Thursday, 31 December 2009

Grumpy Bob dips his toes in the murky water of power training

Grumpy Bob has posted an article on power training over at He remains a little unconvinced over its real value (in relation to the use of HRMs) in a training programme, but is prepared to review that opinion over the coming months, as he tried to make sense of the power data he's rapidly accumulating in the run up to the 2010 season.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Aaargh! Team Grumpy laid low over the festive season

Team unity revealed by Team Grumpy! Despite residing a considerable distance apart, it's quite touching to see Grumpy Bob and 'Grumpy' Art Vanderlay in such a display of mutual support.

As previously reported, Grumpy Bob has been suffering from a long drawn out cold, from which he is just emerging (possibly just in time for the NBRC New Year's Day '10'). This wasn't particularly appalling as far as these things go, rather it displayed an interesting sequence of relapsing symptoms, all of which have kept Grumpy Bob from effective training for over three weeks. And, since this happened over the season of over-indulgence, he's ballooned to 76kg. He is once again going to look like the Michelin Man at the start line on Friday.

Not to be outdone, 'Grumpy' Art (and indeed his whole family) contrived to be struck down with a serious gastointestinal disorder over Xmas. In the case of Art, this has led to a compensatory weight loss.

It's a cosmic balance thing, we reckon.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Leffe by the peleton

The February 2010 (!) issue of ProCycling plopped onto GrumpyBob's doormat today. In a packed issue describing all sorts of nefarious activities within the pro peleton, Team Grumpy finds a brief snippet (page 87) on alcohol consumption during the season.

Of particular note is Peter van Petegem's fondness for Leffe, the Team Grumpy official energy drink. "Five Leffe's isn't enough for me!" declares our Peter, "I start to feel good after fifteen".

We at Team Grumpy quite understand, but hope he is referring to the small bottles rather than the large...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Still ill

Grumpy Bob's relapsing cold just keeps giving. He decided to miss the club mince pie evening due to coughing and spluttering (and a generally public spirited notion that he should avoid infecting his clubmates). Which was a shame, since he rather likes mince pies.

On the training front, he's not done any training since last Saturday's turbo session. In fact he's only done about 6 miles this week, as he's not been sleeping and has a rough old cough. Last Saturday's turbo session was a pretty good progressive power interval session, and was fitted in to a day or so in which he felt pretty well recovered after the first few days of what appeared to be a minor cold.

In the meantime, Grumpy Bob has been investigating methods of analysing power meter output*. His regular training diary doesn't seem to offer much in the power analysis stakes (though perhaps he's just missing something). Unfortunately most sports training software seems to be aimed at the Windows market, with some programmes available for the Mac. Grumpy Bob is a Linux user, and did find an app called Golden Cheetah, which is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. It was a trivial installation, though it doesn't seem straightforward to download Polar data directly - Grumpy Bob finds he has to use a Windows app to download data files.

That being said, Golden Cheetah does seem to be able to generate considerable power analysis of power training sessions**, and perhaps will enable Grumpy Bob to train more effectively. Once his damned cold gets better.

* Grumpy Bob remains a little unconvinced by the value of power training other than as a reporting tool.
** Oh, and he bought a copy of Allen & Coggan's Training and Racing with a Power Meter, to try and assemble a picture of what all these data really mean.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Grumpy Bob feels he has to maintain the new TG tradition (if that is not a contradiction) of post titling (Aaargh!). Since he previously reported picking up a cold, things have just got worse. He did stage a recovery over the weekend - long enough to take on a Progressive Power turbo session on Saturday - but by Sunday the sore throat, cough and generally mucoid situation had returned. Accordingly, he's packed in training for the next few days.

Not the best news in the run up to the first outing for the new bike at the New Year's Day '10'...on the bright side, Saturday's turbo session went well, consisting of 11 x 4' intervals. Grumpy Bob wishes to point out that generally, he tries to "peak", albeit briefly, for the NYD '10', and this intensity in not maintained all the way through to the usual start of his season at the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25'.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Team Leffe Grump-a-thon

Well, TG didn't consume the vast quantity of Leffe that they might have done in their youth, but still enough to bring on hangovers on Sunday.

A brief return to the training programme for Grumpy Bob unfortunately careered into disaster after he contracted a cold. (See TG Rule #5)

Monday, 7 December 2009


I thought it's about time we had an Aaaargh! thread, so the best I can come up with is this:

I got back on the bike proper today. This is the first actual biking session I have done since September. Anyway, I decided to do an hour on the turbo at 300 watts - steady. This would normally be a solid ride but not 'eyeballs out' - a sort of level two ride. Well, not today. It started fine: nice and easy, 100 rpm, Level 1 etc. Then it started to get uncomfortable at about 10 mins and I was definately in level 2 by this point and struggling with the cadence. So I clicked it up a sprocket and opted for 94 rpm - still solidly at 300 watts. By 30 mins I was hanging on, still at 94 rpm, but in and out of the saddle and heart rate climbing into level 3 at times.

Obviously, I had picked too high an intensity for my first session after such a long break. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who do not give up easily, so I stuck at it. The last 25 mins were all in level 3 - often near to level 4 - as I maintained the 300 watts output. I was squirming all over the saddle and by the end of the session felt empty.

Still, I dropped two kilos in weight from start to finish, despite drinking 750 ml of PSP. I guess most of this will be fluid loss and will, therefore, go back on pretty quickly. But at least I'm back on the bike. Tomorrow will be a light spin for 40 mins and some weights.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Team Grumpy Leffe-a-thon

From time to time, Team Grumpy meet up - sometimes to race, but more often than not to enforce TG rule #7. Which of course involves conspicuous consumption of TG's favourite energy drink, ideally partaking of its many varieties (Blonde, Brune, 9, Tripel, Radieuse, Ruby).

This weekend is one of those occasions, where a particular anniversary (for Grumpy Bob) coincides with a professional visit to Milton Keynes (for "Grumpy" Art). We intend to supplement our rigorous training programme with a genuine Leffe-a-thon. At least Grumpy Bob has more than three weeks to recuperate before the New Year's Day '10'.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Team Culture

Having read the article of the new Team Sky, it seems to me that what we are missing in Team Grumpy is a team philosophy. But rather than the 'if you don't like it get off the ship' approach of Team Sky, I see ours as being something less imposed and more evolved organically - in other words a culture (oops, there's that word again).

Obviously, we have our team rules - a sort of 'six-fold path' to mediocrity - but there is a glaring omission from these because no mention is made of our heavy use of pop belge. This, I would suggest, is the focal point of the team culture and something around which we can build the team (where have I heard that expression before?).

Another "garage puncture"

Grumpy Bob just had an abortive turbo session. Regular readers (if there are such beasts out there) may remember a discussion of Grumpy Bob's work-life balance, which ended with the decision to focus training in the morning, prior to leaving for work. In keeping with this strategy, Grumpy Bob ventured out to the garage this morning to do an early morning interval session.

All was going nicely - good warm up to the appropriate HR, the first interval completed, into the second, when the dreaded flopping noise of a punctured rear tyre could be heard (and, what's more, felt since Grumpy Bob was listening to his iPod at the time). A quick repair was effected, but to no avail - the replacement tube had an unrepaired puncture.

At this point Grumpy Bob retired for breakfast and to repair the original tube. It's probably high time he set out to buy some new inner tubes.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

ScribeFire - Firefox add-on for blogging

Grumpy Bob has been rootling about seeking to simplify his blogging procedures. He's tried a nice-looking add-on called Deepest Sender, but finds it won't post to the Team Grumpy blog. The error message it throws isn't too helpful. Instead, he's pinning his hopes on ScribeFire, which seems to be pretty effective.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Team Grumpy Management Style

Grumpy Bob noticed this story - Team Sky Reveals Recruiting, Management Methods over at In it Dave Brailsford reveals the secrets behind the recruitment and management policies that are hoped to drive Team Sky forward through the coming seasons.

Oh, how different from Team Grumpy! No resume for our Team Manager-cum- Support Car driver: rather Mrs Grumpy was there, had car, no-brainer. No resumes for the two star riders (it's our team). No worries about communication (actually TG email quite a lot, even though the TG blog is quiet off-season).

On a more serious note, Grumpy Bob thinks it would have been wise for Team Sky to avoid trumpeting a successful management style before success!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Not the best winter training diet...

Grumpy Bob has found his winter training schedule has been back on track...until Sunday, when he left for a week-long work trip to the USA. This morning (Monday), he decided that if he was to pay $20 for breakfast, he'd eat a lot. Consquently he's in danger of acquiring a new soubriquet (Fatty Bob?), as he chomped his way through granola and fruit, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sausages and bacon, followed with a banana muffin. Grumpy Bob has also decided he's not keen on cream with his coffee.

He regrets this now, two hours later. But he'll go and explore Sarasota, Florida this afternoon, though the dietary onslaught looks set to continue: we have a dinner appointment this evening.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

We should have gone quicker at the Duo...

