Wednesday, 26 September 2012

TV appearance at the Tour of Britain!

My first TV appearance during ITV's coverage of the Tour of Britain. Unfortunately not on the bike. I'm the bald chap with the camera next to gold jersey wearer and tour winner Jonathan Teirnan-Locke.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rotor MTB Q Ring Review

The publicity drive behind oval chainrings seems to have ramped up recently, not least with Bradley Wiggins using them at the Tour. The marketing spiel quotes increased power, reduced fatigue and improved acceleration. I needed some new rings and decided to give them a try.
I opted for the '29er' marketed 38 tooth big ring. Unfortunately Rotor only go down to a 26 tooth for my spider set-up although many other sizes are offered. I previously had a 24 tooth granny on my old cranks so wasn't willing to make the leap. So I opted for a 25 tooth Carbon-ti inner ring.
The chainring turned up next day in a nice plastic sleeve with four bespoke bolts. The detailed data supplied with the rings describes a 4 week long acclimatisation period. Hah! I just jumped straight on and got riding!
Initially I was almost disappointed to notice hardly any difference. However, as soon as I tried to accelerate or get out of the saddle there was a definite ‘feeling’ that the rings were trying to help. Please be aware that this is just a feeling, I cannot substantiate any extra power or noticeable speed advantage. What I can say is that after two months on the Q-ring I really do like it. The fact that I think it is helping me is probably as positive as any genuine performance gain. To me it feels like the oval is helping me stay on top of the gear and keep the pedals turning. On climbs I seem to be able to stay in the big ring for longer.
I had to slightly tweak the position of my XX mech so that it just cleared the tallest part of the oval and then shifting, even to the non-Q inner ring has been fine.
I would suggest you give them a try but be warned they aren’t cheap so they do require some commitment prior to purchasing.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

August Summary

Miles: 467.2
Riding Time: 30hrs 33 min
Highlight: Watching Olympic MTB on the TV!
Low Point: DNF at Brighton Big Dog
As you’ll have guessed from the lack of posts recently baby Ferris has been taking up a lot of my time recently. Cycling has definitely been on the back burner.
The one exception was the Brighton Big Dog event held at the beginning of the month. The event is a 6 hour enduro around Stanmer Park north of Brighton. The omens were good, despite recent rain it was sunny and I was amazed by the huge turn out. Numbers were limited but still it was great to see so many cyclists mingling under the summer sun. 
Within the first 500m I knew I was in for a long day. A lack of training, plus a definite lack of sleep had not been ideal preparation. I slowly slipped back through the field up the first climb and then slipped and slid across the greasy roots of the first wooded section. The next climb saw me struggling again and I lost sight of my team mate Ian as the group I had been riding with spun away. My cycling was laboured, but this was a rare chance to get out on two wheels so I was determined to make the most of the day.
The second lap was a bit better as the course had dried and I was just starting to enjoy myself when I had a flat in my rear tyre. Just before the event I had splashed out on a Zefal foam filled inflation cartridge. The idea is that the foam plugs the puncture while the CO2 inflates the tyre. In my case the foam covered my hands and face while the CO2 escaped happily into the atmosphere. I limped around to the end of the lap where I used the pit area to slip in an inner tube and re-inflate the tyre.
Only a few minutes into the next lap and the tyre was going soft again. Yet another puncture and I decided it was time to head home!
Big Dog was a disappointment and showed me how far my fitness has already dropped. Looking at the result I should have been up there challenging in the top 10 but I was nowhere near that pace even without the punctures. I have done even less cycling since, but have decided to treat August as a month off! Hopefully I can get back to commuting to work in September and then target a return to racing later in the year.