I get 'cross

My journal of cyclocross
Follow Me
I have a ten year old disposable camera with a fisheye lens. It isn't removable and the camera doesn't have a view finder. There is a built in flash and the body is made of cheap plastic.

If you drop it whilst riding it doesn't smash like an iPhone.

I celotaped it to my handlebars and took it to the Tour de France.

Click on the images to scroll through a larger gallery.
The set up
Descent to Bourg St. Maurice
Col du Madeleine - Caravan
Climb to Arc 1800
Descent of the north side of the Col Du Madeleine
A Dutch man and Lassie
Froome and Richie Porte

First hairpin of the descent

Ascent to Plan Peisey from Landry
Summit Restaurant on Cormet de Roseland
Vicious on Petit St. Bernard
Bike in Nancroix

I used Kodak 400 35mm - 36 exp. 
Just what I found in the drawer.
Didn't quite work on the misty mountain top when the Tour came over the Madeleine. Wish I'd had a 200.
I processed by film using The Film Processors, very pleased with the quality, quick service and turn around. From posting the film to receiving the print it was 4 working days.  
This camera doesn't have as much lens as some others. I think it shows about 160 degrees of the view.
When it comes to shots especially animals I need to get much closer, like SO closer I'm basically touchin e.g. my Lassie shot and the bike leaning up on Nancroix

Le Malliot Boom has graced the shoulders of a few riders this tour. Not as many standout performances as I thought there would be.

The final claimant has got to be Nairo Quintana.
Likeable little fella despite riding for the dubiously good Movistar.

Aged just 23 but looking nearly 43.
He could just tune up his TT skills and would really give Froome a bit of competition.

Poor old Froome and Team Sky, dogged by doping allegations. Everyone's trying to use scientific methods to work out and compare his climbing data to that of the golden years of drugs in the sport.

Now, now really, I've devised a very simple method to work out who's making the dough from EPO. It all comes down to looks and levers.
Take Sir Brad and Froome-Dog - one has veins popping out of their legs and the other looks like a skeleton trying to balance on a golf ball. You don't look like that if you aren't training your hardest and watching every gram of fat. His poor little pinched face looks rather ill and no one chooses to look like that if their didn't want to win fair and square.

Second is Brad's and Froome's super long levers. Force x Distance. Now that is science. Froome weighs about as much as a twig and he's got mega long levers cranking the pedals = more power.

So? Froome has long legs without any fat. What about his rival?
When Contador set one of the fastest times up Ventoux in 2009, he didn't look like Froome. In fact while Froome has (in my opinion) one of the ugliest styles on a bicycle, his knobbly knees knocking and spaghetti arems waggling. Contador and Rodregiuz are the essence of pro style.
They are thin but don't look too odd, how can you go up a mountain that fast if you haven't put your body through months of physical stress? And show no adverse effects.

And now in 2013 Contador is back, after his abscence due a dodgy steak (alarm bells should be ringing), and Bert can't keep up with Froome. So clearly Bert is off the 'sauce' he's still got his pro style looks but doesn't have the speed to match Jack from the Nightmare before Xmas (Froome).

His arms are fairly shapely, his legs don't look out of proportion and his face is definately not pinched.
Now let's consider Lance - we knew he was on drugs and he didn't look mental on a bike. He had a good form, chunky muscles and to some effect: Pro Style.

What about Nairo Quintana? He's compact. He currently has the young riders jersey on his shoulders. He looks ok, right?
Wrong. He looks like an old man, poor fellow. All that training has weathered his little columbian face, his face says 40 but his birth cerificate says early 20's. 

There you go, easy. That's how you work out if your Tour leader is on doping. 
Do they look unusual, ill and really odd on a bicycle?  Yes! 

Safe to say, they haven't cut any corners.

If you need some extra science then have a look at Science of Sport blog and their comparison of the pVAM scores of Froome versus Pantani and Armstrong from years ago.

