Saturday, July 30, 2011


Since returning to Austria i have felt like i am back in the winter since just about every day has had rain if not all day . Certainly the periods of the day i would normally choose to ride . Generally i prefer to get going as soon after 9am as possible as with a good breakfast i am able to sustain several hours of effort and after warming up will even go for the climbs but the afternoon sessions tend to be more about passing the time even with a good lunch having replenished lost energy .

Wednesday was a day when i managed both morning and afternoon sessions but Thursday turned out dismal weather all day and Friday only improved in the afternoon and with using the " Specialised Frame " donated during the TDF i found myself doing a few adjustments as i headed out to enjoy the sun . Having ridden with a local for a while i decided against heading uphill with him and continued elsewhere and in doing so incurred a puncture . Of course the wheels i was using were redundant to my normal road use and are used on the Tacx trainer normally . The tyres are older Vittoria kevlar that have seen more miles than i care to think about , so i should not have been using them .

The wheels are Shimano R540 16 spoke style ,about 10year old also and are no longer used for the tours as the spokes are beginning to be unavailable . Whilst i still have some spare spokes i have not found any in the shops in the past 5 years . When the wheels were given to me by Max of MIC , i had no idea how many miles they would be expected to survive . The reason for using these wheels was that the casette is a 9 speed as are the shimano 105 STI levers on the frame . Since returning to Austria i have changed the chain and twitched the brake action so that the right hand controls the rear brake as is the case with all my bikes .

The saddle is about to change since it is a " softy " and i over the years have enjoyed the use of " San Marco " Magna and Carbon saddles which my rear end finds more comfortable . The current item is a " Ritchey Pro " and like all leather style saddles will suffer damage easily .

Chainset cranks are about to be changed also as i have several Shimano 105 cranks that will do the job and look more at home than the " specialised brand " on this frame .

During the crap weather i have enjoyed reading the news reports on Cadel's victory and offer here a selection of the items that some of you may enjoy reading at your leisure :









Contador must be really annoyed about this further delay . At Torino i was photoed by an Italian shaking hands with Alberto at the team hotel but the guy has buttonholed me at the Grand Depart on the saturday , so as to get into the Guest area of a " sponsor " , but once again failed to email the photo ! During the years there have been many photos of which i would have enjoyed getting a copy , so if any of you out there have photos of me , PLEASE let me know so that i can arrange to either get copies or give you credit for them .

Friday, July 15, 2011


After yesterday' s hassles i woke bright and early and was out of Pau to Lourdes and rode the course in reverse until the Col d' Aubisque whereupon i rode back to the Col Souler and descended to Ferrieres and then rode back to Pau arriving in plenty of time to chat to Hondo and a few other riders as well as greeting some of the Team personalities including Bob Stapleton who was grilled by the media about the future prospects of the HTC team .

During the ride through from Col de Souler to Col Aubisque we found cows on the road who would not budge , they arrived first didn't they !

Later there was an amusing message painted on the route just before the arrival on the Col Aubisque , wonder if the helicopters will pick it up and show it on TV to satisfy the scribe . Photo will be loaded at a later date !

Before descending to the valley and riding back to Pau i came across a large number of " Trek Travel and Bikestyle clients " who had been transported to the Col de Souler as this AT LEAST gave them access to ride the route before the Gendarmerie closed the road . Saw the Gendarmerie quizing cars as i started riding up the Col de Souler at 7.30 and there was a presense on both Cols when i passed over them . Why there is a road blockage so early amazes me since TDF can't expect everyone to start arriving so early so as to "twiddle their thumbs " until 16.00 when the racers are anticipated to pass through !

Gendarmes are like you and I , being expected to stand guard on the side of the road from these early hours must bore them to tears .

Evacuation from the mountain last night was "Racers first" i think , then VIPs ", then the Caravan with the "Public coralled on the side of the route and traffic travelling in one direction only ! It was a well planned and executed exercise by the Gendarmerie but there was still the odd glitch with railing/barriers being blown over and one local in his van attempting to force his way against the traffic flow ! Saw the BBC Sport people mover drive through the cordon to join the caravan , not sure if it was Boardman or his helpers ! Congrats to the Presidential Motor Velo Escort for the smooth running exercise .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Road Rage ?

Checkout this story , seems like cyclists are a problem that the "Met Police " can't cope with :


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Having met 4 Aussies in Les Essarts i was agreably surprised to come across them in Aurillac on Sunday night . Monday morning the team donated a "Specialised Allez elite Alloy bike sans wheels " that was surplus to their needs and thus was somewhat unlikely to make the journey back to Oz ! This frame is bigger than my black model but with seat height correct it will require a replacement stem to make it the correct length for the best fit for my use !

Perhaps i should ask my readers to nominate a "Para Athlete " who can put it to use as they train up to the level required for National Team ?

Photo of Cadel from some days ago , perhaps friday ?

Passing through the Swiss Border Control after the finish of the TDF i was stopped for a " Contents Search "! There was surprise to find 3 bikes but they went to the Internet and looked at this blog post photo and were thus satisfied that i had the ownership of the bikes . Of course a piece of paper saying you are passing ownership of a bike to another person is really not satisfactory . Yet to hear from these guys about their travels since our parting , should be plenty of stories from their visit to the Galibier and Alpe d'Huez .

