Colnago Carbitubo

This was my first roadbike, offered to me by my brother as a triathlete was too stingy to come up with the goods and prefered to do the cycling on a mountainbike, I kid you not. £400 wetsuit no problem. Pushbike, no problem, I’ll do it on a mountainbike.
Just confirms my oppinion of a few Triathletes are totally nutz.


Not suggesting that all Triathletes are nutz but why on earth would you ride an MTB when even like something of the above is considered a leisure position. Now I broke my first Carbitubo. I didn’t realise what it was, the Ferrari of cycles at the time. Mine was a Khazahstan team bike in the Tour of Britain. It had seen good use but wasn’t up to a 19 stone pounding. Not over the roads I was riding.

This is my second and it feels very relaxed, probably because it a size too big for me. It has been fitted out with all my surplus gear so hasn’t cost me anything other than what it cost me on Ebay.

It is fitted out in my surplus Sora Groupset, much to many of you’s  disgust.  Now I love my Trek Madone and the Iceni is still worth riding but going out on a classic bike like this still gives you that buzz. It must be the two down tubes as there is nothing out there like it.

Another thing is the quality of the workmanship  pantagraphed cloverleaf logo’s decorate all the lugs and it really does make the bike an eye catcher. This was before the likes of the superb paintwork styles of some of the later bikes.

Use of carbon fibre was in it’s infancy when this bike was released and Colnago went down the road to Ferrari to borrow some of their expertise. With my first one coming apart at the seams it opened my eyes up to how versatile carbonfibre is.

This bike now about 17 years old looks like a normal bike for the period. The chainstay where it first came apart looks like a normal aluminium or steel chainstay. The material is very very thin. It is about 2mm thick at max, more like 1.5mm and the more I read up on epoxies to fix it the more I was convinced what a wonder material carbonfibre was.

I didn’t know it was carbonfibre at the time when I bought it, just that it was a bike I had to have. The ride was electric when I tried it out, razor sharp, responding to every pedal input, even at 19 stone. It needed a new set of wheels as one was black and one was silver. So upgrade time it was, the ride to Wheelbase was an eyeopener I just couldn’t hack downtube shifters, I was all over the place. Dangerously so, so it was an upgrade to STI,s.

Now the general consensus is an Italian bike needs a Campag groupset but when you haven’t a clue about groupsets or STI’s pounds shillings and pence start to come into it. Sora it was as the upgrade was going to cost what I paid for the bike.  For that I got a set of Mavic MA3 rims on 105 hubs, Shimano  Sora 8 speed double shifters and a decent job on the bar tape. Setup was faultless. Clearly a case of using your local bike shop until you learn some core skills.

19 stone on a double is hard work at times when you have no concept of what fitness is. The ride home had me in 39×25 on a gentle climb and I mean gentle. Town Lane, Bebington, hardly a climb at all. Back to Wheelbase for the next upgrade.

A triple on a Colnago surely some mistake. But a triple it was, I’m still trying to get any cycling clothes to fit me at this stage.  Mixing with other cyclists and sharing knowledge was not even a concept in my mind. What did I have to offer?

Now the Colnago name on the bike had me as a marked man, everybody and I mean everybody had me in their sights. There wasn’t a club or rider at one time that hadn’t passed me or dropped me. I’m sure the bike used to spur them on, ” I’ve just passed some fat bastard on a Colnago” used to readily spring to mind.

It all ended when I separated the chainstay from the dropout on a ride going over Montgomery Hill, Caldy. Picked up the mobile to Val and asked to be picked up. It was a bleak moment in my fledgling cycling career.

More later when I take some pictures of the detail that makes this a fine bike. 01 jun 08
More later when I start living the dream.

Weekending 01 June 08

Monday: Work. Home but spend too long on net searching for the Polo suspension knock problem. Should have done some exercise of any sort but blew it, didn’t even put the pedals back on the bike.
Tuesday: Work. Put the pedals back on the Trek. Blog.
Wednesday: Work. Spinning class at West Kirby to blow the cobwebs off. Haven’t done much for nearly a week and I thought it was beginning to show. Solid class with 29.30 minutes firmly in zone 4 on the HRM and 8.26 minutes in zone 5.
Uploaded the class to GarminConnect and TrainingCentre just by plugging in the USB ANT stick no problem.

