Previous Posts

  • Celebrated the big 6-0 today! June 25, 2019chuckp3250

    70 miles and 3,800 feet

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  • On Massage June 20, 2019Teocalli3234

    This article could go dreadfully wrong……….

    The benefits of massage are, I assume, well accepted.  For myself, I’ve had loads of physio over the years, mainly courtesy of a legacy of back injuries playing Rugby catching up with me in my older years.  However, I’ve not often had the good fortune to  avail myself of a massage by a Physio after a lengthy ride.  So I have to resort to DIY massage.

    A number of years ago I bought a Remington cordless massage machine as shown.  I have to say it is remarkably effective.  I use it after a long ride and often before a ride too and the result truly is invigorating.

    Remington Massage Controls

    Remington Massage Side

    This particular model has a hot/cold option with 2 speeds of vibration.  The head rotates so that you can have a general massage from the flat face (hot/cold/neutral) or twist it around for a magnetic pressure point massage.

    The general approach with massage is to always massage away from your extremities towards your core to help blood to flush from your muscles towards your core (Liver etc) to remove ‘undesirables’.  I find this works best if I lie on my back with legs raised and relaxed with my heels on a chair.  Start working from my calf, then quads and hamstrings.

    I seem to remember that the instructions (long lost) state not to massage a muscle for more than 5 mins at a time.  I work each group for about a minute and cycle through 2 or 3 times.  The affect is quite amazing and after a hard ride it can take my old muscles from creaking up/down the stairs to walking (more or less) normally up/down them.

    In general DIY massage has a lot to recommend it.

    PS – Best not used in a public space at it can be misinterpreted as to what is going on, particularly when working on the upper hamstrings……….

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  • Double Peak Metric+ June 9, 2019chuckp3199
    Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 2.34.11 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-06-09 at 2.34.11 PM.png

    Yesterday’s ride with my peeps. 71 miles and over 6,000 feet of climbing (at least according to my ELEMNT Wahoo Bolt, which BTW I like a whole lot better than my Garmin Edge 520). Roads I’ve never ridden before. Two big climbs. One fast and flowing descent. One fast descent on a sh*t road (pavement very broken up with missing chunks and furrows) plus a sharp, steep hairpin turn where we had to scrub off speed from ~36mph to 19mph. Second half of ride after the two bit climbs was actually in some ways harder. We knew it would be rolling, but we didn’t know how steep/long many of the so-called rollers were. Plus wind. In other words, FUN!

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  • On Chain Lubes May 28, 2019Teocalli3037

    Photo – Cycle Portland Bike Tours

    (Not My Chain!)

    Over the years I must have tried just about every lube on the market.  Wet Lube, Dry Lube, Ceramic Lube etc but always I’ve seemed to end up with a pretty gunky chain and rear cassette after a couple of rides.  Worse on many wet rides I’ve lubed the night before and during the ride had the horrible dry rattle of a no-lube chain kick in.    Don’t know about you but the sound of a “dry” chain drives me nuts – as well as the reduced chain life.  Why is it that it always kicks in when you are starting to fatigue and so adds to the “I’m knackered and how much extra effort is that dry chain costing me……?” thought process.

    Well, it’s been over a year now that I’ve been using Squirt Wax Lube and it’s been a bit of a revelation.

    Chain and Cassette have not been cleaned in a while


    Not only does my chain and cassette stay remarkably clean but also I get a good mileage (multiple rides) from a single lube.  I’ve been applying just by dripping onto the chain in the normal manner but plan to buy a bigger pot of the stuff and put the chain in a bath to let it really soak into the rollers and see if that gives even better mileage.




    The only drawback I have found is on the rollers/turbo.  The blurb does tell you that wax cleaners tend to flake off the chain as you ride.  I can vouch that that does happen as I ended up with wax flakes on the conservatory tiles that were a pain to clean off so now have the rollers on a large piece of cardboard with a box at the rear to catch any flying flakes!  A bit Heath Robinson but much better than scrubbing the tiles after an indoor session.

