Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tuesday Ride Report

Morning all

Smashing day for the spin in with only 25 or so out on the pedals to enjoy it.

Many newbies and recent joiners taking the strain; welcome to Marks x 2 from the West of the Pacific Highway Sect; Andrew from Chatswood, Ian from Gordon, John from Macquarie (sorry mate not sure where you start) – all safely mingling in with the seasoned campaigners.

C.Hippo not disclosing the make date or weight of his replacement frame, due to hit these shores later this week. Trust it will adorn the tomato and egg colours for full effect.

B1 Chris complaining of a whipping on the return journey last night at the pedals of BamBam, who’s still operating on one lung. BamBam thought it was the other way around so a stewards enquiry should confirm.

Bullet’s Strava record along Lavendar remains intact. Just putting it out there in case anyone feels inclined to give it a poke.

Awaiting BT’s return from the Pyrenees – looking forward to another Chavanel bidon to add to Bullet’s sacred shrine. Ditto Phantom.

Our Simba rumoured to be recovering well – broken shoulders feigned by the peloton on hearing a female-delivered sponge bath has been necessary for the last month or so. Look forward to your return mate.

The B&T overflowing this morning, standing room only for WBA by the time he got there; dejected, he headed off to issue more patent infringement notices.

(Almost)FTOTM Lunch Club today – remember it’s a new venue – all welcome. Sir Lunchalot issuing terms and conditions shortly.

Normal departure services tonight; 5.15pm and 6pm from SHB South – be sure to keep an eye out for any of our many newcomers to ensure safe passage. Anyone going at alternate times pls ping an email around to find a fellow journeyman, sorry person.

Have a good one all.

Yours in spreadsheets.


Tormey Tours inc..

Recovery from the Etape, was brunch, and beer, but the purpose of TTs is to climb ridiculously large hills termed Col de something or other and drink Leffe on return to camp. Thus it was not long before the suggestion of a ‘ leg turner ‘ was put forward and YHC was heading into the valley up to the basecamp of Col D’Aubisque where thankfully a left turn was made to only climb for another 3 kms and a gentle glide back to Pau…a cruise of 30kms average, though cute villages and gorgeous farm country, the slope assisting to make this effortless. Possibly the nicest 40kms you could hope for, euphoric even…followed by a café in a the square of a chocolate box village ..Half in holiday mode dropping hints that the next ride was due to claim a few peaks…although by then there were some sms messages being bandied around to rendezvous with some contacts Drastic had made ..could we meet up with Laura and Jo…and take them for a ride.

The transfer to Bagneres de Luchon ensued and breakfast saw us gathering at a large corner café to meet up with Turnip and the ladies, Half tabling a gruelling 3 peak challenge of his own…ok folks a swift climb of the Peyresourde down the other side, along the valley to climb the Aspin then home for tea…( Leffe ) only about 3500metres of climbing… all those in favour say aye…the ayes have it..

A slow climb of the Peyresourde is about all any could manage, except Half who was finding it no trouble at all, he took the KOM and waited for us at the top, and waited, and waited…nearly 45mins, Laura and Dave gave YHC every excuse to slow down, regain a normal heart rate, and slowly grind up..the heat ( now being close to mid day and 25C ) Just as Half was mounting up to return down the hill looking for us we crested and saved him the effort. Dave had a camera project to complete, and was soon cooling off at high speed heading back to Luchon and documentary history, the peloton headed off down the “ wrong” side and towards Aspin… Tormey Tours chief executive explaining that pain was temporary but the glory of the climb was for ever…YHC reached the village at the bottom in full pike mode…TT CEO and Laura heading up the Aspin…TT CEO saying with a grin that there was café to sit at or another 1000m plus climb, I was to choose one or the other…now lets try and see how that looks on paper…how could I write the report saying I spent the afternoon waiting for TT to return…So YHC was soon leading the bunch and attacking off the front to assault Aspin..and glory…what a climb too, plenty of 8 to 10 stretches, HC , 10ks of bitumen pleasure..and the view was worth every turn of the pedal. When there is no cloud the Cols have gobsmacking vistas and some of the hairiest descents on the planet… The pain of the climb was forgotten in the first 100m of the descent as 60kph flashed up on the gps screen, long sweeping straights, only the odd hairpin, but knowing the road having crawled up at 8kph it was just like flying.. The village of  Arreau at the bottom was closed, being now 4pm and for some reason the wave of tourists passing through were being swept out of the cafes and shops to allow the locals a moments food available for the return assault of the Peyresourde, but fresh water aplenty from spring water fountains…a little shade to be found and a sandwich nearly impossible..

TTs cajoling and climb whispering meant a short rest only and thankfully the return side of the Peyresourde was an easy 7% average, which meant cresting out by 5 and into Luchon for about 5:30..the downside of a HC climb being it is fast and furious…sorry is that a downside or just the perfect end to a 3500 m day…

This story will be oft repeated and the hills will get steeper, and the views more impressive with each telling…have a good one all…BT

Phantom’s Etape du Tour video

I must admit that this isn’t the most exciting video I’ve ever watched but you do get a feel for the race and multiple glimpses of le Phantom as he rides up hills faster than Jenny.

Phantom is wearing a white jersey, black knicks and black arm warmers. He rides past once in each clip and first appears at about the 35 second mark behind the white van.


Acte II – Pau to Bagnères de Luchon, Saturday 14th July 2012

Note that this is a very large file and may take a while to load but hopefully it will stream OK.

OTP Friday Report

Morning all

Slightly brass out and about this morning but not near enough to dissuade the 7 combatants in the barriers at Gordon.

The only incidents to report were (i) Bucky suffering some form of chain mechanical on Scaramanga, later reported by Crashant as being “the result of poor workmanship”, and (ii) my cappucino being spilt on arrival at the B&T.

