80 miles coming up this weekend.

Checking the weather for Sunday I am now cursing the sun !!!! Have booked in for the Long Route on of the Reigate Sunday Sportive Which is a fairly hilly 80 miles (135km). The problem is the temperature is forecast to be almost 30 degrees Celsius. Now I am sure my Italian cycle chums will laugh, but 30 degrees and exercise don’t mix well for English people. I don’t think I can carry that much water !.

Counting down the final weeks now, and the event is getting very close. At least the Tour de France is on at the moment, which is another incentive to get out on the bike and with the current weather there is no excuse. Current sponsorship is standing at 715 pounds and I still have to add the money that is in the bucket on the bar at my local pub. (it was looking pretty full last time I looked).

More updates from Sundays ride will be posted soon.

Do smooth legs really make you go any faster ?

Do smooth legs really make you look faster ?

The London Cycle Sportive.

The hair is now off !!!. Waxing the legs, raised me a ton of cash at the pub. Although I was a bit perturbed at the number of people who were very quick to queue up and cause me pain (1 pound a wax strip). I did actually scream on a number of occasions. Who needs enemies when you got friends like that eh !!. A big thank-you to everyone who participated and raised a lot of money on the night.

So with the pain and rashes of being “de-haired” I now return to the training schedule. Today’s outing was the London Cycle Sportive a 100km ride starting in South London and then out round Biggin Hill onto the Surrey hills, (yes – Box Hill again) followed by a fairly flat run back into London finishing with a lap of the Herne Hill Velodrome (one of the oldest cycling tracks in the world) Ben Swift from Team Sky was riding as well (apparently he was handing out medals at one point.) The weather was glorious , a balmy 25 degrees and we were all churning through the water at a rate of knots. The ride felt good and I even had some left in the legs to crank up the speed in the Velodrome.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=R6EFlUy0PT8 width=”320″ height=”180″]

Ride stats and route are here.

Sponsorship, Velodromes and Hair

Cycling news:
Well, things are hotting up we are almost only 1 month away from the big day. So what is coming up you ask ? well – This Sunday there is another long ride coming up. I will be riding the London Cycle Sportive, which is another ride that takes in Box Hill (yet again) but the exciting part is the ride finishes with a lap of the Herne Hill Velodrome. So a bit like Paris-Roubaix we get to bomb round the track after a 60mile ride out in Surrey.

I have now decked out the names of my sponsors on the bike so a huge thankyou to all those who have made a donation so far. Your names are stuck on the bike frame and I will be drawing on those stickers for inspiration in a months time.

Thanks to all my sponsors.

Thanks to all my sponsors.

I would also like to say a special thanks to BlackHorse Apiaries who have sponsored me. If you are ever interested in learning about Bee keeping, or just interested in the craft – give them a call. They run a number of practical and theory courses and have a wealth of knowledge and resources on all aspects of keeping bees.

So tonight is the night !!! after me stupidly offering to get my legs waxed for this ride, tonight the hair comes off. (I blame the Italians – and them making me do it) Hopefully it will not be as painful as I am imagining. (It can’t be as bad as getting stung by a bee – right ? ) on the other hand it may be as bad as getting stung by a swarm of bees. (have experience of both of these events).

Current hair status

Current hair status

Check back to see what state I am in after the event.

The hair needs to come off ?

So I got a little bit of a bashing from my cycling friend in Italy, I have been told that to be a “proper” cyclist I need to lose the hair on the legs. I am still trying to find a sensible reason as to why this needs to happen. I have been Googling as to why on earth would you do this and I have yet to find a bonefide reason. But in the interests of charity, I will be selling wax strips and for a small fee you can make me scream like a baby. All proceeds to MIND. This task is probably going to be harder than the ride !!! I just pulled out one hair and it hurt like a bitch, and I got a lot of em on my legs. (Pictures of the process will be posted here, along with before and afters)

Apparently these are the reasons from the pros !!

