Previous Posts

  • Climbs you Love to Hate October 19, 2019Teocalli3509

    Photo:  Hill with no reward by Teocalli

    Actually this isn’t so much about a climb but rather a hill or road section that you cannot easily avoid but is a pain with no / low reward.

    For me there is a section of road locally that is neither long, nor steep but it is just steep enough and long enough to be a grind but is not steep enough, nor long enough to to feel rewarded by the effort to get to the top.

    I suspect it is made worse by the fact that the gradient gradually increases and the section of road is straight and the first part visually looks like it should be about flat.

    At one point a while ago someone labelled the section of Strava as “Bastard Climb” and I could see their point.

    Unfortunately, it is hard for me to avoid as it is about my only route back for rides out and back in a particular direction and it is also towards the end of many of my routes.  So I just have to love to hate it.

    The nuts part is that I can do most of it in the big ring, in fact all of it if I monster it on the last bit.

    Bastard Climb?

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  • OTRL Results 2019 Summary October 14, 2019Teocalli3603

    Many thanks to all who participated in the 2019 OTRL.  Thanks for keeping me in line when I ballsed up results now an again but I think we have an honest result and if we don’t the statute of limitations has run out on protests!  I think in general we did pretty well and there were not too many events where we were complete dunces across the board.  For me having to run the OTRL seemed to help me keep more abreast of the Pro Scene with my picks and I certainly has a better showing than previous years elsewhere.

    Overall, Rick proved to have the season pacing and stamina right.  After a paced start he eased through the Peloton in the second half of the season and pulled clear in the final quarter.  Chapeau.

    First prize is a Celeste watch.  Rick, not sure that you are a Bianchi rider but hopefully it may match something.  If not, then contrasting colours will have to be the style of the day.

    OTRL 2019 1st Place

     

    Second prize is a (more or less) complete bike.  Unfortunately sizing is a bit on the small size and they are old school mega thin wheels.  May be a bit tough to ride but hopefully it will work as a Pizza Cutter.  DanCollins appeared to be driving towards the overall top spot before Rick’s later season surge but it was close run till the final few events.  Chapeau.

    OTRL 2019 2nd Place

     

    Teocalli was disqualified from third spot for some Dubious Drafting, excess Sticky Bottle and/or plain hanging on to the Team Car.  So that promotes MangoDave and Chuckp to joint third spot.  Each will receive a Kwaremont Beer Glass.  Chapeaux.

    OTRL 2019 3rd Place

     

    Many thanks to all, it’s been a fun season.  Initially just working out how to use WordPress and subsequently working out how to fine tune things was an interesting new challenge for me.  It’s still pretty manual behind the scenes, a bit like the figurative Duck, serene on the surface and pedalling furiously below.  I may look to tweak a few things over the winter.  Many thanks to my mate Nigel for his invaluable help in getting the site up and fixing it after my SP screwed it up a couple of times with “upgrades”.

    Hope you will continue to visit through the closed season and that you will all be back for The Classics.  If you could all try to promote the site maybe we can get some more participants.

    Now I just need to remember how I configured that countdown timer for the start of the 2020 Classics season!

     

    PS – Prizes are in order of cost – but I think those Kwaremont glasses are really cool.  The stem has a cyclist and the base is textured to simulate cobbles.  Going to have to get myself one!

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  • Home made Energy Bars September 30, 2019Teocalli3503

    Bet you never expected a cooking lesson here!

    I’ve been making my own energy bars for a few years now.  I find these are way easier to eat vs commercial ones as they are less packed and I can vary the mix to taste.  Weights volumes below are approximate for starters – adjust to taste.

    A4 sheets of Rice Paper

    50 g Butter

    150 g Treacle / Golden Syrup / Honey

    300 g Mixed dried fruit of choice (chop Dates/Prunes/Apricot, Sultanas, Cranberries, Mango etc)

    200 g Oats

    50 g Whey powder /Powdered Milk

    50 g Chopped nuts (I use Almonds and Walnuts – adjust to taste)

    Desiccated Coconut (adjust to taste)

    1 Tsp Mixed Spice (adjust to taste)

    Splash of Lemon Juice (adjust to taste)

    Melt the butter, syrup, dried fruit in a pan and simmer.

