2013 So Far – Ready for Spring

JodyDrinkBC

January

2013 started off by eating grapes, in fact 12 of them, one for each chime of the clock ringing in the New Year. I was in Majorca and this was a Spanish tradition to bring good luck. It was nice to get back into a routine of training and have no distractions. Also the weather was pretty good compared to back in the UK and I managed to get 10 quality days of training in, covering a good number of miles and a plenty of climbing to boot. Back in the UK I continued race in the Manchester Regional Track League, and enjoyed getting back into the competitive side of bike riding, although the endurance side of racing has never been my speciality.

 

Towards the end of January I attended the London Bike Show, and although there was quite a bit of snow disrupting travel I managed to get there and back in one piece and without too many delays. The show was good fun, signing autographs on the British Cycling stand, and then doing a half hour interview on the stage with Anthony McCrossen. The bike show was also a good chance to chat to manufacturers and distributers about the coming year and meet the industry insiders.

 

February

The start of February saw me heading north to Glasgow, to ride at the final round of the Revolution track series, and the first time the series had ventured away from Manchester. Once again I was riding for Face Partnership with the endurance riders. I didn’t quite get off to as good a start as in the first round as I finished 6th in the Flying Lap, an event I’d managed a 2nd in October. The Madison kilo was a much better ride than the 1st round though, riding with Jake Ragan we managed to post a sub 60 second kilo and good enough to take the lead at the halfway point. In the end we ended up 5th, but the time and placing was an improvement from previous rounds. The bunch races went pretty well this time around, although I didn’t make any of the top ten places I had much stronger rides than in the October rounds and was more aware of what was going on around me. However still need some more racing and training to properly get in the mix and contest the finish sprints.

 

With unsettled weather conditions and having spent 2 days straight on the turbo, I was online booking another camp out in Majorca, this time it was only for 7 days, but it was long enough to continue working on the base fitness, and clocking in the hours. I was staying in the Playa de Palma, and it was pretty much a cycling hotel, with the hotel filled with cyclists. I was joined on a number of rides by fellow Paralympic Colin Lynch, who was staying in the same hotel. I also bumped into one of my main rivals and good friend, Jiri Jezek, who was staying a few hundred metres away in another hotel, I joined him out on a big group ride where we discussed the issues we’re having in our sport at the moment. It was good to get out riding with these guys as I do a lot of my training on my own, and when you’re on longer road rides it’s good to have someone there with you going through the same miles and hours. My fitness was on the way up, and I set a few PB’s up some of the shorter climbs on the island I use to test myself.

The camp wasn’t without a few hiccups though, as on the 2nd day I was knocked off by a car, which in itself was pretty shocking, but I was incredibly lucky and managed to escape with a few cuts and bruises. Thankfully it didn’t affect my training and I was able to finish the week strongly.

 

Once back home it was off to another bike show, this time the Bike and Triathlon Show in Manchester. It was a smaller event than the one in London, but certainly felt like I signed more autographs this time around.

 

March

With my fitness going in the right direction, it was time to test myself out on the road, and I was set to race in the Eddie Soens Classic at Aintree Race Course. It was the first race of the season for most people and historically has been cold and wet, but with 250 riders from all categories of racing it was going to be organized chaos! The race set off at a good speed and I was off with the Cat 2 riders in the group just ahead of the Cat 1’s and Elites. It wasn’t long before we were caught and the bunch was 250riders strong and shortly after that the first crash happened, fortunately I managed to avoid it, but with the rider on the ground each lap the bunch would have to squeeze past before regrouping. A few more laps in and there was another crash, this time I wasn’t so lucky and got caught the wrong side of it. After not quite making it back on, I ended up riding to the end of the race in a small group, and with the peloton out of our range it turned into a strong training ride. Still it was pretty enjoyable, and my legs felt pretty good throughout.

 

Then it was back to Majorca again, this time with almost all the GB Para-Cycling Team. It was one of the most relaxed camps I’ve been on, although the craziest weather conditions. We had sun, rain, wind, snow, and hail, but all in all it didn’t stop me getting in all the training I had planned. This camp was about adding intensity to my rides, and working on specifics that’ll hopefully convert into more speed on the track during my kilo.

 

Well that’s spring done and dusted, off to race at the Good Friday Meet at Herne Hill Velodrome (weather permitting) and then it’s into the meaty part of my training block, as I aim to make the 2014 Commonwealth Team.

 

Catch you all soon, as I keep you updated on my progress

 

Jody

 

P.S. Catch me tonight (29/03/2013) on the last show of the season of Channel4’s The Last Leg, 9.30pm on Channel 4 in the UK.

 

 

 

The London Bike Show 2013 (Review 2)

Hopefully this will add something to the great article written by Tony here.

