I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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Thank-you. This is me being delighted at squirting a can of cream on top of a yukky hot chocolate I bought at the Bradford National Trophy.
Now imagine if I am pleased with that, think about how happy I get when people write on my blog.

Gem Atkinson
Mr Annoymous
Pablo Jerez
Simon E
Andy Waterman
Kevin Vicious
Stefan Rohner
Alex Murray
Aaron Abitia



Thank-you. Merry Christmas to everyone. Go ride your bikes

The 500 is in km which is annoying as I only work miles, yes I know dying unit terminology.
So I rode 8 miles at 6.30am this morning. I did a tabata then got the X68 (final ride of the year) to work.

I am SO hungry right now and I only did 35 minutes work.

I did get my heart to go to 190 bpm - good times as my 2 week flu meant my heart rate max fell to 184 bpm, with a bit of training its slowly been climbing back. But I was at 194 bpm at the National Trophy in Southhampton so evidently I've lost some fitness.
Well, well, well. This is a turn up for the books.

I wrote a post about how I took part in the Pret-A-Rouler cycling fashion show. I was dragged into it by Kristian House but it was a fun old event and I got to wear some dashing tweed.

Some days later a chap from another bike shop wrote a comment on my blog. It was rather agressive and didn't quite apply to me as it was directed at the organisers rather than 'roped in' models.

The comment demanded that the show not go ahead on the 14th Oct - which is a dumb thing to write on the 23rd Oct after the event.
In addition the chappy asked I acknowledged his correspondence, so I emailed him from my private email as this is a private blog. I was pleasant and explained I don't know anything about the organisation of the wonderful show but alas I didn't recieve an apology for his outburst or even a reply.

The chap called me up, just now, at work, asking for a free bike at the last minute for an event. Hmmm

Shall I call him back and explain to him that he was rude, I probably won't I'll just email him sorry I can't help you at this time. My reasoning is well mixing business with pleasure is never a good idea. But I'd bloody like too.

Ok, alright. I'll bow to the social pressure and get involved.
Actually its basically a trimmed down global version of Stefan's Autumn Cup

To quote Stefan:

"Tomorrow I start with some friends over Europe, the 'Autumn Cup 2010', nothing to win, just a motivation game. From 01.10.2010 - 31.12.2010 we write down the hours we spend on bikes, any bike! No watts, no average speed, no km, just the time, the longer the better."

Sounds like a good idea to me...
At the moment in the Autumn cup its come down to Stefan R (265h 35min) versus Martin (276hrs 20Min).
I think I'm on about 42 hours or something.

I haven't been doing it in ernest really because I do the quality for cyclo cross at this time of year not the quantity for the road season. Hence why I'm shit at road races until about July. Oh well. The crits I can do from Spring and I like em more anyways, its my thing. I have a short attention span, so sue me...

Anywho's I still need to do miles otherwise I'll become a bloater. and it means I can have another mince pie, just one more quality sweet from the tin and wedge another roast potato onto my plate.

Anyways I'll do Rapha's Festive 500 that should pick it up. I've got routes planned to Windsor for cake (5 hours) and on the recommendation of Greame Raeburn I shall ride the Dulwich's 'Ride of the Falling Leaves'
Then I've got riding to cross training and back and my 40 minutes of tabata and pyramid turbo time.
All in all I might just be able to do the 500.

I didn't race at Bradford. I really really wanted to. The course with the steps is a favourite of mine. Bradford was the place I did my first ever National level cross race, three years ago.

However, I didn't even pull my skinsuit on. 1 lap of the South East champs last week put me in the red and it took me a week of not riding my bike to recover.
I'd hope I'd wake up in Bradford to discover I was right as rain but I wasn't. So it was decided riding at Bradford would set me back another week. that would result in less time to prepare for the National Championships.
So I stood at the side and I yelled and yelled at all the riders who are my friends or ride classy or who I like. Hannah Barnes, Corrine, Ruby Miller, Louise Mahe and my new person Gen Whitson (who I sold my old cyclo cross frame to. It has a yellow Flanderian Lion on the seat tube if you see it). Shouting on people sure is fun. I alittle bit lost my voice.

