Training : : Snow, Sheep and the Grazalema

The opportunity came up to spend a few days road cycling in the mountains of the Parque Natural de Sierra Grazalema in southern Spain.  Ronda and Grazalema both represent a good base to cycle out from and the former only 1hr 30mins drive from Malaga airport.

Being the end of February sat well with training for the Cycle to MIPIM but as always at this time expectations on weather have to be managed.  As you may have seen from my trip to Mallorca at the end of February last year snow is always a possibility.  The weather in Grazalema was particular varied last weekend with sleet snow and brilliant sunshine.  Temperature ranging from 0-16 degrees Celsius.  Later that week skies cleared and the weather ramped back to 18-20 degrees.

You can see below the route of day one riding taking us up the The Peurto de Las Palomas at approx 1200m elevation.  There are fantastic views along much of the climb and the quality of the road surfaces is amazing (compared to UK).  The roads are usually very quiet and drivers

Also watch out for the sheep!

 



Review : : @huntbikewheels 4 Season Dura Road wheelset

I don’t know technical wheel speak or the science behind wheel construction so these are my straight forward thoughts on Hunt Wheels 4 Season Dura Road wheelset;

I’ve been using these wheels since November on my Condor Super Acciaio as an all round winter wheelset for Cycle to Cannes (MIPIM) training. They are about 1500 miles in and have been out in all conditions with minimal cleaning and maintenance. I’ll say up front I think they have been a great choice so far and if they keep performing they represent excellent value for money.

They weigh more than 300 grams heavier than my Dura-Ace C24 carbon laminate wheelset.  Not a great deal really just a 1/3 of a bag of sugar.  The Hunt wheels feel strong and robust with 24 spokes at the front and 28 at the back.  They give a good sense of security should the inevitable pothole take you by surprise.

I’m very happy with braking performance on the aluminium alloy rim. There are deep grooves in the rim which makes braking in the wet super dependable including in the worst of  London’s road grim. We’ll keep an eye on rim wear over the next few months.

The hubs have been smooth even in the worst of the weather. The noise made by the ratchet when not pedaling is a comfort on the commute for increased pedestrian awareness.  The spokes all seem firm and I haven’t detected any issues with tension.

I  like the graphics used on the rims of the wheels which are monochromatic and minimal.

The wheels are tubeless ready but I run them with inner tubes currently. Interestingly they came with tubeless rim tape specified as default (I didn’t notice).  The rim tape did give way to the inner tube causing a blowout on the rear where it pushed through  into the spoke hole. I have now fitted Vitorria rim tape which is much higher quality and resolves the issue.  The guys at Hunt also offered to sort it all out; good customer service ; )

The wheels continue to be highly durable and the double sealed bearings are great for the bad weather months.  They are most definitely a fit and forget heavy duty training and commuting wheelset which I’m confident will survive until the warm months arrive.

160223_Hunt wheels

Food : : The Ultimate Granola

When training on the bike bars and gels are convenient food but they can contain high levels of fructose which can upset stomachs – real foods such as bananas, raisins, fig rolls, sandwiches and my personal favorite homemade granola are just as good. Super tasty with the oats helping to regulate the sugar release of mostly slower burning sugars.  Pop in a small food-bag shove in your jersey and eat out on the bike.  You can mix and match the nuts and dried fruits below to your own ideal.  Enjoy!

Granola

Ingredients

  • 80g clear honey
  • 80g butter
  • 40g  apricot spread or marmalade
  • 40g golden syrup
  • 150g jumbo rolled oats
  • 80g brown/demerara sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 30g pumpkin seeds
  • 30g sunflower seeds
  • 30g linseeds
  • 30g whole almonds
  • 30g blanched hazelnuts
  • 30g walnut pieces
  • 40g dried apricots
  • 40g raisins or sultanas

(makes 1kg ish)

Methodolgy

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Now line a baking tray with grease-proof baking paper and thinly smear butter on the inside of it.
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter, honey, sugar, golden syrup and marmalade together on a medium heat, stirring until dissolved. Now bring it to the boil and cook for two minutes so that the sugar caramelises, making it a super sticky sauce.
  3. Throw in the jumbo oats and mix. Now pour in everything else and thoroughly mix.  Transfer into your baking tray and flatten down with a spatula. Pop the tray in the oven on the middle or lower shelf.
  4. Cook for 12 minutes until browning off until set. Leave to cool on a rack, then slice into wedges perfect rectangles – pizza slice works well.  Store in a lunchbox in a cool dry place.  Pop into a small sandwich or food bag for eating on the bike.

 

Visit : : Coram and The Foundling Museum #drawingonchildhood

We still need your sponsorship for the Cycle to Cannes so if you’d like to know more about the charity, Coram, for who we are raising money then visit the Foundling Museum. There’s lots of exhibits and displays including the #drawingonchildhood illustrations which are beautiful and thought provoking.

Quentin-Blake
Quentin Blake, cover illustration from James and the Giant Peach, 2002 (c) Quentin Blake

The museum tells the rich history of children’s charity Coram, from its beginnings in 1739 as the Foundling Hospital, London’s first home for abandoned children, to the present day.

Through its collections, it charts the work of Captain Thomas Coram who tirelessly campaigned to set up an institution dedicated to the care and education of ‘foundlings’, the children he saw abandoned on London’s streets.

 

 

 

 

Training : : Spooky Richmond Park

A very misty Tuesday morning training with @ClubPeloton in Richmond Park for the Legal and General Cycle to MIPIM.  Reminded how much fog and mist can vary the temperature and the need for a good layer system.

A pair of merino glove liners in your jersey pocket can help getting caught out with cold hands.

IMG_5930

Review : : Up your sock game

Its that festive  time of year where socks come into the limelight for better or worse.  As far as cycling goes they are instrumental in the battle for warm feet during the cold months.  Luckily I’ve been testing a pair of Defeet Woolie Boolie on the bike and I’m pleased to report that my cold feet nightmare has drawn to a close.  This is a super warm pair of socks and when used in conjunction with an overshoe keeps things nice and toasty.  Now its been fairly mild recently (for December) so I’m also keeping a Sealskinz thermal liner socks as a back-up for the sub zero days. These can be worn underneath the Woolie Boolie for extra warmth.  Now I just need a Woolie Boolie with some colour, the charcoal is a bit dull.

Awarded | Kit Bag | for CycleTo MIPIM