Tag Archives: cycling

Cotswold113 2017 Race Report

The Cotswold113 was my second middle distance event. I entered this as I have previously marshaled the full event and thus had a free race entry (anyone interested in the same, get in touch with them as they’re always on the look out for marshalls). I’d heard good reports about it and the course fitted in as a ‘mid season’ tester.

It’s a pretty flat course, which was something I was after to see what speed I had in my legs for the bike. The run is also very flat, a total of 22m elevation gained according to my Garmin! Given where my running has been recently, I was grateful for this. As regular readers will know I still have calf issues and haven’t run more than 9 miles in a single go since last year. I’ve also only run twice in the last 6 weeks after aggravating the calf problem in Portugal.

Registration was the day before which was a bit of a pain as, due to hotel costs, I wasn’t staying over. This meant I had to drive down on the Saturday, but it did give me a chance to see the course marked out and thus drive it. My main observation from this was that it’s not quite as flat as everyone makes out with a short sharp hill half way round the lap, still a total elevation of 341m isn’t that much. Secondly, the road surface was pretty shocking, lots of pot holes, loose gravel and patches of dissimilar tarmac from road repairs. Still, the lake looked lovely and calm and was 20.1 degrees and the run course despite being narrow at times looked nice and firm under foot.

Race Day

As far as ‘not ideal starts’ go, this was up there! I woke up at 3.30am, made up my nutrition, had breakfast and started loading up the car. I’ve recently started using CurraNZ and had been advised to double up on Race Day, so threw those in too! Fingers crossed the lack of muscle fatigue I had experienced in training would manifest in race mode!

Then i spot a totally flat front tyre on my bike. Bugger. I’d checked and inflated them the night before so was rather concerned. I figured the best thing to do was to reinflate, take the track pump and reassess when I got there.

The next hurdle was that the motorway was closed where I was expecting to join in. There was also a surprising amount of traffic given the time of day on a Sunday! Fortunately I wasn’t too badly affected and had left extra time. What I hadn’t planned for was the huge queue of traffic in to the car park on site. There had been 3 emails telling everyone to have the money ready, but I guess many ignored this. Still, I parked up at 5:10, a bit tight but transition didn’t close until 5:45.

First thing to check, front tyre. Gone down again. Bugger. Not knowing the issue I elected to change it however, in my haste I must’ve caught the tube in the tyre as when I went to inflate it, there was a very loud bang – which woke everyone up! Now I had a problem, I only had one tube left, which required the valve extender – the one currently doing its job quite nicely in the rear tyre. Note to self, get a spare valve extender…. I then took a calculated guess (hope!) that the problem with the first tube was a leaky valve. Valve from tube 2, into tube 1… cross fingers. By this time it was also 5:45…. a very helpful car park official offered to go and let them know at transition that I was having issues! Thank you, whoever you were! 

With everything eventually sorted I dashed for transition and got racked, leaving my drink in the car. During racking, my stomach decided to inform me of some mild issues, next port of call, the loo! I dashed out of transition just as the race started and joined a very long queue for the toilets, not ideal but I had 40 minutes until I needed to be at the waters edge.

Calm eventually ensued, I headed back to the car, to get my wetsuit on. On the way I spotted a number of people wearing the new Zone 3 Aspire Ltd Edition – jealous much!? It looks awesome…. mine felt decidedly ordinary! I’d been thinking about upgrading to the Vanquish anyway – snazzy looking or better suit, tough one!?

I drank as much High5 EnergySource as I could and threw a gel in for good measure as I clearly hadn’t taken enough on board. Then I made my way to the race start and tried to compose myself.

The Swim – 0:30:21

After a quick race briefing we were allowed in to the water 5 minutes before the start to acclimatise and warm up. Then a 1 minute count down… I had positioned myself away from the bulk of people on the left hand side, giving myself the straightest line to the first buoy. However it was still a bit of a scrum at the first turn. I had gone out hard, but not too crazy, with the intention of building to a strong finish.