I'd like to put a picture in this post but I'm not sure what of because there are hundreds of crash videos and pictures flying around the interweb at the moment.
Go to Vicious Velo blog for Videos and Cheryl Kings Flickr for pics of Hannah Barnes smashing into photogs. There is even one of me getting at hot chocolate at the Burger Van (DSC_3363).

Best ride was clearly Ian Field in the men's though, Gary Lingard is looking to be a serious podium hitter.
Andy didn't bin it for his whole race and smash the usual people he is placed with. Kev like me is still ill. Ben did better but he's still coming back after a month of not training.
I happily discovered Cheryl King has a super fluffy white dog, I tried to cuddle it. It was like a cloud with a dog face - (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckingimages/4097605319/in/set-72157622664403151/)

Tiramisu Cup Cake - Beas of Bloomsbury

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Is that a rat, or a cat or a dog?

My cold was getting better and now its far worse. I am so freezing cold today and everyone else around me is wearing t shirts because I made it so hot.
I am currently wearing:

Woolie Boolie Merino Socks
Ugg Boots
Howies Warm Felton Jeans - Flannel Lined
Rapha Crew Neck Merino Long Sleeve Jersey
Howies Chunky Merino Cardigan

I would say that this is perhaps more Merino than a sheep. This is now 2 weeks off my bike apart from a ride to work last week in the snow and tabata turbo on Tuesday.
Greetings to all you Hardcore Sportivos.

Due to incredible numbers at the Regents Park training camps recently, you are welcome to join Colossus and Myself on our sojourns into the mountainous wastelands they sometimes call ' South of the river'.

We will try to ride Tuesdays and Thursdays, with reasonable weather, meeting at 6.15 pm. Please try to form an orderly queue outside the shop [ there will be a cut off point at Guilford St ].
Due to the high-profile nature of these rides, Colossus in particular stresses the need for attention to detail in your attire, you can contact him at Colossus@Fashionguru.com. Remember, these rides are NOT competetive, if riders seem to dissapear into the distance up the hills, its probably because you've been kind enough to stop and make sure I'm OK. Or it's because you forgot your bike.

That's it for this week, see you up the road. Remember kids, 'Say No To Steel'

Julian Cunnington
Sales Associate

Sickness. And not the good type, that Fearne Cotton often refers to (see below). I'm talking scratchy throat, tickly cough, yellow snot and difficulty breathing.

I got ill after what I consider my best ride of the season so far at the National Trophy in Southampton. I was properly motivated to climb inside the hurt box for the next two weeks ready for Bradford and the bigger picture the National Champs. However I was stopped in my tracks by sickness. Like hitting a wall. I spent 2 days asleep. Towards the end of the week felt better and rode to work.

South East Champs arrived at the weekend and after a warm up lap I could hardly catch my breath.
After one lap of the course I could barely get air into my lungs and called it a day.

I was so frustrated, I see this season as me climbing stairs. Each week is another step up to the landing. The landing being the National Champs in Jan. When you miss a week you don't stay on the same step your left legs bends and hovers dangerously close to the step behind.
Everyone else has their foot poised to make contact with the ledge above.
But, a good friend reminded me that if I had raced at the weekend then I would definately have two feet firmly planted on 2 steps below and at least I didn't do that.

I've never really been in this place before, where you want so desperately to get on the turbo and train. I hate the tabata sessions. I have been allowed by Grant and Condor to take what is called Pro Days every week until the end of the year.
A pro day consists of:
Morning training ride (2-3 hours)
Then a nap (1-2 hours)
Skill work on the rollers (30 minutes)
Then some testing of winter cocktails (at the Commercial, Herne Hill)

I've yet to do my winter miles for the road season as it conflicts with cross so my riding will do this. Riding the rollers either skill or interval will be the elements I need for cross.

