Sunday, 19 June 2011

Shimano PD-R540 Pedals and silly plastic bits

Shimano PD-R540 pedals are an entry-level road SPD-SL pedal with a good broad pedalling platform. They are excellent value for money and perform well. I just not sure that the plastic “body cover“ inserts are the best design that Shimano has ever had. Having not kept an eye on the wear of little piece of plastic and riding more than a few miles I’ve just replaced them with a set I bought on a heavily discounted sale. Will keep a closer eye on the plastic body covers this time.

The “SHIMANO” branding was reduced to “S-----O” over time and I had also managed to burr off the outside edges of the area which the plastic body covers insert into. With the miles I am pedalling, I may look at upgrading to 105, or Ultegra pedals that do not use the plastic body covers in the future.

Old pedals with worn plastic body covers
New pedals with full branding logos visible
Old pedals with plastic body covers removed. Showing wear to alloy parts of the pedal.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

“The Pond” shrinks by 3.5km?

Climate-change? Volcanic activity? Seismic shift? No, just a minor course switch-a-roo.

I just noticed on web-site that the there are some course changes for the 2011 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Obviously it still goes around Lake Taupo, so affectionately known as ‘the Pond’. This year, the relay riders are riding up Poihipi Road, instead of the undulating Whangamata Road, and the solo riders are taking the more undulating option along Whangamata Road.

The descent at 11km could get “interesting” in a large bunch? In all, for single-lap solo riders there is 3.5km less terrain to cover. If you have been close to a goal like sub-5 hours, or 4h30m etc it may be an ideal opportunity?

I'm yet to commit to a specific event at Taupo this year, but it most likely to be in one of the Enduro categories so I will not get to ride on any different roads this year.

Added 19/6/2011: While the net climb of the routes is obviously equal, there is an extra ~90m of cumulative vertical ascent on the more undulating Whangamata Road route. I estimate it would be approximately 4 minutes quicker for an average slow-coach like me when accounting for 3.5km less distance, 90 metres more climbing and a more undulating course rather than a persistent climb to open up.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Paris-Brest-Paris Qualified

Long time, no blog updates. Been busy working and riding.

What have I been up to? Lots of long distance randonneur cycling. I have now qualified for the Paris-Brest-Paris in August :). Since I seem incapable of riding fast, I’m having a go at riding long this year.

My challenge for the year to is to complete the 1200km Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur under the 90-hour time limit. We’ll see what sleep, eating, exhaustion, physical, mechanical and navigation challenges await me. I be ecstatic if I am able finish under 80 hours. This will be a good challenge for an average cyclist such as myself. The ride starts on August 21st. Much training left to do…

The Paris-Brest-Paris is the longest running cycle event in the world with the even dating back to 1891. It has not been professionally ridden since 1951 and is now ridden every four years as a randonnee/brevet or, every five years as a Audax 22.5km/h ride.

To qualify I needed to ride a series of qualifying brevets, registered with Audax Club Parisien over distances of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. I exceeded this with 1x200km; 1x300km; 3x400km and 2x600km brevets – enough to qualify twice. The qualifying rides organised by Kiwi Randonneurs took me all over the lower North Island and the top third of the South Island. My strongest performance by a long way was the Lake Taupo Enduro. My favourite ride was Nelson to Christchurch which took me through the Buller Gorge, down the West Coast, Around Lake Brunner and over Arthurs Pass (two-foot gear was required). I’ll endeavour to catch up on my blogging with a brief post about these rides between training. Meanwhile, you can click through to the Garmin data to see the routes.

Randonneuring is not well known in New Zealand. We had between 2 and 6 riders starting each brevet. With the number of riders who enter long distance events at Taupo etcetera there seems the potential to grow this discipline of cycling in New Zealand. We are currently looking at establishing a local club to promote this discipline more in the future.

Date Brevet Name Distance Avg Spd.
Avg Spd.
Elapsed Time Total Ascent
13 November 2010 South Coast Sortie
GPS upload failed for this ride :(
20.3 km/h 10h10m
27 November 2010 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Enduro
(Best performance. Why can’t I ride like this all the time?)
315.5km 25.9 km.h 24.8 km/h 12h42m 3,412m
15 January 2011 Apiti Hills 405km 22.6 km/h 18.6 km/h 21h45m 3,075m
5 February 2011 Christchurch to Nelson 403.9km 20.5 km/h 15.6 km/h 25h56m 3,264m
8 February 2011 Nelson to Christchurch
(Scenic & Mountainous! Wonderful ride)
610.5km 20.5 km/h 16.3 km/h 38h26m 5,809m
19 March 2011 Pahiatua Delight
(My favorite North Island brevet)
424.1km 23.8 km/h 19.7 km/h 21h31m 3031m
22 April 2011 Taranaki Challenge 616.3km 22.5 km/h 17.1 km/h 36h23m 4,281m
2977.3km 22.3 km/h
17.85km/h 166h53m 22,872m