Cotswold113 Swim Course
Cotswold113 Swim Course

The plan was going well and I settled in to a strong rhythm and was picking people off nicely. Sadly I was unable to find any decent feet to swim off. I was swimming parallel to one guy who was adamant I wasn’t getting past as he surged every time I tried to break clear. To make matters worse my goggles were starting to fog up. At the second buoy we turned and I found a foot in my face, knocking my goggles clean off my head. Thankfully they didn’t disappear completely but it took a moment to get them back on and then notice that the culprit was ‘already known to me’. The time cost wasn’t too bad, but from this point on the goggles situation just got worse. I had to stop twice to remove them and rinse them with water. Frustrating but I tried not to let it get to me.

Towards the middle of the swim I started to catch the slower swimmers from the wave ahead. One of whom was doing backstroke. Who does backstroke in a race!? Despite the time taken to pass people it helped with sighting and also gave me targets to pick off one by one.

In the last third I started to push harder as any concerns of breathing issues had all settled by now. I was passing people readily now, many with blue hats (my wave) who’d clearly gone out too hard. The cheers that could be heard from the crowd were an added incentive too. I saw dry land and grabbed an arm to pull me out the water. Hit lap on my Garmin and then swore. Despite it being a PB swim by over 5 minutes I was more irritated that I’d missed going sub 30 minutes by 22 seconds!

Cotswold113 2017 Swim Exit
Cotswold113 2017 Swim Exit

The Bike – 2:33:29

I was pretty pleased with my transition time given how the day had gone and the distances I had to run between swim, rack and bike start.  I threw a caffeine gel down in T1, based on advice from High5 and Lucy Gossage. The anger at missing the swim time gave me plenty of encouragement and I swore at a friend, Kerry, as I went past her! At the bike mount line I managed to kick my water bottle out of the rear cage, not ideal. Fortunately it didn’t cost me too much time to stop and collect it.

This was the first time I had raced in anger in my new Green Huub DS Long Course suit. It had a previous outing at the Halesowen Triathlon but pool sprints weren’t what it was designed for. Here’s hoping it lives up to its reputation! Dave Scott was convinced:

The bike course was a 2 lap affair and having driven it the day before was fairly flat but notably had a pretty poor road surface, with pot holes, loose gravel and uneven tarmac to contend with. There were 2 hills, one reasonably short but fairly steep and these were both about half way round the course.

Cotswold113 Bike Route
Cotswold113 Bike Route

As I set off, I passed a number of people on the other side of the road who were just coming in to start their second lap from the early waves – clearly they were quite quick!

The first part of the course was on fairly wide roads but unfortunately this also meant cars. Throughout the course I probably overtook 10 cars; I appreciate that they were waiting behind cyclists to overtake safely but they were holding me up! Where the loops started on the bike, the road surface was the worst, but thankfully this was also where the roads were narrower and thus less busy with cars.

Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike

The plan for the bike was to set off steady to let my HR drop into the target Z3. This settled down quite quickly and whilst coach had told me not to bother with power or speed I had elected to use my Garmin Edge 820 after not doing so in Staffs and paying the price! As a result, my HR came into target quite quickly and I noted that my power numbers were pretty steady and my speed was too; all good. I was averaging around 22 miles per hour which surprised me as throughout my training rides I had felt like I was struggling to maintain this sort of speed.

Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike – POWWWER!

I stuck religiously to my nutrition plan and had once again elected to be self sustained so had my BTA bottle, a large spare behind the saddle and an aero bottle just in case. All were filled with High5 EnergySource, my new favourite energy drink (it’s very light in taste and not too sickly). I also had another favourite thing, a High5 Gel Flask, filled with Raspberry EnergyGel Plus – a caffeinated gel. The flask is a thing of beauty, it fits 5 gels and is super squishy thus making it really easy to take ‘a gel’ quickly and easily without battling to open a wrapper whilst trying to remain aero. Buy one!

I stuck to my own race on the bike, I was going at around the same pace as a couple of people early on in the bike and we were all passing others readily. Thankfully there were no crazy cyclists to contend with, making it a relatively uneventful first lap! Given how flat the course was it meant very little rest from pedalling and I was almost pleased to see the hill. My average speed dropped quite markedly though but the change in cadence on the up and down gave my legs a bit of a break. One of our trio dropped like a stone on the hill and was never seen again.

Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike

Making my way to the turnaround was good, although I got stopped at a junction by the police only to be nearly knocked off my bike by a guy who went sailing past me and the office, barely acknowledging what he had done! At the start of the second lap I took a moment to mentally assess how things were going; really good. All the numbers still stacked up, my legs felt good and I was familiar with the course now. I was really pleased with the High5 nutrition too. I’ve tried a few drinks/gels over the years but these are so light in taste and texture it was great! The Gel Flask was making taking the gels so much easier too. I said it before, but I’ll say it again – buy one!!

I got passed by a couple of serious folks on Lap 2, pointy helmets, seriously aero, disc wheels… that sort of thing. Serious bike envy as a guy went by me like I was stationary on a Scott Plasma 5 with Lightweight wheels and disc on…. that was the last I saw of him! Overall though I think i was passed by around 6 people in total which pleased me greatly. During Lap 2 I noticed that my HR was starting to drop into high Z2 rather than Z3. The power and speed numbers were steady though. Slightly ignoring coach’s advice I decided to go with it and not push harder. I felt good but didn’t want to risk killing my legs for the run. Maybe those #magicberries were doing their thing!?

Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike
Cotswold113 2017 Bike

At the dismount line I did a double take. The course was a little short, just under 55 miles, but to have taken 22 minutes off my last time surprised me! Yes it was a lot flatter and very much less rainy, but that’s not necessarily easier…

The Run – 1:39:39

T2 was fairly speedy, a short run back to park my bike, another gel down me, running shoes on and on our way! The run course was also very flat, but was on mixed terrain, from grass, to sand, to gravel and finally tarmac. The most frustrating part was that it was very narrow in places, meaning that passing was nigh on impossible unless you fancied some stinging nettles!

Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run

In some ways this was a positive as it encouraged you to push before you got to a narrow part if you needed to pass someone. This was another multi lap course which followed around the lake that we’d swum in and then did a loop out on to cross the bike course (not a good idea!) before heading through a small country park and then a housing estate then back to the transition area again.

Cotswold113 Run Route
Cotswold113 Run Route

The run was the area I was most concerned by, as I’ve already mentioned I hadn’t run more than 8 miles so was concerned where I would be. I was mentally focussed on the time in my head, I already knew my aggregate time and was aware that I needed to do a sub 1:52 for the half marathon in order to hit my target time. 8 min miles was the target. As it was, I started out steadily and was averaging 7:30min/mile for the first 6-7 miles, I was running ok but a tightness in my back and hip that I had felt in training during the week was omnipresent. I was able to run through the discomfort but never truly hit a rhythm. I was passing people and being passed but I was making good progress.  I couldn’t get my HR where I wanted it to be but just went as well as I could.

Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run

About miles 9 things started to get tough and my run splits started to slow. Seeing an 8 at the beginning of a mile split wasn’t good. However, there was an awesome support crew 1 mile after the start who had been cheering emphatically every time I had passed, this gave me something to aim for!

Cotswold113 - BRAT Support Crew
Cotswold113 – BRAT Support Crew

Once I was passed them, it was sheer determination that was going to get me home. I pushed through the pain, and whilst it didn’t look pretty we were still moving and the pace picked up again. With a mile to go, I gave whatever I felt I had left in my legs, it wasn’t much but I was determined to give as much as I could. Crossing the line I was elated. Not only had I set a new PB for the Half Marathon by 9 minutes, I had gone and smashed my target time by a full 12!

Cotswold113 2017 Run
Cotswold113 2017 Run

The Result – 4:48:44

I’ll take that! The aim I set myself at the start of the season, before any injuries, was a sub 5. Given everything that has happened I am over the moon. Not only did I achieve my goal, I took a full 40 minutes off my PB. Admittedly my PB is from my one prior race at Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire and that was different in every way, but it’s still a massive achievement that I’m really happy with. Equally, I set a new PB in every discipline by at least 5 minutes!

