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Etape Cymru 2012: Ride report by Bill H

Mike : September 15, 2012 6:21 pm : Reports, Sportive

TCC was pretty well represented at this year’s Etape Cymru with at least 10 riders most of whose times are listed below. Apologies to Holly and Eleanor whose details I couldn’t find and anyone else who I have missed out.

We were blessed with pretty much perfect Welsh weather which brought out the very best of the stunning scenery. Riding on car free roads was a delight though a few of the single track roads were still pretty treacherous with plenty of loose gravel and pot holes to deal with. Noteworthy performances were Graeme’s very impressive 34th position overall and our own King of the Mountains, Andy Brewer.

Myself, I was simply flying on my brand new Carbon Fibre Boardman, so much so that I somehow conspired to repeat an 18 mile loop and didn’t even realise till I found that after 92 miles I was still a long way from the finish line. Sol was the “hard woman” of the day finishing with a very respectable time in spite of a nasty crash just before the ford (we had been warned!) requiring medical treatment for cracked ribs and a skinned elbow.

The medical advice from the ambulance man was a visit to the local hospital but instead Sol soldiered on to the finish line in true TCC fashion.

 I didn’t do the event last year (you can read about it here) but I understand that organization was much better with plenty of well stocked feed-stops and marshals along the route.
All in all a great weekend and well worth the 4 hour drive there and back.
Go Twickenham!
Bill
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TCC Sportive Challenge Totals Through August 31, 2012 !!!

Mike : September 6, 2012 7:50 am : News, Sportive

Riders,

The latest Sportive Challenge totals are below. Our riders have now completed over 116 km of pure ascent…!

We have a big upset in the standings again this month as our two most intrepid Sportive Challenge riders to date have returned from far-off mountains (the Alps) with sore legs, aching arms and the happy smiles of success. Please give Mike Miach and James Levey a big pat on the back when you see them next for successfully completing the Haute Route in August and bringing back a total of over 40km of pure ascent between them along with tales of surviving the sometimes fatal 7 day Sportive.

These heroic efforts have catapulted both riders into podium positions as we begin to wrap up the TCC Sportive Challenge this month. However there may yet be a further upset in these standings through September as the outcome of this competition is, just like the Vuelta this year, impossibly hard to predict.

If you have August results I did not add in please let me know and I will amend. 

Good luck to everyone doing events in September, especially the Welsh Etape Cymru and the Surrey Legs of Steel.

PS The RA calculation has been adjusted to reflect miles ridden since June only. Thanks Dave K.

TCC-SPORTIVE-CHALLENGE: Dec 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronze – 500km

 

 

 

BRONZE

Total Km ridden

17,039

 

Silver – 1000km

 

 

 

SILVER

*Total m Ascent

116,241

 

Gold – 1000miles

 

 

 

GOLD

*Beginning June

 

 

Awarded Certificate & Benefits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highest Mileage – Trophy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1601

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESULTS TABLE TO AUGUST 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rider

Km Totals

KM – June

Ascent (m)

STATUS

STATUS

STATUS

Ratio of Ascent (RA)

Dave Kahn

5,290

 

3,750

BRONZE

SILVER

GOLD

3.7

James Levey

1,271

 

23,761

BRONZE

SILVER

 

23.2

Mike Miach

1,155

 

21,000

BRONZE

SILVER

 

20.1

Mike Joseph

1,061

 

11,339

BRONZE

SILVER

 

21.0

Eleanor Brewer

1,056

 

5,704

BRONZE

SILVER

 

8.0

Kevin Bird

876

 

7,111

BRONZE

 

 

26.7

Stephen Rush

824

 

8,217

BRONZE

 

 

21.8

Claire Miller

649

 

2,890

BRONZE

 

 

9.3

Jason Harris

547

 

3,050

BRONZE

 

 

3.2

Graeme York

501

 

3,350

BRONZE

 

 

16.4

Kate Balchin

487

 

0

 

 

 

 

Lisa West

431

 

3,050

 

