I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
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Red Bull Hill Chasers 2011

Pic by Roman Skyva (Flickr)
Knockout stage - Round 1
Got slammed by eventual winner Chris Metcalf

Rollapaluza Urban Champ (male) vs. Rollapaluza Urban Champ (female)

Standard shut down but nice to be invited to race and I got a good pic out of it.
Kudos to Benedict Spurrier on smashing a favourite and getting a Bronze Charge Bike in the process.

I'm waiting for my car's MOT.
I could wait in the cold or I could have a bacon roll.

These are the desserts listed on the menu of the cafe
Jam Roly £2.00
Spotted Dick £2.00
Fruit Cocktail 80p
Custard 70p
Milk 60p
Jam Tart 50p

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Now updated with what happened at Sainsburys (see comments)

I got invited to go to the Olympic Velodrome in London. The velodrome is amazing and the whole site looks rather natty.
I was a bit of a cynic about the Olympics before but now I'm quite excited so much so I registered for tickets.

The same day I bought a Cadbury's Wispa. Inside it said I could play against Olympians and win once in a life time prizes (not the reason for purchasing the Wispa)
Now this is the only time I've ever even considered entering a competition on a wrapper. But I thought why not.  Carefully cutting open the wrapper to reveal my code and web address.

But what happened when I get online - SORRY Competition Closed. What but the expiry date on the wrapper is August 2011.

Surely that is bad planning to have a wrapper with an expiry date for a competition that closes in December 2010?
I checked the wrapper and only inside the foil was there an expiration date so how is Bernerd the ShopKeep suposed to know?

I wrote to Cadbury (something I never do) and told them I was 'dissappointed' and 'it had got my hopes up'.
I included my wrapper and a screengrab of the competition being closed.

They wrote back very quickly. Whilst they are correct that "it is the stores responsibility to rotate stock" they can understand "an inconvience has been caused" they sent me "a vouchers as a goodwill gesture"
Fair play to the chocolate people bet Nestle wouldn't do that.
At the end of the day though...its still bad planning.

What shall I buy.. its redeemable against Trident, Bassetts, Cadbury and Creme Egg.
I was thinking a packet of mini eggs or chocolate buttons?
Best Ride:
Southampton - 5th
A freezing cold day and ground as hard as tarmac. I rode and I didn't think about my lungs or legs just keep going faster. Its hard to get your mind into that way but when you do it so motivational.

Best National Course
Bradford - Peel Park
I had flu so I couldn't ride it. I hope it is featured in the series next year

Worst Course
South East Champs - Hog Hill
I promise I will never go back there ever again.

Most Mud
Mallory Park - 8th and I had a puncture. Fun though and I was jet wash duty. Everyone should have a go at that its sooo mental!

Best B&B
Fern Cottage - Derby
Good breakfast, nice lady, funtime cats

Best Ride
Emily Barnes to National title

Most improved
Andy Waterman & David Barnes
David this year moved into the U14 category, he went from 10 minute races to 30minutes and to hurdles that are taller than his knees. Each race in the national series he got faster and faster. Finding 3rd and the podium at the Champs. I've handed down my Grey Condor to David. Good luck mate!

Best Piece of Kit
Dugasts or my Condor Frame
A friend shouted to me during the race, trust your tyres. When I was racing with Dugasts for the first time. I did and my life and speed changed forever

Best Accessory
S Works MTB shoes
The two boa's mean that you get constant tension throughout the shoe around your foot. Light and the reduced tread means the mud is shed fast making getting back into your pedals after a dismount very easy

Worst kit
Giro glasses
Sorry - they just steam up and look generally not that great on my face. If in doubt go Oakley Radars!

Best Rider
Nick Craig
A beast and generally really funny, nice guy!

Worst thing about cross this year
So cold I raced in leg warmers & having a cold for 4weeks just when I think I got to my peak of fitness. I never really recovered and a month on now have an ear infection.

Best thing
Taking the max'd out team Skoda Superb to races. There is so much space you end up taking a load of kit you are never going to need.
Training in the snow. Riding in the snow is so silent, so light and airy. You don't fear of falling off as you just land into a cloud.
Meeting Missy Dog - I'm not really into dog's but that dog was amazing.

Moment I remember
Waiting in drug control for 2 hrs with Hannah Barnes. I missed the men's race and everything.

