The Rides

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The Ride. It is the cathedral of our sport, where we worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer. It is the end to our means. Indeed, The Bike may be the central tool to our sport, but to turn the pedals is to experience the sensation of freedom, of flight. It is all for The Ride.

The world is overflowing with small, twisty roads that capture our collective imagination as cyclists. We spend our lifetimes searching out the best routes and rides; we pore over maps, we share with our fellow disciples, we talk to non-cycling locals all in pursuit of the Perfect Ride.

The Rides is devoted entirely to the best routes and rides around the world. Some are races or cyclosportives, others feature in the Classics and stages of The Great Races, while others still are little-known gems, discovered through careful meditation on The V. Be warned: these rides are not your average Sunday Afternoon spin; these rides are the best and most difficult rides in the word – they represent the rites of passage into La Vie Velominatus. It is to be taken for granted that these rides require loads of Rule #5, many of them Rule #10, and all of them are best enjoyed in Rule #9 conditions. They have been shared by you, the community. The Rides also features articles devoted to the greatest rides and providess a forum for sharing other rides for discussion.

If you’d like to submit a ride or an article about your own favorite ride, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

Haleakala

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 56km / Location: Paia, Maui, Hawaii, USA

haleakala

Haleakala is simultaneously the longest paved continuous climb in the world as well as the shortest ascent from sea level to 10,000 feet in the world. Though not terribly steep, this is a long, grinding climb that will reduce a strong rider to a whimpering lump.

To put the effort in perspective, this climb is 60km long a an average of 6% with two pitches as steep as 17%. That translates to somewhere between 3 or more hours of nonstop climbing, usually in Maui’s direct heat and often into a whipping headwind that spins around into a headwind no matter which direction the switchbacks take you.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 265 / Location: Liege, Belgium

lbl

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only La Doyenne, the oldest of the Classics, but also represents perhaps the most demanding course in cycling. The 280 km, 3000m vertical route starts with an easy ride out from Liege to Bastogne which lulls riders into a false sense of security; the hills are frequent, but none of them terribly demanding. Into Bastogne, and the story changes on the way back to Liege with 9 categorized climbs in the second half, including the fearsome Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/

Paris-Roubaix

Category: Hardman / Distance: 265 / Location: Compiégne, France

paris-roubaix

L’enfur du Nord. The Hell of The North. The Queen of the Classics. This isn’t a ride over the stones from your local brick-paved roads. You think climbs are what make a ride tough? We’ve got news for you: this is the hardest ride on the planet and it boasts a maximum elevation of 55 meters. These are vicious, brutal stones; the kind that will stretch each kilometer to their full length, the kind of stones that you will feel long after the rattling of the bars has stopped. These stones will change you. Forever.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/

Guide: Pavé Cycling Classics

Mortirolo/Gavia Loop

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 115km / Location: Bormio, Italy / Contributor: Joe

The Mortirolo is perhaps the most feared pass in Western Europe, and the Gavia the most storied. Given their proximity to each other, its a wonder why this isn’t the most talked-about ride in Italy. Maybe it is; its impossible to say without being Italian. The loop nature of this ride makes it feasible as a solo escapade, but any ride with the kind of stats this one bears – 3200 meters ascended in 115 kilometers including the viscously steep Mortirolo – is best enjoyed with a riding partner or support car.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/

200 on 100

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 330km / Location: Vernon, VT / Contributor: cdelinks

“Dumptruck of Awesome” has become the catch-phrase associated with this brutally hard, yet strikingly beautiful 330 kilometer (200 mile) ride down Vermont Route 100.  This ride was made popular during the summer of 2011 when Ted King, Tim Johnson, and a local amateur cyclist, Ryan Kelly, documented this ride on film. The ride starts on the Canadian border and finishes on the Massachusetts border.  With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 kilometer ride, you will need to pack a few lunches to get through this one.  Do this ride in the Fall, and the foliage might be beautiful enough to distract you from the horrible pain you will most certainly suffer.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 76km / Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

A ride that officially “never happens” each spring, this 76 km route charts a course through Portland’s West Hills, paying homage to the European Spring Classics. Approximately 1,800 meters of paved and unpaved climbs are spread throughout the course, with several sections reaching grades of over 20%. More information can be found at Ronde PDX.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210

Seattle Master Urban Ride

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 130km / Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

seattleronde

This is perhaps the most challenging urban route in Seattle, hitting three of the big hills that define Seattle’s topography. The route starts and ends on Phinney Ridge, but hits the climbs of Interlaken and Alder Street/Lake Dell Drive on its way to Mercer Island, before coming back to hit Queen Anne and Magnolia, weaving its way up each of these hills as many times as possible via the steepest route available before the finale to the north via Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge Drive, and Carkeek Park. Panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, The Olympic Penninsula and Puget Sound makes this a standout Urban ride.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282

  1. I found a new way to get absolutely knackered yesterday. Helped man a service point with my LBS on Ride London. Great fun but absolutely knackering. 5 of us doing various levels of fixing, lost count of the number of tubes I replaced (fingers in shreds), wonky gear shifting and general tuning. It was full on from when riders started coming through till they shut the hub.