Now, I said 2 things. The other thing is Letters of Note - I find it fascinating.
I saw this about 4 Christmas's ago on BBC 2 and I bought the DVD. I looked on CrossJunkie's site and he has only just discovered it. Anyways reminded me to go home and find the DVD under my bed and watch it whilst the snow melts away.
Those pistons right there are going to snag the National Champs jersey in about a month. No brainer. 
Mr @FieldyCX

Happy to say I'm get supported by Specialized. Recently a superb pair of prototype mud tubs arrived for me.
& for my winter hours on the road which start this month a pair of womens specific S Works showed up. Not yet available for UK female riders though...
They are all patent, all White with a hint of shiny silver. If they are anything like the S Works MTB shoes I think my feet are going to be pleased, especially in the pale light of dawn this winter.
But with a bit of flu and the snow, they will make their debut on my rollers.

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Clearly I inspire. It literally is the only phrase that one should learn.
Yes, I think its wise to assume that if a horse stamped in your arm pit or you were doing a bit of fencing and put your foot up a horses butt then yes, you'd need an instant heat pack.
I'm pleased the packaging outlines the causes of pain in diagram form, ideal if your not sure if a heat pack is required.
I did another double cross weekend. I hopped inside the Specialized Fun Bus and headed under the sea to Belgium to watch and cheer the Brits at Koksijde which is something I love. I might go to Zolden on Boxing Day. The crowd and atmosphere is pure Belg.

Sunday I again woke up at 5.45 and this time went off to Southampton. Hardly the centre for cross and I was that impressed with the course. But considering 24 hours before I'd stood with thousands of freezing fans surrounded by some serious sandy bergs of a cross course. Anything the UK had to offer was going to pale in comparison.

The ground was frozen when I walked the course through with Andy. Between the Vets and my race the ground had unfrozen and I needed alittle bit less pressure to cope with the slippy corners. I chose to run Challenge Griffo's rather than Dugast Rhino's. There wasn't much mud and the ground was still hard. I decided an extra 1mm of height found on the knobble of a Dugast would be a drag and on what was looking like it was going to be a fast race opted for a Griffo as I wa sure of the grip it could offer.

A Good start put me into 3rd making the first turn. Pressure onto the crank to accelerate and bang, the bike shifted into the little ring and the shock of the change also yanked my foot out. The momentary lapse meant 4 riders screamed past me going into the wooded section. I regained my composure by the time we'd got back to the grass and from here I worked away. Focusing on keeping the tempo high. Focusing on accelerating on the flats and climbs.
By the end of the race I had secured 5th place. I'm extremely pleased and my best result yet. Griffo's were perfect, no little sit downs.

I was 40 seconds off 4th place which I need to work on. I think that is too big. I need to work on my pro Belgium style too. I needed leg warmers, thats not cool.

A highlight of Sunday was being selected for drug control and sat for 2 hours, drinking a total of 2 litres of water. I wore four coats and two wolly hats shivering trying to warm up. It was a horrible feeling. Until I was sorted and I couldn't leave and I couldn't eat.

I think that contributed to the disgusting stinking cold I'm struggling with today.

RJ has hurt her knee from an imbalance in her left thigh muscle. Which, means she has spoilt running club.
So we went on a power walk & slow jog today off towards Crystal Palace park.
I've been going down the park ever since I was a baby, i did diving training as it used to have an olympic training status and I trained there for when I used to play football.
Anyways it's always fun to go jogging past the dinosaurs. A man at RJ's work said there was an app for the park.
Today was cool and crisp.

My sister is a div there is no app, it's an audio tour you can do on your smart phone and we did and learnt some new facts.
Go look at www.audiotrail.co.uk/dinosaurs and there is a downloadable worksheet. Fun times.

I'd forgotten how good the program Paint is. Its the original Photoshop 1.0
This is a picture of Graham who worked the pits for me at the National Trophy cleaning my bike.
Thank-you Graham and David for helping and jet washing. 

Prototype Specialized Terra Tubulars arrived. They must have known I'd puncture at Mallory Park, unless they planned it that way.
They look good.
The Big S doesn't do things by halfs, more on Andy's blog about why the dominance of Dugasts may be coming to an end re the announcement of 3 new tubulars.
More details are on Bike Radar from the US
I'll be gluing them later this week after Thursday's gala dinner
I don't like it, its a bit flippin freaky, but it intrgues me - Hyde Park Pet Cemetery.
Love these, I don't know much though. Trust me if you like. Not my money is it
Well, I did alright at the National Trophy. Actually quite pleased with my result even though I punctured my Dugast front tub. Only that bloody wheelset I've been spending a load of time on in the last few weeks.

