Archive | cycling

British Time Trial Championship 2010

This is a repost of an old blog from my previous website. I’ll repost it here as I have lost access to editing site.

The main point of interest is the top three riders. Who would have predicted the top three would go on to win the Tour de France. 4th Michael Hutchinson was commentating on tv today.

1 Bradley Wiggins Sky Pro Cycling 1:04:55
2 Christopher Froome Sky Pro Cycling 1:06:17
3 Geraint Thomas Sky Pro Cycling 1:06:30

It wasn’t my best race, the only thing I remember was Geraint Thomas talking to me after the race. Seemed a nice chap.

Very happy for Geraint Thomas to win the 2018 Tour de France. A very well deserved victory. Hope he gets lots of cheers on the Champs Elysees!

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Michael Hutchinson and Bradley Wiggins chat, just after the finish.

Yesterday was the 2010 British Time Trial Championships in Llandeilo, Wales. Apart from closing roads to traffic, it was as close as you can get to a real pro race. The course was testing, for the senior men 52km. For the Masters, Women and juniors – 32km. The women’s race was won by Emma Pooley, just ahead of Julia Shaw and Wendy  Houvenaghel.

In the Men’s race, Bradley Wiggins was the clear winner averaging a phenomenal 30mph for the 52 km. He led in a Sky One, Two, Three, with top domestic rider Michael Hutchinson just edged out of the podium place. In the Senior Men category, I was 24th place in a time of 1:14:24 (26.2mph). At one point Chris Froome (Sky) came flying past me. I was doing 33mph, so he must have been really going fast.

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Chris Froome and Andrew Tennant (I think)

There was a short climb through the village of Llandeilo, which was a great buzz as a large crowd were there to cheer on the riders. After finishing, I took my camera and nipped back to the finish to take a couple of photos of the top riders who went off last. I ended up riding back to HQ with Geraint Thomas, who finished 3rd. He seemed a very nice, modest guy, quite at ease talking about cycling. I forgot for a few minutes, this was the guy who at one stage was second in this years Tour. I’m sure he has a great career ahead of him, I’d like to see him do well. Funny, next week he has the Tour of Britain, I have the start of the school term. Later in the year, he has the Commonwealth Games, I will have a few hill climbs. But, it’s a great sport when you can race in the same event as the best athletes in the sport.

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After getting back from New York, I felt somewhat demotivated from racing. On Saturday, I did my slowest 10 of the year (21:44). I toyed with not starting the BTTC championships, but, glad I made the long trek down to south Wales, a very well organised event and it was good to take part.

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New LEJOG cycling record – Michael Broadwith

24 Hour Champion Michael Broadwith (Arctic Tacx RT) broke the Land’s End to John ‘O Groat’s cycling record in a time of 43 hours 25 minutes and 13 seconds on 16 June – 17 June 2018

le-m.broadwith

According to reports, Michael was well up on schedule – setting a new RRA 24 hour record of 507-511 miles in the process, but towards the end, heavy cold rain made the effort extremely testing – with unscheduled stops to change clothes and try to keep warm. (End to End 2018)

For the last few hours Michael’s neck gave way and he was using a neck brace – kindly lent by people in the vicinity who heard about ride. In an interview with Cycling Weekly, (pre-ride) he mentioned

“but if I don’t get this record, I doubt it will be my legs that let me down.” but fortunately, the cold, rain and non-working neck didn’t halt the record. Though, with the near Biblical weather, it sounds a good job, he built up a good buffer in the early part of the ride.
Towards the end of the ride, Michael was in great pain from his neck. But he managed to find a way to support neck and keep going.

“I managed to figure out some cock-eyed method where I was propping my head up with my arm on the aerobar rest like Rodin’s The Thinker. At least it meant I could descend under control and fairly fast.

“I had a stern talk to myself; ‘for God’s sake, chances like this come across once in a lifetime. If you don’t carry on you’ll think through this moment forever and wonder why you didn’t ride for another 20 minutes.’  Article at Cycling Time Trials – Frazer Snowden/Paul Jones

On the final long climb to Berridale, he was hopeful of breaking record

“Then I was actually doing it in the early hours of this morning and thinking ‘bloody hell, this is me, in this moment, and I’m climbing up Berridale and I’m going to nail this record, my friend Des running alongside. I have to remember it because it is a perfect moment in life where I’m actually living the moment that I wanted to live in incredible intensity.