    Observations.

    The messy ones. Folk who think that bike servicing/prep equates to the volume of oil applied. What a mess for the poor bike mechanic! Unbelievable how much oil you can get to stick all over a bike.

    The ones that make you wonder. Gear indexing (and limit adjusters) that is so far out on bikes where the rider says “I just had it serviced”.

    The funny ones. “Can you check my BB or Pedal it’s making a click.” ‘Is it a click or a creak and is it worse or only when you are going up hill?’ “It’s constant and driving me nuts.” ‘OK let’s take a look – click, click, click – Yeah I can see the problem.’ “Great can you fix it?” ‘Yeah, if I move your pump up in the bracket your pedal will stop hitting it.’ (His mates thought that was hilarious and I guess cost him a round or two when they finished).

    And not forgetting the guy trying to get a 29er mtb tube into a 23cm tyre……..

    The sad ones. The look of disappointment when you have to say “Sorry that’s a gonner and we can’t fix that here, your day is done”.

    The happy ones. Most of them when you get folk back on the road and with no charge (except for parts).

    New respect for the LBSs that man those service points.

  2. @Teocalli

    I found a new way to get absolutely knackered yesterday. Helped man a service point with my LBS on Ride London. Great fun but absolutely knackering. 5 of us doing various levels of fixing, lost count of the number of tubes I replaced (fingers in shreds), wonky gear shifting and general tuning. It was full on from when riders started coming through till they shut the hub.

    Observations.

    The messy ones. Folk who think that bike servicing/prep equates to the volume of oil applied. What a mess for the poor bike mechanic! Unbelievable how much oil you can get to stick all over a bike.

    The ones that make you wonder. Gear indexing (and limit adjusters) that is so far out on bikes where the rider says “I just had it serviced”.

    The funny ones. “Can you check my BB or Pedal it’s making a click.” ‘Is it a click or a creak and is it worse or only when you are going up hill?’ “It’s constant and driving me nuts.” ‘OK let’s take a look – click, click, click – Yeah I can see the problem.’ “Great can you fix it?” ‘Yeah, if I move your pump up in the bracket your pedal will stop hitting it.’ (His mates thought that was hilarious and I guess cost him a round or two when they finished).

    And not forgetting the guy trying to get a 29er mtb tube into a 23cm tyre……..

    The sad ones. The look of disappointment when you have to say “Sorry that’s a gonner and we can’t fix that here, your day is done”.

    The happy ones. Most of them when you get folk back on the road and with no charge (except for parts).

    New respect for the LBSs that man those service points.

    23 cm ! – you know what I mean – I hope…….

  3. @Teocalli

    Good effort on the race support, I imagine you had a tougher day than a lot of the riders. it takes a lot of unsung heroes to look after 30,000 cyclists on a 160km course.

  4. @Teocalli

    @ChrisO

    @universo

    Not sure about the colour of that water…

    It does seem to have that certain cow pat hue………

    good one…

  5. @Teocalli

    … and you stink

  6. @ChrisO

    Today I rode a 10 mile TT on perceived effort, not power numbers as I usually do.

    It was an enforced change – I forgot my Garmin in France and it’s still on the way back. I have an old computer but I decided to use it just to record, so all I had was time and distance.

    While I cracked the 22 minute barrier for the first time with a 21.58, funnily enough on the power it made no difference when I checked it later.

    The course (G10/57) was one where I could get in the TT position for a long time and keep a steady effort. But the power was exactly the same as what I would normally do for a 10. I guess that’s a good thing.

    Serious congrats! 21:58 was my PB for a 10. The GD1 at Langbank next to the River Clyde – done on a bike very similar to Ritter’s in Stars and Watercarriers. (Steel Colnago Super, regular bars, might have used my 24 spoke wheels with tubs). Must have been 30 years ago! No computer at all. Man, I wish I could have had a crack on that lovely TT bike of yours!

    I think the lesson you’re learning is race by feel, not technology. Still time left in the season to get it down a bit further!

  7. @wiscot @RobSandy @universo

    Cheers… it is a nice rig, for a TT bike. I’d like to do some proper work on my position but I need someone to look at me and give some advice – some guys from our club are going to rent Herne Hill velodrome for a few hours next month to do some testing and work out drag coefficients to I’ll give that a go, just to establish a baseline.

