Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Tour de Yorkshire meal plan

Sunday, May 12th, 2019 | Food

During the Tour de Yorkshire last week, including the day as a whole, I burnt 5,133 kcals. That is a lot of kcals. Helpfully, my friends James put together a meal plan to work out how much McDonald’s I could eat to recover the energy.

Breakfast items

  • Double sausage and egg McMuffin
  • Hash brown
  • Pancakes and syrup

Main menu items

  • Double cheeseburger
  • Quarter pounder
  • Big Mac
  • 2 x medium fries

Desserts

  • Chocolate doughnut
  • Aero McFlurry
  • Chocolate muffin

Drinks

  • Small Fanta orange
  • Large chocolate milkshake
  • Flat white
  • Latte

Will get all of that queued up for my next big sportive!

Tour de Yorkshire 2019

Friday, May 10th, 2019 | Sport

Last year I completed the medium route of the Tour de Yorkshire, making it the longest ride I had ever done by some 10km and the highest I’d climbed at 1,200 metres. This year I was planning to do a similar thing: the long route features 123 km and 2,400 metres of climbing.

It was decisively colder than last year when I came away with sunburn. I wasn’t planning on too many layers but in the end went for a full Under Armour base layer top and bottom with my rain cape in my jersey pocket. Thank god I did. 20km in I had to pull over and put the rain cape on, and it stayed on for the rest of the day. I should have taken my winter gloves, too.

I met Bogdan at city square at 7am and we cycled up to the start, getting through the queue and onto the load about 7:45. The first section of the ride was easy, although I did find myself needing a rather urgent bathroom break as we approached the first feed stop.

Things were reasonably flat (Yorkshire flat) until we reached Summerbridge, at which point we encountered our first real challenge of the day. The road went straight out of the back. And straight up. Arguably, this was the hardest climb. it started at about 11% and just kept on getting steeper. Even at the top you simply found yourself on a false flat of 5%.

The road continued to go up and up in stages as we headed around Brimham Rocks. Finally, it dropped down into Pateley Bridge where the second feed stop was located. I stuffed my face, which was a bold choice given what was to come next: the legendary Greenhow climb.

I did Nidderdale triathlon in September and drove home via Greenhow. I remember thinking at the time “fuck me, wouldn’t want to do this on a bicycle.” Well, here I was doing it. It was hard. But, thankfully, the toughest gradients come in four distinct segments, and you get a chance to get your breath back in between.

One woman was going up on a mountain bike. I told her I was jealous of the gearing. She laughed and told me that pretty much everyone else that had gone past her had said the exact same thing.

The top of Greenhow was a cold, lonely place. We turned and headed towards Fewston Reservoir where we would join up with the medium route. By this time, everyone on the medium route had finished, though. As we struggled up Snowdon Bank, the clock continued to tick and the race looked over: almost everyone else left in the course was pushing their bike up the hills with a defeated look on their face.

The descent into Otley was a fast one. They close the pro finish line at 3:35 to get ready for the peloton coming through. And I was determined that I wouldn’t miss it because of comfort breaking. I certainly didn’t set any records, but the 56.8 kph I managed really pushed my comfort zone.

Then it was out of the back of Otley and onto East Chevin Road. The long 11% grind. It felt easier this year than it did last year, even on tired legs. It hurt but it was manageable. There was no fear that I would have to give up, only that I would have to enjoy a lot of pain.

By the time we reached the top, we had less than an hour to get to the line in time. We both gritted our teeth and put the power down and steamed down into Leeds, cursing every traffic light that made us stop. Then we hit Tinshill and found ourselves with yet another climb. This was too much and we had to take a short break. Within 10km of the line, we had almost made it. One last effort would see us through.

Again we climbed into the bikes and powered up to the hill before turning to descend onto Spen Lane and Burley Road. Burley Road itself goes up and down. The groupetto that has formed around us quickly worked out I was lying when I said this was “definitely the last little hill” but chose to believe anyway so that they could convince their bodies to make the cut-off.