 

 

9.7

Sol Findlay

414

 

4,879

 

 

 

16.4

Daniel Goldsmith

356

 

4,135

 

 

 

15.8

Briand Beausoleil

342

 

1,829

 

 

 

14.3

Emma Towers

333

 

4,867

 

 

 

28.1

Denis Bidinost

319

 

3,050

 

 

 

18.0

Bill Henry

294

 

0

 

 

 

 

Duncan Schwier

286

 

0

 

 

 

 

Kay Thomson

169

 

3,050

 

 

 

18.0

Mac

146

 

0

 

 

 

 

John Lakin

117

 

0

 

 

 

 

Stephen Campbell

115

 

1,206

 

 

 

10.5

Denise Quinlan

101

 

0

 

 

 

 

Steven Thorpe

100

 

0

 

 

 

 

Ashley Bard

100

 

0

 

 

 

 

Martin Murray

75

 

0

 

 

 

 

John Murphy

75

 

0

 

 

 

 

Mark Perrot

75

 

0

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

17,039

 

116,241

 

 

 

 

 

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Human Race Festival of Sport, Wild Wales Challenge and The Alpine Challenge

Mike : August 30, 2012 11:38 am : Sportive
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2012 Events Calendar Events Just Gone Latest Results Latest News

Cyclosport

Cyclosport is the world’s leading cyclosportive website and provides an interactive platform for cycling enthusiasts to plan their season and find out the latest in sportive news. Here’s our best pick of news and events from this week. Remember to keep checking back on the site to plan your 2012 sportive season with our comprehensive events calendar.
Human Race Festival Of Sport - Sportive News

FEATURED: Human Race Festival Of Sport – Sportive News

Human Race, organisers of the UK’s first Festival of Sport Cornwall, have today announced that CYCLE WEST will be the official partner for the sportive ride included in the three-day festival, which takes place from 14th -16th September 2012.

Click here to find out more >>


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Wild Wales Challenge REVIEW

Wild Wales Challenge REVIEW

Having had a fairly quiet period in terms of reviews of about four weeks, I’d been riding as regularly as ever but it was a sign of a proper event in that the alarm clock was pressed into service early on a Sunday morning for the first time in a while.

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Dean Downing Of  Rapha Condor Sharp To Ride The Alpine Challenge

Dean Downing Of Rapha Condor Sharp To Ride The Alpine Challenge

Professional cyclist for Team Rapha Condor Sharp, Dean Downing will join HotChillee on The Alpine Challenge 2012. HotChillee’s premier multi-stage alpine sportive will start on 6th September with a 10km timed mountain prologue.

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Cape Argus Entries Open 1st September

Cape Argus Entries Open 1st September

Entries for the 36th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour – the largest individually timed cycling event in the world – open on Saturday 1st September 2012 at 12pm. The event will take place on Sunday, 10 March 2013.

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REVIEW: Vélobici Van-Abel Jersey + Bib Shorts

REVIEW: Velobici Van-Abel Jersey + Bib Shorts

The newly launched Velobici road wear takes the collection in a new direction. Having raised the bar for ‘city style’ the Leicester-based company have turned their attention to the high end niche of performance road wear with the inclusion of the Van-Abel and Van-Dapper sets (bib-shorts and jersey), and the more classic merino stylings of the Maitland and Godwin jerseys.

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Map My Tracks Android App Released

Map My Tracks Android App Released

Map My Tracks, the outdoor social network for sports enthusiasts, have released an Android version of their already very popular iPhone App, which has received a five star rating on the Apple iTunes App Store.

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Reservoir Cogs This Weekend

Reservoir Cogs This Weekend

Sunday 2nd September sees the first edition of the Reservoir Cogs Sportive, a new event in Cambridgeshire with two start/finish points and a choice of three different routes. The event is promoted by Rutland Cycling and Grafham Cycling and promises a testing ride starting and finishing from their stores in Rutland Reservoir and Grafham Reservoir, in Rutland and Cambridgeshire respectively.