While in France for the Duo, Team Grumpy were browsing round the Duo Normand website for an indication of how following cars were controlled. They didn't find out, but we did come across this marvellous page, resplendent in quasi-Franglais (click on the image for a full-size version):

Now, Team Grumpy are avid consumers of the infamous Pop Belge, the blonde from Belgium, Leffe. This has the expected consequences on the Grumpy dietary systems, rendering Team Grumpy possibly the FARTEST team in the event.

Oh well, perhaps next year...

Friday, 23 October 2009

It's all gone a bit base over apex already...

...well, at least for Grumpy Bob, who's start to the winter's training has already faltered in the face of a mysterious cold. Though it was widely ascribed by Mrs Grumpy to galloping hypochondria, Grumpy Bob is convinced his seven day headache was a bona fide cold. In any event, pedalling away on a turbo was pretty much out of the question...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Silent Movie - Duo Normand video

The epic movie generated by the Team Grumpy Film Studio is available over at Flies&Bikes. Refer to that page for browser compatibility (tested with Firefox/Linux, Firefox/XP and IE8/XP), and be warned - it's not riveting viewing!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Training begins

Coaches reckon it's a waste of time, but I have discovered over the years that good seasons follow a winter of weight-training and poor ones (such as the last two) follow years when, for whatever reason, I have not done any weights. The biggest difference seems to be in climbing hils and I am aware that my climbing has been awful for the last two years.

I'm not talking body building or even strength training here. I do fast repetitions of squats using light weights with a straight back. This last point is essential as I have a history of back problems and one mistake and it's not just the end of the weights but also much of the early season for me. It has been back problems that have prevented me from doing any weights for the last two years - though, in each case this was not caused by weight-training, but by, well, having a dodgy back.

Anyway, I am now quite good at organising the set up to avoid problems and the bar is kept on a high pedestal, so that I do not have to bend at all. I merely stand underneath and raise my shoulders up to the bar and off I go. Similarly, at the end of the session I can lower the bar on to the pedestal by bending my knees. It all makes sense really.

At this time of year, a typical 'starting out' session will entail two sets of 100 squats (with a short interval in between sets) with just 30kg of weights. The reps are eventualy done at pedalling speed, so approz. 92 per minute. But initially this will be too hard, so I settle for c. 60. It is surprsing how soon this can usualy be increased. When I can mainatain 92 reps per minute for two sets of 100 I will extend the number of reps. I do not increase the weight for two reasons: 1. I don't want to build bulk, and, 2. increased weight increaes the risk to my fragile spine.

It's surprising just how aerobic this session is. But when - in about a month's time - I am doing sesions of 4 x 120, this can actually become anearobic. I plan to do this every day, which should be attainable given that the whole session does not take long to complete. But it is a tough proposition I can tell you.

All I have to do now is avoid any problems with my back and all being well I will return to the bike in December.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Team Grumpy suffer technophilia and go a bit hi-tech

Grumpy Bob's purchase of a Polar CS600X bike computer is symptomatic of a malaise afflicting Team Grumpy - technophilia. This condition manifests itself as an enthusiasm for technically challenging gadgets which Team Grumpy's ageing neurons struggle to come to terms with.

In Grumpy Bob's case, he has had to finally bite the bullet and RTFM. The CS600X is sufficiently complex that it defies use without properly pondering the instructions. Setting up the Power sensor was fiddly but not complex. Setting up the GPS unit proved impossible without RTFM - Grumpy Bob will be making a second attempt at using the G3 GPS unit to record a route and to deliver speed/distance data to the main unit later this morning (watch this space).

"Grumpy" Art, on the other hand plumped for a Garmin GPS unit, but almost immediately set about the upgrade process in a spectacularly precipitate manner: by contriving a 30mph spill while traversing a roundabout. In keeping with historical records of his bike handling skills, it is noted that the manoeuvre in question did not actually involve a turn as such... Anyway, while in Normandy it became apparent the device was busted - unfortunately repair/replacement was the option, rather than upgrade.

In an effort to cure this sad bout of technophilia, Grumpy Bob is looking to upgrade the TT frame as part of his half century celebrations later this year. Watch this space for more details, but suffice it to say that this will fit Team Grumpy rule #3 quite well.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The 2010 season started this week!

It may seem a bit premature, but after a bit of time off following the Duo Normand, Grumpy Bob knocked his season on the head, and at the beginning of this week he began his build up for 2010. Of course, at this stage this doesn't mean much more than preparing for the training to come, and indeed Grumpy Bob has focussed on thinking how to structure the winter training programme, for he's very aware that he has lacked structure to his training over the last 12 months or so.

And, in keeping with the spirit of the Team Grumpy rules, he's got hold of some new kit to enthuse himself: a spanking new Polar CS600X HRM bike computer...with power sensor.

This represents a bit of a change in direction for Grumpy Bob, who's always maintained that training to power has the potential to be rather dangerous. In his view, the important parameters to monitor while training reflect the physiology of the athlete, not the power produced. At the moment, Grumpy Bob plans to use power measurement to assess training progress. But he's open to suggestions, particularly of good sources of advice regarding the use of power measurement in training!

Grumpy Bob's initial review of the Polar CS600X is over at,

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Duo Normand 2009 - Could have been much worse!

Team Grumpy didn't have high hopes for this year's Duo Normand. To cap fairly (in the case of "Grumpy" Art) and totally (in the case of Grumpy Bob) lacklustre seasons, "Grumpy" Art contrived a 30mph prang in a '15' only a few weeks before the Duo. Team Grumpy also noticed the appearance of a swift pairing in the Corporatif category - Coomber and Jones of - due to start 6 minutes behind Team Grumpy.

Team Grumpy indulged in some back of the envelope calculations as to when exactly the catch would happen, and estimated it around 37km. As it happened, that was indeed the case. However, Team Grumpy were a bit relieved that they recorded a respectable time (1:25:02) for second place in the category. It's unfortunate however that this was marked by an enormous margin from the BikeRadar team, who took the category record with 1:15:22.

On a brighter note, "Grumpy" Art's adventures into cinematography resulted in a 90 minute epic silent masterpiece that is at present in post-production in the Team Grumpy production studios. If a version in a sufficiently small file size can be generated, Team Grumpy plan to upload it to their main website. It has been mooted that the 2010 Team Grumpy centenery year* ride in the Duo be marked by an Abel Gance-style triple split-screen epic featuring footage from both riders and the following this space.

Here's a picture of Team Grumpy on the start ramp, resplendent in the 2009 team "uniform".
Despite "Grumpy" Art's dire prognostications, neither TG member fell off the ramp. On the other hand, no edition of the Duo Normand would be expected in which a problem did not surface (e.g. last year "Grumpy" Art's right crank decided to work loose). This year "Grumpy" Art contrived to unship his chain in the final hairpin section. Grumpy Bob thinks there's a pattern there. There's another write-up of the 2009 Duo Normand at Flies&Bikes.

*2010 is the Team Grumpy centenery because Grumpy Bob and "Grumpy" Art will both be 50 in that season.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

It'll be a baggy skinsuit next...

"Grumpy" Art draws attention to the rather excellent photograph of him taken by Sarah Brooke at the recent British Time Trial Championship. However, Grumpy Bob notices the drop hanging from his nose in a particularly veteran-like way, and merely wonders when he will graduate to wearing that most perfect example of veteran garments, the baggy faded skinsuit...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Team Grumpy at the British Time Trial Championship

On Sunday, Team Grumpy were at the 2009 British Time Trial Championship, albeit in different capacities. Grumpy Bob was marshalling in the morning, as the event was organised by his club (along with TeamMK) - this was for the Masters category, the largest category in the field. He was stationed at the Edgecott turn, which is possibly the most dangerous point on the course, being a sharp left hander, with often rather oddly behaved traffic. "Grumpy" Art was competing in the Masters category D.

Grumpy Bob was accompanied by the unofficial Team Grumpy manager, which was good, cos three and a half hours at the turn would have been a bit dull otherwise. In the event, the experience was enlivened by a spot of nature-spotting (several large kites circling), but mostly by the arrival of the National Veteran Cycle rally, which provided an astonishing contrast to the high tech carbon machines whooshing round the corner. Since the veteran cycles were being propelled by riders in period costume, this was a great sight, and it's a shame that Grumpy Bob didn't have his camera to hand. There were several ordinaries, with riders impressively high up!

While the veteran bikes were travelling in opposite direction to the BTTC, they were a worry, especially because they tended to be wobbling all across the road, and given the speed of the approaching racers, the marshalling team were quite anxious.

Eventually, the marshalling duties were over, and "Grumpy" Art arrived to pick up the by now hungry marshalling team - back home for lunch, then Team Grumpy returned to watch the Seniors event. This was a real eyeopener. Team Grumpy picked a spot where the riders crest a short climb, quite close to the lap finish. There had been much discussion in cycling circles on the question of who would come out best - Bradley Wiggins or Michael Hutchinson. Team Grumpy's view was that there would be no contest, particularly with Wiggins coming with the form of his life. To cut a long story short, Wiggins provided a master class, beating Hutch by more than two minutes, and revealing what an isolated culture British timetrialling is.

