Sunday, December 20, 2009

EPIC

I thought today's London League at Herne Hill was pretty epic, what with the ice, snow and mud we endured, then I saw this - the highlights of the World Cup at Kalmthout. This is brilliant...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Polaroid #1 Self


Polaroid #1 Self, originally uploaded by Andy Waterman.

I recenlty bought Geoff Waugh's old Bronica SQ, along with a 150mm lens and an additional polaroid back. So far I've only shot one roll of film with it, which I got back from the developers (genieimaging - £1.50 per roll, E6 or C-41 - bargain) only to realise my scanner doesn't work with Windows Vista. To make up for the disappointment I broke out the Poaroid back to have a play.
As I was home alone I was limited to a self portrait (this blog is getting way too heavy on photos of me, for which I apologise), but despite the limitations of the model, I can see why polaroids are so addictive. It is like magic. I love it - expect more soon!

Turbo Training


Turbo Training, originally uploaded by Andy Waterman.

It's been so cold this week, I've barely left the house and I've been conducting this week's Rocky training on the turbo trainer. It's boring but effective. When you live in the city and the first half hour of any ride involves getting cold riding through traffic and when the countryside you're aiming for is covered in ice, you're not going to get any quality training in on the road, so you might as well stay at home.
That's my theory at least.
On Tuesday I did Tabata intervals, then went for a 30min run (outside!) straight away after, a sure fire way to induce jelly legs, but a good workout. I've realised that while I'm an ok runner, I'm crap when I have to get off the bike. These "block" sessions (to borrow from the triathlon world) should help.
On Wednesday it started snowing, so there was no way I was going out. Instead I did 2hrs on the turbo with the first series of Curb Your Enthusiasm for entertainment, and a session of 2x20mins just below threshold to tire me out. It wasn't even that boring. Training indoors is only boring wheen you're trying to do steady miles, when you throw some intervals in the mix the time passes pretty quick.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

National Trophy Cyclocross Bradford

I had a bad day at the office. Crashed three times on the first lap, twice because I stupidly decided to put more air in my tyres before the start (beginner's error - I was getting panicky about the squirminess of 20psi in the Vittoria XM's) and once because I got squeezed into a tree. I ended up 51st or something. A day to forget.
Still, I'm now free till the week before the National Champs, so I've got lots of training and racing planned - hopefully by the time Jan 10th rolls around I'll have the sort of form I had back at Ipswich.


D32_3529, originally uploaded by britishcycling.org.uk photos.

This is what I missed out on up at the front of the race. You can see me getting lapped about 5mins in - that could almost have been real time unfortunately. Jody was smashing it, God knows how someone so small can create so much power and get so much traction to put that power down. I don't understand it. Well done to BC too for putting up video reports of the race, they're a bit dry but it's good to see them using the web in this way.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Two weekends, two videos

One of the best things about the burgeoning US cyclocross scene is that the racers and the spectators are all mega tech savvy, and what that means is that after every race there are hundreds of photos and videos to look through. We Brits are still playing catch up in this respect - don't believe me, search Flickr for the word "cyclocross" on a Monday morning and all the most recent photos will be from the US.
With that background it came as a surprise to find videos of the last two races I've done on the web. This first one is by Geoff Waugh from the South-East Regional Champs (I DNF'd - had a cold and kept crashing painfully...) and the second one is by Mike Beasant from the mud race I did at Hog Hill last week. It's not got such high productuon values as Geoff's but it's still really good to see. Cheers Mike!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mud, inglorious mud


lx207, originally uploaded by LondonCycleSport.

Sunday's London League at Hog Hill felt like a World War 1 re-enactment. The mud was so deep for large portions of the course, that riding was not just impossible, even attempting to ride was unwise, and would likely have resulted in a knackered rear mech. And while we battled our adversaries in the quagmire, organiser Michael Humphreys cheered us on from the sidelines with only a hint of menace in his voice, as if you'd be shot for desertion if you dared to complain that the conditons and the course were not conducive bike racing.
As it happened, the racing was actually pretty good. The usual suspects of Darren Barclay, Taylor Johnstone, Hugo Humphreys, Matt Holmes and Gary Lingard got away on the first lap, behind them was a group containing Phil Glowinski and Felix English, and behind them was me, in about 10th place. Having not raced for a couple of weeks I was going with the tortoise and the hare approach, and it seemed to work well in the conditions. We only did five laps as the course was so long, but by the fourth I was beginning to get into a rhythm and the guys ahead were beginning to tire — a winning combination.
lx293
Over those last two laps I moved up to fifth and finished the race just 2mins behind Darren who won, which is probably closer than I normally finish when I start faster. Interesting.
The one really good thing about Hog Hill was that I could get off my bike and jump straight in the shower to warm up. I reckon I would have got ill without it.
This weekend it's the inter-areas in Ipswich and then after that I'm off to Bradford for the National Trophy. I think my Vittoria Evo XM mud tubs are going to be seeing quite alot of action over the next few weeks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New photo project

