Devil Ride – August 10th

Devil Ride, Wales - Course Profile

Welcome to the Devil Ride, an exciting new cyclosportive from the organisers of the award winning Autumn Epic, taking place on 10th August 2008 from Builth Wells in mid Wales.

We had been thinking about setting up a cyclosportive that takes in the infamous Devil?s Staircase for a couple of years, but the event got some real impetus in a forum on the excellent

As well as the notorious Devil?s Staircase, riders will take on another nine or ten significant climbs, including the fearsome Gammallt (25%). This follows immediately after the Staircase and came to fame when it forced riders onto their feet during the Milk Race. There are also plenty of other rolling climbs to keep things interesting and that will feel big enough by the end. – devil ride

I’ve entered and booked my accommodation. It’s going to be a pain getting there without a car (5hr train with bike, request stop) but it will be the first time I visit Wales.

Short Changed

I noticed this morning the HRM had stopped just before I made it home on Sunday. With a quick recalculation I gained back the 8k, meaning I did in fact pass 400k for the week!

This is the reason I can’t walk down steps without looking feeble. Back on the bike today for some very slow commuting. Quite happy with myself that I managed not to chase anyone today and kept the HR nice and low.

Harp Hilly 100

Chiltern Classics - Reliability Ride series

This first reliability trial is the well-known Harp Hilly Hundred starting and finishing also at the Hemel Hempstead CC clubroom. This starts off following a similar route as the Hemel event through to Chesham then it takes on its own character taking on the hilly bits of the northern Chilterns through Berkhamsted, Whipsnade (the infamous Bison Hill) then onto Aston Hill near Halton and tracking back through Tring, Ivinghoe Beacon, Whelpley Hill via White Hill to the clubroom for a well earned rest.

With a whole 4 hours sleep under the belt, I woke up feeling.. um.. rough. My eyes were shot – dehydration does this. Coffee and Vegemite toast to the rescue. Prepped the bike (riding the Ribble as I’ve not finished tweaking the S-Works) and packed some muesli bars, a gel, sweets, the GPS (which had the Hemel club room added as a waypoint and a route hastily copied from Google Maps using GMapToGPX), my multi-tool, spare batteries and wet weather gear (although the forecast was good, you never know). I had planned to leave all this in my bag at the club rooms but this didn’t happen..

I left the house around 7am after printing a Google Map route sheet. 32k to ride start. Rode through Greenford, Harrow, Watford and then.. got lost. I took the wrong exit in some messy friggin’ round-a-bout system in some stupid piddly friggin’ town and headed the wrong way for a while before realising. Now I’m running behind schedule! Angry. Didn’t want to up the pace too much as I’m trying to get miles in and not explode my legs too soon.

I met a guy on a bike and he knew the club rooms so we rode together for a short while, until we spotted some more cyclists who it turned out were doing the Harp Hilly 100. These guys had already started and suggested I should just start. So I did. I didn’t really think it through but it meant that I saved ?4 (sarcastic woo!) it also meant I had no map and I was carrying my bag full of crap and still had my lights on.. um.. oh well, too late now. Hang on! One of the guys had a new Pinarello, picked up the day before. I don’t think he liked that I’d left my day-old machine at home and he was on his.

Turns out they had taken a wrong turn almost straight away (hippy gets lost #2) and we carried on alone until a junction where we could pick up some other bunches. Once ‘on’ it was quite good rolling along in a group of 20 or so at reasonable pace. The bunch strung out at the first big climb. No idea what it was called or where it was but it was reasonably steep. To keep the HR down I was in my lowest gear (39/25 I think). Rejoined bunch and repeated this process a few times – there’s some nice climbs around this part and the weather was sweet.

Riding up the steep Bison Hill I passed Willesden CC’s ‘Mike the Bike’ and said g’day or something. I was probably a bit vague at that point. He said there were big bunches up ahead so I pushed on, grabbing a muesli bar when my HR had dropped at the top. Rejoined a bunch that had some familiar people in it and at some point here I was dropped, I think? I’m not actually sure but I remember passing two women riding together and then stopping as my back was hurting so much I had to stretch my hamstrings and then the two women passed, asking if I was okay.

