cycling weekly rates the Brutal climbs now in the Giro


After two weeks of tired legs ….

Colle Dell’Agnello – stage 19

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The Colle Dell’Agnello marks the Giro’s passage into France for a couple of days and they’ll have to work hard to get up to the border.

While the Strava segment shows it as a nine kilometre climb, the riders go uphill for around 70km from Saluzzo to the border at the top of the climb.

The toughest gradients come near the top of the Agnello, maxing out at 15 per cent and holding at over nine per cent for much of the nine kilometres, with riders reaching the highest point of the whole race.

And that’s just the first climb of the day…

Risoul – stage 19

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When the riders get into France it’s downhill all the way to the foot of the climb to Risoul, where stage 19 finishes.

It’s not the hardest climb in the world but the legs and bodies of the climbers will be cold from the very long descent from the Agnelle.

It maxes out at 10 per cent in the first third of the climb and from then is a steady 8.5 per cent to the top. With the GC still up for grabs it’ll likely to be a battle ground all the way up, with attacks likely to come on the preceding descent.

Col de Vars – stage 20

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At just six per cent in average gradient, the Col de Vars shouldn’t cause any problems, but it’s the fact that it comes immediately at the start of stage 20 which makes it hard.

The riders will have to get their warm-ups done before the stage if they’re to be in any state to be up at the front of the peloton in the first 20km.

There’s not a metre of flat on the entire stage, making it one of the toughest in the whole race, so if there’s still anything to play for in the general classification, expect to see some action in these opening exchanges.


Col de la Bonette – stage 20

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Once they’ve descended from the Col de Vars the peloton hits the even longer and even tougher Col de la Bonette, taking the riders up to over 2,700m.

It’ll be a long, cold descent down to Isola at the foot of the third big climb of the day, with almost 40km of downhill, interupted only by a little flat bit after 25km.

With the stage only 134km in length we could see attacks on the pink jersey wearer on the early climbs, just like we did on stage 16 on Tuesday.

Colle della Lombardia – stage 20

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As if two 20km ascents weren’t enough, the organisers have chucked in a third one near the end to really test the climbers’ resolve.

The Col de la Lombarde brings the riders back into Italy for the final assault up to Sant’Anna di Vinado, where the finish line is located.

Like the first two climbs on the stage, the Lombarde isn’t particularly steep, it’s just relentlessly long, especially after the climbs that have come before.

It’s last chance saloon for GC contenders to launch their attacks, with the climb to the finish not really long enough to make up minutes of time.

Veloviewer gets better and better (if you use Strava)


VeloViewer has always been able to show you comprehensive views of your past rides and runs but plenty of people had asked to see similar views of routes they are planning to do. Fortunately Strava have just opened up their Routing API so now Veloviewer can display all the routes you have created and allow you to see their full details including the interactive 3D profiles.

Head there NOW …

Here is one example ….

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really helps visualize routes and see potential problems (gradients)

Stepping up the miles


I have been doing more miles on the bike this year than i normally do

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I am nearly 1000km up on where i was at this time last year. I also have been a bit more focused on riding rather than my other loves of kitesurfing, swimming and running.

The end result is that I am doing between 1 and 2  100km rides a week and they are beginning to feel easy.

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This morning I headed west into a 15mph wind on a gravel towpath and then around an exposed headland with nary a thought about the wind. Sure I felt it but i just thought ‘more resistance then’ which I think is a positive.

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It wasnt the hilliest route but even after 80km I was tootling along then came home to discover i had knocked off an impressive 56 Strava trophies – most of them PR’s for sections as well as a mysterious top 10 placing and all this with an average Heart Rate of 121bpm (in my fat burn / low cardio zone)

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So then i thought i really should be cycling either quicker or longer or BOTH. So my next challenge …….

There comes a time for most road riders and this includes me, where you focus on the 100-mile (160.93km) target. This can be in the shape of a sportive, club ride or a personal challenge, alone or with a group.

For some, 100 miles is no big deal, just something they do every Sunday. For others it can be the single biggest physical challenge they will ever undertake on a bike. For me it is something I have never done but feel that i am nearly ready to do it. The precursor to this is the eTape Caledonia in a fortnight,  an 82 mile ride sportive done at a much higher pace with no stopping.

From Cycling Weekly – Many cyclists, however, fall somewhere between the two and may already be comfortable with 50-60 mile rides but are eyeing the triple-figured milestone for their next achievement.

Just how big is the jump from 60 to 100 miles? How will you know if it’ll be a cakewalk or a frustrating grovel ending in a miserable train journey back home?