I've been a bit quiet recently as I've been mucking about with cameras for a new photo project. I've given the project its own blog — go look at www.36exp.tumblr.com for more.
olympustrip2

Monday, November 16, 2009

Me and My Bike feature

There's a big feature about me and my Cannondale CX9 cross bikes on LondonCycleSport at the moment, go and have a look (click the picture to go there)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From this... to this


Betteshanger Colliery, originally uploaded by frazerweb.
Betteshanger Colliery was still running in 1989 when the above photo was taken, but since then coal mining has ceased and nowadays the site is a country park. On Sunday we raced round 7 of the London League there. It was tough but good. Finally winter has come and bought with that finest of all cycling surfaces, mud.
I figured that becasue the surface there is all coal dust, file treads would be ideal. I was wrong. In the end I ran Grifos pumped up quite hard - about 30psi.
After some good battles I rolled across the line in fourth. Again. One of these days I WILL GET ON THE PODIUM!!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

World Cup - Nommay

Being a total cross-geek I like nothing more than getting home from a race on a Sunday to watch the final lap of the day's World Cup on Youtube. So far this season, the big races have been fairly predictable, but today's race in Nommay, France, was genuinely exciting. Going into the final lap there are two men together, the World Champ Niels Albert and the crowd's favourite (well, my favourite) Zdenek Stybar. And is that Sven Nys just behind them? Yes, it is.
Click on the vid below to watch what is a genuinely exciting battle for the win.

PS, Ian Field will probably be disappointed to have finished back in 32nd having had a couple of top 20's in the Super Prestige recently, but finishing just over 3mins down in the company is not bad at all. Keep it coming Fieldy!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pre-War cyclcocross

"Never will a daredevil succeed in being champion of cyclocross!" - Eugène Christophe

I just came across these images on blackbirdsf.org (via Mr CrossTube). The top composite shot is from Le Cross Cyclo-pédestre des Mureaux, November 1921, the second shot of the steep bomb hole (I'd look at that twice on an MTB, let alone a pre-war road bike!) is from the 8e Critérium International de Cross Cyclo-pédestre, 07 February 1932, and finally, the last shot is from Prix Pasbecq, 11 Jan 1931.
The cyclocross archive on blackbirds.org is very cool, I urge you to go and have a look!



1931_prixpasbecq

Rollapaluza Muddy Hell Haloween cyclocross

What a great event! That was one of the best bike events I've ever been to. In fact, it was probably THE best bike event I've been to in the UK ever.
The event was held at Herne Hill velodrome and promoted by Rollapaluza who did a fantastic job providing a well lit course, cheap beer (although it ran out pretty early apparently) and good tunes to keep the crowd entertained.
Some of us dressed up in Haloween costumes (thus my silver gimp suit) but not enough - the events back on next year, lets have more people dressing up!
I had a nightmare when I punctured within about five pedal strokes of the gun firing. My back tyre went bang and I had to ride a whole lap on a flat tyre to get to the pits. Oh well.
The proof that it was a good event was that Laura and her sister Ellen came along and didn't hate it. Bike races that your girlfriend actually wants to come along to are the future - you heard it here first.
benlauraandy
Ben Spurrier, Laura and me - we made the effort

This weekend was also the Inter Area cyclocross champs. Me, Ben and Gary Lingard travelled up to Leicester together in torrential rain. Can't say I was too motivated and I felt pretty knackered too - the excitement of the previous evening stopped me sleeping. 
We got there and were returned back to earth with a bang. After 1000 spectators at Herne Hill, it was back to one man and his dog in a windswept field. Oh, the glamour.
Ben did a very good ride and was first of our London B team. I sucked. In fact, I rode so badly I'm actually pretty happy that they haven't included me in the results. I guess I was down in 49th. Luckily, there's still no "I" in team.
On returning I checked out why I flatted on Saturday and I'm pretty sure I've written off a tub. What a waste of money, tub glue and time... I'm going to send it off to Pete Burgin at Tubular-Repairs.com and see if he can revive it. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gone but not forgotten