No one was coming along the road so I basically chased down the bunch the women were in and tagged on. These guys ride for an MTB club and were training for the Marmotte. We ended up riding up Ivanhoe Beacon, only to get to the top and realise we’d taken a wrong turn somewhere! (lost hippy #3). The consensus was that we’d cut out 1/4 to 1/3 of the course, including Aston Hill but at the top of Ivanhoe you don’t really want to ride back the way you came just to do it all over again later. A pox on the riders near us that failed to mention our wrong turning! Ah well, we continued on..

We did some more map checks and more climbs along the way while I started to suffer a bit – my back again and tiredness. I was sitting on the front though, with another mtb’er bloke, with the two women o’ Marmotte behind so it wasn’t like I wasn’t working with the group. I’d pass them all going up hill but I’d suffer on the rolling/flat (very odd for me! I usually power the flat and suffer up hill). The guy pretty much knew the way back so with a few close calls with Sunday driving buffoons in European saloons we made it back to the Hemel club rooms.

I bid my bunch farewell and decided that the option of returning to Ealing by train was too painful and as it only saved me 10k it was hardly worth it. So, I turned around and cycled back home. This added another 32k to the clock and saw me arriving home in a bit of a state. Ouch. 🙂

144.2k for the day (supposed to be 100k) and it was actually closer to 100k on Saturday although it should have been 60k according to my program :S How do you spell ‘burn out’?

The Team Quest Reliability ride next week starts much closer to home and will be more like a club run for me.


Australia Day 2008 – LFGSS Night Ride

aussie mascots

Dale kicked off the idea for an – australia day night ride.

I just happened to have bought the full Australian ‘Cyclones’ team kit and this was the perfect place to debut it. Perfect for me because I don’t have to look at my own lycra-clad arse! Ha!

I couldn’t find the lane, let alone remember its name! Eventually resorted to A-Z searching and found it. Jonny then found me as I contemplated entering the mass of people in the lane. After some security staff sooking and some kind of voltage spike we rolled out of Covent Garden, by Australia House on The Strand and on to the Captain Cook memorial on the Mall. I guess we had 20-30 riders? We’d get hassled by pricks in cars and cheered by drunkards on the roadside 🙂

My wheel moved and chain went slack, I think due to me being a total numpty when I changed tyres and only tightening it up softly once tension was ok. Derrr! Worse was that I’d left the toolkit at home. Luckily Phil was on hand with a 5mm allen key.

Riding through Richmond Park we all turned our lights off and cruised around in the moonlight. Very cool! The deer that are usually docile and stand around munching on grass turned up the pace at night and we raced them along the road.. until they decided to cross it at speed! Luckily everyone was prepared and no deer burgers had to be cooked.

I was going to bail at this point as I knew the way home and had to get up at stupid o’clock for Harp Hilly. Instead I carried on and we drove the pace up. Then, somehow, Tommy, flip and I split from the bunch with no idea where we were. We ended up coming across Clapham Common and then checked the A-Z and split. I made it home at 1am with about 70k on the clock, dehydrated with tired legs and was in bed around 2am ready for my 6am rise. 🙂

Top idea! Top people! Top night!

75k of Richmond Park laps

So I buy a GPS and what do I do? That’s it, go somewhere I know and ride around in circles! 🙂

Fitted new Rubino Pros from PBK (?11.50ea from PBK) and surprise, no punctures (take note Continental Tyres/Cup-A-Soup!). Of course, locked ’em up (it was drizzling at the time) within a kay of home when some fscktard turns across me. I was tempted to follow him up the side street and cave his skull in but I had distance to get done.

I’m following warrwych’s training schedule so I rode laps of RP to get up to 70k. The wind didn’t make for pleasant laps. I was in pain for most of them and of course waited until the last lap before I gave in, stretched my hamstrings and felt much better! I also detoured to Sigma Sport to see if Lee was in and talk about the new machine.. he wasn’t. Next week.