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Thanks Team Fast Hippy.
How to convert a Google Maps route into a Garmin GPX file
Go to http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/convert_input?convert_output=gpx
Paste the URL from Google Maps into the URL field.
In the next window, download the created .gpx file.
This great little tip comes from the morningofmagicians.wordpress.com blog post: morningofmagicians.wordpress.com - How to convert a Google Maps Route into a Garmin training course
Steamride LOL London-Oxford-London 200k Audax
Steamride LOL London-Oxford-London 200k Audax
Completed my first audax on Sunday 9th. Tim Sollesse's 200k Steamride, which leaves from Ealing or Ruislip Lido and travels to the South East's steam railways and museums via Quanton, Oxford, Didcot, Chinnor and back to the Ruislip Lido.
I'd been on the piss until 5am on Friday so on Saturday all I did was ride to Shepherds Bush and buy some carbon assembly paste to try and stop my seatpost slipping. I also bought a small 'cafe lock' because I thought I might have to leave my bike outside various shops whilst collecting receipts for audax checkpoints. In the end, all of the checkpoints were manned so I didn't really need the lock but it might come in handy for future rides - encouraging me to stop and refill bottles more often.
Headed out early Sunday and managed to get lost trying to find the Lido (typical). On arrival I grabbed a brevet card which you fill up with stamps or info from various points along the course. I was going to be using a GPS track of the route rather than the 7 pages of turns that a lot of the proper audax types use. A bar bag wouldn't fit on my bike and I didn't want to stop to check directions - this was still basically a training ride for me.
I headed out after 8am and got a move on, after the guys manning the start said "oh, the 200, they've all gone". The start of the route was very nice - quiet lanes and heaven's above the sun was actually shining!
Focusing on the distance to the first checkpoint was the name of the game - I wanted to complete the course properly and that meant not missing any checkpoints. I don't recall being lost using the GPS track for the first 46k and found a bunch of riders gathered 'round a memorial bench copying the names down for the first "info" control. "Watt" - I wonder if they had anything to do with steam engine pioneer James Watt? Thanks to the rider who loaned me a pen at this control.
Only a short distance later was the Quainton Memorial Hall, the first manned checkpoint. There were a few riders already here, making the most of the food and drink on offer. With my brevet card stamped and a ginger brownie on-board it was time to carry on. There was a nice little ride through a park here I think (or was that before Quainton? I can't remember now) and along some more quiet lanes. Really nice and I have to come back this way to explore some more.
Although somewhat busier approaching Oxford, the route was nothing like the abysmal A40 that I'd manage to take on a number of occasions heading to Oxford. It was only by chance that I glanced at a sign and recognised the name of the pub (Head of the River) that was an on-again off-again checkpoint. Apparently it wasn't going to be open in time but at Quainton there was a note saying it would be the checkpoint. That was a fluke sighting anyway, so I did a quick U-ey and had another stamp sorted at the 92k mark.
Some Willesden riders caught me after Oxford and we shared a few wrong turns trying to find a bike path along the river. Eventually the normal roads returned and of course I left them in my dust. What's this about it not being a race? ;-)
Didcot has some big cooling towers to look at before arriving at a Spar, which had another marshall out front stamping brevets. I did exactly the opposite of what he said and missed the turn for the bike path here, stupidly carrying on and trying to take the bridge that was out since the floods I guess. Once I'd retraced my steps and found the short Paris-Roubaix-esque gravel track I had the grump on so hammered trying to chase back down the blokes that had left Spar in front of me. I caught up with them before Chinnor. At Chinnor I stopped, locked up and was going to get a receipt from the Co-Op when a woman asked if I was doing the audax. Turned out they were recruited the night before and were marshalling from a nearby van. Another stamp sorted, I saw the small bunch I was leap-frogging go past again. I opted not to refill the bottle here and chase down that bunch again, which I did, after a tough climb over the Chilterns.
