Tag Archives: Exposure

Getting my ride on.

I have tired legs. The feeling of not just one day of abuse, but two, is there – vaguely tingling. I have a week now before my next ride, so I have plenty of recovery time.

Friday night was a ride with Neil and Ben. Full on muddy night ride around Swinley. Neil and Ben are team mates for 24 hr racing, and Neil works for Whyte. I met him a few years back and our paths cross every now and then at events. You recognise people, chat, Facebook each other and eventually meet up. What’s great about this job is that you are never short of good riders to have a spin with. Even if they do completely outclass me (which they did). Still, it was a great ride, and the lights are awesome (thanks EXPOSURE) so even fast singletrack is unhindered in terms of speed.

We rode for a couple of hours, or perhaps less. All I know was that the pace and some of the steep climbs really caused me to feel the burn.

Knowing that I am in Germany this coming week allows me to recover a little. In order to make that worthwhile, today I am at my parents place. Road bike was the tool of choice, so I set off into Somerset. This area doesn’t do flat. A 53km loop results in 450m climbed. Not much by mountain standards, but these are short sharp climbs. It was breezy and got cold too. A proper workout for me, with yesterday still in my legs.

I will perhaps vainly take the running shoes to Germany – but it will be a busy trip, flying in on Monday, driving to Stuttgart on Tuesday (going to Magura) with work and friends to catch up with in Koblenz before flying back on Friday. No plans for next weekend yet though – perhaps it will involve a bike?!

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Closed road circuit

At home in the UK, I often go to the Great Park in Windsor. Technically this is a private estate (a Royal estate) but is open to the public. It is a great place to ride, allowing a loop of about 4 – 5 miles to be ridden on essentially what are closed roads. You need to look out for walkers, but it is nice just not to have cars baring down on you.

Last night I decided than rather than trying my first training session on the rollers, I would go and ride in the park, using my high powered Exposure lights. I set off in rush hour traffic with the sole thought being that once I am in the park it would be a lot nicer. I got there looking forward to doing three, maybe four laps.

A the gate a warden stopped me (or should that be guard?) and told me that the park was actually closed during the hours of darkness. Something about health and safety. In fairness to him, he said that he would have let me ride it tonight, provided that I didn’t do it in the future. He did say that there were three other wardens patrolling and so it was likely I will get stopped again.

I actually can completely understand where they are coming from, but it is just a little upsetting. There are a shortage of quiet roads around here where you can just concentrate on technique and nothing else. It isn’t a massive issue, I will just have to ride in the middle of the day instead, but it does curtail my options a little.

Boo.

Did an hour and a bit anyway, and road a canal tow path today for a bit. That is three rides in three days. I am not Lance yet (or even Yolanda for that matter) but I am feeling better about myself.

I thought tomorrow is about time that I tried slack-lining again.

Reading material

There are no end of cycling magazines. On a monthly basis we get Bike (Germany), Bike (USA), Bicycle, Tour (Germany), MBR, What Mountain Bike, Trekking Bike (Germany), Pro Cycling, etc etc etc.

Recently though I have seen a trend towards more upmarket, more exclusive publications. Perhaps they are aimed at the stockbrokers like the scathing reviews of Rouleur which suggest they were just cashing in. My personal opinion is that Rouleur was fabulous, aimed at a different market to the traditional, perhaps formulaic magazine. The weight of the paper, the quality of the photography and the lack of adverts (although product placement is beautifully done) as well as the locations, and the nostalgic and romantic approach had me all misty eyed. Not all cycling fans want to read about the latest carbon this or that, and the lifestyle and cultural side of things was where they spotted and filled the gap.

Mr USE (Trevor Allen*) gave me a new publication yesterday. The Ride seems to share a fair amount of Lifestyle positioning with Rouleur, but is crossing over to the mountain bike segment. The list of contributors reads like a list of who is who for the last 15 years in cycling. Names such as John Tomac, Jo Burt, Chris Hoy, Dave Yates and even Pharrel Williams!

Perhaps this is what we should expect from publications in the future. There is no rivalry, there is very little product snobbery (high end is the name of the game, but experience and lifestyle articles look at everyone, regardless of what they ride, or what their financial investment is, or isn’t. It is about their investment in the sport). To be honest, the MTBers versus Roadies thing had become very tiresome to me over the years, as has the baggies versus lycra, downhillers versus cross country, and every other petty little war within the mainstream press. Magazines should embrace everyone. Ride seems to be going the right way. Intelligently written articles for the intelligent cyclist perhaps.

The downside? It is £7!

Issue 2 of the Ride.  Great artwork

Issue 2 of the Ride. Great artwork

*Trevor is in fact a student at Bath University. He is doing his placement year at USE / Exposure and is a top lad. Currently targetting 24 hour racing and going for a Solo effort, he is always up for a ride and is more of a face in the UK than I am – deservidly so. To catch up with him, visit Exposure at the Exposure Big Night out… details here

USE and I

Beginning to feel like I am a cyclist now. It has taken a while and I am still trying to get back in the correct frame of mind. I am moving in the right direction, with three rides in 8 days. Of course, very little by Jeff’s or Dave’s standard (Jeff being completely insane and having one of the best jobs in the World, and Dave being completely insane, and just insane – he recently scouted, and rode Wales coast to coast – 328km and 11,200m of climbing in 22.5 hours – madness).

This evening I decided that I needed to ride. In fact, yesterday I decided that tonight was the night, and so I emailed the boys at U.S.E / Exposure to see if they were interested in a ride. As a result, I met up with Mr.USE at Crowthorne Woods, which adjoins Swinley (where I rode the other day). Mr.USE was far fitter than I was, so it was a good challenge to try to keep up with him. He had one advantage, that being that he knew the trials really well, but this was perhaps balance nicely by my riding a full suspension XC bike against his hard tail. The riding here is fast, furious and technical. There is not a dull moment as the miles and miles of singletrack that is there, can be pieced together in a never ending roller coaster. The roots and the tight switchbacks between the trees being the only thing that could catch you out. My bike flattered me, with the suspension eating up my mistakes with both wheels. I dread to think what it would have been like on the Klein! Mr.USE on the other hand showed his superior skill and fitness throughout, but at least he was nice about it. Oh, and it wasn’t the Mr.USE you might think!

The forest this evening was again full of riders. Serious riders though. We must have seen about 40 people out with their bikes. It must be the dry spell, but it is encouraging to see.

I am feeling the addiction coming back. It’s great.

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