    Anyway I have a bigger hurdle coming up, a 50 mile TT in two weeks. And apparently the course is ‘sporting’ which I have learned is Tester jargon for lumpy. I wanted to get one in while I’ve got reasonable fitness and then I have a target to beat next year.

  8. @Teocalli

    Just to expand on what you saw on Strava – I rode a Cat 3/4 crit last night (still annoyingly short of the 3 points I need to go up to Cat 3, but anyway…). Split seconds after the last lap bell was rung there was a huge pile up which involved probably about 10 riders; I managed to swerve around a body as it hit the deck and escaped onto the grass into the centre of the track, but one of my good friends and clubmates went down. He is fine, but bent his wheel badly and made his bike unrideable.

    I quickly nipped home (I live 6 minutes from the track) to get the car to pick him up, and as I was turning through the last T junction by my house a lady in a large 4×4 didn’t see me waiting, and cut the corner off to the extent that if I’d been at the road centre line she’d have hit me side-on.

    As it was I managed to fling myself sideways (I think I handed the car off in rugby-style; my wrist hurts today) and avoided getting hit hard. Got 1 bruise on my thigh but the bike is completely undamaged. Scary stuff all round though.

  9. @RobSandy

    ……… a lady in a large 4×4 didn’t see me waiting, and cut the corner off to the extent that if I’d been at the road centre line she’d have hit me side-on.

    Cripes. No offence but you are the size of a small horse.

    I’ve had some close shaves at the exit from the side road I live off. Folk tend to dive off the main road when turning right across the traffic. They tend to be focussed on the gap they are diving through. It’s bad enough when they don’t see me in the car, it’s frightening when I’m on the bike and some sodding great 4×4 cuts across.

  10. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    ……… a lady in a large 4×4 didn’t see me waiting, and cut the corner off to the extent that if I’d been at the road centre line she’d have hit me side-on.

    Cripes. No offence but you are the size of a small horse.

    I’ve had some close shaves at the exit from the side road I live off. Folk tend to dive off the main road when turning right across the traffic. They tend to be focussed on the gap they are diving through. It’s bad enough when they don’t see me in the car, it’s frightening when I’m on the bike and some sodding great 4×4 cuts across.

    I’m a couple of kilos lighter than when you met me! But I did have a bright light on the front and was wearing my best, shiniest white race jersey. And was standing under a street lamp.

    She tried to apologise but I was just too cross and scared – my adrenaline was already high after nearly getting involved in a pile up in the race – so I finished the conversation by angrily saying “Sorry, I’m just really angry, I’m going to go. Thank you for apologising I appreciate it!”.

  11. @RobSandy

    I did modify my post to “small” horse! Though not down to my Shetland Pony small size……….

  12. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    I did modify my post to “small” horse! Though not down to my Shetland Pony small size……….

    This is why I like watching Ian Stannard ride. I think quite similar in bulk and riding style (i.e. no grace or elegance but lots of trying to pulverise the bike into small pieces).

  13. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    I did modify my post to “small” horse! Though not down to my Shetland Pony small size……….

    This is why I like watching Ian Stannard ride. I think quite similar in bulk and riding style (i.e. no grace or elegance but lots of trying to pulverise the bike into small pieces).

    That’s what I love about cycling. Despite being a sport for people one step from an eating disorder, the likes of Stannard give us heftier riders something to aspire to.

  14. @chris

    size……….

    This is why I like watching Ian Stannard ride. I think quite similar in bulk and riding style (i.e. no grace or elegance but lots of trying to pulverise the bike into small pieces).

    That’s what I love about cycling. Despite being a sport for people one step from an eating disorder, the likes of Stannard give us heftier riders something to aspire to.

    Bear in mind that Stannard is 6ft 2 and 82 kilos, so not ‘hefty’ in normal terms.

  15. @RobSandy

    @chris

    size……….

    This is why I like watching Ian Stannard ride. I think quite similar in bulk and riding style (i.e. no grace or elegance but lots of trying to pulverise the bike into small pieces).

    That’s what I love about cycling. Despite being a sport for people one step from an eating disorder, the likes of Stannard give us heftier riders something to aspire to.

    Bear in mind that Stannard is 6ft 2 and 82 kilos, so not ‘hefty’ in normal terms.

    Not to mention that the telly “adds a few kilos”. I recall seeing Tom Boonen in the flesh a few years back (in Wolverhampton!) and thinking how much skinnier he was in real life than he appeared on tv. Stannard too looks like a skinny cyclist when you see him in person. Wonder how we’d look on the box with the “additional weight”?

  16. @Steve Trice

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Not to mention that the telly “adds a few kilos”. I recall seeing Tom Boonen in the flesh a few years back (in Wolverhampton!) and thinking how much skinnier he was in real life than he appeared on tv. Stannard too looks like a skinny cyclist when you see him in person. Wonder how we’d look on the box with the “additional weight”?