The ride through High Wycombe was ok - I usually avoid this area as it seems to be full of boy racers in hot hatches. It was a bit of fun trying to follow the route but I think I got most of it right. I was in a familiar area now but continued following the track. Back in Southall on Uxbridge Rd I made the call to get some water - I'd been on empty for the last hour or so and I still had 20k to go plus the ride home. With another litre of water on board it was a switch back via an info control - what was prohibited on a sign near Green Lane - Alcohol!
Here, just as I snapped my left Speedplay cleat, the bunch caught up with me again. Chatting to one of them it turns out they'd taken the shorter, faster A40 route though, not the full course I was doing - weak :P. It was then a mad dash from Southall to Ruislip, with a bunch of wrong turns made due to the haste. In the end I lost all of the others and made my own way to the end at the Lido for a final stamp.
Finished with 220k on the clock I think it was, so perhaps 10k worth of wrong turns and doubling back. Had a chat with some of the other finishers, a few forumites and organiser and then rode on home to finish the day with just over 250k on the clock. Beaut day out! Thanks to all the marshalls and organisers and the oddly nice British weather for making my first audax a pleasure to ride.
Well, hope that's the regular end of season crash out of the way..
Talking to others about losing the desire to ride after a long season and with the weather turning grim I figured it'd be good to get out for a quick spin to test the motivation. I'd fixed the Powertap squeak (amazing what actually using grease on axles can do) and adjusted some other bits so the bike was actually working well for a change.
Didn't even make it through the first hour. Got a bit frisky on a windy descent (ok, an S-bend after a small downhill, we're not talking Alps here) and binned it on a greasy corner. Bollocks. Knew I should've changed those squared off tyres. I'll get to them next time.. yeah right.
Beat the bike back into shape and carried on, missing a bit of fabric from my knicks and gilet and probably some carbon and alu from the bike (cheapest way to lighten your ride). Climbed the next hill and then remembered I'd left my glasses on the wall where I'd leaned the fallen steed (the bike). Returned, grabbed them and carried on slightly angrier for another couple of hours. It was actually pretty good. Then I took a wrong turn up some stupid climb in High Wycombe only to reach the top with the front tyre making a pfft pfft pfft noise. Arse.
Switched tubes out and decided I'd had enough so made the turn for home. Luckily I'd left my lights fitted to the bike because I was out for quite a bit longer than expected.
So, in summary, motivation is okay but my karma has clearly been chewed up and spat out - much like my Lusso knicks. Ahh, bikes are great! :)
Powertap bearing replacement
amplewritings.blogspot.co.uk - Replacing Powertap Hub Bearings
Thanks to Jeff Lin who wrote this article on swapping out Powertap bearings. I only needed to replace the axle bearings since I'm running a relatively new, STEEL rather than cheese, freehub body on the Kinesis' Powertap. It took about 2 hours but that included the usual struggle with the Powertap cap and its stupid tool, a full clean of the cassette and bike and a second tear down to push the new batteries in properly. End result: Power figures and shiny.
Fairly United Cycling Team - H10/17R - 21:19 (PB)
7th place and new 10 mile PB by 16 seconds with a 21:19. It was quite windy in one direction so I basically hit the turn and blew up shortly after. My pacing for 10s really needs work. Not bad though considering I've only ridden two in the last two years :)
Analysing the power file, output was basically the same as last year's 10, so the PB is probably due to the new bike or course differences. Lame but a PB is a PB.
Winner (Justyn Cannon, RAF) finished in 20:03, 2nd place was 20:04. 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th (me) were only separated by 8 seconds!
