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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Mark Cavendish

The Manx Missile

I have just finished reading his autobiography- Mark Cavendish, Boy Racer

and thoroughly enjoyed the read. The opening few pages, aptly named the prologue are him talking through the final 100 kilometres or so of a stage in the TdF where he feels he can take it. As the stage winds down to the last few hundred meters the tension climbs and for me, I was right there with him.

The book then goes on to take you through his involvement in the 2008 Tour with each chapter represented as a stage, each stage also looking back to a particular period in his life and his development from a keen young rider, through amateur to the fastest sprinter in the world. The edition I have also includes a chapter taking in his epic 2009 6 stage wins. I recommend this book.

One thing about reading this book is that my opinion of Cav has changed. I always liked him but, I thought that he was a somewhat arrogant bloke. He says in the book that a lot of folk have him twigged as an 'arrogant prick', well, I didn't take it that far but arrogant was in my description. Before the book, I thought this was the natural, necessary arrogance for someone who is and wants to remain, the best in the world at what he does. I now understand that he isn't so much arrogant, as driven. Driven to repay the balls out effort and suffering of the team mates he loves and knows are so important in his ability to get the results he does.

Mark Cavendish has now been officially adopted as The Secret Cyclists supported Pro Rider.

Others will get my support but Cav is the main man.

Mrs Secret Cyclist has booked the hotel and flights for us to be in Paris for the weekend of 24th July 2011. Hopefully I will be cheering Cav across the line on the Champs Elysées for his third win on that stage in succession.

Go get em Cav.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The hills are alive with the sound of- PAIN!

I have been watching the highlights of both the Giro d Italia and the Tour of California over the last few days. The last 2 days of the Giro and Saturday’s stage of the Tour of California both involved some rather 'lumpy' territory.

Watching the Radio Shack duo Levi Leipmheimer and Chris Horner as they went up Mount Baldy was a sight to see. How the hell Horner can keep smiling whilst he does this is beyond me. Plus this dude being 39 years old! Well done that apprentice pensioner. Respect. The mountain name is quite apt as well considering the tonsurial elegance of our two heroes.



The climb of Baldy looks to have the potential to become the ‘Mythical Stage’ for the ToC that all tours need- Ventoux/ ď Heuz in the Tour de France, Zoncolan/ Mortirolo in the Giro. The fans were all over the place on this climb, right in the face of the riders- like they are in the other classic climbs. Just the sort of spectacle to improve the feel of the ToC.

As for the Giro, Watching the suffering going on on Monte Zoncolan was awesome. Some of the sections looked like they were almost vertical. The climbs in the Giro are not as long as they are in the TdF but they are certainly steeper. To add insult to injury in the Giro, some of the climbs they use finish on unmade tracks. The riders can’t stand up in the pedals and honk up the hills as the wheels spin out!

I love it.

Friday, 20 May 2011

(Not) On Yer Bike

This month is proving to be absolutley abysmal on the commuting front.

Because of stuff I have going on at work, I am spending far too much time driving to and from work and various other locations.

To date, I have commuted 2 journeys, one to and one from work. That is out of a possible 16 journeys.

How crap is that? The way things are going, it isn't going to improve any time soon.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Cruel and Unusual punishment

Thats what I call it anyway.

On Saturday afternoon, Mrs Secret Cyclist and I were walking along Maidenhead High Street when we passed DNA Cycles. I stopped in my tracks because, hanging in the window was this beauty-

"That is a gorgeous bike" says I.

"Yes it is. Do you want it?" Says Mrs SC!

Do I want it? Of course I want it!

Bank Manager says No at the moment though.......

Cruel and Unusual.

Secret Cyclist activates Scheming Mode.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wouter Weylandt

As I have mentioned before, I love to watch the Giro 'd Italia and the first couple of days had me glued to the TV, smiling like the Cheshire Cat. HTC coming out on top in the Tea, Time Trial for Stage 1, Mark Cavendish getting the Maglia Rosa after Stage 2.

All this eneded yesterday when I saw the news about the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt, a talented young rider who was to become a father for the first time in September.

I don't know what happened to cause his crash and I don't expect to find out any time soon. What I do know is that there is a bunch of guys this morning, probably as I write, who are riding the roads of Italy, taking part in one of the best sporting events in the world, and they are feeling low. It is now up to the spectators to show their repect for Wouter and appreciation fo the rest of the riders and do what they can to raise the spirits of the athletes as they pass.

Some may suggest that the race should be cancelled. Some may suggets his team mates should go home. I suggest that the race continue and his team mates ride like the wind to win for their fallen colleague.

RIP Walter.

Monday, 2 May 2011


I never thought of myself as a 'Club Rider' when it came to my leisure riding. I had looked at various clubs in my area and they seemed to be too competitive for me.

What I was looking for was company when I went out of a weekend, someone to chat to whilst riding, someone to share experiences with, someone from whom I could learn.

Well, I seem to have hit the jackpot.

Marlow Riders is a new group in my area, born from a group of runners called Marlow Striders. A number of this group are/ were apparently suffering the problem that hits many long term runners- their knees were telling them to knock it on the head. Then another of the group had a brainwave. He wanted to invite as many friends as could make it to join him in paris for dinner to celebrate his 60th Birthday. The qualifier? He and they were riding to Paris. Many took him up on his offer and had to go out and buy bikes and other riding equipment. They then had to put in the training as the ride was over 3 days, finishing with an imperial century to the Champs-Élysées. They made it and a jolly good time was had by all.

I now have folk I can meet with on a Saturday or Sunday morning for a social ride.

One unexpected benefit of this is that I am discovering parts of the area surrounding where I live that i didn't know. Over the last few weeks I have been introduced to some stunning scenery and some cracking new climbs.