    Fat as fuck.

  17. @Steve Trice

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    size……….

    This is why I like watching Ian Stannard ride. I think quite similar in bulk and riding style (i.e. no grace or elegance but lots of trying to pulverise the bike into small pieces).

    That’s what I love about cycling. Despite being a sport for people one step from an eating disorder, the likes of Stannard give us heftier riders something to aspire to.

    Bear in mind that Stannard is 6ft 2 and 82 kilos, so not ‘hefty’ in normal terms.

    Not to mention that the telly “adds a few kilos”. I recall seeing Tom Boonen in the flesh a few years back (in Wolverhampton!) and thinking how much skinnier he was in real life than he appeared on tv. Stannard too looks like a skinny cyclist when you see him in person. Wonder how we’d look on the box with the “additional weight”?

    I’m fully aware that he in real life terms he’s not hefty, but stand him next to the Kenyan light bulb abuser and he’d look as fat as a skinny chav’s wife.

    @RobSandy

    Fat as fuck.

    I cycling terms I’m fatter than fuck but compared to the general population, I’m just about getting away with it.

  18. @chris

    @robSandy

    I found myself with an hour or two to kill in Glasgow a few years back, and decided to go and visit Billy Bilsland Cycles. In there they have, framed and on display, a polka dot skin-suit worn by Robert Millar in the Tour. I’ve genuinely seen bigger baby grows, it was unimaginable that an adult human could fit into it.

  19. The recent ‘Open Letter’ article drew out some very polarised opinions on Strava but love or hate it (I love it), you’ve got to say that this is pretty awesome:

    Sean is no pro, he rides for my club, turning out on a Sunday to ride with the A group, Wednesday’s for club Tens and quite a few road races in between. He is, however, only 16.

    The segment is Col De Cabre in the Alps, about 9km at 4.7%. It figured in Stage 16 of last years tour.

  20. @chris

    Wow, that’s brilliant. Is he a racer?

  21. @Steve Trice

    Yes, he races most week ends in the Youth A (under 16) category. The club has a good group of kids racing across all of the youth categories.

  22. @chris

    @Steve Trice

    Yes, he races most week ends in the Youth A (under 16) category. The club has a good group of kids racing across all of the youth categories.

    Tip me off if he ever comes to South Wales to race and I’ll make sure I’m washing my hair that weekend…

  23. Well nothing as exciting or epic as some of the above but today’s commute was one of those rides that was just brilliant in it’s own way.No big climbs,no fast sprints just a really good ride in the morning sunshine;one of those days were you are glad to be alive and all on a £250 bitsa steel single speed;no flashy carbon,titanium etc just good old honest retro steel.

    And a nice coffee and toast at the end too;

    Shame I was going to work after though,,,,

  24. A 3/4 crit finally went my way last night and I finished in 2nd, earning enough points to finally take me to Cat 3 after a summer of banging my head against the wall.

    There was a huge crash on the penultimate bend last week, so this week I didn’t take any chances and opened up my sprint on the bell, so with 400-450m to go. My plan was to catch the field by surprise and make sure I was out on the front on my own to reduce crash risk.

    Nearly worked, but a super-strong rider in the pack managed to jump on my wheel and nipped past me to win as I tired on the back straight. However, objective achieved. Pretty pleased with myself, all told.

  25. @RobSandy

    A 3/4 crit finally went my way last night and I finished in 2nd, earning enough points to finally take me to Cat 3 after a summer of banging my head against the wall.

    There was a huge crash on the penultimate bend last week, so this week I didn’t take any chances and opened up my sprint on the bell, so with 400-450m to go. My plan was to catch the field by surprise and make sure I was out on the front on my own to reduce crash risk.

    Nearly worked, but a super-strong rider in the pack managed to jump on my wheel and nipped past me to win as I tired on the back straight. However, objective achieved. Pretty pleased with myself, all told.

    Nice one!

  26. @RobSandy

    A 3/4 crit finally went my way last night and I finished in 2nd, earning enough points to finally take me to Cat 3 after a summer of banging my head against the wall.

    There was a huge crash on the penultimate bend last week, so this week I didn’t take any chances and opened up my sprint on the bell, so with 400-450m to go. My plan was to catch the field by surprise and make sure I was out on the front on my own to reduce crash risk.

    Nearly worked, but a super-strong rider in the pack managed to jump on my wheel and nipped past me to win as I tired on the back straight. However, objective achieved. Pretty pleased with myself, all told.

    good! sounds like a great effort executed as planned. good work!