M.Broadwith – photo by Tim Bayley.

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A good weekend for cycling

It was a very good weekend for cycling – Tour de Yorkshire, Giro d’Italia and near-perfect weather. It was more than enough to want to get back on the bike.

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Stephane Rossetto – Cofidis

I never watch cycling live – only record and then fast forward through the boring bits. Using the modern miracle of fast-forward I watched the interesting bits of the first three Giro stages in a combined time of seven minutes.  My favourite bit of yesterday’s Giro stage was seeing the three breakaway riders as they were leaving the peloton. One rider looked back and the peloton had shut up shop – a line of defiance – absolutely no-one else was interested in joining the breakaway of futility. The rider laughed as he realised it would just be three riders for the inevitable 200km long breakaway before getting caught. I wonder if anyone listened to the whole commentary of five hours through the desert – with not even the odd vineyard and local vintage of wine to give Carlton Kirby something to work on.

de-yorkshire-027

Anyway, the Tour de Yorkshire was a completely different. Beautiful scenary, massive crowds, great racing and yesterday an epic stage – I’d never heard of Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) before, but that was quite a ride. The Giro should try start in Otley.

Photos (by Parents in Otley before the ascent of East Chevin.)

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A good omen

I was going out for one of my feeble one-hour rides at an easy pace. I was cycling out of Oxford up Barracks Lane. It’s a short steep hill. Steep enough for many commuters to get off their bike and push. At the bottom, there was a runner who looked like he was doing hill intervals. Out of curiosity, I rode alongside him at his running pace. I smiled and offered a little encouragement. Then he smiled and said:
“right let’s do this” and he shot off up the hill. It was clear he was inviting me to a race.

Now I’ve been a bit on the crocked side for the past 18 months, but the competitive spirit still lurks. And some of the old dormant speed remains. So like the red rag to the bull. I sprinted up the hill and left the runner far behind. I turned round at the top to give a valedictory wave and the runner – now in the distance – smiled, or perhaps he grimaced.

So that was probably the most exciting 30 seconds of cycling for 2018. After that, it was back to tootling around Oxfordshire before going back to do my yoga exercises and stretches.

Still, I will take it as a good omen. I can still cycle faster than a runner, and that has to count for something.

One thing I’ve always found puzzling – In the Tour de France why can big fat blokes in a mankini run uphill as fast as the lead professional cyclists?

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Egoscue method for cycling

egoscue_The latest thing I am trying is the Egoscue method – ‘Health through Motion.

If nothing else, I quite like the philosophy. In summary, it goes something like this.

  • The human body is beautifully engineered and designed to work in harmony.
  • The human body is designed for motion. The early hunter-gatherers didn’t spend several hours in a chair
  • Modern life has meant we spend a lot of time sitting down – hunched over a car wheel, desk, computer. This means that certain muscles become atrophied.
  • If some muscles become weak because they are not activated – then other muscles carry a greater burden. This can lead to dysfunction.
  • The body starts to lose symmetry – with problems such as everted feet, rolling hips and the back losing its natural arc.

With these dysfunctions, we start to get pain in different parts of the body. If our shoulders are weak, it can cause problems in our hips. If our hips are misaligned, it can cause problems in the knee e.t.c.

When we get knee pain, we seek to treat the pain – with painkillers, surgery and the like. But, this is only treating the symptoms and not tackling the cause which are the various dysfunctions in different parts of the body.

In philosophy, it is a continuation of physiotherapy which is seeking to strengthen certain muscles. However, Egoscue adds more exercises – which work on realigning parts of the body. One exercise is simply lying on the floor with legs on a chair at 90 degrees – the aim is to feel the hips and back sinking into the floor.

Another part of the philosophy is that the patient has to take responsibility for his health. It is doing the right exercises, looking after posture that you will get better long-term health. It is not just a matter of going to a doctor and waiting for the right pill and drug.

Does it work?

I only started a few days ago, but I get a good feeling and hope it will work. The good weather is certainly a strong motivating factor to try and get back on the bike. When it’s wet and cold in February, being off the bike didn’t seem so bad.

