work. I was going slow enough to enjoy the scenery, but the legs were really tired. A strange thing is that the week before the race I did 600km – the biggest mileage I think I’ve ever done. I probably I got over excited about the sun and assumed this would be the only good week of weather all year. I didn’t feel tired, but I wasn’t really tapering. I was influenced by an article in Cycling Weekly which showed Alex Dowsett’s run up to British time trial championship. Basically he did 2-3 hours every day in week before.

I also spent a lot of last week thinking about a 12 hour time trial in August, so I became a mile muncher. Going off to Peaslows reminded me of the 24 hour climbing record, but that can wait for another day, I’m off to eat my cake.


Buxton MTT photos from Ed Rollason


Photos from handlebars

Thanks to Bhima Bowden who got these photos from his handlebar video. It’s kind of fun, so I’ll publish them here.










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Beacon RC Little Mountain Time Trial Mon, 29 Apr 2013 07:36:08 +0000 Beacon RC Little Mountain time trial is a classic hilly time trial run since 1948. It is a race with a great tradition and challenging hilly terrain.  There is a lot of effort and enthusiasm put into the organisation and promotion so it’s good to see it rewarded with a big field of over 100 riders -A pretty good turn out for such a hilly event.


In 2012, the race was run, by all accounts, in horrendous weather conditions so with forecast of rain I took a bag full of clothes. In the event it was run in near perfect conditions – a little cold, but it stayed dry and the sun came out, to make it quite nice by the end.

I didn’t have the best preparation for the race, since last Sunday’s race I picked up a cold and spent all week off the bike. I did manage to go out on Saturday to try and unblock the nose. It seemed OK to race. But, given the hilly  nature of the course and a lingering cold, I rode conservatively for the first lap. The first lap is run over rolling terrain. I’ve done this particular loop a few times in Rudy Project events. But, after this initial 16 miles, the real fun starts. You go past the HQ and make your way into hillier terrain. There was a particularly tough climb over Stanford Bank. Not particularly steep, but a persistent headwind made the going tough. From the top of Stanford Bank there are quite a few sweeping descents, though a horse box meant I got a bit caught up. I was vaguely aware that up here, it is a beautiful part of the countryside. I would occasionally be aware of a stunning view, but in race mode you don’t have time to stop and appreciate.

At Linley Green you turn left on to the A44 and you can enjoy a long descent to the River Teme. When you’ve got used to a few miles of high speed, you turn off the A44 for the last timed hill climb of the course. You can’t maintain your speed as there are a few sharp turns which leave you struggling for momentum for the last climb, Ankerdine hill. Ankerdine hill  is quite steep at the bottom, 16%. It also comes at a time (33 miles) when you are already fatigued from the race. I went down into the 25 sprocket and stayed there until the second part of the climb where it levels off. I half expected to be really zonked at this point. But, I actually felt quite good. There was quite a bit left in the tank so I increased speed and finished with quite a burst of effort for the last six or seven miles.

The marshalling around the course was excellent. I had studiously memorised the OS map, but when you’re out on the course it’s all practically useless, you have no idea where you are and you rely on the signs and marhsalls. It’s a nice touch having little signs warning you of upcoming turns. Racing at high speed can do strange things to your mind and you wonder are those marshalls really pointing me left?

I finished in a time of 1.39:12, which I was pretty pleased with, especially because I’d looked at times from previous years. However, it was obviously a good day with two other riders also under 1.40. Matt Clinton won in a superb time of 1:36:11, and Danny Axford just pipped me with a 1:38:48. However, tt was enough to get on the podium (in this event it is a real podium and not just a turn of phrase), and provisionally I won the hill climb primes up Ankerdine hill and Stanford Bank.

There were plenty of other prizes including biggest pb improvement (30 minutes!!!)

Paula Moseley Climb on Bikes RT was first women.

I had a bit of a headache, after race, but I was really glad to do the event. Great fun, I will be back next year! I rode deep section wheels because I wanted a 25 sprocket.

