Ainslie firing up after his bad performance in olympics


Ben Ainslie Finn for Great Britain

Ainslie fired up to redeem “terrible day”

Ben Ainslie hopes what he described as a “terrible” day on day two of the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth and Portland will fire him up for the rest of the week.
The three-time Olympic champion sits third overall in the Finn  class after four races, 11 points behind overall leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), after posting scores of six and 12 from his two races today.
He said: “It was a difficult day. For whatever reason, I wasn’t finding the wind or reading the wind very well. I don’t think I went the right way once all day so that was pretty frustrating. That’s a challenge to overcome and hopefully I can get my act together for the rest of the week. I’m not very happy with that at all. I had a terrible day. I really didn’t perform and hopefully it will fire me up for the rest of the week.”
Ainslie, who picked up two seconds yesterday, enjoyed a clean start in race one and managed to once again capitalise on good pace downwind to punch his way clear of the pack, working his way through to fourth at the halfway point. But with Dane Hogh-Christensen once again revelling in the shifting conditions, Ainslie lost ground upwind, rounding the fifth mark in sixth then crossing the line in the same position.
The Brit was handed a massive boost at the start of race two when Hogh-Christensen got stuck on the pin end boat, forcing him to do two penalty turns.
However, the delay to his start actually ended up playing into the Dane’s hands as he was able to get a clear view of which side of the course was paying off and headed straight in that direction. When Ainslie, who had gone out to the left-hand side, saw his rival head right he immediately changed direction to temper Hogh-Christensen’s progress.
But although the move initially helped the 35-year-old Brit, he couldn’t find an answer to the Dane’s exceptional turn of pace throughout the rest of the race and trailed across the line in 12th, while Hogh-Christensen consolidated his overall lead with a seventh. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) sits second overall after a fourth and second today.
Ainslie had been keen to play down hype before the regatta that the gold was simply his to lose and he makes no bones that he will up his game if he is to claim his record-breaking fourth Olympic crown.
He added: “Hopefully it will begin to get a lot better. It goes without saying it will have to go a lot better otherwise I’ll be a very unhappy man. I certainly have to sail a lot better than that for the rest of the week. It’s a number of very small things; there is a very fine line between success and failure at this level so I will certainly have to raise my game for the coming races.”
The Finn class is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) with both of their races (race five and six) scheduled to take place on the Weymouth Bay South.
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August. The Finn medal race is scheduled for Sunday 5 August (2pm).

Obree sportive 2012

I feel tired as I type this

more so than I should after a 109km cycle …. I blame the fact that my bike still has too many white bits on it and also the fact that I gave blood on Thursday …… Well I was more curious on the affect of giving blood so I googled it ….

An article in Omega Cycling by Dr P A Lambeti (MBBcH), said, in part: “A study has been done looking at the effects of blood donation on exercise
performance in competitive cyclists. This study evaluated 10 male cyclists before and after phlebotomy (donating blood), to determine the effect of donation of one unit of
blood on exercise performance. Each subject underwent maximal exercise testing with oxygen consumption measurement at baseline, 2 hours after phlebotomy, 2 days after
phlebotomy, and 7 days after phlebotomy. The results found that maximal performance was decreased for at least one week and that submaximal performance was unaffected by blood donation.
Thus, if you are a competitive cyclist, do not donate blood within 7 – 10 days of a competitive race, as your performance will be compromised. If you are a casual cyclist
performing submaximally, you may not experience any deleterious effects apart from a higher heart rate than normal from the day after donating.”
Monster facts. Also 150,000 people faint or feel faint after giving blood each year.

So there you have it – if I hadn’t given blood I might have been a minute or so quicker.

readout of gps on endomondo

To the event … Graeme Obree is the most famous Scottish cyclist not plauded enough for his achievements … The breaker of the hour record, the inventor of the superman and the prone position both subsequently banned by the UCI. He now runs an annual sportive which takes place in his native ayrshire. This year was the first time I entered and the event was fantastic. A great course taking in 3 smooth climbs with great descents. The sportive was also fantastically marshalled and signposted so I was over the moon. My only downside was the fact the polar RCX5 heart rate monitor ran out of memory due to the fact I forgot to delete all the old records and the memory was nearly full when I set off.