  27. So this week was not what I’d consider having been a banner week at the job. Too early am departs from airports, crummy night w/o sleep in a hotel, and mostly, end of day Fri, less than good news on a business prospect we were pursuing. I love my job but every now and then some disappointment sets in and it’s the kinda stuff that had me lying in bed early this am with too many thoughts in my head… So what to do? Why, get up and go for a ride of course. And that’s exactly what I did. More to the point, best therapy in this circumstance is a long ride by oneself on lonely dirt roads well outa town. 91 kms and 950 meters is a good enough ride when includes lotsa dirt and the toughest climbs in the county. Now, pictures of dirt roads,

    are kinda like pictures of babies in that they tend to all kinda look the same. Except of course to the proud parents, or in the case of the dirt road, the lucky cyclist that hit the road on a perfect day. Maybe the pic’s just don’t do justice. This particular climb avg.’s over 5% over approx 2.5km (thank you Strava btw!!). And at this spot it’s more than a little steep.

    There is no denying that at the moment, at the spot, a dirt road, on a bike, with some solid effort, is a friggen great way to get your head clear and be reminded that life is really, really cool. I guess I’m preaching to the choir here. We just know this.

    Many moons ago ol’ Elvis sung a song called True Love Travels Down a Gravel Road. Yea, yea, yea… nothing about a riding a bike on a dirt road it was. But I couldn’t help but be singing this song as I was riding today. Seriously, I was having that much fun. And it’s too bad for the king. if he’d a spent a little time riding bikes on dirt roads he might been less inclined to have OD’d on the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

    Don’t mind if I indulge in a photo of my CAADX (I’m such a sucker for alloy frame sets) that I snapped at my destination, a little public use area park way outa town, when I sat down for a snack and some water, and to just enjoy the view:

    Cheers all

  28. @Randy C

    awesome we are lucky to ride.

  29. Nice one.

  30. @ChrisO

    @wiscot@RobSandy @universo

    Anyway I have a bigger hurdle coming up, a 50 mile TT in two weeks. And apparently the course is ‘sporting’ which I have learned is Tester jargon for lumpy. I wanted to get one in while I’ve got reasonable fitness and then I have a target to beat next year.

    Well, glad that’s done. It wasn’t too bad actually – it doesn’t hurt like a 10 or a 25 because you’re not really going into the red but the cumulative effect is definitely something.

    Without a previous time I was one of the early starters, 4th off. I had no minute man but I pretty quickly caught my 2 minute rider and the first off, 3 mins ahead.

    The advice I’d been given was not to go off to strong but I tried to keep it around 90-95% power as I know I can sustain that for a decent time and would still be able to back off without blowing up if it got too difficult.

    The course was ‘sporting’ i.e. lumpy. 950m elevation in 80km. An out-and-back 25m course x 2, so four fairly even legs and a roundabout at each end.

    I had a real battle with the guy a minute behind me. At the first roundabout he looked to have closed a little. I’d dropped my bottle on the way out and paused to pick it up on the way back and the distance at the halfway looked a little closer still, maybe 20-30 seconds, but I was surprised he hadn’t caught me. I was hoping he’d gone out hard and would have faded but at the third and final turn with 12 miles to go it looked about the same, maybe going out a touch but not much.

    In addition to outright times TTs in the UK usually award places based on the Standard tables, which are age-adjusted times that go up one-year intervals. So a 49 year old Standard for 50 miles is 2:19:34 but a 48 year old is 2:19:19. The amount you finish below your standard determines the placings. I knew from the startsheet the guy behind was the same age so if he finished 59 seconds behind me he would be ahead both outright and in the adjusted times.

    In previous TTs I’ve missed out on placings by 3 and 4 second gaps so I was determined to make sure I didn’t finish thinking I could have gone a few seconds faster, and I was still able to keep at the 90-95% level on the final leg and finish strongly so I just had to hope it was enough.

    When I got back to HQ I was really surprised to see the guy behind had finished nearly a minute and a half down. He came in as I was having tea and cake and said he’d been trying to keep me in his sights and had been within 20 seconds at one point but on the final leg he’d just had a major blow up and struggled to keep 200 watts for the last 15 minutes. In the end I was 4th overall (by 9 seconds to 3rd dammit, easily what I lost stopping for my bottle) but I might end up with a placing on the adjusted times, it’s hard to tell without adding them all up.

    Anyway, that’s about the end of the TT season for me. I might squeeze in one more but I have a long work trip coming up next week where I can’t take my bike so I won’t have time to get back to full fitness. And I’m hoping to have the pin out of my hip at some point in the next few months so I’m looking forward to giving it a proper tilt next season – I already have my eye on a disc wheel !

  31. @ChrisO

    Nice one Chris, good effort.

    I’ve put away my aerobars until next spring now, but my main aim for next year is to get a bit closer to the 22 minute mark. Already looking into TT helmets and skinsuits.