Lars Boom
I was just looking back through my old Flickr photos and rediscovered this picture of Lars Boom at Koksijde in 2007. It was the day I first discovered cyclocross. Until the gun fired for the elite mens' race, I'd always considered cross a freak show, but within 15minutes of the race starting I was sold and desperately making plans to buy a cross bike as soon as I got home (which I did).
Man, I wish Lars Boom was still riding. He'd be showing that punk Niels Albert how it's done, that's for sure. The guy just has class, look at the poise, the shine on his legs and the perfect colour co-ordination.  I'm not being creepy, but he just looks right in this photo, right?
It sounds like the partisan Belgian fans (and their bully-boy tactics) drove Boom to the road. Realistically, a kid with as much talent as him, especially as a non-Belgian, was always going to end up on the road, but I can't help thinking he took the plunge too soon. It's a shame he won't be racing on the cyclocross circuit this season, bar a couple of appearances. This autumn and winter are going to be a duller place without him.

A few photos from the National Trophy in Ipswich

We showed up early in Ipswich last Sunday as I wanted to take some photos and Claire Beaumont wanted me to show her all the best lines before the women's race. The weather was great and the ground, though damp was drying out quickly in the wind.
The course was a lot less technical than the previous two trophies, from my point of view at least, as you carried a lot more speed through the corners. This suited me fine as, coming from MTB'ing I enjoy the more flowy stuff a lot more. We did a couple of laps then Claire raced.
Despite a pretty spectacular start where she led for the first half a lap, she ended up in sixth, behind Gabby Day's mum. If Claire can stay on the right track (literally, not riding into the tape) she should be coming top five every race, not bad for her first season.
Photos are here:

My race went pretty good. It started bad, but ended good.
Coming to the end of the first straight, I saw a sneaky gap up the inside of a corner and tried to jump into it. Unfortunately, the guy I was trying to pass came to halt and put his foot through my front wheel, bringing me to a standstill too. That put me dead last.
I moved up quite a few places on that first lap and found myslef in a good group.
Next lap, Will Bjergfelt came steaming through our — until then fairly cohesive — group on his way back from a puncture. This split the group, with me stuck in no man's land. I was confident that most of the riders that went with Will wouldn't be able to maintain his pace, and sure enough, half a lap later I started catching riders as they got dropped. This was really good motivation and gave me the carrot I needed to chase for the rest of the race.
With one to go, I caught onto the back of a good group of four. Just as I was catching my breath to recover from the effort of bridging, the attacks started.
I made it across a couple of times, but a couple of sketchy moments on the corners made me resign myself to second last place of the group.
Still, that was good enough for 29th place, my best ever finish at a National Trophy and good enough for a couple of ranking points. The icing on the cake was not getting lapped — another first at this level.
At the start of the season, my two ambitions were to stop getting lapped and to start coming top 30. With this achieved I'm now looking ahead and thinking I want a couple of top 25's, and come January I want to come top 20 at the national champs. Anything's possible right?
This weekned it's Haloween Cross at Herne Hill on Saturday night, where I'm going to look like an absoloute idiot in a particularly unpleasant outfit, followed by the inter-area champs on Sunday.  If you see me drinikng alcohol on Saturday night after the race, feel free to give me a talking to. I'm really going to need a good night's sleep before Sunday's seriousness.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cyclocross interviews in English

Unless you speak Flemish and can read Sporza, finding anything out about top-flight euro CX racing as an English speaker is pretty difficult. It's getting better with the likes of CXmagazine covering a lot of euro races, and riders like Jonathan Page and Ian Field blogging from Belgium, but actually getting any empathy with the "toppers" is pretty difficult.
Which is why I was please to find these two vids. I'm not a big Niels Albert fan but Stybar is an absolute dude — the guy just smashes it the whole time, which is what you want really isn't it. Yeah, Niels does that too, but I dunno, I'm British, we prefer losers and Stybar is not a big winner. Albert makes it look too easy.


