Brooks Team Pro Classic

January 27, 2014

Brooks Team Pro Classic

The Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 site is now live and as my first step on that journey I’ve bought a new saddle. It is the Audax standard, a Brooks Team Pro Classic to replace my Selle San Marco Regal. At 530g it is 150g heavier but that won’t matter at all if it is still comfortable after eight hours of riding.

UPDATE: I was expecting a lengthy breaking in period but first ride was four-and-a-half hours and the new saddle was perfectly comfortable throughout. Very impressed!

Here’s a experimental timelapse video shot on my new GoPro. It uses the default setting of a frame every half second and I then compiled the thousands of pictures using Microsoft Movie Maker. The result isn’t too bad.

Orica-GreenEDGE’s Mitch Docker and Fumy Beppu give us their top 5 tips for riding over the cobbles:

  • Double tape your bars and don’t grip too tight
  • Reliable, strong, 32-spoke old school wheels
  • 28mm tyres at 6 bar (87 psi)
  • Sit back on the saddle and let the front wheel coast
  • Ride the smoothest line, either along the side or straight down the middle

The Best Seat In The World directed by Danny McGuinness

A documentary looking at this historic London sporting venue. Herne Hill Velodrome was built in 1891 and later played home to the 1948 Olympic track cycling. As billions of pounds are pumped into the 2012 Olympics, we take a look at the site’s recent financial troubles, the campaign to save it and a wider look at cycling culture in Britain today.

Bordeaux-Paris 2014

February 19, 2013

Bordeaux-Paris 2014

First held in 1891, Bordeaux-Paris was one of the longest professional bike races, covering around 560 km (350 miles) – more than twice most one-day races. The last professional edition was held in 1988 but in May 2014, the event is being resurrected as a 600 km (370 mile) sportive.

There is next to no detail on the event’s site (yet) but I’ve been able to dig up a little info from various sources online:

  • Starts on Friday, May 30 next year, from downtown Bordeaux
  • First 15-20 km will be neutralised
  • Groups will then form as riders of similar speeds stick together
  • Around 100 motorcycles will protect the groups
  • The will be five controls (every 100-ish kms)
  • Elevation gain will be 4,000-4,500 m
  • Finish will be south of Paris
  • Entries will open May 2013
  • Cost is expected to be €100-200
  • Will need a medical certificate

Three categories

  • Less than 26 hours
  • Less than 36 hours
  • Less than 60 hours

Features

  • 1,500 cyclists (50% foreign)
  • Live GPS tracking
  • Fixed and mobile security
  • Transport to Bordeaux
  • Accommodation packages
  • Mechanical assistance
  • Five controls

This will probably be my first 600 so I figure it will be safer to enter the 36-hour category and plan for a short pre-dawn nap. The training for a 600 is supposed to be fairly similar to that for a 200, at least according to Burke and Pavelka’s Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling, so should be perfectly manageable. I guess this event will also be a major stepping stone towards my first Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015…

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The ride started at Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire, went south to Whitchurch in Hampshire, across to Alton and then back up the start via Henley-on-Thames. The route was mostly on fairly quite lanes with a few sections on main roads but they weren’t too busy. The only exception was the A321 into and the A4155 out of Henley-on-Thames where the drivers were particularly impatient. This section wasn’t originally part of the main route but had to be added due to road closures following the recent flooding.

There wasn’t much ice in the lanes but we were extra careful on downhills and shady corners. After all, it only takes one patch to ruin a ride. A couple of the lanes were a little slushy in places and the private lane to Blounce House was very muddy but nothing too troubling.

As you can see for the elevation profile above, it was a little lumpy but total elevation gain was only around 1,600 metres so not too taxing.

There were six controls in total, three “proof of passage” and three info. We spent far too long at the first two controls and, when combined with three puncture stops and numerous pee stops, it meant the last ninety-ish minutes were ridden after sunset – not ideal. We made it back the finish with only ten minutes before the hourly train back towards London so raced off rather than stay and enjoy some of the warm food and drinks provided by the organiser. This is why I love Audax rides and it was a shame to pass it up. Next year…

Full ride details on Strava here.

It was quite a chilly ride with the temperature averaging only 3° but good clothing choices meant I was perfectly comfortable. Seeing as you asked, I had a pair of lightweight merino wool glove liners under SealSkinz All Weather Cycle Gloves so my hands were fine. Perhaps what helped was that my core was kept warm by a sleeveless Under Armour synthetic base, a long sleeved Helly Hansen merino base, a Windtex winter jacket and a windproof gilet. My feet were in DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks and Northwave winter boots and I had a wool hat from Prendas on under my helmet and a buff protecting my neck. Legs were fine with regular Santini bib shorts and a pair of Pearl Izumi tights.

That’s it for organised rides for this year. I’m planning to ride the Willy Warmer on Jan 19 so it will be back to regular Saturday club rides and the infinite fun that is indoor roller and turbo sessions until then.

Upper Thames Audax

November 5, 2012

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What a stunning day for a ride. Three of us from the club braved the cold and had an excellent, if exhausting, spin around the route. We saw some wonderful countryside, went past a few magnificent houses and got home in a fairly reasonable time.

Ride stats on Strava here.

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