Stuck in the big ring

Some-days the force is with you, other days you’re stuck in your 56 big ring, wishing you had a compact chainset. The weather was great on Wednesday afternoon, but the legs weren’t as co-operative as I would have liked. On Sunday during the Maidenhead TT, I felt in good form, but Wednesday it felt harder work to do any good efforts. In a way I was kind of put out of my misery by a mechanical mishap. My chain came off, breaking my front mech and power meter, all at the same time. It meant the gears didn’t work on the inner 39 ring, so I was stuck in my TT 56 ring.


For those who like to show off the size of their chain ring sizes, 56 teeth might sound impressive – though it is still paltry compared to some of the really big TT mashers, like Nik Bowdler running off a proverbial 74 teeth dinner plate.

However, a 56 is still no joke when you’re in West Wycombe and need to get back to Oxford over the Chiltern ridge. For some reason best known to myself I took a wrong turning and found myself fighting a gradient upto Turville of 10% +. I love climbing, but not when you’re mashing a ridiculously over-geared TT bike. At least my Quark power meter had broken again, so I couldn’t see how slowly I was going. Power meters – love ’em or hate ’em. But, when they keep breaking, you are tempted to throw them in the dustbin and ride on a strictly technological free bicycle.

The TT machine is a thing of beauty and speed. But, when you’re stuck in a 56 mashing 30rpm, the allure quickly dissipates. You suddenly notice how heavy it is, how unwieldly for steep climbs, and also how intrinsically uncomfortable it is. It was hard on the back, legs and I didn’t like the creaking sound it was making. I couldn’t really work out whether the creaking was from the bike or my body. Fortunately, at the top of Christmas Common, it’s downhill and then mainly flat all the way to Oxford. When I got onto the B road through Chiselhampton I was able to get back into something resembling a decent rhythm.  Another 50 miles on the clock, but quite eventful.

Tour of Ingleborough preview

At the start of the week, I was looking forward to the Tour of Ingleborough. 27 hilly miles around Ingleton, Settle and Horton in Ribblesdale. The start sheet was pretty impressive. 90 riders, including the in form Rapha duo of Richard Handley and Hugh Carthy. Also two Madison Genesis riders, including Ian Bibby. Unfortunately, on Thurs, my back suddenly went into spasm walking around Tescos looking for some vegetarian sausages. (not quite as impressive sounding as getting knocked of by wild dog at 45mph on a Portuguese mountain) I had to drop everything and rather awkwardly get home without moving any neck muscle. It’s getting better quite quickly, but it is touch and go whether it will be up-to one hour in the TT position tomorrow. It also relies on getting front mech fixed, I’m definitely not going to be doing the Tour of Ingleborough stuck in the 56.


Hill climb intervals

Hill climb intervals are probably my favourite type of training. I generally do some kind of hill climb intervals from February to the end of the hill climb season in October. At this time of the year (spring), my 5 minute power is well down because I spend most of the winter focusing on endurance. Even I feel like a break from hill climb intervals in Nov, Dec and Jan. Because I’m starting from a relatively low base, it means that even a few hill climb intervals can see a big improvement in power output.


See also: Techniques of riding uphill

Early Hill Climb sessions

During the early part of the hill climb season, I’m getting used to riding at or above race pace. A typical session might involve:

  • Warm up for 15 minutes
  • 3 * 1 minute intervals at 95% – this is about 400 watts. They are not completely ‘eyeballs out’ I like to break myself in a bit more gently.
  • 7 * 4 – 5 minutes. To make it more interesting, I do intervals up real hills. The hill climb may last between 3 and a half minutes and 5 minutes, depending on where I’m training. I do the first one really hard, but not 100% as if I was doing a hill climb.

I’m most interested in maintaining high power towards the end of interval and towards the end of the interval session. A good indicator of form is how I go during the 6th or 7th interval. In that sense the intervals get harder as you progress towards the end because the muscles are tired and you are carrying around more lactic acid.

If my FTP is 290, I might be doing these intervals at 350 watts. – Or 20% harder than an effort during an hour’s constant time trial.

In between these intervals I ride at a recovery pace. Gently spinning to try and get rid of the lactic acid.

In a typical interval session, it might take 2 and half hours and take 50 miles.

