GIF of the Week
Ritchey Multi-Bit Torq key
The Ritchey Multi-Bit Torq key is a small but well thought out multi torq wrench that is versatile enough and small enough to suit most needs of the backyard rider.
It comes with four different bits 3, 4 and 5mm, plus a T20 Torx. (Zipp and Campagnolo both use them). The wrench is preset to 5Nm of torque, and while some bolts are spec’d up to 6.2Nm, chances are that with enough carbon prep paste 5Nm will secure most bolts.
The Ritchey Liquid Torque (Paste) creates extra friction between two surfaces, allowing tightening torque to be reduced by up to 30%. It is useful for use where over-clamping can damage sensitive components such as Carbon bars or steerer tubes.
Travels from Abroad – Dennis & Bob
Thanks to Dennis for sending this in
After spending a month in South America visiting the in-laws, I managed to negotiate compensation of a week of cycling in the Alps over the last week of May. As the wife didn’t want to fly home from Sth America with 2 kids alone, (and the fact that our proposed route took us to places like Milan, Venice & Geneva) she wanted to come along and support the ride.
The plan was hatched out of my wish to get back cycling in the Alps after a 5 year hiatus, and my friend Bob who wanted to put some hard climbing miles into the legs before tapering for the Austrian Ironman at the end of June.
As we were wanting to have a blend of cycling and family holiday we stayed away from the many cyclo-vacation packages and decided to go it alone. We flew to Geneva and had 2 days enjoying all the city had to offer. As a watch lover it was like being on another planet, however somehow I managed to leave without buying one.
My warmup ride was hampered due to a seat post bolt malfunction and no Sunday trading, so my warm-up ride (after 5 weeks off the bike eating fatty foods) turned into a 10km out of the saddle roll along the scenic edge of Lake Geneva.
Our Plan – 5 solid days riding.
Cut short due to the need to get the seatpost clamp fixed so we were left with tackling a single climb for the day. We saddled up on the outskirts of Martigny and climbed for the next 30km. At the top of the climb we had reached the famous Grand St Bernard pass used in the past as a crossing point of the Alps by Julius Caesar, Augustus and Napoleon. We’d climbed 1650m to a height of 2743m, and spent the last few km climbing in snowfall conditions and deep snow either side of the road.
We’d made our way to the scenic Lake Como region and were lodged outside the beautiful city of Lecco. We planned 2 rides from this location. The first was a 100km route passing through Bellagio, up a tough climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo (cyclists church), then found a few other decent climbs before dropping down to Como back on the lake, before one final 500m ascent before a 30km roll back home, finishing with over 2000m of climbing for the day.
We found a killer climb straight out the back of Lecco which was very testing. There was little to no warm-up before a long climb away from the lake. Whilst the early part of our route was great, we then found ourselves descending in an agricultural region with terrible roads, bad smells and not a lot of interest. We decided to wing it & take a mystery tour, and found ourselves in amongst some good climbing. We ended up finishing the day with another 100km under the belt, with over 2000m of climbing.
By this stage the lack of sleep (as the kids had jet-lag) coupled with the tasks of driving, navigating & not to mention riding were taking their toll. Never the less, we tackled the Gavia pass. It was 2 days after the Giro had gone through. It was 25km from Bormio to the top of Gavia, no flat or descent, just a solid climb all the way. We rode over the top & several km down the other side, to climb the final few km’s in the direction of the Giro. Road surface was very rough, and certainly made it tough going when hitting 16-17%. The descent back home was pleasant, however once back in Bormio, we had the task of a 4km ride back to our accommodation on the outskirts of town, which happened to be another 450m of climbing.
Our final day’s riding was the Stelvio climb. I’d been over this pass before in a car and have wanted to return ever since. The climb from Bormio (as per this year’s Giro) climbs out of the valley via 40 switchback turns. The hairpin’s do help in terms of ticking off progress towards the summit, and depending on how the legs and heart are feeling they either fly by effortlessly, or are a reminder of how much pain is yet to come. Starting in the valley at around 22 degrees, an hour later we were encountering snow patches. By the top, it was snowing quite heavily and 2m deep either side of the road.
The quality of our winter clothing was tested to the max, and served us well.