Cotswold113 2017 Finish
Cotswold113 2017 Finish
Cotswold113 2017 Finish
Cotswold113 2017 Finish

When you embark on a journey with a coach you don’t know if it will work out. I’d had question marks in my mind about where my cycling was at. I knew my running was off too. This result solidifies it for me. It’s hard work, but it’s absolutely the right thing! Thanks Steve, I genuinely couldn’t have done it without you… here’s to the next goal!

As for the race, I highly recommend it. The bike course is a bit tricky in places but the event is brilliant fun. The marshals are friendly. It’s really well organised! I’d add it to a list of recommended races to do, if I had one!

Cotswold113 Result
Cotswold113 Result

New Garmin Edge 820

Garmin Edge 820 Confirmed!

And now it is official – see the full spec of the Edge 820 on Garmin’s website. Best news is, it’s shipping now! It seems that Evans may have the UK exclusive this time round.

As more or less expected it squeezes an Edge 1000 into an Edge 520 chassis and merges some features. Rather than me re-hashing the reviews, head on over to good old DCRainmaker. However, in summary:

Compared to the Edge 1000:

  • Smaller Screen
  • Adds incident detection
  • Adds ‘Stress Score’
  • Battery Save Mode
  • Group Tracking (coming later this year)
  • It doesn’t work in Landscape More (at this point i’ll note that I didn’t know my Edge 1000 did either!)
  • No Micro-SD Slot
  • Otherwise it’s an Edge 1000 in a smaller box!

I spotted a picture a while ago on the Garmin website but wasn’t sure what it was. My initial thoughts were a dumbed down version of the Edge 520. It now appears that this is the new Garmin Edge 820. I can’t find any other useful information at this stage, but the product code for those that want to go hunting is 010-01626-00.

There isn’t a great deal of information to report on this as yet but following a few rumours that have appeared it seems that Garmin are indeed working on an updated Edge 820 bike computer. As usual there are a number of images appearing on the Garmin site which i’ve linked to below.

Garmin Edge 820 Start Screen

Garmin Edge 820 Slightly Chunkier - Good battery life we hope!?

It looks as though it combines features of the Edge Explore and Edge 520 with such functionality as Emergency Contact alerts, or ‘Incident Detection’ as Garmin call it.

Garmin Edge 820 Incident Detection

A lot of the other spec does appear to be on par with the Edge 520, certainly better quality graphics for the maps though! Though notably they appear different to those on the Edge 1000 and Edge Explore.

Garmin Edge 820 Vector Power Meter Screens

Garmin Edge 820 Updated Navigation Graphics

Compatibility with Varia Radar and Strava segments Integration as expected.

Garmin Edge 820 Varia Radar compatibility

Garmin Edge 820 Strava Segments Integration

The ‘hard’ buttons are located on the underside rather than the top. I assume this explains the slightly thicker body also.

Garmin Edge 820 Hard Buttons

Garmin Edge 820 Side On

Garmin Edge 820 Top View

My First 100Km Ride

A minor milestone in a cyclists life, today was my first 100km ride. It was a fairly leisurely affair with Anth and Andrew from the BRAT Club. Before we set off Andrew had mentioned that there was just the one hill. What he had failed to mention was the full extent of the hill, I have enclosed below an overall Elevation map of the route. Can you spot the hill?

Just the one hill on my first 100km ride
Can you spot the hill?

 

I saw gradients has high as 16% on my Garmin as I went up, so certainly not for the faint of heart. I encountered a classic cyclist on the way too, struggling up the hill until I drew level and then felt the need to demonstrate his prowess by powering away. Fair enough he left me on the less steep bits but had nothing when the gradient hit double figures. Bizarre attitude but hey…

A very pleasant ride out overall, it was uncharacteristicly warm for the time of year, never dropping into single digits. It was also a touch on the muddy side, once more highlighting my need for some mudguards!!!

Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
Muddy Bike after my first 100km ride
I really need a mudguard
I really need a mudguard

All of my recent training appeared to have helped too (thankfully!) as my legs felt pretty good throughout, even when the hill just kept on going! I was even happier as I’ve only been riding my bike for just over a year!

Another first was my discovery of the base layer. I’ve usually ridden with another cycling jersey underneath my jacket but having recently picked up a Gore long sleeved base layerand I’m converted! I felt the perfect temperature throughout the ride and never sweaty or clammy.

