Previous Posts

  • OTRL rises out of Lockdown July 11, 2020Teocalli4146

    Photo by Sportgraph

    Folks, the OTRL will arise from lockdown starting with the Strade Bianche on Aug 1st for both Men and Femmes.  The revised OTRL schedule is as below.  I hope you are all still around – be nice if we have any lurkers if they would join in.

    On the other hand what is it with Russians who are continually trying to hack the site!  Ho Hum.

    Back to Pro Cycling for 2020 – revised OTRL schedule below.

    Date Event Country M / F Category
    01-Aug-20 Strade Bianche ITA ME 1.UWT
    01-Aug-20 Strade Bianche ITA WE 1.WWT
    08-Aug-20 Milano-Sanremo ITA ME 1.UWT
    15-Aug-20 Il Lombardia ITA ME 1.UWT
    12 Aug-16 Aug 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné FRA ME 2.UWT
    25-Aug-20 Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France FRA ME 1.UWT
    26-Aug-20 GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT FRA WE 1.WWT
    29-Aug-20 La Course by Le Tour de France FRA WE 1.WWT
    07 Sep-14 Sep 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico ITA ME 2.UWT
    11 Sep-19 Sep 2020 Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile ITA WE 2.WWT
    29 Aug-20 Sep 2020 Tour de France FRA ME 2.UWT
    30-Sep-20 La Flèche Wallonne Féminine BEL WE 1.WWT
    30-Sep-20 La Flèche Wallonne BEL ME 1.UWT
    04-Oct-20 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes BEL WE 1.WWT
    04-Oct-20 Liège-Bastogne-Liège BEL ME 1.UWT
    10-Oct-20 Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition NED WE 1.WWT
    10-Oct-20 Amstel Gold Race NED ME 1.UWT
    11-Oct-20 Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields BEL WE 1.WWT
    11-Oct-20 Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields BEL ME 1.UWT
    18-Oct-20 Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres BEL ME 1.UWT
    18-Oct-20 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres BEL WE 1.WWT
    20-Oct-20 AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne BEL WE 1.WWT
    21-Oct-20 AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne BEL ME 1.UWT
    03 Oct-25 Oct 2020 Giro d’Italia ITA ME 2.UWT
    25-Oct-20 Paris-Roubaix Femmes FRA WE 1.WWT
    25-Oct-20 Paris-Roubaix FRA ME 1.UWT
    20 Oct-08 Nov 2020 La Vuelta ciclista a España ESP ME 2.UWT
    06 Nov-08 Nov 2020 Ceratizit Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta ESP WE 2.WWT

     

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  • Into the Cave June 29, 2020Teocalli4129

    Sorry I’ve been a bit absent on updates in the last few weeks, been a bit busy sorting multiple house moves.  Currently 50% through the overall project and taking a bit of a rest before the next part and then still one more to go!

    Anyway, we are now in our new (to us) house.  The nice thing is that the previous owner is a Chiropractor and is, amongst other sports, a cyclist and had installed a nice Pain Cave alongside the house.  I now have it partly kitted out and due to 3 days of gales this week, I had my first session in said Cave today.

    I think the SO is happy that my choice of music is banished from inside the house!

    Good to get the rowing machine back out of storage too.

    I will need to do some fixing before Winter as the door is a terrible fit so need to get a proper door frame and maybe a new door too to keep out the weather and cold but I can see that many hours will be spent in there.

    Just need to decide on how much of a workshop it also becomes as we are also blessed with a nice large garage.  As the garage is likely to prove dryer than a large shed in the winter it’s more likely that the garage will be the main workshop.

    The key thing though is – what are the essentials for a well kitted out Pain Cave?  I might need support here for what is regarded as essential in fully fitting this out!

    I may need to build a boathouse though…………

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  • Years in miles today June 25, 2020chuckp4127

    Birthday ride with a handful of mates had the ride your years in miles thing more than covered today. Belgian-esque geezer ride. Love my La Passione CC kit. Great stuff for hot and humid weather.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/3670389267

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  • First ride as a local June 14, 2020Teocalli4114
    Sunset.jpg

    First ride on the IoW as a local.  Not a bad view just short of the end of the ride.  Living just above sea level also means no whopping great hill at the end of every ride.  I can live with that!