Here's Wiggins cresting the short climb, looking smooth and fast. In the end it seems there was some controversy, with Matt Bottrill being caught by Wiggins, but sitting on his wheel for the rest of the race - this led to Bottrill being disqualified.

For Team Grumpy, the unthinking behaviour of the spectators was a bit irritating - cars were littering the normally quiet lanes of the area, causing serious congestion during the Seniors event. It was noticeable that many of the cars cruising round the course were rider-associated, judging from the bike kit in them, and really one might have expected more sense.

Anyway, congratulations to Emma Pooley (Cervelo Test Team) and Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) on their wins, and it'll be good to see British TT champions skinsuits in action in continental racing in the coming 12 months.

And as for "Grumpy" Art's race, perhaps he'll report on that shortly.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The future of cinematography

Grumpy Bob had intended to blog about the latest threat to cinematography that will accompany Team Grumpy's 2009 outing at the Duo Normand. The events described by "Grumpy" Art in the preceding post may change all that.

Not content with insisting on a new team "uniform", "Grumpy" Art invested in a Duo-Cam (i.e. a handlebar mounted video camera), with which to record rivettingly exciting footage of a team time trial. Needless to say, this came as a bit of a shock to Grumpy Bob, who feels this may reveal him as not taking his share of the lead during the event (having had an appalling season, and lacking in fitness). Indeed, he was planning on likening it to the infamous Sleep, the Andy Warhol film which consisted solely of the main (and, he thinks, sole) protagonist sleeping for five hours.

Now, however, Grumpy Bob worries that the Duo-Cam footage might well be interesting following "Grumpy" Art's recent crash: either because Team Grumpy will negotiate the infamous Ghoul Corner in a particularly craven manner, or because we will stack it spectacularly at some point in the event.

Let's hope Team Grumpy at least makes it off the start ramp, unlike the poor chap at the Vuelta (Grumpy Bob's Nightmare)...

Monday, 31 August 2009


This is fast becoming Team Grumpy's most used title, but I deploy it here with good reason.

Today I did the Pembs Velo 15 - the final round of the South Wales Sporting Course TT Series. It was lashing down with rain and a high wind swept the course. However, all was going well. In fact, all was going extremely well: I felt good, heart rate was bang on where I wanted it to be, and I was motoring. Trouble was I was feeling too good and was really going for it. This wasn't a propblem because the course is not too technically demanding.

Unfortunately, on a section on the main road (that goes to Pembroke Dock) I went into a rouindabout way too fast. It should have been no problem and I calmly gave the brakes a short squeeze to take the speed off a little. Normally, this would have been fine. But it seems I was crossing a patch of diesel at that very moment and both wheels just went from under me. I'm not sure what happened next but I ended up in the verge as my bike clattered along the road.

My visor was ripped off, my number was ripped off, my overshoes were shredded, but my bike appears to be fine. Less good is the state of the rifder who has sustained cuts and graizes to the left leg (knee in particular), a black eye, a line of bruising acroos the face and nose that bear an uncanny resemblence to the edge of a visor, a bruise on the chin, bruises above mouth (just below the nose), sore left wrist, sore left elbow and most worrying of all, a tightening feeling in the lower back that appears to be getting worse (it's now four hours since the crash).

I did get back on the bike and rode to the finish. My Garmin recorded a time of 35-42, which would have been good enough for 8th place. But I was hardly pushing it after the crash so this would probably have been a bit faster. The timekeeper recorded me finishing in 37 mins something, so I lost just under two minutes looking for visor, checking injuries, checking bike, putting chain back on after extracting it from the front mech (why do they always get snagged in there?).

Hopefully, it is all minor and will not effect preparations for the Duo (and the British Champs next weekend). I think it is all superficial dmage but I am concerened about the creeping back pain.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Grumpy Bob's nightmare

One thing that has haunted my team-mate ever since we started riding the Duo Normand is the idea of crashing on the start ramp in full view of large numbers of spectators. I've always reassured him that this is so unlikely to happen that it can be dismissed.

However, only yesterday a professional rider managed to do just that. And if this photo is anything to go by then I had better watch out because it is likley that I'll be taken out as well. What do they call it? - ah, yes, collatoral damage.

Oh dear.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Now Grumpy Bob is really grumpy...

Grumpy Bob spent a considerable time yesterday evening trying to get the North Bucks Road Club website back on its feet after one of the hosting company's MySQL servers was behaving erratically, then appeared to go belly up. They announced it was functional again, but the database behind the website seems to have gone. Fortunately, Grumpy Bob had a series of recent backups. Less fortunately, he had to figure out exactly how to use these backups to restore the site on a different MySQL server at the hosting company.

Grumpy Bob still hadn't finished this process when he ran out of energy and retired to grab a few hours kip (though he had figured out how to do it). More fortunately, shortly before 5am he had the website back on its feet.

This has been more than a little unfortunate, since the upcoming British Time Trial Championship (6th September 2009) has seen a significant increase in traffic to the website, and the whole debacle has not looked very professional.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Duo Normand 2009 - preview

Team Grumpy has posted a preview of the 2009 Duo Normand over at the main Team Grumpy website. It's fair to say that neither member of Team Grumpy has excelled this year, so our performance at Team Grumpy's favourite time trial will be, how can we put it, unpredictable!

It's also very fair to point out that not only has Team Grumpy complied with Rule 4:
Rule 4: And if rule #3 fails, new skinsuits are probably a good option.
by buying new skinsuits for the event (and even new sunglasses), as what "Grumpy" Art fondly refers to as the Team Grumpy Uniform. Which Grumpy Bob finds a little alarming...

Before Team Grumpy departs these shores, Grumpy Bob has completed his last open event, the NM&H CA '25' (though one or two club events remain on his calendar), while "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay still has one or two to go, including the British Time Trial Championship on 6th September.

One never knows, perhaps at the Duo Team Grumpy will be able to pull a performance out of the bag...there is a Baldrickian "Cunning Plan", or which more later as it has more of the characteristics of a "Desperate Plan" than something that will guarantee a performance boost.

In the meantime, Team Grumpy has moved forward into the realms of Twitter, with its very own Twitter account.

Friday, 21 August 2009

British Championship gets grumpy

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The 2010 British Time Trial Championships will have a distinctly grumpy input. For more details see:

The BTTC 2010 Page at The Team Grumpy website

Sunday, 16 August 2009


With only three events scheduled before the Duo, Grumpy Bob started the Beds Road CC '25' on the F1B/25 with a degree of optimism that he might be able to demonstrate some return of form before the big day.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be. While it was a nice enough morning (albeit with a rising wind), Grumpy Bob experienced a deflating sensation as his rear tub punctured about 8 miles from Tempsford. It says something about his season that this wasn't accompanied by considerable cursing and swearing, but with a pathetic sense of resignation.

Two more events to go...

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Tula bars

Grumpy Bob is aware he said in this blog that he'd not fork out for new aero bars solely to make his bike UCI-legal. However, a week or so ago he decided to change his mind, and chose some USE Tulas (below)

These are rather splendid bars, which are aero in a sort of retro Dan Dare style - check out the "pods" that are the handholds and to which the brake levers fit. The elbow cups are carbon, and a single bolt fastens both the cups and the extensions in place, with a surprising amount of adjustability. The pads are a strange gel like rubber material, held in place (but only barely) by some velcro. Grumpy Bob plumped for the straight alloy extensions.

Cabling is internal - brake cables run from the pods and exit just before the extensions; gear cables enter the extensions and emerge out of the ends for a very clean cable run. The bars are oversize, which seems to help prevent slippage in the handlebar stem.

Being a pretty careful sort of rider, Grumpy Bob was rather cautious in his first competitive outing with the bars - the brake levers are in a slightly unusual position. However he quickly got used to that. In use, the bars seemed rather nice and comfortable. Unfortunately the changed position adversely affected saddle comfort (see this report on the Finsbury Park '25'), so that needs to be addressed (probably by replacing the carbon saddle with a more conventional SLR, which at least has some padding).

Monday, 27 July 2009

Grumpy Bob loses his bottle...

Grumpy Bob rode only his third solo '25' of the season* - the Verulam CC '25' on the F1/25 on 26th July. His second '25' was the Hemel Hempstead '25' on the F13/25, where it's safe to say that he didn't exactly cover himself with glory on a day with a nagging side wind. Of course, since his first '25' of the season was the Icknield '25' on the F1/25 when tragedy occurred, he did approach the event with some trepidation.

All went reasonably well, however. He recorded 58:46 on a day when the southbound legs were rendered quite hard by a stiff headwind. Gossip over at the timetrialling forum suggests that of the 80 riders on the startsheet, only 15 got sub-hour results. Perhaps GrumpyBob was a little unnerved by being on an 0 on the startsheet, an accolade that can only have resulted from the organiser suffering some kind of aberration.