A final important note for all, the Carrot Cake from the cafe at Broadway Tower was excellent – a good sized portion too which was very much required after the hill!! Apparently the Coffee and Walnut is also worth a look too….

Bike Fit

I had a bike fit at Speeds Cycles in Bromsgrove today, something I felt was necessary based on my list of injuries. I’ve only ridden the bike once but already felt there was room for improvement. Lovely folks, specific thanks to Owen for the time and thoroughness and Hannah for the coffee!

First up Owen checked my cleats and ended up making some fairly significant adjustments to get foot/knee/ankle position right. First up was locating the bone in the side of my foot with a very technical masking tape and pen!

Bike fit cleat adjustment

With this located we adjusted the fore and aft position. After some pedalling and the extensive use of frickin’ laser beams we were able to fine tune the side to side position too. At this point it became obvious that I need to work on my foot position on my right leg, I assume that the knee injury is to blame, as I am not keeping my right foot flat on the pedal stroke.

Next up we moved the saddle back by about 10mm to align my knee correctly over my foot, the laser beams were back for this too!

Bike fit saddle adjustment

Bike fit knee alignment

Moving to the front of the bike, we measured my shoulders and discovered that I needed some slightly narrower handlebars. The standard fit on my 56cm frame were 42cm wide which were making me v-shaped at the front. As a result we ended up with some Zipp Service Course 70. They have a few other bonuses, they’re lighter, the drops are more comfortable and the top of the bars is flatter and also more comfortable.

Bike fit handlebar swap

After we’d got the handlebars the right size next we needed to work on my forward reach; this was one of the areas I had identified as needing work as I had been struggling to reach the hoods comfortably. We tried a shorter stem, this was a 90cm in the pictures, but reverted back to the standard 100mm after further analysis.

We added an additional 3mm spacer to raise the bar up and also reversed it to get a positive 7 degrees as my core isn’t strong enough yet to get down low enough.

Bike fit additional spacer

Overall feel much more comfortable but have been asked to pop back after a few rides to update Owen and make any tweaks if necessary.

Thanks guys! Great value for money!

Bike fit done!

Finally I did try to swap out for this beauty at the end, right frame size, right handlebar size, right colour…. Wrong price mind and I think Hannah Drewett would miss it!

Hannah Drewett's Trek Madone Project One

First bike ride

Today was literally my first bike ride on a road bike since I was about 10. It looked promising, I’d bought all the cold weather gear, though couldn’t justify a colour scheme matching jacket, so bright orange was the order of the day!

First things first I had to attach all the bits and pieces I’d bought for my bike over the months; Garmin Edge 1000, Garmin Speed and Cadence Sensor, bottle cages. Then remove the bits that were surplus to requirement; bell(!), front, rear and wheel reflectors. I ‘agonised’ over placement of the Garmin and ended up opting for the stem rather than out front and it seemed to work pretty well.

The weather seemed to be on the positive side, a nice crisp winters day, no clouds, blue sky etc

Lovely day for a first bike ride until we set off and then within 15 minutes it was zero degrees Celsius, raining and would later turn into sleet… Lovely!

Perfect riding weather!

We had originally intended to do the cycle leg of the Halesowen Triathlon but Anth had driven that way and reported crazy traffic. As such, we decided to head off around the Clent Hills instead. I don’t think either of us had realised quite how hilly the route would be though, despite the subtle clue in the name. A total elevation of 350m including one continuous climb of just shy of 100m elevation!

I learnt a few lessons today:
1. I need to practice unclipping from my cleats – 3 falls giving a grazed knee and bruised finger where it got trapped in the brake.
2. I need to practice clipping into my cleats. I was improving but still struggled at times to get back in solidly.
3. I need to improve my fitness.
4. I need to work on keeping a smooth cadence, by anticipating when I need to change gear, rather than reacting.
5. I’m really glad I watched a video clip recently on how to deal with a speed wobble as I had a fairly major one at 40+ kph which was not fun!
6. It’s a good idea to have lights in winter as it can get dark really quickly when the weather is dismal.