If nothing else, it is quite a thought-provoking read. We all spend hours sitting and can easily get into bad postures. Even as I write this in a cafe, I am getting up after 30 minutes to walk around.

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Non-economic Note – New Economic Book

Whilst I am making links to Amazon. I have a new economics book published.

  • What Would Keynes do? – with fascinating questions like “If you like drinking beer – what is the optimal quantity of beer to drink?”

 

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Cycling comeback delayed

I am still cycling after a fashion. Different physios and doctors have suggested riding through the mild pain and discomfort. It sounds good advice. The problem is after 18 months of doing this, it’s hard to muster up much enthusiasm. Especially in cold weather, I have to really force myself to go out once or twice a week to avoid complete physical stagnation. It feels a bit like taking medicine, you know it’s probably a good thing to do, but you really have to make yourself go out and do it.

broadway

This weekend, some friends planned a trip to Broadway in the Cotswolds. In the days of long-distance cycling and 12-hour time trial training, cycling from Oxford to Broadway was a mere pre-breakfast warm-up. But, now it’s more of a car journey.

For a long time, I mentally decided that this weekend would be the start of the great come back. I could feel it in the bones, the past 18 months of difficulties were going to start melting away with the warming spring sunshine of the Cotswold. I envisaged cycling moderately fast up Dover’s Hill (venue of 2010 National Hill climb championship) and other similar climbs.

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The weather was beautiful and packing the bike in the car, reminded me of old race days.

Alas, the great comeback stopped was brought to a halt as I got out of the car in Broadway. I felt a twinge in the left-hand side of the right knee just as I placed the foot on the floor. It seemed a perfect symmetry to long-running problems on the right-hand side of the right leg. So the bike stayed in the car for the weekend, and the comeback trail didn’t materialise. Continue Reading →

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Cycling statistics in UK

Some selected cycling statistics.

It would be interesting to go back further in time. Other includes cycling and walking.

Share of transport 2016

Source for many of graphs: 2016 National Travel Survey (released 27 July 2017)

An updated stat to show cycling accounts for just 2% of journeys in England.

Cycle rates by country

cycle-rates-countryBritain still lags behind countries with similar weather, population density and geography.

According to this EU survey (2013) 4% of UK respondants say they cycle at least once a day. This compares to

  • Netherland – 43%
  • Denmark – 30%
  • Finland 28%
  • Hungary 25%

Though UK is higher than the US where the figure is more like 1%

China still has the most bicycles of any country with annual sales of around 60 million units (Statista) Continue Reading →

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Young kid on a mountain bike

Inspired by the National hill climb, I went out for a 30 mile training ride yesterday to Brill. It was a beautiful autumn day, but unfortunately, I was in discomfort by the end of the ride. I was plodding along St Clement’s at a fairly sedate speed when I got overtaken by a young lad on a mountain bike, backpack and big mudguards.

There was me – on a state of the art – Trek Emonda, Dura Ace Di2, several thousand pound Carbon fibre bike, and here I was getting overtaken by a young lad, taking home the weekly shopping. Welcome to the future.

Not only that, but as he nonchalantly breezed past, he obviously recognised me and said:

“Hi Tejvan”

So I made a big effort to catch up this MTBer and find out who was sailing past. Of all people, it was Joe Baker (Zappi CC) who had been riding the national hill climb championship this weekend up at Hedley on the Hill. Not only that but he was the champion under-16 rider, finishing 11th junior men in a very respectable time of 4:40.5 (results)

On the positive side, he mentioned he is getting closer to my Brill KOM, but still a good 20 seconds off. So at least for a short-while I can live on my past glories of Brill hill.

It’s a small world. You cycle around Oxford and you don’t know who you are going to bump into next.

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National hill climb 2017 – results

It looks to have been a great national hill climb championship up in the North East. Both Dan Evans ASSOS Equipe UK and Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) making worthy champions.

It’s not quite the same watching results drip through on Twitter – compared to actually racing and being there. Sitting this year out reminded me of what the championship means.

