Category Archives: track cycling

2012 London Olympics #4

After they threw us out of the velodrome we spent a few hours in the Olympic Park. The big screen was great but not enough capacity and a strange propensity for having trees in the way.

What a great day out. We were there (briefly).

2012 London Olympics #3

Inside the velodrome.

Pat managed to get us tickets for the Saturday morning qualification session. This was the qualifying for the Men’s Sprint, the 250m TT for the Men’s Omnium and the round of 16 for the sprint. It was disappointing that Jason Kenny and Gregory Bauge got ride overs in the round of 16 but it was great to be in this fantastic new facility. I hope I get to ride it one day.


2012 London Olympics #2

Arriving at the Olympic park.

>2011 – race #1

>And so it begins again.

I’ve had a fortnight of occasional short, gentle rides rather than training. We’ve been packing the house ready for the move and that has taken all of our attention. Despite this I did want to ride today’s event. I’ve got very anxious over the last weeks and cycling has helped take some of the pressure off.

I had a particularly good ride on Friday – an hour at Hillingdon on the Planet X TT bike for the first time in months. It felt like flying. On Tuesday I’d struggled to average 16mph on the road bike. On Friday, despite no effort longer than three miles, I did 19 miles in the hour. Given how unfit I’ve been feeling, it was a big boost. It was good to say ‘ta ra’ to the Tuesday/Friday veterans as well. I’m not going to miss the regular kickings they gave me though.

So Friday and Saturday we broke the back of the packing. The loft is empty and our life is almost all in boxes. This meant that I could legitimately spare the morning for a proper bike race – the West London Combine / Maidenhead and Dist CC 10m TT on the Knowl Hill course (H10/2). We might have had the Tour Down Under, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Strade Bianche, but we all know the season really begins at a village hall just outside Maidenhead in early March.

It was a cool, crisp morning with a slight tailwind to the turn. This made the early rise to Knowl Hill a little less lung bursting than usual, but made the last half a mile a living hell quite hard. I was pleased with my ride. Last year I messed it up by being on medication and snapping a gear cable on the way to the start. Two years ago I did a 26:37. Today I did exactly the same time. I’m not progressing as well as I might!

CORRECTION: I misread my time. It was actually 20 seconds slower – 26:57. I need new specs.

Race stats: Time: 26:57 (22.26mph). First 5 miles: 12:20, last 5 miles: 14:37. Top speed: 29.6mph. Slowest mile (6): 3:09 (19.05mph), fastest mile (4): 2:18 (26:09mph). Average HR: 163bpm, maximum HR: 168bpm. Average cadence: ?rpm. 28th of 84 finishers. Winner: Peter Dixon (Willesden CC) 22:58

As it was an association event I rode in the colours of my second claim club, the Willesden. That should be my last ride for them… It was good to say cheerio to so many of the team mates and friends from other clubs who have made the nearly five years we’ve lived in London so nice. Apologies that I didn’t get to chat to all of you. Thanks all.

In other news – they’ve just run the Kiwi age group track championships. My sister Marie reports…

Final score for NZ National Track Cycling Championships:
Jennifer [my niece – U17]: bronze (scratch race), silver (points race), silver (team pursuit), bronze (team sprint), 4th (individual pursuit) and 6th (sprint)
Me [i.e. Marie – vet]: bronze (500m TT – PB 42:814), silver (2000m individual pursuit – PB 2:49:418)

Well done the Muhls!

>Calshot and a bookshop

>Saturday was another trip to Calshot velodrome. Despite a hard week – why do my legs hurt so much? – the session was fun. It was, unfortunately, slightly curtailed by a nasty crash. I hope the rider who came off recovers quickly.

A big thanks to Keith, Steve and the team for a well-organised session. My mate Andy managed the fastest flying lap of the day despite spending most of the 142 metres around the blue line. There’s one more Prime Coaching session to go in March, but it’s near to the proposed, mythical move date.