So what's all this about losing his bottle? Well, having ridden over to the event (and expecting to ride home again) Grumpy Bob had taken the precaution of taking is trusty aero bottle, filled with PSP nectar. Somewhere near the Sandy end of the course, his expensive Arundel aero bottle popped out of the cage, never to be seen again. At least by Grumpy Bob, who never even noticed it as it abandoned him.

*Grumpy Bob isn't including the API/Metrow '25', for reasons that are slightly embarrassing.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Buying speed

No, not some dodgy deal on amphetamines, but Grumpy Bob's latest stunt to justify some more bike bling. Yes, this whole UCI rant has been part of a complex and highly structured campaign to create the ideal conditions under which the purchase of new bike components can be justified.

It's scary sometimes to observe the work of genius. I only wish this talent could be used for good rather than evil.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

So, will the Duo Normand apply UCI bike regs?

There's been ongoing uncertainty within the ranks of Team Grumpy on whether or not the organisers of the Duo Normand intend to enforce the luddite UCI regulations on bicycle dimensions. This follows postings in the timetrialling forum asserting that they will enforce them. In response to Grumpy Bob's brief email enquiring:
Will UCI bicycle regulations be applied, and in which categories?
he got a reply from the organisers of the Duo Normand:
The UCI rules are applied in our race but the only Elite category is under UCI control.
Grumpy Bob isn't terribly sure how to interpret that! Perhaps his original email was a little brief... It would be a bit of a shame to travel all that way and be refused a ride...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Looking to the Duo Normand

Grumpy Bob emailed the organisers of the Duo Normand to enquire whether UCI regs would be enforced, and in which categories. He thinks that Grumpy Art has entered Team Grumpy in the Corporate category again this year. Hopefully a response will arrive in due course, and he will post it here when it does appear in his inbox.

A few months ago, Grumpy Bob examined his bikes for fit to UCI regulations (aka the "Luddite" regs), and was disappointed that both failed (see a recent post in this blog). One, however, failed only on the handlebar arrangements, so that should be relatively easy to sort out, by transplanting kit from his fixed wheel TT bike. But of course that's not ideal, and Grumpy Bob isn't inclined to cough up for a nice set of bars just for one event. Grumpy Art claims his bike is UCI-legal, but when prompted to think about the front forks confesses he hadn't thought of that.

One wonders why the UCI didn't stay true to their ideals when ruling that ASO had to permit the use of race radios on Friday's stage of the Tour de France. Grumpy Bob had almost expected their ruling to be:
  1. Race radios are permitted.
  2. Race radios must not contain transistors or microprocessors
  3. Race radios must respect the primacy of archaic technology over the new, and should conform to the technology available to Maurice Garin.
  4. Therefore all race radios should use valves (tubes to any colonials who may visit this page)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

A tough day

Boy, that was hard! Today, I did the PTW 50 and recorded 2-02-36, which is actually my best 50 of the year so far (I have another in two weeks' time). I don't think I've ever had so much water chucked over me as I did today, with downpour after downpour (ineterspersed with very hot sunny periods of about three minutes). This kept up for the entirity of my ride.

It started off just as I pulled up to the start and visibility was effectively zero when I started out. This did not please me at all and I think my mind wasn't really on the task of riding a 50 mile TT. This was reflected in my 25 mile splits (thanks to Garmin) of 1-02-38 and 59-58. As you can tell, I did manage to get into a racing mode eventually.

Now I have a bike to clean and regrease. But at least I found the HQ and started the event, which is more than some can claim.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Here we go

Well, the unstoppable momentum that is Team Grumpy has now shifted up another gear as our entry to the Duo has been validated. There's no turning back now.

All that's needed is for our mediocre form to hit top level. Usually, we do a TTT just before going out to France but this year it will be different and we'll prepare separately.

But we'll meet up in France for our final preparation: a good dose of 'Pop Belge' (aka Leffe)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Missing form Grumpy Bob rode his first solo '25' of 2009 - not only that, it was his longest race of the season so far, the North Middx & Herts '50' having been cancelled through lack if entries. Normally by this stage of the season, he would have completed several '25's, a couple of '50's, and would be looking forward to riding a '100'. Instead, he's wondering where all the events went, having had a fairly poor time at the Hemel '25'. To be honest, Grumpy Bob is usually luck to get sub-hour on the F13/25, but even so finishing well over the hour was a bit of knock to his morale.

Mind you, there's still time for his grumpy training to have an impact before the Duo in late September, and with a programme of two races a week before he has to go to Nottingham for a week's teaching in the first week of August, a week of chips and beer and 13 hour working days.

Part of the problem as Grumpy Bob sees it is partly a reduced number of events in London North (though perhaps this is merely his perception), and partly his reluctance to ride on the F1 following the tragedy that unfolded at the Icknield RC '25' in May.

Getting better?


Yesterday I did a hilly 10 (part of the S. Wales SPOCO series) in 23-57. I was quite happy with that givent here was a stiff headwind to the turn.

Today, I did a 25 on a rolling course (not what I would rate as sporting, though many would). Again, there was a strong headwind to the turn, so I was pleased with my 58-46. Also, I seem to have closed the gap on many of those who rode in the ten.

Hopefully, this is a sign of a steady improvement from now on.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Duo 2009

Grumpy Art's booked his ferries for Normandy, GrumpyBob's booked his ferries, Grumpy Art's entered us for the race, we've got the accommodation booked, GrumpyBob's renewed his racing licence. All is now set...

All we need is form. And, reputedly, UCI-legal bikes.

Training - or lack of

I have just quantified my much vaunted (not) low levels of training load. To be honest, it makes scary reading. But, hopefully, now that work has died down considerably, I will be able to build form for the Duo. These are my total weekly mileage (including racing, warm up, turbo - the lot):

44; 0; 70; 68
74; 82; 62; 59
102; 66; 78; 64
99; 118; 83; 32
80; 60; 0; 77; 30
60; 0; 20; 140

Things - as they say - can only get better.

Friday, 26 June 2009

I'm still here too ...

... and I will know exactly where I am from now on because I've bought a Garmin Edge 305.

What d'yer think to that, then?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Grumpy Bob's still here... no accident, personal injury or death occurred during his 12 mile ride on a bike equipped with an 11-speed chain. Despite the 10-speed chainset and the 9-speed front mech.

More seriously, Grumpy Bob reports that the gear changes are super smooth (especially shifting between chainrings, and the new ergo lever shape is comfortable.

Grumpy Bob is quite pleased, actually. But his TT bike is still running Shimano 9-speed...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tomorrow is the day...

...Grumpy Bob girds his loins and actually risks accident, injury and death. .

he has plucked up what little courage he has and installed the 11-speed chain (with the extremely expensive mother-of-all-chain-tools*), he has bodged the 11-speed cassette** onto his existing 9-speed Electron wheel, he's fitted and cabled the 11-speed ergolevers (which have a rather comfortable shape), he's splashed out for an astonishingly light 11-speed rear mech and he plans to ride the bike tomorrow morning - but the trouble is...

...he's using two 10-speed components (the front mech and the chainset) which if you peruse the highly alarming instruction book, means he may well be destined for road rash at best, and a funeral at worst!

*The chain tool is pretty awe-inspiring. If you like bike tools that is.

**The lockring that came with the cassette didn't fit the freehub. The only lockring GrumpyBob could find knocking about in his parts bin (aka the garage) isn't really suitable for an 11 tooth cog. but that's a minor issue to sort out...he hopes!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

I'm on my way - Duo 2009

Well, one half of the team has now booked the ferry. The accommodation is already booked, so all that's needed is the race organiser to open the entries. Oh, and the other half of the team ...

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Accident, personal injury or death

Grumpy Bob has been reading the installation manual that came with a newly purchased Campagnolo Chorus 11-speed chain. He is somewhat alarmed that the limits of bike chain technology have perhaps been reached here.

Installation of one of these chains seems to involve a lot of actions which if not performed absolutely correctly, and with the correct (and rather expensive) tool place the rider in risk of accident, personal injury or death. In fact, his perusal of said manual (about 20 pages in English, albeit small pages) would suggest that cycling is a horribly dangerous pastime.