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  • Still cycling! June 10, 2020davidlhill4109

    Apologies for the blatant violation.

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  • Tommy Prim by Wiscot June 7, 2020Teocalli4101

     

    Photo:  Tommy Pim by Bianchi

    Just as Knut Knudsen’s career was winding down after his oh-so-close-but-no-cigar attempt to win the 1979 Giro d’Italia, he was joined on the Bianchi team by a massively talented young Swede called Tommy Prim. After outstanding performances in 1978 and 1979 in the highly rated Italian stage race Settimana Bergamasca, at the end of 1979 Prim turned professional with the Italian Bianchi-Piaggio squad. It was not a hard choice: Norwegian rider Knut Knudsen and fellow Swede Alf Segersäll were in the team already. The team manager would be the experienced Giancarlo Ferretti. Good things were on the cards.

    Like his Scandinavian teammate Knudsen, Prim would also come agonizingly close to winning a Grand Tour but fall short, not because of physical misfortune, but of the curse of being not from Italy. The situation for Bianchi in 1981 was rather like the philosophical paradox involving Buridan’s ass. This involves said animal being placed between a bale of hay and a bucket of water. The rationale is that the ass will chose whichever is closer. The result, however, is that the ass can’t decide which to go to – the water or the hay – and subsequently dies of hunger. Such was the scenario for Bianchi in 1981. On the team were the Swede Prim and Italians Silvano Contini and Gibi Baronchelli. Neither Prim, Contini or Baronchelli can be considered asses, in fact they metaphorically represented hay and water. The ass was Ferretti who couldn’t decide on which rider to go with as leader and so squandered his chances to win. Another ass was race director Vincenzo Torriani who, in a move designed to slant the race Giuseppe Saronni’s way, introduced of a series of time bonuses for each stage. First place earned a 30 seconds bonus, 20 seconds for 2nd and 10 seconds for third. Even the three time trials carried bonus seconds! This would dramatically affect the result more than he could have anticipated.

    In addition to the expected Moser-Saronni rivalry, other Italians ready to go for pink were Roberto Visentini of Sammontana-Benotto, as well as the Bianchi trio of Prim, Contini and Baronchelli. Also at the start line was Inoxpran’s Giovanni Battaglin. No-one rated his chances as he had just won the Vuelta d’Espana and back in those days these two Grand Tours basically butted up against each other. Battaglin started the Giro on three days rest. What was not reckoned with was Battaglin’s smarts and realization that it was very much a case of playing the long game and seeking consistently good stage placings ― and taking advantage of rivalries. For example, by stage 6, Saronni had three wins and 90 seconds of bonuses that gave him the maglia rosa by 24 seconds from Moser.

    By stage 18, with just three stages to go, the opportunity to win overall looked good for Bianchi with three riders in the top five. A clean sweep of the podium was not beyond hope. Contini held pink, followed by Prim at 59 seconds, Battaglin at 1:35, Saronni at 1:42 and Baronchelli at 1:59. It was that close. However, stage 19 saw Battaglin make his decisive move on a 208 kilometer mountain ride to San Vigilio di Marebbe that tackled the Palade and Furcia climbs. The Inoxpran rider won the stage by 10 seconds from Saronni with Prim tied for third with Josef Fuchs 11 seconds behind the winner. The bonus gave Battaglin an additional 30 seconds on top of the time gaps with Baronchelli and Contini both losing 1:02 on the day. Contini now led Battaglin by only 3 seconds with Prim a further 5 seconds back. Just as the Vuelta winner should have been on his knees after almost six weeks of racing, he was getting stronger and Ferretti was looking more and more like Buridan’s ass.

    Battaglin then turned the screws tighter on the mountainous stage 20 to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, knowing that with a sprint stage and a short time trial to come, he needed to gain as much time as he could when he could. He finished third behind ace climber Beat Breu and veteran Josef Fuchs, gaining another ten bonus seconds to put him in pink, Prim and Contini finished 35 seconds and 1:37 behind respectively. The sprint stage was won by Pierino Gavazzi and didn’t affect the general classification. Prim rode his heart out to finish second behind teammate Knudsen in the final time trial but the Inoxpran rider finished third for ten more bonus seconds giving him a total of 60 seconds in bonuses for the whole race. Contini and Baronchelli were well outside the top 10 on the last day.