The best camera...

is the one that's with you, so says Chase Jarvis. I was just looking at the website for his iPhone app/book (the guy's a social networking entrepreneur par excellence) and it got me looking back through my old camera phone shots. I've not got an iPhone (screw you Apple!), but I reckon this is the best I've captured with my Nokia E51's 2mp fixed focus camera.
battersea power station, from the train into victoria
Battersea Power Station, from the train into Victoria

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cross is getting popular

Cross is getting so ridiculously popular. On Sunday we had 130 senior riders competing in the London League at Reed Court Farm in Kent - the cavalry charge across an open field at the start must have looked utterly mental.
I started ok but not great and had to work pretty hard to get across to the second group. Fortunately there was quite a bit of singletrack where one rider was as fast or faster than a group, and within half a lap I was part of a group chasing the two leaders, a flying Jamie Newall, and Dan Duguid who was just ahead of us. Darren Barclay was riding in our group but eventually had enough of us and pissed off after a couple of laps to go round with Dan. That left three of us riding for fourth, me, junior Taylor Johnstone and Gary Lingard from London Phoenix.
Taylor was smashing it and so was Gary, so I wasn't feeling too hopeful, but with so many riders, we were lapping riders all the time, and with three to go, I hit the front as we approached some traffic and managed to ride away from the other two to come fourth, 1.53 behind Newall.
So many riders did present a few challenges in overtaking and I reckon it can't be long before the London League has to split the senior race into two, maybe a 40minute Vets race and a 1hr senior race, I don't know. A shorter Go-Race for non-license holders and beginners might be an idea too.
Anyway, fourth, I was pleased with that, but I'm only just beginning to feel normal again. It was pretty hard work.
This weekend is the National Trophy in Ipswich. I raced there last year and enjoyed it, but I'm hoping it's going to rain between now and then - I've had enough of off-road crits and I want to ride some mud.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good days, bad days

For the first time ever, I raced two cross races in two days last weekend. Day one was the Eastern Cross League in Wellwyn. I was hoping for some cheap points to help push me up the grid at the National Trophies, but this plan came unstuck when a bus load of Belgians turned up, en-route to the National Trophy in Derby the following day.
I started well (for me) without going too deep into the red, then did a really good second lap to move up to a quality group of four. We rode well together, if tactically, until two laps to go (of a 13 lap race) when the only Belgian in the group attacked.
I attacked on the next lap leaving my cohorts behind, which saw me cross the line in fourth place, and first Brit.
Euphoria quickly turned to discomfort when I got a hearty dose of cyclocross gut - crippling stomach cramps that only seem to come on after the one hour all-out effort that is a cross race.
Saturday night Ben Spurrier, Claire Beaumont and I travelled up to Derby for the National Trophy. It's fair to say we're a bit out of our depth at this level, but you won't improve staying at home in your comfort zone, right?
As I've still got no ranking points I was started on the back row of 60 riders, which meant it was going to be an uphill struggle. I managed to move up a bit on the first lap and was riding with guys like Darren Barclay (for a very short period) and Dave Haygarth (until he rolled a tub) which I was quite happy about. Anyway, it was all going well, and I was even beginning to think I'd escape getting lapped (a first in a Trophy), when it all came unstuck with two to go. I stacked hard on a descent, knocking my chain off, forcing me to run the next climb, losing a load of places in the process. Gutting.
I got lapped not long after, so just cruised round my last lap, trying not to get in people's way. Check out the full race report on British Cycling. The course in Derby didn't really suit me - too much braking, stop, start, sprint, brake etc etc - whereas I know what to expect at the next round in Ipswich, so I'm hoping for a better ride.

Monday, October 05, 2009

London League #3 Gunpowder Park


I like the way my already huge head looks GINORMOUS in this photo by LondonCycleSport.com.

I finally made it to a London League race, this being the third of the series. It was a new venue next to the river Lea to the north of London. London Phoenix were promoting and they did a great job with the course allowing room for overtaking on every section while making it technical enough to be really challenging.
I started ok but having not really raced since the end of August, I struggled when the initial adrenalin rush wore off - looking abck at my lap times I did two good laps, two terrible laps, then five consistently fast laps. The highest position I was in was fourth but those two bad laps sent me back to 10th, but I eventually clawed my way up to eigth.
As I've come to expect, I had a mechanical with my front brake cable pulling through on the first lap which made the technical sections, err, interesting.
One of the reasons I wasn't feeling too good yesterday was the fact that I've spent the last week in Ireland, MTB'ing with snapper Victor Lucas for an upcoming feature in MBR. The weather was unusually amazing for the first couple of days (check the Twitpic -->) but returned to type later on. Keep an eye out for the December issue of MBR to find out more.
Check out LondonCycleSport's video of the first lap of the race, I'm number 10.