    Hopefully now that Spring really does seem to be here I’ll be shedding the flakes out on the road for a while.

    I’ve also heard really good reports of Wend chain lube but it is pretty expensive, though if some of the reports are true that it lasts a massive amount of Km that maybe it is cheap enough in the long run.


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  • The Musketeers by Wiscot May 18, 2019Teocalli3032

    Photo by Teocalli

    Of all the (many) negative aspects of the US Postal/Discovery dominance of the Tour de France, for me, the most egregious is that in seven tours, only one of Armstrong’s teammates, George Hincapie, won a stage while he won 21 individual stages. If it was not all about the bike, then it was certainly all about Lance; his teammates were simply serfs to the master. (Yes, I know they won team time trials, but my point still stands). It was an efficient modus operandi, but seriously lacking in what might be termed “esprit des corps.” In more recent years Sky have been accused of adopting the same approach in service of a particular team leader, but have generally shared the spoils more generously.

    One team that certainly avoids the “you’re our #1 rider and that’s the rule” approach is this year’s Deceuninck-Quick Step line up. We’re barely a third of the way through the year and they have already notched up an astonishing twenty-three wins including Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. And nine riders have stood atop the highest podium step with Julien Alaphilippe doing so eight times. More numbers? Since the team’s inception in 2003 they have amassed an astonishing 700 wins – that milestone coming with Philippe Gilbert’s win in the Roubaix velodrome.

    The esprit des corps attitude of DQS is palpable. Even stars know that not every race win might come their way – a bad day, a puncture, a mechanical, but given their strength in depth, there is another teammate to take the lead. It’s like the cycling equivalent of ‘wack-a-mole”: Gilbert, Alaphilippe, Jungels, Stybar, Jakobsen, Senechal. One gets knocked down, up pops another potential winner. Talent aside, much of the credit has to go to Patrick Lefevere the Team CEO for his personnel management skills: as he says, “The strength of the squad is at the service of the strongest in the race. It is the work of a cohesive unit that brings success. And this group is the Wolfpack, a family that moves together and lives together. Names aren’t important. What is important is to have no regrets when we cross the finish line and to know we gave our everything out there.” Star cyclists have their egos like any other top athlete, but cultivating and nurturing divergent personalities and letting them know that everyone gets a shot and will be supported is a big factor in their success. Many teams have floundered as a designated rider fails to deliver and rather than go to a Plan B, the failing Plan A is maintained.

    Such an attitude can only be healthy for a team: it generates wins and greatly reduces the pressure on individual riders. Would Yves Lampaert have liked to have won Paris-Roubaix? Of course. But he was there, just behind his teammate in case he faltered, and Gilbert won – so the team was victorious and got two places on the podium. For riders, team and sponsors, a most excellent day out. How will they do in the Grand Tours? Who knows, but few would bet against riders picking up stages and maybe a classification.

    Speaking of modern cycling, it seems to have increasingly adopted a monocular approach to the Grand Tours: teams line up with specific aspirations: targeting a particular jersey or maybe just looking for a stage win or two.  Race radios and team tactics have profoundly affected the sport for better and for worse. Barodeurs are few and far between and usually found in the ranks of the smaller teams. In the  Grand Tours gone are the days of an almost casual approach team hierarchies, take-it-as-it-comes strategies and riders seemingly having carte-blanche to take their chances. Historically, two teams standout as examples of a more freewheeling approach (pardon the pun), where wins were widely shared and the sense of camaraderie must have been (pardon the pun once more) sky high.