    When Battaglin pulled on the final maglia rosa in Verona, he was the winner by 38 seconds from Prim. On actual time, Prim had won, but Battaglin had won more bonuses because of one stage win and three 3rd places. Prim had one 2nd place. Saronni was third at 50 seconds – a result more than aided by the 2:10 in bonuses he accumulated. Calculating time bonuses overall Battaglin had picked up 60 seconds, fifty of those in three of the last four stages; Prim had accrued 20. Bonus difference? 40 seconds to the Italian. The rules had been established on stage one and Inoxpran played them to maximum advantage.

    The feeling that Prim coulda, woulda, shoulda won is hard to shake. His second place was no flash-in-the pan. It did show however, a lack of tactical nous by Ferretti who should have played his cards better. Designating a single team leader and watching who got top three placings would have helped the Bianchi cause. Instead, Battaglin and his DS Davide Boifava played the field like a fiddle – aided of course, by Battaglin’s remarkable form and tactical smarts in timing his efforts to perfection.

    In 1982 Prim finished second in the Giro again, this time beaten by the majestic Bernard Hinault by 2:35. Again, Bianchi went with two captains and Prim and Contini finished 2nd and 3rd twelve seconds apart. In 1983 he was the designated leader for Bianchi and took the maglia rosa after the first stage team time trial. Alas it did not last and poor form in the mountains saw him finish 15th. In 1984 Prim was on form, winning Tirreno–Adriatico stage race but he crashed right before the Giro. 1985 saw Moreno Argentin brought onto the Sammontana-Bianchi squad and the Swede finished fourth behind such greats as Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser and Greg LeMond. 1986 was the beginning of the end as his 21st place in the Giro saw his team withdraw from the Tour of Sweden which they – and he – had always ridden since its reintroduction in 1982. So disgusted by this, Prim announced his retirement. He was 31.

    After his retirement, Prim held various jobs: he opened a bike shop in Sweden, worked for a mail order firm, a saw mill and then a salmon smokery. From 2000 – 2004 he was team manager at Team Crescent, a Swedish pro squad designed to develop Swedish under 23 riders, but he will be remembered as a rider who was not just good but great but also unlucky. It pays dividends to not just play by the rules but truly understand them and it’s not always the strongest who wins, but the smartest.

     

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  • Riding during COVID June 4, 2020chuckp4105

    Hey all! Sorry I’ve been absent of late. Hope everyone is doing well during these strange and crazy times. Even though we have been under “stay at home” status, I’ve been able to ride … a lot. As I type, I’m over 3,100 miles for the year and logged 790 miles last month! Have been able to get out for long rides on the weekends. The last two were semi-epic. Both 70-milers with a lot of up-and-down, i.e., Belgian/Ardennes Classics-esque.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/3505516021

    https://www.strava.com/activities/3543460840

    Hoping to be able to do 100 miles on my birthday later this month. Cheers y’all

     

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  • Zwift for Dummies June 1, 2020Teocalli4072

    Sorry, I’ve been a bit absent as we are in the midst of trying to move house  during the lockdown.  Well, the lockdown has tempted me to join the Zwift experience, sort of.

    So to be clear the Dummy here, hopefully, is not me but rather that I have a Dumb Turbo and Dumb Rollers.  So what is the point in joining Zwift?

    My reasons for joining were mainly to hook up with an internet group that were starting group rides in lieu of an event that was planned in Nice to ride the TdF first stage a week before the main event.  So, seeing how it would pan out in reality was interesting as to whether I could have a meaningful ride with those with Smart Trainers.