At this time of the year, I might just do one a week. In peak hill climb training season, perhaps two. Generally, I need an easy day before and after to get the most from them. To be honest, if I really do a proper hill climb interval session,  you don’t feel like doing anything other than a recovery ride the next day.

After the interval session, I recommend some stretching especially of hamstrings.

Aim of hill climb intervals

  • Increase climbing ability
  • By racing above your normal race pace, you hope to stress the muscles and heart to pull up your capacity. The main aim for time trialling is to increase your Functional Threshold power (FTP) – roughly the effort / power you can maintain for an effort of an hour. Intervals can do this
  • One way to train for an hour time trial is to train for an hour and see how fast you can do it. Intervals are deliberately training for a shorter time so you can ride at a level higher than what you can maintain for a long time.
  • Train different muscle fibres. In road races and even short distance time trials (25 miles), you will be using all three muscle fibres – slow twitch, fast twitch and super-fast twitch. Hill climb intervals are a way to train all three. You don’t get this training effect, just by riding hard for an hour.
  • Get used to dealing with lactic acid.
  • My main early season target is several hilly time trials. These interval sessions replicate hilly time trials quite well. The only difference is that I’m not racing in between hills – only when going up the hills.

Riding the hill climb intervals


Now I have a power meter I do spend a bit of time looking at the power meter to try and gauge effort and smooth over the effort during a climb. This generally involves, holding back a little at the bottom, but then making an even bigger effort towards the end of the interval to maintain the power. I think a power meter is useful in the sense it shows what you are actually putting out. I didn’t realise how easy it is for power to peter out, when the slope eases off at the top.

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Record breaking year

2014 is already turning out to be a record breaking year.


  • Britain’s best ever medal haul in the Winter Olympics since 1924 – 1 gold medal
  • Record levels of flooding in Oxfordshire and the South of England- 1.4 goggleplex cubic metres of water
  • Guinness world record for the longest distance of continuous underwater unicycling- 1.3 miles (Ashrita Furman, Portugal, video)
  • Record number of  visits to a gym in a year by Tejvan – 2
  • Record percentage of training rides done on indoor rollers by Tejvan –  65%

On a less promising note, I’ve managed to dns 50% of entered rides.

For the past seven years, I’ve been wanting to do the early season North Road Hardriders  25 around the lanes of North London. It’s an early season hilly classic, but despite entering three times, I’ve never made it to the start line. It seems to come at a time in the season when I’m prone to knee injuries. This year, it was a bout of flu – which kept me not just from riding the North Road hardriders, but also picking up the Oxonian CC 10 mile and 25 mile TT at the Oxonian annual dinner. A nice free three course meal – replaced by an evening of soup, rice cakes and fit for nothing more than watching repeats of the Tour of Oman. Well, I suppose you can’t eat caviar every day of the year. I consoled myself by reminding me there are worse times of the year to come down with a bug. I also consoled myself by saying although Oman might not be subject to floods and rain, there is a distinct lack of any scenery which isn’t resolutely grey, sandy. (or where’s the grass?)

Last Wednesday was one of those rare forays into the outer world of tarmac, puddles and real roads (well, some were roads, but are increasingly starting to resemble lumpy farmyard tracks). The weather forecast at BBC and Metcheck, both promised 0.0mm of rain for that day. The weather looked so good, I cancelled an economics lesson (easy in half-term week) and planned a good long five hour ride in the hills of the Chilterns. With the good weather forecast, I took my time trial bike. When you get used to spinning away on the rollers or flying on your TT bike, it’s a bit of comedown to go back to winter training hack. I did 40 miles on Monday, in a record low average speed of about 13.8mph. I didn’t want to repeat that.

Alas, the weather forecast proved to be misleading. Almost as soon as I had got spitting distance from Oxford, the weather gods began having a laugh, and started spitting at me. It was never heavy rain, just that fine drizzle that soaks you through. I think fine drizzle is better English phrase than ‘it’s spitting’ – but I heard it a lot when growing up in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

I persisted for a good four hours, and was quite pleased to get some hard miles in. It was made more difficult because I tilted my tribars upwards – this is more aerodynamic, but much more awkward and painful, I’m being to question whether the aero gains suggested by the wind tunnel are worth the extra effort and pain in the arms and shoulders. Not for a 12 hour, that’s for sure.

I did several hill efforts. A five minute power effort suggested I’d gained 20 watts in two weeks Yah!. From a very low base, but at least at this time of the year, you can see easy gains for relatively little effort. It’s like the first season you take up cycling and make huge gains. Only to find it gets increasingly difficult to keep increasing power as time progresses.