Brief Encounters - Basia Lewandowska @ National 24 hour time trial
2013 RTTC National Championship 12 Hour - ECCA 12hr
7th place and agonisingly close to Meurig James' Willesden CC 12-Hour club record of 272.716 miles. It was a distance PB for me and a power PB - in simple terms, if it wasn't such a windy day I'm sure I'd have got the record. It was more complicated than that though. The ECCA 12 was only 3 weeks after my 518 mile 24-Hour win. This meant most of the time was spent just recovering from the 24, rather than adding any speed work or any training for that matter before the 12hr. I was riding and physically I was 'ok' but not good. Mentally, I was pretty poor. The focus wasn't anything like I had for the 24 (and it wasn't helped seeing a downed rider being attended by ambulances and police - I hope he recovers fast and fully!). Within hours I was in pain on the TT bike - not show-stopping but annoying pain which takes you away from the task at hand. I was annoyed with the traffic, the wind. When I was in a good mood I wasn't riding fast enough. Unfortunately I was in front of or on record pace for the whole bloody ride! This meant I HAD to keep going because there was always a chance I'd hang on and claim it. Alas, no. It will have to wait until next year because I can't face another 12hr this season. I wish the 12s were before the 24hr! I've been so long posting anything about this because I was pretty bummed about the whole thing - less than a mile! Argh! Nik Bowdler won on some crazy contraption, err, bike. He was ~7mi off last year's distance, narrowly beating Steve Berry with his 293.57 mile ride.
TTF - RTTC National Championship 12 Hour
TTF - RTTC National Championship 12 Hour - Results
a3crg 50mi TT - P885/50
I've only done three 50s this year. One was the day after a 100, so pretty slow (2:03) and the other was cut short with a p_nct_re. The season is running out so this was pretty much my last chance to nail a PB and bump my BBAR rank a bit. A few mistakes were made but thankfully still managed to improve my 50, taking over 3 minutes off last year's best time (1:56:55). It was a power PB for the distance too so it's not just aero gains from the new bike. I had issues with circulation in my left leg again which slowed me down - I need to see a doctor for an ankle brachial index test I reckon. The course was very well marshalled but I stupidly missed a couple of signs and took the wrong options. Those cost me time from the detours as well as the anger-initiated power spike™ that followed them. The course also suited a bigger gear range and I was still runnnig smaller chainrings from the 24hr. I was in my biggest gear down a lot of the hills and could've done with some more teeth up front. Mal didn't have any bottles to hand up during this so I kept her entertained by pretending I was a Slayer front-man or something. A good result. Pretty happy with that and didn't have to spend a whole day riding :)
www.apexiat.com - Andrew Golden's Pics
The Jersey Pocket - A Hard Day & Night
Photo by Paul Cooper - www.paulfranciscooper.co.uk
"Imagine, if you will, climbing onto your bike early on a summery Saturday afternoon and going for a 60 minute solo ride at a pacy 21.5 mph. Sounds good, nice even.. Now imagine staying on your bike, needing to maintain that speed, for another 23 hours straight. Doesn’t sound so good anymore,does it?
Read the full Jersey Pocket interview with your's truly right here
Spin Cycle Magazine #5 - 24 Hours from Total Exhaustion
2013 Mersey Roads 24hr TT - 24 Hour National Championship
I'm writing this a week after the event. The first layer of skin has been shed from my backside but I've been back on the bike and most aches, save for the dodgy hip, have subsided.
The Mersey Roads 24hr has been going since 1937 - the 2013 running would be the 70th edition of the race. It would be my third attempt at the 'twice around the clock' event. The 24hr caper would have been all over in 2012, having gained the Willesden CC
club record I was chasing but a 2nd place to Ultan Coyle basically prompted me into having another crack to see 1) if I could win the event and 2) if I could break the 500 mile mark. I figured it would be rude not to try - glutton for punishment and all that.
Team FastHippy assembled at Higher Farm B&B
on Friday after a hot drive up from London. I went straight out on the Shiv in CS Grupetto
kit for a lap of the Finishing circuit to loosen the legs after the drive. I almost remembered the course which was a nice surprise!
We met Rob Newton and walked over to the Cock o' Barton pub for dinner. Rob's a keen cyclist, a fitting client of Scherrit's and previous Mersey Roads marshall who was really keen to get involved and help out and I wasn't going to argue with that! I think I had steak and chips - not the most carbo-loading friendly meal but I reckoned I'd be getting quite enough carbs in the next couple of days so sod it!
