A Festival of Cycling – Girona Gran Fondo

logo_girona_gran_fondoGirona has long been known for the quality of its riding, its labyrinth of twisty medieval streets with hidden restaurants and bars and now comes the chance to enjoy a Gran Fondo in the greatest cycling city in the world.
Organised by Club Ciclista Bike Breaks supported by The Girona Cycle Centre the event promises a week long cycling extravaganza.

With a Nocturne lap ride through the medieval old city, a timed hill climb of nearby mountain Els angels and culminating with a 125km loop into the volcanic region to the north of the city, and plenty of après bike and partying in between this is THE Gran Fondo of 2014.

The event starts on June 16th, the organisers have a bike shop and they’re running the week long cycling festival with daily “shop rides” on the most exciting roads of Girona, they also offer a once in a life time opportunity to do a “nocturne ride”. There will be social events including a “catalán evening” in Sant Daniel with the amazing gastronomy that this city has to offer, a pre-race party and then things get a little more serious with an uphill time trial to “Els Angels” it’s a 10.4km long climb with pretty views the whole week will culminate with the gran fondo itself on 21st June which will be 125km long.

The Girona Gran Fondo will be an unforgettable week in Girona and a long overdue showcase for this theme park for cycling.

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Day 1 – World Track Championships

Women's Team Sprint Podium

Women’s Team Sprint Podium

We woke up today in a snow covered mornin in Minsk. The trainings prior the race started early at 9am and all the Countries were here with their very best exponents.

The first session began at 1pm while Sarah Hammer qualified 1st in the IP Australia did the same in the men’s TP and we were ready for the opening ceremony and the finals to begin at 6!

The opening ceremony was beautiful they put on an amazing show that was very worth watching until the presidents of belarus and later on the UCI did a very long speach ;)

We were all exciting to see some action and see medals taken, we were so excited that we didn’t mind all the security points that make us wait for hours to get insde the velodrome. But well what can we expect from Russia?

Anyway… the first event of the evening was the women’s team sprint, the German duo of Krystina Vogel and Miriam Welte; are the Olympic Champions but this is a post Olympic year and many riders can surprise us with their form.

Germany and China qualified to fight for Gold and Great Britain against the Aussies for the bronze.

In the men’s 1km Francois Pervis (France) was the fastest followed by Simon Van Velthooven and Joachim Eillers.

The programme was followed with the Women’s Individual Pursuit Finals, Sarah Hammer won in style lapping Amy Cure who secured second while Annet Edmondson was third.

The olympic champions didn’t disappoint, The German girls won the Team Sprint, China was second while Great Britain were third with their new line up.

And then the event everyone was waiting for, the men’s Team Pursuit. This intense competition between Great Britain and Australia that everyone talks about.

But it started with the race for bronze and Denmark came out to beat Spain to take the medal.

And Australia took gold and it felt like a revenge after the Olympic Games.

This is what happened on the first day of competition but there is way more to come!!

On Track in Mallorca

USA Women Training in Mallorca

A few weeks ago my boyfriend Jetse and I did a short visit to Mallorca, he had to do an intense block of training and the guys from Performance United have their training base there so I was excited to catch up with my sister Sofia!
It was impossible not to fall in love with the place, with those amazing views and all the mountains! We arrived at Sofia’s apartment in Alaró, such a nice little town.
Very close to her apartment is the Team House, the boys of the team live there and they also have a weight lifting room, with all the necessary equipment for track riders along with the fantastic watt bikes, and you can’t miss the flags of Ireland, USA, Turkey, Mexico and Spain decorating the room.

Sofia Arreola

We had time to catch up a little bit there with coach Andy Sparks while he was showing us the place and telling us all the advantages that came with training in Mallorca, he even invited Jetse for a ride with the guys.

To me it was clear why my sister doesn’t want to come back to train in Mexico after only a few hours of being there, the Island is really special for bike rides!!! But I was so excited and looking so much forward to go to the track and see the guys in action!

Andy Sparks

But that didn’t happen until the last day, meanwhile we had time to do some training, enjoy the sun and the beach and we even went for dinner with Jennie Reed and her hubby Brandon Madden, I have to admit I’m such a big fan of Jennie since long time ago when she was a sprinter but this is the first time I’d actually met her and had time to get to know her.

