Big day tomorrow.

Well here we are, less than 24 hours till the off. The training had been done (we will see if there has been enough tomorrow) The only test is to see I there is 100miles in these old legs. That we will find out tomorrow.

I took the train up to London today and then started a gentle ride across to the Olympic park. (I have booked a cheap hotel near the start) The old streets of London are familiar due my university days. I came across the Ridelondon free cycle route. Closed roads – 8 mile circuit past all the London landmarks so I joined the 1000s of cyclists and did a lap. All sorts of people were filling the roads quiet a few tourists on “Boris Bikes” had decided to join in. Loads of little kids and the world and his wife. Great to see the roads shut and give everyone an excuse to get out and just enjoy the city.

The mini festivals were great at Tower Hill / Green park and St. Paul’s. Loads of fun stuff to do and see.

I broke off the closed roads at Tower Hill – took my life in my hands and rejoined Live traffic and headed out to the Olympic Stadium where my hotel was. The place was full of bikes, seems like everyone is doing the same thing. đŸ™‚

I took a walk to the start line – the Olympic stadium still looks very impressive and I see they are doing some work on the velodrome which will make it available to the public soon I hope. The park is definitely going under some redevelopment – hopefully to make the most of the facilities for the future. I remember seeing the Seoul Stadium of 1988 some 10 years after and it looked like a disused multistory car park. I hope there are better plans for the facilities here.

I am now engaging in some last minute fueling at a pizza stop in the Olympic park. Early start tomorrow – load time of 6:54 start at 7:34 …. Finish time ? Well I let you guess at that.


Disasters all come along at once.

Some good cycling this week, clocking up some last minute miles before the day (10 days to go) I don’t intend to do much next week apart from stuffing myself with pasta and rice :-). Did a nice run out through the surrey hills and on descending into Cranleigh village I gently apply the brakes and almost end up over the handle bars. The front brake grabs on the wheel rims and I am all over the place. Checking the front wheel, I can see from the “worrying wobble” that it has buckled (typical- 1 week before the big event and a major malfunction). I have no idea what I hit or when, I don’t remember any large pothole or anything untoward but hit something I must have. I limp the bike into the village and found a cycle shop ! bonus. The guy takes a look at the wheel and says its probably fixable but he can’t do it this week – great. He suggests another place about a mile and half up the road. I limp the bike over to the other shop at Smithbrook Kilns Great little cycle shop hidden away in the business park, they have a large workshop and staff that know their stuff. I ended up getting a exact replacement wheel (he had all the Mavic range in stock) while they take a look to see if the old wheel is repairable. The most dangerous place to be with a credit card is in a cycle shop with a broken bike. I end up getting a new rear tire to match the new one on the front and a water bottle replacement (the other one flew off when I almost went over the handlebars and it ended up under the wheels of a passing van)

So eventually (with my wallet a lot lighter) I continue the ride on new wheel and tires and manage to rescue the end of the day. I met up with another cycling chum (Keith) who had just returned from the Tour de France where he watched a couple of the stages in Corsica. I showed him a few photos of my ride with Marco Pinotti attempting to impress but he manged to outclass me with this

If we can extract the DNA and add it to mine. ?

If we can extract the DNA and add it to mine. ?

Yeah he managed to get a Peter Sagan’s throwaway from stage 2 of the Tour. Can’t beat that for a souvenir.

Ride details (including all the detours) are here as usual.

A ride out with “The Cycling Professor”

So via twitter I heard that Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing) – also known as the “Cycling Professor and “The Engineer” was in town to do a one day training camp at Cadence Performance at Crystal Palace London. The “Italian Cycling Expert” – Simone Magherini and I follow him on twitter, and we were shouting out for him during the Olympic Road Race (Leatherhead Hill – shouting out to the “Engineer” in the MTB Firenze jerseys). I also saw him compete in the Olympic Time trial (I was viewing on the St Georges straight) in which he came 5th – just out of the medals. So just for fun and under influence from the “Italian Cycling Expert” I signed up for the one day training camp with the man himself.

It was the hottest day of the year, and I started the day in a typically Italian way with a cappuccino and some light reading.

Caffeine and light reading

Caffeine and light reading

The guys at Cadence Performance are great, everyone is more than happy to chat about anything you need – bikes, techniques, as well as try out equipment and ideas. There is a whole range of people there from experts to beginners and everyone is friendly and happy to chat.

A retreat for cyclists, more of a club than a shop, definitely recommened

A retreat for cyclists, more of a club than a shop, definitely recommended

The day consisted of a couple of hours in the class room, which consisted of some general chat and a Q&A session. There was some interesting insights into the life of a Pro-rider (especially how the rivalry between Mark Cavendish and André Greipel came about). It was a very informative session, especially as Marco had a lot of his data outputs from various competitions (including the London Olympic Time trial).

After the chat session I stuffed some food down me and grabbed some water / energy drink (it was already the hottest day of the year) and we set out for a ride into the Kent country side. I managed to hang onto the group for most of the ride until Marco got us to do a hill climb exercise. Well – after one attempt to keep even close to him I just cracked. (along with quite a few others) and very rapidly fell off the back. The pro guys just go up the hills like they don’t even exist. It is really demoralising to watch him go up to the top and then descend and come past you again as you are struggling to make forward motion. But- as Marco said “It’s my job”.

Thanks to the guys for a great day out.

Thanks to the guys for a great day out.

It was a fantastic day out, beautiful weather, a great crowd and many thanks to Marco Pinotti who lived up to his reputation of the “Nicest guy in the Peloton” – Wishing him luck in the up and coming Tour of Poland. If you want to know more check out his book on Amazon The Cycling Professor There is new bit in the English version about the London 2012 Olympics.

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One of these people has no legs left. No prizes if you guess correct.

I am only holding on, because my legs are about to give way.

The Reigate Sportive.

It was always going to be a hot one. The weather dials were firmly set for HOT and I could tell it was going to be a tough one even though it was early morning. Pete and I threw the bikes in the back of the car and got ourselves to the start. Today’s plan was an 80 mile run out from Reigate out through Kent and back. A rather rolling route with plenty of ups and downs. We got away at about 8:30 and it was not long before the temperature started to climb. Sucking down the water rapidly (we probably went off a bit quick) we got on the back of a reasonably fast group which dragged us along, but overcooked it a bit for my pace.

Left ,right, Left right it twists and turns.

Left ,right, Left right it twists and turns.

The first water stop was a welcome respite from the heat, (now getting up to 25+ degrees and climbing by the hour) We got to the mid section and neither of us were feeling the fun. It was just one of those days where your legs don’t want to turn, every gear change was an effort and each downhill you felt like you were a passenger rather than the rider of the bike. We turned onto the “Mid” route which lowered the distance to 100km (60miles) and made our ways back to the finish at a more leisurely pace. Pete was suffering on the climbs and I was locking up the wheels on the descents – so if things are not going well no point to bash yourself over it.

We got back and consoled ourselves with tea and food.

Ride details are here as usual. (Unbelievably we did score the “Silver” level of achievement in the rankings, even though we felt bad. Things must be improving !!!.)

A ride out in Windsor after work is the plan for tonight and then we have a special weekend coming up. I have signed up for a day out with the big boys.

I will be spending a day with BMC pro rider, Marco Pinotti hoping to learn how to improve my performance on the bike. The day starts with a classroom during which we will be learning about training, preparation and diet. This is then followed by a session on the road, working on technique and style.

Watch this space for videos and a report.