Graeme in the spirit of the sportive cycles the whole course at around 22kmh in order to chat to people … I passed him on an uphill and he shouted an encouraging ‘good climbing’ I said thanks in reply but had I known it was the man god himself I would have slowed to chat.

Well maybe next year …. Watch the film the flying Scotsman then come and take part.


Olympic road race

A bit of a disaster today – starting favourite and over hyped was always going to prove a curse. All the teams left the Brits to chase down the pack of 22 escapees and sadly 4 men can’t tow a pelaton and catch up with a group of 22 elite riders. Germany decided to help at the last but by then it was too late …. The group of escapees worked together well and as they were about to sit up and play for position Vinokourov shot off the front on the left and the Colombian diced through on the right – no one chased and pretty soon gold and silver were sorted.

Vinokourov and Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) had escaped from a larger breakaway in the final kilometres of the 250-kilometre race around London and Surrey. Vinokourov opened up his sprint in the final 500 metres as Uran appeared to look the other way and miss the move.

The young Colombian had to settle for silver, with Alexander Kristoff sprinting at the head of the large 30-rider chase group to claim bronze for Norway.

Cavendish came home in the main bunch 40 seconds behind the leaders after Great Britain failed to bring back the escapees on the journey back from Box Hill to The Mall.

A pre-race favourites and with such strong home support, it was Great Britain’s race to lose. Cavendish, Ian Stannard, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and David Millar had controlled the day’s events admirably on the nine ascents of Box Hill, pegging back the time advantage of an earlier 12-rider escape group, an attack by a group containing Vincenoz Nibali (Italy) and a lengthy solo move by Philippe Gibert (Belgium). But the effort took its toll.

A large group, led by Spain and Switzerland, launched at attack on the final Box Hill circuit. With no other teams willing to assist in the chase, Great Britain looked tired and isolated on the road back to London as the lead group forged ahead.

Cavendish’s hopes of an Olympic medal once again evaporated, and he crossed the line in London shaking his head in disappointment.

“The Germans came a bit too late and the other teams seemed to be more content that they wouldn’t win as long as we didn’t win. That’s kind of how it goes,” Cavendish told BBC Radio Five Live after the race.

“I can be proud of how the lads rode today. I’m proud of my country because there was incredible support. The guys are sat there, they are spent. They have got nothing left in the tank. It’s incredible to see what they gave for the cause.”

There were several notable casualties during the race, not least Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) who crashed out after misjudging a corner whilst in the lead group. He appeared to have injured his shoulder, throwing some doubt on his participation in the time trial on Wednesday.

Tom Boonen (Belgium) also had his chances dashed with a badly-timed puncture in the final 20 kilometres. A wheel change meant he lost contact with the peloton.

Controversial winner
Vinokourov will be seen by many as a controversial Olympic champion, after he failed an anti-doping control for homologous blood transfusion at the 2007 Tour de France and was ejected from the race.

The 38-year-old has always strenuously denied any wrong-doing and returned to cycling in 2009 after a two-year suspension.

Earlier this year, Vinokourov announced that this would be his last season as a professional rider.

Grand Day Out
The result may not have been what many British fans were hoping for, but the support for British riders along the route was unprecedented.

UCI president Pat McQuaid’s estimate that one million spectators would turn out to watch the race cannot have been far off, as crowds lined every street and road on the entire route.

It was once again proof that cycling is riding on a high in Britain after this year’s Tour de France success.


New tattoo – spot the bike bits

Had my tattoo yesterday at lucky cat in glasgow – it is a well respected parlour with a 5 month waiting list. Had a tattoo done which mixes a love of Mexican day of the dead illustrations with my love of bikes. Can you spot the bike bit? Look up now before I reveal the fact it is in …. The eyes – spot those single speed cogs.
It is still a bit ouch but should be fine by the sportive on Sunday.

Have any bike (or sport) tattoos? Send me a pic and I will splice them on underneath.

