Monday, 27 May 2013

It's a day-to-day, kind of thing

While I spend most of my days sitting either on my "comfortable", ultra light, carbon rail Fi:zi;k Antares saddle perch upon my trusty Raleigh Militis or the "recovery couch" (the worlds hungriest couch that will try and eat you at a moments notice).
I thought this week I would maybe talk about some of the other places that I have found my self frequenting since arriving here back in Janruary. These places help to bring and maintain a sense of "home" or normalcy here when at times it seems you're in a different world.
The first place I'll mention is the local pub - Obviously!

The Nags Head - the heart Mickleover

Highlights include, Curry night, an ever changing list of cask beers, different daily specials all through the week, the tours series, and certainly not least of all a sense of welcoming from the staff....regulars?

Next on the list and a place that supplies my other vice

PeliDeli - in Matlock

The owner Mike has put together a fantastic little cafe in the heart of Matlock, with top notch Hasbean coffee and an amazing selection of delicious sweets to help get you home even after the most deadly of hunger flats.














A recovery ride typically doesn't end with out a stop off at
Kona Blue Coffee - Center of Derby

These guys rock! Our most recent stop there included on of the best cupping/tasting experiences I've ever had.













A new edition to the list bring a little serenity to my life
The Cafe at the Burton under-needwood Marina.

I've just recently found out about this place but after a week of of lumpy 1500-2500 mtrs of climbing days and car dodging lanes this is the best way to unwind. Bike path pretty much door to door, good coffee (obviously) and a seat with a view.








Honourable mentions
- I have yet to venture over to ground Zero but these guys are amazing and have some unreal products going out the door!


Has Bean coffee - the best coffee around. - IMO.

- 1 Duesbury Court otherwise known as the Aussie consulit- Mickleover.
...a dated photo...or is it?
- Tesco - think discount grociers meets great value, on sale...Something like that.


So, that is more less how the days, weeks,  that turn into months look like for me. It's a pretty decent little setup here now.

On another note, I'm back in Canada for a few weeks.
More on that to come. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

CYCLING

July may be the month that most people consider as cycling's time to shine, but for me it's May! Well to be more specific, May while in England and the weather has turned to what I can only describe as a wetter, colder, windier version of what we call spring/summer. Basically in addition to my own personal daily races I come home in time to watch the final 20-50km of the Giro which is usually incredibly exciting (to watch)...I'm sure those racing it would use different words to describe there feelings towards the final 50 KM each day. Either way, fun to watch. After a nice little dinner and some relaxation the Tour of California pops up its live HD (and I mean HIGH DEF) coverage of the final 2 hours or so of the race. Now on one hand I am a true cycling fan at heart and really enjoy the excitement and agony you see in the race..the flip side of the coin is that I have raced the Tour of Cali on 2 occasions - 2010,2011 - and had a little success in each one (getting in a break...about as much as most domestic teams hope for). So, it's a bit bitter sweet to watch an event you've been part of in the past. Not to take anything away from from what I'm doing over here, I'm really enjoying the experience and the new races/racing on this side of the pond, I think I might just chalk this one up to a "the Grass is always greener" type situation. If I was racing in the US I would probably look at something like Tour de Haut Var and have similar feelings.

Speaking of Haut Var, when I look back that seems like AGES ago, I mean it was nearly 3 months ago but the memory from that first race has been archived well into the past. The thought of that though also made me realize that the season is now over the hump. I'm not in count down mode at this point but it seems crazy to think that we're half way through the season already. Looking back at the first part of the year I think there are a lot of things I can take away from it and positives I can draw from. Racing over here has truly opened my eyes and made me a better cyclist for sure (even if the results don't exactly reflect that) but I have to say the real perks to being here  are all the amazing places I've been able to see thus far, Southern France, Belgium  Paris, Girona, Majorca, All over England, Northern France...Planes, trains and automobiles...its been a great few months.

On the racing side of things the team has continued it's success domestically this past week with Lach and Rich Lang scoring 3rd&4th respectively at round 2 of the premier calendar and than the guys followed that up with a Win at round 1 of the prestigious Tour Series. The ball is certainly rolling now and I think with the guys we've got on the team we'll have no problem keeping that momentum going! In the theme of looking back to that first race I think I may have mentioned something about great things having simple beginnings....

Well, the rain seems to have subsided enough for me to sneak out the door and get some work done! Check back later next week for some exciting news....exciting to me anyways.

Rob

...aaand the good stuff...
I knew I could smell coffee roasting... disappointment of the century!

