Vicki Thomas…in Plzen, Czech Republic

22 Oct

Got in a great two hour road ride this morning in Nurnberg, Germany. I set off for the town of Brunn again. This time I completed the rolling climbs and enjoyed the descent into town. A picturesque German town with a very nice walking, riding, and horseback riding park. All in all, an excellent ride.

Then it was a quick shower (as my dad cleaned my bike!) and we were on the road to Plzen, Czech Republic. Luc, his daughter Kelly and friend Karin also stayed in the same campsite as us last night. We had a good visit with them and then we split up as they were onto Prague.

Langer Chiropractic and Soft Tissue Therapy

The drive to Plzen was pretty smooth. Basically no traffic on the highway so we made it in good time. Had some major headaches getting to the campsite - the GPS kept on trying to send us through a 2 meter high tunnel (the RV is 3.3 meters high). We ended up parking and walking the 800 meters to the campsite only to discover it was closed.. After some consultation with Marc (he had the Internet connection), we decided to stay at the Ibis Hotel.

Got out to the race course for my second ride of the day. Did about five laps of the course, with some extra time spent on the key sections. Well, the stair run-up is wicked. Very long and the stairs are massive. Right after the stairs there is a steep climb. The descent is long and pretty much wide open - it curves a bit but there is nothing crazy on it. On the far side of the course there is another steep climb, a flat bit and another steep climb. Rest of the course features very bumpy grass, false flats and some slight rises that can suck the speed and power. Oh and there is the curb.. After the start/finish stretch, there is a curb that you have to "hop". Sigh. I can't "hop" curbs - I've struggled with learning this skill for many years now. Hoping the curb is sandbagged on Sunday. If not, well, I'll figure it out..

Legs felt good for the second ride of the day. I was careful not to go too hard on the course. Really just wanted to get a feel for it and get a solid picture of it in my mind. I'm going back tomorrow to do my ride on it. Looking forward to racing it - I think it is a course that suits me - power course with .

Have to say my dad has been a rockstar - doing all the driving, putting up with my stress and fatigue, cleaning my bikes, remembering to keep the RV tidy and just generally agreeing to whatever I want! (I guess my mom has trained him well!)


22 Oct

Hmmmm not quite sure what I think about these…well ok if I am totally honest, I think they are rather ridiculous BUT if they encourage the average lady to use their bike, even if that’s just to nip to the shops etc, then I guess they have a place. They seem a bit flimsy in construction, quite like the sun parasols you get for prams/pushchairs, you know the ones that never stay in the right place & are constantly wobbling about :?

Bicycle Love

22 Oct

Fiona Russell on Girls Enjoying Cycling in the Great Outdoors

22 Oct

Hey girls, don't you want to have fun in the outdoors?

10 Questions With Angharad Mason

22 Oct

What is your background in Cycling?

A relative newcomer to the sport I took up cycling less than two years ago after a history in various, mostly endurance-based sports. Karate - represented Wales as a Black Belt. Marathon running - 3hr 15min is my PB, and I ran as many as9 marathons a year all over the world.

How long have you been involved in the sport and what was your first event?

Istarted cycling about 21 months ago following a suggestion from a friend that we take part in a 600km, three day cycle event in Israel. Always up for a new challenge I bought a road bike and started training.

My first road race was the Abergavenny handicap race in March 2009.

What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?

Obviously I would like to realisemy full potential in the sport.

What are your strongest points?

Hard trainer,very focused, aggressive. Excellent climber and very strong on the flat. I NEVER give up.

What would you say is your most prized cycling possession?

My Welsh Team kit, my GB Team kit.My Condor bike. In that order !

What would you class as your best ride or position to date and why?

Probably my second place finish in the Welsh champs last year having only been racing for 5 months. This year 4th in the women's team series at Windsor. 1st Woman in the 2010 Men's senior welsh championships. And more enjoyably, crucifying most of the men in winter training.

Who is your favourite sports person and why?

Nicole Cooke. Embodies all the qualities that I strive to achieve myself.

Have you got any advice for any young people thinking of getting involved in cycling?

Train hard so that you can race hard. Enjoy the sport but most of all - get on your bike and do it.

How do you relax after a race?

Normally replenish my protein levels, insert acupuncture needles whilst watching TV, (usually other sports), while lying horizontal to fully rest my legs before my next session/race.

Tell us about how you feel about representing Team Wales Cycling for the Commonwealth Games this year in Delhi?

Incredibly honoured to be wearing Welsh kit on representing Wales. The past year has been a whirlwind of cycling events, 12,000 miles of training, my breakthrough into the Great Britain Team to ride with Nicole, so the Commonwealth games would cap it all rather well.

Bianchi Cafe & Cycles, Stockholm

21 Oct

Bianchi is about to launch its glamorous “Caf & Cycles” new concept store in Stockholm on Saturday October 30th. A meeting point for cycling enthusiasts and fans, as well as guests of the Caf Bar.

The historical bicycle manufacturer company will open its first brand concept store in Stockholm, Sweden: Bianchi Cafe & Cycles, on Saturday October 30th. Guests and customers will have the opportunity to enjoy the best from Italy high quality bikes, tasty antipasti and refreshing espresso.

