last minute

The London Duathlon is on Sunday and it’s just me, myself, and I doing the Classic 55k route.  My friend Emma and I originally signed up for the Duathlon in early Spring as a challenge (she’s more a cyclist and I’m more a runner, this event would be awful for both of us!) but a recent rugby injury has put her out of commission.  Fact: Touch rugby still can be dangerous when men wear baggy pants.  A few other friends were signed up for the Classic 55k with me, but have dropped down to the Super Sprint level or had to also withdraw due to injuries.  Luckily, the Classic 55k starts at the same time as the team challenge, so I’ll hopefully be running and cycling alongside a few friends taking on single legs of the Duathlon.

I’ve been running a lot lately with the Reykjavik half marathon, Women’s Running 10k, and Bacchus half marathon in the past 3 weeks, and as such my cycling has slipped under the radar.  I know you’re not supposed to train too much the week before the race, but I figured a few miles on the bike would wake up those Chris Hoy thighs of mine and help get up THAT hill in Richmond Park on Sunday (four times. Ugh)

On Wednesday I was invited to a spin class at Cyclebeat with SportPursuit.  I wasn’t sure if I was invited because of my blog, or because I’ve spent half my 2013 earnings on SportPursuit, but was grateful for the invite regardless.  It was a late night class taught by the studio manager Gareth who put us all through our paces on a 45 minute class that included 3 climbs and a 3 minute sprint time trial. My legs were burning and like last week with Charlie, and once again I sweated enough to fill a kiddy pool.  I finished near the middle of the Beatboard again (but came in a not-close-at-all second place in the ladies sprint session) and was happy to get off the bike and wobble to the vitacoco recovery area.

Lovely photo courtesy of Katy:

Lovely photo courtesy of Katy:

This morning I put on all my Duathlon gear and cycled into work for #cycletoworkday which convienently fell on a day I needed to take the bike out for a test ride.  There were loads of cyclists on the road, but I just fell in the parade and took it easy. Even at a slow pace it takes me 15 minutes to cycle to work (compared to 50 on the bus). It’s too bad the organisation I work for doesn’t have very good cycling facilities (there is a secure place to lock them, but no change rooms, showers, dry rooms at all) as I can’t see myself cycling in regularly without these.

The Duathlon sent over some tips on checking your bike before the race. I’m more of a hope-it-works-pray-it-works kind of person, but if you want to be 100% sure you and your bike will perform your best on Sunday try these tips from Bikelab:

  1. The “drop test” Hold bike 6″ from the ground and drop it to see if anything rattles.
  2. Wheels and Tyres:
    Spin the wheels in the frame and look for any kinks or side-to-side movement. If you’re in any doubt, get your wheels trued by a proLook for broken spokes – replacing any that are brokenInspect the condition of your tyres; look for cuts, nicks or surface flawsTyres should “look healthy”, the rubber smooth, without uneven wear, distortion or cracking & deterioration of the compound.If your tyre is a tubular, try to push it off all around the rimCheck tyre pressures, especially on race day. Inflate your tyres, based on manufacturers recommendations, which are stamped or printed onto the sidewallKeep an eye on the pressure over a few days of use – any drop in pressure could indicate a slow puncture
  3. Brakes
    Spin the wheels again, testing each brake independentlyAt full pressure, it shouldn’t be possible to pull the levers all the way to the bars.Check pads for wear, especially irregular wear, some brake blocks have wear indication lines to help with this. Check that pads touch the wheel rim at the same time, they are central, do not touch the tyre sidewall and are free from bits of grit/aluminium
  4. Gears
    Take the bike for a quick spin and run up and down the full range of gears – if you have access to a workstand, run the gears whilst making minor adjustmentsCheck for smooth, reliable gear changes on the rear cassetteOn the front chainrings, shifts between small and large chain rings should be smooth. The chain should never fall off the chain-rings, when shifting the front derailleur. You should be able to change up and down quickly – almost ‘aggressively’ and still not drop the chainWipe down the chain and clean, then lubricate the transmission, using cycle specific cleaners and lubricants
  5. Check other parts of the bike;  frame, bars & stem, saddle, pedals, cables etc. – you are looking for dents, cracks, split or fraying partsLook for any ‘play’ (looseness) or roughness in bearings such as the headset, pedals or bottom bracketGrab each item and tug it from side-to-side, feeling for signs of movementCheck the headset for play by putting front brake on and rocking the bike backwards and forwards – a loose headset will result in play you can feel. to make sure it’s not overly tight or worn, lift the front of the bike off the ground and allow the handlebars to swing freely from side to side. They should move under their own weight, without any ‘notchy’ movement
  6. Just before race day, you’ll only need to lubricate the chain and gear pivots, pack your race-day kit (spare tube / tyre levers / multi-tool) and away you go!”

I’ve paid my own registration for the Duathlon, Limelight Sports has sent me these tips to share.


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