The young man after playing "footy" with a wine glass

Ah summer in Derby...that was a good couple days

R-E-C-

O-V-E-R-Y

all work and no play

yes, that little ball of spikes is a wild hedge hog...who happens to live in the hedges outside our door

Mexican Night, my 2nd favorite night of the week

Sometimes I have a room with a s view

it's no Prima Strada but it is tasty and the company was exceptional

5 hours on the bike not a drop..5 min ride to the store..soaked to the bone.

how most mornings start these days

GREEN

Sanctuary 

Proof I was in fact in a break in Cali...couple a nobodies...




Saturday, 4 May 2013

Ramble on..

What a week!! So much to report on here!
...Well, actually, not really...and lets be honest it was an inevitability that I would eventually slip outside of 1 week between updates, it's not that I haven't been doing things and theres not much to say, well it's partly that but the hours on the bike have reached an all time high for the year and this leaving me rather fatigued in the evenings. It could also be due to the fact that I have whole heartedly adopted the french way of training and rarely start my rides before 11...It's fantastic! I get to sleep in (no alarm required) , have a casual breakfast and then when the weather is about to reach it's prime I roll out the door. Livin! The draw back however is that as I mentioned above, 4+ hours of riding and you're walking in the door near 5, a quick snack and shower followed usually by some type of lite meditation (comatosed on the couch), nows it's almost 7, another quick snack to up the energy for the journey to the store... because I didn't buy enough food the night before...After all that you're cooking dinner at 8:30, done a little after 9-9:30... peruse the interweb for a little while and bobs your uncle it's midnight and all those totally awesome ideas I had for the blog whilst out on said training ride have long since vanished like a dream after waking, lights out and the cycle repeats.
Sheep
That's pretty much it these days, last week I set the high mark for riding this year...a seemingly low 23 hours... I'm pretty happy with that too, given 2 days were under 2 hours and the weekend was a race. A race you say? Yes last weekend was the kick off to the UK premier calendar series. Basically the UK's version of the NRC but with no stage races, all circuit races. Well, that's not entirely true, the weekend was a "stage race" 2 road races (120 &170km) It was almost strange to race for such a short amount of time...after all most of what I've done this year has been in the 180-200km range and peppered with World tour guys. This was a nice change! To attack and actually do damage...well at least just to my self! If you're wondering about all the ins and outs of how the race was won check out the report on it here at  VELO UK or try cycling weekly....I think we even made some Eurosport highlights! I would like to point out a few things I found strange for elite level racing...warming up on the turbo trainer...Yes I know it was a fast paced start and on the first day it was uphill straight away...but really?! Come on guys...if the race is over 30mins you'll probably be ok...

video

Another things that has been an added bonus fromt this great weather break we've had is that I've been able to both venture out in bare legs and also venture further into the peaks and lanes with out risk of death from exposure...a reality I faced back in March! In the last 2 weeks I think I have ridden on nearly 85% new roads, while it has been super cool and kept the training fun a lite - in structure only, theres nothing lite about the amount of short steep climbs or "berges" here...FML, some of my ride profiles look like the inside of a sharks mouth! After a few days of smashing(being smashed by) the peaks I have also REALLY come to appreciate the easy days here, even found a little peice of heaven, a bike path that reminds me of The Goose...the irony here is that for the most part I can't stand riding the goose when I'm home yet here it's the part of my ride I look forward to the most...could just be that while on the trail theres little to no chance a car will try and "teach me a lesson". Yes, it's true, even over here the home of the Tour DE France champion himself there are still plenty of people whole feel it's their public duty to educate cyclist's on where/how they should ride their bikes...although taking your pet for a walk on the highway is perfectly acceptable..

Pass slow and wide
A few pics that should have gone with the last post from Tro Bro...good memories
Just some of the planning need to pull things off


Assemble the minion!

Apparently Eric was concerned about bonking...i thought this only happened in Tri's

D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S

DIDDO

Being famous doesn't come without its obligations
first attempt at a photo bomb..you get the idea

Stone cold killer


Scenery




I wish this sign had been at the bottom...

Scenery 


Smoke stack on stilts...engineers do explain

British dining leaves little to the imagination...hmmm

Down but not out! Team-mate of the year Alex Blaine!

Durham 

Scenery 

Scenery

that's a lot of rocks

Scenery

6hrs later...


just another day at the beach

prepping for Tro Bro 2014



deep in thought

Who does this?!! Best room mate ever!

I leave you with this...


Enjoy

Rob