By tommy help wouter – how your next shirt benefits a family

A review on – quite fancy one myself

Milltag’s limited run Tommy jersey is a celebration of the achievements of British cycling legend Tom Simpson with all profits going to the family of Wouter Weylandt, who was tragically killed when he crashed during Stage 3 of this year’s Giro.

For many years, Tom Simpson ranked as Britain’s most successful cyclist of all time. His palmares features victories in many major races such as the 1961 Tour of Flanders, the ’61 Milan San-Remo, and most famously of all, the ’65 World Championships. He became the first Briton to don the yellow jersey in the 1962 Tour, en route to a career best 6th place overall. The story of his tragic death on the hallowed slopes of the Mont Ventoux is the stuff of legends, immortalized by his final words ‘put me back on my bike’ (which he may or may not have said).

Stylistically, the jersey takes its cues from the two teams Simpson rode for as a professional – the red and black of Rapha Geminiani, and the checker of the iconic Peugeot team kit. The back of the jersey is emblazoned with the number 49, the last race number that he would ever put on. As a world champion, the jersey features the rainbow stripes on the sleeves, with some extra detailing present on the collar. Two small depictions of the yellow and world champs jersey are placed on the jersey sides, including the year in which they were obtained – a nice touch I thought.

Personally, I think that Milltag have really hit a home run with this design. It manages to capture the crowning achievements of ‘Tommy’s’ racing career whilst remaining stylish in a retro sort of way. I’m a big fan of the original Peugeot team kit and the checkers across the chest work just as well on this jersey.

The jersey itself is made using Coolplus fabric which is pleasingly soft to the touch and efficient at wicking away moisture. Whilst it isn’t the airiest jersey out there, the fabric does a good job keeping you dry and cool. And when it gets really hot you’ll be grateful for the inclusion of a full length zip. The cut is asymmetric, with the rear longer than the front, although not aggressively so. There was no unsightly bunching up front when crouched down in an aero position, but equally, it doesn’t expose your stomach when standing up straight. A silicon strip round the bottom hem also helps to prevent the jersey riding up when on the bike.

In terms of sizing, the jersey runs according to “euro” style rather than the slightly larger “US” style. I found the medium fit my lanky 6’3 frame perfectly, with no tight areas around the neck, and no flapping fabric around the waist. In use its presence was virtually unnoticeable, which I guess is the highest praise you could give a jersey.

Three rear pockets are included in addition to a zipped valuables pocket. Milltag have really nailed the pocket placement here as reaching in and out of them is effortless, even with my poor shoulder/arm flexibility. The outer pockets are slightly angled, further aiding access. If I have one criticism, it’s that the pockets are a bit on the shallow side and could have been made deeper.


A great looking jersey commemorating one of the greats of British cycling, executed using a technical, wicking fabric, and a slew of well thought out features. At £70 it isn’t cheap but it is good quality, and it just feels “right” plus of course all profits go to a worthy cause too, I might have felt more inclined to quibble at the price if that hadn’t been the case.

Designed to win at the Design Museum until November 18

Designed to Win celebrates the ways in which design and sport are combined, pushing the limits of human endeavour to achieve records and victories of increasing significance and wonder. From the design of F1 cars to running shoes, racing bikes to carbon fibre javelins, the quest for enhanced performance and function is endless.

Coinciding with London’s biggest year of sport, Designed to Win explores the various ways in which design has shaped the sporting world. Analysing key moments where design played a significant role in progressing sport, the exhibition looks at themes of safety, performance, fashion, new materials and technology.

Film clips, photography and models will be on show alongside interactive displays, sporting equipment and timelines. By examining celebrated sporting moments and the sense of shared celebration and spectacle, Designed to Win will also highlight not just how design can influence sport but also how sport has influenced design, art and culture.

Please see the Visit Us page for exhibition opening hours between 26 July – 9 September.

Book tickets in advance from

Turbo training in the garage

I won’t say I got sweaty but the term ‘A sweatier crack than a group of weightwatchers in a xmas disco …’ comes to mind.