It was quite a good two weeks training, so five days off is not the end of the world. But, it would be nice to starting breaking records which don’t involve cycling under a deluge of rain and water.

By the way, Ashrita Furman of cycling underwater fame, has one of the few Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team records, that I don’t have. He did a very credible 405 miles for 24 hours back in the 1970s. It’s one record I won’t be attempting for quite a while. And as for the long distance underwater unicycling…..


Spontaneous training plans

I spent most of Saturday morning trying to weigh up the relative options of going outside and facing the stormy weather – or staying inside and dealing with the challenges of staying on rollers for two hours.

Where I would like to have been – cycling in the Hebrides in summer.

It was a pretty close call, but in the end I choose to avoid the relentless gales of this crazy winter and spent two hours on the rollers.

One reason for staying indoors was to avoid corrosion to the TT bike. My speedplay pedals are vulnerable to water, and seem to need greasing every ride, unless you want to be spending £230 for a new pair of X1 every month. Ironically, the sun was out and my conservatory got pretty hot – up to 26 degrees, and when you’re cycling indoors that’s pretty warm – there was a steady flow of sweat to corrode the bike in a different way. It did later chuck it down which at least made me feel vindicated in being a southern softie and choosing to stay indoors.

If you’re going to spend two hours on the rollers, you might as well make it a hard session, and hope the effort takes away from the tedium. The initial idea was to ride for two hours close to threshold because I have a 50 mile race in April (Circuit of the Dales) that I want to do well in. My training can be very spontaneous – I never really know what I’m going to do until I start cycling. I perhaps try and have a idea, it would be good to do intervals tomorrow, then steady, then rest, then sweet spot or some kind of plan like that. But, it can change and depends on what else is going on in life.

Anyway, today was about preparing for longer time trials at threshold pace. I did 280 watts for first hour, and decided I couldn’t keep that going for two hours. So I went down a gear and did 260 watts for the next half an hour. After 90 minutes I though that was more than enough threshold training for mid February. It was still a pretty big effort for this time of the year.

Sunday was a day off the bike, down in Bristol. Bizarrely the weather was so good, we were sitting outside on a cafe terrace admiring Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was ironic that the only good day of weather in 2014, was a day with no bicycle in sight. Not that I was complaining, I’ve forgotten what it was like to sit in the sun.

The only downside of having a complete day off after a really hard day, is that your legs can suffer the following day. They are a bit stiff today; they would be in better shape if I had done even 30 minutes easy riding or perhaps some stretching.

But, overall, it was a good week – nearly 300 miles (if you include the artificially fast miles on the rollers) 2 hours in 56*15 on the rollers, I give myself 50 miles. Why not? no one is counting my miles, and I do get some joy from filling in virtual mileage charts. I may have a power meter, but I still am enamoured of the old school ‘get the miles’ in approach.


Going to the Gym


Back in December, I wrote about trying to deal with left-right leg imbalance. (which has often been cause of annual knee problems) On a leg press, the maximum weight I could push was:

  • left leg 56 kg. Right leg 64 kg.

Because of this imbalance, I was working on different exercises to make the left leg stronger. But, then I fell off in Portugal and damaged a muscle (near the left glute / buttock). I was hobbling around on my right leg, and not using my left leg. During recuperation, I could feel my right leg getting even stronger and left leg weaker. (kind of a shame I didn’t fall off on the other side…)


Since the injury got better, I have cautiously been trying to do exercises to strengthen the left leg. These are exercises you can do at home. One good exercise is to sit on a chair and then stand up, using just your left leg. I’ve been finding this very hard, and can only manage a couple.

Tues, I went back to the gym, to retest my leg strength. Six weeks after the crash it was:

  • Left leg 54kg. Right leg 71 kg.

It’s not as bad as I feared. But, when I went on the glute machine, here, I could feel a much bigger difference between left leg and right leg.  It was interesting the right leg got stronger from all that hobbling around on one leg. It’s still a significant imbalance, especially in the glutes where I damaged the muscle.

I’m not a great fan of gyms, but for 20 minutes I worked at a number of gym machines – mostly the leg exercises.

I would tend to do double the number of repetitions for the left leg. e.g. 10 with left leg, then just 5 with right leg.