    Let’s start in 1980 with the Tour de France. 13 teams of 10 lined up for 22 stages which included two days of split stages. (In 1981 Bernard Hinault led a famous protest against this practice at Valence d’Agen and they magically disappeared in future editions. The Tour learned early that the Badger was not to be trifled with). Stages 1A and 1B were a 133kms road stage and a 46kms TTT; stages 7A and 7B were a 65 kms TTT and a 92 kms road stage. – impossible to conceive of today. The Raleigh team, led by no-nonsense Dutch boss Peter Post, had a viable yellow jersey contender in Joop Zoetemelk, the dogged Dutch veteran who had finished second in the Tour 5 times between 1970 and 79. As a supporting cast they had Jan Raas, Henk Lubberding, Bert Oosterbosch, Gerrie Knetemann, Cees Priem, Leo van Vliet, Paul Wellens, Bert Pronk and Johan van de Velde on the roster; frankly, this was an embarrassment of riches. By the time the race reached Paris, Zoetemelk was in yellow and Van de Velde in white as best young rider. Raas had won three stages, Zoetemelk two and individual wins were secured for Lubberding, Oosterbosch, Priem, and Knetemann. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough they won both team time trials, setting a new standard for preparation and discipline in that event. A total of 11 stages or half of what was on offer. Dominance, but not just with one rider reaping the glory.

    In 1984, Laurent Fignon, returning from his 1983 Tour triumph, led the Renault-Elf team. (Hinault had skedaddled in the off-season for Bernard Tapie’s new La Vie Claire team). The bespectacled Frenchman was undisputed leader of his merry band of young professionals and as the new superstar of cycling might have been expected to demand total subservience in pursuit of another Tour crown. Not quite. Twenty-three stages and a prologue lay ahead for the 170 riders – quite a rise from just four years earlier – as the race left the outskirts of Paris at Montreuil. Renault dominated throughout, winning stages 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 16, 18, 20 and 22.  Fignon won five, Marc Madiot, Pascal Jules and Pascal Poisson each got one and the team claimed the team time trial. Vincent Barteau spent 12 days in yellow, Fignon seven. By Paris, the team had 9 stages in the bag, overall victory plus the team classification, 2ndin the team points competition and the white jersey for best young rider being won by a fresh-faced American kid called Greg Lemond. By any standards it was a performance of stunning team work. One can only imagine the sense of camaraderie at meal times as the successes kept coming for both teams and each rider fully feeling that they were not just true contenders, but setting the standard for others to beat.

    What makes these two teams exceptional is that both had legit yellow jersey aspirants (who were ultimately successful) yet did not metaphorically put all their eggs in one basket. Both squads were led by wily ex-pros who were tactical geniuses: Peter Post and Cyrille Guimard, and both were strong in depth with a great mix of specialists and all-rounders.

    Appropriately, given that we’re discussing teams such as Raleigh, Renault and DQS, I’d like to close by quoting the great French novelist Alexandre Dumas, whose Three Musketeers had a motto of “all for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.” Raleigh, Renault and DQS didn’t just enter cyclists, they sent musketeers with attitudes that could be described as “swashbuckling” – taking advantage of all opportunities and chances. While dominance can get a tad predictable and boring, it is often the result of careful planning and man-management. It’s not as easy as it sounds, for as Dumas said, “The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.”

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  • Cacophony of color May 14, 2019chuckp3155

    I know this will offend some sensibilities, but new Urban Camo kit from REGGIE. Canadian company that’s all about keeping it fun. Will have a review for PEZ.

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  • Peacocks and Kites May 13, 2019RobSandy3152

    I’ve been a bit absent from the site but I do still ride a bike every now and then, and this Saturday, at the start of May, was the day for me to do my first 300km ride.

    Forecast was good, but starting at 5:30am meant it was chilly, so the 10 of us that rolled out were all well wrapped up. The first 50kms flew under our wheels as we rode in good order up through the Valleys and to the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. A trip across Penderyn Moor followed, and a nice descent down the other side to Llandovery for breakfast.

    What followed the rest stop was 50ksm of the most breathtaking roads and scenery I’ve ridden, in any country in the world. It was simply stunning, although the riding was tough, but with the backdrop of Llyn Brianne and some incredible flowing descents it was totally worthwhile.

