This Should Be Flagged As Inappropriate 06/08/2010

Found this great piece of helmet Cam footage over at La Gazzetta Della Bici. Shot on the last 450 meters of the Plan De Corones time trial following Michael Barry you get a real sense of what it must have been like for him to ride up through the Tifosi, without the lung busting pain of coarse. The last kilometer has to be one of the steepest ridden in any race, and took on average about 5 mins to ascend. As I was watching it on Youtube I couldn’t help looking at the “Flag as inappropriate” button, and thinking damn right, how inappropriate is it to make a rider time trial up this. Accompanied by Paolo Conte’s “Bartali” – a song dedicated to Italian cycling legend Gino Bartali. A great piece of footage.

Categories: Classic / Riders / Routes

From The Saddle: Camp Catskills: Day 3, 4 & 5 05/31/2010

Days filled with the Giro, 75+ degree sunny days, and endless roads to get lost on. Pretty much how I could spend my days and die happy. Every time I turned a corner I ended up on another road that had a great climb or descent, great views, or a dog that seemed to want to eat my ankle. And snakes, there seems to be a lot of snakes in the Catskills. I hate snakes, ever since that scene where Indiana Jones gets lowered into a pit of them, they have given me the creeps. So whenever you ride over the tail of one (by accident) it gets the heart rate nicely elevated. I had images of it pulling a backwards flip and biting me on the thigh in one final throw of glory. Rode over to Tannersville and up to Kaaterskills falls today on Route 23A. Great climb of about 4.5 miles on good roads and a steady gradient, a little more hospitable than Platte Clove. I got in about 16 hours of riding over the last 5 days, with a day off. The farmers tan is coming along nicely. One more day to go, I have to break the 2o hour mark tomorrow. It would be rude not to.

Categories: Routes

From The Saddle: Camp Catskills: Day 1 05/26/2010

This is day one of what I hope to be a nice block of riding up in the Catskills, in upstate New York. Unfortunately day one coincided with what seemed to be the end of Spring, and we had 90+ temperatures and some sticky thick humidity. We are staying down the rode from a climb that is know as “The Devils Kitchen“. I rode up to the base at Becker rode and stared up at it for a while. It is not a climb, it is a cliff. I have been reading about it before I came up, and got informed that it has pitches of 24% and is only open from April. Something that originated as a mule track when that was the preferred way to transport, probably means it is not built for cars, let alone bikes. So having just watched the likes of Cadel and Ivan struggle up something similar in the Giro’s uphill time trial (Didn’t Dan Martin out in a great ride?), I may want to ease myself into this one (Note to coach: Chad I will not be doing hill repeats on this). I rode out along Route 32 and the Glasco Turnpike and the hills around Woodstock. Truly beautiful rolling roads, perfect for training. Heat exhausted and hungry, I might have to get myself down to Tammy’s for her Curry Night.

Categories: Routes

From The Saddle: Lobach, PA 05/22/2010

Berks county, PA has to be one of the nicest places to spend a weekends riding, yet seems to be relatively undiscovered. I spent two great days around the hills near Reading, and think I only saw two other riders. The ride out to Lobach rolled up and down for miles on pretty much car free roads. The last hill right up to the driveway where I was staying was a serious lung buster. If you ever get the chance to ride Hill Road from the lake at Angora road, a short hill that will give you a 20%+ gradient test, make sure you have a 27 on the back (the picture really doesn’t do it justice).

Categories: Routes

Google Maps Bike Routes 03/10/2010

So they do this the week after I come back from LA? Google Maps directions now with bike routes included. This is a very cool addition, as I find myself using the “where the hell am I?” button quite a lot on Google Maps. Now the question is, are they going to add a Pro, Cat 1 or “on my fixie” filter that will adjust the journey time? One feature which I love is the crowd sourcing of the routes. They have put their best wheel forward at making suggested directions, but offer up the functionality for local riders to email in suggested changes to improve the quality. One feature missing though, is showing the best coffee and bike shops en route. Then you are talking about true technology for riders. Imagine this coupled with the Copenhagen wheel we posted earlier (….that would be pretty damm cool.

Categories: Routes

Any Ride Advice for Lake Como And The Italian Alps 06/07/2010

I am just in the final throws of planning our trip this summer, down to literally the last hour. We head to France and Italy on the 19th for just over two weeks. The first week will be at the Cannes Advertising Festival, which is roughly disguised as work, but still allows me to get out and ride theĀ  Corniche every morning to St Raphael. The second part of the trip we are driving over to Lake Como for 3 days and then up to Bormio in the mountains. The Stelvio (above) might be the last ride we do there, but it certainly won’t be the only one. No matter how much research I am doing I have that terrible feeling that I am missing something. So if anybody has been over there and found a climb or route (beyond the obvious and famous ones) post a comment and let me know. This will be epic.

Categories: Routes

From The Saddle: Camp Catskills – Day 2 05/27/2010

Despite having lived in the US for 10 years now, I am still amazed by the shear beauty of the countryside. Today the humidity had gone, and the temperature had dropped to a bearable 75+, making me feel like I found an extra 20% in my legs. As the Pros say, I had Super Sensations. Got in a great ride along Route 212 and then down to the Ashokan Reservoir. Along with the ride down from Burnett Road it turned into a nice 73 mile loop. Rounded out with a coffee at Bread Alone in Woodstock, a great day out. Day 2 done.

Categories: Routes

This Was Epic 05/24/2010

This was epic. This Giro keeps giving us some of the most exciting riding I have ever seen, and the Zoncolan stage was a great set-up for a very exciting final week. No amount of team support was helping anyone here, this was down to your own personal ability to suffer. Once on the slopes of the last 10km it was you, your bike and a very steep hill. The Tifosi really did themselves proud. The noise as they saw Basso coming through the Zoncolan bends was incredible. And what a return for Basso. It has been a long way back for him and what a way to announce that you have found your legs again. He visibly looked more fluid than any of the other riders, keeping a metronome pace all the way up, riding everyone off his wheel. Then watching Evans fight back in the upper slopes as he realized his chance to take a Grand Tour was slipping away up the road in front of him. Epic.

Photo: Pentasport/RCS Sport

Categories: Classic / Races / Routes

From The Saddle: The Glen Falls Loop 04/05/2010

After about an hour of riding around Washington DC to find a road to ride on and dodging the Cherry Blossom watchers, following the locals is what I should have done from the start. Once you actually find that road, MacArthur Blvd, it turns out to lead to a very nice ride out to Glen Falls and the countryside beyond it. Low traffic, a pretty good surface and some nice hills made for a nice 4 hours, even if nearly two of them was spent sitting at lights.

Categories: Routes

From The Saddle: La Flores and Malibu 03/07/2010

The weather caught up with me on my last day of riding in LA. It had been too good to be true, 60 degrees and sunny everyday. I wanted to head up La Flores one last time. When you turn off PCH there is a nice steady one mile to get yourself settled in, and then you hit a tough 16% section. Once past this it is a great climb that had hardly any traffic on it. I came back down the same way to PCH and headed back towards Dume Point to shake the legs out. If you ever get tired of riding PCH (It is hard to believe this is the equivalent of our 9W – hardly seems fair) there is a nice little side road called Malibu Road, that although it doesn’t have a great surface, you will get an idea of how the other half live. When I got back into LA I spotted a great little gaggle of surfers floating around looking for a wave. All of this right on the doorstep of the city. Completely changed my opinion of LA, it is a very cool place to ride.

Categories: Routes