Wednesday, 13 March 2013

RideLondon 100

In addition to riding the Etape (7 July 2013), I'm also riding the RideLondon 100 (4 August 2013).

This should be a great event - 20,000 cyclists following the route of the 2012 Olympic road race. I'll be doing this one for money - that is, raising money for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity (

More details to follow, but I'll be making donation requests closer to the time! Meanwhile, back to the training...

Muddy bikes are fun too

By the way, I occasionally do a spot of mountain biking too! This is a pic of my trusty Turner Flux (now sadly sold) up on Parkamoor, overlooking Coniston in the Lake District.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

No hills? No problem! Welcome to BKOOL!

First things first... that's not me in the picture. But it is a BKOOL turbo trainer.

Given the lack of hills round here, I decided to try one to help with a bit of hill training (closer to the event, I suspect, once I'm a little fitter!).

There appears to be plenty of turbo-trainer options on the market, so why did I choose a BKOOL? Well, the main reason was the ability to download routes (many including video footage) of various stages of various events, and ride then in my spare bedroom!

The reality of the whole thing is actually pretty impressive! The bluetooth connection from the BKOOL turbo unit to the PC and associated BSIM software is pretty slick (albeit with a few minor hitches, but nothing too troubling). Add in a speed/cadence sensor (I'm using a Garmin GSC 10) and a heart rate chest strap (again, a Garmin) and you have a pretty comprehensive training tool!

Early days, but having got it set up I'm finding it pretty good fun! For example, Ive just completed 44km in Northern Spain! Details here (if the link works!)

Still lots to learn and lots to explore, but so far, so great, and a way better alternative to doing intervals!

Box Hill - my new weekend friend!

While there may be a distinct lack of mountains int he Home Counties, I am lucky enough to have the Surrey Downs just down the road. These include the now-famous (well, a little) Box Hill - chosen hill for the trials and tribulations of the London 2012 Olympics Road Race.

It's hardly a challenging hill, at an average gradient of about 4% for roughly 3 miles (peaking at about 6%), but it's a hill nonetheless, so I'll be making frequent weekend visits there!

My weapon of choice - Felt F4

Not having the right kit isn't going to be a good excuse, so my bike of choice for the Etape is my Felt F4. It's a 2011 ex-demo model that I managed to pick up from a shop in London, and... I'm delighted with it!

Weighing-in at a little of 7kg (official weight it 7.2kg, excluding pedals) and with full Shimano Ultegra equipment throughout, it's an absolute joy to ride. Which is a good thing, as I'm going to have to spend many, many hours on it over the next weeks and months!

For anyone that's really interested (and for me to keep a record...) here's the full spec...

Felt F4 2011 spec

The Felt F4 2011 Road Bike. With a UHC Performance MMC carbon fiber frame and fork plus a smart mix of competition-ready components, the F4 would be right at home in any professional race. The lightweight, stiff and razor-sharp ride of the frame, built with Felt's InsideOut "internally optimized" manufacturing, is perfectly complemented by a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, Shimano wheels and handpicked performance parts.

Frame: Felt Road UHC Performance MMC Carbon Fibre Frame w/ 3KP Weave, InsideOut Internal Moulding Process, BB30 Shell, External Cable Routing, Carbon Fibre dropouts & Forged replaceable derailleur hanger, 907g
Fork:Felt UHC Advanced 100% Carbon Fibre Monocoque Fork w/ 3KP Weave; TaperControl Carbon 1.125" - 1.5" Steerer tube, Crown, Blades, and Dropouts, Integrated Aluminum Crown Race, 370g
Front Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra braze-on, double
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra SS Short Cage
Shifters:Shimano Ultegra STI, 20 speed
Chainset:Ultegra Compact, Aluminum, Hollowtech II Splined Hollow Crank Arm
Chainrings:50/34 Tooth AL7075 T6 Aluminum CNC AL7075 110mm BCD Chainrings
Bottom Bracket:FSA BB30 Bearings w/ 24mm Adaptor for Hollowtech II Crankset
Cassette:Shimano Cassette, 11-25T
Chain:Shimano 10-SpeedPedals:N/A
Front Brake:Shimano Ultegra Super SLR Dual Pivot w/ Cartridge Brake Shoes
Rear Brake:Shimano Ultegra Super SLR Dual Pivot w/ Cartridge Brake Shoes
Brake Levers:Shimano Ultegra STIHandlebars:FELT VS 6061 Aluminum Bar
Stem:FELT SL 6061 Aluminum 3D ForgedHeadset:FSA NO.42 1.125" - 1.5" Integrated
Grips:Felt Gel Ribbon Cork Tape w/ Felt 3D Logo
Rims:MAVIC Ksyrium Equipe 21mm deep 6106 aluminum rim
Front Hub:MAVIC QRM Aluminum 20H Front hub with B101 quick release
Rear Hub:MAVIC QRM Aluminum 20H Rear hub with FTS-L Shimano 10 speed compatible freehub body and B101 quick release
Spokes:MAVIC Ksyrium Equipe Stainless Steel Bladed, Butted, Straight Pull
Front Tyre:Vittoria Rubino Pro, 700c x 23c, 150tpi
Rear Tyre:Vittoria Rubino Pro, 700c x 23c, 150tpi
Saddle:Felt SL Road Saddle w/ Carbon Fibre Injection Molded Base
Seatpost:Felt UHC Performance Carbon Fibre Design
Seat Binder:AL Forged Aluminum

Etape du Tour 2013

So, a friend of mine suggested we try the Etape in July 2013...

My initial reaction was 'yeah, sounds fun, lets sign up'. On reflection, this could have been a little cavalier! What faces us in 130km of cycling in the Alps, finishing with a long climb to over 1,600m with views of Mont Blanc. Sounds amazing, but I fear it's going to involve a painful spring and summer of training. The sailing might be taking a back seat for a while...

Here's a few more details on the course:
After a fast, flat section for the first 7 miles or so, we hit the first slopes.
After a climb of 340 metres on the Cote de Puget (800m) we climb again to Col de LesChaux (944m).

There follows nearly 20 miles of undulating hills then a climb up to over 1000 metres at Col de Pres.
After a fast descent, the first real mountain climb begins, up to the summit of Mont Revard, 1463m.

Another fast descent is followed by the climb up to the finish at Annecy Semnoz (1655m).
This last climb starts in woodland, with a gradient of 8.5% and sections of 10%. After emerging from the woodland into open mountain scenery, the gradient is in the 10% region.

At the top we will be rewarded with views of Mont Blanc in the distance!

In summary...

Côte de Puget (5,4 km à 5,8%)
Col de Leschaux (3,6 km à 6,2%)
Côte de Aillons-le-Vieux (6 km à 4%)
Col des Prés (3,5 km à 6,5%)
Col du Mont-Revard (16 km à 5,4%)
Montée finale du Semnoz (11 km à 8,3%) - profile pic of this last 'killer climb' above

Welcome to Kapow Cycling

Welcome to Kapow Cycling!

As some of you may know, I already write about my sailing activities, over at (and available as apps at a few good app stores - use the link to get the app on your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry).

2013 has seen a rather abrupt change in my activities - resulting almost entirely from deciding to take part in the 2013 edition of the Etape du Tour. Consequently, all my 'spare' time (or exercise time) is now going in to cycling (well, training, to be precise!), and I don't really expect to have any time for sailing until July!

So... instead of writing blog posts about my sailing activities, I'd write some about my cycling antics, training and equipment instead.

Stay tuned... lots more to follow, and suggestions for posts all welcome!