As we entered the barriered section on The Headrow, the large crowds that had already gathered cheered and banged on the barriers as we crossed the line with just 10 minutes to spare. By the time we had collected our medals and chatted to Elin and John, who were on hand with some much-needed chocolate and beer, they were already clearing the tents away. But it did not matter: we had made it!

I had set a new longest ride ever, beating my previous best by 13 km. I had set a new climbing record, more than doubling my previous attempt, which was in fact last year’s Tour de Yorkshire medium route. And my lower back hurt so much that I could no longer bend down. But who needs a working back when you’ve just smashed the Tour de Yorkshire long route?

My official time was 7:40:26. We had two feed stops, and I spent some time catching my breath at the top of the climbs. But the total elapsed time since cycling out of my front gate was closer to 8:30. A tough day in the saddle but a very rewarding one.

Shimano PD-M530 bike pedal review

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 | Video

The Shimano PD-M530 is a dual-sided SPD bike pedal. SPD is Shimano’s two-point mountain bike cleat but is also a favourite for commuting or those who are new to clipless pedals because it is easier to clip in and out of than the road version, SPD-SL.

The M530 has SPD cleats on both sides. This means that you do not need the pedal to the be the correct way up; you can push your foot down, and it doesn’t matter what side it is on.

The pedal comes with the standard dial to make it easier or more difficult to clip in and out of. Being dual-sided, though, means that you have two dials on each pedal which means you have to set the tension to how you like it four times in total.

They are mostly black, which should match standard crank arms. They have a larger surface area than other styles of SPD pedals, such as egg beaters, which makes it easier to find with your foot. You won’t be able to use them as flats, though, as your foot always makes contact with the cleat. And, having a larger surface area, they are heavier than other types.

If you like the look of these pedals, you may also want to consider the Shimano PD-EH500, which is similar but has a flat side as well as an SPD side, allowing you to choose between clipless and flats. In the video, I’m actually demoing the EH500, but only on the SPD side, which is identical to the M530.

Music credits: The Kyoto Connection – Fly

Chris tries to change a bike stem

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 | Video

In this video, I’ll attempt to change the stem on my bike. The stem is the piece that holds your handlebars to your steerer tube. You may want to use a bigger or smaller stem to dial in the perfect amount of reach (the distance your handlebars are to your saddle).

I’m not calling it a tutorial because I have never done it before, so who knows how it will turn out!

I’m using my Voodoo Limba cyclocross bike. I made the rookie mistake of buying a frame that was too big for me and so I needed to reduce the reach. I moved the saddle forward to put it into a racier position, using my race bike to match the geometry. But I also needed to swap out the 90mm FSA stem for a 70mm stem. Luckily, FSA does such a step, so it should just be an easy swap-out swap-in job.

The first step was to take off the reflector which was blocking access to the bolts holding the stem’s front plate in place. I then loosened these a little at a time to avoid putting too much stress on any bolt. Once the faceplate was off, I let the handlebars dangle down. I had my bike on the turbo, rather than in a stand, so there was no chance the forks would drop out.

Next, I removed the dust cap from the top of the stem and then loosened the bolts holding it onto the top of the fork. Once this was done, it slid off and allowed me to put the new stem on. Then it was merely a case of reversing the procedure.

Getting the new stem in the correct position is a tricky one. The handlebars need to be both in the centre and at the correct angle, and it took me a while to get them just right. After that, I could tighten up all of the bolds, including making sure that the stem lined up with the forks and front wheel.

Easter Sunday ride

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 | Sport

As if the punishment from Good Friday’s 84km wasn’t enough, I set out to do a round trip to York on Sunday. I collected Bogdan from Rothwell and we headed along the quiet roads of East Leeds to Cycle Heaven’s Naught-E cafe in the centre of York.

The cafe has a good range of stuff: full cooked breakfast and a wide selection of nice cakes. I opted for a bacon sandwich and a brownie. And we timed our arrival just right, getting there three minutes after they had opened.

The way back had some inevitable headwind but this died off the further we went. In total, the distance came to 110km, making it a new personal record for me, although only by 4km. I’m feeling like I should have done way more than that given the Yorkshireman is only nine weeks away, but putting nearly 200km into my legs over a weekend and still feeling good has been a confidence boost.

