Tuesday, 31 August 2010

In Memoriam: Le Professeur, Il Est Mort

Laurent Fignon, "The Professor", has died of cancer, aged 50.

The TroisV removes its chapeau (or, the members remove their chapeaux), and doffs it (doff them) one last time:


Splinter Groups

Today the TroisV splits itself into three cells:

1) "I'm doing my twelve-step program intervals in the evening;"

2) "I'm playing Frisbee in the evening, so I'll ride hills in the morning;"

3) "I spent the last week riding up Italian Alps, so I'll pootle to work on my Brompton, thank you very much."

Nonetheless, "You'll Never [Ride] Alone," [N.B. I resisted the temptation to link to a YouTube video of Liverpool fans there] and for those of us (it's the royal "those", I guess) who did hills this morning, oh what fun "we" had!

First, I graciously accepted a beard-compliment on Camden Road ("That's an awesome beard! I bet it took a lot of dedication to grow something that impressive!" "You're damn right!"). On West Highgate Hill, I was passed by a bus, which then stopped at a bus stop twenty feet (I'm being generous with the estimate) later, forcing me to stop behind it, and to chew its exhaust the rest of the way up the hill. On Muswell Hill was where the real fun started, though. I pulled up even with, and passed just a little, a gray-haired man in a Brooklyn Chewing Gum jersey (oh, how I wished I'd worn that one this morning, instead of my navy blue "mourinho" wool jersey!). We chatted briefly ("This is the tough part," "I'm riding a bunch of hills," etc.) between wheezes, and when he, twenty yards from the top, put the hammer down, he even sheepishly warned me, saying, "This is... where I..." and I finished, "Push hard to the top?" I let him go, keeping my not unreasonable pace; he glanced over his shoulder when he crested the hill, and continued on, putting some distance between us as I stopped to let a pedestrian scamper across the crosswalk. But using my "superior descending skills" (or whatever), I caught up to him just at the bottom of the hill that leads up to Highgate Tube Station, and he glanced at me and said, "Come on, then!" and up we raced! Victory to the TroisV! Hooray! We parted ways at Highgate Village, where I went down West Highgate in order to go up Swain's Lane, and he headed in the direction of the Spaniards (possibly to drown his sorrows? ...Uh, probably not).



Sunday, 29 August 2010

Our we don't have to run day

So Doug and I went for a ride to Richmond Park, and it was fun and pretty uneventful. We overtook cars on Sawyers Hill, blocked a Frenchman in a German car who decided that the crest of Dark Hill was the point to try and overtake, and rode back through town, making 0 (zero) navigational errors.

I then drank a recovery drink to see what it was like. Ground up biscuits and bananas in milk. Yummo.



Friday, 27 August 2010

Bike Porn Friday: The Bicycle Thieves!

Dr. Matt is climbing Italian Alps this week, and so, we turn to Italy for this week's installment of Bike Porn Friday; furthermore, we have our first "movie" Bike Porn Friday! And it's also a "talkie"! Holy crap! Or, as they say in Italy: ... actually, I have no idea what they say in Italy. Anyway, "Ladri di Biciclette" (The Bicycle Thieves) is a 1948 film by director Vittorio di Sica and it is outstanding. In postwar Italy, a husband and father gets a job pasting up posters because he has a bicycle, which allows him to get around the city to do the job. But the bike gets stolen! And then what? A whole bunch of beautiful, heartbreaking film, is what. If you haven't seen it, really, you should. It's not only about the bike, but, uh, so much depends upon the new bicycle, glazed with poster paste, beside the billboard hoarding.


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday Driver

First off, apologies for the lack of bike porn on Friday (sorry perverts!); I'm laying blame squarely at the pedals of the other two (I totally did the last craptacular one).

But anyhoo, with Dr. Matt's bike at some sort of "assembly point" in preparation for his jaunt up Italian mountains next week, and Mr. Jon recovering from his "field test" (which still only sort of makes sense to me after receiving this description: "Field Test = warm up, go as hard as you can for eight minutes, ten minute cool down, go as hard as you can for eight minutes, cool down go home. Idea is to garner data for interval based training in a 12 week programme.), I set out to do some sort of hill-climbing after a week off the bike due to various commitments, leisure and otherwise). I decided to do a version of my old, "now too easy", hills route, which used to take me about 40-45 minutes, over Alexandra Palace and back via Highgate. The twist was this time I would finish by climbing my beloved Swain's Lane, even though it was Sunday and would be rammed with pilgrims to the grave of Karl Marx.

There is very little to report, other than that I felt pretty heartburny/pukey the whole way around (thanks, bean burritos!), but decided to be a man, or at least a slightly grown-up boy, about it and climb Swain's Lane anyway. There were indeed pedestrians all over the place, and a surprising number of cars, plus two cyclists going the wrong way down the one-way part (I call this the "easy way" of doing Swain's Lane-- "yeah, we rode Swain's Lane today..."), plus one guy ahead of me really cranking his pedals, and some woman who I passed on the bottom of the climb (before it really gets going).

But here's the interesting part: I lollygagged from the top of the climb--Bisham Gardens--to the Highgate Village high street. The woman from the bottom pulled up next to me at the intersection. It was Dr. Matt's and my old nemesis, Rapha Guy's Girlfriend ("Emily") from the Tour of Wessex! I felt like asking, "Where's your team wagon, cheater?" And then I felt like asking, "So, uh, did you finally ditch that douche after he condescended towards you in his blog?" And then I felt like asking, "So, uh, you, uh, wanna ride up Swain's Lane together sometime?" And then I turned right, down the hill towards home, and she turned left, towards Finchley, or more likely, Muswell Hill, a maroon car trailing suspiciously behind her.