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 08.30.02

provisional results at Beacon RC

Little mountain time trial at Beacon RC

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Circuit of dales 2013 Mon, 08 Apr 2013 08:25:28 +0000 Last year, I rode the Circuit of the Dales, and decided it was one of the best races in the calender. This year was another great event, though also a reminder of how tough 50 hilly miles in the Yorkshire Dales can be.

The day before, I’d ridden out to Grassington, the day was so nice, I ended up doing a very steady 70km in 2 and half hours.  A little long for a warm up before a race, but it was nice to be enjoying a bit of sun and warmth for a change and I got a bit carried away.

The ‘relative warm’ day on Saturday, perhaps lulled me into a false sense of hope for Sunday. When I arrived in Ingleton, the thermometer was still reading 1 degrees. However, warming up on rollers in the sunny car park, soon got me going, and I decided to take off the leg warmers for the first time of the year. It was something I later regretted as it never really warmed up. I was pretty chilled by the end.

Circuit of Dales

The first 10 miles were pretty encouraging, it was quite fast, though the bit of downhill always helps. Then it was the first long slog up north to Kirby in Longsdale and Sedbergh. The rest of the race was all about a slow decline of average speed as the initial burst of speed gave way to increasingly tired legs and hilly terrain.  I perhaps spent too long looking at my speedo. You don’t go any faster, watching the average speed drip steadily downwards. The road surface didn’t help. In some parts it was super-smooth – obviously having been re-tarmaced. But, in other places, it would be more akin to the pave of Paris-Roubaix. On one hard drag out of Sedbergh towards Garsdale, there was a super rough bit, and agonisingly (on the wrong side of the road) there was some super-smooth tarmac. But, I had to stick to the ruts and hope my handlebars wouldn’t come loose with all the rattling. Sedbergh district county council must be have the budget to resurface only 7% of its roads every five years. By the time they’ve resurfaced one part, everywhere else has deteriorated.


The nice thing about the Circuit of the Dales is that there are some super sweeping descents, where you can pick up some nice speed. It’ nothing super steep – they are descents where you can still pedal. I made use of top gear of 56*11 quite a lot. These descents do at least partially make up for the hard upward slogs.

At Hawes, you make a tough right hand turn, on a steep climb up to Horton in Ribblesdale. The first section is steep, then there is a long drag, with quite a few false flats. You are rewarded with a great view of Ribblehead viaduct.


In normal times, you might pat yourself on the back for making it up the hill and stop at ice-cream van by viaduct, but there is still a few more miles to finish a very tough 50 miles.


You kept hoping for a strong tailwind, but the wind was hardly in evidence. The last 16 miles felt like a headwind, though it might just have been the dead legs.

I took about 2 hours 6 minutes, a bit slower than last years shortened course. I didn’t stay for results. Unfortunately, I also woke up with bad knee from previous days exertions. I would like to do a sub two hour ride one day, we shall see.

Update results here

Position Name Club Event Time
1 Richard Handley Rapha-Condor JLT 02:01:54
2 Simon Bridge Manchester Wheelers Club 02:04:00
3 Hugh Carthy Rapha-Condor JLT 02:04:59
4 Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team 02:06:24
5 Julian Ramsbottom Scunthorpe Poly CC 02:08:00
6 Dean Robson Somerset RC 02:08:53
7 Ian Stott Blackburn CTC 02:09:11
8 Jonathan Shubert High Wycombe CC 02:09:36
9 Alexander Royle Banjo Cycles 02:10:28
10 Henry Springall Richmond CC 02:10:33



Thanks To Ken Roberts for excellent photos

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He just didn’t have the legs Wed, 13 Mar 2013 18:25:04 +0000 Just a short post about recent physiotherapy experiences (and apologies for the rather grim photo. It’s the only thing I could think of which matched the title)

When I went to Physio in Jan 2010, I couldn’t bend my leg in a straight line – it wobbled all over the place. No wonder I had knee problems back then. I was really shocked because I spent so much time cycling. I assumed time on bike must = strong legs.


In Feb 2012, the leg was stronger, I could bend it in a straight line. But, on a seated leg press I could only lift:

  • Right leg – 30kg
  • Left leg – 20kg.