I am not sure if enjoy is the correct adjective but doing the sufferfest angels video whilst on the turbo sure makes you work harder …. the pool of sweat got bigger and i am not really a sweaty type of person.

Today I discarded the top but kept 2 heart rate belts on to compare the 2 actions of Polar vs Garmin. I love Garmin only for the guess work they put into calorie expenditure – always on the flattering side. The polar is a bit more scientific giving calorie burn (727 on the garmin vs 911 on the polar) normally the Garmin is a tad over estimated but putting in turbo session seems to throw their computations out …. guesswork.

The polar also give a Fatburn FB percentage – today was high cardio zone so only 12%.

Looking forward to the sportive on Sunday ….

Sufferfest ANGELS is a great training video – see the HR chart above 10min of up and under then 3 hill climbs of 8 min each ….. feeling exhausted now but i am sure I will get better …..

Here is a breakdown of angels ….

Angels duration64:00 8.5/10 3 x 8:00 climbs with accelerations and attacks. …those who can’t climb but want to. And for climbers who want to be able to attack more powerfully. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Nice, DauphineMix of rock and techno/dance

Documentary of Marco Pantani’s life and death coming next year

The life of the late Marco Pantani, the last man to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season, is to be the subject of a feature-length documentary called The Accidental Death of a Cyclist to be screened in cinemas in the UK in May next year, reports Variety.

Pantani died of cocaine poisoning in a hotel room in the Adriatic resort of Rimini at the age of 34, the compelling story of the supremely talented but troubled cyclist’s life and the circumstances of his death being the subject a number of books including Matt Rendell’s The Death of Marco Pantani.

It’s not clear whether the film’s title is a direct reference to Nobel Prize winning playwright Dario Fo’s work, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, but if it is, and you’re familiar with how that work ends, that may be a clue to the conclusion of the  film. Or we could just be reading way too much into that, and the conclusion may simply be that his death was just that, accidental.

According to Rendell’s LinkedIn profile, he has worked on the forthcoming film, which will blend race and news footage with dramatic reconstructions as well as interviews with friends and family.

The film is being made by London-based New Black Films and directed by James Erskine, who previously collaborated with the production company on One Night in Turin, which followed England’s journey to the semi-final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and cricket documentary, From The Ashes.

Erskine will co-produce the film with Victoria Gregory, who has previously produced works such as Senna and Man on a Wire.

“This is not just a film about cycling, but a psychological exploration of what drives athletes to compete; the masochistic pursuit of victory, to the point of self-destruction,” said Erskine.

“It will look in detail at the nature of what it means to be a sporting champion and what great victories mean, in the controversial context of the doping allegations that continue to plague the sport.”

The film will also be available on DVD through Channel 4’s 4DVD subsidiary.

The executive producers on the film are Robert Jolliffe of Goldcrest Capital and Dominic Schreiber, rights development manager at 4Rights, who said: “We’ve been big fans of James and Victoria’s work for some time.

“After the success of Senna, it’s clear there is a real demand for well-crafted films that combine stunning archive with brilliant storytelling.”

Never buy online or at least not from Shiny Bikes

Shiny bikes – more like unshiny bikes.

Having a terrible experience with them. Order placed last week has been processed but no delivery, no one answering phone, no response to email, no customer service, no clue …..

Hard to believe in this day and age that a company can be so useless and still be trading. I wish I had read some reviews before making an order for some cinelli gear. Paid on paypal so now trying to cancel the order and open a dispute up to get my money back since they are not responding….. they will never see my wallet again.

you are carrying too much stuff – great article on the art of packing less.

The Lazy Rando Blog...

I was speaking to a well traveled bike tourist recently who was indignant that anyone would criticize how much gear he carried on his bike – it was after all his bike not theirs. That’s a fair point to be sure. So let me qualify my post by saying that this is just my opinion which I am generalizing outwards  based on my own experiences and the experiences that have been shared with me by other cyclists. It may not apply to you.