  • using the chain with 10 speed component may cause accidents, inury or death
  • if Grumpy Bob doesn't follow the instructions, an accident could occur.
  • Grumpy Bob should wear snug-fitting clothes (preferably fluorescent), and not ride at night. And if he is foolhardy enough to ride at night, he must use lights
  • Grumpy Bob mustn't use a component he's unfamiliar with as he might have an accident.
  • Grumpy Bob will find it harder to stop in the wet...which could cause an accident.
  • And because of all these potential accidents, Grumpy Bob must wear a helmet!
  • If Grumpy Bob doesn't use tool UN-CN300, he risks accident, personal injury or death.
  • He should use safety goggles when installing the chain
  • If the UN-CN300 is damaged, Grumpy Bob risks accident, personal injury or death.
  • Use of non-Campagnolo sprockets risks accident, personal injury or death.
  • Incorrect installation of the chain leads to a risk of accident, personal injury or death.
  • Opening and closing the chain more than twice brings with it a risk of accident, personal injury or death.
  • When lubricating the chain, Grumpy Bob is exhorted to make sure no grease gets on the rims, otherwise he risks...accident, personal injury or death.
  • Not only that, but if Grumpy Bob uses a poor-quality lubricant, he risks...accident, personal injury or death.
  • Salted roads can damage bike components, possibly resulting in accidents. But not death apparently.
  • If Grumpy Bob doesn't recognise when the chain gets worn and replace it, he again risks accident, personal injury or death.
At this point Grumpy Bob is getting just a little nervous about ever getting on the bike again!

This video shows how it should be done:

[hat-tip to Cozy Beehive]

Friday, 19 June 2009

wimping out

I see that Grumpy Bob wimped out of his club 25 Championship and rumour has it that he has also wimped out of beard removal (though, not yet confirmed).

Well, just to show solidarity I have completey wimped out of any training for almost the last two months. Heavy workloads and now a hacking cough have conspired against me. However, I did ride the Bynea CC 50 mile TT a week ago and surprised myself with 2h 7m on a very windy day on this notoriously tough course. I did 59 mins exactly to the turn (including a 24 sec late start penalty - because I was too busy talking to one of the marshalls on my way to the start), which gives you an idea how strong the wind was.

Having at last got ride of the burden of two jobs (now only have one) I was looking forwards to getting back on the bike when I was struck down by this dreadful cough. I, therefore, anticipate a return to training next week. This should be ample time to be flying for the Duo in late September.


Monday, 15 June 2009

Back from touring in Scotland

Grumpy Bob has returned from his annual tandem cycle tour in Scotland. This year the tour encompassed the Islands of Mull and Skye, and also the Black Isle (which is not actually an island, of course). If you're interested you can read about it at Flies&Bikes.

Now he's back and trying to see how his legs will perform in Wednesday's club '25' championship...

Friday, 29 May 2009

The Return of Team Grumpy

Resplendent in their new team strip* (or "uniform" as "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay likes to call it), Team Grumpy made a mid-season appearance at the North Bucks Road Club evening '10' on Wednesday evening. Intended to keep the team up to scratch, Team Grumpy was the only 2-up team in what was really the NBRC club '10' championship.

A blustery evening made the H3 trispokes "interesting" at one or two points around the course. Team Grumpy worked well, with very smooth changovers - perhaps one or two spells were rather too long, but that was dictated by circumstances. Team Grumpy were pleased at finishing with 22:24 on the back of severely reduced training, and felt encouraged to work towards the Duo Normand on 20th September. You can read Grumpy Bob's report of the event over at flies&bikes.

*No photos yet, but Team Grumpy has taken to wearing black and white Assos kit. Seems as though "Grumpy" Art's prejudice against Assos has dissipated. However, the amusingly named Assos Starbust Stradale skinsuits are so tight as to make standing upright difficult (but at least amusing, if a little disturbing, for onlookers).

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Beards, doping and Lance Armstrong

"Grumpy" Art Vanderlay is visiting (a Team Grumpy outing is planned for this evening - watch this blog for more details), and after a gentle leg-easing bike ride made quite an astute observation about beards and doping. You may have noticed Grumpy Bob's facial hair in the photographs accompanying the Team Grumpy 2009 launch event.

"Grumpy" Art observed a correlation between doping and beards, particularly goatee beards (which Grumpy Bob's beard is beginning to resemble). Citing as evidence Marco Pantani, Frank Vandenbroucke, and Floyd Landis as examples (not to mention the suggestion that Richard Virenque and David Millar became facially hirsute at around the time they got caught doping), he made the proposition that beards were a clear indicator of dubious practice. Grumpy Bob observes that Lance Armstrong (who of course has never tested positive) does not have a beard. Team Grumpy leaves it to the reader to make what they will of that factoid. In the meantime, perhaps it is time to lose the beard?

Monday, 25 May 2009

A week of increased mileage for Grumpy Bob

Grumpy Bob has persisted with his new stratagem to revitalise his bike training. In the last week, he covered over 230 miles as follows:

Monday - Grumpy Bob did three sets of five 1' intervals at race pace. Then commuted to work on the tandem.

Tuesday - 60' at level 2, and commuted to work.

Wednesday - As usual, a club time trial, this time over at Stony Stratford. With the riding to and from work and Stony Stratford, this came to about 50 miles, and Grumpy Bob felt quite tired when he got home. At least he got under 28 minutes, though he did suffer the ignominy of being caught.

Thursday - The grumpy legs were feeling a bit jaded so only a gentle commute to work.

Friday - Road ride, the commuted by tandem, then topped with an evening trip to the NBRC club room to discuss arrangements for the British Time Trial Championship (6th September).

Saturday - No riding - overhauled the touring tandem (cycle tour starts next week).

Sunday - A total of about 64 miles, about half on the road bike, half on the Longstaff tandem. A brilliant;y hot and sunny day - Grumpy Bob has begin to acquire a "cycling suntan".

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Has Grumpy Bob balanced his work and life?

Sort of.

After the decision to take time in the mornings before going to work, he did the following:

Sunday: 1h level 2 session, before he spent the day helping Mrs Grumpy build an edifice in the garden. The weather then turned bad, which disinclined him from road cycling.
Monday: 2 x 20 mins low level 3, plus the usual commute to work.
Tuesday: 1h level 2 again, also cycled to work.
Wednesday: to work on the TT bike, rode up to the club time trial, rode the club time trial, then rode home.
Thursday & Friday: Grumpy Bob let himself down while attending a training course in Birmingham. While the loss of training was expected, he gorged himself on far too much food. At least booze intake was limited to a glass of wine and a pint of Grolsch.
Saturday: The Lampard '10'. Very windy, very hard.
Sunday: Very much the same as last week - Grumpy Bob types this having done another 1h at level 2, again prior to some gardening work. Hopefully some tandem riding will be possible later on.

Of course, it's too soon to see if this will have any effect, and Grumpy Bob won't be riding an open event until returning from the grumpy tandem tour, in mid-June. However, it is possible that Team Grumpy will assemble for a club event in late May. Watch this space.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Grumpy Bob's bikes fail UCI regs!

Shock news - Grumpy Bob's time trial bikes fail UCI regulations! I think Team Grumpy has to hope these stupid regulations won't actually be enforced at the 2009 Duo Normand...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Work-Life balance and training

Grumpy Bob has been getting more grumpy as 2009 has proceeded. Having had a crap winter training programme, due firstly to 3 weeks of illness in December followed by Xmas festivities (all of which seem to involve high calorific intake and generally toxic behaviour) and secondly to the fortnight of snow and ice inflicted on England in early February, he has continued to find that his work commitments have eaten into the time available for training.

This morning, while walking home with Mrs Grumpy from the shops, Grumpy Bob decided to take a bit of a step back from working long hours. He's found that while his previously successful working system of getting to work around 7.30 to 8.00 am and leaving by 5.30pm allowed time for getting training done, his present lifestyle doesn't help - frequently not getting home till 7.30pm-ish leaves precious little time for training.

The new regime will hopefully see Grumpy Bob leaving the house later in the morning, thereby freeing up a bit more time for him to get some miles in, either on the road bike, or on the turbo. Grumpy Bob is aware that he's announced new training resolutions sporadically in this blog, and that these have rarely been adhered to. He's reasonable optimistic that this time, he'll stick to it, and that perhaps his time trial performances will improve slightly.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Is your Time Trial bike UCI legal?

The UCI are notoriously luddite when it comes to bicycle technology. This has the potential to cause a problem if you're competing in an event where your bike's required to conform to UCI regulations. This has the potential to affect riders at the Duo Normand, where it is rumoured that the regulations may be strictly enforced in 2009. (But I don't think Team Grumpy really expect that)

Grumpy Bob's reviewed these regs, particularly as they apply to time trial bikes, and has outlined the significant sections (How to make your Time Trial bike conform to UCI regulations). Read, and feel free to leave comments...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Almost a Team Grumpy midweek outing

This week's North Bucks club '10' on the Astwood sporting course was overwhelmed with cyclists, and when Grumpy Bob arrived to sign on, the start sheet was filled (mostly with those pesky Team MK types, it seemed!). Amazing what the good weather can do, really (the start sheet was limited to 30 riders due to light). Not to be daunted, Grumpy Bob took advice from NBRC Time Trial Secretary Stubbsy and enquired whether apprentice Team Grumpy member Lindz Barral would be interested in riding 2-up. Happily, he agreed, so at least Grumpy Bob didn't have to return home for a turbo session.

