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Showing posts from April, 2012

Ride Stats for April

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April hasn't been a bad month on the bike - I missed quite a few days at the start as I was out of the country; and because I am racing more now, rather than doing long miles, the mile count has predictably dropped.  I've had some good results though, recording my first win and taking part in my first Open-Road Race.  Things are looking good for the start of the season, just hope I can keep it ticking over through the coming exams in the next eight weeks. 

Wednesday Watch: Danny Hart: Hart and Soul Trailer

Danny Hart: Hart and Soul Trailer from Cut Media on Vimeo.
Trailer to a short documentary film on World Downhill MTB Champion Danny Hart. Filmed for Five Ten shoes in 2012. 2 part documentary is availble on Five Ten's YouTube channel.

Thames Velo Spring Road Race - 22nd April - A Good Introduction to Road Racing

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Today I took part in my first real road race (rather than closed-circuit racing) - The Thames Velo Spring Road Race in Oxfordshire.
It was an early start and a 6am ferry to make the start for the 3/4/W/J race, but we made it in good time and a full field of 80 riders rolled out onto the fast, reasonably flat course behind the commissaire's  car at 09:30.

The race got off to a fast start, and the average speed stayed up at 24mph for the whole event. Before long we were into winding descents and single-file riding through small villages. Then the course opened out onto wider roads and the pace really lifted. It's quite a new sensation flying along in the peloton with the rolling road closure and the motorbike escorts!

The course had a great mix of road-types and after the wide B-road, we turned into narrower lanes and approached the only really substantial hill on the course, which helped to string the field out and shell a good few riders out the back.
I stuck in the front hal…

Weekend Watch: Morvélo Apparel Videos

Morvélo - Ride Everything from Morvélo Bicycle Apparel on Vimeo.


Morvélo - 100 Miles 100 Shots from Morvélo Bicycle Apparel on Vimeo.
Definitely one of the coolest brands around at the moment - Great Couple of videos from the Morvelo Lads

Portsmouth Track Ray Martin - 18th April - Tactics, Tailwinds and Victory!

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The plan for yesterday's race was to sit in the bunch and just get my top eight finish that I needed to move out of 4th Cat...It didn't quite turn out like that. I got the result, but it was a bit more of an exciting race than I expected....

The weather was grim as six members of the Wightlink Race Team travelled over on the ferry for the race. It looked like similar to last week we would have a wet race and be covered head-to-toe with Pompey grit. Turning up at the track the turnout looked like it was down on numbers, but by the time the race started, the full field of 45 riders was filled and it looked set to be another hard race...

I started right at the back, keen to sit-in and conserve energy as a lesson from last week. As attacks started going off the front though, I began to move up. Fifteen minutes in, a group of three riders went off the front and got a good gap; it looked promising, and looked like they might work together, so I bridged across to them and once again…

Twice Round The Island - Mk II

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Back at the start of the year I did a twice round the Island ride with Francis, one of the lads that I went with on the France and Spain Touring Trip. It was an epic ride, we started just as it was getting light and finished in the dark. 110 miles over the very hilly Randonnée route in six and a half hours.

A few weeks ago I almost jokingly suggested to Ben (the third musketeer on the France and Spain trip) that he should have a go as well. He decided it was a good idea - always one for a challenge! So on Thursday Ben came over to the island on an early boat and after getting the bikes ready we headed off.

The first lap went very smoothly; clear blue skies, dry roads and a good average speed of 17.5mph. By 1pm we were back at home after the first lap, on schedule for a huge lunch of pasta, coffee and cake. As we sat in the warm kitchen though, some very heavy showers passed over, and it was clear that dry roads would not feature in the description of the second lap.

We set off on the…

Weekend Watch: 'Paris Roubaix 2012 Unfiltered'

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Pretty cool video from Specialized about this year's Paris-Roubaix, such an awesome race. I hope to ride the sportive event myself in a few years time.

Pompey Track Ray Martin - 11th April - Should have...Could have...Would have...

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This Wednesday saw eight Wightlink Race Team riders travel over to Pompey for the Ray Martin Distance League series. It was my first time there, and it turned out to be a bit of a baptism of fire...

Arriving in Portsmouth, black clouds were brewing directly over the Mountbatten Centre track, and as we rode in the gate the first spatters of rain fell....then the heavens opened and hailstorms came pouring down. The Juniors were out doing their race on the track and it didn't look like much fun; in fact their race was cut short as the conditions worsened. Luckily by the start of our race it had stopped raining...just, and after one quick "warm-up" lap (I didn't warm up at all), we were lining up to start.

The pace from-the-off picked up pretty quick, it wasn't long before we were rolling round the track at 25mph or so. I sat in the main pack for the first few laps, then as attacks started going off the front I began to move up, eager not to be caught out if a break…

Custom Wheel Build Project

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At the end of 2011, I made the decision to move from trails to tarmac, and race with the Wightlink Race Team for the 2012 season.

Whilst I have a decent specification Planet X frame and groupset as my summer road bike, it was seriously lacking a decent set of wheels. So in January this year I began the search for a good value, light, durable and strong clincher wheelset for around £300. Many suggestions came up; from Prolite, Shimano, Cole and other established brands.

None of them really seemed to fit the bill though. As a pretty skinny endurance rider I'm never going to be a sprinter, but I do all right on the hills; as a result I was looking for something that was light (around 1500 grams) and stiff, but without compromising durability. Basically I was looking for the Dura Ace C24 wheel set for £300; which is something that's just not going to happen as its RRP is £750!

Luckily one of the guys in the Wightlink Team turns out to be a bit of a good wheel-builder; so after a…

Wednesday Watch: Men's Keirin 2012 - Chris Hoy's Victory

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Along with an incredible Paris-Roubaix last weekend, which I am still waiting to find my favourite highlights video for, this has to be one of the most impressive bike-race wins in history - an awe-inspiring win from Sir Chris Hoy in the Men's Keirin race in the Melbourne World Champs 2012.