London/SE Cross 3, Matt Seaton's first racing lap from LondonCycleSport on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

How not to glue a tub

Yesterday was the first round of the British National Trophy Cyclocross series, held in Budleigh Salterton in Devon; you can read a full report of what happened on the British Cycling website.
My race was pretty much over when I rolled a tub going into one of the steep banks, leaving me with a long run back to the pits. It was a shame as I had been riding in around 30th place which is actually pretty good for me.
So this week I need to go back to basics and re-gluing all my tubs. I think I went wrong by trying to keep things tidy and not using enough glue - with two thin layers on both rim and the tub I thought I'd be safe, but I wasn't. New tubs and new rims obviously need more.
Today's required reading: race.cx pro tub gluing technique, crossjunkie's tub gluing post, cyclocrossworld's features on tub gluing (part one and part two), plus of course re-reading the tub gluing section in Simon Burney's Cyclocross: Training and Techniques book. If that doesn't drum it home, I'm doomed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tour of Britain, London Stage

I went along yesterday to watch. It's always great to see bike racing in the city but do they really need to make the course sooo boring? It guarantees nothing will happen and you will get a bunch sprint, as happened in evey stage of this year's TOB. I think they need to cut out the huge long out-and-back along the embankment if they want the racing to be a bit more exciting.
Also, I counted 13 Police motorbike outriders, on this - completely closed road - stage. Are they just there to show off in front of the public or what? Maybe I'm just bitter that grassroots cycle sport is left to flounder with zero Police support while the elite is seen as a great marketing opportunity.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fashion

My girlfriend Laura has just redesigned her blog and she's got a bunch of my photos on there. We did these and a few more last night for her latest post. Go check out The Things Laura Likes
IMG_4907editIMG_4919edit


These shots are me having a play with on camera flash. I've not really used a flash on the camera very much in the past, but looking through fashion mags, it seems a pretty popular look - on camera flash against a white wall, you can't go wrong can you? I used a manual setting on the camera (1/80th, f4, 200iso I think...) and just set the flash on ETTL, although after a bit of experimenting I decided to overexpose the flash 1 and bit stops to get the wall bright white.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Building Wheels

I've got the week off work, the plan being that I'll do some training and I'll get my bikes and all my gear sorted for this weekend's opening round of the National Trophy Cyclocross series. The training part is going ok, and this afternoon I spent a few hours finishing off a pair of wheels I laced up months ago. Wheelbuilding is pretty dull, so to keep myself entertained I made this this timelapse video of the proceedings. I'm not the world's most proficient mechanic so there's about two hours of labour crammed into the 60 seconds you see here. Next job is gluing fours pairs of tubular tyres to four pairs of tubular wheels; it's going to be an exciting week...

Wheelbuilding Timelapse from Andy Waterman on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Holiday in Argyll, Scotland

I'm just back from a holiday in Scotland, these are some of my favourite photos from the week.

A fishing boat on Loch Long, near Ardentinny

fishingboat

Puck's Glen

pucksglen

Some old fella on the ferry, shot with the lensbaby


Loch Eck, after the rain

lockeckweb

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Scotch mist

Weather report
If anyone ever suggests to you that a training camp in Scotland, in September is a good idea, laugh them out of town.
We've been here 36 hours now, and as far as I know, it hasn't stopped raining the whole time. In fact it makes the weather forecast above, taken from Loch Fyne Fisheries, seem a little over optimistic. God knows what the rest of the week will be like, but I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of bike riding going on if it stays like this.
Here's hoping there's a lot of running involved at the Exeter round of the National Trophy cyclocross in two weeks...