The left leg was 33-50% weaker, so again not surprising some problems.

After 4 weeks of simple physio exercise, I was interested to see what I could lift on seated leg press.

  • Right leg 50kg (Just)
  • left leg 40kg

My left leg had doubled in strength and right leg had got marginally stronger. It’s nothing to write home about. If you’re a climber and timetriallist, leg strength really isn’t that important. The most important thing is how much oxygen you can get through your body. When we say ‘he didn’t have the legs’ it would be more appropriate to say ‘he didn’t have the oxygen uptake necessary’ – I don’t think it will catch on ‘he didn’t have the legs’ has a better ring to it.

But, length strength does have some bearing on power. (I don’t really know the exact sports science). Stronger legs won’t win you every race, but they can’t do any harm. Again I was really quite surprised that simple exercises for four weeks could effectively double leg strength – and most importantly reduce the imbalance. If I can further correct the  imbalance hopefully, it will be even better.

The knee is definitely better, though there are still niggles and I had to rest for 2 days after last race; I’m not 100% – But, I’m fairly confident / hopeful it will continue to get better.

Some observations

  • I’m not a member of a gym (and really don’t like the places), but I want to regularly test the strength of respective legs with something like a leg press machine.
  • I have been guilty in past of ‘turning up my nose’ at ‘core strength exercises’ – I kind of wrote it off as a ‘fashionable’ training buzzword. – I always thought you could do all your training on the bike. But, since I’m quite susceptible to knee problems, it seems quite important in my case. I don’t have a desire to build up super muscles like a Mark Cavendish. I’d be happy to maintain current strength, rather than keep getting stronger. It is hard to combine really hard endurance training with leg strength.
  • Rather than concentrating on stacking up the miles, a week or two concentrating of leg strength work may have given me a better return (though cycling is always more fun than leg presses!)


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Maidenhead & District CC hilly time trial Mon, 11 Mar 2013 14:08:51 +0000 Another cold March morning and another hilly time trial. This time 30.8 miles around the lanes of Marlow, Stokenchurch and Henley, in a race organised by Maidenhead & District CC. I know these roads very well from training rides. There’s plenty of hills and drags around this part of the Chilterns, which is why I like it so much. Though this particular 30 mile route manages to find a relatively ‘flat’ courses for this part of the world. Maybe not hilly enough for a mountain goat like me, but back at the HQ, I couldn’t hear any rider complaining about a lack of 16% gradients. For many it was the first race of the season – not exactly a gentle introduction back into the sport. I did hear the odd mutter about this being the first and last race!


The biggest problem for me was the cold, with temperatures struggling to rise above freezing, at the end of the race I even noticed a very light flurry of snow. Despite 3 pairs of gloves, I had to blow on them a few times because my fingers were freezing. I should have worn a proper thick pair of ‘ski style’ gloves. Three thin layers is not actually great at keeping warm when it gets down to 1-2 degrees. I’m reluctant to race in ski gloves because of diminished handling ability and diminished aerodynamics. It proved a false economy in the end.

When racing, you never know whether to take a spare tub and pump. For this race, I decided to take on the grounds that it was too cold to be standing around waiting for someone to pick you up. Though how much use it would have been is questionable. At the bottom of the results sheet, I saw a note:

D.N.F. Number 20. Punctured at Nettlebed and fingers too cold to change a tub.

that is  one drawback to these early season hillies.

I did wear 4 thermal layers under an old baggy skinsuit, I definitely didn’t regret that decision. But, if I can stop complaining about the cold and being a soft southerner for a moment, it was a pretty good race. You start with a long drag to Stokenchurch before riding along the top of the Chiltern ridge past Christmas Common and then left down the slope towards Henley. At Henley, you’ve reached the valley floor and there was quite a hard stretch into the headwind. To finish off there’s a nice little climb up to Frieth. It’s good fun, after a fashion, the constant variations in gradient, wind direction and challenging road surface mean you are constantly working on trying to maintain a rhythm and picking a good line in the road. In some places, it’s nice and fast, in others it’s very hard work. I noticed some enthusiastic marshalling from Maidenhead’s Danuta Tinn on one corner, although it may just have been a case of the old - dance up and down on the spot to keep warm whilst marshalling routine.