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The First Marrakech Atlas Étape

The First Marrakech Atlas Étape

Morocco is an exotic mix of cultures and geographic extremes; high mountains, Atlantic coastline, sand dunes and snow covered vistas. From a cyclists point of view, the magnificent and varied terrain does not get much better, and appeals equally to the professional as it does to the keen cyclist who wants to test their skills in either road or mountain biking.

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Michael Joseph
+44 (0) 7790928628

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Call for August Sportive Results !!!

Mike : August 28, 2012 3:14 pm : News, Sportive

Riders,

Just one more month to rack up those Sportive totals.
 
Please send me in your August events, distance and Ascent will be logged. If you have already sent them, feel free to send again in case I missed them during a busy month. I will get the updated Challenge results sent out at the end of the week.

Please note that ascent is ONLY tabulated from June forwards.

Please also note there have been requests to log rides that do not fit the definition of a Sportive as agreed for this compettition,

Specifically if the event is open to the public with an official TIMED result and your results are PUBLISHED and available for verification, then the event qualifies and your miles/ascent will be added.

Note the Challenge closes at the end of September so if you have results and have not sent them please do. If you have no results but plan to blitz the Sportives between now and Sept 30, you better get busy.

Upcoming events that TCC riders are signed up for and you may be able to get into include:

Etape Cymru (sold out but there may be alias places out there)
Surrey Legs of Steel

Others..? (let me know what your are planning on doing please)

 As before send:

Name, distance and date of event you completed.
A link to your results
Ascent in M or FT (new for June)

The current standings are here
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkyZqrKIQB4udGFMT0VfczR3VkUza1ROcDFDajFKdUE

Good luck and ride safe.
 
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Everyone waits for the cows

Mike : August 19, 2012 5:59 pm : News, Sportive

From my Sportive this morning.

Does the Sky rider look familiar?

This was a surreal moment.

Mike J

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TCC Sunday Hill Ride Report

Mike : August 7, 2012 3:03 pm : News, Sportive

Riders,

I am here to let you know we survived the Sunday Hill Ride this weekend despite almost continual rain, 4 punctures, unexpectedly low temperatures and endless attacks.

The 7am turn out of 10 included our own Le Dunc recently returned from a circumnavigation of the entire Italian Alps on a Brompton and now riding “…a dodgy American carbon frame…” bike after the Italians formally complained about his misuse of their beloved Colnago brand. Some of our other regular strong climbers made it and, Tom K; a man rarely seen so early and about whom much has been said this year.

We agreed to a shorter than normal run as many had Olympic oblgations and a return around mid-day was the objective. From the Green we sped south and hit Staple lane for our first puncture, a rest under the ancient Yews at the top of Coombe bottom gave some relief but as Tom had been barred for life from “The Lucky Duck” for complaining about the overpriced coffee a week before; at Shere we were out in the cold. Shortly after this we had another remarkable puncture and then on to Leith hill where despite the lack of coffee, Tom showed that he and Le Dunc may well be our two strongest climbers this year. Tom later reported in confidence that he plans to train for the 2013 Tour and the 2016 ‘Lympics and I should not repeat that to anyone or he would deny it, a demand I readily agreed to.

After a wet and windy descent down the North face of Cold Harbor we all shivered for another puncture repair and a couple of riders headed for home having seen nothing for them in the day ahead but rain and punctures despite the promises that lured them there to begin with.

We happy few, the remanant others, sped on to the promise of tea and sweet things on Box Hill where on arrival a river of chalk was seen rushing down the gleaming road and Le Dunc sped off, dropping us all in search of his own Gold medal and we fewer, the rest of us, squabbled around for Silver, Bronze, Brass and that stuff they make the toothbrush holders out of.

Freezing, shivering, hypothermic, just like the Surrey Rumble only in summer, we sped home the fastest way we could and made Twinkyenham at 12:00 exactly…running true to the model of well planned and well managed rides, of course :) and I sped home for a day of warm baths and swedish massage.