Last week was tough for cycling, hitting the national headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yet help was at hand with the start of the pro tour season in Australia and Argentina and perhaps even more exciting;  4 days of the London Bike Show to cheer even the most cynical of fans.

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Bradleys Wiggins’ Pinarello Dogma in Malliot Jaune Livery

Having never been to an event like this before, the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of people in attendance. OK, tickets included entry to three additional shows within the Excel but the exhibition centre was positively throbbing. As the glitz and glamour of Wiggo mania wanes it was heartening to see continued excitement surrounding cycle sport in general.

Kudos goes to the new Madison Genesis team, managed by ex Garmin-Cervelo rider Roger Hammond, who held their team presentation on the Saturday of the show. Hosted by the delightful Ant McCrossan it was a chance to see some of the team’s extremely youthful looking riders like Alex Peters and Brendan Townshend which have combined with elder more experienced riders like Dean Downing, Ian Bibby and Andy Tennant.

The Madison-Genesis Continental Team being presented on stage

Arguably the most interesting aspect of this team is their promotion of the Steel framed Genesis Volare bike. Equipped with a Shimano Dura Ace and Pro finishing kit, the team bike is a delight aesthetically. Extremely classical, yet with modern touches. The downtube is wider than traditional steel bikes pandering to the modern trend for oversized tubing.Indeed the team is making a big deal out of the specially developed Reynolds tubing made in Birmingham.

The prevelance of Carbon Fibre as the go to material for high end road bikes may yet be challenged and as Genesis themselves argue; they have looked to banish those 80’s misconceptions that Steel frames are heavy flexible steeds. Instead, suggesting that they have combined the durability and comfort that is usually associated with a steel frame, with the race weight and stiffness of modern bikes.

Bibby, Downing, Jack Pullar, Chris Snook and Sebastian Baylis proved the bike was no slouch when they took part in the Elite Men’s Criterium after the presentation. The speed of the peloton around the tight, twisting 500 metre indoor circuit was astonishing to watch. With Bibby coming out on top beating UK circuit regular teams likes IG-Sigma Sport and Hope Factory Racing Team it was the perfect start for the new team. The folding bicycle race was also great to watch as a prelude to the main criterium. The ‘Le Mans’ style start meant that riders had to unfold their bicycles before setting off. Keith Henderson’s huge, race winning attack on the penultimate lap was very impressive. The Animal Bike Tour with Martyn Ashton, Blake Samson, Luke Madigan and Billy Atkins was also a joy to watch. Whilst Ashton was undoubtedly superb, Billy Atkins at the age of 17 pulled off some outrageous tricks on a scooter.

Elsewhere at the show you could not move for visual delights. Cervelo, Pinarello, Willier and Specialized all in attendance. Yet what struck me in

Stealthy looking Wilier

Stealthy looking Wilier

particular was the range of bike brands on offer. Canyon, Team and Time amongst others. Canyon in particular were exhibiting a range of road and MTB frames all at varying price brackets. The Ultimate CF was a particular delight with perfect geometry and presence at a great price, along with Joaquim Rodigruez’s Giro d’Italia customised Aeroad CF lavishly decorated with pink decals to match the Maglia Rosa he spectacularly lost to Ryder Hesjedal in 2012. This spectrum of bikes although dizzyingly confusing can only be a good thing for the continuation of top end cycle sport. And with the news that Pinarello is looking to stock frames at selected Halfords stores, we are now more than ever, spoilt for choice.

Amongst other products on show, Nanoprotech was perhaps the most innovative, like nothing I’ve seen before. Whilst Sportful where exhibiting an extremely lightweight waterproof jacket. Hope continue to produce beautifully engineered bike products, contact points and accessories whilst Schwalbe’s extensive range of tyres was mind boggling. Last word goes to Clif Bar whose Builders Bar was very tasty in a variety of flavours along with their electrolyte shot in Citrus and double espresso was easy on the palette.

The London Bike Show 2013

LondonBikeShow

I was delighted to receive two tickets to the London Bike Show last weekend and rather gutted to find out I couldn’t go. As an ex-pro who still cycles every day, my Dad was of course, more than happy to pop along. Here’s Tony’s account of the bike show on Saturday…

*****
The moment I stepped off the Docklands Light Railway on Saturday morning I knew it was going to be busy.  The snow that had fallen copiously in the London area the previous day meant I had to use public transport although I have never been totally comfortable travelling on a driverless train and leaving everything to a computer.  I had assumed that the weather would keep a lot of people at home but I was so wrong.  The masses propelled me towards the entrance and looking around at my fellow visitors I couldn’t help but notice how well prepared they were for bad weather with a good selection of beanie hats, stout boots and several in what appeared to be rubberised jackets.  All was to become clear.

