Transcontinental Race 2014 – 6 hours in….

This blog post, and the ones that follow are the same as the ones that appeared on road.cc – albeit with some more pictures as I’m not constrained by european data roaming charges!

Martin Cox Transcontinental start 1

The training has been done – admittedly not nearly enough – and the plans have been set, and now it’s GO time: the 2014 edition of the Transcontinental is on!

I’m going to try and write regularly as part of the race, to let you know how things are going, and with luck, to hopefully inspire at least a few of you to give it a crack next year!

Yes the miles are many, yes it looks daft, and yes, there’s an element of danger, but by golly that’s what life is for!

I’m writing this from the Pride of Canterbury, the 15.40 sailing from Dover. So far I’ve meandered to the start line, only getting lost in London a couple of times. From London we’ve pootled down the A2,had a chat with a nice policeman, come off the A2 again and back-roaded it down Canterbury (looks like a popular place for a pilgrimage!) and scooted back on the A2 again.

So far I’ve suffered 3 punctures, broken my pump hose and made a horrid hack to ‘fix’ it for now, I’m hoping to get a new pump as soon as I land on the continent, cos right now every mile is slightly nerve-wracking.

By the time you read this I’ll have spent some time in gay Paris, wolfed down some carbs and made my start on the long slog to Switzerland. It never gets normal describing whole countries as destinations and way points – truly bonkers.

I’ve got to say a big thanks to Dave & Tony for humouring me with this, and thanks also to Rapide Bikes for their country-smashing RC4, and the Official Assos Factory Outlet for hooking me up with their super comfy clobber (no Kuku Penthouse!).

But most of all to my wife for indulging this flight of fancy and looking after the 3 boys!

Of course I’m doing this for charity, it’s for Sightsavers, who are pretty awesome, if you feel like throwing a few quid at them then you can do that here.

And you can follow my progress on Twitter @themartincox or @transconrace, and at the Transcontinental website

rock and roll

 

Review: Rapha Brevet Jersey & Vest

Your new favourite, non-racing, jersey. Ideal for commuting with style and cracking out longer rides with full pockets!

Lycra’s all well and good for those days when you want to travel fast and light, and there are plenty of options available to you for that very day, but sometimes rather than travelling like a racing whippet you just want to meander like a St. Bernard. And for those days, the Rapha Brevet Jersey is ideal.

gil1

It’s an item that’s designed for the long-haul, with its sportwool fabric combined with a plethora of visibility increasing features, including a rather natty, and supremely lightweight gilet, it’s certainly able to get you from A-B, or rather P-B-P!

brev f

I’ve been wearing the jersey for a couple of months now, where it’s seen service in both the chillier times and also now with the summer approaching in the early mornings and it’s performed admirably. As a commuting jersey (I ride 20 miles) it can last a couple of days before it gets too whiffy, which helps to save on the washing load. The sportwool ensures that you are kept warmer than a standard lycra jersey, and when paired with the windproof gilet it does an admirable job of keeping your upper body nicely insulated – although your arms are left bare (but Rapha have made long-sleeved versions in the A/W collections!)

On longer rides the traditional 3 pockets are supplemented by a zipped ballast pocket at the rear and a waterproof brevet card pocket to the left-breast (but don’t worry, if you haven’t got a brevet card to hand, simply use your bank card or something similar). The zip is waterproof, which can at times be a bit of a pain if you have tired hands as it can be a little stiff but that’s the price of waterproof zips it seems.

brev r

One of the joys of sportwool is its ability to cope with more than just a credit card, a gel and some keys, and this jersey does it in spades. I’ve loaded it up with bananas, cake, gels and a spare water bottle and it copes admirably indeed – really the only downside is that pockets could do with being a little lower (maybe an inch or so) to help the hands get in.

The gilet comes in either yellow or bright pink, and having seen both examples out on the roads I can attest to their low-light visibility, and of course when lights are beamed on they shine like a veritable candle in the night. It comes without pockets, but slips over a jersey easily to not make it an issue.

gil

I have the burgundy/yellow combo, and like it vey much I do, the jersey packs in high-visibilty and reflective detailing on both the front and rear, so even without the gilet it’s a good option for evening attire.

The gilet is so lightweight that I can fit it inside my saddle pouch (rules be-damned!) alongside a tube and patch kit, its really impressive for its stowability, having said that, it’s no big deal to simply keep it on – its sides and shoulders are vented to help keep you cool when the mercury rises, either internally or externally.

gi2

At a fiver less than £200 it’s probably going to be the most expensive jersey in the drawer, however with the addition of a very nice gilet it’s not as bad as it at first seems. Yes it’s expensive, but in the couple of thousand miles I’ve ridden mine it’s not only performed admirably, but it’s held-up to the rigours of being stuffed in bags (and sadly it’s even seen service on the bathroom floor when there was an ‘accident’) and it’s not had a thread come loose in that time. Depending upon the colour of your shorts it may well be the most used jersey in the collection!

Review: Lezyne Carbon Cage SL

Gorgeous, smooth performance, and super light. One for a payday purchase!

Like organic sausages, the Lezyne Carbon Cage SL (side load), is a premium option, significantly more expensive than it’s regular counterparts, but like those farm-fed piggies, once you’ve got the cage in use, you know it’s (probably) worth the money.

Cage and bottle

It grips like a vice, keeping bottles of all sizes snug within its carbon arms, this was ably demonstrated over the hideous roads of Nottinghamshire, including farm tracks, road-works, and strada bianchi.

It’s USP? that’s got to be the side-loading aspect right there.Rather than the traditional up and down entry and exit of everyone else, Lezyne has opted for a sideways bottle trajectory.

Obviously this means that your cage has to be suitable for your favoured arm, instinct takes over no matter how much you try to resist, so if you are reaching with the ‘wrong’ hand you will struggle to take the bottle out. However, if you’ve matched the bottle to the correct arm, then everything works groovily.

Cage and bottle

The entry and exit motion seems more natural, especially removing the bottle as you can just pull it out naturally without any finesse needed, knowing that the carbon cage will simply open and close again. Putting the bottle back and you have a wider target area with which to aim, making things a little easier (but let’s be honest, it’s not that hard in the first place).

Looks might not be the most important part of your bike (or it might be, I’m not here to judge), but by golly this is a looker! As you can see from the pics, the cage looks pretty awesome, the carbon weave being shown off to full effect!

Empty Cage

It’s hard to recommend at the price of £1.50 per gram of carbon fibre, but the good news is that Lezyne also make a standard plastic version as well for a lot less, but sharing the same style!

Having said that, if you are looking at shaving every last gram of weight from your ride, and you’ve already got close to single digit body-fat percentages, then this could be the cage for you!

Maybe one for the Christmas list?! Certainly one for the Transcontinental race!

Rear view

Awesome Jerome Daksiewicz 2014 Tour de France Infographic.

Every year Jerome Daksiewicz produces a stunning Tour de France infographic, this year’s is no exception to that rule!

2014 Tour de France 01

you can get your hands on one of these beauties at NOMO design – but be quick, they are strictly limited edition!


THE 2014 TDF PRINT IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER. PRINTS WILL SHIP LATE AUGUST.

The 2014 Tour de France print commemorates the 101th edition of the Grand Tour. The print marks the 2014 route and stage type, distance and winner. The 2014 TdF print is limited to an edition of 100 screen prints.

Prints are numbered, signed, rolled and shipped in crushproof, 100% biodegradable cardboard tubes.

24″ x 36″
2-Color Serigraph on Construction Blacktop 100# Cover by French Paper Co.

$2 of every 2014 Tour de France Print sold goes to World Bicycle Relief

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