Once again, Lindz revealed strong talents for 2-up time trialling (hopefully "Grumpy" Art won't be too envious), and we scorched round the course in a little over 23 minutes. You can read the full reports at Flies&Bikes and the NBRC website. The only problem is that Lindz doesn't appear to be particularly grumpy, which leaves the question as to what TG name we might give him...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Team Grumpy move to Rule #4

Word that Team Grumpy has obeyed rule #4 reaches Grumpy Mansions. In a bid to be the smartest team (in a sartorial sense rather than intellectual) on the start ramp come September 20th, "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay has arranged delivery of spiffy new skinsuits from a well-known Swiss company.

Whether this will make a significant difference on the day remains to be seen.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Team Grumpy tifosi disappointed at Astwood

The massive Team Grumpy fan base out there were mightily disappointed by the team's non-appearance in this year's Team MK 20 mile 2-up held on 18th April on the Astwood sporting course. This is obviously such a regular fixture on Team Grumpy's annual calendar that despite not receiving an entry from from "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay, the organiser included Team Grumpy in the start sheet. There must have been some clash in the London North calendar, this year, because the starting list was a bit on the short side - only two 2-up teams listed - this is a bit of a shame as it's a great course, has a great HQ, and is always well-organised. Oh, and the organiser generally arranges with the celestial powers to have pretty nice weather!

Anyway, Grumpy Bob rode in his 2-up slot but was included among the solo riders for the final result sheet. You can read a report on the event over at Flies&Bikes.

To reassure our huge fan club, Team Grumpy are looking to fit in some more events in 2009 to keep in practice before the Duo Normand in September.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Facial expressions in Time Trials

Grumpy Bob just (and rather fortuitously) came across Tom's Cycling Blog this morning. He particularly liked his analysis of facial expressions while time trialling, and wondered how Tom managed the photos without laughing.

Having looked at photos of Team Grumpy on the Duo Normand start ramp, Grumpy Bob thinks the pre-event expression is worthy of analysis. Grumpy Bob is alarmed at his peculiar simpering expression (particularly with the chap in the dodgy T-shirt apparently servicing him from behind), but also at "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's frankly quite scary expression of fixed determination. Or maybe that's a mixture of relief that "that guy" is once again not behind him and fear of falling off the start ramp...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Team Grumpy website

Incipient megalomania has gripped Team Grumpy, and they have set up a team website. It aims to take things (slightly) more seriously than this blog, and can be found at

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Form is that elusive thing that we all search for. Maybe others have a good idea when they get their form, but I've never really been able to nail it. I plan to be in form for September, but I do expect to have something resembling form at this stage of the season. Clearly, this is not yet the case.
Frankly, I think form and myself parted company sometime last year and there is no indication yet of any potential reconciliation. Recent results do support this notion.
However, I have been recovering from a virus of late and cannot be certain that this hasn't taken a toll on my so-called form. I doubt it, but one lives in hope. Anyway, today I went out and tested myself on the TT bike around am undulating circuit that I use often for this very purpose. I've been doing this for years so goodness knows how many 'tests' I have carried out on this circuit. Today, I did my third best ever time.
Could this be sign of better form around the corner? I guess I'll find out on Sunday

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Icknield RC 30k 2-up, 29/3/09 - In which Team Grumpy get very...grumpy

As alluded to in yesterday's blog, Team Grumpy did indeed convene in a local restaurant to prepare for the 2-up in time-honoured fashion - Thai curry and copious Singha beer. Thus fortified, Team Grumpy retired for the night, making sure we set the clocks for the shift to British Summer Time.

The next morning, both team members found that their "preparation" might not have had the best effect for athletic performance. Team Grumpy finished loading the car and set off with complaining digestive systems for the race HQ in Cheddington, using a route that was intended to help "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay scout out part of the route, as this was his first ride on the course. Team Grumpy's team manager wisely chose to remain in bed.

On arrival at the race HQ Team Grumpy, still feeling intestinally challenged, were somewhat unhappy that the hall was not open (and the "facilities" therefore inaccessible) - particularly as it was cold enough for frost outside making hanging around rather unwelcome. Once the organiser arrived, relief was at hand, and we could make our choices for clothing (kneewarmers and big gloves were essential on such a cold morning).

"Grumpy" Art chose to ride his Xentis wheels rather than the Team Grumpy standard H3s - the reader will need to judge whether that turned out to be a wise choice. The start of the course is some distance from the HQ and riders need to traverse two narow bridges with traffic lights - just after crossing the second, Grumpy Bob heard a garbled shout and saw his team mate do a U-turn and head back in the direction of the HQ. This brought memories of the fabled Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up when descending the Neath Bank, "Grumpy" Art's cassette came apart forcing his early retirement (and christening Team Grumpy Rule number 2). Being very team-spirited he also did a u-turn, but rapidly found that "Grumpy" Art was nowhere to be seen. Conscious of the time passing, he returned to the start with two minutes in hand. Sadly, "Grumpy" Art was still not there at the appointed start time, so Grumpy Bob set off on a solo ride.

It's a reasonably challenging course, with three significant climbs, Ivinghoe Beacon, Billington hill and Mentmore hill. Somewhat distracted by the mysterious disappearance of his team mate, Grumpy Bob persisted round the course, to finish with 49:34. But what of the missing team mate?

While all this was going on "Grumpy Art" had realised his rear tyre was deflating, and hurried back to the HQ. Here (and at this point facts get rather garbled), he tried changing to his rear H3, suffered an impact puncture en route to the start, tried repairing that only to find the tyre was irreparably damaged and had to settle for replacing the inner tube of the Xentis.

As those of you who know "Grumpy" Art will have expected, all these misfortunes brought about a tantrum which might have done justice to someone 47 years his junior, but with that out of his system he rode back to the start to ride a solo race in the place of #39. So, starting about 30 minutes behind his team mate, off he went, to record a pretty decent time of 49:16, unfortunately sullied by a vast (and in detail somewhat inexplicable) late start penalty of something like 33.5 minutes.

So, not a very auspicious attempt at 2-up practice, but at least both members of Team Grumpy did get rides in on the day. Unfortunately, neither counted a for a hill of beans as Grumpy Bob had no second rider to count in the 2-up, and "Grumpy" Art had the humungous late start penalty (and anyway he wasn't entered in the solo event).

This might just be the last available opportunity for Team Grumpy to hone its 2-up skills before the "main event", the Duo Normand in September. Let's hope that goes according to plan again this year.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Second 2009 Team Grumpy outing : Icknield RC 30k 2-up

Tomorrow, Team Grumpy ride their second 2-up of the 2009 season, the Icknield RC 30k sporting event.

There are only five teams entered for the 2-up event ( there are 56 entered in the solo event) - you can see the full start sheet over at the CTT website. This is the first time Team grumpy have ridden the event as a 2-up - our prior outings on this course were in the solo events.

The present course differs from the version Team Grumpy first rode several years ago, but this isn't too bad as on that occasion they both fell off in Slapton. In Grumpy Bob's case, this resulted in a startling number of grazes and scars and a broken off tooth, "Grumpy" Art fared only marginally less badly. Interestingly, after wiping the blood out of his eyes so that he could see, and restoring his handlebars to a "forward pointing orientation", he ambled back to the race HQ to find he wasn't even the last finisher, and what's more his club nearly got a team prize!

Team Grumpy are riding this event instead of our usual outing at the Team MK event in April dues to "Grumpy" Art's work commitments (GrumpyBob will ride that event as a solo rider). Eve of race preparation will include a Thai curry and a not-inconsiderable quantity of Singha beer. Whether this will prove to be ideal, or just an excuse will be revealed tomorrow...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A radical proposition for Team Grumpy

Team Grumpy are in planning mode for this year's Duo Normand, which will be held on 20th September in Marigny. Accommodation arrangements are well in hand, thanks to "Grumpy" Art and Mrs Vanderlay's combing of the internet.

Our past performances have been:
2003: 9th place 01:24:01
2004: 5th place 01:22:18
2005: 4th place 01:23:15
2006: 2nd place 01:23:11
2007: did not enter
2008: 2nd place 01:22:28
From 2003 to 2006, we raced in the Veterans category. Last year, "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay made the radical proposition that Team Grumpy should enter the Corporate category. Initially unwilling, Grumpy Bob eventually went along with the idea. In the event, we still didn't get on the podium, as we got well-drubbed by the winning team (who seemed about half our age). We also rode a sizeable section of the race apparently leading a 4-up team after a team we caught sat on our wheel for several kilometers. If you're interested, a report on Team Grumpy's 2008 race is here (includes photo gallery).

With all that in mind, perhaps it's time for an even more radical approach to the Duo in 2009 - we should enter in the tandem category!