    Mix the mixed spice into the oats and add to wet mix progressively and stir in till all is moist.  Add more Oats if it appears too sticky.  It should be getting hard to get the oats to absorb moisture but if you have oats that are dry after stirring in for a while then add more syrup.

    Pour contents into a tray and press down.  Bake circa 150 degrees for 25-30 mins.  This works best if your tray is approx. 20 cm wide for the A4 Rice paper.

    When cool cut into strips about 2.5 cm square.

    Cut A4 rice paper into half size, dampen with a pastry brush and roll the bars in the paper.  This is tricky to get the paper just wet enough to roll – too much and the paper just collapses into a sticky modge!  Takes a bit of practice and you have to be quick!  Best to be too dry to start with then seal with more water once each bar is wrapped.

    Leave bars to dry on a drying rack.

    Put in a plastic pouch in your pocket otherwise the rice paper will go soggy (sweaty rice paper – yuch!).  I’ve collected a few pocket sized plastic bags for 1, 2 or 3 bar rides.  Really easy just to reach into your pocket and break off a piece and as they are not as dense as commercial bars they are much easier to chew and swallow.  Plus you can make them to your own taste.

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  • UCI Road World Championships September 22, 2019Teocalli3540

    The Worlds this year are in God’s Own County capping off a great series of events over the last few years in Yorkshire.

    For the OTRL we have selected only the Men’s and Women’s Road Races to save having a frenetic sequence of picks – and me trying to keep track of things.

    So we have the Women’s Road Race on Saturday 28th and the Men’s Road Race on Sunday 29th.

    For the Women, how fitting would it be for Lizzie Deignan to bow out with another win.  Personally, I will be tooting for her.

    For the Men, will the new young guns on the block be able to outwit the more experienced players – will Coppi be proved right “Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill”?

    Last year’s top 5 were:

    Women

    1. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands)
    2. Amanda Spratt (Australia)
    3. Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)
    4. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
    5. Malgorzata Jasinska (Poland)

    Men

    1. Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
    2. Romain Bardet (France)
    3. Michael Woods (Canada)
    4. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
    5.  Gianni Moscon (Italy)

    Details on schedule, routes and riders can be found here.

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  • Rediscovering The Hum September 16, 2019Teocalli3417

    Lead photo by Teocalli

    There is nothing quite like The Hum of a good set of tyres on a smooth road when you are fit and in tune with the world and setting good pace with a tempo that feels effortless.

    So it’s frustrating, or distressing, when you lose the main part of that scenario, fitness and suddenly everything seems like hard work.

    With my health issues over the last year moments where I felt The Hum were few and far between.

    Where a weekend ride with my main buddy was usually around 120 Km, in the early months of this year I was reduced to survival mode on a ride of 60 Km.  I don’t mind admitting that on more than one occasion I was nearly reduced to tears as my main buddy would effortlessly ride away from me.

    Happily though, things seem to be in a good place at the moment and most of my fitness has returned and lately I suddenly realised that I had rediscovered The Hum.  It felt really good to be at peace with the world and in that zone.

    It started me thinking as to what else goes into the sound and feeling of the whole thing.  I know it has been claimed that it is mostly down to whether you run Tubs – which I don’t (other than on my Vintage Rigs) also, that it is improved by Latex tubes vs Butyl, some of that I agree with as I run Latex on #1.  However, in IMHO it is mostly down to the tyres.

    Specifically, and while cotton tyres generally seem to be give a good result and are my construction of choice for all my bikes, I’m sure that the best sound I’ve ever had was from the original (?) Vittoria Corsa and Pave with the Herring Bone tread pattern.  The modern Corsa are pretty good and give a great ride but I’m sure that the sound generated by the Grooved cut of the modern tread is not as good as it was with the older Corsa Herringbone tread.

    Then again, as sound takes energy to generate it, should we really be wanting to hear The Hum or just be breezing along in total silence?

    I am also seriously considering giving Tubeless another go as I think some of the sealants have improved and the latest Scwalbe One Tubeless claim not to be the complete b*&^@rds to get on and off as were the previous version.

    Incidentally, the lead photo was a complete accident.  We had a team riding Dunkerque Roubaix a few years back and we went out on a shake down the evening before the event.  While taking some photos of our team on the roll I accidentally fired the camera in a few odd places but really liked this accidental shot.

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  • Felice Gimondi: The Aristocrat by Wiscot September 9, 2019Teocalli3451

    Photo: Gimondi – Merckx – Baronchelli

    There’s just something about Italians: they have style that few other countries can match. How they do it is a bit of a mystery as they have had sixty-one governments since 1945, and are hardly a by-word for order and, shall we say, civic competence. Yet they produce some of the most iconic examples of fashion and style anywhere as well as some of the most beautiful races on the calendar: Milan-San Remo, the Giro d”Italia and the Giro di Lombardia. Go figure.

    Italy also produces some remarkable cyclists who are, strangely enough, as stylish as they are successful. To wit: Felice Gimondi, who tragically passed away the other week while swimming. Gimondi was only the second cyclist (after the Frenchman Jacques Anquetil) to win all three grand tours. He was world road race champion (1973), and also won Paris-Roubaix (1966) at a time when few Italians ventured north of the Dolomites to race. His pro career was a long one – 14 years on only two teams: Salvarani (1965-72) and Bianchi (1973-79). Compared to today’s team-hopping riders, that’s amazing consistency and loyalty.

    His palmares are incredible, 143 amateur and professional wins, 56 seconds, 38 third place. His first, and only, Tour win was in 1965 at the precocious age of 22 as a neo-pro. His immediate success was a blessing as between 1965 and 1969 he won the Tour, Paris-Roubaix, Giro di Lombardia (1966), the Giro d’Italia (1967 and 69), the Grand Prix des Nations (1967 and 68), and the Vuelta (1968). This remarkable run of success was dampened somewhat by the arrival in 1969 of a young Belgian called Eddy Merckx who soon earned the nickname “the Cannibal” for his insatiable appetite for winning. Merckx “dampened” a lot of careers, but Gimondi remained in the top echelon winning the Tour of Romandie (1969 and 71), Volta a Catalunya ((1972), World Road Championship, Giro del Piemonte, Giro di Lombardia, Trofeo Baracchi, Coppa Bernocchi, Giro di Puglia (1973), Milan San Remo  (1974) and a final Giro in 1976.

    In summation, he won five grand tours, four Monuments plus some other major wins such as the Trofeo Baracchi which was the unofficial two-up Time trial championship.

    Gimondi was a pivotal figure in Italian cycling. The days of Fausto Coppi , Gino Bartali and Fiorenzo Magni were over and the bitter rivalry of Moser and Saronni yet to begin. Gastone Nencini had won the Tour in 1961 but then came Anquetil’s four-in-a-row. Gimondi’s 1965 win was the last Italian victory until Marco Pantani’s in 1998. Riders like Gianni Motta and Marino Basso showed promise but never fully rose to the top. From 1950 with Coppi’s win until 1978 and the first of Francesco Moser’s three wins, the only Italian to win Paris-Roubaix was Gimondi. He arguably kept Italian cycling alive during those years of Merckx’s domination. I’m not overestimating things: such was Merckx’s dominance plus other foreigners winning the Giro in the early 70s, Italian broadcaster RAI stopped covering the race live. No TV? No sponsors. No teams. Things were bad and Gimoindi arguably proved one of the few consistent bright sparks on the scene.

