Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nothing, really

Which means I have to start with a weather report. Warm and sunny (yes, true) for a week, then showery and not quite as warm and sunny. That brings the "days it has rained" count up to 34 out of the last 48. Jolly good.

And now to the increasingly irrelevant Tour de France.

El Tour finished with Sastre, C. coming good in the last few days, meaning Evans, C. was forced to settle for second again. I suspect that was Evans' best chance to win the Tour, as next year Contador and Leipheimer will likely be back, and Andy Schleck looks like he's coming along well.

In the end, Evans was too tired to claw back the time on Sastre in the final TT. He had the aero advantage over Sastre, but was underpowered. In fact, I thought Evans was much stronger last year. It didn't help that he had a poor team and that CSC had an extremely strong one. But still, sometimes CSC's tactics favoured Evans because they kept the pace steady in order to eliminate Others. Evans could have done with a good climber to pace him up Alpe d'Huez. I wonder how much Lotto paid for Popbitch?

I thought it was a decent Tour. Only four positives and the final winner wasn't as scrutinized as Contador was last year. The time gaps were pretty close coming into the final week too. I guess there could have been more attacking by the favourites, but it's not so easy to attack when you're on the rivet.

Turning to an even more irrelevant subject (the one that overpowers this Bilgespot like the smell in my garbage bin - more of that later): my own cycling. Note: this has nothing to do with recycling.

I've made an interesting discovery recently, after looking at David Millar's power output in the Tour's stage 4 time trial. It surprised me that it was that low (400W), given he weighs 77kg and yet it was so fast (49km/h for 36min). Alex Simmons crunched the file and determined that Millar had a) paced it very well and b) had an extremely low coefficient of drag and frontal area (CdA of 0.21-0.22).

I asked Alex to do the same for my file for the Chippenham club time trial I did a few weeks ago. It's a flatter course than the Tour stage, but on dead roads. I averaged 356W for 21'41 at 44.3km/h but I only weigh 70kg. Comparing power/weight, there's not a gulf of difference there unless Millar's numbers have been scaled down.

Interestingly, Alex found that my pacing was slightly better than Millar's, as for once I didn't go out too hard and I finished off strongly. But where Millar absolutely kills me is aerodynamics, as Alex estimated my CdA to be around 0.26. In other words, if I could get as aero as Millar, I would knock a massive 1'10 off my 10 mile time for the same power output. Hell, I'd happily settle for half that. I should be able to gain ~15-20 seconds just from improving my equipment. The rest is position.

Training of late has consisted of longish rides on the weekends with the occasional tempo session during the week. I'll start racing a little more in August, with the aims of doing well in the next hardriders event at the end of the month, followed by the British TT champs a week later (I'm in Masters B category and actually have an outside chance of placing), then the journo worlds, then some other events including a 50 and a couple of hill climbs.

So far, so good. I did the WTTA open 10 on the U7B (a lumpy single carriageway out and back that I've ridden on in the Dursley club 10s) on Saturday and won it in 21'40, beating Rob Lyne (21'52) and Alistair McChesney (22'42). My colleague Robin was 6th in 23'03, but he didn't have the best of days as he's been going a lot better than that in club events.

Next up for me is the Severn RC 25 on the U18C next Sunday. It was the first open time trial I did last year and I was an unknown unknown. So it's kinda cool that I'm starting as last man off on number 60. It's hard to say whether another win is on the cards, as there are a few quick guys on the start list. Andy Sexton (wot sold me my Planet X) has been on fire in club races recently, doing a 20'10 for the Severn 9.4 and a 21'16 for the Dursley 10 on the U7B. If he can carry that over 25 miles, then he could well be the man to beat. There's also Rob Lyne and Simon Haward. We shall see.

Finally, to that old housewives tip of putting a pinch (or half a tin, in my case) of bicarbonate of soda in your bin to cut down the smell. Take it from me, it doesn't work. Well, not if your garbage is as toxic as mine. I blame anaerobic digestion. I'll have to invest in some yellow hazardous waste bins, like I had in Gent.

No comments: