Archive | February, 2013

New Blog!!

21 Feb

Hi all, just a quick one today, just to let you know I’ve decided to move onto wordpress as I think it looks a bit smarter, and I prefer the interface!

Updates will be coming thick and fast now, hopefully can have some good news this weekend at the Kingston Wheelers Sporting 14!!

Please do follow this blog on the button on the right hand side just down the page, then you won’t miss anything 🙂

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Redhill Sporting 18 TT

17 Feb
First open TT on the the TT bike today, was actually pretty nervous, not least because of all the pressure I had put on myself to go quick given the effort, time and money that went into building the TT bike.

The course can be seen here (http://app.strava.com/activities/41230665#686908632), I perhaps foolishly went and did a recce of it yesterday, which turned into a 2.5 hour ride, but I don’t think it hindered my legs at all for today. The course is rolling with a couple of steep little kicks and a nice 3 miles of DC at the end to remind you its a TT!

HUGE field of 80 riders today, which can be seen here (http://www.timetriallingforum.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=76178), as you can see there are a few names in there, and certainly some very fast riders. I knew that Seb Ader, Tadros, Yates, Prebble and KW’s own Steve Irwin were all very quick guys with some impressive results to their names both past and present in some cases! Today was one of those events where you know you’re not going to win, but you are going to give it a damn good go anyway. And that is what I intended to do.

The course was a little damp, mainly due to a lingering fog that became thicker as I got further away from Kingston. I was happy with the the way the bike felt when I did get on all kitted up, got a quick warm up on the way to the start (not very pro, but all I had time for really).

Started strong, down the hill (I had gone faster down it yesterday annoyingly) and straight into the horrible 12% half mile incline where it turned out the eventual winner Ader took a shed load of time out of most people, the joys of being light AND powerful for him.
I was going well I thought, bit of late braking turning off the a25 certainly showed me where the Speed Concepts limits were in terms of stopping power. Before long I felt like I was settled into a rhythm, but as often with myself I found myself day dreaming for a few seconds here and there, looked down and saw a number starting with a 2 in the power windw and had to mentally slap myself out of it (must be more focused I feel). My one pacing note was that last years winner (Steve Berry) had managed an average speed of around 25.7 MPH, so I knew if I wanted to be in with a chance of being top 10 I needed to be over 25 avg.

As I entered the last 2 miles I looked down, saw I was just under 25, so that really kicked me into gear a bit, and for the last couple of miles I really motored, and for the last mile or so I averaged towards 35 mph and did half a mile at 40 touching 42 on the final downhill (this felt quick). I crossed the line in 42.35 and average of 25.5 mph, I was pretty happy with it, thinking it might be quite a competitive time…I got back to the club house and saw Conall Yates had done a 41.21, so I knew that the very fast guys would be some way in front of me, and they indeed were, Tadros just pipped yates, and Prebble beat me by around 15 secs I think, Steve from our club was just 8 secs back on me which promises the start of a good battle for the club records this season, star of the show certainly was Seb who clocked a 40.57, very quick, so in the end I was in at 5th place. I later learned Wouter from Sigma had done a 39.xx on there…crazy.

I really enjoyed the first TT on the TT bike, we had a good showing from the club too. So hopefully when we do our club event next weekend I can put into practice what I learned today.

Stats and all that business are on my ride on strava, pleased with the watts, and wondering whether I can eek out a few more on the road bike and make my TT position faster.

markghopkins.co.uk: Redhill CC 18m TT &emdash;

Winter and new season

15 Feb

Long time no update on this blog, this was intentional, I thought rather than start putting product reviews in and all that to keep you all interested, I would keep it about racing, so the hiatus from posting is justified I feel.