I was a Boy Scout for a lot of years and even won a top scout award near the end of my tenure with the organization. Being prepared for what could happen on a trip was a key part of the Boy Scout philosophy. Which provided the motivation to learn valuable backcountry skills and hone one’s gear. The typical overloaded bike tourist I see huffing and…

View original post 3,088 more words

Monday Bike Style: Sir Paul

Sir Paul Smith: ‘I get goosebumps thinking about Tour de France’

so in light of yesterdays completion and to a man of style who also likes a bit of wheel action….. this ends my patriotic flag waving action.

Today was windy – we will fly a kite …

Today was forecast to be a bit like this …

although it wasn’t quite – went out on my 7m kite and had a blast but wore my Polar RCX5 and the gps to track my effort and distance – always curious to keep tabs on the health benefits whilst being dragged back and forth.

Kept tabs on the first session which was 20km of kiting …

and Heart rate was quite sedentary as the wind wasn’t nuclear enough for good jumbos so spent more time playing in the waves ….

But discovered the 7m kite has a slight leak in the bladder which needs fixing and when i went out on the 9m the safety blew off leaving me with the 1/3rd mile self rescue and swim back to shore – about 4 years since i last self rescued … good to know I still  know how.

Then home just in time for the TdF finish and Cav’s 4th stage win in Paris …. nice

SA bike maker in UK making the best: Pretorious Bike


The Pretorius Outeniqua is a new titanium race bike with stylish looks and a sweet ride. It’s available as a frameset for £1,950 (with a full bike fit included) although ours came as a complete bike in a £5,999 build.

Here are six key reasons why you might want to buy it.

1 The frame is strong, lightweight titanium.

It’s 3Al-2.5V titanium, to be precise, which means it’s actually 3% aluminium and 2.5% vanadium. This is the alloy that’s used to make most (but not all) titanium bikes.

Titanium has high strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios and an excellent fatigue life. If you’re looking for a bike that’ll still be going strong several years down the line, titanium is a very good choice. It won’t snap if you stack it and will cope fine with the inevitable knocks it’ll pick up during regular use. It won’t corrode when you forget to clean it either.

Don’t get us wrong: we’re not saying that everyone should be riding titanium. Carbon, when done right, can certainly be made into bikes with higher stiffness-to-weight than anything else right now. But titanium certainly has a place still.

2 It’s a well made, tidy frame.

The Pretorius is well put together with classic straight lines and neat welds throughout.

Although the Outeniqua has a fairly traditional air, it boasts some distinctly modern features. The head tube, for example has an internal diameter of 44mm from top to bottom, but it comes with a Chris King 1 1/8in InSet upper bearing and a 1 1/2in external headset cup down below and the fork has a correspondingly tapered steerer to improve rigidity.

The other feature that performance bike manufacturers have increasingly turned to over the past few years for adding stiffness is an oversized bottom bracket. Pretorius have gone with a BB30 design too.

The wall thickness in both the head tube and the bottom bracket is thicker than elsewhere too. It’s a meaty 2mm for extra stiffness rather than 0.9mm of the other tubes.

The tube shaping is subtle. The slightly sloping top tube, for example, tapers from 38mm at the head tube to 34mm at the seat tube and the seatstays slim down 3mm along their length. And while the head tube and the down tube (42mm in diameter) are oversized, they’re not that oversized.

The details are tidily done too. The dropouts are a smart half-moon design and the cable stops are welded into place rather than riveted. And while our test bike comes with mechanical shifting, the Outeniqua is also available in Shimano Di2 options if you want to go down the electronic route. With Dura-Ace Di2 the battery can now go inside the seat post.

The Outeniqua comes with a brushed finish as standard although custom paintjobs are available from £200. You can choose from eight different decal colour options and you can pick the Chris King headset colour to match if you like.

The overall result is a frame that looks stylish rather than one that’s trying too hard.

3 A proven geometry.

The Pretorius’ geometry is racy and efficient without being too extreme, although if it doesn’t work for you, you can get a custom version made.

Road bike geometry is rarely all that radical. People have been making road bikes for a long time now and we know what works. Our Outeniqua is a large (58cm) model which comes with a 58cm seat tube, a 57cm effective top tube, and a 17cm head tube – although you need to allow another couple of centimetres of stack height for the external headset cup.

