Sunday, 29 December 2013

In the news....

It's been a good few days since Christmas. I've been out every day since Boxing Day - the most prolonged series of rides since.... well, I can't remember - but certainly since summer. Cold weather has hit the Midlands and it has been an effort to step out of a cosy warm house into the frosty, winter air. I've been layered up and wearing my thickest number 4 gloves - but the wind still produces a chill capable of penetrating to the bone.

There has been some interesting things happening in the world of cycling - I know this because I spent a quiet afternoon in the pub yesterday with a collection of newspapers, slowly trawling through them whilst enjoying a number of pints of Church End Brewery's most excellent Goat's Milk. Here's a brief synopsis of what I noted:

Lord Foster - the architect behind the Millenium Bridge and Wembley Stadium has created SkyCycle - a 135 mile network of elevated cycleways above london's main railway lines. The cycleways span 10 routes and will be accessed from 209 ramps across the city. Lord Foster, a passionate cyclist, believes that cities where you can walk or cycle rather than drive are more congenial places in which to live.

"To improve the quality of life for all in London and to encourage a new generation of cyclists we have to make it safe. However, the greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of London's streets, where space is at a premium. SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city".  he said.

Boris Johnson has seen the plans and has asked for further details on cost - an estimated £220m to build the first 4 mile stretch from Stratford in East London to Liverpool Street Station. It is thought the network would be completed over a 20 year period with work taking place at night to prevent rail disruption.

Then I read an article about British adventurer Maria Leijerstam from the Vale of Glamorgan - she has become the first person in the World to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent 500 miles in 10 days.

The 35 year old set off from Novo Russian Air base on December 16 racing two other riders - an American and a Spaniard. On the way the sweat in her boots froze! - Snow drifts, complete whit-outs and crevasses marred her journey too. Her mother said that Maria's success was due to her meticulous planning, super fitness and sheer determination. To prepare for the event she entirely retrained her metabolism to burn fat and not carbohydrate.

Finally there was an interesting article about Chris Froome in the Daily Telegraph. He is out in Majorca training to defend his Tour de France title. 

He starts training in the gym at 7.00am - 45 minutes on leg strengthening and exercises to battle a weakness in his lower back. Then its onto the road for 6 hours. He does an extra hour more than anyone else because "I'm hungry - I really want to sink my teeth into next years Tour"

Chris believes he can get much better as a rider and has been talking to the great Eddy Merckx who stays just down the road from where Chris lives in Monaco. At the age of 28 there's no reason why he can't win the Tour again and again - he would like to join the greats like Merkxx and Hinault - multiple winners of one of the toughest sports on the planet.

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