The winter has been an interesting one really, I still rode lots of miles, but as I’ve mentioned before my work catches up with me a bit in December, and I don’t mean I’m knee deep in spreadsheets, rather that I have to entertain, and be entertained nearly every day for 2 weeks or more, the upshot of this problem (albeit a nice one to have) is that I get forced off the bike more as I have to get train for meetings etc, and I also eat and drink too much, because I cannot just go out and eat salad afterall. So all in all it was a mixed bag, I still got some decent miles in for Dec, but the week leading up to Xmas, I pretty much had a week off, which many will do (many UK pro’s tweeting about getting drunk, so they’re human too!), but for me, I not only feel it when I come back, but I start putting on weight pretty quick. And even after riding the Rapha Festive 500 (I’m still waiting for my ROUNDEL!!) –  I still felt a little fat and sluggish. (for those of you not versed with Strava Challenges, this one is a challenge to ride 500km between xmas and NYE, or something, so it did help get me on the bike).

So I thought I was OK, and I would take Jan as it came and see what may, however, on New Years Day I jumped on the scales and saw a pretty big number 82 or so kg, which meant that I had probably put on 4kg or so (lots of that water no doubt) in December, which was a bit of a shock! So I started January the same way many people do, with a bit of a predictable facebook status and a health kick food wise, cut down on the carbs overall (unless training) and try and have none in the evening, I knew this would work, but its just hard to stick with. Anyway, I kept that up and just let it do its thing,  meanwhile I was getting slowly more and more annoyed at the weather, snow, slush, wind, etc etc, the usual stuff for winter, but it seemed relentless. Luckily I had managed to book a week in Mallorca for the first week of Feb with a couple of clubmates, and two others who I didn’t know who were already out there (Jake Martin, Tom Fitzpatrick, both full time riders trying to get to the next level from UK Elite), so it would bee a good chance to get away from it all here, and also perhaps get to see where I was at on some ‘proper’ climbs and maybe with some proper riders here and there.

Mallorca, as many reading this will know is known as a bit of a Mecca for cyclists, for both full blown world tour pro’s (Wiggins has a house there for instance),  right the way through the ranks (Raleigh and UK Youth had training camps going on when we were there) and eventually even past my lowly station as a 2nd cat right through to people who just want to ride and enjoy the scenery and more sunny weather etc. Reason for this being is pretty simple, its a nice island, its not huge, it has flat terrain, rolling terrain, and also mountains, all in one small package that you can’t get lost on, which makes it ideal. So with a week penciled in I was keen to make the most of it, and treat the purpose of going there to ride the bike and do just that as much as possible.

We got out every day where we could, so 6 days in total as didn’t fancy riding last day in horrid weather and had an early flight, got some very good riding in, managed to do some good climbing which was nice, as I’d never climbed anything longer than 10 mins,  I was pleased to be able to just about hang onto Jake’s wheel up Sa Battalla, and he was going some as our pretty nippy time of 19 mins or so would attest to. Managed to hit some numbers I haven’t before, even at my peak last year, and just generally looked to be in a pretty strong place for Jan. I was careful not to totally overdo it, as my knee (which has been since sorted by a retul fit @ VeloSport) had a twinge after a hard day in the saddle. But all in I think it was around 450 miles with 30k of climbing (most of which done on one day it must be said – all my rides are on the strava link if you look to the right and look back a week or so) so certainly a good boost for the start of the season compared to how I was approaching it last year, i.e. not doing much, and fat).

I suppose given Perfs Pedal Race took place last weekend, we have officially started the new season already. My season is pretty well planned up till beginning of June (I gave up on trying any further as so much stuff isn’t in the calender yet). And it all kicks off this weekend with a sporting TT, the Redhill Sporting 18 no less with nearly 100 starters!!!. And then there is our club sporting 14 with also getting towards 100 entrants the following week, then a week of nothing, then back to back racing on the road and TT’s etc all the way through, including a couple of stage races, a couple of National B’s (If I get a ride as they seem inundated this year by the local elite teams, so 2nd cats looking less likely to get a look in, all the more reason to push for that upgrade I suppose, although the main goals will be to win races and beat times as well as hopefully going up a cat) and a handful of 2/3 Surrey League races. So things seem to be coming together, my weight from xmas has gone, and I’ve got rid of some more on top of that, I’m now lighter than my lightest last year, and probably lightest since I was around 15 @ around 76kg, and my TT bike is finally built (pic below).

As per last year, I’ll update with races, results, times, and all things core to the title of this blog throughout the year, happy racing to one and all!