    The next section started with a bit of flat where we again made good progress, but as it’s Wales it soon got bumpy again and the group fractured for the first time as we climbed up into the hills and then descended through the Elan Valley. If you’ve ever been you’ll know this is a pretty special place. If you haven’t been, go.

    A decent stop followed, but when set off again the weather forecast was defied and it rained. Hard. For a long time. We struggled along the A470 to Built Wells, all in our own little bubble of misery, desperately hoping for the rain to stop.

    After a while, it did, and we all gradually dried out and cheered up as the end now felt in sight. We fitted in a quick pub stop to raise the spirits at Talybont-On-Usk before tackling the hardest climb of the day; through the Brecon Beacons via Torpantau. Most of us needed a bit of a lie down at the top of this.

    But, from there it was more or less downhill all the way back to Cardiff, through Merthyr and Pontypridd, and the first group of 5 of us got back to the start about 8:20pm.

    This ride should be on everyone’s to-do list; it’s spectacular.

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  • Assault of the Citadel – Siena May 11, 2019Teocalli2579

    Back to an article this week rather than race picks!  A short breakdown of the climb up to the Citadel at the end of Strade Bianche.

    The final climb of Strade Bianche up to the Citadel and IL Campo is via the Porta Fontebranda onto Via Di Fontebranda and then up the Via Di Santa Caterina and then levelling out with the right turn at the top onto Via Della Galluzza.

    Looking back down to Ponta Fontebranda


    After passing through Porta Fontebranda there is a short kick up that is a bit of a forewarning of what is to come and then a fairly flat section leading towards the main climb.

    Left onto Via Di Santa Caterina


    The climb up Via Di Santa Caterina is blind as you approach it with a kink left then right onto the climb.

    Via Santa Caterina Lower Part


    The first part is not too bad and is best to keep seated and save your powder.  It’s steep but steady.  You still can’t see what is to come……

    Via Santa Caterina Going Up


    Finally as the slope pitches up to its steepest, you can see the top, by this time with the cumulative effects of the ride, it hurts. The last 20 meters do not look inviting!

    Strade Bianche Pro’s


    It is almost a battle of the will to keep the pedals turning to get to the right turn onto the flat.


    Via Santa Caterina Nearly There


    By this point you are either walking or have eyeballs popping out on stalks – or be way, way younger than I.

    Via Santa Caterina – just keep the pedals turning!


    Finally the grandstand seats for the climb.

    Via Santa Caterina Grandstand

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  • Tour de Romandie April 29, 2019Teocalli3116

    Photo –

    A quick one this week, you need to get your picks in today as the Tour de Romandie starts tomorrow (Tuesday).

    This year is the 73rd edition of the Tour de Romandie, a 6 day tour finishing on Sunday.  With plenty of climbing and a couple of time trials we may start to see the developing form of some of the GT specialists.

    The race starts in Neuchatel with a 3.9 Km Prologue TT with the Queen Stage starting on Saturday in Lucens and finishing in Torgon followed by the final ITT on Sunday in Geneva.  Will it be sealed by Sunday or will we see the overall placings come down to the final ITT?

    Tour de Romandie source

    The winner from last year was Roglic beating Bernal and Porte.  Roglic is back to defend but neither Bernal nor Porte is riding though Thomas is leading for Sky/Ineos and should be looking to be in good form.  Ineos would certainly be pleased with a result in so early in their sponsorship.

    Top 5 from 2018 were:

    1. Primoz Roglic
    2. Egan Bernal
    3. Richie Porte
    4. Jakob Fuglsang
    5. Rui Costa

    Details of the route and start list can be found here.

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  • M*A*S*H … suicide is painless … or at least my dentist is! April 23, 2019chuckp3077

    12 miles from home to the dentist to have two abfractures filled. Quick and painless. In and out in ~20 minutes! Took the day off so more riding afterwards … 65 miles total.

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