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  • RIDE LONDON FUNKY FACTS

    Ride London is a three day cycling event that started in 2013 as a legacy event from the 2012 Olympics, some of the route is on the same roads as used in the 2012 Olympic road race.

    There are several ways to get involved, you can apply for a place in the 100 or 46 mile event by entering a ballot before the closing date and they send out a magazine to let you know if you’ve been successful. There are also thousands of charity places available and most will have a minimum amount for you to raise in exchange for a place. You can also take part as a relay peloton team of four each doing a fixed distance of 25 miles.

    The Prudential RideLondon Classique - the richest women’s one-day race in cycling, offers spectators the chance to see the best women’s cycling teams in the world battling it out over 12 laps of a closed 5.5km circuit that starts and finishes on The Mall the inaugural event in 2013 was won by Laura Trott.

    The prize money for the Women’s race is the same as the men’s and is the highest ever offered for a women’s one day race.

    100,000 people are expected to participate over the the three day event.

    There are several amateur and professional events taking place including a closed road family event FreeCycle on Saturday.

    Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix: Friday 28 July 2017, 11:00-18:00

    Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle: Saturday 29 July 2017, 09:00-16:00

    Prudential RideLondon Classique: Saturday 29 July 2017, 17:00-18:45

    Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100: Sunday 30 July 2017, 05:45-17:30 (approx)

    Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46: Sunday 30 July 2017, 09:00-14:00 (approx)

    Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic: Sunday 30 July 2017, 13:15-18:15 (approx)

    An estimated 150,000 spectators will line the routes to watch the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

    There are a few hills on the 100 mile route, one of them Box Hill has now become the focus of dread for a lot of riders taking part, it’s not that bad. Leith Hill is the toughest climb of the route and also the hill at Wimbledon which catches a lot of people out because for a lot of riders their legs are getting quite tired by this point and they can feel drained after conquering all the other hills.

    Some residents and businesses on the route will be completely cut off due to road closures however loads of notice is given to those directly affected and planning for the events involves the Police, Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Services and other critical services to allow any situation to be dealt with quickly and safely. Emergencies will be treated in the usual way, and the safety of residents and visitors will be dealt with as a priority.

    Handcycles, unicycles, Penny Farthings or Electric bikes are not allowed to participate in the ride london100 but this year they are allowing 100 tandems and 50 tricycles to enter.

    There are three bypass routes with an optional time and a mandatory time, for example at 11am you have the option to bypass Leith Hill if you are finding the route difficult but if you haven’t passed this point by 13.20pm you will have to use the bypass as the route must be cleared of amateur riders in time for the cyclists in the professional event to race the route.

    We have a FLAB cheering squad on the route Ade and Megan will be in Dorking high street to cheer all the FLABS taking part in the 100 mile route. They will have a big flag and if you would like to stop for a selfie with them and they will have emergency jelly babies, hugs and morale support to get you through those last few miles.

     

     

  • What is Zwift?

    As the nights are drawing in, soon it will be winter, it may be time for some of the FLAB community to dig out their old turbo trainer, put on a video on their laptop and pedal like there is no tomorrow for an hour or until their legs say no!

    However there is another way to wile away the hours on a turbo trainer… Zwift!

    Zwift is a turbo trainer multi-player online game that enables you to link your computer/iPad/iPhone to your turbo trainer, Allowing you to virtually ride with 1000’s of other riders across the world in a virtual cycling nirvana, free from traffic and headwinds.

    There are three virtual worlds to choose from Watpoia, London and Richmond. There are an array of routes, workouts and organised races to take part in or just ride round on your own workout. When you have finished, your ride can be uploaded to Strava.

    What do I need to play Zwift

    Obviously you need a bike, a turbo trainer, and a computer* /laptop/iPad/ iPhone. If you want an immersive gameplay, are going to be using Zwift regularly, and can afford it, then a smart turbo trainer such as the Wahoo Kickr or the Tacx Neo Smart would be a good investment.

    These turbo trainers generally have a direct drive design, with a built-in power meter and variable resistance. These turbo trainers will measure your power output, then send this data to Zwift to power your online avatar.

    The variable resistance on these turbo trainers will also allow you to feel as if you’re actually riding in the online world, so when you are going uphill on-screen the resistance will increase, and when you are going downhill it will decrease.

    However you dont need a smart turbo trainer - any turbo trainer can be set up to use Zwift. All you need is a speed sensor / cadence sensor, and a ANT+ USB dongle for your computer. Data from the sensors is then sent to your computer and transferred into the game.

    Your also going to need a couple of water bottles, a towel, a fan and a rubber matt to put under your turbo trainer­ (although Halfords do workshop flooring for £10 which locks together and is perfect).

    Zwift isn’t free but they do offer a 7-day free trial, and after that if you like it, it’s £8 a month.

    Setting up Zwift

    Once you have got all your equipment, you’re ready to set up Zwift, firstly download and install the Zwift application to your chosen device. You are then prompted to set up an account, and give details such as your gender, height, and weight (its best to honest, as this will reflect how you are progressing through your training and plus this information isn’t displayed to anyone other than you). This data will be used to create your Zwift character and to give an accurate measurement of your speed in the game.

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    Its all about the bike…

    In Zwift your character is completely customisable, including changing skin tone, hair colour, and also what Jerseys you wear. When you first start out you get a basic bike with basic wheels, but after every km you get 20 experience points which go towards unlocking upgrades, for example, Zipp 808 firecrest wheelset, or a Canyon Aeroroad, s-works Tarmac, etc. The more you ride the quicker you will get upgrades!