 Spain.JPGSnapshot of last weeks rides.
Thursday: Booked in for a Morning Spinning class and will go the gym. Buy the Comic. Route to sort out for the Audax, plus a load of other stuff. Giro live to catch up on.Wishfull thinking about the 10 in view of Saturdays ride.
Early session in the gym followed by a decent spinning session. Feel good and I’m going to take it easy now as there are a few climbs that I haven’t done on Saturday like the Horseshoe Pass for one.
Car next to me was getting a ticket when I came out, an expensive 30p.
Aldi on the way home for some fruit and berries, it does appear to be a lot cheaper than Tesco,s as I seem to spend a fortune on fresh berries for my breakfast. Quaker Oat Granola was 2 for 1 at Tesco last week so I stocked up.

Couldn’t get to grips with the Aqueduct route so drove to the start and tried following it to Ruthin. Went wrong twice and Methodist Hill is going to be hard even in the granny ring. It has all the making of a Killer Climb. It’s REALLY steep and narrow.
Friday: Work. Home early to sort out the route. The first part is tricky as you can’t see the roadsigns from a satellite. Sort the Trek out and add a few more points later.
There is a hell of a lot of climbing in this ride and is going to be a real test.
The toy has had a once over and the bag packed. Route is as good as its going to get.
Only 30 riders according to Stan so the CTC points comp could be interesting.
Definitely a 2 bottle ride. Steve Cummings 4th on todays Giro stage.
Saturday: Aqueduct 175 Audax. Signed up online following Janets email about the event. CTC points comp qualifier. 2540 metres of climbing for 1.25 AAA points. 
Nice day, car all loaded up, all the makings of a great ride.
A really great day, perfect weather a challenging route and stunning scenery made it a day to remember. Settled down to write it up only to have Anon loose the plot and post two comments on the Colnago post above.
Sunday: Jack day. Had a go of Paul’s Wii-Fit and although the initial thought was sceptical I was turned around after having ago. It is no wonder they have sold out.
I was holding imaginary poles on the skiing game, worked a sweat up on 6 minutes of the hula hoop and the whole thing just opened my eyes as to they way home exercising is going to take off.
Basically wireless load sensors for each foot or arm it relies on you using your own body weight. About twice the size of a set of scales, worthy of a post of its own.
Watched Alberto Contador win the Giro on Eurosport, a fitting end to a hectic week.
Still getting over yesterdays ride but I could have gone out before breakfast but as it was rain stopped play later on, only highlighting what such a good day yesterday was.

Weekending 25 May 08 (Spanish Edition Part II)

Monday: Rain stopped play but it was a chance to update the blog and answer a few Garmin questions. A 5AM start for Valencia Airport meant it was going to be a long day. Looked for an English newspaper for an hour or so as I´ve been cut off from the outside world for a week. Toured a few ghost towns, sorry Spanish beach resorts, heavens opened, returned to Barx and it was sunny and light til past 9. Should have gone down to Simat for the climb.
Tuesday: Thought I would do Geddes´s loop to Simat. Had to get off on the bend at Puig Mola as the chain jumped sprocket at the Restaurant. Tightened the lever and it was OK for the rest of the climb. Managed to hit the pothole that Geddes showed me the other day and puncture.
DSCF4087.jpg DSCF4088.jpgDSCF4089.jpg

Thought I would patch it only to find I had brought all my 10 speed chain spares but no glue for the patches.
So a tube went in and ultimately alters the course of the day. I´m down to 1 spare tube so take things easier. Stop for a few pictures to update the site next week.
Nice ride down to Simat after climbing up from Pla de Corralls. Ride isn´t finished yet but it looks like a trip to Tavernes for a puncture outfit. Went to Tavernes and picked up some patches. Rode down to Xeraco Beach, stopped at a supermarket for a drink and should have took a picture of the street as it was deserted.
Garmin locked up and didn’t notice until I was in the backstreets of Tavernes. Rode up to Simat.
Simat to Barx. This was the highlight of the week, looks a bit worse than it is. Double click to enlarge then enlarge again.

Took a picture of the climb from the bottom of the mountain and settled on the start line and turn on the Forerunner 50 and the 705 for a time.
As luck would have it two guys from Gandia cycling club are tackling the climb and as this is their backyard I thought I would see how long I could stick with them.
We all know it’s undeclared war out there on climbs like this and I held on dropping off 20 yards or so in places to get it back when they eased up on the straights.
I’m maxed out at a steady 170 BPM which then goes up to 185 BPM on a decent push.
Near the summit I haven’t been dropped and this is where I make my move, out the saddle and drop a gear with a sprint to the finish. Not sure if it went down too well with the guys from the Gandia cycling club especially when you see the bike I’m on. Six speed with 42 on the inner ring but 32 on the back. I’ll have to work it out in inches but the gaps are large.