    In fact it pans out pretty well.  Zwift will adjust your virtual speed based on it’s own calculations of your power (I don’t have a power meter either).  It does seem to help if you have cadence to add to speed as it can then make a better assessment of your power.  However, that is all very hypothetical as my Turbo is older than any model listed and using the most basic Tacx model it suggests set resistance at Stop 2, which is a bit arbitrary as to what resistance that equates to and which is actually Stop 2 (0,1,2 or just 1, 2?).  Having said that, if I go 0,1, 2 then riding on the flat, or downhill, is like climbing some of the steepest hills around here so 1, 2 seems right.

    Anyway, it does work reasonably well for a group ride.

    Riding on the dumb Turbo, on the flat and 1-2% climbs the predicted virtual speed is not far off but on steeper climbs it is somewhat generous and it would be easy to fly off the front of the group.  Net there is some backing off so as not to produce a silly speed/power.  In terms of effort, obviously I could manually up the resistance but then it predicts a much slower speed so I risk tumbling out of the back of the group.  Net I balance between the two a bit to allow myself some “standing time” by manually clicking up the resistance to relieve being sat static on the saddle for the duration of a ride, then as I get to the back of the group I click it back down again.  Makes a bit of a mockery of any stats Zwift produces but at least it lets me ride with the group.

    So on a climb you net have to “ride” further as Zwift adjusts your virtual speed.  We did Alp de Zwift as a head to head the other week and while my time was probably generous I could not catch the leading whippersnappers.  I’m assuming they were on Smart Trainers……….I was just ahead of someone who I thought I should beat so perhaps it did a pretty good job of adjusting my virtual speed.

    Riding on the dumb Rollers, on the flat my virtual speed is a bit high……  The disadvantage of dumb Rollers is not being able to stand and pedal against resistance to get some pressure relief.  With the group rides we do set them as ‘no drop’ which is fine as long as you don’t stop pedalling.  So taking a mid ride break is not really practical.  Normally I would stop every 10 miles for a stretch.

    The amusing part on the rollers is on the high speed descents.  On the sharp bends the visual effect on the laptop screen can be a bit disorientating and I can see it could be easy to crash as a result.  So far I have avoided that but have come close on a couple of occasions.  The other thing is participating in any banter, attempting to use the keyboard while on the Rollers is perhaps not a good idea and might prove expensive to trashing both the bike and the laptop!

    Zwift does seem to help the sensation of time pass and I’m definitely sold longer term and will be looking at a Smart Turbo sometime in the future.  As most Turbo Trainers are made in areas impacted by the global lockdowns it was interesting that for a while you could not buy one for love nor money.  Should have bought shares in Zwift, Turbo manufacturers and Zoom at the outset of all this.

    Stay well, sane and safe.  Hope to see you all on the other side, whatever that turns out to be.

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  • Stelbel May 15, 2020Teocalli4085

    Confirmed that the Stelbel printshop is back in full swing and they’ve posted this on their FB page.  Maybe, just maybe……….  Seeking confirmation…………..

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  • Rumination on The Giro by Wiscot May 11, 2020Teocalli4077

    Lead Photo – Wikipedia (2019)

    The 1989 Tour de France’s final-day time trial loss by Laurent Fignon to Greg LeMond is one of modern cycling’s defining moments. LeMond, 50 seconds behind the yellow-clad Fignon, used the latest TT technology to maximum advantage, powering over 24 kms of Parisian streets to beat le Maillot Jaune. On the day the ride was hailed as a miracle for the American and a devastating defeat for the Frenchman. However, unknown at the time was the extent of Fignon’s excruciating saddle sore that made riding almost too painful to bear. But he was French, in yellow, and this was the Tour – a no-show on the last day into Paris (and Fignon’s home town) was not an option. The likelihood of LeMond beating Fignon by more than 50 seconds seemed remote. As we now know, the American used new-fangled time-trial bars and helmet to maximum advantage and won overall by 8 seconds. Arguably, that 8 second loss scarred Fignon for the subsequent 21 years until his death in 2010.

    As well-known as this particular piece of cycling lore is, we know that history has a habit of repeating itself and indeed this was not the first instance of a grand tour being decided by a handful of seconds in a time trial with injury playing a part.

    In 1976 with just two days to go in the Giro d’Italia, Belgian rider John de Muynck was seemingly safely ensconced in the pink jersey with a 25 seconds lead over Italian favorite Felice Gimondi. All that remained after the penultimate stage was a short time trial and an easy criterium around Milan; the win seemed in the bag for the Brooklyn rider if he made it to the last day safely.