Original clincher wheel destruction - 1 hour
Wheel Build - 2 hours
Gluing - 3 hours
Sealing - an episode of X-factor (1 hour 30mins)

One must factor in drying time, you can't move onto the next stage without a day in between.

Drying - 48 hours

Total - 7 hours 30mins  ( incl dry time - 55 hours 30 mins )

I raced to precisely 23 minutes before I punctured at Mallory Park. Just as I was catching the series leader. I'd already smashed past the French lady and last rounds winner. I grabbed Emily's Kona and didn't give up, though I thought I was going to die (e.g. smash up into something) on her clinchers after riding about on those Rhinos.
A lap later I got my Condor back with a Griffo front and set about attacking the course.
When you get in the right mind set its amazing. I'm holding onto that feeling, big time.

And even though I only made the Rhino last 23 minutes, every bend was amazing and I loved racing every inch of the dreadful, bike destroying course.
I think it spurred me on in the final 2 laps.

Note: those nice people at the Big S, who help me out ALOT, are sending me something special. Should arrive in a jiffy bag today. Then I'm back to the glue.

This is a flickr story (slightly out of order) about the build and also a timelapse of the waterproofing. If you know about tubs and gluing then this is nothing new, but I wanted to document my first proper build. and I don't care if you've been riding Rhino's since you were 7.

Due to overwhelming and malicious pressure from members of the Ferrous Oxide Users Lobby [F.O.U.L.], we will welcome, albeit in limited numbers, Fibrephobes wishing to partake in training at Regents Park, usually at 6.30 pm on  Thursdays.

As you can imagine, this is a major compromise, neh, climbdown by the CarbonConsortium, one that has caused major rifts within its inner sanctum. We will have to stand firm against the imminent media ridicule, but rest assured we will be lowering our bars and raising our saddles in anticipation of future skirmishes up the cobbly road to Carbonisation.

All we ask of our new Skinny tubed cohorts is to observe 'gang etiquette, and doff  our caps as we wizz pass the massed ranks of Preraphaliteweights as they galantly fight their way up the drag to Camden in 39x29 while planning next season's assault on the Col d'Ighgate.

That's all for now, but remember we still have in stock limited numbers of "MY OTHER BIKE'S A CARBON" stickers.

Went to Richmond and Wimbledon. Quite a good game. Andy bought a Viennese Finger it was massive. Photo credit (Andy Waterman)

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I reckon my answers to the questions are pretty good, no repetition of a pacific word, no use of funny hand movements too much, shame about the hair, looks as though i've been blown by a gale from one side.
I's say its fairly embarassing but pleased with my efforts anyways.

I knew I could ride to 6th and I've managed it, ok the field wasn't that hard at the inter-areas it contained some of the usual suspects from the National Trophy rounds.
The course had 3 off camber tight turns, hurdles and lots and lots of grass.
Didn't feel that confident (ie I'd make mistakes, slow down too much, waste energy on turns, and wear myself out).

Mr Anonymous will be pleased to know I focused on the important (ok you were right, better result).

I didn't do a race or ride on Saturday, just had a mini burger platter and went to the Horniman Museum.
I drank a litre of water on the way there.
Had a banana 2hours before the start.
Rode the course 3 times in practise.
Used warm up cream
& worked up a proper sweat before the start.

I purchased ithlete as well to monitor my rest etc

We came 2nd in the team based part of the race. Got myself on the podium and a medal for the team effort.

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There is a man I work with.
He's 50 or so, small, bald, not fat & not skin or bone.
He's Landan through and through.
Not your typical stylish Rapha cad.
He doesn't understand the point in sportives.
He's a man of circuit racing, palace, hog hill and back in the daytime trials.
He's very old skool.
He talks only in gear ratios 53-14 is his favourite.
He is full of energy, he never stops.
He will always lend a hand.

