Thursday, 28 April 2011

strange hills

Here's my ride today done in nice weather but a chilly easterley breeze which I felt on the way home. The end looks like a proper mountain stage although the two climbs are only about 200m high. Curiously, the hardest was the last one, although the climb up to Pentyrch has an arrow on it on the OS map. They are both similar climbs starting of gradually but then getting steeper towards the top. The main difference is that the Pentyrch climb comes out into the village whereas Castell Coch is just in the woods all the time. Next time Ill continue over to Efail Isaf and back through treforest.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

no flat and a squeaky saddle

This was a nice ride through the lanes. I worked out what the noise my bike has been making these past rides - i had thought it was the carbon forks (which would have been worrying), then I thought it was the bottom bracket (I put out a lot of power...), but finally worked out that it was the saddle rails creaking. Will have to do something about that, its slowing me down as its embarrassing. According to the Garmin site, this ride had no flat in it which maybe explains the average speed of only 16mph, but I think I might do this ride again in future with a loop up around Miskin estate just to get it up to 60km.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

tour finish?

Here's todays ride which varied between 59km (garmin) and 61Km (endomondo) I prefer the endomondo version with the 27kmh ave speed.

I finished the ride by going up Caerphilly mountain. This year the Tour of Britain is coming over the mountain and finishing in the town. Really, they should have the courage to finish on top and make it like the Mur de Huy. And this approach is the best, coming past Castell Coch (very scenic) and up through the woods - scene of the Welsh Schools hill climb in the past won by riders like Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe (good talking point for the commentators) - and then drop down into the town and come up the main mountain road. That would sort them out.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The benefits of twitter

Here's the ride I did today. Im not sure how long it was exactly because I stopped a couple of times, but I was going pretty well. When I got to the barrage to come back into Cardiff, the bridge was up to let some boats out so I checked my twitter and saw that Geraint Thomas was going down to Maindy Track. So I went down there and had a nice chat with Geraint who I (along with some other people) used to take out training and around the country to all sorts of cycling races about 12 years ago. I even got some free energy gels and was interviewed by ITV Wales which was great!

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The lost stage of the Tour of Britain

Or why the Tour of Britain has never had a team time trial.

Today's announcement that the Tour of Britain is to have a split stage with a time trial is nothing new. It was meant to happen 12 years ago on the Prutour, but thanks to Royal intervention it never happened, and this year's stage to Caerphilly will be the closest the tour has come to Cardiff ever since.

Here's the story:

In 1999 I was working for Cardiff County Council's Leisure section. One day I was hauled into a meeting simply because I was known to be a racing cyclist. The meeting was with Mick Bennett and some other guy who were planning the route for the next edition of the Tour of Britain - then the Prutour. The idea was that there would be a split stage: a road stage coming in from Caerphilly way in the morning, and then they wanted an individual time trial stage in the afternoon. The problem was the route for the time trial - as a local cyclist surely I'd know a way into and out of Cardiff that wasnt going to cause much traffic chaos? I did, but that was quickly shot down by the Police inspector also in the meeting. The problem was that the time trial had to start in the same place as the road stage finished. If the road stage finished in the Bay, then the time trial could head up the dual carriageway and back - dead easy for road closures, but alas "too busy" for the police. Other options were floated: Mick Bennett liked the idea of going round Roath park lake, but this was too far away and the residents would have gone nuts.

Somehow the idea of a team time trial came up. I cant remember how, but it made much more sense given the logistics and road closures required for an individual TT. The next thing I ended up in a car with Mick and the other guy looking at routes into and out of the city. I suggested that the easiest way into and out of the city was along the Wentlooge flats which could get you into the Bay area relatively easily. Starting at Rumney/St Mellons, the route could go out to Newport, cut down onto the flats and back along Rover way and up to City Hall. It would have looked something like this:

Bike route 916749 - powered by Bikemap 

Mick was quite excited, even if the scenery wasnt to his taste, but it looked like a goer. But alas, it wasnt to be. Unbeknown to anyone, the day of the stage was already marked down for a royal visit - the Queen was coming to open the new National Assembly for Wales. There was going to be no Prutour for Cardiff this year and the stage ended up going to Swansea instead, whilst the ITT ended up in Portsmouth.

The council were told that the tour would visit the following year, but by then the Prutour was no more. The city was to have hosted a stage finish the previous year, but that stage was cancelled after a police motorcylist was killed whilst closing the roads. Since then, the new Tour of Britain hasn't come to Cardiff either: the stage finish into Caerphilly will be the closest it has been, probably since either the Milk Race or one of the stages of the Kelloggs tour.

Monday, 18 April 2011

2nd ride of the year

Somewhat amazed by this ride. It was quite easy really considering this was the first time over 30 miles in 8 months. Maybe I dont need to bother with this training lark. It was nice of RCT to lay on my own personal cycle lane along the dual carriageway by Miskin. Next time I'd go up that hill around the back of the hospital and possibly come back via Efail Isaf and Pentyrch. The lane I went off down Llantrisant road was interesting but not very well maintained. Last time I came down the road from Tonyrefail was in August 2003, just before Martha was born, after going up Llanwonno, then over Aberdare to Maerdy and then up the steep hill out of Porth to Trebanog. I wont be doing that in a hurry again.

This was the first ride using Endomondo...I was being tracked from home on the way back

Monday, 11 April 2011

first ride in 8 months

On my road bike that is. And pretty good it was too - 30 miles and 16mph ave speed. Pretty good. Watched Paris-Roubaix afterwards too.

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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Comeback 2.0

Almost two years on and no sign of reaching Ventoux... Last year the fitness was there, but not the time - see the rides I was doing below. At the moment, the fitness isnt there and probably not the time either. So it looks like next year will be D-Day, hopefully around may-june time. But now its April I can start training...Im still riding to work everyday (approx 50 miles a week) and now its getting warmer again Ive taken Evan out a couple of times - he's fallen asleep both times. Last week's ride was quite a journey and its great to see that the last stretch of Taff trail between Nantgarw and Ponty has been tarmacced. Now the nights are drawing out there should be more chance of some of these rides again.

Bike route 875490 - powered by Bikemap 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Three Cols

What a ride this was to draw training to a close once I realised that I wouldnt be going to Ventoux in 2010. Three big climbs, the first being the best.. I had raced up the Tumble before; this time I found it incredibly boring - I had never realised that most of it, and the hardest bit was in the trees - and once out of them there wasnt much left.. The descent was nuts though...

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