The next day we tucked into fried breakfasts which I justified with the fact my start time was 2:25 in the afternoon so it should be well and truly digested by then. While Mal and Scherrit went shopping for supplies (lots of water!) I sat around watching Mega Truckers (yeeehaw!). The start was only a mile or so down the road and when we arrived it was straight in to try and squeeze into my excessively chamois-creamed skinsuit. *sings There's a Fraction Too Much Friction yeah*
Some team 'before' photos, stress, number pinning, stress, loading pockets with food, stress and rolled over to the start line with about 5 minutes in hand. Brief chat with Ishmael and some other guys at the line.
Rolled slowly from the start at 2:25. It just got real. Focused riding, balancing power output with nerves and hills. Now I basically have no idea what happened. I think I had Scherrit's words on repeat in my head "you can ride the whole event at this power" along with thinking about food and balancing drinking with food intake and worrying about needing to pee versus dehydration - tackling the big issues! I was also enjoying mentally revisiting the course from last year, trying to remember bits and pieces, work out where turns were coming and such. The two Prees laps passed without incident.
- David Goodfellow photos
Now on the Quina Brook loops I used some wet wipes to clear my visor of sweat as it was messing with my depth perception. I think rider #92 went by like he was riding a 100 so I'd mention him to the team as a rider to keep an eye on. Opted not to get the lights on the move, instead had a leak, had some Pepsi and a brief chat. I'd stop again in three laps time to remove the visor totally as it was tinted and messing with my night vision. After around 8 hours we moved back to the Prees dog-leg out-and-back for night laps. After 10 hours it was coffee time and the always entertaining task of reapplying chamois cream - in that order - unless you take cream with your coffee. ;-)
- David Goodfellow photos
264 miles completed at 12 hour mark.
- David Goodfellow photos
The next stop was around 6am in order to remove my lights. Unlike last year, I was in an extremely good mood at this time. Grabbed a swig of a disgusting energy drink - not the V that I'd requested - you just can't get good restaurant service around here at 6 in the morning! Setting off again, we'd forgotten to actually remove the bloody lights! Doh! So after another lap we tried again to get rid of the lights. The quick release was jammed so Scherrit poked around for an allen key and removed the whole lot. Sorted. The other riders were now doing half laps, only Ultan, Alex Kirk from Dulwich Paragon and myself were on the long loops. The three of us, all London-based riders, were separated by mere minutes at this stage - Alex handing the lead to me at some point during the early hours and Ultan only 2 minutes behind.
"Organised Chaos", Malcia Photography
Back onto the Quina Brook circuit this is where the fit hit the shan. The early hours when the sun is up tend to hurt the most - your body thinks it should be going to bed but your brain knows there's still a good 8 hours of racing remaining. And just so there's no doubt, I do mean racing - Ultan and I were getting split times and were constantly within 1-2 minutes of each other, even though we couldn't see each other. It was a pursuit race on an outdoor velodrome 12 miles long!
- David Goodfellow photos
I was in bits now. On one lap I'd get a split and think "I'm still in with a chance, gotta keep pushing" and then I'd not get a split and my brain would say "hey, you must be losing now, just quit, this hurts too much anyway" or "I wonder if my team will pick me up if I call it quits over here". It was horrible and I was cursing everything and wondering if I'd ridden too fast too soon, hating the fact the gap was so small so I couldn't rest, wishing Ultan would just quit. Proper mental battle.
- "Evil Coach", Malcia Photography
Hooked hard left sign-posted Wem and someone yelled at me so I turned around. The marshalls were directing me elsewhere - I'd missed the turn to transfer to the finishing circuit. Whoops! A quick u-turn and I was heading north on a refreshingly different road. It felt fast. Scherrit would later tell me he was concerned as it looked like something was wrong with my left hip - no, it was actually me irrigating the roadside again. Somewhere on this transfer I dropped the back off my phone, letting the team know I'd been moved, but I wasn't going to stop for it.
On the finishing circuit it was getting a bit pukey as my stomach was getting tired of all the carbs going in. There was still a way to go and not wanting to run out of gas I yelled "Rennie!" to my team and after a while Scherrit appeared in front of me sprinting along the road to hand me up the packet. Poor guy thought I would slow down for him. Ha!