There are various well written blogs about the 2013 edition of the etape. (search for the Spikes & Heels website, or search the Telegraph for Natalie's posts)
All I can say is it was a brilliant but brutal route. The heat on the Mont Revard & Semnoz was crushing.
I reached the feed at La Revard around 11.40am - my plan was a quick wee, coca cola and some energy bars.
It turned into a zombie wonder around the food station sampling everything from apricots, to cheese, quiche and sousission slices. Finally when I decided to go on, I was approached by a French man who asked me some questions about cheese & the etape. I was happy to oblige, I think at one point I referenced Poulidor?

I was set up for the final climb, Semnoz with savoury snacks. I can't say much more than what anyone else will say about the climb, it would be better to watch the pros hit it at full pelt in two weeks.

I just had to nod away at 7k/h up an 11k monster and hope to crest the summit faster than the 2 hour limit I'd set (reecee route time). My little French interview mate came past as a pillion on a motorbike, snapped some shots & yelled "Allez Claire". I felt slightly more important for about 2mins while those around me (that could raise their heads), looked on.
Excitement over it was back to the grind.

I was surprised to see there were people walking when I got to it at 1pm, shouldn't these be the fast people?Some were slumped at the side at the 9k to go mark.
I thought about stopping but it is far more difficult to climb back on if I did. I had an inner battle to not get off, which was a helpful distraction for me. Knowing the climb was hugely helpful, I knew once the road emerged from the trees to truly kick up a fuss in the final 1km that was it and I'd be done.

At the top of the mountain it was nasty. No where to sit, bikes on the floor people treading on them.
There was no way I was staying up there to have my bike treated like that. Not one that has crossed the line of the National Criterium Championship in first place a few years ago.
Shame to see the choppers forlorn on the floor, a picture of absolutely no style, their bikes tossed aside, no respect for their Taiwanese import. Hating cycling.

That was that. 59th woman and 3,000-and-something overall. 4hrs of climbing and 7 hours in total (I hope that was all the stopping for cheese and doing wees).

I think I'm not cut out for mass ride races. I can't handle the people or the lack of freedom on the road. I think I used to be but I seemed to have developed a fear of other people's inability to ride, somehow I think I am the master & everyone will take me down.

That's the etape but what about #womens100?

I stayed at a chalet Rapha had organised for their Women's 100 event, a house of 20-or-so women from newbie to experienced. The setting was unbelievable and Dominque Gabellini's cooking was amazing. The 'last supper' for the 'race' was duck and it was beautiful.

I'm not used to being at an event where some of the people don't have a reference point of a mountains ride or a super chamois day in the saddle. It was sort of hard for me to talk without sounding like an annoying know it all, I'd have to think back seven or so years to remember those tough days.
I didn't have nerves but I became nervous for them.
At the event, I waited in the event village with the medal round my neck until 5pm to see Laura, Bangs, Emi (sic?) and others bring it home. What interesting journeys they have had, what a challenge to face having only picked up a bike in January.
A very fun girl I met, Emi, she won a competition to go to the etape, she had never ridden in the mountains before but her enthusiasm the night before for doing the event was infectious. When she got down the mountain she exclaimed "I loved it!"
What a great way to let someone do an ultimate challenge and inspire other riders to get out to ride a bicycle for the simple pleasure of it.
(I think Einstein made a quote like that once).

The start pens

The summit finish (Andy Schlek has let himself go)

Messing about on a hot tin roof w/ Gem Atkinson


Add caption

Rode using analogue data rather than a digital prompt. I very much enjoyed not having a stupid screen telling me what to do. I'll pick up that top another time.
I just wanted to do a last bit of Etape prep. So I rode after work from WC1X to BN1.
London to Brighton. It was a race against the sun, the most annoying bit is the first 16miles is basically in traffic. Central London traffic, then into Croydon's traffic.

The route I took was via the climbs of Farthing Down, Bletchingly and then onto the usual L2B route used the annual ride.

Route data here:

I grabbed a burger from Grubbs. A fast food establishment opposite the church. It's not Bryon burger but it's not Burger King either.
Get a choc milkshake for £1.25, upgrade to potato wedges over fries.
I went for the Grubbs Hawaiian, double pattie.