So we taught him how to use email.
We taught him to find pictures of himself onthe Internet of LondonCycleSport.com

He started a chaingang after work. It's been going since the summer. It's training and talking is not really allowed.
He sent another one of his emails. It's the best thing I've read all week maybe all month.
I think you have to know, Crusher to get it. But still, I'd love to give him a column.

To all staff:
Greetings to all you Hardcore Sportivos. Due to incredible numbers at the Regents Park training camps recently, you are welcome to join Colossus and Myself on our sojourns into the mountainous wastelands they sometimes call ' South of the river'. We will try to ride Tuesdays and Thursdays, with reasonable weather, meeting at 6.15 pm. Please try to form an orderly queue outside the shop [ there will be a cut off point at Guilford St ]. Due to the high-profile nature of these rides, Colossus in particular stresses the need for attention to detail in your attire, you can contact him at Colossus@Fashionguru.com. Remember, these rides are NOT competetive, if riders seem to dissapear into the distance up the hills, its probably because you've been kind enough to stop and make sure I'm OK. Or it's because you forgot your bike. That's it for this week, see you up the road. Remember kids, 'Say No To Steel'
Julian Cunnington
Sales Associate

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I just read on Louise Mahe's / Hannah Reynolds (Mule Bar Girls) facebook that, and I quote "You hurt in training so you hurt the others in races [winkey smiley face]." Fair point.
Currently they are hurting me. I think its because they are powered only by pure organic mule bars and my cake isn't quite up to scratch.
Either way, tabata tonight after I go to Geoff Waugh's exhibition preview.
I'm going to only watch this video for the full thirty minutes on the rollers.

note: I find this video hillarious too
I was meant to be doing something like something important. I got distracted and began picking at things.
That's how it starts and before you know it, the cage is off the mech, there is a jockey on the bench, sprockets in the Safety Kleen tank and hmm a burning feeling on my leg.
So engrossed (sic?) was I in picking tiny specs of black dirt from my running gear, I didn't notice the chemical run down the industrial rubber glove and trickle onto the pocket of my jeans.
I placed my cogs to rest in their shiny new state, satisfied and cotent.
I just love digging away at something, pulling out the blade of grass that has wrapped itself inside the bearings of a jockey wheel. Whatever, it feels peaceful.
It's funny these cleaning projects don't arise by purpose. I've never said to myself, right this Saturday, my bikes getting over-hauled. It's more a case of one thing leads to another. Then I'm lost for like an hour. Cleaning something that really doesn't need that much attention.
If only i could end up on my turbo training away, squeezing out that lactate and sweat.

Nb-wiped the jeans with water but when I looked 10mins later a blotchy rash has appeared. It stayed there for a couple of days. That is proper strong stuff.

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This has been getting me through the Tabata Tuesdays. Well for the next two weeks until I get bored.

Warm up
Tensake - Coma Cat
TV Rock - In the air

Kelis - Acapella
Fake Blood - I think I like it
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads will roll (A-Trak Remix)
Katy B - On a mission
D1 & Caspa - Back for the first time

Cool down
Cassius - 99 (Reset! Remix)
Foals - Spanish Sahara

Bike Fitting - Condor Cycles from Condor Cycles on Vimeo.

Made a video and its on the new Condor site. Can I just say MY idea, MY concept, directed my ME - basically proves I'm an Idiot Savant. But I couldn't of done it without Adub and Ben coz Adub he can work the pixel gun and Benji the bike jig.

Originally uploaded by gregfalski.com
Two races in 24 hours hurts man! I've done stage races before but your legs don't feel tired in the same way. 40 minutes of going pretty hard hurts and then to finish late in the evening and repeat on course at the National Trophy the next day its difficult. I couldn't really contend with anything at the National. I tried my best but I wasn't strong enough.

Results like 9th can send you either way 1. into a sulk 2. motivate not to feel slow again.

Curley said that to me on our cake ride, it did the same for her and look at her. Racing in the same group as Helen Wyman at the Nationals.

