26th January - The Bike Place Show

After a busy weekend setting up at Silverstone, the effects of my wonderful massage had worn off by Monday. That said, regular sports massages are a godsend for cyclists – working at Bike Shows takes its toll too! Even with our relatively modest display, set up always takes longer than you think, especially when there is one lift available for everyone to use. Still, waiting for a lift beats tackling 11 flights of stairs.
If you haven’t been to The Bike Place show, you’re missing out. It’s getting bigger every year as more and more people realise what a good venue and show Silverstone is. And without meaning to brag, we definitely had the best road bikes there – Sarto and Fondriest stole the show looking their finest.
Our display showcased almost the entire Fondriest range, including the new TFDisc with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes; Sarto included the Dinamica (made for Impact Cycles), the Seta, the Asola, the Lampo, and the special Campagnolo liveried bike made to order. In the middle was the Fondriest TF0, which I now plan to ride on my ascent of Mount Haleakala in March.
I’ve touched on the challenges of maintaining the diet during shows before, but this time we were quite abstemious. ‘Quite’ because Brian and I had brought some of our home brews to sample and compare; Brian’s “Awesomestow Ale” went down very well, whilst my Belgian-inspired brew certainly marked high on strength if nothing else.
As shows fall on the weekend, they also impact training and much-needed downtime. Nevertheless, it was great to catch up with SpinMeister Drew Gill from Spin Industries, who arrived on Tuesday with some lovely home baked cookies. He’s provided great wheels for many of our bikes – I’m particularly pleased with my Spin Koppenbergs, nice light alloy wheels. The Velosport Pasta Montegrappa ladies racing team will also be sporting his wheels, on Fondriest TF3s.
Wednesday was spent recuperating from the Show, and a recovery session on the turbo was a welcome re-introduction to training, giving the legs a steady spin. Philippa gave me some stretches to practice to keep me supple, so I incorporated them into my training too.
Feeling well rested, I decided to do a Sufferfest Downward Spiral on Thursday. This is a bit of a pig, but I quite like the structure of the reverse pyramid – 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery then 1 minute 45 hard and 1 minute 45 recovery etc. You work your way down to 15 seconds flat out and then have a 5-minute rest before embarking on the process again. I managed it pretty well – at the very least it was good to get it out of the way.
On Friday we went up to Cambridge to see my son, who’s in his 2nd year studying Natural Sciences. We combined the visit with a night at the Corn Exchange to see the hilarious Omid Djalili – well worth the trip and a day off the exercise. Or two as it happened, because we got home so late that it wrote off a Saturday morning ride!
I was delighted to wake up to a warm and bright Sunday morning, so spent most of the day outside working in the garden and on the bike. I did 3 reps up Staple Lane, a 10-minute climb that’s perfect for days when you’re a little time poor. It’s always good to get out on a real bike and do some real roads instead of the turbo, even if it’s a short session.
However at the end of a week that gave limited opportunity for training, I still think the big climb is going to be very tough.