Tacx Neo smart trainer

Most of my ‘serious’ and focussed training is done in the garage on a turbo trainer – the time available to me for training is quite limited, and consequently I train before going to work, so usually around 6am. I therefore use the turbo trainer all year round. For the last few years, I’ve been using the iOS app Motivo to manage my turbo training sessions. Unfortunately, I’d recently been having trouble pairing my ANT HR strap to it (and occasionally this problem affected any of my devices). Whether this reflected a problem with my iPad ANT adapter, I’m not sure. In any event, TrainerRoad appeared a bit more robust in this regard. It hadn’t escaped me that TrainerRoad also features turbo trainer control via ANT_ FE-C. Continue reading

Team VeloVelocity ’25’ E2/25 3/9/16

I’d entered this event on the back of a recent 55:40 at the Finsbury Park CC ’25’ on the F1B/25 – I hoped to do a decent ride on a quick course. Of course, after Alex Dowsett’s storming ride on the E2/25 earlier this year, the course is very popular, and it wasn’t a huge surprise not to make the startsheet. On the other hand, I’d ticked the ‘Reserve’ option, and so I ended up as 8th reserve. The day before the event, with the weather forecast looking decidedly iffy, I was slotted in the field in place of number 120. Probably the only occasion I can recall riding #120! I travelled over to the event with James, one of the newer NBRC members (he’s also rather quick at time trials). Continue reading

Bossard Wheelers ’10’ F11/10

Left to my own devices for the weekend, I decided to ride the 22 or so miles out to the Bossard Wheelers ’10’, held on the F11/10 course out by Tring. I had a slight delay while I tried to persuade my Garmin Edge 520 to start up beyond the opening splash screen. In the end, I set off with it in my pocket, while I used the Garmin Edge Touring to give me basic data. The 520 popped into life a few miles down the road. Other than that, the ride out to the race HQ in Aston Clinton was rather nice – it was misty and cool on departure, warming up as I went.

I arrived with plenty of time to get changed into my skinsuit, eat a banana and ensure the Garmin 520 was now playing ball properly. As I rode off for a warmup, the promised rain began to fall, big raindrops that had quite a cooling effect. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time I lined up at the start, and with only the lightest of breeze, I was hopeful of a good ride. After a spot of banter with Mary (timekeeper) and Richard (pusher off), I launched myself off down the slip road and onto the A41. The F11/10 isn’t a course I’ve ridden much – two prior outings – so I was playing it by ear a bit. To begin with, the road surface is quite rough, but after a bit it becomes quite smooth and I’m sure I speeded up there.

Soon I reached the first turn, which is a poorly sighted double roundabout in an underpass. This was very well marshalled, and I got round with no issues. Then it was back onto the road again. I was feeling pretty good, but my mental calculations at this point weren’t particularly optimistic. Then I reached the descent, and my speed rose – I maxed at 43.3mph. The second turn was interesting – I came into it between two cars, but the one behind gave me plenty of space, and I didn’t get slowed much at all.

The final section was a bit harder – it’s lumpy and a bit uphill. I looked at my computer and was a bit alarmed by the lower than expected power value! Still, I quickly reached the finish timekeeper on the slip road. I noted the time – I reckoned I’d gone sub-21 minutes for only the second time in my racing career, but would it be a PB?

I rode back to the HQ thinking about this – the time and distance recorded on the Garmin are affected by the auto-start feature. I knew I had 7 secs on the clock before I started. As it turned out, I’d improved my PB by 3 seconds, recording 20:48. My previous PB had been set in 2002! Who’d have thought that the 2016 season would see me setting any PB at the age of 56!

Stony ‘11.2’ 24/8/16

A warm and humid evening saw 17 riders line up for the last evening event in the 2016 time trial series. The weather seemed continually about to break into rain, with short spells of light rain which fortunately didn’t amount to anything much.

As usual I found the outbound leg a bit of a trial, but on the whole I felt pretty good. There seemed to be quite a bit of traffic out on the course with several riders complaining of being stalled by vehicles, notably a tractor with a trailer full of straw bales. In fact Kevin Stokes was DNF as a consequence. For my part I was only slowed a little by a very timid car driver, going through Beachampton on the way out.

I finished in 27:00 for third place on the evening. Then a ride back home, arriving in the last glimmers of daylight.

Results

Brogborough ’10’ 17/8/16

With the Astwood circuit (and the Stagsden course) still sidelined by the weak bridge for which the current remedy appears to be to install traffic lights, it was something of a relief to be able to shift this evening’s event to the Brogborough course. Our last outing on this course was something of a flop, since the event was abandoned due to freshly laid chippings. Tonight, all was well – and not only that, the weather was in our favour!