How about it, Art? We could have a trial ride after next weekend's Icknield RC 30k two-up...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

NBRC club 2-up '10'

Not quite a Team Grumpy outing, but Grumpy Bob paired up with Lindz Barrall of iTeam CC in the North Bucks Road Club 2-up team time trial, held on 14th March. Full results are at the NBRC site and at Flies&Bikes (reports from two slightly different perspectives).
GrumpyBob admitted to some nerves (mostly because he was worried about doing something wrong!) at being paired with a rider he's not previously raced with, but it all went quite well. Lindz did shoot off from the start at astonishing velocity, which left Grumpy Bob gasping as he came through for his first spell at the front, but aside from the formation falling apart slightly on the inclines they rode pretty well. Certainly better than the "Laurel and Hardy Ride a Two-up" performance that Team Grumpy managed in their first 2-up event some years ago!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

D Day plus 10

Annoyingly, full results for the PTW 2-up can't be found on the web (at least by me), so our general placings remain unknown. Perhaps "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay can lay his mitts on a copy through his local contacts.
In the meantime training proceeds, though intermittently. I did a 10 mile solo club event at the weekend, with a not particularly good outcome (NBRC Club '10' Astwood 7/3/09). Ho hum, back on th turbo this evening, I guess.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Well, Team Grumpy might not have set the cycling world alight on Sunday but it was an efficient and well-drilled team effort that secured first place in the composite team category of the Port Talbot 2-up 25 mile TTT. Official results are still pending, so we don't really know how we did relative to the rest of the field. But results that have been made known to us suggest that it was a good performance. The race was run off in good conditions (for the time of year). It was quite sunny and although very cold before the event it did warm up as we set out. There was a breeze that made the return legs of both sectiions of the course a little harder than the outward legs. But there'll be no complaints from Team Grumpy about the weather. This is more than can be said for the various obstacles put in our way on the course, which included two pairs of cyclists weaving all over the road and an idiot brandishing a six foot spirit level who sauntered out in front of us at the bottom of the fastest descent on the course. Accidentally? I think not. Before the evnt the team had its team launch for the 2009 season. On display were the various team members - well, both of us - and the gear we will be using this season. Sticking with radition, Team Grumpy will use Campagnolo and Shimano groupsets with TA parts. Vision, FSA, Hed, ITM, 3TTT, Cinelli, Profile, Deda and Oval bars and stems and well, anything we can get our hands on really. No doubt I will change saddle suppliers no fewer than four times this season until I eventually end up with the saddle that I started out on. Grumpy Bob is less fickle to be fair and admits to poor performances whereas I tend to blame my saddle when I don't go well. There were no dancing girls or jousting matches, or gladiator shows at the team launch. But this doesn't mean that Team Grumpy did not match the professional teams. Far from it, we have it on good authority that there was a stripper performing in a pub not too far away and there was indeed a fight shortly afterwards. Also the slick team launch was matched by its surroundings: the car park of the working man's club. Photos are available on Media enquires should be directed to head of public relations via that link.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

D-Day minus one

Team Grumpy has assembled in Wales for the first event of the 2009 season. We began the final preparations in the usual style - pop belge (Leffe, but not in the usual copious quantities) and a carry out curry.
At least I slept well, despite discovering my iPod pings at midnight if there's a reminder scheduled.
It doesn't sound like either of us feel entirely confident about tomorrow's race - I've had the previously documented interruptions to my training, and Art's had a cold (now cleared up - we remember Team Grumpy rule #5).

Friday, 27 February 2009

D-Day minus two

Not much to report. Sorted out the bike, collected all the kit, bought some Pop Belge energy drink as contribution to Art's host expenses.
Weather's good, here, hope it holds up.

Over to you, Art,

Thursday, 26 February 2009

D-Day minus three

OK, I've done an interval session, (last real training before Sunday's 2-up, and mostly a confidence-booster), and I've just checked the weather on the BBC Weather page....

...for a change, it might be nice. Usually we get snow or hail or cold or rain or wind, or some combination of those, This time the BBC are forecasting sunny spells:
Sunny Intervals
Max: 10°C50°F
Sunrise: 07:02
Wind: WNW 12mph
Hum: 84%
Press: 1007mB
Vis: Moderate

On the other hand, Saturday night's not quite so great:
Light Rain
Min: 7°C45°F
Sunset: 17:57

Hopefully, it'll be dry and relatively warm. Let's hope I'm up to hanging on "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's wheel on Sunday. At least my interval session this morning did boost my confidence somewhat.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

D-Day minus four

I thought I'd better contribute to the countdown to the debacle that might occur on Sunday. In contrast to "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's training, my winter programme has been disrupted by three weeks of illness in December, the two week snowy period in February, several days consumed by travelling to a job interview, and generally not having enough time left over after work.
It's not all doom and gloom - some days I find myself feeling pretty damned good, but I worry about inconsistency day to day. We shall see how it goes on Sunday!
So, with Team Grumpy rule #1 fulfilled, onto other matters.
I had a telephone call at work yesterday from a pleasant chap at Cycling Weekly, the not terribly august journal that I subscribed to for decades until I kicked the habit it in the face of declining time trial coverage and increased "get fit while you sleep" and cyclosportive articles. I had a nice chat with the lad, and pointed out that if Cycling Weekly made a strategic decision to go after the "lifestyle cycling" market instead of one of the principal core cycle sport audiences, they really ought to expect long-time subscribers to vanish. After all, it's not as though they made much effort to cater for all aspects of the sport. I declined the cheap subscription offer they are making to former subscribers.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

D-Day minus five

well, only five days to go until the start of the season. I've decided to take things very easy so that I can clear this cough out of my system. I don't think it's at all bad but I'm taking no chances. I had a hard session planned for tomorrow and I doubt that I'll do it - though, an overnight recovery might alter things. Today is a bit odd because I feel okay in myself but have been lecturing for four hours and can feel soreness in my throat. Better take a day off to be safe, I reckon.

I tinkered with the TT bike earlier and found a few loose bolts (bottle cage etc) so hopefully that was the rattle. I'm not going to do much else to it - if it makes a noise on Sunday then so be it.

I also can't believe how white my legs are. Sitting on te turbo last night it looked like two milk bottles going up and down.

Monday, 23 February 2009

D-Day minus six

Well, I was awake most of the night with this stupid cough. Ironically, it now seems to have gone. Let's hope it remains so.

I ended up doing a much harder session yesterday than I had planned - yes, I know, that's why the cough was troublesome last night. It's work all day today and that will be followed by a gentle turbo session later on this evening.

Weather forecast is good for the weekend. But this is mixed news for us because Team Grumpy always seem to do better when the conditions are poor.

Now is the time to start checking the TT bike over. I've been out on it a few times this last week and it seems okay. There are a couple anoying rattles that I would rather eliminate and it's best to do that now rather than leave it until the night before. Then again ...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

D-Day minus 7

The countdown begins:

Only 7 days to go until the season begins for Team Grumpy. Overall, I'm happy with my training. But I've not doe much in this last week because of work commitments. This morning I woke with a tickly cough, so will probably have to keep things light for now. I'm not concerned about it though and maybe the 'tapering' will be a good thing.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Another loony regulation from the UCI luddites has been reporting on the revised (as of 1st January 2009) rule known as the 3:1 rule. An article on 17th February (A possible disaster on the horizon) outlines this preposterous rule. In essence it is saying that all bicycle components must not exceed a 3:1 length to depth ratio. According to, this outlaws just about every aerobar in use, together with many other components such as aero seatpins. In fact the article's author suggests that the future of several companies may now be in doubt. The new rule implementation has caught many teams at the Tour of California on the hop. The article points out that
Previously the rules stated only that cross-sections of any particular frame or component had to fit within an 8 x 2.5cm rectangle. By that definition, all of the equipment currently planned for use on Friday is legal. However, if the 3-to-1 rule is applied, nearly every team currently listed on the Tour of California roster is headed for disaster unless some sort of contingency plan is put into effect.
This is just the latest in a string of retro rulings from the UCI luddites, including stupid regulations on the dimensions of bikes that don't properly take into account differences in rider height.
So, why is this so interesting to Team Grumpy? Well, I strongly suspect that my time trial bikes will fail, either because of seat pin or aerobar dimensions. "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay might be able to comment on his bike's fit to the regulations.
Of course here in England and Wales, time trialling is run by the somewhat more enlightened CTT, so for domestic races there'll be no problem. But my favourite race is the Duo Normand, at which rumour has it bikes in all categories will get measured up and checked. And of course time trials in Scotland are (supposedly) run under UCI regulations.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Hopefully that's the winter over...

Back to normal, now that winter appears to have retreated for the time being. I did a 6am Level 2 session, then we rode to work on the tandem.
That's the first road riding since the snow came and the total inadequacy of Mid Beds Council's roads department was revealed in all its glory. Perhaps I'll do a more vigorous session this evening if I get home in a reasonable time.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Entry Form Mirth

This is the time of year when I usually get to have a bit of a chuckle at the expense of my Team Grumpy partner.

The reason for this is that with steady regularity, Grumpy Bob sends me his entry form to enter the Port Talbot 2-up TTT. With equally steady regularity, his best time for 25 miles gets just that little bit worse each year. Rather surprisingly, mine has got better most years. But not this time!

So, I now humble myself with the acknowledgement that it is my turn to be the subject of the entry form mirth. Grumpy Bob's best 25 mile time for last season was in fact over 40 secs faster than mine.

