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

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.


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

New toy

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) —

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The good stuff

I just re-watched the Pure Sweet Hell trailer for the millionth time over at 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

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, Molly Cameron's on the case too at, Independent Fabrication's German Ditributor has been super positive on his blog at and I'm also getting linked to from And this is all on top of the huge number of hits the video got via 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?