The year is drawing to a close, but there’s plenty of cycling left to do, watch, read about and follow. We came up with 32 things to think about before 2013 comes to a close…
01 Watch these big races
The last Grand Tour of 2013, the Vuelta a España is already under way, and Eurosport is covering each stage, but there are still pro Classics and other big road races to look forward to.
Also coming up in the men’s WorldTour
September 13 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
September 15 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
October 6 Il Lombardia
October 11-15 Tour of Beijing
All details on www.uci.ch
02 Buy a new bike
Many bike brands bring in next year’s models at this time of year, so you could go for the latest most up to date item, or the non-fashion conscious could grab a 2013 bargain. You might get an even better deal on a 2012. Just turn to our back pages for the most up to date offers, or try the internet.
Top seven search results for ‘2013 bike sales’
03 Ride on the Moon
Why not round off 2013 with a big adventure? The Lasik Tour of the Moon is a ride through the Colorado National Monument, which looks like nowhere else on the planet. Well, not this one anyway. Desert winds have scoured deep canyons and made towers from the old sandstone rock that look like the surface of the moon.
It’s also a place for cycling pilgrims, because the Coors Classic race passed through here and some of the cult film, American Flyers was shot in the Colorado Monument. Even more footage came from the 1984 Coors Classic, which was an American stage race that evolved into a world event. It ran from 1975 until 1988 and Bernard Hinault won the 1986 edition. The last Coors Classic was won by Davis Phinney, the BMC pro Taylor Phinney’s dad.
There are two distances for the Tour of the Moon: 41 and 62 miles, or a metric century as they call 100 kilometres in the States. The event will be held on October 5 this year, and as well as the big ride there are a number of other attractions in town, including cycling films and an expo. Details are on www.tourofthemoon.com, which has pictures guaranteed to make you want to ride.
04 Invent a personal cycling challenge
Everything is out there to do, from your first 100-mile ride in a day, through accumulating the height gain of Mount Everest, to riding across the country; either this one or another. The only limit to a personal cycling challenge is your imagination really.
Take Rob Ainsley for example. He’s in the middle of doing a series of rhyming coast to coast rides. He done Stranraer to Dunbar, Barrow to Jarrow, Lynmouth to Teignmouth, Barmouth to Yarmouth and Poole to Goole. He’s taking on Hull to Mull next, read his blog about it; http://b2yp2g.blogspot.co.uk. It’s fascinating, and he’s inspirational
Personal challenges are a good way to raise money for charity, and the wackier the challenge the more attention it attracts and more good it can do. Have a look at this link to see how to join the Near Naked Challenge (don’t worry, it won’t land you in trouble with the indecency laws) www.malecancer.org/boc/challenges/try/17
05 Moonlight in Paris
Nightrider Paris is a 100-kilometre ride around the heart of the world’s most beautiful city, including the Champs-Elysées. It’s held over the night of September 21-22, details on www.nightrider.org.uk.
06 Visit the road race World Championships
Every World Road Race Championship has a unique flavour, and anyone who’s into racing should try to catch at least one live and in the flesh.
This year’s road Worlds in Tuscany could be Britain’s best ever, with several title and medal prospects running across all the races from junior through under-23 and into the elites, where Bradley Wiggins is one of the favourites for the time trial and Chris Froome could win the road race.
Full details including start times, places and finishes, plus the courses, are on the Worlds website www.toscana2013.it. A visit would be worth it just to see Florence, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Sunday, September 22: Men’s and women’s elite team time trial
Monday, September 23: Junior women’s and men’s under-23 time trial
Tuesday, September 24: Junior men’s and women’s time trial
Wednesday, September 25: Elite men’s time trial
Friday, September 27: Junior women’s and under-23 road race
Saturday, September 28: Junior men’s and women’s road race
Sunday, September 29: Elite men’s road race
07 Buy a book
With the 100th Tour de France come and gone, the tidal wave of cycling books continues. These are just some of the new cycling titles out this autumn.
■ It’s All About The Bike, Sean Yates’ autobiography, out September 12
■ At Speed, The latest from Mark Cavendish, out November 7
■ Mountain Higher, Daniel Friebe’s sequel to Mountain High, out September 26
■ Team Sky: Giro and Tour Diary, Scott Mitchell’s photographic book, also out September 26
■ The Breakaway, Nicole Cooke’s autobiography, out on November 7
■ Classic Cycling Race Routes, Chris Sidwells’s out on October 1
08 Book early for Yorkshire
We’re not kidding. It might be just under a year before the 2014 Tour de France starts in Yorkshire with two stages, followed by one from Cambridge to London, but if you want to be there to soak up the atmosphere and you haven’t already got a place to stay, start looking for one and grab it now.