I’ve been playing with the Amazon affiliates scheme. You can see a book/DVD widget to the top right of this page and there’s a playwriting bookshop at the foot of the page. It’s obviously there to make me rich, but I hope that the choice of books is relevant and interesting. The full bookshop experience is available on my Web site. There’s a category for cycling and one for playwriting as well. Let me know if there are any titles you think should be included.


>After viewing houses in Eastbourne on Friday it was back to the South coast for a Prime Coaching Calshot session on Saturday. After not training the session came as a bit of a shock to the system, but it was nice to do something different.

Yesterday was meant to be a 2-up ’10’ and a hill climb organised by the Westerley CC, but that was never going to  happen – DNS.

Today’s house viewing session has also been abandoned – we’re both knackered quite tired. I’ll head to Hastings  later in the week to see more (including a second viewing!).

>Another DNS

>I was meant to ride the Hillingdon CC ’25’ on the ‘new’ Amersham Road course (H25/4) on Sunday, but didn’t even travel this time. The house move is becoming all consuming. I’m lucky to get out on the bike for a couple of hours a week now.

I’ve started teaching again. It’s great to have a job to go to, even if it is only an evening a week.

Next weekend is supposed to be a Calshot session followed by a 2-up ’10’ and hill climb on the Sunday. If things work out well I might manage Calshot. I’m not sure about Sunday though.

>Track and Test

>That was a tough week – Level 5 work every day from Tuesday to Sunday. This is not recommended.

Friday was meant to be a rest day – I was riding the Minet Ladies CC Charity Ride at Hillingdon and planning to  soft pedal my way round in a group. But when it started I went off too fast and kept going for most of the 30 odd miles. Nitwit.

Saturday was the Willesden CC club Track Championships at Welwyn. This was great fun – the track bike feels a lot more comfortable with a longer stem on it. The racing was dominated by road man Tom London and track star Jayne Paine, but I crept to a third place despite being dropped by everyone else at will.

Sunday morning I was down to ride a private trial at the Hillingdon CC Old Crocks’ ’10’ at Great Missenden. I almost went straight back to bed when I saw the rain, but decided to go along, if only to support the other riders. As it happened, the rain stopped and we had one of the best days on that course (HCC180) that I’ve ridden. I clocked a modest 25:03 – still a course best – for third fastest of the 29 starters.

Race stats: Time: 25:03 (23.95mph). First 5 miles: 12:36, second 5 miles: 12:25. Top speed: 33.6mph. Slowest mile (7): 2:58 (20.22mph), fastest mile (4): 2:00 (30.00mph). Average HR: 151bpm, maximum HR: 165bpm. 3rd of 29 finishers. Ave. cadence: 74rpm. Winner: Peter Smith 22:35

My heart rate was very low – probably as a result of a hard week’s work. What was slightly worrying was that it dropped away completely (to 145bpm) when I was working the hardest. I need to monitor that that doesn’t happen again.

>2009/10 Season part 1 review

>The season always seems to go up a gear in May, so I thought it would be useful to review November ’09 to the end of April ’10.

November is usually a resting month – there are no races unless you ride cyclo-cross – but last year I kept the training mileage up and maintained my version of Chronic Training Load (CTL) between 110 and 120auF. Having a proper Winter bike helped, as did a few more imaginative turbo sessions and the second of my trips to Calshot velodrome. I did have problems with my weight going up, but I didn’t really care.

December saw a big decrease in CTL (to the low 70s auF) as I damaged a shoulder and then caught a cold (the snow didn’t help either). I did ride the first event of the Winter Series but didn’t trouble the scorer. I was prescribed some long term meds that seemed fairly benign at the time – but more of that later. My weight went higher. The lack of auF and the surplus of Kg continues to be a theme.

January saw a return to health and decent training. CTL climbed gradually back to 100auF as the month progressed. The snow meant a lot of turbo work including some hard intervals. I began to notice an inability to hit the higher heart rates, but I put this down to lack of commitment. I also started attending the Willesden CC turbo sessions at Wembley which often left me knackered for days afterwards. I rode an Audax event for the first time since 1978 which, together with the ride there and back, gave me my first 100+ mile day for years and the first ever in January. At the end of the month I rode another Winter Series race and this time managed to hang on.