More Tabata Tuesday's I think.

Ben stole Liam Killeens wheels, but that's after that chunk of blonde hair'd muscle stole his first from the pits at the Abergavenny cross.
You'd think the champ would know to label his wheels.

But guess what wheels they were...
Mavic Krysium SL silver (yeh I know! I just built a pair).
Liam was rocking Dugasts, which had been transplated with a Michelin Mud tread.

If it's good enough for Liam as a spare set of wheels then it's good enough for me.

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This is me, in a cave, telling people what to do. What I do best. I'm not saying what I tell them to do is best but I am best at telling.
What the hell happened there then. Well I'll tell you, I got complacent. That's what! Finished 2nd in the Eastern League at the weekend.
I opted for Eastern because after my double cross race weekend, Eastern was the race on the Saturday and I decided its a really well run league, fun with really nice people going. A photographer shows up too so I can look at pictures of myself the following week.

Why am I cross - well, here's how it goes. I have to start way back because I'm not a league member. Top lady starts 2nd row. I battle my way through but with 2 to go, I think I've got up to her. I ease off, NUMBER ONE RULE - never ease off. Keep going. Get to them and then smash past them.

So in the end I left myself one lap to catch and get past the leader. I didn't manage it because I then sat behind a few folk instead of shoutiung my way past. Final lap my time 7min.02 secs, winners lap 7min 17 secs.
I lost by 2 seconds.
Ok I didn't get gridded she completed her 1 lap 26 seconds faster than me because I got into a massive bottle neck but hey thats racing. I however did not race properly on 3 and 2 to go hence why I'm cross. Only at myself though.
And being eastern league I still won £20 for 2nd, still got a load of points, only drove for 30mins to the race not 2 hours to dover where the london league was being held.

What is pretty smart of the Eastern League is the Lap-O-Meter, you can compare yourself and you time per lap to all the other competitors. http://www.easterncross.org.uk/race10-11-6.htm

Oh yeh - then on the way home, I accidentally drove into someone, no harm done, no damage. PHEW
I'm on tenter hooks to see the jersey
List of things to take for a 40 min National Trophy Cross Race
Just had a thought, might do a project. here are some words related to the new project.

croxted road
waddington way
4-6 weeks
probably won't work
Image: Andy Waterman

The only way forward in cross is tubs. Fact.
I said it last year, in my end of season round up. Once I got tubular tyres my racing changed and I could feel the difference.
That said clinchers have their place, riding to a training session down Mitcham, a punctured clincher is easy to sort and your off riding again. Punctured tub and thats the end of the game. But I feel, I can tell the difference  in performance between tub and clincher. Maybe there is an element of self-fullfilling prophercy, here with that?

Cheap Tub set up
Andy Waterman found the cheapest cross tub wheelset combo out there....

His combo was Mavic Reflex rims, cheapo Planet X hubs and steel plain guage spokes, Vittoria XM tyres.
The rims are strong and robust. The hubs are uber cheap and light. Vittoria tubs are on special and have a good tread, Andy says.
I built a pair  just in time for the end of the season. But used some second hand Challenge Grifo tubs.

There are some flaws to the wheelset.

a. To keep them cheap you need to be able to build your own wheels or have someone do it for you on the cheap else, you gotta pay £50 labour a wheel or some shit.
b. The hubs aren't sealed or serviceable, sure they run smooth but I treated mine a bit bad and so the suffered from premature decrepitude. Freehub body went sticky, when I picked them out 7 months later had to give em TLC
c. They do need proper bit of care to keep em good. That's annoying fucking thing you got to do when you get home after you've, driven on the motorway, hosed down a skinsuit, made some dinner, cleaned 2 bikes. Then you gotta deal with a bloody hub.
d. Hubs don't come with skewers so you need to get a set of them too.

The Dilemma
So I got me 2 bikes for cross this year - replacing the Condor Baracchi-X will be a lighter Condor Bivio-X (the main training bike, cross bike no.2) & the new race ready Condor Terra-X (cross bike no.1).

