Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Kyoto Maiko

Still in Kyoto. Last night saw a traditional Maiko dance (the Maiko girls are the equivalent of Tokyo's Geisha's as far as gather). Afterwards had a traditional Kyoto meal in an old wooden hall - although we sat outside on a large balcony just next to the river. Very nice. (Photos were taken with a small Panasonic Lumix TZ6)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Photos from Kyoto

Taking a break from cycling this week as I am in Japan (Kyoto to be precise) for a conference. If you are interested the conference is the Japanese Society of Automotive Engineers International Conference on Powertrain, Fuels and Lubricants - I will be giving a talk there later this week.

On Saturday I was briefly in Tokyo and managed to get a shot of the famous pedestrian crossing in Ginza, and also took a few photos in Yoyogi Park, not far from Shinjuku station.

Monday 29th August, was a free day, so a did a bit of walking close to Kyoto Station and took a few photos, some of the best ones are below. Hope you like them :)

Monday, 22 August 2011

New 11-28 cassette fitted

After climbing up some of the hills, I decided to change the 10 speed Ultegra 11-23 back cassette for an 11-28 one. Although I could get up the hills on 39-23 it was a bit of a struggle on the steepest bits.

Anyhow, took my bike down to The Edge Cycleworks in Chester on Sunday afternoon, and picked it up Monday afternoon - they replaced the cassette and chain, and gave me the old ones back in case I need them. They also checked the rear mechanism could cope with the 28 tooth sprocket (it could).

Look forward to trying it out - which unfortunately won't be for 10 days or so as off on a business trip to Japan (Kyoto) which should be very pleasant at this time of year.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Update on Etape Cymru training: Sat 20th August

Planned to go out today, from Chester, down to Wrexham, over the Garth and then over World's End and then back to Chester. It turned out to be an eventful day !

First of all, I took a photo of my bike which is below:

It has an aluminium frame with carbon fibre forks, Shimano Ultegra groupset, and Mavic Aksium wheels. 

The ride didn't exactly go to plan as I got lost in Wrexham, and ended up doing an extra 10 miles or so.
Then, due to a mapping error, I don't think I went up Garth Road, but Tower Hill Road instead - that was quite a steep hill, but maybe over a slightly longer distance. I ended up on Panorama Walk, which was fantastic, although quite a lot of stones in the middle of the road. I took some pictures from Panorama Walk which are below:

Then after cycling along Panorama Walk for a while, I started going up World's End.
Those of you familiar with World's End may know there is a ford on the way up (from the Llangollen side) which I took a picture of (below):

Unfortunately, about 1 minute after I took this picture, I tried to cycle over the ford and went "arse over tit" (for any Americans reading this, this is a british expression which is not generally considered offensive). I banged my left hip quite hard, and couldn't ride up the rest of World's End, and also had trouble walking up.

Once I got to the top, I just about got back on the bike and managed to cycle, a bit slowly and painfully home (it was mainly downhill which was good).

I switched off the cycle computer when I was walking up, but despite the fall, managed 53 miles in 3 hours 45 mins, but this is probably because the ride was fairly flat for the first 25 miles.

I think on the day itself, I'll probably walk across the ford :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Update on Cymru Etape Training

Been at Centerparcs in the Lake District this week, but managed to get in 12 miles per day on a mountain bike + did quite a bit of swimming and walking. Planning on cycling down to Wrexham on Saturday 20th August and then over the Garth and World's End (from the Llangollen side) and back home to Chester.

Will take my camera and let you know how it goes :)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cymru Etape

I have just entered the Cymru Etape which takes place on 9th October 2011. It starts and finishes in Wrexham, is approximalely 100 miles, and involves 6,000 feet of climbing (including World's End and the Horse Shoe Pass).
I thought I'd better get some training in, so went out into North Wales at the weekend. I went from Chester to Hope, through Cefn Y Bedd, up to Coedpoeth, over World's End down into Llangollen, over the Horse Shoe Pass and back to Chester. I found a great site where I could map out my route (it's called bikeroutetoaster). Anyhow I used this to map out the route and the climbs - see the pictures below:

(For some reason the elevation chart horizontal axis is in km, and the vertical axis is in metres - the big climb at around 27 km is World's End, and the 2nd big climb at 40 km is the Horseshoe Pass)

Ignore the time, I actually did 3 hours 45 minutes which is a pitiful 13 miles an hour. I'll need to do a few more rides like this before October.
I hadn't been this route for a while - I also forgot about how dangerous the descent from World's End is. (I think the Etape Cymru is doing it the other way though - going downhill through the Ford was a bit dodgy). I was on a racing bike with 52/39 front rings and a 10 speed 11-23 back sprocket. Most of the climbs I could get up on 39/21 but there were a few I had to go onto the 39/23 !

Hope you enjoyed this, will update you on how the training is going next week