Archives for the month of: October, 2010

…veteran cycling photographer Graham Watson managed to land himself in a bit of hot water this week when he was caught out describing images of Greg Lemond on his website with the tag ‘fool’. Meanwhile a new generation of photographers are quickly making a name for themselves. I’ve mentioned Tim Kölln on this blog before, and his forthcoming book The Peloton is now available to pre-order. A collection of intimate portraits of the peloton captured over the past five years, each shot catches the riders immediately post race, and are accompanied by interviews that delve into the life of a professional cyclist…

…Sunday sees the 2010 National Hill Climb Championships take place on Dover’s Hill in Gloucestershire, with last year’s winner Dan Fleeman favourite for the title. He’ll have stiff competition however from Robert Gough who beat Fleeman earlier in the month at the Catford event, and from previous National Champion James Dobbin. Also riding are Kingston Wheeler clubmates Steve Irwin, John Storms and Maryka Semmena. Maryka, who was fastest woman on both the Catford and Bec this year should be one of the favourites, so good luck to her and to everyone else taking part…

…if riding in London sometimes feels like an infuriating mix of wanton masochism and aggressive self righteousness, then Matt Seaton’s description of riding in New York will make you feel happy for the tenuous grip our city still has on traffic regulations…

…it’s getting to that time of year again when that contraption of pain, the turbo trainer, is dusted off and long hard training sessions of cycling nowhere begins. I’ve mentioned them before, but the Sufferfest videos really are the best way to stay motivated to do these workouts, with a good mix of interval workouts set to pro race footage and up-tempo music. Their latest release, The Hunted, is set for release early November, and in the meantime you can watch the trailer here

…the latest ill-informed car manufacturer/bicycle collaboration comes from Maserati and Montane. As with any ‘statement’ bicycle it has the obligatory impractical gimmicks and stylings – curved tubing, impossibly aggressive saddle-handle bar drop – not least the single front disc brake. As ever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I can certainly think of better ways of spending 3,000 Euros…

“We’re all in this together, and some more than others,” is I think what George Osborne said when he announced last week he was cutting the deficit, or the economy, or society, or whatever it is these politicians like going on about. So while I don’t understand the ins and outs of such goings on – I’ll leave that to the very clever clever people who kindly run our country for us – I do know that some tough choices are just around the corner. During the years of prosperity my body has become used to the pamperings of luxury products; only the finest of organic fairtrade energy bars passes my lips, and only the silkiest and most exclusive of creams and lotions come into contact with my delicate skin.

But, alas, no more. Some poor folk out there (you know, up north somewhere), will be forced into patching up their tubes by gas light, and running low end Shimano groupsets in order to make ends meet. So it’s only right that I also make sacrifices – after all, how am I supposed to upgrade the Zip 404s on my Cervelo S2 next season if I’m throwing money away on designer skin care? Below is how I’m getting on after making some of my very own ‘tough choices': Read the rest of this entry »

…if riding a bike around in the mud, and cold and in the dark, appeals to you then entries are still open for Rollapaluza’s Muddy Hell cyclocross event at Herne Hill. Perversely, all that muck is an average cyclocrosser’s idea of heaven rather than hell, but whatever. Costumes encouraged but not mandatory, but chapeau to the lady who raced around last year dressed in a thoroughly impractical pumpkin outfit…

…virtual cyclists listen up! Are you one of those folks who are cash rich, but time poor (which is surely a contradiction in terms – if I was rich I’d make sure I’d have plenty of time devoted to anything other than being stuck at work. After all, I’d be able to afford it)? Have you got a virtual love of cycling and have lots of virtual mates who share your virtual passion for long slow rides in tasteful matching jerseys? Then Rapha has announced a forthcoming iPhone app (Rapha and iPhone, a match made in poseur heaven), Rendezvous, that will make organising those complex weekend warrior rides a thing of virtual epic simplicity. And, gasp!, it’ll be free too…

…yet another reason to pop over to cycling cafe Look Mum No Hands is Geoff Waugh’s forthcoming photography exhibition Selectism. Waugh, whose work has been featured in such titles as Rouleur, will be showing images that span the full gamut of cycling, from road to cyclocross (yuck) to mountain biking (yuckier). Runs from 5th to 30th November…

Photography by Roman Skyver

A glance around the start line reveals several types of rider; those that will win only in their fantastical daydreams, those that are capable of winning but lack the mental fortitude, and those that are out to win, seriously, at whatever cost, and anything less would be a painful disappointment.

The real contenders in a given race will often only be split by a few percentage points in ability. In fact, it is often not the most able that crosses the line first. So what is the deciding factor? Luck plays its part, as does tactics. But I’m guessing that most races are won by the guy who simply wants it the most, who is most willing to step further into the cave of pain and who rummages around the deepest into their suitcase of courage.

One of the achievements of Dave Brailsford and his coaching staff behind the track successes of Team GB in the Beijing Olympics was that he was able to instil the idea of being a winner into the British riders. For too long it had been acceptable to turn up to an Olympics and be happy to walk away with a medal of any colour. Now only gold would do. In recent years Britain has embraced winners once again – once a nation that lavished affection on the plucky underdog, it is now a nation that expects results, and asks questions when performances fall short.

There is no sin in winning of course. But in our modern world where taking part isn’t all that matters, where more is more, and the winner takes it all, the uglier face of success can emerge: greed. If the only goal in sport is to win, then it seems obvious that the inevitable consequence will be a bending of the rules, and the exploration of every avenue of advantage over your rivals. When your ambition becomes dishonest, then it becomes a form of greed – no longer satisfied with what can be achieved by honest means, the cheating athlete (and the team and management surrounding that athlete) excessively pursuing success and wealth is a greedy one. Read the rest of this entry »

Right now I shouldn’t be writing this, sitting here with the sun streaming through the windows. A beautiful early autumn morning. Where I should be, naturally, is on my bike, waiting at the bottom of a hill ready for my start time. “10 seconds… and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”

The hill climb season traditionally comes tagged onto the end of the main racing season, just as the mornings get cooler and leaves start falling onto the country roads and lanes that we ride on. For anyone who began their season many months ago when spring was still struggling to emerge from the shadow of winter, holding any sort of form so late in the year is a struggle. It requires planning, probably some period of rest taken mid-season. It means avoiding injuries and crashes – which is no mean feat when a season is peppered with dozens of near-misses. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers