first off, major apologies for the delay in bringing this to your pixels. i have not known a year start like this, so much so that i have not even spent as many hours on the colnago as i would normally manage at this time of year. i'll try not to let it happen again, or at least, not as often because i know there are those of you out there who need something to help them get to sleep.
unless he has changed his mind since i last checked, scots cycling maverick and washingmachinepost icon, graeme obree has decided to attack chris boardman's 'athlete's hour record' on sunday april 4 at manchester track. the athlete's hour record differs from the absolute hour record (also currently held by boardman) in that it arbitrarily reverts to the methods and bike design used by eddy merckx and requires the use of a bog standard track bike, with no clever bits and no special effects.
boardman holds the absolute record achieved using, ironically, obree's 'superman' position with arms outstretched at the front of the bike. obree developed this position after the uci (these people really need to get out more) banned graeme's original 'hunched' position, achieved by using a mountain bike handlebar with attendant bar ends. what makes this even more farcical is the reason given for outlawing both positions was that they required specially built machines the development of which would effectively prevent the less well off cycling nations from attempting the same, through lack of funds and technology.
that graeme built parts of his 'old faithful' using bearings from the drum of a discarded washing machine (now there's a good name for a website) and fashioned some of the metal covering into fairings round the seat tube rather defeats the argument that this was space age technology denied in certain third world countries. and i heard not one word of objection when david millar took the world time trial jersey last year on a specially developed carbon fibre tt bike costing, at conservative estimates, around 12-13,000 uk pounds and development costs in excess of 30,000. this, however, is allowed becuase the bike conforms to the uci's decree that the frame be the regular 'double diamond' configuration.
by general consensus, the colnago c40 was probably the best bicycle frame of the last decade and now superceded by the c50. it is inconceivable that it should be necessary to re-invent the wheel (if you'll pardon the metaphor) by spending that much on development of a carbon fibre frame when the ideal already exists. so why is it alright to spend this much money to win titles, but it's not alright to hunch over your handlebars to achieve the same thing? anyway, the uci notwithstanding, here's hoping that graeme brings the athlete's hour home to scotland (not that one is prejudiced in any way:-)
this week's comic has a series of short articles on what do do to go fast, based on the excellent premise that those who don't win races generally do not because they are not fast enough to keep up with, or pass, those who are. despite the rather obvious nature of such a statement, it is undeniably true, but does it have much relevance for those of us who do not race? while i love my colnago for its ride, its colour, its carbon fibre and the fact that it makes me look fast, it is kinda nice to know that you're pedalling the same sculpted carbon as the likes of oscar freire, winner of last weekend's milan-san remo (incidentally, by way of a slight anorakish digression, if you look closely at photographs of dear oscar sneaking by zabel just as the latter thought he had won, he appears to be on a colnago c40 and not the rabobank team issue c50. by way of evidence, i'm sure i can see the number 40 at the top of the seat tube and the colour scheme is not that sported by the team's c50s. just thought you should know).
were it not for the onset of years and many a day sat in front of the ileach imac, i could see myself trundling up the poggio close to a race winning move. anyway, back in the real world, i still have one eye on the race training articles appearing in the comic and in cycling plus, and have been known to try some of them out. the one that my directeur sportif and i like best of all is that purveyed over the dark winter months when it is customary to have long, slow rides to knowhere in particular to achieve those base miles and fat burning that will be necessary when the season actually arrives. the unfortunate aspect is that the season has actually arrived, and not only has the base mileage been rather lacking of late, but we're still doing those rides every sunday, or at least every sunday that it is not throwing precipitation to the ground with a vengeance, and doing so in a horizontal direction due to howling winds. still, if you're going to race in the rain, you have to train in the rain. rather disappointingly too (from a cycling point of view, not a bicycle point of view), a bevy of muddy fox bikes turned up about a week or so ago to cater for this year's hire customers, and while there is considerably less assembly required on such machines than there was a decade ago, there's still as much packaging that doesn't want to come off, so it's not a five minute job. doubtless there are mechanics out there reading this and wondering what the fuss is, since they can unpack and hand assemble anything while reading tony bell at the back of the comic, and do so in less than sixty seconds. in my defence, my assembly line is in the bike shed (while there was a gale blowing, by the way) and i don't have to do this very often.
anyway, it will probably be about mid-june before the ds and i complete the base mileage stage which coincides nicely with ardbeg's old kiln cafe being open so that speed work can be assisted by coffee and clootie dumpling. bet the uci don't have a test for that:-)
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive cs and adobe photoshop cs. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.