I’m not trying to be an Arnie look alike (like most other people in the gym). so I wasn’t try to force heavy weights. I was just pushing manageable weights and going for a good number of repititions. I preferred the exercise machines to the exercises I was doing at home, which generally involves lifting your own body weight.

The next day, I felt a little stretching of muscles in left leg, so I think I had a good balance and not overdoing it.

Tuesday was actually dry and sunny and usually I would have jumped at chance to go out on bike. but I still chose the gym. Going to the gym for me is like taking unpalatable medicine. You don’t really enjoy doing it, but you hope  it’s good for you.

I only took 20 minutes, so it’s still an expensive £35 a month. But, if it helps avoid injury, it will be money well spent.


Cycling through the floods

Usually, after a race, I take it easy on Monday and have a rest day or light training. But, looking at the weather forecast for the next 10 days, I thought I ought to jump at the opportunity to ride the bike, before more battering from the weather comes shortly. – ‘Making hay whilst the sun shines’ and all that. Or at least, riding when only light showers are predicted.


Today wasn’t too bad. It still rained for 20 minutes, leaving my feet cold for the rest of the ride, but with only light winds it’s all relative good for 2014.

After seeing the long run weather forecast, I was tempted to do something crazy and impulsive and buy a Ryanair flight to Tenerife or Majorca.  Anything to get away from the sensation of being surrounded by water, – water, water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. ( Coleridge’s line from the Ancient Mariner was my unwarranted mantra for today’s ride. Sometimes you get a song in your head, you don’t really want. But, it gets stuck. Today, I got this line in my head, going round and round. I guess it was appropriate). But, before I get carried away with my poetic side (there is none) the grim reality is that there is no spring training camp for me. Just a relentless plodding through the puddles, and doing my best to improve fitness for the upcoming hardriders, sporting courses and hilly time trials.


The race yesterday at Kingston Wheelers, left me fairly energised and motivated to train. Today I managed 83 miles up and down the Chiltern Hills around Henley and Marlow. It was quite good. But, the only problem with racing on TT bike, is that it does feel a bit of come down to go back to ride my clunking winter hack. My winter training bike seems to be more akin to a 3 spd, 20kg, Boris Bike than a sleek road racing machine.

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5 minute max power output

I’ve enjoyed writing a few recent posts, – the joys of the turbo, old school cycling e.t.c.. But, I promise this post will be really quite boring. It’s the inevitable post-power-meter-purchase-data-examination-and-speculation. – Something many power meter owners are prone to do, but I’m fairly hopeful I will tire of it all pretty soon. If power meter zones and watt/kg numbers are not quite your thing, I have to warn there may be a more profitable way to spend the next 3 minutes. But, then I guess if you’re already on the internet, you’re not planning on doing anything too productive anyway.


So, if you’ve run out of cuddly cat videos and with suitable apologies in advance, here are some power meter readings, which may be of marginal interest.

  • In September 2013 (when my power meter was first working) I did a few 5 minute all out tests up a hill near Stokenchurch (A40) On one climb, I averaged 445 watts for 5 minutes, and did the climb in 4.54. (19.2mph) – watt/kg 7.3
  • In February, four months later,  I could only average 345 watts, doing the climb in 5.43 (16mph) watt/kg 5.6

In November, Dec and Jan, I’ve done quite a lot of miles. Despite injury in Jan, I still did more miles in Jan than the peak of the hill climb season in  October

So after 3 months of endurance training / rest / bit of sweet spot/  Nov – Jan, my 5 minute peak power has fallen 100 watts.

Because I don’t know much about power meters, that seems an awful lot of top end power to loose. But, on the other hand, I do this test every year, and tend to always take just under 6 minutes for the first test of the season. So compared to previous early season efforts, it’s bang on track.

What does this show?

  • I guess power outputs in February are fairly unimportant in the bigger scheme of things (unless, of course you plant to tackle track hour records)
  • If you just do base endurance, you will become good at base endurance – but, no surprise, your top end racing power, will decline.
  • Stay tuned, who knows when I will next dig in to the power meter archives!

Old School Cycling

Last week I was singing the praises of cycling indoors on the rollers. ‘Falling in love with the turbo‘ and all that kind of nonsense. My old man would give me a clip round the ear hole and tell me stop being a big southern softie – ‘stop dodging the showers and go outside for some proper cycling.‘ Roger De Vlaeminck didn’t win Paris Roubaix three times by listening to his iPod shuffle whilst doing level III on his indoor rollers.