Monday, August 31, 2009

End of the Summer


photo by Phil Jones
Southend Crits, my second race of the Bank Holiday weekend, the last weekend of Summer. I didn't expect to get anything other than a good workout and when the likes of Dan Patten, James Millard and a back from Italy, back from winning a premiere calendar by 2.5mins, Alex Dowsett showed up, I knew a workout was absolutely the best I could hope for.
So it proved when the race split to pieces on lap one. Lap two was the fastest lap of Hog Hill I've ever done - 2mins 41secs, which equates to an average speed of 45kph. It hurt, bad, and only the best survived. Needless to say, I slunk my way round the course at back of the bunch.
I felt stronger as the race went on (at least, in comparison to the other riders off the back with me) and had a few gos to escape but none came to anything. There goes a glorious 25th place!
Check out Phil Jone's photos of the race on Flickr, he's been playing with off camera flash and the results are a pretty spectacular step up from his earlier stuff. Lovely stuff.
Yesterday was a nicer day. Me, Ben Spurrier (manager of Prologue Bikes in Sheen) and Claire Beaumont (marketing manager at Evans Cycles) went out on the cross bikes. I didn't realise we were going off-road, so put my standard road wheels in, complete with 23mm race tyres inflated to 120psi, which ended up feeling pretty sketchy when we hit Wimbledon Common and then the dirt trail that goes around Richmond Park. It was frightening for a bit, but then the sketchiness became fun and I was able to make the most of it. I didn't even puncture, unlike Ben! It was my first ride on the new Cannondale crosser and it felt great. It's a little bit shorter than last year's Focus which adds a bit more control in the technical stuff over the old bike.
Riding off-road on what is essentially a totally unsuitable tool for the job was actually pretty cool. The speed you can get a cross bike up to in a really short period of time is amazing - ridiculous in fact. Why didn't I ride my cross bike all summmer?
First cross race of the autumn is this Wednesday at Herne Hill. Assuming I can stick some tubs on my wheels in time of course.

This beats training on the road from Andy Waterman on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Road Racing



Now's the time of year to be honing your speed ready for the cross season. A real pro would be motor pacing behind a scooter, but that's not really an option for me in central London, so road racing is the next best thing.
Races at Hillingdon always end up fast and yesterday's race was no exception - we covered the 60km at an average speed of 43kph. That's quick by amateur standards.
I was really flagging by the end, but it was all good training: my average heart rate was 164, but improtantly, I spent 35mins with a heart rate above 170bpm, which is where the real training benefits happen.
I've got no idea who won, but I know a break of three stayed away from the second lap all the way to the finish, which is pretty nuts given the speed the bunch was doing. Impressive stuff.
Results will be on www.londoncyclesport.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rollapaluza Halloween Cyclocross

Beer, cyclocross and daft outfits - this is going to be the event of the year, and at the time of writing, there's only one place left in the senior men's race.
My ambition is to get on the podium, if not for racing, then at least for looking like a prat in a fancy dress outfit (i've been scouring ebay for lycra suits, there are some crackers).
For details (there's a beer tent!) check out the Rollapaluza website
EDIT 25/8/09: It looks like they've just added another 35 entries to the men's race, making it up to a field of 80.

Birthday

opener
No cycling, just BBQ'ing and boozing. I made a timelapse video of the whole thing, it's on Vimeo.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cycling Timelapse Vids

I'm waiting for a new remote shutter to arive that will let me do timelapse stuff. While i wait I've been watching a bunch of stuff on Vimeo and getting pretty excited about the possibilities. This first vid nicked my idea — admittedly quite some time before I had it, and with a lot stuff thrown in that I would never have thought of. The second video is from Charge Bikes — stylish.

Timelapse Sprint Training from JC on Vimeo.

Juliet Elliott - A stop-frame film from Charge Bikes on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The penultimate Crystal Palace of 09

I didn't finish, again, so I made myself useful (at least that's my excuse) by making this video. It's very long, but make sure you watch the final 3mins as you'll miss the finale otherwise. Enjoy.

Crystal Palace E/1/2 18/08/2009 from Andy Waterman on Vimeo.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting the swing, tilt and shift of things

Ok, I admit, these are hardly the most exciting action photos you'll ever see, but I think they capture the spirit of VCL's training sessions at Herne Hill Velodrome quite nicely. There are serious racers, there are kids and there are total newbies keen to give it a try. Everyone gets on, everyone has a good time and everyone gets a useful experience. It's a great atmosphere at a great venue - a sea of tranquility in the middle of suburbia, and only three or four miles from central London - incredible. Long may it continue!
I'm warming to the Lensbaby. At first I thought it was a BIG mistake, but with better light, it's pretty good. Bit more practise, and I think it will be a useful tool in the bag. More photos on Flickr
trackbaby0017trackbaby0016

New toy

lensbabybike
I just bought a lensbaby from my cycling buddy David the photographer. Bloody hell is it hard to focus?! I'm looking forward to playing with it more though. He also sold me a Canon 50mm f1.4 as used by The Sartorialist - check his shots, I hope I can achieve something similar.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RED Camera @ US Grand Prix of Cyclocross

Red Camera + EOS lenses + cyclocross = NICE!