Let’s take a look at the factors that come into play with the extended mileage and see how best to prepare for 100 miles so you can undertake that distance with a realistic chance of it being an enjoyable and achievable target.

We’ve split it up into five sections, which we think need to be nailed in order to smash the 100-mile barrier. So let’s start with the biggie: training.

Pondering the big one? Start training today!

1 – Train!

The physical aspect of training is usually the most common focus for people with a new goal or challenge, and many folks will think that riding as much as possible in the two weeks leading up to the big ride is sufficient. This isn’t the best approach though, and what we need to do is ‘train smarter’.

This doesn’t mean we are striving for marginal gains like the GB squad; it means that we should be looking to maximise our training so that we are doing the right things at the right times.

Cycling Weekly Box Hill sportive 2014

 

If you are regularly riding 50-60 miles then that is already a great start; you could probably get through a century ride without too much bother, although you could be far better prepared if you have gradually increased your riding time and distance on your training rides.

Remember, to do the 100, you don’t need to be training by doing 100 miles all the time — 75-80 per cent is ample preparation without adding excessive volume.

  • Your physical training should take into account the following points:
    Specificity: Is your 100-mile ride going to be hilly? Then ride hills on your 60-milers! Some riders really struggle on the climbs. If you are one of them then make sure you are addressing them in your training. In many cases, 100 flat miles can seem very easy and very different when compared to a hilly 60 or 70.
  • Saddle time: Try and focus more on the time in the saddle without stopping, rather than miles covered on your training rides. Try riding at a lower intensity and see if you can stick it out for longer. If your average speed over three hours is 15mph, do you think you can hold it for over six hours? If you can comfortably ride your bike for 4-4.5 hours, then you are in a good place to think about the century.
  • Rest: This is so important. Include active recovery in your training weeks and make sure you are resting properly. Keep the legs turning in the week leading up to the big ride, but don’t do anything that will make you excessively tired.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

2 – Effort levels

Whether you are riding an individual pursuit over 4km or a whole Grand Tour, pacing your effort will be of maximum importance.

For 100 miles, you will want to make sure you don’t use up all your energy too early and struggle badly in the last third of the ride. You can use a simple speedometer to gauge an average speed which you know you are comfortable with, or a heart rate monitor to keep around a particular BPM, or even old-fashioned perceived exertion — simply going by feel.

>>> Build your strength and big gear efforts

However you pace yourself, it’s a good idea to also have a psychological pacing strategy, such as waypoints you think you should be at during particular times. For example: “I should be at the sharp climb at 40 miles in 150 minutes.” You can adjust your effort to ensure that you avoid blowing up too early, but that you also aren’t dawdling unnecessarily and missing out on a faster time.

Fitness

3 – Getting in the zone

We all know how powerful the mind can be, and how it can affect performance both positively and negatively. If you are riding 100 miles alone, the mind can be a helpful ally, or a destructive pest. We want to enjoy our ride, so learning during training how to disassociate ourselves from feelings of discomfort is a useful skill.

Try to focus on other things, like the scenery, your pedalling technique, or holding an aerodynamic position. The small ‘process goals’ of each waypoint within your pacing strategy will also help to break down the ride in your head into more manageable sections.

Remember, no matter how demoralising the weather, the hills or the headwinds might be, think about how amazing you will feel at the end of the ride, and always look ahead, up the road to where things will be changing.

Nutrition

4 – Fuelling

How you approach your nutrition both before and during the ride can be the difference between a great performance and a trip to A&E.

How you refuel afterwards can also be a factor, which will have a huge influence on your general health and your future riding plans.

Nutrition tips
Before: The day before your 100-miler needs to be seriously considered — this is where the ride actually starts. You may have heard of ‘carb loading’ but the simplest advice here is to make sure you take on a healthy, balanced meal with fresh vegetables and low glycaemic index carbs. It’s also worth considering a bowl of cereal two hours before bed as a booster.

Leave off the alcohol or fizzy pop, and drink plenty of water. In the morning, go for the cereal and fruit, and drink at least 500ml of water before you set out.

During: Avoid taking on a whole bunch of energy gels; these are mostly designed to help riders through the last few demanding kilometres of a road race.

You might want to take along something with caffeine and sugar just in case, but don’t be tempted to break into this unless you are getting really fatigued and have already covered a good distance. All you really need is adequate carbohydrate to fuel from. An average sized cereal bar of about 30 grams for every 45-60 minutes of riding is ideal. Take along some bananas too.

Don’t forget to keep eating! A critical stumbling point for many riders is the inability to fuel while riding, so make sure you are able to take a drink from a bottle whenever you need to.