  32. @ChrisO

    It sounds like ya’ll in the UK have quite a history and tradition of TT’s. I’m kinda curious who/how these are set up and how often. Are these club affairs? National affairs for licensed racers and include ranking points? Races available every weekend or so? What’s a good turnout? 15? 25 racers?

    We arrange an annual TT series for our local club that comprises a spring and fall series of two TT’s of each: a 10 miler flat and a 2k hill. So, eight total events. And points are accumulated over the series not unlike F1 races (I think). But it’s a simple local affair and it’s not like a pile of competitors from around the state will show up. Outside of historical club records and an annual Christmas party there’s really no recognition/ranking tied to a race license. Sure not anything I could justify having a proper TT bike as much I’d sure love to learn to ride on fast.

    I jumped on a buddy’s TT bike the other day for a little run and had a blast laying out front and aero. And I can’t help but see that gorgeous Giant of yours and just know that’s gotta be a great feeling getting that up to speed and flying.

  33. @Randy C

    Yes all of that!

    You can find details here of the history. As I understand it, the infighting between the cycling authorities (and police) meant that the actual courses were known via a sort of secret squirrels club to try to stop them being interfered with. This resulted in the courses having weird names such as p885/50 (which happens to be one near me) and as I understand it, way back, getting hold of the course handbook required strange handshakes and rituals etc. This made it quite hard for newbies as pre GPS actually knowing where to go could be a challenge if it was not a straight out and back course (as I found from personal experience!).

    There are many places where local clubs have weekly TTs on a weekday evening or a weekend (often silly early on Sundays). The slightly strange effect of this history is that many courses remain unchanged even though the road section may have developed considerably over the years and so some of the courses are now along pretty busy dual carriageways.

  34. @Teocalli

    @Randy C

    The 10 milers I ride are part of a local series – 7 events through the season with points scored (through some mystical handicap system that I don’t understand) and prizes given for various categories at the end.

    As far as I understand all you need is club membership to provide insurance – there is no link to your racing licence (you don’t need one).

    Most of the courses involve dual carriageways – often straight out to a roundabout and back to the start. The biggest problem faced is the installation of traffic lights. Our local Friday night club TT had to be reduced from a 10 miler to about 7.5 miles due to some traffic lights getting stuck in the way.

  35. @Randy C

    Yes for many years TTs were basically the extent of racing in the UK as mass-start events were illegal and the various cycling bodies generally supported the prohibition. Road-racing was clearly for foreigners.

    Even the TTs were slightly grey areas and the fiction was that one was simply out riding one’s bike on a road where a number of other gentlemen, usually in black, happened to also be out riding at more or less regular intervals. All a bit cloak and dagger, but daft.

    The legacy now is that Cycling Time Trials, the organising body, is separate from British Cycling which is the official federation, nor do they recognise the UCI. The CTT don’t follow UCI rules for equipment (which I understand causes regular controversy at the annual general meetings) and you can ride a TT without a helmet. You only need to join CTT and don’t need to have a UCI/British Cycling race licence. In fact I’ve never even been asked for ID when signing on.

    In terms of numbers it’s quite popular. An average 10 or 25 will have 50-60 starters, some might have up to 100. You have to submit an entry request and the organisers will sometimes have a cutoff based on previous best times, especially if the event is oversubscribed. Faster (i.e. flatter, uniterrupted) courses are usually well known and hard to get into if you don’t have a good time. But there’ll be other events where they give preference to regional clubs, or veterans and sometimes even people with slower times.

    Then you have the Standard Tables of the Veterans Time Trials Association, which were first devised in the 1940s I think, and still used today. It gives a target time for each standard distance e.g. 10, 25, 50 etc and for each age over 40, going up in yearly increments. Prizes are awarded in the veteran categories based on how much you beat you Standard time by. They’re designed to even up competition for over-40s so that a 49 year old can compete against an 80 year old. And I assure you that isn’t a theoretical example – there was a 79 year old and an 80 year old in a 10 mile I did in May.

    And on top of all that there are variations like SPOCO, which is another separate organisation that runs a competition based on Sporting course i.e. lumpy. They are very dismissive of the CTT tendency to favour flat, fast courses in good conditions purely to get fast times. In reality most people, and many clubs, are affiliated to both.

    It’s thought by modern historians that Lord Palmerston was actually speaking about UK time-trialling, not the Schleswig-Holstein question when he said:

    “Only three people have ever really understood it – the Prince Consort, who is dead; a German professor, who has gone mad; and I, who have forgotten all about it.”