Well done Dunc, Tom, Martin, Elwyn, Mark, Graeme, Kevin, Martin and the other guy whose name I forget but shouldn’t…!

Fingers crossed for better weather next time.

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Sportive Challenge July Totals

Mike : August 6, 2012 8:16 pm : Results, Sportive
Riders,
 Please find below the current standings for the TCC Sportive Challenge. A BIG welcome to Clare Miller who has now moved into the Bronze medal position and special mention this month for Kay Thompson who completed the Gran Fondo Pinarello and (by way of the handy tracking column I have added called Ratio of Ascent) can now claim to have the highest ratio of ascent for KM ridden. Well done Kay !!!

Also congrats to Emma Towers for a fearless attack on the Marmotte despite having to ride a rental bike with a squishy saddle and wobbly wheels….good job!

Congratulations also to Dave Kahn who is on a mission to complete 10,000K ridden by the end of September and is already more than halfway there…good on you Dave !!!

Progress towards the podium is measured as ever by total distance ridden, but the attainment of meters ascended has caught on and we can see some riders have been very busy going up the pointy bits of the planet.

Keep those numbers coming in, there are now only 8 weeks left to make it onto the podium and show those Olympians what real courage, grit and determination is all about.

Mike J

PS

The full tracking of details is here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkyZqrKIQB4udGFMT0VfczR3VkUza1ROcDFDajFKdUE

 

TCC-SPORTIVE-CHALLENGE: Dec 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronze – 500km

 

 

BRONZE

Total Km ridden

14,241

 

Silver – 1000km

 

 

SILVER

*Total m Ascent

50,046

 

Gold – 1000miles

 

 

GOLD

*Beginning June

 

 

Awarded Certificate & Benefits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highest Mileage – Trophy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1601

 

 

 

 

 

RESULTS TABLE RESULTS TO JUNE 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rider

Km Totals

Ascent (m)

STATUS

STATUS

STATUS

Ratio of Ascent (RA)

Dave Kahn

5,277

 

BRONZE

SILVER

GOLD

 

Eleanor Brewer

1,056

5,704

BRONZE

SILVER

 

5.40

Mike Joseph

899

8,217

BRONZE

 

 

9.14

Stephen Rush

824

8,217

BRONZE

 

 

9.97

Kevin Bird

738

1,829

BRONZE

 

 

2.48

Claire Miller

649

0

BRONZE

 

 

 

Graeme York

501

3,350

BRONZE

 

 

6.69

Kate Balchin

487

0

 

 

 

 

James Levey

473

2,761

 

 

 

5.84

Mike Miach

357

0

 

 

 

 

Daniel Goldsmith

356

4,135

 

 

 

11.60

Briand Beausoleil

342

1,829

 

 

 

5.35

Emma Towers

333

4,867

 

 

 

14.62

Denis Bidinost

319

3,050

 

 

 

9.56

Bill Henry

294

0

 

 

 

 

Duncan Schwier

286

0

 

 

 

 

Sol Findlay

245

1,829

 

 

 

7.47

Kay Thomson

169

3,050

 

 

 

18.05

Mac

146

0

 

 

 

 

Jason Harris

140

0

 

 

 

 

John Lakin

117

0

 

 

 

 

Lisa West

117

0

 

 

 

 

Stephen Campbell

115

1,206

 

 

 

10.47

Denise Quinlan

101

0

 

 

 

 

Steven Thorpe

100

0

 

 

 

 

Ashley Bard

100

0

 

 

 

 

Martin Murray

75

0

 

 

 

 

John Murphy

75

0

 

 

 

 

Mark Perrot

75

0

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

14,241

50,046

 

 

 

 

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June Sportive Results

Mike : July 23, 2012 8:16 am : Results, Sportive

Please find below the updated TCC Sportive Challenge totals. If I have missed your numbers or you did not send them in for June please let me know and they will reflect in the next update.

Note also we have begun tracking meters ascended as of June so include that in your submission.