The time 18:49.91
Wednesday: Ride day, out with Geddes from 9 AM with 70-80 km pencilled in. Geddes managed to hit the pothole that I punctured on at Puig Mola and then we got stuck behind a line of lorries going to a chicken farm. after that it was all down hill to Barxetta with Frederico leading the was picking up a Spanish Champion along the way. Destination is a Col out of Xativa which has a Medieval Castle overlooking it.
Geddes wins the points competition on the climb narrowly from Frederico and then it was a fast descent to Belus. It would have been quicker but the chain had come off the front chainwheel and I had to stop. More to follow. Including the route of the ride.
Lost the Edge 705 off the handlebars on what proved to be a worrying 20 minutes or so until it was found. It fell of the bars at about 25 mph and marked the case but other than that it was fine. A rider stopped to help find it and was amazed to see it getting put on a 15 year old bike. It being worth more than the bike.

Stopped for a Coke at Simat before climbing the mountain to Barx for the last time.
Another great days riding.

Route to follow when I sort the TrainingCentre out, GarminConnect doesn’t like 5 Mb of ride data loading into it.

Thursday: Last full day. Had a quiet day ,had thought about a quick lap up from Simat but it was just a feverish imagination.
Friday: Return home. Garmin Nuvi 250W sorted us out at Alicante  airport by finding the filling station to sort out the hire car. This was not easy as the station is on the wrong side of a dual carriage way. You can see it but not reach it. Spanish road signs are not lit at night and I’ve missed a turn as I couldn’t make the turn in time.
SatNav in a foreign country does work just have the most recent maps as countries like Spain are changing all the time.
Saturday: Nothing planned but you never know. Had one of those days where I’m glad it was sorted once it was over.
I’m going to write a guide on how not to change a stoplight on a Polo, it was that bad and had to be done today no matter what. No ride but there there is so much to catch up on. Caught up on the Giro de Italia so all was not lost.
Sunday: Work.

Weekending 18 May 08 (Spanish Edition)

Monday: Work, pack bags including cycling kit and Edge 705 for Spain. I’ve loaded the 705 with Valencia Provence so I should be alright. There aren’t that many road to get lost on from what I can tell. Every day out is going to mean a Mountain top finish. Should be a good break. Factor 50 in the bag.
Tuesday: Early departure……

                    Normal service suspended for the next couple of days.

Wednesday: Geddes has been kind enough to lend me his old bike and take me out for a ride of his local loop. Last time I tackled the first part to Puig Mola I ended up stopping but I´m a good 5 stone lighter now so it it was dooable. From then on it´s narrow and downhill with the occasion pothole. It emerges on the Simat to Barxetta road which means a bit of climbing to get a great run into Simat.

It´s all logged on the 705 and I even managed to get a few pictures on the way down before it got too fast.
Once in Simat we stop at the pedestrian crossing at the foot of the climb to Barx.
This climb has been one of my goals for a few years now, so this is it.
Geddes warns me about it being a drag up to the bridge and he is right, from then on there are 8 alpine turns along the 8 Km to the summit.
It´s hard work and I am maxing out as the gradient is around the 8% mark in places with you needing to use the outer of the bends to make it easier for yourself.

I ended up with a time of 19 minutes plus which was just over a minute up on Geddes.
Geddes by the way is 62/63 and goes really well.

Did an afternoon trip to Gandia and a loop to Tavernes up to Simat and the climb again.
Stopped for a few pictures but you are looking at 25+ minutes.
Thursday: Rode down to Gandia and along the coast to Cullera back via Sueca dreaded N332 and the Simat to Barx climb. Still harder after about 50 miles.

DSCF4049.jpgDSCF4061.jpgDSCF4062.jpgDSCF4063.jpgRice Fields by Cullera

Overlooking SimatSimat MonasteryDSCF4056.jpg
Friday: La Font breakfast, already legendary and organised by Mike. The legend had a whole new chapter added today.
Saturday: Rest and recovery day.
Sunday: Great day out with Geddes and a few of the Barx cycling club. A 15 Km 2000ft climb out of Pego.

Denia cycling club passed us on the way up and we all grabed a wheel but all got shelled off the back including me with a Km to go. Actually they had turned around at about 1500 ft in the village and went back down to a Cafe.

When we were descending back to Pego we picked them up as they were leaving and boy was it fast, I fell off the back as I lost the tow. Geddes was still in there for a good while. The boys with the deep section carbon wheels had moved to the front and were dragging everybody along. I was loosing up to 10 mph on them solo.
Then on to the highlight of the ride for me Gandia to La Drova. A steady climb out of Gandia until about 2.5 km from the summit. This is my first go at it and I´ve been wanting to tackle it for at least 2 years.
I´ve already had a good ride in the legs and at the bottom of the twisty bits I´m already in 44/ 32  (32 tooth dinner plate on the back) then it´s 1.5 km of 10/11% straight up. The night before there were two cars in the ditch when it rained.
This ranks in the top ten of the hardest things I have done. I´m trying to take it easy but there is no such thing, the heartrate is gradually creeping up from 141 BPM to 171 BPM and there it stays. Not quite in the same league as the Bylch Y Groes but who could ride the Bylch everyday.

