Previous Posts

  • Ronde van Drenthe March 11, 2019Teocalli2497

    Photo by dvnh

    In the week that we hear the sad news of the death of Kelly Catlin perhaps it is appropriate, in some way, that out only event this week is a Women’s event.  RIP Kelly Catlin a sad loss for someone so young.

    Ronde van Drenthe has been in existence as a Women’s race since 1998 originally known as Novilon Internationale Damesronde van Drenthe which became Ronde van Drenthe and in 2016 the race became part of the new Women’s World Tour.

    Ronde van Drenthe takes place on Sunday 17th March.  Details of teams and riders can be found here.

    I will update this further later in the week when I get back to home base.


    Bastianelli of Virtu Cycling won a typically muddy Ronde van Drenthe in a sprint beating Blaak of Boels Dolmans. Third was van Dijk of Trek-Segafredo who lead out a late attack but was beaten to the line.

    Top 5 were:

    1. Marta Bastianelli – Team Virtu Cycling
    2. Chantal Blaak – Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
    3. Ellen van Dijk – Trek-Segafredo Women
    4. Amy Pieters – Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
    5.  Lotte Kopecky – Lotto Soudal Ladies
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  • Strade Bianche (Men and Women) March 3, 2019Teocalli2273

    All being well I will be in Siena for this years Strade Bianche, so forgive me if I’m hoping for a dry, warm and dusty weekend.  I did the wet and muddy in 2017 thanks.  I can vouch for the fact that it gets everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

    Saturday, the 9th of March 2019 is the 13th edition of the Strade Bianche (men). The Italian race has quickly become a popular race with a seemingly historic background greater than its years (the first edition was 2007) placing it amongst The Classics. As I’m sure you know, Strade Bianche means ‘White Roads’ in Italian and refers to the sections of unpaved roads, I can vouch for them not being smooth and being very muddy, and slippery, in the wet.  The climb where Tiesj Benoot broke away last year is a real brute and the final climb into Siena, thought rated at 16%, seems considerably more – particularly the last 20 metres or so.   The race starts by the Fortezza Medicea and finishes on the Piazza del Campo back in Siena.

    The women race and the Strade Bianche Sportif follow the same 136 Km route with the mens race being a bit longer at 184 Km.

    The 2018 podiums were as below (Event results from 2018 can also be found on the Peloton page).


    1. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
    2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
    3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan
    4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
    5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida


    1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
    2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM Racing
    3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5
    4. Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
    5. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton Scott Women

    Entrant details can be found here for both Men and Women.

    Entries will be open to registered members via the Picks Forms on the OTR League page. Please do not enter picks in the comments below.

    To change your picks simply submit a new set and we will pick up your latest set.


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  • Test riding Continental Grand Prix 5000s today February 24, 2019chuckp2390

    At the request of Irwin on their wheels to do a write-up for them.

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  • What a fabulous Spring Day February 24, 2019Teocalli2387
  • Omloop Het Nieuwsblad February 23, 2019Teocalli2261

    Photo – Michael Valgren by

    The OTR Classics season starts on Saturday 2 March with the 74th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.  With the Pro Peloton moving North back to Europe from the warmer climes of the Southern Hemisphere, Omloop is the first race of the Belgian cycling calendar and includes a number of climbs from the Tour of Flanders.  Starting in Ghent, the race is over roughly 200 Km and finishes in Ninove via the Wall of Geraardsbergen and Bosberg.

    2018 saw Michael Valgren (den) take the win with Greg van Avermaet taking the honours in 2017 and 2016.  Top 5 from last year were as below (Event results from 2018 can also be found on the Peloton page).

    1. Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
    2. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky
    3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
    4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
    5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors

    Full details of 2019 entrants can be found here

    To change your picks simply submit a new set and we will pick up your latest set.

    2019 Result

    1. Stybar
    2. van Avermaet
    3. Wellens
    4. Lutsenko
    5. Teuns
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  • Stelbel February 23, 2019Teocalli2377

    Photo:  Stelbel photo, my frame before painting.


    The story begins.  Bike fit booked with Super Domestique in London next week…………

    Part 1 – Bike Fit

    Shaping my fit

    So, an interesting day with Elliott at Super Domestique in London.  Started with a set of reference measurements from my Pinarello and the brief was to take that as the start point for something I am familiar with and to tune that based on best recommendations from Elliott.  Superficially at least, we moved things about a bit and seemingly have arrived back as something very close to the Pinarello.  Waiting of the drawings with exact measurements but longitudinally from bars to saddle we are within a millimetre or so of the Pinarello though I think we have changed the offset to the BB a little.