Come on Guys add your story !


Rest day in Le Rouget i found the HTC mechanics beavering away preparing the team bikes for the next week of action . Earlier in Aurillac i was at the LeClerc Supermarche and saw the Soigneurs filling three Carts with goodies for the team . Whilst talking with the mechanics the HT C Team Racers arrived back from their training ride . Greeted most by name and watched several weighing their bikes . Interestingly Mark's Mc Laren bike came up as 7.4 kg ! Mark then proceeded to strip the handle bar tape , something he does himself as he said he changes the tape regularly . Now the owner of the old tape but not sure which bike it goes on as yet . Some years ago in Albertville before the depart Of the Dauphine Libere i acquired "Tom Boonen's Tapes that i still use on the " Porsche Carbon bike " .

Later after relating the story about my letter to Pat Mc Quaid i found Mark and Peta enjoying a few moments together and after permission i made the photo that you see here .

AT Les Essarts the Thursday before the Grand Depart i came across a vindictive/aggrieved one eyed "SKY Team " supporter , who contended Mark was nothing without his " train " ! WELL pal chew on friday's victory "sans train " ! Wiggins your " hero " is regretably home and " King Cav " continues to defy those who try to belittle his efforts !

Many in the media and on the side of the road deride Mark because he doesn't get off the bike to greet or spend time with them but i can tell you that up close and personal he is as easy to talk to as Jens Voight and Juan Flecha ! Fact is the guy concentrates when on the bike and does not perpetually wear a smile like Chris Horner who regretably is on the way home also .

Mark's team mates are all approachable and i enjoyed a chat with Mark Renshaw whilst he was in the supermarket opposite my car as i rearranged everything in the car to accomodate the third bike which you will find more about on "skippi-cyclist " !

Friday, July 8, 2011


During the years i have met people of a variety of countries , professions and persuations ! This past week i have encountered by chance a 2 star General of the Gendarmerie on Thursday morning together with a Colonel and their drivers and on Wednesday Afternoon i met his Superior a 3 star General at the Cap Finstrel . Both of these gentlemen were really pleasant and easy to talk to as they had very good english and were prepared to enjoy using their vocabulary .

Explaining my motives for continuing to ride strongly even though contrary to " doctors ' orders " they understood my desire to see that their comrades who are " disabled whilst in the service " are helped to get to a point where they can serve their country once again on the "field of sport " hopefully even at the "Paralympic level " !

Last year as mentioned elsewhere i had met a General of the Pompiers and also of the French Army . At Les Herbieres before the Grand Depart i met a General who i was unsure if he was formerly Army but now with the Gendarmerie . On arriving in the " Arrivee , final km " on Monday the racers passed uniformed Cadets who were training at the french equivalent of " West Point " who with drawn swords saluted their efforts !

Bernard Theveney and Ramond Poulidour are as always at the VIP area to greet the Guests .

Johan has had a nightmare TDF but still takes the time to help the media !


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Wonderful weekend of sunshine followed by winter in Bretagne as you can see with these photos !

Currently sheltering in a bibliotheque i found enroute as i have become accustomed to the 30's plus sunshine on the other races this year . Starting out this morning from north of Plouay with a watery sun it seemed we were on the thresshold of another fine sunny day . After passing 0km i could see the clouds in the west gradually turning darker and then that
became a fine Irish mist and the roads then became slippery and the passing cars started trailing spray .

Back pockets of my cycling shirt is loaded the same all year around and today proved that necessity . Not only the waterproof plastic jacket but the skillet then the jacket perpetually around my waist advertising " Fondriest " came into use . Looks like the racers will earn their money today .

More and more i see the normal motorist display courtesy as they pass with their signals flashing , and those who sport the "dog collar" that are here to encourage cyclists and broaden the Cycle Industry showing how little they consider those already using the roads on a bike ! Fact is these cretins are a disgrace and i doubt they can read let alone understand that " ASO " are trying to help keep them employed by reminding them of their responsibilities to the cyclist .

Sponsoring companies want value for their money so they are hiring people for a little under 4 weeks and some of these will work hard on creating a favourable opinion of their Sponsor and the minority will "sleep" through the whole event if they do not create mayhem and antagonise the public on the side of the road as well as those using the road during the "non closure periods"!

Already today seen some other cyclists take fright from the antics of those on their "paid vacation " !

" ASO " needs to institute a driving instruction course the week of the start of the TDF before they allow some to put on their " dog collar " and a written exam will still not weed out some of the turnips .

Latest photo of the " Arrivee "



Sunday, July 3, 2011

EUROPECAR Head Office in Les Essarts

Touring around this town i found myself in an "Alladin's Cave " of Cycles of all sorts , some current and some from earlier years !


Friday, July 1, 2011


Taking their time to get technique right allowed me the chance to tag along . Could have stayed with them longer but did not wish to interupt their formation rotation .

"Jaffa " allowed me to get into the photo with him .