Hitting the Wall

If you haven’t had the chance to get your arse out of bed on one of these nice balmy mornings and take a trundle up into the hills, then you just don’t know what you are missing out on.

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This is a photo I took this morning (Tuesday) looking back onto Woods Hill Road from Greenhill Road. Sun had been up for half an hour or so, there was a good splattering of cyclists enjoying the morning, and there was hardly any traffic on the road.  Just brilliant.

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BIC Cycling Jersey

Luis Ocana
Luis Ocana

I find some of the old classic jerseys irresistible. They are simple, stylish and reek of tradition.  One of my favourites would have to be the BIC jersey.

As you probably know, Société Bic (commonly referred to just as Bic) is a company based in Clichy, France, founded in 1945 by Baron Marcel Bich, and they sponsored a professional cycle racing team from 1967 through 1974.

Jacques Anquetil rode for the team 1967 through 1969, the last 3 years of his career, the team rode Anquetil branded bikes during those years.  Luis Ocana was team leader 1970 through 1974, the last year of sponsorship.

Jacques Anquetil
Jacques Anquetil

Jacques Anquetil is famous for being the first cyclist to ever win the Tour de France five times. Born in 1934, he would become an exceptional time trial specialist, as well as the only rider to ever wear the yellow jersey for the entirety of the Tour de France, during his 1961 win.

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The Wall

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These last few weeks has seen me head out on a Saturday morning for a ride down to Clarendon – a lovely part of the world, and surprisingly not that far away. A quick skoot up Old Belair Road, over to Blackwood, the back streets to the bottom of Main Road up Chandlers Hill, over the top and down the other side and wallah!

Both return trips has had me heading up through Cherry Gardens and over towards Ironbank. This Saturday just gone, rather than head down Pole Road and over to Upper Sturt Valley Road, I thought I would head down through Ironbank and up to Stirling.

Unfortunately there roadworks on Sturt Valley Road that has temporarily blocked the road, so I had to detour up a road I had never been up before. Whitewood Road.

This road segment is called The Wall on Strava for good reason. At an average of 10.1% gradient, with pinches over 13%, this is a killer hill.

I must predicate the following by saying that I was feeling cooked by this stage (probably the drink from the previous nights work xmas party the previous night catching up).

This hill whilst not the hardest in Adelaide, is pretty damn close At just a tad over 1km long, its not that long, but be prepared to spend a long time looking at the road ahead of you. Strava says it has an average 10.1% gradient, but it has pinches above 13%.

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Unfortunately the following photos don’t do it any justice, but a great excuse for me to get the camera out and go for a drive.

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the wall

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That fabulous Pink Floyd  Screaming Head – well, thats what I felt like when I realised that I still had Upper Sturt Valley Road to finish before I had the welcome relief to on down in Adelaide.

Needless to say a stop at Red Berry Espresso for a recovery coffee was an absolute must. Unfortunately I only had a fiver on me so couldn’t afford a chocolate muffin!

This is the easy way to take Whitewood Road, but bear in mind, you end up at the bottom of a Valley, and there is only one way out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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How to become a better climber

Over at Cycling Tips, a few weeks ago, they posted an article by Helen Kelly, from Kelly Cycle Coaching.

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How to become a better climber  (link here)

The topics covered in this article are:

  1. ARE YOUR GLUTES WORKING AND ARE THEY STRONG ENOUGH?
  2. DO YOU HAVE GOOD CORE STABILITY?
  3. DO YOU PRACTICE RIDING IN AND OUT OF THE SEAT AND RIDING AT DIFFERENT SPEEDS?
  4. CAN YOU TORQUE THE BIKE OUT OF THE SEAT?
  5. CASSETTE CHOICE AND CRANK CHOICE
  6. POWER TO WEIGHT RATIOS
  7. DON’T SMASH YOURSELF ON EVERY RIDE

It all made for a very interesting read and got me thinking about my cycling style. Each of the first 4 themes I can definitely improve, but the one that piqued my interest was the first one.

Glute Actvation.

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In particular the paragraph that says “It is very common for riders to not use their glutes enough or at all. Those who can’t activate their glutes at all ride predominantly with their quads and hamstrings and are missing out on a massive amount of power that could be used for each pedal stroke.”

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The article doesn’t provide an indication on how to activate the glutes other than a recommendation that your physio will be able to give you some exercises to assess and activate your glutes.

The article also got me thinking about my whole pedal stroke, so I have spent the last few weeks trying to activate those muscles I haven’t been using, namely the hamstring and the glutes.  I think I’ve got the hamstring activation sussed, and it will take a few more weeks for it to become part of my stroke without thinking  about it. The glutes are another story, I haven’t got it sussed yet, but I’m working on it.

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Toy of the Week – Gear Floss

Finish Line Gear Floss

Working to the same principal as dental floss, the clever micro-fibre strips latch onto the dirt, preventing it from cross contaminating other parts of the drive-train. Better still, they’re machine washable so can be reused over and over again. Common to similar grime gobblers, a preliminary purge using a cassette claw reaps best rewards, especially on really gruesome congealed gunge.

Prise open the pack and you’re presented with twenty 51cm lengths of super tactile woven rope with crimped ends to prevent them fraying. Getting the most from each strip is basically a question of tackling the cleanest areas first. Under the brakes, a trip around the cantilever bosses and on to the hub cones perhaps…

Clasping the ends between your fingers, adopting a push-me, pull you sawing motion sees the grease, grime and unmentionables vanish from derailleur cages, square taper bottom bracket axle/crank interfaces and those jockey wheels. This isn’t simply an exercise in bike vanity either, since this sludge can become a mightily potent grinding paste, chomping through chains, rings and sprockets at a ruinous rate.

Or, in the absence of gear floss, you could just rip up an old cotton t-shirt and some degreaser, turn the radio onto ABC Grandstand and wile away a few hours in the garage next time you clean your bike.

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till next week

tight spokes

iPib

One thought on “Hitting the Wall

Add yours

  1. Hi

    I haven’t done it for quite a few months now, but yeah, I’ve done it. That last 100m is an absolute killer.

    Strangely enuf, I only got around to doing Heather in Crafers last weekend for the first time. Thats also a little beauty. Would have to be the closest in the Adelaide Hills to WTF corner – 3 peaks. Excepting of course wtf just keeps on keeping on!

    Cheers

    Like

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