Saturday, October 27, 2012

Murder in the Derbyshire Lanes

I think I am dead.:-()

Tries the Jense test; “ Shut up legs!!! “

No response

I am dead :-(

As part of my training for the LondonRide 100 I need to increase my average speed by about 10% from 19kph to 21kph and sustain it over a very long distance.  
Talking about this requirement to a friend he offered to let me join one of his training rides and tow me along at a speed around about my target level. I should mention here that my    “ friend “ ( ??**!!!?? ) races for Derby Mercury Road Club, is at least 25 years younger than me, is a sub 60 min/25 mile TT rider and is approaching sub 21mins for 10 miles. He also possesses a stable of 7 bikes, made up of a mixture of carbon and titanium frames all equipped with top end kit, i was particularly taken with the power tap he had on his titanium winter bike that  he was using for our ride.

( As an aside, when I got home I described to my wife my awe and admiration for this set of kit. Her comment “ I bet he is not married ! “  He’s not )

Now with the crew I normally cycle with, my heart rate averages around Zone 2 as I zoom along in the middle ring, occasionally it might rise to zone 3 if we encounter one of the derbyshire peaks but it very soon drops back down to more acceptable levels.  It became rapidly apparent on this ride that Zone 2 and middle ring would not suffice! Thankfully the course was flat as over the first few kilometres my garmin 800 indicated a continuous speed of 30kph+, the inner ring was abandoned for the big ring and the little sprockets on the cassette were engaged for the first time in their life.

The external temperature was just hovering above zero and the wind chill lowered the effective temperature further, but despite this I soon began to work up a sweat.  Glancing at my heart rate I noticed it was 150bpm!  This is zone 5 and we were on the flat, and it was not dropping back!  Some serious effort was being extended here, at least by me.
The head wind did not help as the trees were shedding leaves like a snow storm. I tried the wheel sucking trick but to no avail as everytime I got within a couple of metres Scott thought I wanted to speed up and did so! Even the traffic lights were not on my side, conveniently changing to green as we rapidly approached them. The only respite came when we came across a train crossing and the barrier made us stop for a few seconds allowing my heart rate to drop for a minute. But then we were off again, blasting through the villages, overtaking other cyclists, slow moving cars and the occasional bus.
And then it was over. The entire ride had been done cycling continuously in Zone 5 and at a highest ever average speed for me.  The details can be seen at

The cycle home seemed tame by comparison as I dawdled along reflecting on what had been a great experience. Thanks to Scott for taking me along with him. For him it had been nothing but a saunter and probably a waste of good training time. I do appreciate our time together. Once home it was straight to the cake tin for a slice of Bara Brith , great cycling recovery food !

And the murderer, well , have you seen this man?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mud, Sweat and Tears

Last weekend I saw in the newspaper that there was a cyclo cross race being held close to where I live.  I have never seen one of these but some of my friends tell me that they use it as part of their winter training regime. And so I decided to wander along and see what it was all about. The event was Round 5 of the Notts and Derby Cyclo Cross League and was held in Allestree Park in Derby. Whilst there had been some rain on the previous few days, the race day itself was fine with occasional glimpses of sun.
Cycling seems to be booming in Derbyshire and before the main event got underway, Cycle Derby  , an organization aimed at promoting cycling for all ages, ran some mini cyclo cross events for newcomers to the sport and attracted about 100 people.

The main event consisted of 4 events and first up was the Under-9 race.  I was amazed to see that the youngest rider was only 3 years old and he was pedalling! About 65 children took part in this and, though the hill was very minor it still seemed very steep for those with little legs

An abiding memory from the day was that Cyclo Cross is very much a family affair, and the announcer emphasized this fact with his many references to this or that clan, and reminiscences of the old timers whose progeny were there racing to-day.

The local clubs are obviously training their young stars well and there were many examples of teamwork with riders working to-gether to share the load between them

I keep off all this rough stuff, and as the races proceeded the rough stuff got rougher as the ground began to churn up and riders began to slip and slide and the bikes themselves started to get hammered under the strain. Not all could withstand this battering from the elements and so for some their race ended early.

n total there were about 180 riders in the main  junior events and I admire them all for both their enthusiasm and the efforts they put in.

The senior race consisted of around 220 riders with a women’s race of about 25 contestants embedded within the field. Seniors seemed to range in age from the exceedingly fit 20 year olds to those of much more mature years, though I did not spot any old age pensioners reinforcing my personal view that this was not an event for me! I was also amazed to see that many, if not all, the riders had two bikes, plus spare sets of wheels and the pit area was chocked  full of bike porn.
I had seen disc brakes on bikes before but have never been a fan, being worried that they may be too severe and catapult me over the bars; but as I watched the riders race around the course and saw how their bikes changed colour from, say, electric blue to muddy blackish brown I began to understand the advantages that discs could bring. The derailleur gears also seemed to get clogged up and battered, especially through the wooded sections where the attempts to highlight the roots with white paint soon proved to have been a futile effort

As the race proceeded and riders became progressively more tired, the strain began to show on their faces. The ruts got deeper, the mud more slimey but they all battled on

Well done to them all. For me a great day out and thanks to all the organizers for putting on such an event which attracted over 600 people riding during the day

But I am still going to stick to just watching :-)