DSCF4085.jpg A moody picture of Geddes reaching the summit of the Gandia to La Drova climb. It is tough but do-able.
Glad to have done it a fitting end to a great day. 

Northend ride to Worlds End.

Double click on pictures at least twice to see the full screen  version. 

This turned out to be a classic club ride. Arranged the night before after the Time Trial I nearly missed it. I’d sauntered down to the Eureka after going back for  my saddlebag.
Got there early to get Frank’s Breakfast down me and spoke with few about my rides going backwards including Ray and Keith Boardman.


I’d backed off, not given 100% and was beating myself up over it.

It was short sleeves and bib short weather and I ended up chasing the bunch down to Woodbank. Things were going good we all got down to the lights at the A5117 got across them fine and then got held up by a set of lights at the sliproad. Here we met up with our irate motorist of the day, sounding his horn at us.
Over what I don’t know but considering the number of waves we got for waving cars and vans past when we saw it was clear it was the only incident. We had another around Wrexham when a car came up real close on JJ’s wheel because of oncoming traffic but that was it.


Didn’t get dropped this week going along the Dee or on the road through Saltney so things are looking up. In fact things are going OK until the back of Kinnerton where I start to fall off the back on some of the climbs. Barry is dishing out the pace but there is always a fresh guy on your wheel when you begin to falter. Paul stops and the group wait for first me to catch up but Paul never shows as we had made two turns out of his sight.

Supposedly we are going out to the Mountain Bike Centre but Northend rides are fluid. We are going up the Steps but before then we have to get back on the group, we get together at a set of traffic lights but  it is clear we have two sets of abilities on the ride and I’m clearly in the second set.

I’m off the back before we reach the Steps. This is granny ring stuff for me or at least the bottom ring on a compact. The granny always wins for me as I catch Dave Newbie on the final step, he’s on 39×25 and I’m on 30×27. 39×25 is still a big ring for this sort of steep climb. A 53/39 chain ring is designed for Racers not mere mortals like me who struggle when I come to something steep.

There are enough Northenders for at least 3 ability rides on a Wednesday may I suggest  Elite, Club and Social. I’d class myself a club/social. Like a Cafe stop but ain’t good enough to do a big loop without a stop. Now for me this is a two bottle ride, from experience I know if I don’t have two bottles of water or SIS I am going to be in trouble.

Going up the Steps sweat is pouring out of me, I ‘ve got my Discovery cap on and it is dripping off the peak. All over my £271 Garmin 705. The sweat evaporates to leave a salt  stain. I’m not King of the Mountains but the Lantern Rouge. Once over the top  Dave regains his pride and I can’t get into the granny ring for the next climb so we are in the same boat. No real time to recover and we are off again.

The next section fills me with doubt , Andy Walsh (club champion) says “See the house up there, that’s where we are going” and sure enough we do. The real test is the climb up from Minera. There are three of us at the back, Moi, Dave Newbie and Barry. The rest have flown. Andy goes around and I have to stop to put the chain on the granny ring. Dave said I need to get in my lowest gear as it just gets steeper later on around the first bend. don’t know why it wouldn’t go in to the granny ring now as it was alright going up the steps.
I catch up we Dave and basically we discuss the meaning of life and how we’ve got it back.


It is agreed we stop at the Prospect Cafe come what may. Now last year the Northend got knocked back at the Prospect but no problems this year (It is involved but the service is relaxed).
Wear a set of brake blocks out on the descent to Worlds End Ford, walkers on the wrong line but it is steep. Opt to take the steps across the ford as I nearly came off riding it last year. Barry has some great pictures.


Club photo opportunity at the ford and then we head off down hill towards Panorama.

Along the lane two escaped sheep are trying to outrun the group. Just when you thought it was going to the side it would dart back across your wheel. It gets sorted but they are a fair way from where they started.
I’ve been shelled of the back on this section as I can’t get into the granny ring on the climb near the abbey and saw the group climbing this section and from where I was it looked steep, when I actually came to it it wasn’t that bad. Found that magic gear and caught Dave Newbie up. Dave had managed to get another concussion puncture and we had agreed to stop at the Cafe whatever the others were doing.