  36. @ChrisO @Teocalli @RobSandy

    Great history. Love it. I’ve even gone so far as to bring surprise lemonade and cookies to a time trial in effort to get a little mojo kinda excitement/buzz behind it for our club. It worked too. Imagine if I spring for beer! Anyways, I love that my club has had long history with the local TT series and I’m diggin’ being part of helping organize them today. And, saves me from racing… plus, we’re getting our local mtn bike team student athletes to come out and have some fun on their new CX bikes. I love the idea of setting up some kinda bonus races where the course is unknown until last moment and then tackle some unusual routes. The secret squirrel stuff so to speak. Could be fun. Cheers all, very cool stuff. Thx

  37. @ChrisO

    Hey Chris, do you know a guy called Giles Hartwright? He rides for Dulwich Paragon and turned up in our 3/4 crit at Maindy last night.

    Hope he enjoyed it. He got in a 4 man break with 2 of my team-mates more or less from the gun, while I messed about being really annoying at the front of the bunch, trying to make sure the break didn’t get caught. It worked and they took a lap, and when they were back in the bunch I launched an attack myself.

    Stayed out front for a good few laps until Giles chased me down! Good fun though.

  38. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    Hey Chris, do you know a guy called Giles Hartwright? He rides for Dulwich Paragon and turned up in our 3/4 crit at Maindy last night.

    Hope he enjoyed it. He got in a 4 man break with 2 of my team-mates more or less from the gun, while I messed about being really annoying at the front of the bunch, trying to make sure the break didn’t get caught. It worked and they took a lap, and when they were back in the bunch I launched an attack myself.

    Stayed out front for a good few laps until Giles chased me down! Good fun though.

    No, don’t think so. It’s possible we’ve been on rides and I just don’t know his name – we’re a fairly big club though so it can be a changing round of faces even on regular rides.

    Sounds like he’s a handy rider though.

  39. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    Hey Chris, do you know a guy called Giles Hartwright? He rides for Dulwich Paragon and turned up in our 3/4 crit at Maindy last night.

    Hope he enjoyed it. He got in a 4 man break with 2 of my team-mates more or less from the gun, while I messed about being really annoying at the front of the bunch, trying to make sure the break didn’t get caught. It worked and they took a lap, and when they were back in the bunch I launched an attack myself.

    Stayed out front for a good few laps until Giles chased me down! Good fun though.

    No, don’t think so. It’s possible we’ve been on rides and I just don’t know his name – we’re a fairly big club though so it can be a changing round of faces even on regular rides.

    Sounds like he’s a handy rider though.

    He was there with a lady ride, also from Dulwich. Really nice to see diverse clubs racing on our little track.

    He was very strong – finished narrowly second to a guy who is now Cat 2.

  40. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    Hey Chris, do you know a guy called Giles Hartwright? He rides for Dulwich Paragon and turned up in our 3/4 crit at Maindy last night.

    Hope he enjoyed it. He got in a 4 man break with 2 of my team-mates more or less from the gun, while I messed about being really annoying at the front of the bunch, trying to make sure the break didn’t get caught. It worked and they took a lap, and when they were back in the bunch I launched an attack myself.

    Stayed out front for a good few laps until Giles chased me down! Good fun though.

    No, don’t think so. It’s possible we’ve been on rides and I just don’t know his name – we’re a fairly big club though so it can be a changing round of faces even on regular rides.

    Sounds like he’s a handy rider though.

    He was there with a lady ride, also from Dulwich. Really nice to see diverse clubs racing on our little track.

    He was very strong – finished narrowly second to a guy who is now Cat 2.

    Yes we’ve got a pretty strong women’s contingent and the club makes a lot of effort to support them and bring in new people generally.

    We have a monthly new members ride and it’s a requirement of membership to volunteer at least twice per year at races or events, which is actually a really good way to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise come across as well as building a bit of club spirit.

    Unless something has changed in the last year I believe Dulwich is not only the largest BC club overall but also has the most women.

    We’ve got a lot of guys who race although once they get to the upper levels they tend to go with some of the trade and shop teams where they get more sponsor support and make Dulwich second claim.

  41. I just got really annoyed – I wanted to know what had happened at the Vuelta today, so I went to BBC Sport and read this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/37150184

    The report on the stage itself is 6 words ‘Belgian Gianni Meersmann won the stage’, and they utterly failed to mention that both Quintana and Valverde are on the same time on GC as ‘Olympic Bronze Medallist’ Froome and that Valverde is actually ahead.

    The BBC coverage of cycling is shameful, seems to be pitched at the level of the average 6 year old. Compared to this, about today’s stage:

    http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/racing/vuelta-a-espana/five-talking-points-from-stage-two-of-the-2016-vuelta-a-espana-276797

  42. @RobSandy

    The Beeb seem to have fleshed it out a bit now (about 9pm UK time)

  43. @RobSandy

    Try having to rely on NBC Sports. That’s why I stream all the races I can watch through Cyclinfans or steephill.