So this weekend, it was time to ditch the conservatory and heated saddle for a bit of proper ‘old school’ cycling – cycling through the mud, wind and sleet and snow.  It was time for a bit of winter grit, and getting in the miles without complaining.

Time for a bit of winter grit
Winter grit

It was also time to invoke the spirit of Sean Kelly and Bernard Hinault and other legendary figures from the past. One thing everyone agrees on, the modern generation is soft. Just look at the early editions of the Tour de France 400km stages over unmade roads on fixed gear bikes; and if you’re bike breaks down, no mechanic to give you a spare wheel. As for riding in the rain Sean Kelly would just say ‘I would go out whatever the weather, and only when I got back would I decide if the weather was too bad.’ Old school cycling has no time for marginal gains, power zones or heart rate monitors – Just pedalare…


Saturday was a lonesome 2 hours around the flat bleak farmland, north of Wantage. Dodging the A420, and sticking to small lanes, it was a matter of getting some slow miles in. 2 hours 20, for 38 miles. It felt handwork, especially the long relentless plod into the wind. There is an old school training theory of keeping it on the little ring until April. I’m not devoted to old school training methods. But, I was on the little ring all the way – more by necessity rather than choice.

Sunday, was another kettle of fish. This time I was joined by rising Buxton CC star, Chris Baines. A national junior hill climb champion (2012), and a northern cyclist raised in the hills of the Peak District.


Chris is new to the area so I was able to take him around some hills of the Chilterns towards Watlington and Henley. Hughenden Valley towards High Wycombe was looking beautiful. Don’t tell the old school guys, but there was no sleet or hail, just glorious February sunshine. If you had to pick a day to do a four hour ride in February, it would be hard to choose a better one. Though I feel compelled to add a random old school cycling quote:

“A Paris–Roubaix without rain is not a true Paris–Roubaix. Throw in a little snow as well, it’s not serious.”

– Sean Kelly

The muddy roads were flooded, and I got a good splattering from hanging on to Chris’s back wheel. He had a nice pair of mudguards on, but it wasn’t enough to stop getting splattered with mud from the incessant puddles. But, if you’re trying to emulate the old school warriors – a bit of splattered mud, is infinitely preferable to actually cycling five hours through the snow. [1]


In a rush of blood, I’ve already entered my first race of the season, a 14 mile time trial by Kingston Wheelers next Sun. A few hours of sweet spot on the rollers and I felt like I was flying already. But, rollers can be deceptive, get on the real roads with a fierce wind, and you soon notice those 3 weeks off the bike.

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Falling in love with the turbo

When I began my season of proper racing back in 2005, I bought a turbo trainer. It was a bit like a rite of passage, akin to shaving the legs. Only proper cyclists would buy a turbo trainer, you have to be pretty serious to spend a lot of money on something which involves getting very sweaty cycling to nowhere – driving you as crazy as the proverbial hamster on a hamster wheel.

The road to nowhere
The road to nowhere

I felt like I’d done the right thing to spend £100  on a turbo trainer. The only problem is I could never bring myself to ride it. Of course, after buying, I did try 30 minutes on the turbo, but I then did one of those turbo interval sessions, where the interval of rest is about 12 months. If the weather was bad, I simply didn’t ride or I’d prefer to go out and get wet. The great Emil Zatopek said training in the rain is good character building. I took this as a noble excuse to avoid the turbo. It’s probably character building to spend 2 hours on a turbo, but I didn’t particularly want that character.

Even when warming up for races, I never bothered taking a turbo. I’d rather risk puncturing before a start of a race rather than get ridiculously sweaty and bored 5 minutes before the race started.

The thing with a turbo is that as soon as you get on it, time seems to exist in a different dimension. 5 minutes becomes an hour, and one hour becomes a life sentence. You start clock watching as the seconds tick interminably slowly. Over the years, I did make the odd perfunctory attempt to master the art of the turbo. I’d make bold intentions of a good one hour session, but invariably, after 20 minutes, I’d reduce it to just half an hour, and that would be my turbo session done for the month.

Last year I threw away my turbo session. Not because it had worn away from overuse. I threw it away because it was hopelessly rusty. It was an embarrassment and a reminder of how little my £100 had been used. In fact when I calculate the cost per hour of that turbo – it wasn’t just incredibly boring, but also very expensive for those minutes of torture.