I've got that set of Reflex rims & Planet X hubs wheelset combo for my first tubeset but what about the Terra-X.
There are quite alot of options. But its a pricey game and I don't want to run carbon wheel neither.

What I do have is 2 sets of Mavic Krysium SL's circa 2005 & 2006. One of the pairs I swapped for something and the other I bought off Jody Crawford for £80.
They are both clincher and I toyed with the idea of tubeless Hutchinson but then blew that idea to dust. They are expensive for what they are and don't offer the full benefits of a tubular.

The Maths
Mavic Krysium SL 2006
Front - 650g
Rear - 815g

Mavic Reflex with Planet X & Sapim
Rim - 360g
Rear hub 32h - 298g (shimano)
Sapim race spokes - 180g
Rear wheel total - 838g

Yeh ok so Hope Pro 3's would be a mega upgrade, providing increased longevity but it will cost ya,  AND Hope Pro 3's are actually heavier (315g). Though I'd take em because they look good...agree?
But they are BUCKS, big ones, cost ya boyo. I aint feeling the cost right now.

Transplant Op Solution
But you know what? Mavic still have in stock Krysium SL tubular rims from back in the day. They are directly transferable, all one has to do is undo the spokes, the hub is going to need a bit of grease, maybe replace the bearings.
2 hours on the operating table. Boom.
Whole new wheelset and a bomb-proof one at that.

You can't fault 'em I reckon. Proven results, I say from what my eyes see week in week out in the cross leagues.
Front is 650g and the Rear 815g
Mavic made this version of the Krysium SL from '05 till '08 everything about that silver flat bladed, alloy hub wheelset means they are seen in pits across the cyclo-cross world week in week out. Ok they aren't on all the kids no.1 cross bikes these days but they are there as a back up, reliable and ready.
Most of the wheelsets probably did a season on the road before they drafted in for the cross season when the owner looked to replace his road wheels.
See... proper bomb-proof and that's why they are being built ready for the new team issue Terra-X.

To finish
Well, we all know, Rhino's are the dogs. More psychological product selling I reckon. But if it means I let go of the brakes just that bit less. Less loss of speed, more acceleration after the corner, less waste of energy. Then hey, I don't care. Just about mental as the physical.

And that is how I've built MY ultimate wheelset. Yeh its not pimp, yeh sure there is something lighter out there but it'll cost ya. Wheels are serious tools. The way I see it, focus on getting the elements of speed, don't mess with speed. Trick the fuck up on little details. Subtle is sublime.

Disclaimer - I chat mess. I might not be right. We shall see won't we....
I don't know how it happened, Kristian H persuaded me I guess, but I ended up in an all tweed outfit and modelling in some hipster fashion show.
The Tweed outfit I wore, which included a silk scarf, plus 4's, shirt, flat cap, tweed waistcoat. the tweed wasn't Harris as @tarmacchaser pointed out but it did have reflective strands woven into it. pretty smart cycling tweed. But I look shit in the pictures, the boots make me look like I have some chunky thighs and no tan.
http://www.bicycleimages.com/ images are here  - search Pret and loads of stuff comes up

my other outfit was by Finesterre. Wore well, looked nice and made from British Merino Wool. Clever.

This girls properly worked it, not sure the outfit is that great for cycling. High fashion

And Kristian just looked like erm a Rapha man
Move over cakes. Well, not quite, I love a good sponge. But we've realised its no way forward for a pro. In fact whilst it was helping us train, it might have become an addiction that just went too far. Thank god it was cake and not crack. I think I've got one of those addictive personalities.
2010 was the year Rapha Condor girls did cake. And it culminated in a 4 page spread in cycling weekly. BOOM.

We've set ourselves some rules re cake to ween ourselves off it
Cake can't be eaten without reason related to cycling
Cake can be eaten following a substantial ride or race
Cake shouldn't stop rides, ride first, cake to finish, at least 1 hour of riding before cake could be considered.
Good race performance warrants cake -
Exception - not if you sat in and did nothing then sprinted at the end
Supermarket cakes are not acceptable
No cake until Wednesday

a. someones baked at home and brought it in - but only 1 slice/cupcake - you cant go back for seconds
b. its a birthday and someone brought in something
c. It is a once in a lifetime chance - Gordan Ramsay just walked in with a Victoria.