When I asked her, why did she make the change from sprinting to endurance she said she was looking for a new challenge and I think instead Jennie’s creating a challenge to other teams as she rocks in the team pursuit even as much as she did as a sprinter!

Anyways back to the track… The Palma Arena is such a cool place, the track is beautiful and you can feel the great atmosphere at their training sessions, you can hear everyone cheering for each other while they’re doing there efforts and giving tips to each other to improve… its just priceless! But I have to say the biggest supporters at the track are Brandon Madden and Kirk Bausch (husbands of Jennie Reed and Dotsie Bausch) you can hear they screaming “GO, GO, GO!!!” during the whole training.

While Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed have basically made Mallorca their second home the rest of the Team Pursuit girls (Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch) come in special periods during the year, this time they were all together as they’re getting ready for London and yes… they are looking STRONG!

Other riders in the team also preparing for London are Martyn Irvine (Ireland) and David Muntaner (Spain), while Recep Unalan (Turkey) and Sofia Arreola (Mexico) are making next year’s World Cup season their major focus.

Coach Andy is looking very optimistic about the Games and I’m sure the boys and girls will get amazing results there, so excited to see them racing and I even got special t-shirts to support them along the way!

 

Thanks for reading!
 
 

Mark Cavendish & Juan Antonio Flecha Q&A

For the launch of the new partnership between the heavyweights that are Team Sky and Jaguar, Cycling Shorts was very kindly asked by Jaguar to provide questions to put to the Team Sky riders, we only knew in advance that Cav would definitely be there so we supplied an array of questions for him and a hefty selection for each of the other Sky cyclists and management.

On the day it turned out Juan Antonio Flecha and Mark Cavendish would represent the team for interviews, but we had plenty of questions for both of them. Unfortunately our collective technical and hard hitting questions didn’t quite make the cut, which is to be expected at a corporate event they tend to go for mass appeal, but our fluffier questions were used.
Questions by Nancy, Darren, and the two Paul’s (Harris & Sloper).

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Jaguar, Team Sky, Mark & Juan.


 

 
 

Review – Ana Nichoola Snow Cat Jacket A/W 2011/12

Nancy & Anna Review the Ana Nichoola Snow Cat Jacket

Between us  we use the full range of Ana Nichoola clothing and have been fans since the arrival of “Bo Peep” Gloves. We are both always at the front of the queue to purchase our next item. Ana Nichoola has now ventured into clothing with the Snow Cat Jacket and what a triumph it is. Below are our thoughts on it and links to our reviews of other products in the range we have purchased.

Cycling is a sport that’s dominated by men and all the equipment is made for them but with the new Ana Nichoola collection that will change! No more boring design, no more jackets and warmers that never fit… You can actually look girlie and stylish while riding your bike.
The brand is created by female bike rider Anna Glowinski, who better than a woman to understand the needs of women in the sport. Ana Nichoola has an innovating line of accessories with very cool designs; each piece has little details that make a simple item look extraordinary.
Apart from the good looks, the quality of the products is exceptionally high. Both of us agree we haven’t seen anything for female cyclists this good!

We agree our most favorite item is the “Snow Cat Jacket”, no other jacket on the market gets close to this one, it’s a warm jacket perfect for your cold winter rides, a great windstopper and like the arm warmers it fits amazingly well, tailored for a women’s body. The fabrics are of the best quality with a mix of reflective fabrics, sweat wicking, stretchy, soft and warm.