When drinking, tilt the bottle up and to the side to avoid tilting your head (so you can still look where you’re going) and keep your food to hand in jersey pockets. You will need around 500ml of water per hour (more if it’s very hot and you are losing it through sweat). And to help replenish the lost minerals, your second bottle should contain a small amount of an additive which contains electrolytes. Go for the powders that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Don’t try anything you haven’t already used and are happy with — the big ride isn’t the one for experimenting with nutrition and hydration.

>>> Six steps for healthier eating

After: Your muscles need glycogen now, so this is the time for fruit juice or a purpose made recovery shake. Get those sugars in within 20 minutes —even ‘bad’ sugars like fizzy drinks and sweets (in moderation) can help at this point. Remember to keep hydrating and sit down to a decent meal containing some good protein within about an hour.

Bike fit

5 – Bike fit

When you are on the bike for several hours, little imperfections in position or fit can evolve into very major issues. If you have any niggles or particular localised discomfort during your normal rides, then it pays to get these seen to before the century ride.

A professional bike-fit can improve comfort and performance, while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. It’s not just how the bike fits you though — how you fit yourself to the bike also matters.

What we are talking about here is your ability to hold your position, your pedalling efficiency and flexibility.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly

Check out the pros with their slightly bent elbows and stable upper body, their flat backs and aerodynamic positions. OK, you might not be able to emulate them immediately, but you will probably be able to improve your current position with a few tweaks and off-bike exercises and stretches.

Get advice from a physio if needed, and make sure that you don’t attempt the big ride without properly testing new positions or bike parts beforehand.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/training/five-invaluable-tips-to-help-you-step-up-from-riding-60-to-100-miles-170890#h3Z75lQPY2WLY6f9.99

Strava sinks (and stinks) for swimmers


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There is a severe lack of Swim detail in Strava imported swim activities. Essential metrics for loyal Strava customers such as lap splits, heart rate, PRs, CRs, etc, etc are all missing. The current swim visuals are very poor indeed. I’m more of a cyclist and runner, but if I feel this aspect of Strava lets me down, I can only sympathise with true swimmers and triathletes.

Swapping to Premier paid membership didn’t make any difference in this aspect. Thus, one of the reasons I cancelled my Premier status as have many others. Strava is a great app, but outside cycling and perhaps running, it doesn’t cater for much else.

Many have invested in expensive fitness devices that allow measurement of these metrics. Without the ability of Strava to take advantage of these, customers will consider using the device bespoke applications instead.

Customers have been asking for this for years and Strava just doesn’t seem to care.

Even endomondo also a running cycling site is much better mapping PR’s etc

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Garmin itself does much more (it even shows the gap where I paused instead of pressed lap) but it has never really taken off as a social platform ….. will update this if i see something better.

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CYCLING WEEKLY: 12 funny strava named segments


ORIGIN HERE

they collect together some of the most ridiculously named segments on Strava

TAGS:

Ride logging and sharing service Strava has quickly found many, many fans since being introduced in 2009. As well as uploading your cycling data from your GPS computer, part of Strava’s fun is seeing how you compare on ‘segments’ of hills, roads or routes.

These segments are created by users, and you are free to call them whatever you like. For most people, this would mean ‘High Street’ or ‘Green Hill Road’… but for others its a licence to get creative with their segment naming.

Some of the names given to segments are hilarious, so we’ve collected together 12 of the most oddly-named segments.

Some are a bit rude, so we apologise in advance if you’re easily offended.

1. Uncle Pervy’s Secret Tickle Fight

It’s a name that conjures up all sorts of images – not all of them nice. You’d have no idea that the segment is actually along Missionary Road in Escondido, California, USA, and is around a mile in length. Current KOM holder: Don Powell.

https://www.strava.com/segments/4861080/embed

2. Balls to Cocks

Before the complaints start flooding in, the name of this segment accurately refers to where it starts and finishes: from Sandy Balls to the Fighting Cocks public house in Godshill, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, UK. Current KOM holder: Alex Farminer.

https://www.strava.com/segments/4398133/embed

3. Katie Price’s Angry Lobster

Why is reality TV star and former glamour model Katie Price’s pincered crustacean unhappy? That’s something that possibly only the creator of this Macclesfield segment may truly know the answer to. Current KOM holder: Andy Tennant (yes, that one).

https://www.strava.com/segments/1438716/embed

4. Fat Man’s Doom

This very sizeist segment consists of a steady uphill over a mile in Cumbria, which someone carrying an extra bit of timber may indeed find a bit of a struggle. Current KOM holder: Paul Stephenson.