    Most significant change is to move from 172.5 crank to 170.  Something I meant to do last time I changed my cranks and then completely forgot till it was too late!

    Visually, I have decided to go with a slight slope on the Top Tube.  While I do like the tradition of a horizontal TT, I also have pretty short legs, so a slight slope gives a better balance to the seat post/tube IMHO.

    Some options to decide on what type of BB shell to go with and also around cable routing.  Likely to go with external gear cables but internal hydro (the bike will be disc) and a slightly longer chain stay vs the Pinarello to allow me the option of mudguards for winter/wet use and a bit more stability on Gravel.

    The frame will be Stainless Steel to be bullet proof for all season use and tyre clearance to 30mm for the odd venture on Gravel.

    So a few things still to finalise – not least the colour.  It will be bare Stainless in the rear triangle and colour in the front per the drawing but the precise colour yet to be picked.  Sooo hard when you can have anything (but it won’t be Orange!).



    Choices, choices








    Part 2 – Sizing

    So this is where we are at for my wee frame (in both respects!)….

    Stelbel Sizing – by Super Domestique


    Part 3 – Decisions

    Head Tube Cable Stops

    Current feeling is to go with external cable routing with stops on the Head Tube





    Part 4 – Spec agreed

    So going with Down Tube cable stops as placing them on the Head Tube does move them outboard of the DT a fair bit.  Also considered an oversize T47 BB so that the Hydro cable could route internally but in the end decided with a standard BB and the Hydro cable will exit the DT near the BB and then reenter the right Chain Stay.  It won’t really be visible and I felt that the overall looks would be better with a standard BB shell.

    All ready now for me to pay a deposit and then wait a while!

    Custom paint job should look good.  Hopefully understated but classy.  You’ll have to wait on that though.

    Part 5 – Wait List!

    Frame build is scheduled for Sept, starting to feel real now.  Did not intend buying best wheels now till next Spring but when you are offered a set at trade price it’s hard to resist…….

    Campag – but which ones….


    Part 6 – Groupset.

    Well, it has to be Gruppo Campagnolo.  Superdomestique have quoted me for a stunning deal on a groupset.  Thanks Elliott!

    So it will be Campagnolo Record with Bora wheels.  I’ll probably run a set of Hunt Four Seasons for gravel/winter use.  Going with 35mm deep rims as I don’t race and I’m reasonably light and not a great fan of uber deep rims anyway.  I also think the medium deep rims will look better with a steel tube frame.

    Campagnolo Bora 35mm


    Part 7

    Groupset arrives – just need the frame now!


    Gruppo Groupset


    Part 8

    Revised date now Jan 2020 due to apparent shortage of the Columbus SS Tubing.  Bit disappointing but hanging in there.

    Part 9

    After much waiting my frame is now in production and due to head to the paint shop in January.  Starting to feel more real at last!  Should be getting some pre-painting photos soon hopefully.

    Part 10

    She is built.  Received the post build photos and she is now in paint.  Starting to get exited!  Seems that I have Head Tube cable stops after all but as I was 50:50 between that and down tube I’m happy with that as I was wondering whether I should have spec’d that anyway.  Photo updates of the bare frame.  Fork is ENVE Carbon and will be painted to match the frame.

    Part 11

    Bergamo finally came out of lockdown and Stelbel have been able to restart and she is painted and finished.  Oddly it’s been so long in germination that I’d forgotten what I spec’d for the Chris King Headset!  I did haver between Blue and Red for the Chris King Headset and Stelbel logo.  I actually thought I’d gone with Blue for a more subdued effect but apparently I did go with Red.  The contrast does look great.

    The colour is blended from front to back made up from two colours Bertulessi and Wojtek

    It turns out that when the top clear coat was applied the colours are so close that it’s hard to see the fade.  Anyway they have offered to respray it but that would take another month or let me see it, ride it for the Summer and then if I want a higher contrast I can send it back next Winter and they will respray it.  Can’t say fairer than that.

    The Stem and Bars will be in matching colour.

    So just needs to be shipped to the UK.  So close now.


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  • Signs of Spring February 20, 2019Teocalli2349

    Spring could be in the air but how can we really tell.  Officially (according to the ‘net) the following are signs of Spring.

    Snowdrops – well, not so sure about these as they usually pop up about the same time as we get our annual 1 inch of snow in the UK that brings the country to a standstill.  Indeed they were up around here when it happened again this year.