Special mention for Kevin Bird this round as he leaps into second place behind Dave Kahn.

Dave keeps riding and was last seen somewhere west of the Mississippi river on his quest to circumnavigate the world on a single set of tires.

PS Several riders have contacted me with results for charity rides, these are not official sportive events and so far I have not added them to the totals but I am seeking clarification on this and will add them if they are admissible.

TCC-SPORTIVE-CHALLENGE: Dec 1 2011 – Sept 30 2012
Bronze – 500km BRONZE WINNER Total Km ridden 9,953
Silver – 1000km SILVER WINNER *Total m Ascent 15,386
Gold – 1000miles GOLD WINNER *Beginning June
Awarded Certificate & Benefits
Highest Mileage – Trophy
1601
RESULTS TABLE RESULTS TO JUNE 30          
Rider Km Totals Ascent (m) STATUS STATUS STATUS
Dave Kahn 3,965 0 BRONZE WINNER SILVER WINNER GOLD WINNER
Kevin Bird 738 1,829 BRONZE WINNER
Mike Joseph 726 3,350 BRONZE WINNER
Graeme York 501 3,350 BRONZE WINNER
Kate Balchin 487 0
Stephen Rush 381 3,350
Briand Beausoleil 342 1,829
Claire Miller 337 0
Bill Henry 294 0
Duncan Schwier 286 0
James Levey 249 0
Sol Findlay 245 1,829
Daniel Goldsmith 196 2,300
Emma Towers 160 0
Mac 146 0
Jason Harris 140 0
John Lakin 117 0
Lisa West 117 0
Stephen Campbel 115 1,206
Mike Miach 110 0
Denise Quinlan 101 0
Ashley Bard 100 0
Steven Thorpe 100 0
Martin Murray 75 0
John Murphy 75 0
Mark Perrot 75 0
TOTAL 9,953 15,386      

 

 

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The Etape – Murray Winterfrost

admin : July 22, 2012 7:57 pm : News, Reports, Sportive

Settle in with a cuppa and slippers folks as this is a long one.

As far as my first Etape experience goes I’m pretty happy to be honest. This years edition took us from Pau to Bagnes-de-Luchon, covering 201km (that’s 120miles in old money) and climbing 5000m over the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and the Peyresourde. In the days leading up to the event I was keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts and for those of us who’d been training in this years UK summer conditions looked fairly favourable, 22degrees high at the base, 9degrees at the summit of the Tourmalet with a bit of rain thrown in for good measure. Having read about the two extremes of last years Etapes I basically packed for any eventuality so I was prepared.

 

I was very aware that for me this was not going to be about time (although I very much wanted to stay ahead of the broom wagon) but was more a war of attrition. ‘Pace yourself’ was my mantra and ‘don’t get caught up with those going too fast at the start’. I had been given a bib number which had me about mid pack right from the start so as I lined up I was happy to see all the really thin, fit looking guys and girls were in the higher pen next door and that not all the guys in my pen had shaved legs :) I got chatting with a guy called Bill from Sheffield before the start and for most of the ride we caught and passed each other so we were fairly evenly matched.

 