Use this special link to see what’s on offer. www.iknowyorkshire.co.uk/tourist_information/yorkshire/all_yorkshire/yorkshire-tour-de-france-accommodation.htm.
09 Go RiTMO
RiTMO is the cycling equivalent of a golf handicap. It takes the average speed of your best three rides from the previous six months that are over 10 miles, and factors in the route’s nature and its distance, so a fast, flat 10 miles can be compared directly with an 80-mile slog around the Chilterns, for example. The end result is a number between 0 and 28.
This RiTMO Rating then tells you how you’re doing. If the number goes down, you’re getting better, and if it goes up – well, you might need to make some changes. Rides can be recorded with a GPS unit or smartphone. Use this link for more details www.cyclingweekly.cc/ritmo.
10 Ride these sportives
This is just a small selection of what’s on offer this autumn, so don’t even think about stopping for the season!
For more sportives check out the Cycling Weekly sportive calendar online at www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/536147/2013-cyclo-sportive-calendar.html
Saturday September 14 – The Otley Sportive,
the Bridge Church, Otley, LS21 1RW. 12/40/70 miles, £12 . Twitter: @otleysportive
Saturday September 14
- The Tour Ride Scotland
, Glentress, Peebles, EH45 8NB and Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill, DG3 4AQ
. 50/100 miles, £35. Twitter:
@thetourride Website: www.thetour.co.uk
Sunday September 15 – Cycletta Scotland, Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland PH2 6BD. 20/45/63km, £22/£33/£37. Twitter: @cycletta
Saturday September 21 – The Wakefield Hospice Sportive, The Dark Peak , Calder Island Way, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF2 7AW 72. 45/23 miles, £25/£20/£15 . Website: www.wakefieldhospice.org/events
Sunday September 22 - Ibbo’s Cake Quest, Walton-on-the-Hill Community Centre, Tadworth, KT20 7SN. 60/110/150km, £25. Website: www.ibbocakequest.com
Sunday September 29
- Cycletta Brighton,
Plumpton Racecourse, Plumpton, East Sussex, BN7. 42/79km, £38-£42 . Twitter: @cycletta
Saturday October 5 – Wiggle Saturday New Forest 100 , New Park, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7QH. 44/66/100 miles £20-£30. Twitter: @ukcyclingevents Website: www.ukcyclingevents.co.uk
Sunday October 6 - Cycling Weekly Lakeland Monster Miles, Fitz Park, Keswick, Lake District, Cumbria . 44/62 miles, £25/£35 . Website: http://cyclingweekly.ipcshop.co.uk/shop/cycling-events/cw-adventure-x
Sunday October 6 - Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, Durham. 78 miles, £63. Twitter: @etapeseries Website: www.etapepennines.co.uk
Sunday October 13 – Cycling Weekly Box Hill Original Sportive,
Epsom Race Course, Epsom Downs, Surrey, KT18 5LQ. 44/80/103 miles, £20/£30. Twitter:
@cyclingweekly Website: http://cyclingweekly.ipcshop.co.uk/shop/sportives
Sunday October 20 - Exmoor Beast, Tiverton High School, Tiverton, EX16 6SQ. 62/100 miles, £29 Website: www.exmoorbeast.org
Sunday October 27 – The Wiggle Rut, Event details to be announced soon. Website: www.kilotogo.com Twitter: @kilotogo
11 Visit these autumn cycling destinations
1. The Dukeries of Nottinghamshire
2. The Northumberland coast
3. The Surrey Hills
4. The Trossachs
5. Mid Wales
12 Watch these track events
September 25-29 – National Men’s and Women’s Open and Paracycling Championships in Manchester. The Nationals don’t always get the crowd they deserve, but you’ll see some of our top Olympic and Paralympic riders fighting like mad to win the coveted titles. www.britishcycling.org
October 5-10 – the UCI World Masters Track Championships
in Manchester. Worth a look just to see that age is no barrier.
The Masters Worlds often attract some stars of yesteryear too.