The queue at the entrance was at least 50 deep but moved quickly. My ticket was snatched away and I found myself inside the ExCeL centre – but oh no, the overhead banner proclaimed  “Welcome to the London Boat Show”!  My inner chimp panicked, how would I retrieve my ticket and get back out? Then I heard someone say “the Bike Show is in the hall at the end”.  Tickets gave access not only to the Bike Show but also to the Boat Show, The Outdoors Show and the Active Travel Show.

It wasn’t yet 11 a.m. but it appeared that the Bike Show was drawing in well over 25% of the visitors and so my slow shuffle down the first isle began.  The sheer volume of people attending in such bad weather is a fine testament to the popularity of cycling, however, on this occasion it did make it difficult to have a chat with stand attendants.

Even though progress was slow, what struck me straight off was the number of stands showing complete road bikes for sale.  Pinarello had the largest stand, right in the centre, displaying a wide range of complete bikes from entry level sportives at around £1,000 to their top end time trial machine coming in at £14,000.  If you can only manage £11,000 then you can pick up a nice little track number.  Boardman was also there in force at the far end, close to the Animal Bike stunt track where Martyn Ashton (four times British Bike Trial Champion) and Blake Samson were performing mind boggling acrobatics and aerial manoeuvres.

I know I’m an oldie, and call me old fashioned if you want but much of the roadie’s off season pleasure used to be gained from reviewing and selecting the various components that were to be built onto the coming season’s new frame.  Now the pressure of volume production versus price directs most of us towards pre-configured complete bikes built around a mass produced monocoque carbon fibre frame, 99% of which are manufactured from one of four or so factories in the far east using carbon fibre spun from one of three Japanese facilities, Toray, Toho Tenax and Mitsubishi Rayon.  Time and time again I asked where the vendor’s frames were produced and got the same answer.  At Canyon Bikes I asked again if their frames were made in China?  “No” the proud German lady proclaimed, I was momentarily excited – perhaps it would be Dusseldorf or Nuremburg, but alas “….ours are manufactured in Tie-van” (she meant Taiwan)!

I could only find three suppliers displaying custom carbon frames.  Sigma Sport were offering a hand built custom carbon frame from the iconic Italian Colnago house using preformed carbon lugs bonded to the tubes.  I was told Signore Colnago strongly believes this is the right way to do it.  You would need £3,000 or more to have one made to measure but I can’t help thinking that these are like giant Airfix kits – preformed pieces glued together and very quick to assemble, although I must admit the multi-stage hand paint process is fabulous.

Le Beau Velo, distributor for the Italian Fondriest brand were offering a bespoke carbon fibre ‘layup’ frame, where the joints are held together with cut-to-fit carbon fibre sheets bonded with epoxy resin rather than preformed lugs.  I was told no UK fabricator does this.  These frames are hand made in Italy and again have a price tag north of £3,000.  Their tubes are constructed from Toray carbon fibre from Japan but they claim the actual manufacturing of the tubes is performed in Italy, presumably by ATR who also supply Colnago and are one of the very few non-Asian manufacturers of monocoque frames.  Equally as strong, stiff and responsive as a carbon monocoque, Le Beau Velo’s typical custom frame customer is a gentleman of a certain standing who can afford something that looks special…that is special, whilst still young enough to ride to its full potential (or most of it anyway),  “a top end racing frame that is seldom used for racing”.

The Extra stand was also displaying carbon lugged frames manufactured by Time.  Time is a French company who obtain a lot of their revenue from contracted carbon fibre work at the Airbus aircraft factory in Toulouse.  This has enabled them to become another of the very few non-Asian manufacturers of carbon fibre weave, although their volume in comparison to the far east manufacturers is very small and the number of frames they produce is also small in comparison.

Independent steel and titanium frame builders were noticeable by their absence and I saw only a handful of non-carbon frames for the serious rider.  There was no Bamboo construction in evidence at all, which is surprising given the ‘green’ momentum these fabulous machines have been getting.  Perhaps the cost of renting a stand at the show is prohibitive to all but the largest suppliers and distributors.

One final note; I happened to be ushered by the masses out of an isle just in front of the Jaguar Performance Theatre as the newly formed professional team sponsored by Madison Genesis was being presented (video below).  First up was Dean Downing followed by 8 or 9 fresh faced professionals all hoping to be part of this year’s UCI Continental team under Roger Hammond’s stewardship.  They also announced that Genesis has been working with Reynolds to develop a new ‘953’ steel-alloy frameset.

Overall, a hugely enjoyable and educational experience, if hampered a little by the sheer volume of visitors.  I stopped on the way back to meet my wife at the newly built Westfield-Stratford shopping mall.  It was empty by comparison!

 

 

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

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