    However, events on that penultimate day would conspire to dramatically affect what should have been a simple matter for De Muynck to take his first grand tour win.

    On the descent of the Colle Zambla, part of the road was undergoing repairs and there was a great deal of loose gravel for the riders to negotiate. To make matters worse, some of the gravel was just after a corner and de Muynck was, perhaps unwisely, taking a drink at the time. His attention distracted, the Belgian’s front wheel went out from under him and he crashed hard. These were the days of no helmets and often no gloves. While nothing was broken, de Muynck suffered serious cuts and grazes to his face, hands, legs and arms. Time ticked away as he picked himself up, checking his injuries for serious damage. Luckily, the wounds were confined to the flesh, not bones, and in a double stroke of luck his compatriot Eddy Merckx, who had been dropped and was suffering greatly with a saddle boil, caught up with De Muynck and paced his fellow countryman back to the head of affairs to finish with the leaders. The jersey, and the race, seemed to have been saved.

    Effectively out of contention for the overall win himself, Merckx was worried and concerned about his fellow Belgian’s chances of wrapping up the win. “Tomorrow it will not be all right. With his hands as they are he will not sleep above an hour.” The great Belgian’s words proved prophetic – the next morning De Muynck admitted he had not slept at all, “The pain hammered away in my fingers and without sleep I feel dead beat. I feel as if my knees are made of water.” Ahead of him lay 28 kilometers against the clock and a margin of only 25 seconds on the smooth, stylish Gimondi. Under normal circumstances, de Muynck might have lost a few seconds, but would have retained his lead and the Maglia Rosa.

    After being counted out of the start house, Gimondi, a fine rider against the clock, rode superbly, finishing third behind Bruyere and Marcussen. De Muynck, suffering terribly in his desperate bid to retain pink, finished 44 seconds behind Gimondi to lose the jersey by 19 seconds. With the final criterium merely a showpiece for the crowds and offering no opportunity to reclaim time, the Italian cruised to the final Maglia Rosa. In the overall standings De Muynck had to settle for second place – every one of those 19 seconds and more had been lost in just 28 kms against the clock and the blame can be laid at injury’s door.

    As devastating as this loss was for De Muynck, he found redemption two years later. In 1978 and riding for Italian-based Bianchi-Faema, he rode a superb Giro to win by 59 seconds with, ironically, Gimondi as a teammate. (Alas, Fignon never had the opportunity to win the Tour again and for many observers the 1989 loss became better known than his two fine wins in 1983 and 84.)

    While the 76 Giro set a precedent for the 89 Tour, the same Giro presaged its 2011 edition and the death of Wouter Weylandt. On the very first stage in 1976—an innocuous short 55 kilometres loop around Catania—Juan Manuel Santisteban crashed heavily into a guard rail and was dead by the time the ambulance reached the hospital. This description is eerily similar to Weylandt’s accident. In both instances what were regarded as straight-forward transitional or easy stages were turned into days of tragedy.

    So what does a knowledge of history and the awareness of precedent teach us? One, much hyperbole surrounds sport, and yes, Fignon and de Muynck’s losses could be regarded as “shocking” or “devastating” but what happened to Santisteban and Weylandt puts things into a proper perspective. Two, we are reminded that nothing should be taken for granted. While cycling is a magnificent sport it has its cruel side: on one hand situations beyond anyone’s control can turn a potential winner into a shocked runner-up; on another, a routine ride could unknowingly be our last. We ride with the confidence, we follow the rules, we feel in control, but in reality we seek the fine point of equilibrium between caution to survive and freedom to pursue happiness.

    Recent years have seen the Giro organizers seek ever spectacular stages to wrest back some of the glamour and status that the Tour has long enjoyed over its grand tour rival. No Tour or Giro would be complete without its heroics, blood, sweat, and tears of pain or joy, but as we (hopefully) watch the battle for the Maglia Rosa this year, in whatever form it may run in the lockdown, let’s hope that everyone gets through tired — maybe a bit battered and bruised — and alive.

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