Anyway, I did the whole ride in about 36 minutes. Yay for me. Tomorrow: Doug and Jon ride laps, while Matt finds himself wishing he'd trained a little bit more, and drunk fewer beers.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A new poll! Just for you, LT05 YSY

Look out for a new poll, along these lines.

At a juction, driving a Mercedes, LT05 YSY, Do you

a) at a junction, get annoyed by the bike in front of you that is waiting for a break in traffic and is placed in the primary road position, honk and gesture for him to get out of the way (or launch into a stream of traffic), then either ram him or ram him while trying to get past. Then stop as he takes a picture of your licence place in the middle of the road, start shouting about 'you people' and refuse to give your name (or address, insurance, etc. etc.)

b) wait twenty seconds, pay attention to the broken down car on your right as well, and go about your way as usual?



Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A very satisfactory distraction

More footwear updates: the Washing Machine Post has posted a post about the fine Dromarti footwear.

"the dromarti black and reds are roughly a tenner dearer than their brown leather counterparts. those tested retail at £150, give or take a penny, considerably cheaper than many other top range cycle footwear, utilising synthetic fabrics. style is something inherent in the pedalling action of the rider, but should you find yourself bereft of such, and pretty unlikely to acquire it in the foreseeable future, a pair of dromarti leather black and reds will provide a very satisfactory distraction, while instilling a degree of pride of ownership for many a year to come. meanwhile, brace yourself for foot envy."


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Blue lines and bikes [corrected]

Diarization issues continue to thwart a TroisV ride, but no matter, we have all been busy. Jon has returned from Devon, where he clearly has been taking part in some form of Carmichael induction session, whereby the power meter takes the place of the E-meter. We await news of his OU results (no, not the Open University). Dr Doug has been entertaining (Dr Matt wore his Germanic Rapha in honour ('honor')), and trying to let us know he will be away, watching baseball in Wrigley Field, during our initial Cotswold Triangle expedition. And Dr Matt has mostly been shocked by HMRC's very upsetting views on the bike to work scheme, along with fretting about this wiggly blue line across the Alps. In order to stave off the inevitable shame and hurt, he went out for a variant on Dr Doug's most excellent North London Three Hills route, mixing it up a little with two ascents of Muswell Hill, and taking the long way back after Swains Lane (the new 'hoops' shaved three seconds off the ascent, stat fans).

Applications for a club secretary will be welcome shortly.

But, more bike-related activity has also broken out. Curious about what all this cyclopedism involves, Dr Matt's companion was willing to try out Ken's Velib scheme. An initial foray proved very acceptable, and something of a bug has been caught: five bikes have been ridden since Thursday, including a dummy run to work, and two practical zips through London, including the usually tricky-to-reach Paddington Station. It's proving addictive.

Camden's generous provision of cycle training will be availed of, and Mr Falconer is likely to get some royalties as well. Dr Matt certainly owes him something, as the advice to stay well clear of doors saved his nose and goodness knows what else on a descent of Haverstock Hill. Only the ample width given to the grey people carrier and the atavistic cry of 'Noooo!' (Jon's more magisterial 'Stay There!' would also have been useful at this point), saved the whole blue line thing from being called off.



Saturday, 7 August 2010

Improvised Epping Loop

The two non-vacationing (non-"holidaying") members of the TroisV gathered this morning at 8 a.m. to ride the Epping Loop.

Before riding more than ten meters, we each proclaimed the final beer of the night not entirely necessary. I was also plagued by the side-effects of eating bean burritos for both lunch and dinner the day before. How many bean burritos does one need to eat in a single day? Three, apparently. But these matters are best left to discussion on Oil Changes.

Anyway, it had rained overnight, so the roads were a bit wet, but it didn't really rain during the ride, which we accomplished at a fairly lickety-split pace (see stats below). There's something about the combination of Matt and Doug that leads to basic navigational problems, and so as usual we took a minor wrong turn and then a slightly different route over Toot Hill, which meant that we didn't get the pleasure of hitting the top of it at the little green, which was a little disappointing; on the other hand, the route we did take over it was a longer climb.

Early on in the ride we discussed the fact that the end of the Epping Loop--from Potters Bar into London via Barnet-- is pretty irritating, traffic-filled (and therefore exhaust-filled) and basically unrewarding in every way. It was agreed by a unanimous vote that we would stop at Potters Bar and take the train to King's Cross (we don't give a crap what you think, purists), which would land us back in the Capitol nearish a certain cafe where we could dutifully take up a position for the talking of shit. Which we did.

Cars seemed to pass quite closely today--a little too close for comfort on a number of occasions. A bus on a country lane actually gave us the widest berth, which is kind of pathetic, car-drivers.

We pass a lot of pubs on this route. One of them had a sign that said: "Chefs! We're busy! Help!" Another was advertising tonight's entertainment, "The Fab Tina T."

Stats (now in metric, in accordance with the new rule):

Ride time: 4:07:22
Distance: 107.13 km
Average: 25.9 kmph
Max: 62.5 kmph

These stats include the ride to and from Look Mum No Hands!; the average was a little higher when we were at Potters Bar, which was 97 point something km. Since none of us has any real idea what any of this "metric" (communist) crap means, Matt will throw the imperial (fascist) units in the comments. Right, Matt?


Friday, 6 August 2010

Bike Porn Friday: It's not about the bike

It's not, as some book says, about the bike. It's not even about the V02 max (certainly, in Trois V's case - although I note that Doug can now whip me in the sprints and the hills). But it is certainly about the terroir, that mix of land, sky, route, rain, camaraderie that makes riding a bike so much... fun, just like a Devon cream tea. Which, as we buckle down for some final training before Italy, one of us (me!) needs to remember.

Here, then, are a few favourite hills (and of course all that surrounds them).

Trois V!