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Thursday, 29 September 2011

One for the Triathletes...."free speed''

Here is an article that Cervelo wrote in Lava magazine
Very interesting piece - I attended a presentation by Phil White (one of the two Cervelo founders) in 2008 and as far back as then they were saying the bottles mounted at the front were the most aero option
But the revelation is that they might be quicker than no bottle at all !

Monday, 19 September 2011

Challenge Henley (Ironman Distance) race report

This is my fourth Ironman distance event and they don't get any easier......

This year was all about the opening of the new shop, so I did not cycle nearly much nor did I go any European sportives that I love to do
But after everyone came back glowing from the Marmotte and the etapes I started to get itchy feet....
I needed to do something in 2011 to give me at least some focus

So I entered Challenge Henley in July and gave myself 11 weeks to get ready
The bike would be fine, but my first run was 10 weeks ago
It was 4 miles and I was so sore afterwards that I could not run again for a week
I began to realize there is a reason coaches set 24 week training plans !

Including the race itself I have only swam 5 times in the year since my last Ironman - its simply not enough....

The Race Itself

I found this a VERY tough day out
I have decided I prefer European events - firstly the weather is better, and secondly because of the distance etc I am 'committed'
All through the bike leg I was thinking about stopping and getting in the car to drive home !

6 weeks ago I crashed whilst cycling and damaged my shoulder - a Level 2 separation of the AC joint
Which meant no swimming till the event and a very dodgy swim action on the day !

I was faffing around at the start and eventually jumped into the water as the gun went off
There went my chance of a good draft!
I ended up doing 76 mins, which was 10-15 mins slower than previous times

Schoolboy error 1 was not putting warm kit on in Transition
Just went out on my soaking Tri suit and was freezing. My fingers were blue, and teeth were chattering
I later heard some guys pulled out with hypothermia!

I could not take any food or drinks through the first 2 feedstation as my hands were like clubs and had totally lost any feeling in my fingers
My head simply was not in it - I decided if I got a puncture I would not attempt to fix it and simply retire (its fate right??)
That way I would simply have had a mechanical, and would not have 'quit'

Once I had done a full lap I knew what was coming next and treated it like a job (look at power numbers, avoid stones, avoid potholes, over-take riders on the right and repeat....)

Fortunately it warmed up and morale improved

Bike itself was fine, if a bit samey (which we all knew about as it was 3 laps)
I live in Kent so am used to bad road surfaces but must admit I yearn for the smooth roads of Roth again....

Ended up doing 5hrs 15 on the bike
I have in my head that breaking 5 hrs is 'good' but this is not the course to be doing that on (or you need to be alot stronger than I am)

My mates were cheering for me at the end of the bike which put a massive smile on my face and was raring for the run

Schoolboy error 2
As I was starting my first lap a pro was starting his second
It felt easy so I ran with him until we got to the hill past the dirt track
When I looked at my watch I saw we had been doing 6.40min/miles
A little bit quick for me !

Even on the second lap I felt very good - it was the best I had felt all year and was convinced this tapering idea worked!
By lap 3 the wheels were starting to fall off
My hip flexors were like piano wire and my stride length must have halved.....
Small hills (including tiny bridge on the footpath) were like French cols
The second half of the run on the gravel/grass section was pretty but not exactly a quick surface

4 lap felt like a death march (I did 45 mins on lap one and 57 mins on my last lap)
Must run longer in training - 90-120 min runs simply will not cut it!!!!

Felt exhausted at the finish - lent across the railing and had a little cry to myself
Took me 10.05 - and it was a hard 10 hrs
Not one part of this course was easy for me and was racked with personal doubt throughout
But I finished it

At the finish line I was told I had finished 2nd in my Age Group and 24th overall (and 8th Amateur)
If I had known that during the bike and especially the run I would have tried to smile a bit more !

A big thanks to Ben Hallam for his work on getting my position to reflect the need to put less strain on my shoulder
We ended up raising the bars and widening the pads - and it was not sore at all
And thanks to Matt the Mechanic for his endless tinkering with my bike - it rode like a dream

Lastly thanks for all the support from you all - on the night before the event my phone was full of text messages of support
It meant the world to me

Friday, 16 September 2011

Assos winter collection - get your wallets out!