22 rider lined up, and a considerable number recorded PBs. Full results are over at the NBRC website. It was a pretty nice evening, and I felt pretty good, especially having signs of returning form on Sunday’s open ’25’ on the F1B/25. This evening, I was trying to keep an eye on the power – once down the starting hill, I hoped to keep focus on power through the event. In the end, I didn’t have too much trouble with the new roundabout, though the last half mile always seems a bit tougher that one might expect. I took second place to Richard, and first place on veteran standard.

We also got a glimpse of the ‘flying bum’ airship on its maiden flight from the Cardington hangars! Continue reading

Finsbury Park CC ’25’ 14/8/16

After the previous weekend’s ’25’ on the F1B/25 (the Beds Road CC), for which the meteorological conditions were challenging to say the least, I had high hopes for this ’25’, on the same course. On the morning, it was cloudy and pleasantly cool and with only the lightest of breezes in the air – if anything it offered a slight tailwind to the turn.

As the Duo Normand is now only 6 weeks or so away, I thought I might try out the new skinsuit which Team Grumpy will be using for the Duo. It’s one of the Bioracer SpeedConcept TT skinsuits, and is made from some superspringy lycra. Actually, the main issues with skinsuits (for me, at least) are (a) comfort at the contact point, and (b) whether the skinsuit fabric fits as wrinkle-free as possible. I can comment that the skinsuit is excellent on both counts. I guess that compensates that the garment apparently makes me look like an old inner tube!

I was starting a bit later in the field than the previous week – #53 at 7.53am – numbering started at 10, so there were 51 riders on the start sheet. That was quite good from a transportation point of view. The southbound leg was uneventful, with clear runs through the roundabouts, and with one rider passed. In fact, I didn’t see many riders out there, as there were some DNSs up ahead on the start order. I reached the turn in a little over 28 minutes, which usually bodes well for me on the F1B/25.  Katja had nudged me last week to put a bit of back into the race – I had planned to go for a 56, so the rapidity of the outbound leg looked good.

On the return leg, there was effectively no headwind, and other than a minor slowing by a Kingsmill delivery lorry at one of the roundabouts I had a clear run back. All the way back, I was doing calculations in my head about my pace – I was figuring on a quite short 56 as a likely result. Passing under the Tempsford flyover I was digging quite deep – a bit of support  as I passed Tempsford spurred me on a bit – and I finished in 55:40.

This is my best ’25’ result since 2010, and one that I’m really pleased with.

 

Stoke Hammond ’10’ 10/8/16

For once in the 2016 season, one of the NBRC club events was (a) held in quite nice conditions, and (b) was not affected by roadworks or other road closures! This was also the NBRC Club ’10’ Championships and saw 15 riders in total take part. The fastest on the night was Jez Honor (Equipe Velo) with an excellent 20:32 (which we think is a course record). Good to see Jez tonight – his work commitments have prevented him riding many of our events this year. Richard Golding took second spot with 21:58, while the best placed first claim NBRC riders were Tim Bailey and me, who tied for third place with 22:36. Full results at the NBRC website.

For my part, I found it a nice evening with no real issues, other than the RTA that happened while we were on the course: a driver turned his van through some somersaults onto the verge. I rode past just as I caught another rider. There didn’t seem to be anything to be gained by stopping, so I carried on.

Here’s the Garmin trace:

 

Beds Road CC ’25’ 7/8/16

Rather a windy morning on the F1B/25 for this event, and mostly it manifest itself as an unhelpful sidewind! There’s a website which uses the weather forecast to predict conditions for a given time trial – MyWindsock – so actually I had a pretty good idea what it was to be like. I was mostly worried about steering in a strong crosswind, but in fact that wasn’t so much of a problem. Instead the windy conditions just made the ride hard.

As an early starter, the road was pretty quiet, and I had no hold-ups on any of the roundabouts. I reached the turn in a shade under 30 minutes, and the finish in 58:20.

Davey Jones was out again with his camera – the picture below is exiting the final RAB at Sandy with about three miles to go.

Three miles to go!
Three miles to go!

Results at the CTT website

2016 Summer Tour

Rather later than usual, we went off for another jaunt round the Outer Hebrides on our trusty tandem.

We decided on island hopping once again because it seemed likely that CalMac would lose the bidding for the ferry contract to Serco – but in the end, sense prevailed and CalMac continue to provide the service.

The weather varied from atrocious to astonishingly great. Sadly, neither extreme was frequent, and the prevalent weather was pretty overcast.

You can find the tour report via the Cycle Touring in Scotland drop-down menu at the top of the page, or via this direct link. I wrote this report using Microsoft Sway, you’ll need to give it a few moments to load.