February is the month of reliability trials and ‘traditionally’ when CTL climbs. It climbed a little more slowly than in the past – reaching 115auF by the end of the month. A couple of Winter Series events went well. My form felt good.

I’d normally expect to race a lot in March, but it was difficult to find events. Those that I did ride produced disappointing performances and suggested that my lack of ability to hit zone 5 heart rates might not only be to do with lack of commitment – the meds might be implicated. I also developed a knee injury which is still giving me trouble. A trip to race in The Netherlands was good fun. My CTL did climb to a decent 120auF, but I found it difficult to maintain. At the end of the Month the doctor agreed to wean me off the meds over a fortnight.

April has been a better month. We’ve had great weather and the reduction and then abandonment of the meds seemed to have given me back some top end performance. However, CTL has dropped away slightly (to around 115auF). My weight has also started to increase again (damnit!). My 1:02:04 for a ’25’ on the 18th was real breakthrough performance and I need to build on that. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the weekend looks poor at the moment!

My determination to race less looks a little weak: I have four events in four days coming up over the Bank Holiday weekend. I have done 10 events less than this time last year though (15 as compared to 25).

None of my season’s targets have been threatened yet and the slow start to the year might mean that they’re safe. I haven’t quite given up yet though.

Plus points: I’m pleased that I kept training through the Winter and didn’t let illness in December get to me. I’ve dealt with the meds situation and that is now, I hope, behind me. I’ve made cycling more interesting by managing my turbo sessions better, incorporating track work into my schedule and riding a race in The Netherlands.

Less plus-ful points: After the madness of this weekend’s schedule, I need to schedule my race efforts more carefully. I’m concerned that the longer distance events needed for a BBAR effort may be beyond me (the dates don’t fall kindly either). I have failed to adhere to a structured training plan again – I am a pretty useless self-manager (not just in cycling).

Here’s to May and June – the season of PBs in the last couple of years. And here’s to July, August and September – let’s try and sustain the season this year.

>Sun and rain

>What a strange weekend’s weather. Yesterday was a Prime Coaching session at Welwyn track. We were riding in short sleeves and shorts and worrying about sunburn. Today it’s cold and wet and, hours after my race finished, I’m still struggling to warm up.

I have no major events this week so I’ve trained harder than recently. I’ve also played a little harder: a meal with friends midweek and a curry and beer with Pat on Friday. This may explain my complete lack of form at the track! There was some hard riding going on, but not by me. Perhaps Cobra beer isn’t a performance enhancing substance after all.

Photo of last week’s Welwyn session by Ian Why. I’m third in line… letting the gap open.

Today, expecting another decent day, I rode an Amersham RCC club 10m TT on the Great Missenden course (HCC180). My target time was 25:59 or better, but I hoped to get close to a 24.

The weather was foul. It was cold and the rain showers kept coming. Visibility was poor.

As the condition were unpromising I decided to ride my training wheels. I wore long fingered gloves and overshoes as well. The overshoes filled up with water at the first puddle I rode through on the ‘warm up’.

The race itself was good. My heart rate took an age to come up, but this was probably to do with a combination of the cold and yesterday’s exertions. I kept the power up and kept an eye on my cadence. I’ve been changing down every time my revs dropped below 80rpm, but at the moment I think I’m more effective at 77/78rpm.

There was a tailwind to the turn which made the descent to the far roundabout good fun. The drag back to the middle roundabout was tough (19mph for 2 miles), but I kept it rolling. I finished with a season and course best of 25:52 for 2nd place out of the seven starters.

Race stats: Time: 25:52 (23.20mph). First 5 miles: 12:11, second 5 miles: 13:41. Top speed: 33.4mph. Slowest mile (7): 3:15 (18.46mph), fastest mile (4): 2:02 (29.51mph). Average HR: 150bpm, maximum HR: 159bpm. 2 of 7 finishers. Ave. cadence: 78rpm. Winner: Steve Wright (Fairly United CT) 24:18