Sponsorship, Velodromes and Hair

Cycling news:
Well, things are hotting up we are almost only 1 month away from the big day. So what is coming up you ask ? well – This Sunday there is another long ride coming up. I will be riding the London Cycle Sportive, which is another ride that takes in Box Hill (yet again) but the exciting part is the ride finishes with a lap of the Herne Hill Velodrome. So a bit like Paris-Roubaix we get to bomb round the track after a 60mile ride out in Surrey.

Sponsorship
I have now decked out the names of my sponsors on the bike so a huge thankyou to all those who have made a donation so far. Your names are stuck on the bike frame and I will be drawing on those stickers for inspiration in a months time.

Thanks to all my sponsors.

Thanks to all my sponsors.

I would also like to say a special thanks to BlackHorse Apiaries who have sponsored me. If you are ever interested in learning about Bee keeping, or just interested in the craft – give them a call. They run a number of practical and theory courses and have a wealth of knowledge and resources on all aspects of keeping bees.

Waxing
So tonight is the night !!! after me stupidly offering to get my legs waxed for this ride, tonight the hair comes off. (I blame the Italians – and them making me do it) Hopefully it will not be as painful as I am imagining. (It can’t be as bad as getting stung by a bee – right ? ) on the other hand it may be as bad as getting stung by a swarm of bees. (have experience of both of these events).

Current hair status

Current hair status

Check back to see what state I am in after the event.

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The hair needs to come off ?

So I got a little bit of a bashing from my cycling friend in Italy, I have been told that to be a “proper” cyclist I need to lose the hair on the legs. I am still trying to find a sensible reason as to why this needs to happen. I have been Googling as to why on earth would you do this and I have yet to find a bonefide reason. But in the interests of charity, I will be selling wax strips and for a small fee you can make me scream like a baby. All proceeds to MIND. This task is probably going to be harder than the ride !!! I just pulled out one hair and it hurt like a bitch, and I got a lot of em on my legs. (Pictures of the process will be posted here, along with before and afters)

Apparently these are the reasons from the pros !!

It Improves Your Aerodynamics on the Bike
The Theory: In this age of seamless skinsuits, aero frames, dimpled helmets, and ultralight deep-rim carbon wheels, it’s senseless to ignore the slight but real advantage of having bare legs.

(To wit, a 1987 study conducted by Chester Kyle concluded that the aerodynamic improvement is roughly 0.6 percent, which could result in a savings of around 5 seconds in a 40km time trial ridden at 37kph.) NB- I can’t ride at 37kph !!!!

The Reality: “It [the actual benefit] depends upon how hairy you are. I mean, look at the skinsuits of today. They fit really well, there are no seams, no grippers. So if all that makes a difference, then a lot of hair on your legs could slow you down.” —former pro Levi Leipheimer NB – I don’t own a “skinsuit” unless you count the one I was born in.

“Maybe at the most elite level of time-trialing. On a mountain bike: no way, not a bit.” —Multitime U.S. national mountain bike champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski

“In terms of actual aerodynamics [not much]. But I know that if I ever looked down while I was on the bike and saw hairy legs I immediately felt slower.” —Tour de France stage winner Davis Phinney

It Improves the Benefits and Pleasure of Massage
The Theory: Getting your hair pulled during massage hurts. A lot.
NB – I don’t have a masseuse at my disposal – any offers ?

The Reality: “It’s why I shave. It would hurt too much if I didn’t.” —Leipheimer

“You need more oil if you have a lot of hair. You don’t want to feel like an oiled pig.” —Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten
NB – I am not sticking an apple in my mouth.

“Absolutely. It’s the number one reason I shave. I can’t imagine the pain of getting a full massage with hairy legs. I also think some of best massage techniques don’t involve much oil, so that makes having no hair even more important.” —Horgan-Kobelski

“It probably feels better shaved, but on a deeper muscular level there’s no difference. You can accomplish the exact same thing shaved or unshaved. I work on cyclists all year-round and even the pros go hairy in the winter.” —Certified massage therapist Chris Grauch

“I bet it’s nicer for the person giving the massage. Would you want to touch hairy legs?” —Multitime U.S. national cyclocross champion Todd Wells

It Makes Wound Care Easier and More Effective
The Theory: Cleaning and caring for road rash is simpler and yields speedier healing when there’s no leg hair present to impede the removal of dirt and grime, host bacteria, or complicate bandage changes.

The Reality: “I always thought crashing was the biggest reason. When you slide out on your bike, you take out big swaths of skin. Hair just collects dirt and is no fun to bandage.” —Phinney

“It also allows kinesio tape to stick better, which lots of cyclists are using these days.” —Horgan-Kobelski

It Just Looks Better—and That Makes You Faster
The Theory: Every cut and line of toned muscles pop when not obscured by a thicket of hair, and the snazzier you look the sharper you ride.
NB – I have stumpy fat legs and knobbly knees.

The Reality: “Absolutely. In your mind, having shaved legs makes you feel faster. I always shave before a time trial. You feel the wind flowing over your legs.” —RadioShack pro Chris Horner

Women Like Smooth-Legged Men
The Theory: Really, we just think our spouses and partners have been humoring us all this time.
NB – I doubt it – they just like seeing men endure what they do.

The Reality: Even when [my husband] Jeremy [Horgan-Kobelski] stops racing I want him to keep shaving. I think it’s hot. But I’m a racer, too. The majority of the female population probably disagrees.” —Pro mountain biker Heather Irmiger

It’s Tradition
The Theory: Losing the leg pelt is a sign that you’re committed to living your life with the noble aim of honoring what it means to be a true racing cyclist–plus, showing up hairy to a serious group ride is akin to wearing shorts to church.