Following our ascent of Stelvio, as much as we wanted descend down the other side (47 switchbacks), we had to be in Venice by nightfall, so we pack the bikes away and drove down the hill.
Although we didn’t quite cover as much distance as planned across the week, we certainly did quality km’s!! Having the Mrs there to assist with passing bottles, taking layers of clothing and general support is great if you can convince them to come, although having young kids doesn’t do the training much good. I averaged about 2 hours sleep per night across the week due to the little monsters, which most certainly wasn’t helpful.
Tips for cycle-touring under your own steam:
- www.ridewithgps.com is great for planning ride routes. It is really easy to use and has great features such as sourcing other riders routes for a particular area, export to .gpx files for Garmin, printable queue sheets & the like.
- Don’t do what we did with respect to hiring a car. Milan, Zurich, Venice, Innsbruck, Munich, Geneva and Turin are all viable airports to fly in/out of for access to the Alps, however you’ll save lots if you don’t do a one way trip, so plan a loop and return to the origin airport.
- I downloaded Galileo on my phone. I know you can download google maps of an area for use offline, but this is way better. Before leaving home, download maps for the countries you plan to visit. Warning, map sizes are large!! However, one in the foreign country, with no mobile data, you can use these maps for your navigation. You can even leave your GPS locator on, as it doesn’t use data & you can’t get lost.
- We booked accommodation through Booking.com They were good cause most places had free cancelation until 24hrs before arrival. This is handy for if things go pear shaped for some reason, and you need to alter your itinerary.
- Take all of your clothing!! Being from Perth, I’m used to riding in summer kit for all but 5 days of the year. However, over there you’ll need to think carefully about your clothing selections. Consideration needs to be given to how much you can carry, conditions at the bottom, conditions at the top, and also how those conditions affect both climbing & descending. Layering is the key!
- Go with a friend, or a group. It’s always more enjoyable riding in stunning scenery when you have someone to share the experience with.
- If you’re going to race, do it uphill. Take it easy on the descents!! The last thing you want is a helicopter trip off the side of a mountain. Whilst the roads in Europe are generally very good, there are some that are very sketchy and care needs to be taken when going downhill.
Thanks Dennis for sharing your experience with Wednesday Legs.
I’ve got a friend, who as it turns out is also from Perth who is heading over to the Giro for his 50th, also with family in tow. Steve has promised to send a few travelogues through to Wednesday Legs whilst away. Good luck Steve and all the best.
If anyone has any cycling holiday experiences, please feel free to drop me a line.
Hands up how many of you knew that under UCI rules, you cannot ride with bar plugs. I heard that a few weeks back, and didn’t think too much of it.
Recently posted on a qld tri facebook site.
Shimano CM-1000 Sports Camera
In cooperation with a number of World Tour teams, IMG has created an agreement for cameras to be installed on the front and rear of race bikes at this weeks Tour de Suisse. A number of teams have signed up for the project for the Swiss stage race.
The cameras, provided by Shimano, can be installed forward-facing on the handlebars or rear-facing, mounted under the saddle, and content will downloaded from memory cards after each stage.
Each device will capture material for digital and TV distribution through the weekly inCycle TV show, digital partners and relevant team websites. Produced by IMG, inCycle was launched in spring 2014 and is currently distributed throughout 35 countries reaching 450 million households. Of course you require subscription to watch.
Team Belkin have been trialling camerras for a while now with some spectacular footage.
Belkin Amgen Gold
Unfortunately news off the press is that Belkin have just announced they are to withdraw their sponsorship from team Belkin
Here is a great little of the Shimano camera
The CM-1000 Sport Camera uses a 16MP CMOS image sensor that allows 1080p high-definition video recording and combines it with an F2.0 lens for low light performance. It offers two lens settings; a standard 135-degree angle or a super wide 180-degree mode and it can automatically flip the image orientation to keep the recording horizontal. In addition to being compact (70x44x30mm and 86g) it is also waterproof to 10 metres without the need for any external housing. A range of tool-free fitting options will be available but it’s supplied with a helmet vent and an adhesive mount. Shimano says that it offers connectivity with their other devices, so it can link with their new Di2 D-Fly Wireless device to send speed and gearing data to the camera. ANT+ function also permits remote external camera control via an external device.
And heres some cm-100 footage from a race in Japan
till next week