Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter sucks as does Christmas


It was supposed to be my inaugural run at the 5km Parkrun Heaton Park. I looked on the website the day before and familiarised myself with the course and spent ages looking for a barcode I was supposed to laminate and hand in but I think they have done away with that. The website also said that the run was on subject to a last minute inspection. I decided I didn't want to waste my time going down as the paths outside my house were pretty bad and I only live less than 2 miles away


Middleton Cycling club was hosting its third and last track day at Manchester Velodrome. Preparations, I thought had gone well and to plan but I do tend to go overboard with my training and this 'tapering' before a major event never seems to materialise. Previously I had done a few taster sessions at the Velodrome, the last one being a 'half' session on Thursday. Also been on Youtube to find the best line to take when on the flying 200m sprint and I did think I would improve my times considerably.

We set off very early due to the massive buildup of snow and the inevitable traffic jams and go slow. Was everyone going to turn up?
Did lots of laps to warmup with and was first up on the sprint. I hit the top, coasted on the banking and put a little effort in on the straights as I was told to do a couple of weeks earlier. On the last banking about halfway across it you are supposed to accelerate hard by standing up but the bike is geared terribly for myself. If I tried to stand up the pedal would already be on the bottom, there was no way I can get my power to the cranks as they turn way too quickly. I believe the ratio to be about 48-16 ish, going off my road bike I think I'd need a 53-15. I was hoping for under 14 seconds but did 14.2. I timed the others and found the 'official' timing was about half a second off! so I probably did do under 14.

There was about 8 of us altogether so there wasn't much rest until the 1km. This is the one I wanted to go for. On Thursday I tried it, went hard for 3.75 laps and died on the last quarter. This time I was going well for 2 and half laps and died with 1 and half laps to go. I was aiming for 1 min 25 which I could do easily with better gearing and if I was fresh but I did just over 1 min 28. Next closest was 1min 34. When I crossed the line I did a couple of warm down laps and felt there is no way I could do a 2km. All the others were thinking the same but after a bit of rest we all eventually did it.

2km pursuit, my favourite. Last time round I did a 3min but that was with an easy 1km before hand. I wasn't feeling good and neither was Pete, my rabbit. Anna was my holder and pusher off'er and she did a sterling job. So I had a great start but kept looking across to guage the effort I needed to put in. First 2 laps Pete was flying as usual but faded badly and I caught him on the last lap. I was struggling as well but managed to pace it well. Under 3 mins was the time I was aiming for but knew I was no where near. 3mins 03 wasn't too bad. Pete was 10 secs slower than last time!

If you look at the piccies I tried to tuck inwards by holding the middle on the tops and not go on the drops which was a mistake. THe piccies also show how cramped I look on the bike. The frame is a good size but the seat is too far forward and the stem too short which if changed would lower the back and make me aero naturally instead of forced and totally un-aero. The flash on the camera showed off my 'night-viz' helmet nicely. A little disappointed with the times but I dont really want to get a track bike if I dont know if the gearing is actually going to help. I'm fairly sure it will do.


  1. When I first got the fixie road bike I started putting larger and larger ratios on it because I was having real trouble spinning quick enough down the hills and like you I couldn't get the power down on the flat while spinning like the clappers.

    I still haven't got the hang of going down a hill fixed wheel but I have got used to getting the power down while spinning along at 120+rpm. Its a lot easier to keep control of the bike, accelerate and stop using a smaller ratio.

    What i'm trying to say is if you ride the smaller spinny ratio regularly you might just get used to it.

  2. You did well regardless Crimmy. My trackie is 48x15 as I found the ones to hire are just wrong for me. Ever since getting my own bike, my times have improved dramtically, except for this time round, but that's down to the knee issue as halfway round my sprint it screamed at me and hurt that much it actually made me cry!

  3. Think Ill stick to red's idea for now, dont wanna fork out for a track bike and not use it. I have 4 hrs velodrome time booked in january so hopefully the more I spin the easier it will get!

  4. ps I see you have used my piccy of you as ya profile pic on facebook :)