October 26 – Revolution 41 in Manchester. Stars of the future compete on the same bill as the world’s best in exciting and imaginative races. www.cyclingrevolution.com
November 1-3 – UCI track World Cup at Manchester velodrome kicks off qualification for the World Championships in Columbia next year. www.trackworldcup.co.uk
November 30 – Revolution 42 in Glasgow. www.cyclingrevolution.com
November 19-24 – The Ghent Six in the Sportspaleis, Citadelpark, Ghent, Belgium. www.z6sdaagse.be
13 Get muddy
The cyclo-cross season is upon us. It runs through winter and into February and it’s one of the most accessible branches of our sport. You don’t even have to have a cyclo-cross bike for most races, a mountain bike will do fine. Almost all ages are catered for at every venue, and you can enter most races on the day too.
There’s a full list of cyclo-cross races on www.britishcycling.org – just click on cyclo-cross at the top of the page and off you go. If you like the experience there are a growing number of summer cyclo-cross races too. It’s a fantastic way for youngsters to start in bike racing, because the reflexes learned in cyclo-cross last forever.
Cyclo-cross is also a great winter workout for more experienced riders. One hour at or near your threshold will do wonders to boost it, plus you are constantly slowing then accelerating, which puts power into your legs. Cyclo-cross also provides a very good core training session, because you rarely stay in one position for long so you vary where you apply power to your bike from.
You need some skills, but the simplest way to practice is to mark out a small off-road course that has a steep uphill, a steep down, some 90° corners and at least one full 180 and a variety of surfaces. Warm up then blast round your course for 10 minutes, repeated three times with five minutes’ easy pedalling between each.
14 Join the rush to retro
We predict this will be the next big (ish) thing in cycling. There’s growing interest in retro bikes, either buying one in good condition or getting hold of a wreck and tracking down the parts to restore it. Messing with old bikes probably appeals more to men of a certain age, men for whom the glint of sun on a chrome toe-clip transports them back to their youth.
There are also a growing number of retro bike events to take part in, and just to prove their popularity the biggest, l’Eroica, runs on the white roads of Tuscany, was full almost two months before its October 2013 date. We still mention it in things to do for 2013 so you can get a bike that matches the event specification and enter early for 2014. Check out the Eroica website for full details. www.eroicafan.it. “It’s not a race, it’s the Woodstock of cycling,” they say. Love it!
Another interesting event for you to consider is the Retro Ronde in Belgium, a weekend of events that include a retro bike and a singlespeed criterium around Oudenaarde, where the Tour of Flanders museum is, on the Saturday evening then a big loop of Tour of Flanders roads on the Sunday. Details on www.retroronde.be.
Helpful retro websites
■ www.classicrendezvous.com for information about retro bikes.
■ www.classiclightweights.co.uk ditto.
■ www.prendas.co.uk – the best source of retro clothing.
■ www.ebay.co.uk – you can pick up somebody’s unwanted gem and make it live again.
15 Winterise your bike
Winter is just around the corner, so if you plan to ride through it and haven’t got a dedicated winter bike then it’s time to think about getting some winter protection. Even if you do have a winter bike, did you service it before putting it away for the summer? If not it’s time to do that now.
You don’t need much extra kit on your bikes for winter, just a couple of things and some tweaks and a bit of extra care. Mudguards not only make your winter riding more comfortable, they protect anyone riding with you too. Buy some lights, powerful ones if you plan to ride in the dark, or small LEDs if you don’t, because they help make you more visible on gloomy days. If you already have lights, check they work.
Finally, pay extra attention to your bike’s drivetrain; the pedals, chain and sprockets. Clean them regularly by scrubbing with degreaser then apply thicker lubricant than you use in the summer.
16 Check this out
The Facebook page, 101 uses for bicycle tubes.
17 Win a rainbow jersey
Yes, you can do it. The UCI’s World Cycling Tour was created to find amateur age-group road race and time trial champions. Places for the final, where the winners of each male and female five-year age group receive gold medals and rainbow jerseys, are gained through qualifying events.
Those events show how sportives can officially have an element of competition. The final this year will be held in the Trento area of Italy, on a similar route to the Charly Gaul sportive held in the same area, which was also a qualifying event. The final finishes on top of Monte Bodone, where Gaul won the 1956 Giro d’Italia with a single virtuoso climbing performance in atrocious weather.
There’s only one qualifying event left this year, the Val d’Aran Cycling Tour on Saturday, September 7. It climbs over the Pyrenees into France and back again using Tour de France climbs. Details are on www.valdarancyclingtour.com.
Full details of how to qualify, and where the events are held are on www.uciworldcyclingtour.com. So get training now for next year if you can’t make Val d’Aran. Details of this, the Charly Gaul and some other UCI World Cycling Tour events can be found in the upcoming book, Classic Cycling Race Routes by Chris Sidwells and published by the AA.
18 Donate a bike
Bicycle Aid for Africa is a charity that uses pedal power to change people’s lives. It says: “Transport and development go hand-in-hand. Virtually everything traded must be transported, and almost everyone needs wheels to get to work or school. Simple, affordable transport generates income opportunities in developing countries, as well as saving lots of time and back-breaking work.”
But millions of bikes are either thrown away in Britain, or lie unused in garages and sheds. Maybe not in your garages and sheds, but we bet some of your friends or family have a bike to spare. Why not help them with a clear-out and help the charity at the same time? Read about Bike Aid’s work on www.re-cycle.org.
19 Catch the Tour of Britain
Our biggest stage race runs from September 15-22, and it celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013. UCI pro teams Cannondale, Garmin-Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Sky line up against six Pro Continental teams plus seven British-based pro teams and a Great Britain team.
Sunday, September 15 – Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle
Monday, September 16 -Carlisle to Kendal
Tuesday, September 17 -
a time trial in Knowsley
Wednesday, September 18 -Stoke-on-Trent to Llanberis
Thursday, September 19 – Machynlleth to Caerphilly
Friday, September 20 – Sidmouth to Haytor
Saturday, September 21 – Epsom to Guildford
Sunday, September 22 -
Full details on www.tourofbritain.co.uk
20 Weekend in France
The Grand Prix de Fourmies is a pro race run in and around the town of Fourmies in northern France since 1928. It’s a UCI 1.HC race today and has always been a prized victory. It’s what they call a semi-Classic in pro racing, but it’s a great one to watch because it’s possible to catch the riders somewhere on the big figure of eight opening loop then get to the finish and see them through the finish five times before the end.
Fourmies is about 100 miles south-east of the channel ports taking the A26 motorway to Cambrai then continuing towards Charleville-Mezières on the N43. The website is packed with info: www.grandprixdefourmies.com.
21 Visit the Cycle Show
Where? NEC Birmingham
When? September 26-29 (26 press only)
What’s there? Everything. Trade stands, talks, a road track, roller racing, trials, BMX, an mtb demo track and lots, lots more.
22 Get down with the kids
If you have a budding Cavendish or Lizzie Armitstead in the family, take them to the Yorkshire coast for the Scarborough Festival of Cycling on August 30-September 1.
There are events at the skate park, KMX Kart racing, come-and- try-it grass-track for novices, a full grass-track meeting, time trials and road races.
The entry date for most of the events has gone this year, but just watching all the racing that’s on offer in one place could inspire your kids to want to take part, if they aren’t already.
Details on www.scarboroughfestivalofcycling.co.uk
23 Visit Ireland
The Ras na mBan is Ireland’s premier women’s stage race. It takes place September 11-15 over 410 kilometres in six stages, and the 2013 event will be held in one of the most beautiful parts of a beautiful country. The incredible coast and rolling hinterlands of County Clare host the race for the first time in its long history this year.
It’s a great event in a great place to combine with a short holiday.
24 Spice up your end of season form with this training session
If you’ve been training hard and taken part in a number of events this year you might be feeling a bit jaded by now. This session will rejuvenate you and put some extra top-end speed into the fitness you already have.
You can do this on a turbo-trainer or on fairly flat, traffic-free roads.
Step 1. Warm up for 15 minutes by riding progressively harder.
Step 2. Stay seated and start riding as hard as you can for 15 seconds then back off for 15 seconds then go again for another 15 seconds. Keep alternating like that for 15 minutes. The 15 seconds hard should be done with complete control. Accelerate smoothly with your legs and hip muscles, don’t use your upper body to help. Spread the intensity throughout the 15 minutes, so don’t attack the first few hard intervals with everything you’ve got then peter out.
Step 3. Ride easy for five minutes.
Step 4. Repeat the hard/easy 15-second intervals for another 15 minutes if you can. However, if the speed isn’t there, ie you are riding slower than in the first set, end the session.
Step 5. Ride easy for 10 minutes to cool down.
25 Head for the hills
For most of the population the British autumn is a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but for cyclists it’s a season of ear-bleeding ascents. Yes, it’s hill-climb season. There’s nothing subtle about British hill-climbs. Race organisers pick the most feared ramp they can find, and racers set off at minute intervals and try to turn their lungs inside out. Fastest time to the top wins.
Hill-climb highlights include:
September 22 – Out of the Saddle CC on Brookhouse Hill near Rotherham
September 28 – Mid-Devon CC on Haytor Vale on Dartmoor
October 6 – Sheffrec CC on Monsal Dale in the Derbyshire Peak District
October 13 – Catford CC on Yorks Hill in Kent
October 20 – Matlock CC on Riber in the Peak District
October 27 – the 2013 National Championships promoted by Ferryhill Wheelers on The Stang in North Yorkshire.
All hill-climbs are listed on www.ctt.org.uk, click on ‘events’ then ‘events list’ to find one near you.
26 Review your year
If you have a coach this should be an automatic process, and it’s a very worthwhile one. But coach or not, look back at your training and try to ascertain what worked and what didn’t. The best way to analyse your year is to look at what training you did during the six weeks leading up to when you were riding at your best. Use that information to plan your training for 2014. Doing so should help you to maximise your fitness for targets you have in the future.
This is a difficult process if you haven’t kept a training diary or some kind of training log. If nothing else, be determined to keep one in 2014. Just record how much and what sort of training you do each day. Record days of no training too because they can help you work out how much recovery you need. Record your weight from time to time, so you get an idea what is optimum for you. Also note when you haven’t slept well or been particularly busy away from cycling. And, most importantly, write down how you felt when you were riding. Just a word, like strong, poor, fast or tired, will do.
27 Enter the world’s biggest bike race
The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour sees 35,000 contestants race round a 109km route near Cape Town in South Africa. Entries for 2014 go live on Sunday, September 1. See www.cycletour.co.za
Cape Argus facts and figures
Men’s course record: Robbie Hunter, 2008, 2 hours 27 minutes 29 seconds
Women’s course record: Anke Erlank-Moore, 2007, 2 hours 48 minutes 29 seconds
Most wins: Age-group competitor Penny Krohn with 25 consecutive
Oldest finisher: Japie Malan in 2012 at 92. He rode a tandem that year but did the race in 2010 on a solo bike and was well inside the time limit of seven hours.
First event: 1977
British winner: Russell Downing in 2005.
28 Invade Normandy
The Duo Normand is an annual two-man or woman or mixed team time trial held in Normandy. It’s an incredibly inclusive event with WorldTour riders and beginners taking part, each in their own category. So everyone experiences the razzmatazz of a taking part in a pro time trial, with a start house, big crowds and great presentation, but everybody still has something to go for.
A lot of British club riders do the event, which starts and finishes in Marigny so it’s relatively close to the channel port of Cherbourg. The event is on September 29 but be quick to enter because you have to register online by September 4.
29 Improve your bike mechanic skills
Cytech is the recognised training and accreditation scheme for bicycle mechanics and outdoor pursuit outlet retail staff. It offers a variety of courses, including professional qualifications and an online course that will help you maintain your and your family’s bikes. There’s a really good video on its site that shows you how to true a wheel.
30 Fantasy cycling
Fancy yourself as a directeur sportif? Do you know which break will succeed and which won’t before it happens when watching cycling on TV? Then one of these games is the very thing for you.
■ Cycling Simulator www.cyclingsimulator.com
■ Pro Cycling Manager www.cycling-manager.com
■ Peloton www.peloton-game.net
■ Velo Manager www.velo-manager.com
31 Save Money
imple things to your bike and your bike shop will hate you, you’ll save a load of cash, and your steed will never let you down.
1 Remove, clean and grease your seatpost every six months. Put tape where it joins the frame to you get the right saddle height when you put it back.
2 Check your tyres after every ride. Replace them if you see bulges, cuts, flat spots, excessive wear or any kind of distortion.
3 Keep your chain nice and clean.
4 Clean and lubricate gear cables where they go under the bottom bracket.
5 Check brake pads for wear and remove any grit or other stuff embedded in them
6 Clean your cassette. The best way is to dampen the edge of a rag with solvent and run it between each sprocket. Clean chainrings with the same solvent-dampened rag.
32 Sun, Sea and Cycling
The Isle of Wight Cycling Festival runs from September 14-29. www.sunseaandcycling.com
The original version of this article appeared in the August 29 2013 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine