Monday 24 May 2010

mask - what mask?

Courtesy of cycling news

The mask - a staple of pro cyclists everywhere. Think Armstrong, Mayo and Ullrich - trading blows during various Tours all the while remaining impassive. Only an impending 'crack' would shift that blank look that says - 'I am completely in control here'.

So imagine my surprise when this turned up.......

Rage and pain – quite a new look from one who used to look like a meek and mild Vatican choirboy while he mullered the peloton on the climbs in the 2008 Giro when he was juiced up (allegedly).

Still, redemption is a staple of the Catholic Church and somehow I have to grudgingly give him credit for fighting that beast of a mountain the way he did on Sunday.

However, none fought it and the wall of pain more than Cadel – that man knows how to seriously suffer as well as suffer seriously. He looks like he aged 10 years on that climb alone and if I can take away even a fraction of that ability to suffer and apply it to my little corner of cycledom then I will consider it more than inspiring……

Sunday 16 May 2010

Romiley Floubaix

Duncan had been planning this for weeks. A collection of snatched walks with the dog, forays on motorbike and then some pioneering efforts by bike.....

Floubaix? Well, take the short sharp cobbled climbs of Flanders, add in some classic Cheshire lanes and gravel tracks (including strada bianchi) and sprinkle liberally with some ancient Roubaix-esque pave. There you have it - Floubaix.

Romiley Floubaix

Map your trip with EveryTrail

Update: here comes the link

I think we all needed a bit of soul riding this weekend - coffee, chat and chilling round this great area. Dunc led myself and Mark round the route that, despite my previous and considerable knowledge of the area, yielded some absolute gems for the connoisieur. He found us a petit Arenberg, so rough that it has claimed several of Dunc's bottle cages on recce and a full blown, arrow straight grand Arenberg that is the closest thing to Northern France's finest you will ever find in this country. Riding on Dunc's wheel down these 16th Century cobbles, seeking out the centre ridge, for a moment I glimpsed what must the nerve shredding intensity of Roubaix, dodging the holes from missing cobbles, fighting to keep the bike straight, trying to relax amongst it all.

Like my Ronde, though only around 40 miles in length, this route wears you down with cobble, gravel and lots of up and down. No big climbs, but a hard parcours nonetheless. It flows beautifully, assuming you know where you are going, making great use of the small features as well as the overall landscape. We finished with latte and carrot cake in a great cafe in Marple Bridge, watching the elegant young ladies of well-heeled Cheshire going about their ritual Saturday shopping.

Oh, and if you like checking out how the other 2% live, then there are properties all over the shop that redefine the word 'mansion'.

PS Take some fat tires with you - your bike and bum will thank you.

Friday 14 May 2010

andy wardman does peebles

If all this talk of Grand Tours leaves you a little flat and empty, then this should pep up the crosser in you.

Local trails ala cx from Andy Wardman on Vimeo.

Pretty much sums up the vibe of riding anykind of bike offroad really, but if you have impressive technical ability then it shows just what you can do with a cross bike. Chapeau.

Thursday 6 May 2010

hit the north... again, only harder

Those slightly scary but fundamentally nice people over at Hit the North are accommodating us competition starved crossers with....... an 8hr version of their hugely successuful 2hr winter race. Yes really.

Here's what they have to say....

Hit the North is back on July 17th.

Entries are now open and places will be limited.
All three previous events have sold out in a matter of days, so you need to get yourselves and your team mates organised and get your entry in!

The entry fee will be £33.33 per person and it is up to you whether you register as a solo, pair or team of 3.

For that you get...
An 8 hour lap based event on a completely new 6-ish mile course on mixed terrain including some bits that would perhaps be better ridden on a mountain bike and some bits that will probably be faster on a cyclocross bike... Oh, and there will be some carrying sections.
Free camping on Saturday 17th. Additional camping is available on Friday 16th July for a fee of £3 per person payable directly to the campsite on arrival.
The usual awesome catering.
Trade stands.
A beer tent with live band and DJ for the after event party.
Electronic timing with a free access site wide wireless network so you can keep tabs on your performance in real time via a phone, pda or laptop.
Toilets and showers (that work).
The usual relaxed atmosphere that HtN seems to create.

So why not sign up?.. It won't kill you.

All proceeds will as usual be donated to local charities and we are being supported by the amazing generosity of JMC IT, Cloversoul Jewellery, Pro-Lite and Ragley Bikes.

Hit the North
17th July 2010
11:00 - 19:00
Giants Seat Campsite, Ringley, Manchester.
M26 1DY

Hopefully we'll see you on July 17th

Go to our website for entry, news as and when it happens, details of preview rides, ask questions and put in a request for the DJ on our forum and maybe some other stuff.

Hugs and kisses
Andrew, Simon, Jase and Warren.

Let me also plug and declare an interest in the post race party entertainment - principal accordian player for the Balkan Gypsy Ska-sters 'Nazedrove Houseband' is none other than my old music college pal and fellow Belgian, Winkie Thin.

Having played with diverse luminaries such as Lisa Stansfield and the Halle Orchestra, as well as at my wedding, Winkie seems to have inflitrated this band of merry loons and will doubtless entertain us while the beer tent fills to the sound of dehydrated ectomorphs keeling over after the first pint. Or is that just my likely fate....?

Get entered, get ready and come and Hit the North.

Infomercial over.