https://www.strava.com/segments/3132595/embed

5. Hokey Cokey Pig and the Pokey

League of Gentleman fan must have created this one, using a [mis]quote from the comedy programme’s foul-tempered restart officer Pauline. Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near Royston Vasey, but actually in Glyncorrwg, Wales. Current KOM holder: Jamie Mckinstry.

https://www.strava.com/segments/9766692/embed

6. Ride the Wigton Willy!

Male genitalia seem to be a recurring theme among Strava artists for some strange reason, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to see a segment shaped like one. You’d have to know where you are going to put down a good time on this Leeds segment, mind. Current KOM holder: Gavin Taylor.

https://www.strava.com/segments/7328962/embed

7. I’ve counted the nipples – there’s a few missing…

We can only imagine this Barton-upon-Humber segment name is referring to spoke nipples on a bicycle wheel, rather than human anatomy. No one can possible have a ‘few’ missing, let alone a few in the first place. Current KOM holder: Bradley Donkin

https://www.strava.com/segments/8288175/embed

8. Agnew took a dump here and used leaves to wipe his ass

No further comment needed. Current KOM holder: Ross Wildman (Chris Agnew is second, so he should have wiped a bit quicker)

https://www.strava.com/segments/9539915/embed

9. Craig Bellew wears skin suits on nights out

This is one of many very oddly-named segments featuring Craig Bellew. We also have Craig Bellew has a hidden motor, Craig Bellew is at home eating doughnuts, Craig Bellew swerves toward cats, and more – most in the Bideford/Barnstaple area of Devon. Current KOM holder: Philippo Corleone.

https://www.strava.com/segments/11588346/embed

10. Breathing out of every hole to the farm

Very descriptive title for a punishing segment in Powys, Wales, that averages 11 per cent climb for just over a kilometre. Current KOM holder: THE VINORACER (his capitals).

https://www.strava.com/segments/6849647/embed

11. Jesus, Ryan’s on his bike!

Someone – possibly even the man himself – must have been proud that Ryan made it up this four per cent hill in Caterham, Surrey. He had the last laugh, though, because it looks like he may have been quickest… Current KOM holder: Ryan McGibbon.

https://www.strava.com/segments/7095955/embed

12. Any Slower You’re Bike’ll Be on Bricks

We’ve kept the grammar in there as it was written to maintain this Worksop segment’s authenticity. Just to add to the fun, the current KOM holder is none other than Hugh Jassburn.

https://www.strava.com/segments/7701500/embed

 

Strava User??


If, like me, you love seeing your rides on Strava (and I have lots!) then I highly recommend VeloViewer. At only £9.99 a year it gives you an almost infinite number of ways to view your ride (and run) data. Some beautiful graphics as well such as this one from the the Dukes Pass segment a week or so ago …

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So support him if you can (UK developer)

Also if you are a google chrome user then just standard STRAVA can be enhanced with a choice of plugins to use – search strava on chrome extensions

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Froome on Strava and then …..not


CYCLING WEEKLY REBLOG:

Does Tour de France champion Chris Froome have a Strava account? Someone uploading rides under the name of ‘Luke Skywalker’ accompanied Team Sky’s Ian Boswell during training rides in South Africa, and they are seriously quick up mountains.

Boswell said yesterday that only he and Froome and been training together in South Africa – which leads us to the not very clever conclusion that the mysterious Luke Skywalker (Sky-walker, get it?) is indeed Froome.

However, the account was deleted on Wednesday, March 2, shortly after this article was published.

The Skywalker account was created on February 18, kicking off with a ride with Boswell. The two riders covered 172km (107 miles) at a seriously impressive average speed of 31km/h (19.2mph), particularly given they climbed just under 3000 metres in total. Maximum speed was a scary 83kmh (51.7mph).

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A series of identical rides were then logged on both Boswell’s and Skywalker’s accounts, the longest being 214km (133 miles) on Monday, February 29. The two riders covered that distance at an average speed of 34.7kmh (21.6mph). No wonder Boswell said in a blog this week that Froome pushed him to the limit.

As you may expect, both Skywalker and Boswell had secured pretty much all of the KOMs on the mountain roads in the region where they were riding, including the 9km (5.6 miles) Steenbrasberg Pass at an average of five per cent gradient. Now that the Skywalker account has been deleted, the KOMs are all Boswell’s.

Boswell has now returned to Europe, and will start Paris-Nice on Sunday. Froome will continue training in South Africa and commences his European campaign at the Volta a Catalunya on March 21.

Froome – if it is him – may need to brush up on his Star Wars knowledge though, as they used a photo of Anakin Skywalker on the account rather than Luke. Schoolboy error.