US Grand Prix of Cyclocross - Portland, Oregon from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Check out Jesse Rosten's website for more good stuff, particularly the POV 5D MkII on a motorbike vid (and a how-to on how the cam was mounted - genius) — http://jesserosten.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The good stuff

I just re-watched the Pure Sweet Hell trailer for the millionth time over at www.race.cx. If ever there was a video that instantly got me motivated to ride, this is it - and I've never even seen the full thing.
Momentum is gathering, anticipation is building, autumn is coming.


Then I rewatched the Superprestige from Hamme-Zogge. Ugly name and ugly conditions. I love this video though. Pity the riders, but pity the spectators and the cameramen more. It looks like hell.


I've been talking to Geoff Waugh about going to the Koppenberg Cross this year. It looks great - cobbles, mud, two bike changes per lap, riders vigorously shaking their hands to dry their gloves out. It all adds up to a classic. Nathan Spear is hosting footage of the full race - ideal for keeping you going through a hard turbo session.

For more vids, go check out www.crosstube.net

Monday, August 10, 2009

Goodbye beer

beerandcrossThis morning I made a significant step. I took the last remaining can of beer out of the fridge and buried it at the back of the vegetable rack, out of sight and out of mind. After a summer of excess, I've finally reached a position where the motivation to ride well this autumn is outweighing the desire to get pissed, eat cake, stay up late and generally have a laugh.
As the years have gone by, I've realised that this is a position that you can't force yourself into. You have to lead the high life for a while otherwise you don't last long on the wagon: you end up hopping on and off, never really satisfying your desire for a normal life, and all the time feeling guilty for not achieving what you know you're capable of with a little bit more motivation. If you're going to do something, you have to do it properly.
I don't think I'm the first to approach training this way. Having read Bradley Wiggins' recent tweets it sounds like he's of a similar mindset, and anyone who has read Graeme Obree's autobiography will remember the extremes to which he took this philosophy, by turns leading the life of a monk or a raving alchoholic.
For now, I'm glad to be back on the wagon. The prospect of programming a training plan into a spreadsheet, and filling my diary with race dates, and setting the alarm an hour early to get in some secret training has all of a sudden become very appealing. Experence has taught me that motivation is a fickle beast, and while you've got, you may as well flaunt it. For the time being, that's just what I plan to do.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mad Props!

So I've just discovered that my Houfalize vid has suddenly been discovered by the internet at large. Sweet! There are some really nice comments over at Embrocation Magazine embrocationmagazine.com, Molly Cameron's on the case too at mollycameron.com, Independent Fabrication's German Ditributor has been super positive on his blog at 34x18.blogspot.com and I'm also getting linked to from hkfixed.blogspot.com. And this is all on top of the huge number of hits the video got via herecomethebelgians.blogspot.com. My dreams of internet superstardom are slowly coming true! For those who've forgotten, this is the vid

Houffalize World Cup 2009 from Mountain Bike Rider on Vimeo.


All this positive energy is making me think I should invest in a proper camcorder. I'm thinking Sanyo FH1. If you've got any feedback on what budget camcorder for filming cross and mtb, PLEASE let me know. I really hate it when I waste money on junk, don't let me make that mistake! I want good colours, and a high frame rate for slow motion. Whaddaya reckon?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crystal Palace photos

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I was too tired to race after Sunday's efforts so I took some photos instead. I'm getting a bit obsessed with cropping photos to a 2:1 ratio, that's a habit I'm going to have to break....
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Cyclocross Season, here we come

The road season is over and the cross season starts now. Well, not really, but that's how it feels. I've gained enough points to hold onto my second cat road license, and today I put in the order with Cannondale for two complete 2010 CX9 Ultegra bikes. The spec looks pretty awesome - CX9 frame, EC90x fork, Shimano 6700 shifters and mechs, FSA BB30 SL-K cranks etc etc. Now it's just a case of finishing off my tub wheels and getting gluing, and I'll be ready to race. First proper race is September 20th, that's loads of time, right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Watch the Ventoux stage in London...