There is one more cake ride to follow in the south, roughly November time. Then we'll wave goodbye.
Its been great knowing the bakey goodness
Right there is alot of stuff to pick up on.
I did a double cross weekend, Eastern League on the Saturday and then London League on the Sunday. Both races were a stark contrast to each other.
The first was grassy, sunny and dry the London League was painful. I think I wrote in an earlier blog that its dumb people referring to cyclo cross as Hell. Well I take it back it was. I coudn't count how many times I washed out, it was nasty and muddy (which I like) but the course was tricky lots of ups. I finished 1st on Sat and then 40 secs off the pace on Sunday and in the runner up spot.

Very much enjoyed the Eastern League, neither race I made easy for myself. I fell off my bike through complete error in the start had to chase rather hard to get back to the front of the field from dead last.
On Sunday I made so many mistakes on the course when I was in the wrong gear and had to come to a dead hault. You learn this stuff. It was the first race where I properly had to spend an hour cleaning the bike. I hate it when you put it away in the garage then the next day, you notice its still a pile of filth.

So the cycle show rolled around and I worked from 6am till 11pm every night. It was hard, my feet and legs gave up so by the time of the National Trophy they didn't really want to work anymore. They wouldn't carry me up the climb. I finished 2nd from last and I didn't like it one bit.
But that feeling of being last and pity for you is a bitch. So then the following week I wanted to ride my heart out but I decided not to. I just needed a rest so I did. I feel better for it.

Next up is Muddy Hell then National Trophy at Ipwich the following day.

I got a couple of messages about doing and blog posts and when the hell am I going to update Cross 140. I've been taking pictures (honest), I just got super busy. Launched a new range at the cycle show, did some cross races - some I did good, some I goof'd then I launched my first ever proper website (http://www.condorcycles.com/). It still needs some work. Like a new born baby, it needs constant care. But you don't know these things till they are born.

We launched with some exciting stuff which I'm pretty proud of, that I help be part of the creative, like a director, like the Rider Stories and we have little sound bites online, i mixed them myself, i know its poor but i think im clever. I love the time lapse video of the bike fit with Andy Waterman. Our new photography has worked out real nice for the bikes. I think its fair to say I was the pushy one, saying how I wanted it. No compromise. I love the blog, I love the twitter. I love sitting down for a couple of hours each week and thinking up a blog schedule. I love how so many people have taken the time to comment on the website via twitter and how many followers we have considering we don't have millions.
Right so Cyclo Cross.... so far... next blog
I was sitting on the train en route to Esher to go watch a film and eat Italian (FYI). There is a guy opposite me. He sounds alittle bit like an idiot. He's just said to his friend

"That girl I was seeing, yeh I'm going to drop her. She only just got back to me after a month with a date when she can meet up. I don't think I can be bothered."

No mate - I think she can't be bothered, you fool.

Ok then he said "oh Jennifer, yes that was a rather drunken flight. Saw her last week, bit of a rotter."

Ok I like you alittle bit more because you used the term rotter

Its the end of the season. Therefore doing things that may break our collarbones is now allowed. Rapha Condor girls and boys team were asked by Prostate Cancer charity to ride a sportive of the Stoke Stage of the Tour of Britain. I have to travel up from London to do it, so did Phips and Rachel and Martin,Brigga, Dean and Curley had to drive across from somewhere North or Midlands, whatever,  so we decided to make a weekend of it.
Deano, Brigga, Martin, Phips, Me, Curley and Rachel decided to go off road on Saturday and then we met up with a few more folk for an awesome PIE. Keiran from Pendragon also joined us, as he knows the trails better.

While Phips was mending his chain which he randomly snapped - Brigga decided to get some air. Deano gave him a lead out. 
FYI - check out Cannock Chase and we rode the Dog and Monkey runs. Full sussers can be hired and there are family trials. Big thanks to the lads at Swinnerton Cycle who hooked me Curley, Rachel up with some bikes to borrow FOC.