The collar is a double layer with a lovely soft polar fleece lining at the neck, the outer collar is a stand up mandarin style collar with a press stud fastening in a pale duck egg blue colour. The top sculpted part of the jacket and sleeves is made from a gorgeous white waffle textured fabric with tiny flecks of shiny thread woven into it (you can see the flecks in the blue collar too), it looks like snow glistening in the moonlight. The top lining is a lovely soft fleece. There’s a pair of embroidered circles on the shoulder in pastel pink and blue providing just enough embellishment to bring an elegant feel to the garment, this is repeated further down on the left hip. The top half is all about keeping your chest warm. The lines of the jacket are very sympathetic to the female form and rather than having a horizontal band or line between the two fabrics (as you find on most male or unisex cycling jerseys) it has a swooping blue stitched edge between the white of the top and the grey of the bottom. The bottom half of the jacket is a thinner fabric enabling more movement, it has a grey and dark charcoal horizontal stripe pattern. On the front at the left hip there’s the Ana Nichoola logo and just above it there’s an secure zipped pocket. On the back of the jacket there are two large pockets like all good cycling jerseys should have, but these pockets are again sympathetically styled to echo female curves. The pockets are stretchy and also have press-stud closures, there is a smaller pocket nestled inside the right pocket; ideal for a snack bar or a mini pump. Centre back of the jacket upper is a golden embroidered circle between your shoulder blades. The cuffs are finished with a matt silver reflective fabric. Running down the sides of the body and under the arms on the sleeves is a black lycra wicking fabric for a better contouring fit and to make your ride a comfortable one. Overall it provides an extremely flattering silhouette. You can tell a lot of thought and effort has gone in to designing this jacket.
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Click SL (slideshow) or FS (fullscreen)

This jacket has provided more protection from the wind and wintery weather than any other cycling jacket of it’s kind we’ve owned and it looks great off the bike too. We’ve both had loads of compliments and questions while out and about… plenty of jacket envy. It’s easy to clean. The price is premium but lets be clear this jacket is premium quality and there are many jackets in this price bracket that aren’t near this quality. The stitching and finishing is excellent along with the fabric quality. The sizing is quite accurate, we would say that buying your true size will give you a good fitting jacket, the size range is a UK6 to UK14, bustier ladies may be disappointed that larger sizes aren’t available, but maybe that will change when the brand grows. We’ve seen a sneak peek of the Spring/Summer collection and the clothing range is increasing, you won’t be disappointed no matter what type of bike you ride you’ll want to get your hands on something from the collection!

Ana Nichoola also has gloves, neck warmers and ear warmers in the range so you should take a look at the Ana Nichoola website and read our reviews of the rest of the product range.

Come on girls, what are you waiting for… Style Your Ride!

 

Nancy & Anna.

 

Price: £159.99

Available from www.ananichoola.co.uk


 
 
 
 

It’s Christmas Time!

1st Snow Ride Of The Season By Will_Cyclist

Santa is coming with many gifts for all of those who have been good this year and I’m sure everyone is getting ready to have a nice dinner and spend time with their families this weekend. But how is Christmas in the life of a bike rider??

For road riders this is the off-season, they don’t have any races at this time of the year, its more about recovering and getting in shape for the next season. But for track riders and cyclocross riders this is where they need to be 100% and really focused on riding their bikes and pushing themselves further in races. Don’t ask me much about MTB, BMX and other cycling disciplines because to be honest I really don’t know much about those disciplines!

Lets start with road riders; I think the hardest thing for them is to stay in shape, at Christmas there’s a lot of good food and people tend to gain weight in the winter, that’s something that a bike rider and especially a road rider can’t allow themselves to do as weight does matter!

Drem Airfiled Snow Ride By Jason Liddell

There are usually training camps with their team to build up relationships with new and old teammates and to get a nice block of training for the next season under their belt, they need to stay focused to achieve their goals for the upcoming season and manage their time wisely to also be able to spend quality time with the family.

It’s harder when you live in one of those really cold countries in Europe where there is a lot of snow and rain during the winter and you need to go to other places to train, my boyfriend, Jetse Bol had to go to Fuerteaventura for training last year and couldn’t spend “Sinterklaas” (it’s what Dutchies celebrate over Christmas) with his family in Holland.

Things are a bit more complicated for the ‘cross and track riders, they are in the middle of the season right now and they do have to train and compete at the highest level in the World. The cross riders have a World Cup on December 26th and plenty of other races after that which means they probably won’t be out celebrating on New Year’s Eve!

The track riders don’t have big races close to Christmas but for example, the case of my sister Sofia; she is based in Mallorca during the winter because it’s better for training than Mexico and because it’s easier to travel to all the races but she was lucky that there was a World Cup in Colombia this month so she could come over to Mexico to spend Christmas at home but she is flying to Mallorca on the 26th in order to get ready for her next event in Beijing.

Sometimes you need to make some sacrifices and sometimes you are lucky enough to be able to do it all but in the end all that matters is achieving the goals set for the season, the Olympic year is coming!!!

 

Merry Christmas!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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