And raise money for a good cause. Sounds like a cool day out, and rent-a-pro (lol) Dan Lloyd from Cervelo is going to be there to auction a jersey and raise even more cash.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My new favourite photo

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Shot this weekend. Thanks to Kim for posing, Laura did the styling and Ellen held a flash (or torch as they like to call them...)
More shots available here

Hove Park #4


I drove down to Brighton on Friday night and came fourth, saving my second cat license for another year. It was wet and windy, but a good race nonetheless. Brighton Mitre do a good job down on the south coast.
Photo by Mark Mergler on Flickr

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How to go down hills, with Mr Fabian Cancellara

It's not rocket science is it? You just pedal like buggery when you get a chance, and lean the bike over as far it will possibly go round every corner. Job done.
I think Fabian was having some fun for the cameras on this descent, there's some pretty OTT cornering going on, especially when he gets back to the bunch at the very end. Impressive nonetheless.
Youtube have stopped embedding of this vid, so just watch it by following the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_wEG2RNMJc

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Clinchers fight back

tubsvsclinchers
Back in the mid-nineties, it looked like tubular tyres were destined for the scrap heap. High quality, lightweight clincher rims like the Mavic Open Pro became the standard while super-light, super-stiff factory-built wheelsets like the Mavic Ksyrium began to take top honours in most races, and all the while, clincher tyre technology continued apace, with manufacturers experimenting with new compounds (often using more than one in one tyre) and puncture proof belts to make clinchers THE choice for serious cyclists.

And then carbon happened.

Carbon lends itself to simple shapes like a tubular rim, which is simply a circular tube with one edge flattened off to allow a tub to be stuck to it. While an aerodynamic, stiff, aluminium clincher rim weighed in at around 475g, an equivalent carbon tubular rim was at least 100g less, and probably stiffer to boot, allowing the use of fewer spokes.

As the nineties became the noughties, carbon became the dominant material in high end road racing wheels and now, as we reach the end of another decade, the majority of racers at any level are riding carbon - tubular - wheels.
Just as the nails were being driven into the tubular coffin, along came carbon and saved the humble tub for another decade.

This rebirth of the tub came at the same time as a rebirth of cycling as cool pursuit, with it's long and varied history. Tubs fit in with the nostalgia for the old days that brands like Rapha hang their coats on. In fact, issue 13 of Rouleur, published by Rapha, has a huge feature in it about tubs. It suggests that gluing on tubs is at once a trip down memory lane while also taking you a step into the future - the wheels they use to illustrate the feature are Mavic's space-age and uber-expensive Cosmic Carbon Ultimates.

My problem is, carbon wheels are mostly a fashion statement. And like most fashion statements, they're not that practical for most of us.
Carbon wheels have notoriously bad braking, especially in the wet; they're expensive to buy and expensive to maintain and repair; they force you into the world of pain that is the tubular tyre.

Tubs have their place, no doubt - it's just that place is a wet Belgian field. Tubs are essential for cross, clinchers can't compete with the traction you can get from a 32mm cross tub pumped up to 20psi. And even if clinchers dcould compete in terms of traction, try running them soft and you'll suffer a pinch flat in five minutes. The only other application where tubs are essential are the cobbled classics, where avoiding pinch flats is essential. But with the advent of tubeless, for how much longer that will be the case is anyone's guess.
Everywhere else, clinchers win, hands down. And the top reason is not price, or practicality - it's grip. Well, it's price and grip. If you want grippy tubs that you can really rail corners on, you're looking at £50 per tub; clinchers, you're looking at more like £20 per wheel. For example the tyres above - both Conti GP4000s - currently costs £49.73 for the tub, and £22.05 for the clincher on Ribble.

As a cross racer, most of my road racing takes place in criteriums where cornering speed is paramount and for me, the grip of a quality clincher tyre combined with the secure braking of a aluminium rim provides a more cost effective, faster combination than carbon wheels and mediocre tubs. And lets face it, most of us ride mediocre tubs. I know that when I came to replace my worn out GP4000s I went for Sprinter Gatorskins more for price and puncture resistance than anything else, and yet they still cost twice that of a good racing clincher.
Finally, the idea that tubs provide a more comfortable ride than clinchers is nonsense in my opinion. Regardless of how the tyre is formed, 110psi feels like 110psi, and that is, pretty harsh.

So tubs, or clinchers? If you've got tub sponsor and a pro tour mechanic to do all the dirty work, tubs are still worth pursuing; if you're an average Joe like the rest of us, clinchers won't let you down.

This post was inspired by Crossjunkie's Defense of Tubs