I remember making another wrong turn here - following last year's slightly altered route from memory and turned left at the Cock o' Barton towards our B&B. The marshalls yelled something at me and pointed me the right way. Wrong turns when you have only minutes in hand are not much fun. Hippy Smash!
The various time keeping points would all cheer. The HQ was great as there were loads of people yelling encouragement. I remember spotting Andy Wilkinson and I presume his partner in matching kit at one check point yelling encouragement to me. Pretty cool to have one of the fastest time-triallists ever (I've been in awe of his achievements since he rode 541 miles during the ESCA 24hr in 2011) standing on the road side shouting you on. Big thanks to all those cheering! Mal tells me the first three or so laps were done head to head with Ultan, neither one of us making up or losing any time to the other. I knew I'd gone past the 500 mile mark so now it was all about trying to get the win.
The last laps were epic - every part of my body wanting to quit but the thought of a win getting stronger in my mind. Being cheered on all around the course, whilst trying to eek out more and more speed from tired legs. The Garmin died with 45 minutes to go but it didn't matter as pacing wasn't a concern any more just big-ringing all the climbs, staying low on the flats and keeping as much speed up as possible through any corners. I was now skipping hand-ups to save weight and digging in for a final push. Mal tells me that I knocked a massive 11 minutes off both of my final full laps and the two support crews acknowledged it was over at this point. I, of course, didn't know this and just wanted to give everything I could before the end - unlike last year I didn't want to feel I still had some in the tank.
- "Done", Malcia Photography
Done. Finished. Game Over. I turned back to the time keepers and my team and they gave me the 'shut it down' wave so I slowed and turned around back to them. I couldn't quite get off the bike so some people helped out and I parked my butt on the grass, took some kit off and caught my breath. I remember talking to John Forbes but I have no idea what about. I also remember speaking (probably utter bollocks) to someone with a video camera (Damon Peacock?). After a while I got back on the bike and slowly followed the team to the HQ a few miles down the course.
Back at the HQ we chatted to the Pinkies (Arabella Maude and Jane Swain)
, who had set a new National Tandem Trike record of 349.6 miles.
Also chatted to Ishmael who was 3rd last year and improved his distance this year, Quentin
, who had taken his club 24hr record and probably a few others thought I was getting a bit vague by now. Ultan and Basia appeared and we shared a bit of banter - they're both lovely. Finally a result sheet was handed out, confirming my win, with 518 miles over Ultan's 513mi - both of which were some of fastest 24hrs ridden. I was pretty chuffed and so were the team - it'd been a long old year in training up to this point and a hard-fought battle on the day. Various other awards were given out, Lynne Taylor collecting her 13th win at the distance! The Navy team looking absolutely destroyed as they hobbled up to collect their winners medals. Said a few words, received and returned the medal (they engrave them and give them out again at the Champions Night). It was a nice end to a bloody long race. Back to the B&B, we cleaned ourselves up and headed over to the Cock o' Barton again for some fizzy and dinner, then an early night before the drive back to London on Monday.
Thanks Team FastHippy!
Mersey Roads 24hr Facebook
RTTC National Championship 24 Hours RESULTS
www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk - 2013 24 Hr National Championship
cyclingtimetrials.org.uk - results
Goodfellow Photo Gallery
www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk - News
Orica Bus Driver
It's a rare day when those three letters are next to my name on a results sheet. A combination of stubbornness along with using decent kit has seen me finish pretty much everything I've started. Today's West London Combine 50 on the H50/4 (A413) put an end to that. 64k of 80k done and my front tyre makes a sound like broken glass and rapidly turns into a very wobbly, very flat thing. Arse. 'Luckily' I was quite near the HQ in Great Missenden so walked back. Unfortunately I was wearing my new skinsuit which doesn't have room for my phone and I'd not bothered to take keys so I had to wait for Mal and Scherrit to realise and return. They got a bit of a fright when I didn't turn up but coppers and ambos went past. Whoops.