Five of us opt to take the  cake stop at the “Prospect Cafe ” as Dave has two punctures. The rest  ride on. There is a bit of history with this place , last year the club got knocked back, a week later the Seamons  Audax was here in force including me having 3 scones.

We spend a good hour at the cafe before we refill with water and head back to the Eureka. Dave had his two punctures sorted by the time the tea and scones came.
  DSCF4033.jpg   Image015.jpg   DSCF4036.jpg  DSCF4037.jpg Image017.jpg
The ride back to the Eureka is big ring stuff with only a stop for Dave to put more air in his tyre as it was rolling off the rim on the bends. There is no picture of Barry on the Dee cycleway as he zoomed off at 34 mph with the wind behind him, were we had an easy 20mph. Barry makes a few breaks during the ride my effort on the Saltney rail bridge is thwarted by a red traffic light.
Barry has another go up Woodbank with Andy Walsh taking off after him, don’t know who made it to the junction first but we were well down.

Soup at the Eureka looked good. I’d had the usual oat bar and Lucozade Sport. Rode back via the Missing link with Barry and Andy.
77 miles and a great day.
Link to GarminConnect Map to follow.

Astana at the Giro

I’m glad to see Astana invited to the Giro at the last minute. I followed Steve Cummings in his Giro ride last year.
Can they pull something off with next to no time for preparatrion I don’t know but they have a lot of good riders. Contador must be chomping at the bit to prove himself following his TDF victory and not getting invited back.
The loyalties are now split between BarlowWorld and Astana.  I’ve got a wardrobe full of Disco kit and it is really good stuff.
As I’m only playing at this I do like to have the full kit rather than just a jersey and shorts.

I’ve just seen the rider entry  list, Barloworld and Steve Cummings behind Astana.

Just read the the Andy Hampsten story in Pro Cycling and he was the first and up to now last American to win a Giro stage. Must have felt like I felt  on the Audax last month but  with a few thousand metres on me. Tough guy, I’m a wimp in comparison.


Just watched Giro leader Alberto Contador go up the 12 Km Mountain Time Trial in 34×30, I always knew I needed lower gearing when going up a 1 in 4 climb !!!


Weekending 11 May 08

Monday: Shopped till I dropped in Chester. You can’t get GTA IV for love nor money.
Had a look at the Specialised Time Trial bike in the Specialised shop it really is something else with the rear brake mounted below the bottom bracket. If I could get it on the Ride to work Scheme I’d have one.
Came home and did some secret time trialing. Looking at the TrainingCentre I’ve just realised I’ve lost all my maps including the Basemap.  Stopped at Drayton  Motors for a blow, then did the rest of the course.
Tuesday: Spinning class at West  Kirby, I’m taking it real easy on this one as I have the race of truth at 19.17. The truth hurts when you are going backwards like I am. 19 minutes 30 seconds. An improvement on last week but others are taking minutes out of their times. Even Dave Large who I took 59 seconds out of last week beat me by 10 seconds. Keith Boardman went past me so he was going well. At least three people mentioned to me that I need some Tri bars. I’m thinking there is something else more basic that I need to work on.
I don’t know if I’m putting too much in to the drag up to the Clegg as I’m down on the Chester High Road which is flat and know what I should be doing even without Tri bars and everything else. Not to worry Spain next week some good rides from Gandia on the cards.
Wednesday: Ride day. Not limited to what level of ride you need on a Wednesday. Take what  comes. Got halfway to the Eureka and had to turn back as I hadn’t put the saddle bag on after the time trial. Did 77 miles on a brilliant ride even if I was off the back a few times. It puts the disapointment of not doing as well I thought I was into perspective.

Ride write up with pictures later.

Spinning class at West Kirby, shower , home.
Got to sort out some pictures for the CTC magazine of the 75 Mile TT the other week.
Thursday: Spinning class at West Kirby followed by half an hour in the gym.
Picked up Cycling Weekly and some fruit and started editing yesterdays ride. Weather was that good I had to go out for a ride. Long sleeve jersey on today as I had caught the sun yesterday. Factor 50 on the legs. 17 miles incorporating Ness, Parkgate, Lower Heswall, Heswall, Pensby, the cash machine then home.
More editing of yesterdays ride, cook tea. Ride to club monthly meeting then ride home with the super duper Cateyes. Worth the ridiculous amount I’d paid for them at this time of night.
Friday: Work, nothing planned. Update site, sort out which map I’m going to need for next week.
Saturday:Work. Uploaded Map of Valencia into the Edge 705.
Sunday:Work. Missed a good days riding looking at the weather. Must start packing for Tuesday.


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