    Dawn Chorus – not sure about that as since I retired I’m seldom awake at that time any more to check.

    Trees starting to bud – fair comment on this one and indeed some of our trees are starting to show signs of budding.  So there is hope in the air there, though nature is so confused these days that some things are in flower in the middle of winter,  though our Acer trees are definitely showing signs of sprouting.

    Bees Foraging – well I did get whacked by a large flying insect this weekend that could have been a Bumble Bee but I didn’t stop to ask.

    Buzzards Skydancing – hmm, nice and I did see a pair last weekend doing precisely that.  Could be………

    Though surely the greatest sign of Spring is the appearance of the white plumage of the Spring Cyclist as the cycling community starts to shed its winter coat of long leggings and arm warmers to reveal their fresh, new, startlingly white, Spring Coat.  On that basis, around here, this weekend revealed the first signs of Spring with the odd outbreak of legs and arms in bright Spring Coat after some 4 months of hibernation.

    The second sign is the opening of the Spring Classics.  Picks open next week for the inaugural OTR League.  Be there (well, here actually) or forever be in Hibernation!

    PS – Expect the odd glitch and/or cock up as we tune the process.

    PPS – That is a Primrose in the photo.



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  • Real men wear pink February 20, 2019chuckp2358

    Test riding Velotoze shoe covers and their new wind/waterproof gloves, which are like scuba gloves. Review forthcoming on PEZ.

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  • One for the Good Guys by Wiscot February 14, 2019Teocalli2338

    Lead Photo – Cycling Weekly/Watson

    Professional sport can be both kind and cruel. Not matter what heights of glory or fame are achieved, there will inevitably come the day when the ability fades and retirement looms. For some, the transition is easy and made on their terms; for others, the end of a career is premature or simply enforced by a body unwilling or unable to continue.

    For example, Bernard Hinault retired in 1986 at the age of 32. True to his nature, it was his call. Could he have ridden a few more, highly paid years? I’m sure he could, but Hinault was a born winner and he had no desire to be uncompetitive. Cycling can be spectacularly cruel in revealing weakness. In most sports you finish on the same field of play at the same time. Not so much in cycling. It’s hard to hide the fact that you’ve just finished 10 minutes behind the winner because you just don’t have it anymore.

    Ask Andy Murray or Lindsay Vonn about retirement. A trashed hip and buggered-up knees respectively have called time on their careers. Both ended their careers far from home. The mental side is willing, the body is not.

    For recently retired pro Mathew Hayman, retirement was sweet – on his terms and on home turf. It was nothing more than he deserved. A journeyman pro, a pro’s-pro, Hayman was a professional cyclist for nineteen years and retired at the grand old age of 40. Over that career he really only rode for three teams Rabobank (2000-2009), Team Sky (2010-2013) and Orica Green Edge (2014-2019 in various iterations). His palmares aren’t lengthy or spectacular (with one exception) but he gained the respect of his peers in the peloton and of the millions who watch.

    That one exceptional ride was, of course, the 2016 Paris-Roubaix, a race with a special place in Hayman’s heart as he had ridden it as a neo-pro in 2000. He knew his opportunities were getting fewer to win a race he loved and in 2016 (his fourteenth attempt) there was the added obstacle of it being four-time-winner Tom Boonen’s final race – and final chance to set a new record of five cobblestone trophies.

    Hayman’s previous best result in the velodrome was 8thin 2012, but in 2016 it all came together with the tall Aussie (6’ 3”) being in a select group of five by the time the race hit Roubaix. Boonen was there, so was Britain’s Ian Stanndard, Belgium’s Sep Vanmarke and  Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen – any one of whom would be a worthy winner.

    By the time the group hit the last few kilometers, it was apparent that everyone in the group was on fumes. Attacks were made and nullified as tired legs couldn’t sustain the effort. As all five hit the track, it was going to be a sprint. Boonen, whose sprint prowess and love of the race made him an obvious favorite gave it his all but was beaten to the line by Hayman who, despite what his eyes had seen and his legs had accomplished, was in pure disbelief that he had won.  The congratulations showered upon him, notably from the gracious Boonen, were genuine and heartfelt. There have been a few flukey wins at Roubaix over the years, but this time, it was a case of well-deserved.