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    There are three different worlds to ride in: Watopia, London and Richmond:

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    Watopia is by far the biggest map and has everything, from serious alpine style climbing to flat routes for time trial, racing or a social ride, and lots more in between, including the Volcano, with its own lap counter.

    There are also live Zwift segments including a sprint and two king of the mountains each giving live results and also awarding a temporary winners virtual jersey (green for sprint and poker dot for king of the mountains).

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    The London map uses the route of the Prudential RideLondon Classique Course and the Richmond course is a copy of the UCI 2016 World road race championship course.

    Let’s ride

    Once you have finished setting up its time to ride, first select a course ( if your on Watopia I would recommend the Flat route it has a bit of everything but nothing to extreme a full lap is about 10km), next click ride now, and you will appear on the virtual world, just start pedalling, remember you don’t need to brake on the downhill (although to be honest I did on my first attempt), cornering is also a bit weird when you first start out, as you think you will fall off!

    So now your up and running, explore the various routes and extensive workout plans, or take part in a social ride. If your on a smart turbo trainer, your going to notice the hills, it does get harder on the inclines, you also see that when you get near another rider, it gets easier, this is virtual drafting, and works exactly the same way as it does in the real world. The start of sprints and hill climbs are marked on the road as a solid white line and finish under a banner arch green for sprints and blue for climbs.

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  • Review - Ultra-Distance Cycling: An Expert Guide to Endurance Cycling

    The beauty of this book is that you learn a great deal more about every day cycling than the title suggests. It's not only about Ultra Distance Cycling but covers many of the things that you need when nipping out for your Sunday jaunt. Nutrition, Hydration, power vs HR training, bike fit, etc, so many chapters full of useful tit-bits to help the novice cyclist as much as the Ultra Distance nut-case!

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    A really great read that inspires you to find the time (one of the chapters) regardless of your schedule and leaves no stone unturned in understanding everything about man/woman and bike. Simon and Dominic have done a great job.

    "To break a cycling record at the age of 47 meant Dominic Irvine had to challenge the accepted wisdom of the day in order to achieve what many thought impossible. As his coach, Simon Jobson left no stone unturned in his quest to hep Dominic and his tandem riding partner Charlie Mitchell reach the level of performance needed to set a new cycling record. Helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary results is a core philosophy of my team’s approach to cycling."

    Buy the book here!

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  • Getting past Chris Froome

    Getting past Chris Froome was so important to me.

    Crucial, you might say.

    I can hear you now, as you read this. “What is he talking about?”, “He’d never be able to get past Chris Froome – there’s no way!”

    Well I have! And here’s how…

    Of course, I’d never be able to cycle past, or go faster than the esteemed Mr. Froome (I do love his name, by the way, all sports stars should have onomatopoeic monikers). By ‘getting past’ him, I don’t mean in a race. I’m sure Chris would still beat me, on my bike, if he was on foot (again). What I’m talking about is getting past the image, in my head, that to be a ‘proper’ cyclist I needed to look like Chris Froome.

    Let me explain. I’m a big fella, always have been. At primary school I was 6 foot plus and dwarfed the headmaster. I can still remember getting stuck when trying to climb under a school bench as part of a Sports’ Day obstacle race. It took a team of teachers and a lot of butter to release me. These days I’m 6 foot 5 and around 18 stone. My weight has been a lot heavier than its current level – through cycling I’ve lost around 5 stones.

    The thing was, despite this impressive increase in fitness, I wasn’t happy.

    Why?

    Bloody Chris Froome.

    I’d got it into my head that in order to be a cyclist of any proficiency (by which I mean someone who enjoys to ride in their spare time) I needed to look like Chris Froome. This was never, ever, ever going to happen. Chris has a completely different body type to me. He’s built like a whippet, 4 inches shorter and almost 8 stones lighter. If I lost 8 stones I doubt I’d be able to get onto a bike, never mind ride it. Do you see my point?

    For too long I’d been beating myself with a (metaphorical) stick – beating myself with a literal stick sounded far too painful. I would look at myself in my cycling kit and shake my head. Why? Because, I’ll never be a lean-mean cycling-machine. At best I’ll be a bulky-hulky… well, you get the idea. When I put on bib tights I don’t bring Miguel Indurain to mind, I look more like Giant Haystacks (the wrestler). I’m always going to look slightly too big for my bike – and I ride a big bike. I’m never going to be a sprinter. My body doesn’t do that. Speedsuits don’t come in my size, mainly because people my size don’t travel fast!

    So, recently, I’ve put Chris Froome to rest – I’ve got past him. I now look at myself in the mirror after a ride and still see a sweaty, slightly chubby, man in Lycra. I also see someone a lot fitter than I was, and that’s as a result of the cycling. I’m fine with that now. It’s a great place to be. To be fair to me, Chris Froome could never achieve my body shape either. Should someone want to shift a piano or need a fella to work a nightclub door, I’d be the first choice over Froome, every time.  Sorry Chris.

    I hope you get past your own personal ‘Chris Froome’. There’s little point spending time worrying about what you’re not, when you could be focusing on what you are. As the much shared statement says: “I may be going slowly, but I’m still lapping everyone on the couch.”

    Enjoy your riding…

    Chris.

    PS: I will get my own speedsuit one day – and be the world’s slowest TT racer – as soon as they figure out how to make stitching strong enough!

    Chris McGuire is a Westcountry-based writer.

    Follow him on Twitter @McGuireski He’s the guy who looks nothing, and we do mean nothing, like Chris Froome.

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