All that said I had a really enjoyable ride out, even if I did feel like death at the top of the evil climb!

On top of the world, or at least it felt like it!

Wattbike and Garmin Forerunner 920xt

Today I discovered that the Wattbike and Garmin 920xt can actually be friends and will talk to each other. I had been a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to track my indoor cycling efforts and was trying to manually remember the details to add in later. As the training plan calls for consistent efforts of 85-95 cadence at the moment I was able to use this as a guide but only had heart rate to reference back to. When setting up the bike today though I noticed a little line on the display that referenced an ANT+ channel, I pedalled a bit and set my Garmin to search, lo and behold it found Power, Speed and Cadence options – rejoice! When I got home I did find a plethora of information on wattbike’s website showing how to do it of course, but it’s easy when you know!

As a result of the above I was able to garner a shed load of information that currently means very little, other than I’ve read a lot about it elsewhere! I was happy to note an average speed of nearly 20mph for my short ride, my cadence was spot on at 85 and an average power of 125w given the above seems a good thing. I think.

Unfortunately the groovy ‘curve’ running machines offer no integration so I was only able to rely on the watch itself for that.

A week in to the training plan and I’m feeling pretty good still, I’m deliberately sticking to it religiously, despite at times feeling I can push harder or longer. I did substitute a long weekend bike/run session for a spin class – my dear wife suggested we did one at the gym at 9.30 on a Saturday morning, mad girl! This weekend I’m also going to do a recce of the bike route for the forthcoming triathlon with a friend, thetrinerd. This did involve raiding the Halford’s sale to purchase some winter riding goodies, but more importantly it means I’m actually going to get to finally ride my bike!!!

The Cycle Show 2014

Yesterday was spent at The Cycle Show 2014, at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. I went with a friend, thetrinerd, who was partially responsible for getting me in to the triathlon scene.

Having never been to a cycle show I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially from a triathlon point of view, but was pleasantly surprised. Notable manufacturer absentees for me were Specialized, (though they had a small Body Geometry stand), Scott, Cervelo, Fuji, Felt and Cannondale. So that should give some idea of what was there.

I asked the inevitable question about the Forerunner 920xt to the ‘Garmin’ stand but they knew nothing; this was probably more due to the fact that the stand was being manned by a local cycle company rather than Garmin themselves.

Turbo Trainers

One thing I was looking into was a turbo trainer; due to my current injuries I hoped it would allow we to get on the bike. Sadly having tried out a few it was clear that I was not in a good enough condition to use one. That said, anyone interested, the updated bkool trainer was on a show special at £275, which is a bit of a bargain. The updated software version looked a lot sharper than the original and the new unit was pretty quiet, although on a show day this isn’t the easiest thing to check.

Elite announced that all of their current range will be retrofittable with a bluetooth unit to send real time power meter data back to their E-Training app for use with VR and video rides. Sadly they couldn’t give an indication of when this until would be available, or what the cost was but it appeared to be a simple bluetooth unit that attaches near the mag unit on the rear. You’ll also be able to upload videos filmed on a phone (or other GPS enabled video machine) that can then be shared with others and used as videos to ride. Prices ranged from £159 for the Novo Force  to £1099 for the direct drive Real Turbo Muin.

Energy Bars, Gels & Drinks

One thing of note was just how many companies selling and sampling energy and nutrition products were present. By about 11.30am I think I could have taken on the BMW jump course.

It was clear that all of these are an acquired taste as the two of us had very varied tastes in what we could tolerate, let alone like! From my running days i’d got into liking SIS, but I was a little disappointed to discover that they use aspartame in some of their products i’ve been using so will be looking to replace those in my routine. Clif had a small stand but had plenty on display, their energy bars and blok were delicious as ever. Torq stood out, probably because they had one of my dream bikes on display, the Wilier Twin Blade, but they had a great range of things to try.