    Boonen retired immediately – as he said he would before the race. Hayman didn’t. He stayed with the team for two more years, offering sage advice and wisdom to his team’s new crop of talented youngsters such as Esteban Chaves, Simon Yates and Adam Yates. But father time pedals on and Hayman was presented with the luxury of calling time on his racing days – and that was at the 2019 Tour Down Under. There, on home soil, he was tasked with helping the 2018 winner Darryl Impey defend his title. And helped he did with Impey becoming the first rider in the race’s history to repeat overall victory.

    For Hayman,it was the perfect ending to a great career: home soil, winning team.  He was lucky and he knew it to be going out on his terms. He will stay on with Mitchelton-Scott. This is a smart move by the team.  “It takes so many years to learn those races and it’s so close to me now, in three to five years I might not have that feeling of what it was like to be in the bunch anymore,” Hayman has said. “Hopefully I can transfer some of that knowledge really quickly and help out some of the young guys, and maybe with a Luke or Trentin we can get some results.” As I said, a pro’s pro.

    The last word I’ll leave to Luke Durbridge, who was possibly as ecstatic as Hayman was in shock at the finish at Roubaix. And while he was talking about one particular race, it really could sum us his friend’s career when he said it was “one for the good guys.”

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  • My Hill is harder than Your Hill February 6, 2019Teocalli2245

    Lead Photo by

    At the outset here I have to be clear that I’m talking Hills not Mountains.

    One of the things about Hills in the UK is that they seldom have zig zags.  Maybe there is insufficient space or just that historically the roads developed up old paths but there is a tendency for our roads to go straight up the gradient. The riders of the Yorkshire stages of the Tour de France where pleasantly (or should that be unpleasantly) surprised at the cumulative effect such climbs have on a day’s ride.

    The result is that many of these hills have developed something of a mythical subculture in UK cycling.

    Some deserve their place from the UK history of Time Trialing having equivalent Hill Climb competitions.  I’m thinking here of hills such as Mam Nick in the Peak District where Tom Simpson held the record from 1958 till it was finally broken in 2016.  I’ve been over that on two Eroica Britannia events and can appreciate Gentleman Tom’s achievement on a vintage bike.  It is something of a beast even on a modern bike – I was mighty glad to have geared down The Butler as I passed numerous folk having to walk with gearing along the lines of 42×24.

    The Mam Nick Hill Climb from Brendon Tyree on Vimeo.

    Others seem to gain their status in current folklore from being accessible to the masses and frankly not too difficult.  I’m thinking here of Box Hill in Surrey which seems to have a status far beyond it’s challenge factor – the views to the South from the top are pretty good (for the South of England) and there is a cafe which probably helps.  Also it is one of the few hills in the UK with true zig zags where you can see riders above or below.  Somewhat different to Mam Nick in the Peak District which is beautiful in good weather but bleak in inclement weather (see lead photo) but I suspect much about Box Hill is due to it’s proximity to London.  However, I can think of at least 5 climbs in the local area that are considerably more challenging – strange (not) that you don’t meet many cyclists on those when Box Hill can be packed at a weekend.  Having said that, it was not that pleasant on the drenching London Cogal a few years back!

    ChrisO was way up the hill


    The strange thing in some respects is that many of these climbs become defended by their own local community – “Yeah but have you tried xyz Hill, It’s a beast and steeper than your abc Hill”.

    This can have a interesting effect when you visit a new area for an event.  I was reminded of this last summer on Day 1 of the Hot Chillie London Paris through Kent.  We were due to route via Kidd’s Hill “The Wall”.  In itself it we suspected it would probably be a max of 10-15 mins suffering but it was due to be in the middle of a 170 Km day, and it was due to be hot (for the UK).  So my buddy and I were in a bit of trepidation for surviving the 80 Km or so after the climb as The Wall had been bigged up in the route guide and by another friend who rides a lot in Kent.  In the end when we got there it was nowhere near as bad as a number of local routes I know around my vicinity over the South Downs and we wondered a little what the fuss was about.

    Honister Pass by strettonhillsbiking

    Many of these hills are documented in various versions of 100 Best Climbs in the UK and I’m sure there is the cycling equivalent of Munro Baggers who travel the country ticking off climbs.  Personally, while I may plan a route to take in a particular hill or other, for me it’s part of the whole ride and not the sole objective of a route.

    The strange thing about these type of publications is while they do provide an interesting list, they inevitably are open to the challenge of My Hill is harder than Your Hill.  I know of people who are massively protective of their hills when the reality is places like the Lake District do have some real beasts.

    Just another of those areas where the bottom line is the degree of suffering becomes the reference point for ranking.

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