Stealth was in his now-typical Friday “off the wall” mood which was enjoyed by all. WBA mentioned still extracting desert sands from places we did not enquire. Schleck suggesting the ER Country Tour in October should take in Wilson’s recent jaunt to Newcastle (thence to the Hunter). Derek’s speech was frozen until consumption of first pot of tea. FM Coops suggesting Wiggins wasn’t actually born in the UK. DT looking the part in the Axel Rose bandanna. Agro sharing his views that the Thpanith banking thector ith thtuffed.

Clyde spotted on the return leg of his BEWDIJ challenge, riding back up Miller Street even though he’s having the day off – 100% hit rate so far, well played mate.

Brownie spotted wheeling the track machine up Market Street in prep for the first installment of Raw Track tonight.

New boy AAAndy making his first recruit after only being with us himself for a fortnight – welcome mat out to (very) new boy Graham.

The Strava 6000m crew will be out in force again at sparrows this Sunday morn – all EOI’s to Stealth.

Coffee consumed in the duplicate and off to the office we sped, well crawled.

The 5.15pm is the only bus running on Friday evenings – Derek suggesting the Groin being the first stop.

Can’t wait to BT’s return to get some quality back in to the ride reports.

Have a good one all.

Mark / Satnav

BT’s assault of the etape du tour

They say a good story starts a the begining , this one has several, where to start then ? at registration, and the first bad news of the day was Etape organisation neglected to arrange bus transport back to Pau.That would mean anyone such as us in campervans would be without a means to get back…BTs level of anxiety rose to level 10 ..quickly back to zero when Phantom volunteered Mrs Phantom to drive their campervan to Luchon and make the collect..all formalities over in a flash, then leaving the ER team at a loose end in a trade hall containing all major bike brands and time to spend spend spend. First port of call was the Rapha stall, chequebook open…noughts rolling of the end of the pen…Mrs P making more than one visit, YHC purchased a jacket, shirt, gillet, shocked at the price but gently reassured that good stuff is worth it, anxiety level back at nail biting level.

Being a hot day, Half had taken off up the Aubisque, strava entry asap..current wifi crisis, the campsite router being routed means a forray to find free wifi elsewhere.

Team ER back to campsite and training beers, along with some brie, smoked mackeral and salad, then back to town and a second sally round the trade you can never have enough Rapha gear. At 5 returnng to camp to hear how ideal conditions were en haut..a perfect day for climb, 80kph winds aloft, BTs weather eye noting indicators of a rapid change on the way, low cloud and rain on the way. Dinner then early night planned for a swift transfer to the start line.

Sauntering in to town at 7:30, arriving at a seemingly ideal restaurant seated at 8…in the corner postition outside as the inclement weather gathered overhead..temperature dropping to a chilly 16c…much time to ponder such things as the waiter ignored our table for almost an hour. first course on the table at 9:00…Steam seeping from Phantom’s ears but food was on the way…main course on the table at 10…though by then we had moved inside the now empty restaurant as sheets of rain were sweeping the street outside…the check by 11…and a 30 min walk in light rain to follow..perfect preparation for a 5 am start on one of the most gruelling EDT ever.

We got up in just enough time to arrive at the start line in good time and waited until the other 8000 seem they knew what we did not and most showed up around 7, the depart was staged 9 groups 3 mins apart, YHC being let loose at 7:45 or so…note to self…jump the barriers like several others to advance the departure time…Phantom was in the pen before the last, YHC was lantern rouge before the show got on the road. When the balloon went up, YHC quickly joined a group and was able to maintain a 26 average to the foot of the Aubisque. Once on the climb though the speedo rarely went above 12…and on the hard bits 7. Entered cloud just above the first village of Leruns, the temp dropped to a chilly 10 to 12..then the rain started, all good though wrapped in Rapha, the climb was heating enough, at the top after having listed to multiple English competitors complaining they could have gone to Manchester for the weather. The descent was freezing, slow as wet roads, sheep sh#te fog, and loads of chilled cyclists made it impossible to go fast…YHC managed to barge through eventually and find some space to accellerate but very very chilled , nay hypothermic by the time the feed station at the bottom was reached. The “voiture balai” sweeping up a fair few of the cohort under space blankets and suffering..YHC stopping long enough to wring out the socks and swallow some gel..then heaving back into the fray towards Tourmalet..just what you need after a freezing wet soaking. Nice warm valley, and another groupetto meant the transfer was reasonably fast, my average at the bottom of Tourmalet was 20..the course starts climbing before you know it but starts for real as the GPS rolled over 10% for 10km..with a stretch at 12 / 13..YHC was hurting, but had a good granny gear and was churning up slowly..6 to 9 the 10k mark was punctuated by a food stop, where a convenient car park housed multiple busses..having watered and fed, I was heading up the road when the Gendarmarie waved me down…”Sorry sir for you the dream is over” you will not make the cut off …put your bike on the truck and get on the broom…

4 hrs on the bus…still not at Luchon, arrived at gone 7:30…let me just say that putting 100 sweating, soaking cyclists into a small space most of whom eat garlic for breakfast was a nasal experience not to missed. The arrivee at Luchon to hear Phantom crossed the line was at least a partial ER victory..YHC now has all of next year to prepare for the next rediculously difficult Etape du Tour…but there were tears in the beer used to toast his victory. Food and drink was then the next order of the day, andwith Half schmoozing along the restaurants do you think any would spring open their doors after 8pm…eventually we found an enterprising takeaway pizza joint and returned to the Phantoms van to sip champaign and gather energy to then drive the 200 kms back to Pau..bed by 1am…quite a day…

Many congratulations to Phantom…Chapeau.