Compared to a 58cm Specialized Tarmac SL4 full-on carbon race bike, for example, the Outeniqua has a 1.2cm shorter top tube while the head tube and seatstays are about the same. The frame angles (73.5° head angle and 73° seat angle) are the same too, so you know what you’re getting here: it’s a well-proven set up.

The standard Outeniqua frameset (see below) is £1,950 but if none of the seven sizes is right for you, an extra £200 gets you one built to a custom geometry.

4 Excellent frameset components.

Buy an Outeniqua frameset and you get an Enve 2.0 fork and Chris King Inset 7 headset as part of the package. Both are excellent.

The Enve 2.0 fork, which retails alone at £390, is full-carbon right down to the dropouts. It comes with a tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in steerer and, despite weighing in at just 350g, it provides loads of stiffness whether you’re pinning it into a fast turn or throwing the bars about on an out-of-the-saddle climb. It also damps road vibration well without leaving you feeling too isolated from the road; a great combination.

The Chris King Inset sealed bearing headset is a winner too. With this one the upper cup sits inside the head tube while the lower one is external. The high-quality bearings should last an age.

5 You can choose you own spec.

Pretorius will build up the Outeniqua however you like. We had a high-end spec comprising a Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed groupset, Reynolds Thirty Two wheels with Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres, Enve carbon bars, stem and seatpost, and a Selle Italia SLR saddle. There’s an Arundel carbon bottle cage on there too. You’re looking at £5,999 for that lot.

In this build, the Outeniqua weighs 7.2kg (15.8lb). Spend six grand on a bike and you can get lighter without too much trouble – especially if you go for a carbon frame – but this is certainly a highly respectable weight.

I won’t talk too much about the specific build because it’s not set in stone, but you really can’t go wrong with these components. If you prefer Shimano or SRAM to Campag’s shifting, no problem, go with that instead.

The Reynolds Thirty Two wheels are very light and spin beautifully. We have the clincher version and they weigh in at 1,351g. Reynolds’ Cryo Blue pads provide good braking on the carbon rims in the dry, although the braking is nowhere near as good as you get with aluminium rims in wet conditions. That’s always the way.

Getting your saddle position right on the Enve carbon seat post is really easy and the sub-200g Enve bars come in either standard (144mm drop, 85mm reach) or compact (127mm, 79mm reach) versions.

But I wasn’t going to go on about the spec too much, was I? So I won’t. It’s good though.

6 The high ride quality.

The Pretorius offers a quick, agile ride. Put in the power and it responds with a sharp kick forwards. It doesn’t have the all-out rigidity of some top end carbon bikes when it comes to a sprint but it’s still impressively efficient and it whips up to speed in no time. Of course, that’s partly down to the components as well as the frame and forks. The Reynolds Thirty Two wheels in particular make a big difference here, accelerating beautifully when you ask them to.

The ride position is balanced. It’s certainly low and efficient, which is exactly what you want for a bike of this kind, but it’s not ridiculously aggressive. Most people with reasonable flexibility will be happy getting in the big miles on this setup.

You also get a good compromise between stability and reactive steering. The Outeniqua is manoeuvrable enough for last second line changes when a ride mate decides to swing out for no apparent reason, but it’s not so nervous that you can’t relax when you want to.

The ride-quality is the Outeniqua’s most valuable feature. There are no wrist-shuddering jolts coming up through the Enve fork and you don’t find yourself clinging on for dear life when you hit a patch of jagged road. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Outeniqua keeps everything nice ‘n’ smooth. As well as making life comfortable for you in the saddle, that means the wheels stay firmly in contact with the road even when the road gets rough under fully loaded tyres.

Again, the components help with the comfort; I always get on well with a Selle Italia SLR saddle, for instance. To me, it offers the best combination of lightweight and comfort of any saddle out there, although if you’re not such a fan you could go for something that suits you better.

All in all, the Outeniqua offers a sweet ride. Swift, responsive, comfortable, it’s a great performance option with a big helping of style thrown in.


Stylish titanium road bike with a high ride quality; comfortable and it should last you many years.