Champions

dan Evans

Photo Velo UK – Dan Evans

  • Men: Dan Evans ASSOS Equipe UK 03:54.3
  • Women: Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) 4:53.4
  • Junior Junior Male: George Kimber (CS Dynamo)  4:13.9
  • Female: Corinne Side (Racing Chance Foundation)    5:19.0
  • Male Team: B38-Underpin Racing (K. Savage, P. Clark, Andy Nichols)  12:31.7
  • Female Team: Racing Chance Foundation (Corinne Side, Tamsin Vicary, Heather Bamforth) 18:08.5

Dan has been a very consistent hill climb performer of the past few years. On hills above two minutes, he has rarely been beaten. It’s an impressive open campaign and becomes the first man to take a second championship since Dan Fleeman in 2010. They say hill climbs is a young man’s sport, but a little like myself, Dan came to the sport relatively late. All I can say 36 is a very good age to become national hill climb championship (I was 36 in 2013). Can Dan win again? Well, it doesn’t get any easier as you approach the big 40.

2nd place Adam Kenway (Raleigh GC) put up a spirited title defensive; perhaps next year will be more to his liking. Proving that hill climbs is still a young man’s game, Kieran Savage (Team B38) must be pleased to get third spot, whilst still an espoir. I always feel a certain empathy for people who just finish outside the podium. Jo Clark has consistently finished in the top 5, but is collecting a few near misses. This year just one or two seconds was the difference. Interestingly Clark was the only rider to beat Evans in an open event (on the Rake) – another rider who will be looking forward to the short climb up Shelsey Walsh. With strong competition, there were many very good hill climbers within 10-15 seconds of a podium place. Honourable mention to first Vet man Niall Paterson Velo Club Cumbria. Next year, I might be able to provide some competition in the old man category.

JoscelinLowden_velo-uk

Joscelin Lowden Velo UK

In the women’s event, no former champion meant the event was open, but the quality of the field was as strong as ever. I don’t think the women’s podium has been so close – with just 2 seconds separating the top three. It was good to see Hayley Simmonds enter the event and get so close. She is a world class rider and time triallist, but, at the end of a long road season, the rigours of four minute British hill climb make it a real challenge compared to what she is used to riding. Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) produced a superb ride to finish 2nd. After a good open season, Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) won her first title. In this CTT report, Lowden sums up the attraction of the hill climb championship.

“Some people question why I would come all the way up here to ride for five minutes and I start to think ‘Am I mad?’ but it’s so much more than just riding on a hill.

“It is everybody else here that makes it special for us riders: the supporters cheering us on, the course commentators, everything just makes it such a fun event and to win makes it extra special,”

The photos of the ev Continue Reading →

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Stop start season

sign-wharfe

I’ve been waiting for something good to write about, but at this rate I may not post anything at all.

It has been a stop-start season, but mostly stop – if not stuck in reverse gear. Sometimes, I can get a few days of training, but then take 2-3 weeks off the bike.

It feels like always going back to the starting point. It’s easy to lose inspiration to ride through injury and keep starting from the same low level.

I went out a few times in Yorkshire, getting as far as Grassington.

In New York, my longest ride was 26 miles during a marathon as a lead cyclist. 26 miles at an average speed of 9.5 mph. I was knackered the next day from looking behind at the lead runner. Took days to recover.

Compared to my three-hour 26 miles, these days there are riders who can ride 25 miles in 43 minutes (35 mph) (with a little help from suitable downhill dual-carriageways).

The hill climb season is upon us but I will probably give it a miss this year – perhaps one or two local events; the national is very unlikely at the moment. The only positive thing about the hill climb season is that at least I am at racing weight – an American diet of donuts and fried breakfast has not shifted any weight despite little exercise. But, being light is only one part of the equation. I went to Brill on Saturday and felt suitably slow and unfit. It was a reminder of how much hard work it is training for hill climbs.

Of all the hill climbs, I fancy doing the Monsal Head. I think you can do one minute hill climbs without any training. I’m not sure whether this is an observation that would be supported by sports science. But, in New York, I do one hill and have trained on it every year for the past 12 years. Training involves trying to race up it as fast as I can and have kept personal best times.

This August, I set an all-time pb (since 2005) of 1.34 for Sanitation Hill – faster than 2013,2014 and 2015. This was genuinely after doing hardly any training. Maybe the tail-end of Hurricane Harvey reaching New York helped a little…

 

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