Wilier Twin Blade - The Cycle Show 2014
Wilier Twin Blade

Their energy gels will be my next attempt in competition as the all natural ingredients appeal, Raspberry Ripple, Banoffee etc are all great words to be in a gel. Some were a little sickly sweet and might be difficult to keep down in a long run, hence wanting to try them, they may be fine on a bike mind. The drinks they had on display were, for me, disgusting, but were the biggest discrepancy as thetrinerd loved them. The protein recovery drinks were also a mixed bag, possibly due to the fact that I usually make mine with milk rather than water, Chocolate Mint had potential, but for now i’ll be sticking with MaxiNutrition.

High5 and PowerBar were there also, but i’ve tried them before and not been a big fan though they were both offering good value show deals. ZipVit had some more pleasant bars but nothing really stood out too much for me, they don’t appear to be too readily available either. Finally Beet-It were another that stood out, i first discovered them at the London Marathon Expo and loved the taste of the energy bar, the drink is an acquired taste and i’ve no data on how well they work for me, but thankfully the prices seemed much lower – something that had put me off previously.

Helmets

TheTriNerd was on the look out for a new aero helmet but we ended up leaving empty handed as the main brand of interest, Kask, were’t on display. We looked at and tried on a few others but were generally quite appalled at the quality of some them, especially for the money they were asking.

Bikes

I guess the main reason for going was to look at the bikes on offer, for some reason normal road bikes held very little appeal so I concentrated on the triathlon and time trial bikes. So, in no particular order:

Pinarello 'Wiggo' World Time Trial bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Pinarello Bolide ‘Wiggo’ – The World Time Trial Championship Bike

The bike that Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to the recent 2014 World Time Trial Championships, unsurprisingly this was a popular machine so getting a decent photo was rather difficult.

Pinarello Graal Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Pinarello Graal Triathlon Bike

The updated version of that used by Leanda Cave in The Ironman World Championship 2012. It looked lovely, though the teeth styling were a little strange.

Trek Speed Concept 9.8 Project One - The Cycle Show 2014
Trek Speed Concept 9.8 – Project One Customised

A bike I love, but the price always makes my eyes water. Seeing one in the flesh you can see the engineering that goes into it, but the eyes still water. Priced at £5900 with SRAM Force gears and Bontrager Aura 5 it’s at the lower end of the scale.

Vitus Chrono TT - The Cycle Show 2014
Vitus Chrono TT – Robert-Jon McCarthy TT bike

The Vitus Chrono TT appealed as it matches the colour scheme I’ve somehow ended up with. This particular one belongs to Robert-Jon McCarthy, riding for the An post Chain Reaction Cycling team, Chain Reaction Cycling being the owners of the Vitus brand and sole distributors in the UK. They’re competitively priced at £1799 for the frame. Chain Reaction Cycling said they’d be moving to frame only sales next year, I suggested they build in a configurator as there is nothing us bike folks like more than tinkering with configurations of bikes!

Basso Konos Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Basso Konos Triathlon Bike

 

Basso Pista Track bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Basso Pista Track bike

A quite interesting machine, specced sensibly with Ultegra all round. It looked fairly long on the top tube so maybe good for the taller, or more aero capable folks. The black bike in the background appeared to be an all black track bike, somewhat lacking pedals, gears et though…

Argon 18 E-118 Triathlon Bike
Argon 18 E-118 Triathlon Bike

Against some of the other brands, this looked particularly good value. The Canadian brand are quite popular at Kona and I can see why from seeing one in the flesh. Ultegra Di2, Fulcrum Racing wheels as standard and from £4999 (this one had upgraded carbon wheels, Racing Quattro’s are standard).

Cube Aerium HPC SLT - The Cycle Show 2014
Cube Aerium HPC SLT
Cube Aerium HPC SL - The Cycle Show 2014
Cube Aerium HPC SL

Two triathlon specific bikes from Cube, the Aerium HPC SLT is their flagship model, the SL the ‘cheaper’ sister. No brand loyalty exists for Cube, as you can see Mavic wheels, Rotor Q-rings and Ultegra Di2 on the SL. Reynolds Aero Carbon wheels, FSA Metron crank and Dura Ace Di2 on the SLT. Prices from £3499 for the SL to £6999 for the SLT.