Off we set at 7.36 roughly and as per my instructions to myself I kept a nice easy pace and managed to pop into a little group for the first 25-30kms, surprisingly I when we got to the first hill (note not mountain) I found myself out the front of the pack and on my own. At the base of the Aubisque it became ever man for himself but the roads were very wide so absolutely no congestion, which I had been warned to expect. The great thing about the Pyrenean climbs was the kilometre markers, each one tells you what the avg gradient will be for that next km so you can judge your effort accordingly. As I said earlier I was all about pacing myself so I had a few riders speeding past me but just kept my head down and spun my way up. About half way to the top the mist and rain closed in, many stopped to put rain jackets on but it wasn’t cold so I didn’t see the point. The one thing all four climbs have in common is the fact that the worst avg gradients are at the end of the climb, not the start so you can’t go off too fast. I rode past a guy walking up that first climb, he was going to be in for a very long day. At the top it was pretty cold so arm warmers and jacket on for the descent (this was basically the standard for every descent from there on in as they were all wet at the top) and I was off. I’d been looking forward to having these wide open roads to belt down and I was not disappointed. Despite it being very wet I was flying, passed loads of people grabbing handfulls of brake almost all the way down and looking very nervous. I had a new set of 24mm Conti 4000s on and they were a joy to ride, just stuck to the road like glue in the wet and dry (at one point I was enjoying myself so much I actually burst into song). This was not the case for every one however, as we came down the Soulour a girl went down very hard in front of me. It looked like she grabbed a bit too much front brake and the wheel just went out from under her. I stopped to check she was OK and gave her bike the once over. She was very shaken up and had lost a bit of skin of her elbow but seemed alright so I carried on down. At the base I saw a lot of people in space blankets trying to warm up and apparently there were many still there when the broom wagon came through. If they were they were the lucky ones as the bus from there could take a short cut to the finish and had riders back at the finish point before many others had completed the event, those on the buses after that could expect to be on them for another 9hrs.

 

The next climb was the Tourmalet, I was fully expecting it to take me 2hrs to get to the top and I think that was pretty much what I managed to do it in. Generally on long rides my archillies heel is food, this time I packed my pockets full of gels and bars that I’d been training with so knew my stomach could handle and thought I had enough with me to not need to use any of the Etape’s feed stations. Oh how wrong I was, by the time I got half way up the Tourmalet I had one bar left and three gels which I was saving for the last two climbs. Stopping and loading my pockets with bananas it struck me that feed stations would run a lot more smoothly if we didn’t all decide to have our bikes with us as we stand at the tables getting food, just a thought. Anyway, onwards and upwards, as previously stated the worst of the climb was yet to come with the final two kms avg 10%, not as steep as many of our Surrey hills but after 17kms of 7% it does take it out of you. Sadly at the top there were no spectacular views because of the heavy fog so suited up I headed of down the mountain. This was probably the worst descent of the day, purely because of the lack of visibility, at some points I couldn’t see more than 20m in front of me and it was bitterly cold. Again at the bottom there were people really suffering, shivering so much they couldn’t open wrappers of food, also many of them didn’t have any wet weather gear just short sleeved jerseys and shorts.

 

Thankfully though from the base of the Tourmalet you pretty much head straight back up again towards the top of the Aspin so it was easy to get warm again. This is only a short climb at 12km and the bottom 7kms or so are fairly gentle. I was still feeling well within myself at this point despite having been on the bike for 7hrs already and just ground out a steady tempo to the top with a South African guy for company. We went our separate ways at the top and once again I was barrelling down the descent, which was quite technical near the bottom, and just having a blast.

 

Three down and one to go. Now at this point I knew I was going to beat the broom wagon and unless I cracked horribly I was going to finish so I stopped and ate everything I had left in my pockets before I started the ascent. The crowds at the base of the Peyresourde were fantastic and spurred me on. This last climb is pretty nasty with the last 7kms averaging 8-9% with 105miles already in the legs but as I’d followed my mantra to the letter I felt pretty strong all the way to the top. Last climb conquered and after photo op at the top it was downhill all the way home. Still had enough in the legs to sprint the last 1km to the finish and as I collected my medal I turned around and my old mate Bill was just receiving his (apparently I’d passed him on the final straight and hadn’t even noticed). According to my Garmin I finished in a time of 10.13:22 including all stops and helping damsels in distress with 5164m of climbing. I would have liked to have finished under 10hrs but I wasn’t exactly rushing at the tops of climbs so really just happy to have finished. All in all I had a great day am glad all the training didn’t go to waste. Thanks to everyone who has offered me advice in the build up to this event as well, your knowledge was invaluable.

 

P.S. Just like Steve on the Marmotte I had a cheeky smile to myself everytime a passed a London Dynamo rider.