A confession....
Much as I love Assos shorts, I don't actually wear much of their summer kit (mainly just Assos socks, gloves, arm-warmers and technical gilet on big rides)
I am very proud of our Bespoke Team Kit and like to wear that as much as possible
Its made by Giordana, and whilst the chamois pad is not as nice as the one on Assos shorts its is still very good indeed
Having great summer kit certainly helps riding enjoyment; clothes fit better, are more comfortable and sweat wicks better
But it would be an exaggeration to say that your summer clothes choice can make or break your ride

However as we approach Autumn and then descend into winter it gets far more serious indeed
As the weather deteriorates, technical clothing comes into its own.......
Being dry, and having a constant core temperature and warm feet and hands can be the difference from a 3hr winter ride on beautiful empty roads to a 60 minute misery-fest where you turn back early because you cannot change gear or brake (believer me, I have done both)

I firmly believe that Assos make the best technical cycling clothing in the world, and that their winter collection has always been the jewel in the crown.

The exciting thing is that this year the range is even stronger
I had heard great things about the new Assos winter collection as far back as this Spring
But it was not until last week that the rep came round with the new collection and I could see/try on for myself
I can confirm the hype is worth it - this is the biggest revamp Assos have ever done in one collection

Highlights for me were the new SturmPrinz rain jacket
It will cost a fortune but looks to be the best rain jacket in the world
Totally waterproof, yet light and breatheable with the classic Assos racing cut

The bonka is the new winter jacket. It does not replace the 851 but rather sits above it (and below the Fugu)
It felt wnderful, you really need to see it in the flesh to see all the different cuts and materials that have gone into the different sections. It will also come in 2 fits (an Assos first) - so there will be the normal 'Racing' fit, and a slightly more genteel version!
This is a very big move as it addresses the major issue a number of people have had with Assos sizing

And for those who are looking for the ultimate glove, look no further than the Fugu glove
(This replaces the 3 glove system they had last yr)

This is the new Winter glove and will be perfect for all but the very coldest of morning starts

The rain cap - regretaby this will be a must have in our sunny climes....

Assos have revamped their winter sock collection - I was skeptical of these when I saw the catalogue pictures but was a convert when I tried them on. Called 'fuguSpeer' (another name that just rolls off of the tongue) these have an airblock band at the front. Perfect on their own, or when the weather is exceptionally cold you can put another pair of socks on underneath

We are expecting our first shipment in the next 7-10 days so please come and see for yourself

Monday, 12 September 2011

Run with Mo Farah

Dear all

On Wednesday 14 September, Holiday Inn the official hotel provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will host a free running club with world championship gold medallist Mo Farah.

Starting and finishing at Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park, the 5000m run is open to all running enthusiasts and fans of Britain’s best track and field athlete. The first 250 runners that complete the run will be rewarded with breakfast which will be served outside the hotel.

We would like to invite you to join Mo on the run.

Date: Wednesday 14 September 2011
Meeting start time: From 07.00
Run start time: 07.30
Location: Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park, Carburton Street, London W1W 5EE
Run: 5000 metres unmarked route with Mo Farah
Fitness level: The Mo Farah running club is for runners with a good level of fitness who are very comfortable running 5000 metres
Running gear: All runners should turn up in proper running shoes and clothing to make sure they are comfortable during the run.

All participating runners run at their own risk. If you’ve got any health conditions, you should consult your doctor before running the Mo Farah free run.

Look forward to seeing some of you there!

The Holiday Inn London 2012 Team

Pretty in Pink

This is Jules' new Parlee Z5
It has SRAM Red Black (which is LOVELY in the flesh), Dura Ace wheels and some Ritchey and 3T finishing kit
The whole bike looks wonderful
Why are girls so much bolder than the guys when it comes to colours !!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dream winter bikes

It used to be that a 'winter bike' was very much a poor relation
An ill fitting, heavy bike with all your old/unwanted parts
The bike would be a pig to ride and thus you would take your summer bike out whenever you could

Working with the guys at Firefly has been a breath of fresh air
Sure we have done a number of 'classic' road bikes with them this year, but the real beauty of their custom approach has been when it comes to putting modern twists on urban riding
Boston gets as bad weather as London, so the guys are well versed in the need for mud-guards, wider tyres, longer chainstays etc
Previously you had to use a long reach fork and brakes to get full mud-gaurds to work
We have now found a solution which removes this need, so you can use a dedicated Enve road fork and nromal road brakes
This saves almst half a pound in weight, and vastly improves stopping power
when spring comes you simply take the mud-guards off and pt them in storage for another year and you have a road bike that you can train, race and do sportives on

Just how cool are these custom mud-guards !