Next year
I promise to race in Belgium.
I will buy rollers for proper
I will get into the top 5 more than once
I will race in the Eastern League, its so much better, and you win champagne and you actually race

What worked
Tabata Tuesdays
Interval runs, runs at running club on Mondays
Practising mounts and dismounts over and over again

Cross 140
So I said I'd take a picture everyday of the cross season. I did but I didn't really keep up with posting.
You should try it though its quite fun and good for documenting what you achieve.
Anyways - I missed about 7 days. Soz. so 133 of 140

The latest words from Crusher
Just a reminder about Thursday night's chaingangs. Let's not let the side down, we must give it large, not lemon. Best bike, best behaviour. All  levels welcome, remember, this is a great way of learning bike skills and group riding.
Sammy and Me was chirpsing, yeah, and discussed an informal Condor hillclimb up "Low Cross Wood" in Dulwich. It's about 350-400 metres long, pretty steep and closed to traffic, so should be perfect for beginners and old dogs alike. 
Give us your views. 
We can share the timekeeping. Prizes are being donated by Fortnum and Mason. ....ok, the pound shop. Winner gets a Polka dot Buff.
Anyway, on my Walkman.....sorry, I-pod....
"I'm steel waiting"...........Diana Ross
"You make me feel, mighty steel".......Sylvester
"Can you steel it"..............Jacksons
"I can steel it, hanging in the air tonight".....Phil Collins
"I steel haven't found what I'm looking for (carbon )".....U2
"If it steels good, then do it"....Joe Cocker
"Steel be coming round the mountain when steel comes"........Oh come on, go to bed
Julian Cunnington
Sales Associate
I look at bike parts and bikes everyday. So there is alot of repitition. But I saw this and it made me want to blog it.
Thomson Elite...
Someone from BCF put some new images online of the National Champs


They were also well placed to get me having a roll around on lap 1.
Warning: Probably for girls. This has nothing to do with cyclo cross or even cycling.
My sister's friend started a blog. She goes on dates because she signed up to a dating website to see what it would be like. After the dates she then has to recount the stories about five times the day after so instead she thought she'd write it down for her mates to read.
The blog is called - Dating for Deadbeats.

It is too funny, just read the chat up lines then her comments.

Ah, there are two puppy whippets on the platform they have Barbour esq quilted jackets. I want to cuddle them. But I know beneath the jacket is a horrid-spindle-bone-pokey out-rib body and it would probably bite my face off so I'll just look

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Well, despite 11th when I wanted a top 10. I had a good time in Derby. Curley showed up to cheer me on and so did Martin Povey. So many people shouted for me and I needed it.
Lap 1 didn't go so well - I feel off at every oppourtunity as I couldn't keep my bike upright. I slipped down to 17th from my front row gridding.
I shouted to Emily when I saw her on the side to tell Graham, the trusted king of the pits to let more pressure out of my front tyre. I switched to another Condor Terra-X felt much better, found some confidence then decided to get inside the pain box and fight back.
11th is my best result in a National Championship - Ben and Andy said how their legs hurt after, mine are only mildly sore. I sometimes think how I didn't try hard enough but  all I can remember of the race is a bit of green, a bit of mud and some voices so maybe I did.

There was one moment when my tummy hurt like I was going to be sick or someone punched me in it
I had probably 5 sit downs - most I've ever known
There was another moment when I couldn't really hear anything - like a long dark tunnel
There was a time when I fell up the hill and did a rollie-pollie which was embarrassing.
I think I'm over my flu though.

I was gridded next to Helen Wyman on the start which scared the daylights out of me because she's well pro and alot taller than me and has a better leg tan even though its winter.


I also made a poster for the living Vetran legend Nick Craig who raced on the Saturday to take the Vets title then showed up on Sunday to race for 5th in the elite. That is hard as nails so we made him a poster.


Paul Oldham (2011 National Champ) saw it and said he'd liked it. So I'm going to make him one for Rutland next week. Your gonna get it Oldham.

One final word has to go to Emily (my team mate) who rode back from 5th to 1st to secure a solid National Champion title. I'm just mailing her a special National Champions saddle to go on her Condor bike.

