Saturday, 29 May 2010

Letting a picture tell the story

I was going to write a blog on the Nove Colli. All 130km of it (yes, yes I did the short version), the Barboto which really is a wave of concrete and pulling out a sprint finish when I could no longer feel my legs. I was going to write about 30 degree heat, crazy Italians and how much I love racing in Italy where people actually say 'scusa' before overtaking you. I could have talked for ages about getting the racing buzz again and reeling in my bait.

But then the increasingly talented Tom Humpage sent me this picture of the final strait:
 And after that I didn't really have anything to say as I think this image is stunning. You can feel the heat, the slow motion of that final surge of energy, the crowds screaming; the head-down-don't-stop pounding, muscles releasing that last bit of power, minds focused. And all the time the Italian blossom falls. Now that's racing.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Life before bikes

My four-year-old nephew Max has a bike but doesn't ride it yet the bugger. Prefers his micro scooter (which is freakin difficult to ride peops! There's a tree on St Mary's Avenue with a mould of my face in it ... )But I love Max anyway. You know why? Because when he's at nursery he writes stories like this:

Sea Creature Story by Max
There was a big whale on land and the flies came to eat him and he started to smell. When anyone went to the beach they went back home because they didn't like the smell.
The octopus was in the water and a big wave came. A wave took him out of the water. The whale and the octopus both smelled. All the other creatures were in the water. A dolphin was stung by a Portugese man of war jellyfish.
The shark ate the eel and then all the other sea creatures died and there was only a baby whale left.
The End.

Now I may be wrong but with that kind of killer instinct and total disregard for life, we are looking at the next Tour winner.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Why being a teenager is bad

Photo: Tom Humpage

"It's a bit like sex when you're 15,' commented Larry with the kind of dry humour you would never normally associate with a Canadian. But it was difficult to deny it (obviously I never had sex when I was 15 but we all know what lithe male cyclists get up to.) We had cycled 65km in the Italian sun chasing down our guide Paulo who was riven with fear that he may miss this particular stage of the Giro di Italia and thus was riding at around mach 10. We arrived on a corner near some town which noone got the name of because we couldn't read it with so much sweat in our eyes. We stood for 20 minutes cooking. We waited. We were sworn at for not buying a pink t-shirt for 10 euros (I'm sorry but it doesn't matter how fit you are, noone can wear Giro pink and rock it. Noone. Fact.)Then the lead pack went through: zoom, zoom, zoom. Then some cars went past with wheels on the top - love those. Then the peloton went past. I scream at Bradley Wiggins but he had his iPod in. Or his mission control earphones. Whatever. Then another Team Sky person flew past and I yelled bravo at them. And then it was over. All that anticipation for 30 seconds of screaming. And whereas marathon runners smile deliriously at you, pro racers don't give back, they just fly on past. Quel point? At least at the Tour you get free pens and pointy foam fingers.
Then we chased Paulo for another 40km as he cycled riven with fear that he may miss lunch.
There is more to this story: soon you'll get to hear how I raced in the Nove Colli and came 38th out of all the women. I have yet to find out how many women actually raced but I'm praying it wasn't 39. Pretty sure if I'd shaved my legs before hand I could have inched up to the 37th spot. Obvs.
p.s. we are staying at the Belvedere Bike Hotel in Riccione. Seriously cannot recommend it enough. You will come away a much better cyclist. Or fatter. Depends which Italian passion you embrace with the most vigor.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ah. Feeling a bit like a loser

Rainy day in London. Flaked out of going for a ride, citing 'knee problems' (no seriously but they're probably not that problematic.) Ah but you know - cycling for an hour and a half in the rain just to get out of London to start cycling can get a bit tedious sometimes. So I gravitated to the computer and found this video. Liz Hatch, riding in California. In the sun. Looking good. Riding great. Kicking ass.

Now I feel like a big wussy wuss wuss. There's a reason you plod around the London back streets day in day out. It's so that when the sun shines and you find yourself in some place inspiring, you've got the legs to make the most of it. Must. Try. Harder.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Dirtgirls rides again

Sara from Flowmtb has sent this over which should get any girls who like getting dirty into the mood for a week of shredding (love that word) in Morzine.

Flowmtb’s Dirtgirls is going into its fifth year of girl only biking trips in the Alps, with a Dirtgirls riders week running on the 14-21 August.

The week is aimed at regular bikers who want a holiday riding great trails with other women, and getting some coaching along the way. Jo, a fully qualified French guide and instructor who coached the 2009 Dirtgirls (and the French youth DH team) will be running the skills sessions. Mountain girl Ulrika will be guiding again this week. Not only is she fast on a bike but she can tell you the name of every flower, tree and animal you pass.

Flowmtb owner Sara will be riding each day too, and original Dirtgirl coach and DH racer Emily Horridge should be along on some rides too. Expect a mixture of short coaching sessions on trails, and long days out on the amazing Alpine singletrack.

Accommodation is in Chalet Snion, a beautiful newly renovated Chalet with a large sun terrace for relaxing on and a sauna to ease your aching muscles. Dirtgirls return from riding to a freshly baked cake or cookies. Evenings are spent relaxing with a glass of wine and a hearty three course meal or hitting the local bars. In male dominated Morzine, Dirtgirls always make an impression! (Now you're talking - Pedalfeet)

Minx, will be supporting the dirtgirls weeks for the fifth year in a row. This year Minx will not only be providing end of week prizes but is offering all 2010 dirtgirls a discount on pre-trip purchases so they can get ready to hit the trails in style!

COSTS: 775 euros (650 pounds). Lift pass and transfers from Geneva airport are included as well as food, accommodation and guiding.

DATES: 14-21 August

Find out more at or by calling Sara on 020 8123 5654 or +33(0)688101757.