HPH Good Friday ride

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 | Sport

On Good Friday, I went cycling with Hyde Park Harriers triathlon club. Around twenty of us set off from the Three Horse Shoes in two groups: a “fast” group and a “social” group, with both being respectable rides that took in some hills.

I managed to hold the wheel of the fast group as we made our way to Bolton Abbey for some cake at the pavilion. We then took in Langbar, which was not as bad as I was expecting, before descending (and then climbing, because it’s Yorkshire) to Golden Arce park for ice cream and finally The Stables for a beverage of a refreshing nature.

In total, it amounted to 84km and just over 1,000 metres of climbing. A lovely way to start the Easter weekend.

Garmin Extended Display Mode: not so useful?

Friday, March 29th, 2019 | Reviews, Sport

Garmin Edge computers come with a feature called “Extended Display Mode” that allows you to relay your Forerunner watch data through your bike computer. This sounds super handy for triathlon because you will be tracking the activity through your watch, so relaying the data you are already capturing makes a lot of sense.

In reality, though, it’s not a particularly useful feature.

The data screens are driven by the watch. That means that you can only have a few fields on there. I like to have a tonne of stuff on my display, and at very least I would like to see my speed, power, heart rate and cadence. So, I think I’ll be sticking with running them independently for now.

LBT Brownlee duathlon video

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Sport, Video

Yesterday I wrote about the duathlon I took part in at the Brownlee Centre. I recorded the bike section on my action camera and I have overlayed my speed, power and heart rate onto the video. It’s predictably dull, but I have added some commentary over the top to make it less dull lol. In my defence, this isn’t why I bought an action camera.

The hyper smooth video does a good job, although I find it a bit weird. The background stays fixed in position as everything else dances around. It looks a bit unnatural but does produce something that is easy to watch.

Mavic Crossride bike shoes review

Friday, March 8th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

At first glance, you may not realise the Mavic Crossride are bike shoes. They look like trainers. But, hidden beneath the bright yellow sole is an inset SPD cleat (mountain bike cleat) that allows you to ride clipless while wearing a really comfortable shoe.

In this video, I’ll review the shoes and show you what they look like while cycling.

They’re not trainers, as you figure out when you put them on. The rubber sole is big and chunky and takes out a lot of the flex. They suggest you could go hiking in them, and that’s true, but you couldn’t go running in them because the sole is too thick and because the metal cleat does make contact with the ground. It doesn’t leave you walking like a duck but you can hear the clink.

Making them more comfortable and a little more flexible also means that they are not as stiff as road shoes. But that is the standard trade-off with mountain bike shoes.

The upper comes with both laces and a velcro strap. I tend to tie the laces in a single knot and then use the velcro strap to do the final tightening, which is easy to re-do later if it turns out you tied them a little loser than you would like.

Shimano TR5 review

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The TR5 is a triathlon cycling shoe from Shimano. In this video, I’ll review and it and show you what it looks like while cycling.

What exactly is a triathlon cycling shoe? It’s a lot like a regular bike shoe. But it has some modifications specifically designed for triathlon racing. First, it has a mesh in the bottom to allow water to drain out. They’re also comfier than some bike shoes. This allows you to come straight out of the swim and jump on the bike without having to dry your feet or put socks on.

They come with a loop at the back of the shoe that allows you to rubber band it to the back of the bike, keeping the shoe the correct way up. Finally, the velcro strap opens outwards to allow the shows to remain on the bike without the strap getting caught in the chainring. This does mean the end of the strap can rub against the crank arm so you may have to trim this down once you have worked out how much strap length you need for your foot.

The TR5 is the smaller brother of the high-end TR9. It’s not clear what additional benefits the TR9s provide, though, other than coming in blue. The TR9 is only road cleat compatible, whereas the TR5 supports both road and SPD (mountain bike cleats). They’re not inset, though, so whichever one you choose you will end up walking like a duck. Not a problem if you keep the shoe on the bike in transition, though.

The sole is very stiff, as you would expect from a road-style shoe. There isn’t much weather protection on top, which makes sense given they are built to let water drain out of the bottom. They come with two velcro straps. Once you have the first one dialled in you will probably never need to touch it.