Watch this video at 7.38 - you'll see a bloke in red crash on a straight bit of course and then Jody bunny hop the hurdles which is rather natty.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaR94PlZePQ

Also I stayed at Fern Cottage they gave me a delightful scrambled eggs on toast breakfast that was really nice. I would recommend a stay at the B&B. They also have fun cats that are alittle bit chunky. Heather Cherry is a lovely owner.

This is no Andy Waterman Oscar epic, nor is it of the calibre of a Rapha Continental Film. This is me just having a go.
Watch the video half way through it explains what I'm trying to achieve

I don't actually do Tweet of the Week. Because I know I couldn't maintain it. It would only lead to let down and dissappointment in a couple of weeks time.


"@gagedesoto - Is the Assos lady on twitter yet? Because she always looks like she has a bunch of stuff to tweet about: http://twitpic.com/3ms8s1 "

I laughed my little sides in half
I had to blur the models face out to protect his identity - not quite sure if the colour is right for him.

Anyways - introducing the slanket is probably the single best thing I got for Christmas. 
How to use - Do a training ride, sportive get home tired. Want a rest but want to play on your laptop and be warm. Get in the slanket.
The original blanket with sleeve. Snuggle in, pop your arms through the sleeves. Tap away on the laptop writing blog post, updating your riding diary, garmin uploads. Look at photos of yourself. Drink a mug of coco. Do it all but without letting the cool air get in. 

Its your must have item of the season. Forget compression wear, forget after ride shakes. This is the latest in recovery. 
"The idols of today are unmistakable - self-esteem without effort, fame without achievement, sex without consequences, wealth without responsibility, pleasure without struggle and experience without commitment"
Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks, Jan 2004
I love euro. I love how they were made to pose with pillows. I love how they were made to pose asleep. I love how there is a man's head poking out the bottom and I especially love it because its Quick Step.
Long Live BOONEN

It started well with a 6.30am Tabata Turbo session but then I never managed to get the mileage high enough through family parties, celebration drinks, races and doing some National Cross Champs specific sessions.

What I think I can concur though is on a cross bike you put the same amount of effort it. But one goes at a third of the speed, therefore I think it is legitimate any cross riding I do I add on some effort mileage. Is that cheating?

23rd - Tabata Turbo - 8miles
26th - Boxing Day morning Tabata - 8miles
27th - London League Cross Race - 11miles
29th - Ride into Kent - 34 miles
30th - Cross Ride - 34miles
31st - Swaines Lane x Ventoux Challenge - 33 miles

The total -126 miles - 204km - not even half.
If I use my cheat method then it becomes 140miles - hardly worth doing the math for that.

I'm pretty happy with that though. I gotta work on my sprints and top end for next week. I had a good ride at a race in Ipswich which was a national race and finished 2nd. Final few sessions before the weekend and I'll rejoin the people of the bus for Thurs and Fri to rest my legs.

I also built a special cross bike ready for the nationals
2011 Condor Terra X w/ internal cablin. Team Ed. colours
Euro X Magnesium Cross Brakes
Dugast on Mavic Krysium
Dura Ace Groupset
44t - 38t Chainset
Ceramic BB
S Work Carbon Stem - 100mm
Deda Newton Shallow Drop - 40 c to c
Fizik Rapha Condor Limited Ed. Saddle
Fizik Team only Tape
XTR Clipless Pedals
Gore Ride On Cabling

I have a favourite loop. It takes 2hours and there are 4 hills. I never really see any cyclists and it goes into the edge of the Garden of England, Kent.

On my ride I go up Beddlestead Lane. A steady 2 mile climb and a height gain of 402 feet. I don't know what that makes the average gradient I might work it out later...

Game of no going back
Basically every 30secs go hard. Not sprint like a nutter just so its like chipping off the front. You can change up through the gears but you CANNOT change down until the 30 seconds is up then ride at a good recovery pace until the next time.
The rule about not changing down means you cannot back out and you have to commit to the effort.

My game of Odds.
The other thing I did on my ride was wear odds. So I wore my new S-Works womens shoe with my 2010 sponsor shoe Specialized Pro Womens. Just to see and feel how much difference.

Another time I rode with one Gore lightweight winter sock and one chunky Rapha one. Just to see if it was the chunk or the technical fabric keeping me warm. Maybe squishing my feet underneath the chunk was not favourable. Anyways the Gore is better for an active training session up and down the hills and the Rapha one is better for flat rides to Windsor.