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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Professional attitude

With the build up to the Tour de France in Full swing 'The country' by which I mean Yorkshire appears to be in a cycle frenzy.
Cycle shops are being swamped with wannabe Chris Froomes, roads are littered in Lycra and domestic retailers are joining in the Velomania.

The world of cycling can now be found on beers, wine, clothing and even soft furnishings.

Yellow generally classified as a 'No no' in the fashion world has seemingly scaled the Ventoux in the world of Haute Couture, and received new respect.
Looking for a cycling related garment or gift has never been so easy, where you can purchase anything from a toilet brush holder to a sofa.

Two decades ago things were different most people had never heard of the Tour de France and most top cyclists in England had to mix training and events with holding down a job.
The Milk race was our top event at a time when milk was still delivered to your doorstep.

Year on year the sport and teams have become more professional with Sky recently leading the way using their highly successful  'Percentage theory' applied to all aspects of event preparation.

The now Famous Sky Bus

Dave Brailsford the director, is a man driven by performance always wanting and demanding the best of the  best.

Best bikes, clothing, nutrition,  training,  accommodation etc etc working on the belief that if each area can be improved by 1% then the cumulative gain would be significant.
As well as proving tangible improvement there was also a psychological benefit.

As a rider you would feel naturally feel better prepared than your opponent.
As an opponent you would feel at a disadvantage before the event starts.

The Anglo American Mules cycling club could never dream of competing with the wealth of 20th Century Fox the parent company of Sky but recognise that you don't need to be a professional to have professional attitudes.

For the American contingent any mornings ride under the blistering heat of south Texas concludes with an oasis in Zube car park.
The American Mule Wagon provides shelter, cold drinks and even a shower for its discerning riders whilst other local clubs look on with a mixture of  envy and astonishment.

  • No wanting to be left behind the Anglo Mules have their own Mule wagon to service its riders.
    This raised a number of eyebrows at last weeks WFK Sportive in Hornsea where the question on every ones lips was 'Who are those Mules?'

    If we were fitter and younger we could have mistaken for one of the professional Tour Teams
    however we are not but will always strive to have a professional approach

    Williams Farm Kitchen Sportive Roster (Hornsea)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cycling in Gran Canaria

When it comes to holiday time its a tricky time for cyclists.
Our cycle widows insist that they have some quality time without the inclusion of bidons, gels and lollypop pedals.
Having scarified at least one of the 'S' days each week for the whole calendar year they may have a point.
We however think its a time to further our boundaries increase our challenges and seek roads bathed in sunshine.

What is required is great skill and bravery, the type one might require catching up the peleton on a high alpine.
Risks have to be taken and the cost is sometime debilitating
As I pull back the curtains I could see the Mountain range on the horizon
Negotiations with Joanne had gone quite well and I was pleased with my position.
She had got a 5* hotel with latin waiters, fit pool attendants and an unlimited tab plus the promise of a new handbag.
I got two full days in the mountains.

The quality did not stop at the hotel steps as I was able to hire any of a full range of high end Carbon Bikes from Free Motion a local cycle shop within a few minutes walk of the hotel.
They also offered a number of tours for those who liked the company, competition or could not read maps.

I elected for a Cannondale Synapse with a 32 serving dish on the rear having been warned about some of the climbs.
As a bit of a lardy, climbing has always been tough for me so you would imagine that I would seek cycling trips to Holland or Texas but I actually love climbing. It just does not share the same love with me.

I have had relationships with Mow Cop, The Cat and the Fiddle, and Winatts Pass and am a quarter of the way through ticking off the UKs toughest climbs.   
Later in the year I seek to conquer Mount Evans in Colorado before completing the Tour de Moon in National Monument.
Up until this moment in time I had only climbed one 'proper' Mountain that of Mount Tamalpais in California which included some Category 3 segments 

I purchased a map from the cycle shop and asked for guidance on a route that would take me up to the top of the Island.
The attendant who looked like a cyclist and climber to boot, was not subtle when he focussed on my protruding girth and suggested that I try the coast road from Maspalomas to Faro de Morgan which he said was a bit lumpy.
On seeing me frown, he added that if I felt fine I could head North towards Risco Grande at over 3,000 feet. I could then turn back to Maspalomas.

It all sounded good to me, so I set off.
The coast road was lumpy but cooled by the onshore breeze.
With my I pod playing and the sun on my back I was in cycle heaven.
By the time I got to Faro de Mogan and headed inland it was close to mid day and the wind ceased, replaced by precipitation from my forehead.
My Garmin said 30 degrees which increased to 38 as I climbed.
I decided to count the number of switchbacks to hold my concentration but I soon ran out of fingers and toes.

It was never too steep but and endless grind of beauty, terror and panting.
with very few barriers I soon worked out that any mistake would mean instant death on falling sometimes 1,000's of feet below.
I did not think I suffered from Vertigo but found myself riding in the middle of the road and was anxious every time I got my Camera out.

On reaching the top of the Mountain in one piece and receiving some ernest applause from some german tourists who had travelled up my car I felt quite proud of myself.
Realising I only had the descent to complete I finished off my water second bottle.
In this part of the Island there are no shops, houses, very few cars but a real sense of isolation.
This became particularly marked when the route I wanted to take apparently was no longer available for cyclists. What!
I suddenly felt sick and very thirsty.
On reviewing my map I could either retrace my steps about 40 miles or head further into the mountains and take a route back via San Bartolome another 27 miles
I chose the later..........

It was the wrong choice..........No water and lots more climbing.
I eventually got back in one piece, hot and bothered and in need of beer.
My mood was lifted with this reinactment of 'Ice Cold in Alex' especially when I saw the result of my Garmin download.
There were a few Cat 4 climbs, a few 3's too but to see a smattering of 2,1 and the big daddy Catogory HC all the pain subsided.

On recounting my trip in the bike store the guys held their bellies and laughed loudly.
Before I raised my fists they explained that the sign that I had seen had only signified the end of the cycle route and not the end of the road.
They also said Chapeaux........acknowledging that I had dragged my lardy arse over two more mountain passes

A few days later I took a shorter trip up to Soria.
Despite the million and one switchbacks and 9km of climbing it was a comparative breeze.
Going up and back down even I could understand.

All I all Gran Canaria was a massive hit for me and I will return

I know I need to loose a lot more weight to tackle the rockies but with HC under my belt and hours of continuous climbing I think I am on the right route.