Castelli 24 Ore (Hour) Race – Feltre, Italy

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“Do you fancy doing a 24 hour race in Italy?” Just sounded like a better experience than “are you doing the crit on Tuesday night? looks like it might rain”. Not that I had to choose between one or the other, but I personally needed something a bit more exotic to inspire me to keep cycling/training through the depths of the British winter. The Castelli 24 Ore (hour) race in Feltre, Italy; on the edge of the Dolomites national park, is a criterium race run on a 1.9km circuit in the centre of the city. The race runs for 24 hours and can be ridden either solo or as part of a team (8 – 12 people).   Continue reading

The Best of The Peak District

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Mortimer Road, some of the best tarmac in the country?

If you had to show one of your oldest cycling friends one route to show off the best of your local National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, what would you include? It had better be good to make it worth them travelling over for, and there had better be some cake stops and a pub lunch! Hills bring stunning views and descents, and we’d want some tight twisting descents as well as epic fully tucked charges. This varied route through the North of the Peak District National Park is littered with reservoirs and takes in what could arguably be one of the best bits of tarmac in the whole country: Tarmac initially laid for the Tour De France Grand Depart (but with the entire 16km section of Mortimer road now being freshly laid and unbelievably smooth). Continue reading

Film Review: Battle Mountain – Graeme Obree’s Story

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Mention Graeme Obree and the first two things that spring to mind are the hour record and washing machine parts. It is his unique approach to doing things that have earned him his reputation as an eccentric genius. A hero to many, mad entertainer to others, and downright annoying to one Chris Boardman.  With world records, world championships and two successful hour record attempts under his belt his unorthodox approach has certainly worked. 20 years after his last world record Graeme is attempting another in the only way he knows how.  Continue reading

Roads Were Not Built For Cars by Carlton Reid – Book Review

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You may recognise the name of the author from his popular website ipayroadtax.com. I stumbled upon this particular website when looking for the facts about road tax after being  shouted at from a white van (like most cyclist will have been at some point) about cyclists not paying road tax. As I’m sure you’re aware there is no such thing as “Road Tax”, if however this is news to you, may I suggest you visit the aforementioned website before reading the rest of this book review.

Road tax is just one of the many modern myths or misunderstandings that surrounds road use today, and this book sets out to set things straight, starting with the title!  Continue reading

British Cycling Coaching Session

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I must admit that it’s been a while since I’ve really pushed a bike to its limits. As I do most of my riding on public roads the greasy damp tarmac and diesel spills have caught me out far too many times. The result of which has left my confidence in cornering traction, more often than not, on the cautious side. So I jumped at the chance to improve these now rusty skills by attending a British Cycling coached road racing skills session. I’d forgotten how good it feels to be more in tune with the bike, feeling the way the bike reacts as tyres grip firmly on the fresh clean tarmac.  Continue reading

Weather to cycle (or not)

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Cycling and the weather; the endless worry of a cyclist. Finding those precious hours of optimum (or just about acceptable) conditions to get out and feel the sensation of speed. The effortless tail wind, flattering your ability, on that sun soaked morning before returning home to errands and reality. Weather can make your day, or break your sprit. If you’ve ever had to change gear with the other hand because your fingers have stopped working, numbed through cold and rain, then you’ll know how important it is to be prepared for what the weather has in store. Continue reading

You never forget your first Alp

38049_450370416647_7732161_nThere is something special about your first Alpine pass. The moment you experience the scale of the challenge, dwarfing all those local neighbourhood climbs you once feared. Climbing in dense cloud I was oblivious to the scale of the challenge throughout, as I couldn’t see the summit at any point, but that didn’t detract from the experience. This is the story of my first mountain pass, the Sustenpass in Switzerland, a Hors Catégorie climb (“beyond categorization” or incredibly difficult). I should point out that I knew nothing at all about the climb prior to attempting it, it was just in the way, and going around it didn’t look to be an option.  Continue reading