  44. @SamV

    @RobSandy

    Try having to rely on NBC Sports. That’s why I stream all the races I can watch through Cyclinfans or steephill.

    The NBC Sports Gold package offered this year is not bad at all. And priced fairly for the races that they plan to broadcast and cover. We also have Universal HD evening broadcast of the Vuelta happening here in the states. And I sure appreciated watching this w/e’s Olympic XC races later in day after they had already raced via streaming thru NBC Sports. Bad break for Peter Sagan today after a red hot start to get up front from #50 position.

  45. I’ve been meaning to write a few words about the Eroica Hispania event that I went to in early June. I’d been to both the original, in the heart of Chianti land, and the British one, in the Peak district, so when I heard of a spanish one based around the vineyards of Rioja I had to attend. It was bound to be great, wasn’t it?

    Well, no. At least, not in my opinion.

    I’ll start with the positives. That part of the world is simply beautiful (I’ll post some pictures if I can figure out how to). The weather was glorious. The food and wine in the various restaurants we found ourselves in was superb.

    BUT – the route signs were poor. So poor that we got lost, and accidentally found ourselves doing the last loop of the long route rather than the medium route we wanted. I later found out the sign I missed was a turn left sign on a 4 lane road that was on the left hand side of the road. During the ride I came across another group of riders that had made exactly the same mistake as me, and at that time none of us could work out what we’d done wrong!

    In a town towards the end a small group of us lost the signs completely, so we split up to find the way out, and just waved back to the other riders when we found the way.

    Unlike Gaiole in Chianti and Bakewell there wasn’t really a centre that all the riders could congregate. Cinicero is a large town, and the stands were spread out around it. Apparently there were close to a 1000 riders there but it didn’t feel like it. My feeling is that the event should have been based in Laguardia, a much smaller town on the route. That way the riders could have taken over the place for the weekend and really created a buzz.

    The food stops were…….poor. I’ll leave it at that. If anyone has done the Italian one and imagines that the refreshments would be similar you’d be wrong.

    So overall I’d score the event only a 5/10. Yes it is beautiful, yes some of their Strade Bianchi were great to ride on. But if the sense of occasion is missing, then there’s little reason to go back.

    Still, it was only their second year, I believe.

    David

  46. Odd, all the captions have gone.

    What I wanted to say about these pictures were:

    a) these are definitely taken in Rioja – some could be mistaken for Tuscany

    b) I loved the Strade Bianchi, alongside the railway, alongside the river

    c) it was a very quiet ride on deserted roads and empty villages for the main part

    d) I hope not too many rule violations spotted. I tried to minimise them….

  47. @davidlhill

    Interesting. The NL was a bit similar on the routes and in the town it was very low key which was a bit surprising. Mainly the marking was great but there were a couple of bits where most people seemed to get it wrong and there were people going back and forth till we found the sign we missed. Then there was the one part through a housing estate where the locals must have taken down the signs – so that doesn’t just happen in the UK ! Luckily I had the route on GPS and formed a small group with some other guys who were cycling round the estate looking for a sign.

    The food on the NL event was great though.

    Some of the Strade Bianche was a bit extreme though and better suited to a full sus mtb and I felt there was a bit too much road through housing estates. Though that may have been that they had to make some last minute route changes due to the ground conditions on the original Strade. Good fun though if a bit brutal on a vintage bike.

    The Brit event is moving from Bakewell next year so be interesting to see what they come up with as it will still be in the Peak District.

  48. @Teocalli

    the route was actually great, once we found it. Good mix of Strade Bianche, minor roads. Main road riding was kept to a minimum, so from that perspective it was similar to the Tuscany one.

    So Eroica Britannia is moving from Bakewell? I wonder why, as it seemed perfect there, Can’t believe the locals are fed up?

  49. @Teocalli

    Timely peek on the website: when I did the NL Eroica, I only had 1 spot where the signs were gone (but we saw cyclists farther away so had a hunch where we had to go) and 1 spot where I missed it because I was following a group of other riders, who apparently were no riding the Eroica. I thought that it was very well indicated. Also on dangerous crossings, there were volunteers to warn or stop us. Food indeed great, for my 100km, I had enough with me, did not expect that much sandwiches, breadrolls, soup, cake, coffee and even beer. Only 2 roadsegments that I thought were not suitable for dearly-beloved-and-well-maintained-since-new-purchase steel bike: one which was all grassed over and one descent close to the finish which was worse than PR-pave.

  50. @KogaLover

    Yeah it was on the extension part where the signs had been removed and there was an odd bit where the section was repeated where everyone round about my timing got it wrong as we all passed each other shouting “no it’s not this way the turn must be back there” in various languages.

    No complaints though, all being well I’ll be back next year.

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