    As successful as he was, another defining attribute of the man from Bergamo was his tenacity. Ask any rider whose peak career years coincided with those of Merckx and each one would say that had it not been for the extra-terrestrial Belgian, their palmares would have been much more illustrious. Gimondi fought Merckx tooth-and-nail in so many races and sometimes won: for example the 1973 World Championship where he beat Freddy Maertens, Luis Ocana and Merckx – on the brutal Monjuich circuit in Barcelona.

    But back to style. Gimondi was blessed to have worn some of the greatest jerseys ever: the Salvarani pale blue, the World Championship’s rainbow bands, the Maillot Jaune, the Maglia Rosa, the Italian road champion’s tricolore and the classic celeste Bianchi. These were all coupled with black shorts, short white socks and black leather shoes and made for unassailable cycling sartorialism. He even had the audacity to age spectacularly well, keeping a fine head of hair, his figure trim and dressed in that casual style to which Italian men know the secrets. No wonder one of his nicknames was “The Aristocrat” – he had that demeanor to him.

    With the passing of Gimondi, cycling has lost another legend. Patrick Sercu, a contemporary of the Italian’s, passed away earlier this year. The great riders of the 60s and 70s are leaving us physically, but leaving behind accomplishments and successes that still thrill. Just watch Stars and Watercarriers, Jorgen Leth’s masterful film of the 1973 Giro. Arguably the best cycling film ever made and Gimondi is right in there, finishing second to an imperious Merckx.

    How beloved was Gimondi? Over 2000 people attended his funeral which was broadcast on television. Of all the tributes that poured in about a rider who seems to have been universally beloved, it was the one from his arch rival, nemesis and friend Eddy Merckx that expressed the most sorrow. “What can I say, I am destroyed,” Merckx said. “Felice was first of all a great man, a great champion, and unfortunately, they took him away. It’s a big loss for cycling. All the struggles we have done together come to mind… A man like Gimondi is not born every day, with him goes a slice of my life. He was among the greatest ever.” Merckx did not attend the funeral, so deep was his grief.

    There are few left that Merckx will mourn in such a way.

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  • Steel is real and fish tacos September 3, 2019chuckp3497

    Took the Hollands out for a spin over the Labor Day weekend. Lunch date ride with my wife to Island Time Bar & Grill at Columbia Island Marina. Great fish tacos! For those of you not familiar with Babylon on the Potomac, that’s the Pentagon in the background.

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  • OVO Tour of Britain September 3, 2019Teocalli3486

    Lead photo:  Kelso in the rain by LiveBorders

    Thanks Dan Collins – I nearly Delgado’d the next event the OVO Tour of Britain.  Maybe next year I’ll filter out (some)  overlapping events to help my poor old addled brain!

    Anyway, picks are now open for the OVO Tour of Britain starting Sat 7th Sept.

    Top 5 from 2018 were:

    1. Alaphilippe
    2. Poels
    3. Roglic
    4. Bevin
    5. Jungels

    Usual further details and start list can be found here.

    As usual for the UK at this time of the year the weather could deliver anything, particularly “Up North”.  So with 3 stages North of the Border and most of the rest in Northern England the scenery will be stunning…..if you can see it!

    PS – OK, yes, the photo is a Triathlete………..

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  • GP de Plouay August 27, 2019Teocalli3460

    Lead Photo:  CyclingNews

    This week we are back with a women event after a short break.  The GP Plouay Bretagne has existed as a women event since 2002 and runs on Saturday, the day before the men’s race.  The race takes place around the Breton village of Plouay in Western France.

    Top 5 from 2018 were:

    1.  Lizzie Deignan
    2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
    3. Sarah Roy
    4. Eugenia Bujak
    5. Elena Cecchini

    Will Lizzie manage to sign off her career with a final win?

    Struggling to find a succinct riders’ list at the moment so if anyone has a link please post it!  A partial list is here.

    The organisers event page can be found here with a longhand list of teams and riders.

    Full start list here.

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  • Late Summer Ride August 23, 2019Teocalli3456

    Photo from a late Summer ride.  Just after the photo a Combine Harvester came through so thought it best to move my bike!

     

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