It Improves Your Aerodynamics on the Bike
The Theory: In this age of seamless skinsuits, aero frames, dimpled helmets, and ultralight deep-rim carbon wheels, it’s senseless to ignore the slight but real advantage of having bare legs.

(To wit, a 1987 study conducted by Chester Kyle concluded that the aerodynamic improvement is roughly 0.6 percent, which could result in a savings of around 5 seconds in a 40km time trial ridden at 37kph.) NB- I can’t ride at 37kph !!!!

The Reality: “It [the actual benefit] depends upon how hairy you are. I mean, look at the skinsuits of today. They fit really well, there are no seams, no grippers. So if all that makes a difference, then a lot of hair on your legs could slow you down.” —former pro Levi Leipheimer NB – I don’t own a “skinsuit” unless you count the one I was born in.

“Maybe at the most elite level of time-trialing. On a mountain bike: no way, not a bit.” —Multitime U.S. national mountain bike champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski

“In terms of actual aerodynamics [not much]. But I know that if I ever looked down while I was on the bike and saw hairy legs I immediately felt slower.” —Tour de France stage winner Davis Phinney

It Improves the Benefits and Pleasure of Massage
The Theory: Getting your hair pulled during massage hurts. A lot.
NB – I don’t have a masseuse at my disposal – any offers ?

The Reality: “It’s why I shave. It would hurt too much if I didn’t.” —Leipheimer

“You need more oil if you have a lot of hair. You don’t want to feel like an oiled pig.” —Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten
NB – I am not sticking an apple in my mouth.

“Absolutely. It’s the number one reason I shave. I can’t imagine the pain of getting a full massage with hairy legs. I also think some of best massage techniques don’t involve much oil, so that makes having no hair even more important.” —Horgan-Kobelski

“It probably feels better shaved, but on a deeper muscular level there’s no difference. You can accomplish the exact same thing shaved or unshaved. I work on cyclists all year-round and even the pros go hairy in the winter.” —Certified massage therapist Chris Grauch

“I bet it’s nicer for the person giving the massage. Would you want to touch hairy legs?” —Multitime U.S. national cyclocross champion Todd Wells

It Makes Wound Care Easier and More Effective
The Theory: Cleaning and caring for road rash is simpler and yields speedier healing when there’s no leg hair present to impede the removal of dirt and grime, host bacteria, or complicate bandage changes.

The Reality: “I always thought crashing was the biggest reason. When you slide out on your bike, you take out big swaths of skin. Hair just collects dirt and is no fun to bandage.” —Phinney

“It also allows kinesio tape to stick better, which lots of cyclists are using these days.” —Horgan-Kobelski

It Just Looks Better—and That Makes You Faster
The Theory: Every cut and line of toned muscles pop when not obscured by a thicket of hair, and the snazzier you look the sharper you ride.
NB – I have stumpy fat legs and knobbly knees.

The Reality: “Absolutely. In your mind, having shaved legs makes you feel faster. I always shave before a time trial. You feel the wind flowing over your legs.” —RadioShack pro Chris Horner

Women Like Smooth-Legged Men
The Theory: Really, we just think our spouses and partners have been humoring us all this time.
NB – I doubt it – they just like seeing men endure what they do.

The Reality: Even when [my husband] Jeremy [Horgan-Kobelski] stops racing I want him to keep shaving. I think it’s hot. But I’m a racer, too. The majority of the female population probably disagrees.” —Pro mountain biker Heather Irmiger

It’s Tradition
The Theory: Losing the leg pelt is a sign that you’re committed to living your life with the noble aim of honoring what it means to be a true racing cyclist–plus, showing up hairy to a serious group ride is akin to wearing shorts to church.

The Reality: “Tradition is why everyone shaves the first time. If you’re a bike racer, that’s just what you do.” —Horner

“Leg shaving is an expression of being a cyclist.” —Horgan-Kobelski

“It always just seemed stupid to me.” —Multitime Leadville Trail 100 winner Dave Wiens

“It was the fashion when I raced. It’s the fashion now. Real bike riders shave their legs.” —Phinney

NB – nope none of these have convinced me – I don’t follow fashion.