I finished 2nd in a time of 1.10.49 Over 1 minute slower than 2010, but I think it was OK given the cold. I felt fairly strong at the end of the race, though the knees are tired this morning. Jonathan Schubert of High Wycombe is going very well this year, and he won in a time of 1.09.33 Jonathan’s racing season is ending in April, when he’s cycling off to Singapore – or somewhere suitably exotic. It puts a tough 30 mile time trial into perspective. Good luck is all I can say!
First lady was Hayley Gamble (W) Eton Triathlon Club in her first ever time trial (they aren’t always as much fun as this one) First junior was Will Houghton Hillingdon CC (who gets an honourable mentioning for saying good things about this blog.)

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Banbury Star Hardriders 2013 Mon, 04 Mar 2013 10:32:40 +0000 Sunday was second race of the season, the Banbury Star hardriders 23 mile TT. A typical early season cold hilly time trial. This year was probably the best conditions I’ve done this race in. As I set off, my car thermometer posted a balmy 3 degrees, but at least with no wind.  Last year, 2012, I nearly froze as we raced under a blizzard. In 2010, it was below freezing. So 2013 was relatively good as early March weather goes.


The course is fairly flat, apart from a rather brutal 16% climb (Sunrise hill) in the middle. It would make a good hill climb course in its own right, but when you’re doing a 25 mile Time trial at your threshold level, it’s a completely different story when you hit the steep slopes. I was grateful for a 23 sprocket as I grovelled up. It’s a reminder it’s completely different to do a hill climb, rather than same hill when you approach already flat out.

The race was pretty good, apart from the seemingly obligatory knee problems – especially towards the end.  It felt quite fast, though it is all relative. I finished the 23 miles in 53.32, at an average speed of 41.5 km/h. It was a whopping 3 minutes quicker than last year in 2012. But, not at all comparable, as the weather was absolutely brutal last year. It was still a pb for the course, and good enough for first place. I some how came away from the race with three trophies. Two from London West District C.A from 2012 (courtesy of the Fountains) and a rather nice trophy from Banbury Star. It has an impressive collection of names, so it was nice to win, after coming second in the race twice before. However, any enthusiasm was mitigated by trying to work out how many days I might need to take off for knee to recover. Soon the races start getting longer and longer, I better pop a few more Glucosamine, Cod liver oil combos and hope for the best.

Thanks to Banbury star CC for organising, it was probably easier racing rather than standing around marshalling in the cold.

I even had my parents coming to watch, they happened to be having a holiday in Lemington Spa. (I hope when I retire, I’ll be able to holiday in suitably exotic places as Lemington Spa, I guess when you’ve lived in Bradford for 30 years, even Birmingham seems like a good holiday destination)


Results 2013

1 Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy CT 00:53:32
2 Danny Axford Arctic SRAM RT 00:54:10
3 Will Fox Metaltek-Knights of Old 00:54:53
4 Will Hayter London Dynamo 00:55:26
5 Karl Moseley Stourbridge Velo 00:55:37
6 Timothy Hastie Team Jewson, MI Racing 00:56:00
7 Gregor Wallace Team Midland Racing 00:56:09
8 Justin Belcher Banbury Star CC 00:57:59
9 Stewart Wilson Bonito Squadre Corse 00:58:02
10 Luke Souter Banbury Star CC 00:58:18
11 Rob Weare Leamington C&AC 00:58:20
12 David Schofield-Nel Leisure Lakes 00:59:59
13 Nick Green Stratford CC 01:00:25
14 Cameron Foster Club Corley Cycles 01:00:33
15 Peter Wright Rugby CC 01:00:41
16 Matt Jones Rugby CC 01:01:00
17 Peter Oliver Fairly United Cycle Team 01:01:25


1. Marina Bloom Born to Bike – Bridgtown 01:06:47
2. Suzy Patience Banbury Star CC 01:07:29

Fun results at Banbury Star CC

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