Beaconfell BF55 Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Beaconfell BF-55 Triathlon Bike

The official bike supplier of British Triathlon. One of the things i love about Beaconfell is the configurator, who doesn’t love speccing their own bike!? (Sadly you can’t see all of the wheel options :()  The only triathlon bike on show was this, the BF-55. On display in a relatively entry level spec with Shimano 105 groupset and Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels for £1999.

Storck Aero 2 IS Triathlon & Time Trial Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Storck Aero 2 IS Triathlon & Time Trial Bike

Entering in to the realm of silly money, the Storck Aero 2 IS starts at £8999. They do a ‘basic’ version from £5299 the sign lovingly stated. You do get Dura Ace Di2 and solid Mavic Cosmic wheels for your £9k. They do get a nod to the configurator, though it is fairly ‘basic’ (free mind, not just over 5 grand!) The bike gets great press reviews but up close and personal it looks like you’d need to be pretty flexible to ride it in the pictured spec!

Ritte 1919 Time Trial and Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Ritte 1919 Time Trial and Triathlon Bike

Not a brand I was familiar with before the show. The matte finished colours looked stunning in the flesh. Not many details available, even on their own website. Not many details were shown, other than Ultegra Di2, no name wheels, but Easton for the bars.

Bianchi Aquila CV Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Bianchi Aquila CV Triathlon Bike

Back into the silly money realm, this one came in it a bargain £8999, but all things considered the complete Dura Ace Di2 setup is hardly cheap.

Colnago K.Zero Time Trial and Triathlon Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Colnago K.Zero Time Trial and Triathlon Bike

Another Italian and another looker. Very helpful of Vision to let us know how many spokes that front wheel has too, i’d have been wondering all day if they hadn’t written it on there. One thing that baffled me here is the TT bar shifter, it appears to resemble a brake more than a gear shifter and not a very comfortable one at that. Anyone know anything about it?

Non Triathlon Bikes

Ritte VLAANDEREN - The Cycle Show 2014
Ritte VLAANDEREN

Another Ritte bike that stood out, unsurprisingly I figured my good lady would like the look of this….

Pinarello Prince - The Cycle Show 2014
Pinarello Prince

Another one for the good lady… it’s actually pink, not red. Very odd forks, not sure what the benefit of wavy forks is supposed to be, but i trust Pinarello know more about that than me.

Leopard Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Leopard Bike

No further words available.

Lotus Type 108 Pursuit Bike - The Cycle Show 2014
Lotus Type 108 Pursuit Bike, Chris Boardman ’92 Barcelona Olympic Champion

It took a while to be able to get this photo as it was unsurprisingly a popular machine. It still looked radical, even in the presence of all the other machinery, including the Air 9.8 as used by the Brownlee brothers.

 Random Musings

As a somewhat newbie to the world of cycling it was interesting to see the various choices a cyclist gets to make. Of note for me was that despite both my current bikes having Shimano gears, I am now erring towards SRAM. The Di2 shifters for both handlebars and bar ends felt a bit clunky and for people with larger hands, such as me, the bar end buttons in particular were difficult to accurately hit. As such SRAM it shall be going forward! Campagnolo might be worth a look but their normal bar shifters were far from ideal as the thumb shifter wasn’t in an ideal place for me.

Overall I enjoyed the show, despite not being in a position to buy anything. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of the other brands weren’t there. Working for a company that exhibits at these large shows though, I appreciate the costs involved with being at the shows can be prohibitive, and a return on the cost can be hard to measure. If you’re not there though, no one gets to see what you’ve got. I was particularly keen on taking a closer look at the Cannonade Slice, Specialized Shiv and Scott Plasma but this will have to wait.

 

 

Early start… Training and then The Cycle Show

A lovely and early start today, just heading out the door for a training session at the local pool with my club. The early start was so I could try eating before the swim based on my hardly surprising earlier discovery that energy in, helps with energy out!

After that I’m off to The Cycle Show. Not sure if it’s quite the UK equivalent of Interbike but we shall see. Plenty of shiny new things to see and maybe I’ll see what Garmin have to say about the Forerunner 920xt….. Must remember to leave my wallet behind!

If it’s worth it and I get enough pictures and information I’ll stick up a post about the bike show later too…