The new Castelli aero gloves and Assos skinsuit (modified by Mal with number loops) worked well as did the Bell Javelin helmet - no fogging and didn't end up covered in sweat like my sunglasses usually do.
Everyone said I looked fast and a quick calculation reveals I'd have PB'd pretty much for sure but it wasn't actually a good race for me. Power was all over the place and my shoes were too tight so my left foot went numb again. I think the different style bars on the new bike need further adjustment as I'm sliding forward on them when getting low.
Luckily I had another front wheel for training on in the car so as punishment for my tyre's failure I tacked on a bunch of hours training after the event and it was actually mostly dry. Yay.
2013 Icknield RC 100 - 100mi TT on the F1/100 course (A1)
Oof.. 4am alarm in order to get out there in time to start. Everyone I'd spoken to had said the F1/100 was going to be pretty fast so I'd decided to drive out and try for a sub-4hr time and then tack on some training afterwards to keep El Coacho happy. I'm glad I did because it was a nice course and I finally went under the 4hr mark, knocking another 5 minutes of my PB set the previous week. I was pretty close to setting a PB for 50 mile as well with a 1:57:15 split - that will have to wait.
With pre-race faffing I almost didn't make my start slot, having to go back to the HQ for another pin for my number (thanks to the woman who helped in there - your pinning was
lucky!). I ummed and arred about adding more air to my tyres and chose not to with another rider saying "it's all about the comfort". I would have to agree with him as I hauled butt over to the start line, arriving just as the starter called out 20 seconds to go for my number! Not quite the smooth warmup I had at the Hounslow. Out of the blocks I rolled, trying to calm my pace down, knowing pacing is crucial.
Once again the faithful Foreigner team were out cheering and replacing my bottles as needed. I'd made some small adjustments to my bike and position before this race and was trying very hard to maintain my aero position. It seemed to be working as I was on pace for a sub-4hr ride from the start. The same thing happened at Hounslow though so I knew not to get too excited as the final hour would be critical. My glasses took a little bit longer to be covered in sweat and salt - presumably due to the 3.5hr earlier start compared to Hounslow - still I found myself throwing them at Scherrit preferring to be able to actually see where I was going.
There were some bad patches during the race but nothing too critical. The key thing was, there was now about an hour to race and still a good chance for a sub-4hr time. Perhaps the difference this race was that I really wanted it - coming close to a goal is a great motivator to actually achieve it and to be honest I was getting tired of 100s and my poor team mates were getting tired of the early starts!
Looking at my power data for the final hour there's definitely a sharp ramp up in power. Over the course of the whole race it's lower than Hounslow but the final hour is much stronger. Maybe I could've given more, earlier but whatever, now it's time to put the hurt on. I remember #75 coming past me on the A421 'finishing circuit' so I knew there were faster riders than me but all I wanted was the sub-4hr. This time the finish line was etched into my brain the first time past it. Not long to go now.. what the? Temporary traffic lights in the distance! Argh, they were green and I KNEW they would change to red before I got there. Sure as, the lights changed to red. I was still rolling towards them but had slowed substantially. It was totally clear so I could've just busted through them but couldn't face being DQ'd for it. I was almost on the lights and they changed. GO GO GO! I accelerated away from them and was soon up to the Black Cat RAB where I got some cheers from the team again.
No let up now. I know I'm going to go under 4 hours but how much?
"Just get over this long rise and then there's a fast downhill. Tuck in and pedal fat boy"
"Rider ahead, lift it, catch them, pass them, go go go"
"RAB is clear, fast through it, short rise, where's the bloody finish?"
Team yelling at me as I try a bit harder, desperate to spot anything on the roadside that might be the line. There! Final effort and done.
I'm never quite sure what time I do as I stop my computer soon after the finish. Ditch my lid and ride easy back to the HQ.
Thanks to Tim Davies for letting through my late entry. Thanks to Scherrit for enthusiastically helping out once again and big thanks to my poor girlfriend who hates early starts and driving but did both to allow me to race and ride home.
Icknield 100 TT Forum Thread
Icknield 100 TT Results Thread