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Overtaking other cyclists


Yesterday, I went out for a steady 45 mile ride around Brill and Oakley. I’d just had a hard session on the rollers on Friday, so I said to myself I should take it nice and steady. Level 2 endurance, none of this interval malarkey. After all – it’s early in the season and I’m recovering from injury. Steady miles is what the doctor ordered.


Approaching Brill hill, I see a peleton of riders, quite a few wearing Team Milton Keynes jerseys. Instinctively, you want to try and catch up with a group of cyclists on the road, so I lifted the pace a little. As I was going up the lower slopes of Brill hill, a jogger running down the other way shouts out to me ‘Go on you can catch them!’ – Well, talk about red rag to a bull….

Cycling up a hill with cyclists in the distance seems to create an instinctive response to try and catch up with them; it feels anti-social not to try.  Pretty soon your level 2 soon goes out of the window. The group of riders were splintering on the fairly steep climb up to Brill, so I start overtaking the riders one by one. It wasn’t really wanting to show off, though I’m sure there was some ego lurking around. It’s just that it was a hill and it seemed rude just to lurk on the back of the group.

One confession I have to make is that when overtaking other cyclists, I nearly always feel compelled to take a deep breath and say ‘good morning’ – trying to sound as though I’m not out of breath at all. When you’re safely past, you take a big gulp of air trying to hide the fact you’re suffering much more than you’re letting on.

It sounds a bit sad, but I’m sure I’m not the only cyclist to have pretended to be doing level 2 up a 16% hill. Near the top I can’t decide whether to really go in the red and beat the leading two cyclists in the distance. It’s already much harder work than I had planned. But, fortunately a car overtakes and  places itself between me and the leaders – making the decision for me. I’m kind of grateful to be saved from myself, and I happily crest the hill in second place. I thank the riders at the top and tell myself it’s great meeting other cyclists on the road, it really gives you that extra inspiration to go hard and cycle fast (conveniently forgetting all those resolutions to stick to level two). But, where’s the fun in sticking to power and heart rate zones? There’s much more fun in catching up with other riders and trying to overtake them.

On the way back from Ambrosden, there’s a nice 7 mile stretch of flat road. For Oxfordshire, it’s a reasonably good road surface. I was plodding along at 16mph into a headwind, when a guy on a time trial bike comes swooshing past at 23mph. Despite his speed of overtaking, I see he’s riding an immaculate, clean looking Cervelo P5. (If you don’t know much about TT bikes, a P5 stands for Pay at least £5,000.) Again I’m faced with that dilemma – do I stick to my own training schedule or do I bust a gut and get on his back wheel?

Well, before you can say Level 2 training ride, I’m straining to get on his back wheel. So many different motivations:

  • I want to check there is someone really riding an immaculate Cervelo P5 on the wettest muddiest January on record.
  • It’s a headwind and I can do with some shelter.
  • And of course, the old cyclist ego thing – I’m not going to be overtaken by anyone – especially not some triathlete on a Cervelo P5.

I got on his wheel and enjoyed a nice 23 mph ride.

There’s probably some etiquette about wheel sucking a stranger’s wheel. But, if you see someone on a P5 travelling at 23mph in January, I think it’s fair game. I wasn’t too close because he hadn’t fitted his immaculate Cevelo P5 with mudguards. Fortunately or unfortunately, the wheel sucking didn’t last for too long. I turned left into a flooded road near Islip. He went straight on. This muddy puddle was pretty grim, but, at least I wasn’t riding a £5,000 time trial bike….


Recently, I was injured and was cycling very slowly into town. It was a good discipline to be (nearly) the slowest cyclist on the roads. I’m sure it’s very good for my ego to be overtaken by old men and ladies on sit up and beg bikes. At least for a few rides, I could let people fly by without trying to justify the need to save energy by wheel sucking into town.

But, no matter who you, are there’s always someone better than you. Two experiences of being overtaken always stick with me.

  • British time trial championship 2010. I was doing 33 mph on the flat, feeling pretty pleased with myself, when Chris Froome flew past like a train; he must have been doing 37/38mph.
  • National 100 championship. I’d blown up at around the 80 mile mark, and Michael Hutchinson caught me for about 15 minutes, flying past like a train.