 

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La Marmotte

admin : July 16, 2012 5:27 pm : News, Reports, Sportive

By Matt Johnson

The beginnings…  two years ago, over Christmas beers, Triathlon was discussed as a worthy means of keeping fit.  I was up for it and bought what I thought was a fast racing bike to help during the middle section…  Three years later, I have dropped the two minority sports in favour of something that has proven dramatically more expensive than even the best goggles and trainers…

I think Steve Rush was surprised during a leisurely (for him) ride around Richmond Park when I confirmed that I was up for riding the Marmotte.  He obviously knew how much work I had to do…    he suggested Barhatch Road as a good destination for training.  After consulting a map I was surprised to learn that you are not supposed to drive there before getting on your bike!

After several hapless winter miles around Richmond Park, dodging the deer (which for some reason congregate on the road after lights out) I felt ready to purchase a new stead and an Orbea Orca Gold seemed an appropriate hill climber.

Joining TCC was a revelation; friendly people and competition that only seems to increase as you think you get faster!  After miles and miles of training I was beasted around the Chilterns by a Mr Joseph and still failed to get a gold time! But not by much… and I managed to drop Mr Rush…?

So, the training was going well… three days before my beloved steed was due to be wrapped in cotton wool and hand delivered to France, I took one last training ride after meeting a client in Oxshott… does riding during work hours make me a pro?  I guess not as I was not actually being paid to ride…  I completed Barhatch, within myself and put my bike on the car…

On the car… means don’t drive under height restrictions!  The crunching sound of beautiful carbon will live with me forever… all I can say is thank Steve Rush for suggesting I insure by bike (5 days previously) and thank Liverpool Victoria for their understanding!

The Giant Store in Twickenham played a blinder.…  an  ex. pro Technicolour cyclist had been eying up a TCR Advanced SL (in my size)  when I arrived in panic!  They sized me up, cut off the seat post (more damaged carbon!) and off to France it went…

And so did we…   it was great to meet more TCC members at Heathrow and more cyclists at Alpe D’Huez, but strange to go ‘on tour’ and perpetuate the monastic drinking and eating habits of a cyclist!  However I was pleased to get down to 74kg…

Race day was upon us so we blasted out ‘Hells Bells’ before tackling Alpe D’Huez.,,,  rather easier going down than up..?

Steve beasted me up the Glandon, which would have been a beautiful to withhold had I been able to breathe…  I suggested that he take the Telegraphe at his own pace, which he did with a plomb!

Race over, I rode within myself (having not ridden in the Alps before and trying to pace myself) I was surprised to see him at Valloire – being a Northerner by birth, I don’t like wearing out my brake blocks!

After a quick chat and feed, Steve nipped off a quick rest, French massage, or something detaining, so I pressed on with the job in hand…  Pressure off, I spun up the Galibier hoping Steve would be psychologically eating himself for lunch!  Sadly, at the business end of the Galibier he was smiling, with tales of overtaking Mr Joseph and his Techincolour lead out train, and he overtook me without challenge!

The Galibier descent was amazing.  Sadly I opened my saddle bag at the top and forgot to shut it, so shed my expensive tools en route.  I met Steve at the bottom of the Galibier and gave him some of my M&S mixed salted nuts (for cramp avoidance)… I mean, not just any old cramp avoidance products Nuun etc, but M&S cramp avoidance… and he was still not prepared to “pop” back and get the expensive tool I dropped 15 miles back… team work eh???

We carried on to Alpe D’Huez using the force, through pitch black tunnels.  On the ascent, Steve took it at his own pace and I dreamt hard at my long standing Marco Pantni dream, and thought about how I would go about overtaking… but as it was he was eating pasta when I finally caught him…

We then had more pasta, beer, wine, snails (never had them before) steak, chips, red wine and more beer at the airport… more like a normal trip abroad!!

Mr Joseph managed a gold time, Mr Rush just 4 minutes outside and I was six minutes behind Steve, although with the downside of youth, that put me over half an hour off gold!!!  The quandary being whether to try and get faster or speed up that ageing process… advice please?

 

Thanks for reading, Matt

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