The Reality: “Tradition is why everyone shaves the first time. If you’re a bike racer, that’s just what you do.” —Horner

“Leg shaving is an expression of being a cyclist.” —Horgan-Kobelski

“It always just seemed stupid to me.” —Multitime Leadville Trail 100 winner Dave Wiens

“It was the fashion when I raced. It’s the fashion now. Real bike riders shave their legs.” —Phinney

NB – nope none of these have convinced me – I don’t follow fashion.

Tour Series comes to Woking.

Well a nice gentle ride out after work to watch the Tour Series race round Woking town centre. Its nice to see them close the roads and do a cycling event.

There is a lot going on and if you sign a disclaimer form you can have a go on the course.

A few laps of the Tour Series course - Woking

A few laps of the Tour Series course – Woking

Here is some of the action from the mens / womens races as well as a fun ride around the course.
Highlights are on ITV4 tonight if you tune in watch out for the idiot in a discovery cycling top on the hairpin bend. (last before the straight run up to the finish)

As well as Hannah Barnes taking a tumble (she went on to win it)

Bournemouth Sportive

So time for a longer ride. Sunday was the big one, the Bournemouth Wiggle Sportive The plan was to ride the Standard Route but to start from Verwood and cycle to the start. This would add approx 20 more miles onto the route bringing us up to approximately 95 miles (Pretty close to what is required on the big day). Pete the fellow cyclist who accompanied me on the Isle of Wight Randonnee, was riding with me as well.

We started a bit later in the morning, (the weather was supposed to improve in the afternoon). A gentle ride down to the start, where we checked in and got under-way, we were one of the last groups out. The first 20 miles we made good time, especially when we picked up a pair of experienced guys and tucked in behind them. Averaging 20mph, we bowled on north towards Fordingbridge. At Fordingbridge we let them go and backed off the pace as we knew there were some big climbs coming up.
We made it to the first food stop, stocked up on flapjacks and drinks. We had a chat with some poor cyclist who had hit some gravel a mile back and was covered in grazes where he had come off. He also had a busted shoulder (possibly broken). A warning to all, it can happen at any time.

Bournemouth Sportive - Pete and I hunting down the leaders.

Bournemouth Sportive – Pete and I hunting down the leaders.

We made it up the 1st big climb which is a long drag over Donhead Hollow. This absolute killer of a hill keeps kicking you all the way up and after hauling yourself and bike up onto the summit of the ridge there is a “sportive photographer” waiting to capture the grimace on your face. (I almost swore at him)

We made good time onto the second food point with the only excitement being some idiot flying past us at 50mph with his horn on full blast. (well – if you are stupid enough to take a blind bend at that speed you are soon gonna meet something coming the other way). Legs on fire, we made it back on autopilot around the edge of Bournemouth Airport and into the finish.

97 miles in the legs and we are still standing (just)

97 miles in the legs and we are still standing (just)

After a quick cup of tea and me having to help someone break into their bike. (the lock had jammed – so with the use of a screwdriver and a bit of ingenuity we managed to free it.) We now had a further 10 miles back to Verwood. Of course we actually made this 12 miles.

A slight detour. - well who can blame us.

A slight detour. – well who can blame us.

Well – had to be done.
Final odometer on the bike was 97 miles.

Route details are here as always.

100km ride around Surrey.

With the lovely Sian Lloyd waving her magic sunshine wand, the opportunity for a long ride presented itself. The idea was to just get out and ride as far as I could before the sun went down. I made my way north into Windsor Park, and did my normal lap (past the castle) and back down to Virgina water. You can tell it was warm by the amount of flesh on show – anyway enough of that but it definitely makes the miles go past a lot quicker 🙂 (good job I had my dark cycling shades on)

I then cut south through the leafy lanes of Longcross – I gave it extra special effort as I flew past the Foxhills Spa / Club (which is where Sir Brad was based during the 2012 Olympics) I then joined the Olympic road race course again and south as far as the top of the 1st climb on the route. A quick stop for some refreshment and to take on some fuel and then I head east and then north back towards Woking. I cut across country to Pirbright and onto Normandy and Ash before heading north back to the local for a well deserved beer.

Ride details are here

A 100km ride around Surrey.

A 100km ride around Surrey.

I was a bit upset I could not get down one of the roads I wanted to … as you can see clearly they don’t want hot guys like me.

Studs on the road

Studs on the road

Facts of the ride.

Punctures: 0
Drink Stops: 3 (£1.50 for a lucozade in a local shop !!!!)
Number of Flies eaten: 84 (what is going on with the insect plague)
Sneezing fits: 3 (Pollen has gone mental)

Remember if you enjoy reading this piece of cycling waffle please consider donating to a great cause.

3 Counties Bike Ride.

The weather for cycling has definitely improved. A great big high was sitting over the top of the UK a beautiful 17 degrees and clear blue skies. Pete and I had signed up to do the Rotary Club’s 3 Counties cycle ride, a beautiful 50 mile ride out into the Chilterns. Pete and I did the Isle of Wight Randonnee a few weeks back and this was going to be another training session to get some miles in. On the day Pete was unable to ride, he went down with a chest infection. (The similarity with Bradley Wiggins / Giro Italia was way to coincidental I thought) Was not looking forward to a 50 mile time trial on my own.

At the check-in point I bumped into Grant (Who I play footy with) He had a gang of 5 going out on the 33 mile course and he was very kind in letting me tag along. (its a lot better to ride in a group)

It was a very pleasant ride with no drama, apart from getting a puncture 2 miles from the finish. (I dug out a tiny flint from the tyre after I got it back in the garage) The 50 mile route goes up over the Chilterns which is a bit of a climb but you are treated to a lovely 10 mile downhill into Henley on Thames.

All the ride details are here.