The Big One

Well, it's done - the big one has been competed. This session is so scary I can only even contemplate doing it once. If it goes wrong, then that's it - I would not even attempt it again.

Basically, this turbo session is:

10 mins warm up
30 mins at threshold
10 mins recovery (easy spinning)
30 mins at threshold
10 mins recovery
30 mins at threshold
10 mins warm down

I have felt good recently, so it was time to do it. The first 30 mins effort was great and I had to hold back to avoid overdoing things. The second one was painful after about 10 mins and I was starting to worry about the third one even before I had completed the second 30 mins. As expected, I was hanging on for the duration of the last 30 min effort. This was torture and I don't mind admitting that I faded and there was a serious drop in power towards the end. It was a magnificent achievement, though, just to hang on and complete the session. At times it was a question of mind over matter as the seconds ticked away ever more slowly.

I am now hardly able to walk and I hurt all over (especially my back). The readings do suggest a drop in power on the third threshold effort, but my heart rate was sky high for this part so the effort was a good one. Overall I think this was as good as I could have expected.

I will now start to taper down towards the start of the season.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Training update

Well, just done another of my 'stepped' sessions - 5 mins in increasingly large gears. This time I completed 6 'steps', but more important the numbers were bigger than ever (watts, kph etc). Even with warm up and warm down, this session only took 50 mins. But it is aimed at pure quality. Thankfully, I felt good and was able to do the whole lot without feeling like I was hanging on. It was tempting to push for anoter 'step' but I am adding one each week, so have stuck firmly to the plan. Something appears to be going right. I just hope it lasts.

British Cycling play mind-games - Team Grumpy to follow suit?

The news that British Cycling has shredded the skinsuits used by its highly successful Olympic squad is a particularly neat piece of mind-gaming. As reports (British Cycling going to extremes),

[...] the track riders' skinsuits have been shredded to prevent them from falling into the hands of their rivals, who might then attempt to copy them. Britain intends to use the suits again at its home London Olympics in 2012.

"Those suits were created by British Cycling and Adidas put the labels on," he said, but the actually sewing was outsourced for further security. "Our skin suits were sent out to Japan so that the person who put them together in Japan did not know where they were from and there was no link."

Right. And the eight gold medals in track events at the Beijing Olympics are entirely explicable by a highly technical fabric.The effective training programme played no part?

I reckon this is just a diversionary tactic, and it's one that Team Grumpy should learn from. In a winter where our training has been low volume (and in Grumpy Bob's case, rather disrupted), some mind-games might be our only option. "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's desire for a new wardrobe of skinsuits should now be revisited, and the new "stealth" skinsuits should indicate the highly technical nature of their construction, possibly via some "inconspicuous, yet highly visible" graphics.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Snow, chaos, dodgy statistics...and a bit of training

This was the week the media went into overdrive, local councils ran out of salt for the roads, and I didn't get out on my bike once. Well, at least not on the road. So, here's a quick snap out of the back window of my house in Bedfordshire yesterday. It snowed steadily, but not particularly heavily, from about 5am to lunchtime.
Now, this has been the pattern all week - certainly enough snow to make me think twice about venturing out on a bike (but only a few inches in a snowfall). But it's turned out to be enough to raise media hysteria across the UK, for buses o stop running, for roads to be closed and for my workplace to close early (at noon yesterday for example).
In the meantime, here's a link to an article debunking some statistics generated on behalf of an insurance company. The best think about this survey is it compares 6 months of accident data with the preceding 6 months, apparently without it ever occurring to them that there might be seasonal issues (dark, cold, ice etc)!
And's the training gone?
Well, I've been busy, so only a short level 2 session, and two "progressive power" sessions at race pace, all on the turbo in my cold garage. I ended up walking to work on Thursday (6 miles, and fortunately got a lift home) so couldn't be bothered getting on the turbo that day. I suppose "ticking over" is the best I could describe it as.
Finally, it's time to post an entry form for the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25' over to "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay. The event's on 1st March, so time is getting a bit tight there. We've had no post for a few days, so perhaps some creative use of internet technology will be needed.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Failing to get my training back on track

I just seem to struggle to get home in time to do quality training. After an 11h working day (with little in the way of breaks), I'm in no shape to do anything significant in the way of training. I'm therefore forced to try and do what I can at 6am before cycling off to work.
This week we commuted by tandem three times, and I did about 2h at level 2, and a "power" session of about 32 minutes. Perhaps the snow will hold off this weekend.
Oh...disaster beckons for the 2009 season.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Trying to get the training back on track

Somewhat alarmed by my team-mate's recent turbo training, I've made renewed efforts to get my training back on track, especially since the first 2-up launches my 2009 season in about 5 weeks from now.

I worked at home yesterday. This has the added benefit that I can punctuate my day with turbo sessions instead of pointless meetings - on this occasion, I did 30 mins level 2 before starting work, and when I finished work, I did a hefty power session not too dissimilar to "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay's one the other day: 2 x 28 mins at race pace, separated by 10' recovery. In fact, each 28 minute section consisted of 4' spells in gears from 53x21 to 53x12 (in the lower gears, I needed to have some resistance).
I was surprised how I coped - the biggest issue forme is usually boredom, which is why I have regular gear changes, against which I regularly swig some juice, and listen to music on the iPod (of which more below). I was aiming to keep my heart rate in the darker blue zone (approximately 175bpm to 188bpm) - the heart rate is the dark line with the shadow under it.
My turbo trainer is a Cateye Cyclosimulator, which at the time I bought it (about 12 or more years ago) was a pretty advanced machine. Over the years it's taken a bit of a beating - it's rusty and the control panel has broken off, so I only use the readout on my Polar HRM for information. Last year, the fan cover grille got sucked into the fan blades, and has never been the same again. Mind you, it's doing a bit better than the bike that's mounted on it. Years of turbo abuse have rendered it smelly and rusty, with many parts fused by salt and corrosion.
So the entertainment for this session was provided by listening to two Scottish bands: Glasvegas and The Fire Engines

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Not so namby-pamby after all

I've come to the conclusion that my reluctance to ride in possibly icy conditions is not down to me becoming a "namby-pamby soft southerner" after all, but more like the voice of sanity.
I can't afford more time off the training this winter. Firstly, I'm finding it harder and harder to fit reasonable training in round my escalating work commitments, and secondly, I suffered from a fairly lengthy cold in December that seriously dented my winter programme.
Yesterday I set off for work in what seemed to be cool but not freezing conditions second thing in the morning (first thing had been the usual 6am turbo session). This route takes me down hill from my village and through some lanes where as is typical, yesterday morning it was several degrees colder - and it was frosty, and with a few ice patches. Anyway, exercising due caution, I got to work without mishap. A colleague, who is an experienced recreational mountain biker and cycle commuter slipped on ice at low speed, fell and has a hairline crack just below his left elbow.
So he has to keep this fracture immobile for a few weeks - no cycling (or driving for that matter). At least he doesn't need a cast of any kind.
That made my 6am turbo sessions in a cold garage seems somewhat more acceptable...

Monday, 19 January 2009

Training update

Having had an enforced week off the bike - due to work load and other commitments, not illness or injury - I returned to training today. Capitalising on my 'well-rested' state I did a hard session:

10 mins warm up
30 mins at threshold
10 mins recovery
30 mins at threshold
10 mins warm down

All-in-all I was very pleased with how it went. seems like I have not suffered for my enforced rest. Tomorrow's session will be a lot easier, though.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Early season 2-up events

The early part of Team Grumpy's season has taken shape in TT planning. Our first 2-up of every season is traditionally the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25', which this year is to be on the 1st March. This is held on one of the Neath valley courses - in the past it has used the ultra-fast "cheaty course" - the one that has the massive descent that doesn't have to be scaled on the return leg. In a previous outing at this event, Team Grumpy experienced massive wind chill as we pedalled out of revs in 57x12 going down this monster descent. More recently, this event has been held on a realistically testing course in which riders are on the main dual carriageway for the first half, then on the old road (which might be described as "severely undulating") for the second half.
These early season events often make Team Grumpy grumpy because of the sometimes harsh weather - either bitterly cold or pounding rain.
Unusually this year, Team Grumpy won't be seizing the opportunity for further early season 2-up practice at the Team MK 20 mile 2-up at Astwood (18th April). This isn't because the organiser failed to supply a lovely sunny day for this event in 2008, rather it reflects other commitments by "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay. The alternative we chose was to ride the Icknield RC 30k sporting event on 29th March. Art Vanderlay hasn't, I think, ridden this event since it switched course from the version that led us both to disaster via serious prangs at Slapton a number of years ago (in the solo event).
In the meantime, here in grumpy-land I am alarmed by the reports of extreme fitness emanating from "Grumpy" Art Vanderlay (although to be fair he has raised the possibility that his turbo is defective and is giving out erroneous data as an alternative explanation) and worry that I will spend these events grovelling along and hanging on his back wheel.