I can’t believe this was FIVE YEARS AGO now! It really does seem like yesterday I was cheering the guys on as they hammered their way up Box Hill nine times! I was also totally in awe at the speed at which the peloton flew up the road. The wind rush of a 100+ strong peloton flashing by inches away from your face is also quite an experience.
Unfortunately that day
Team Sky Team GB couldn’t gain control of the race and deliver Cav to the line first (even with the current TdF winner and a future one in the team). In no great surprise, none of the other countries wanted to work with them in order to reel in the break. They spent a lot of time riding on the front.
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan (and of ASTANA blood doping ban infamy) took the gold medal, with Rigoberto Uran and Alexander Kristoff rounding out the podium.
Along with Wiggo’s Tour de France win, it was this event that lead to a huge cycling boom in the UK and in particular Surrey and the home counties. Thousands of guys and gals dusted off their road bikes (or bought shiny new carbon ones) and got back into shape, logging thousands of miles racing along thousands of Strava segments.
It was certainly an event that got me motivated to pedal a lot harder!
It’s still very much mid-winter here in Tasmania, with many a frosty start to the day and snow settling about half way down Mount Wellington. So when the third event in the CyclingTips eFondo series rolled around, I decided to jump on again and ride the virtual sportive bandwagon!
This time it was over the shorter “London Pretzel” course. It’s only 55km yet covers all the roads on the Zwift London Map in both directions – so about 32km of rolling road followed by “climbing” Fox Hill and Box Hill before descending back into London for the finish.
I didn’t plan on smashing myself over this one as I’d been slacking in the training department, but as I sat in the virtual holding pen warming up with 300+ other Zwifters, that plan went straight out the window! I dialled up over 400W and launched out the gate in order to make the front group. No matter what the event, the starts are always a smash fest so I knew the drill. Sprint hard out the gate, keep it above threshold and hang on for the first five!
As a bunch formed I tried to hold it at FTP wattage with squirts above to keep my place in the group. The pace finally “settled” and the initial selection saw our 50 strong peloton put a minute or two into the rest very quickly – we were bowling along at 42+ km/hr average all the way to the foot of the first climb.
As soon as we hit Fox Hill the group shattered as expected. I’d been riding at or above threshold for the best part of an hour so was doing my best to keep pace with the depleted bunch around me. It wasn’t to be my day though and right at the crest of the climb my head was shouting PEDAL HARDER but my legs had other ideas. Tank empty. I was shelled quicker than a boiled egg at breakfast…
Luckily the descent down the other side gave some respite – although the pace was still high as I tried to latch onto any other rider I could. The rest of the ride was spent trying not to lose too much time – a short flat section back through London swapping turns with five other riders and then straight up Box Hill (the less said about that the better) before hammering it down the other side to the finish.
Passing under the banner I was spent – hardly anything left for a final sprint – but somehow I’d managed not to embarrass myself too badly coming in 39th place from 320 starters, six minutes down on first. I’m a fan of these events now, they really do push you hard and the motivation to keep pace with those around you is strong! A great way to keep those legs turning through the winter. #RideOn
Here it is folks – the secret that all pro cycling teams and the fastest guys on your club ride have been hiding from you for decades. The reason they’re decimating you on every hill climb and leaving you in their dust on every town sign sprint. They know it, they use it, they repeat it, they live by it.
So here it is. Your secret to speed. Your recipe to rip it up. Your key to crushing it. Listen up and pay attention. The ultimate way to get faster, beat your mates and become a stronger cyclist is to…
Or to expand on that concept slightly:
Pedal harder. Eat well. Rest. Recover. Then pedal even harder next time! :-)
But of course, don’t forget to #enjoytheride
Chris Froome’s TdF TT bike – complete with 3D PRINTED BARS! :-) So I’m not normally much of a Pinarello fan, but this thing is so full of tech and cycling awesomeness it just blows me away. Check out the 58/46 chainrings! Barring any incidents between now and then, you’d be hard pressed to bet against Froome winning the Stage 20 time trial.
…first you have to finish.
Well that was a stage and a half! It had all the markings of an epic day at the Tour but that was not what anybody wanted! Big G out. Porte out, Contadope and Q both slipping backwards. Aru(kiddingme) the only other GC rider managing to keep tabs on Froome – okay Bardet and Uran Uran up there too.
No disrespect to Froome of course, he’s an incredible rider and is absolutely crushing it in the Tour – I’m a fan. Sure he’s no style icon but he can certainly race a bike. I want him to win the Tour but with some exciting racing thrown in the mix! I hope after that stage this doesn’t turn into the #BoreDeFrance from here on in.
Are we going to see the “Sky Procession” control the peloton as Froome carries that Yellow all the way to Paris? Please no. But with mountains to follow and that final time trial looking to suite Froome down to a tee, on paper it’s looking that way. I hope we’re in for some more action (of the staying upright kind) and a proper GC fight. It’s still a long way to Paris!
Now for something completely different! The other day I was going back through some of my old YouTube videos and came across this little throwback. I really need to get my balls out again (lol) and refresh my circus skills! I could do with another BMX too…