Upper Thames Audax

November 2, 2014

My third successive year riding this event and my slowest so far. Started at 7:30 and finished at 17:00, so not a bad overall time but only 35 mins of this was spent stopped. Barely enough time to grab a ham and cheese sandwich in Bicester and cup of coffee in Bampton (I bounced both controls).

Lots of punctures, particularly early in the ride but my Continental Grand Prix GTs were excellent, as ever. I’ll switch to Four Seasons soon but not sure whether to switch back to GTs or 4000s IIs next spring. The GTs are super reliable but the 4000s IIs are supposed to be faster.

The weather was unusually excellent during the ride with no rain, a temp around 13ºC and only a moderate headwind on the westerly and southerly legs. It has been far worse in the past.

I’m experimenting with eating non-energy products during my rides in preparation for PBP and found Soreen Malt Loaf and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts to be excellent. My slowness was almost certainly not due to switching to “real food” but rather two weeks of next to no riding and a summer of barely any intensity work. Carrying enough energy food isn’t an option for PBP so I’m going to have to get used to eating only what I can buy at controls and convenience stores along the route. Any tips?

My first structured block of training since March starts next week. The plan is to do tempo intervals (2 x 20min) on Tuesdays, aerobic threshold intervals (2 x 30min) on Thursdays, 90min recovery rides on Wednesdays and Fridays and end the week with a four to six hour endurance ride on Saturdays.

Next event: South Bucks Winter Warmer on Dec 6

Ride stats

  • 212km with 1,550m elation gain (7.3m/km)
  • 8:54 moving time (23.8 km/h)
  • 9:30 total time

Some excellent pictures by Andy Oxon on Flickr here.

Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

August 15, 2014

Thinking very seriously about doing this next year.

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


  • 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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