In its 125th anniversary year, the Bianchi brand, part of Salvatore Grimaldi’s successful cycling kingdom, will expand its activities by opening the new concept store around a showroom in combination with a Cafe Bar, in the center of Stockholm. The idea is that the new store will be a glamorous meeting point for cycling enthusiasts and fans, as well as guests of the Cafe Bar.

Sweden’s Nicklas Sigurdsson, a former Business Development manager at Grimaldi Industri AB, will be managing director of the Bianchi’s Cafe &Cycles. This is an exciting investment as Sweden is the first country to have a Bianchi concept store. We have seen a growing interest for cycling among people in Stockholm and our ambition is to identify interesting markets and expand new concept stores around Europe, Sigurdsson says. – what’s your bicycle called?

21 Oct

What's your bicycle called?

Vicki Thomas…Training in Nurnberg, Germany

21 Oct

Well, went to bed last night listening to the pouring rain. Woke up through-out the night to the pouring rain. Alarm went off at 7 a.m. and I heard what I thought was pouring rain. Honestly, I was dreading my ride. Cold and rain for two hours is not fun. But then I was greeted with a great surprise when I stepped out of the trusty RV.. The pouring rain I heard was simply the water dripping off the leaves onto the roof of the RV. Phew!

Anyway, I set off a little after 8 for a two hour ride that involved tempo intervals with 10 second accelerations every minute thrown in for some extra spice. Oh and the last minute of each interval was at VO2Max.. The trick was finding a stretch of road that would allow for 7 minutes of hard pedaling and a 5 minute recovery stretch (four times). I had no idea where to go so I just followed a bicycle path and eventually after a few left and right turns I found a sign for a town called Burn. This town was signed for cyclists and was 10 km away so I decided that I would be able to do my intervals along this route.

Well, I found actually the best road ever for doing this type of interval. Basically a very quiet road that had multiple rollers and short flat sections between. Not so steep that I dreaded riding it, just steep and long enough rollers to really get the heart rate and power numbers up. Basically I had did the interval up the hill, turn around, roll down, recover and repeat. An excellent work-out. One of those work-outs that really gets the body firing on all cylinders.

The perfect work-out I needed to see how deep I can go right now. I'm pleased to report that I think I'm back to my old self. I don't have my SRM here so it is hard to know my exact power numbers but lets just say I was pretty wiped at the end of each interval and it was a different type of fatigue than I experience a few weeks ago.

This is encouraging for the weekend. I've been thinking a lot about the race in Aigle.. I have to admit that I didn't go as hard as I could. I held back. I'm not sure if this was conscious or sub-conscious. But based on how I felt on Monday and Tuesday and on reflecting on my body sensations during the race - I could have and should have gone harder. I think I was afraid of blowing up/cracking/exploding - feeling like I have been feeling. Not good. But at least three days later I can recognize and admit this.

So where does this leave me? Well, with no choice but to go past my limits on Sunday and really dig deep. I have no choice. After some number crunching and chatting with Marc last night, we have determined that basically the race in Plzen, Czech Republic will determine if I qualify for the World Cyclo-Cross Championships.. There are 35 registered starters. I need to finish no worse than 30th.. In other words I need to have the race of my life. I need to have the start that we all know is in me. I need to ride as technically clean as possible (i.e. no brakes and smart lines). I need to really just pound the long straight sections and go as hard as I can at all times. If I do this, I have an excellent chance of getting the job done. If I do all this and I finish below the top 30, well at least I can say I gave it my all and I have no regrets.

So today during my work-out I was taking photographs of the body feelings I was experiencing and telling myself "remember this feeling - you need this on Sunday. Remember how much your legs ache right now - you need to feel this on Sunday."

Am I stressed? Yes. Am I freaking out? Yes. Can I do it? Most definitely. As Marc said, "If you really want to race in St. Wendel then you'll get the job done on Sunday. It all depends on how badly you want it."

Some of you are probably wondering why I'm telling you all of this and really letting you know what I'm feeling and thinking. Well, I've always tried my best to be honest on this website. So this is no different. Quite literally, I have a job to do on Sunday. And I have to do my job to the best of my abilities. I want to race in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in St. Wendel, Germany. So I have to do what needs to be done.

What if I don't do it? Well, this is not an option. I'm not letting my brain go down this road. I have to face the race with confidence, convinced that I can do it. I need to have a good start (like the start I had in Cross Vegas), I need to drill the long straight sections like I've done in the past, I need to let things fly on the long descent. I need to race with my head. But most importantly, I need to race with my heart and soul.



Jen Renninger

21 Oct















Thank You…

21 Oct

I just want to say a mahoosive heart felt thank you to a very good friend of mine, Eleanor Leadbetter. Who has given up some of her rather non-existent spare time to design & create my fantastic logos for the blog.

Eleanor is a very keen cyclist herself & recently I had the honour of riding with her at the Ride of the Falling Rain (looking forward to next year already).

She has also set up Rag Tag Bags where she has a new line of saddle bags coming out soon (mine is currently in production & am very excited about the finished article). Further to this she is also an animator and her website can be foundhere.

She will kill me for this blog post most probably, but her help & support has been invaluable over the last few weeks, so thank you once again :) x