Thursday, December 30, 2010

New team — Vicious Velo

Kings-of-Palace (7 of 8)
As of this weekend I'm racing for Vicious Velo. It's basically a split from Dulwich Paragon. It's a bit of a laugh innit.
The kit turned up today so we shot some photos.
Kings-of-Palace (3 of 8)

Best shots of 2010

2010 has been a really good year for me, and I'd like to think I've taken some really good shots. These are some of the shots I think are my best. All of these are hosted on Flickr, just click the image to see them larger.
7 new edit 16/9/10
Simon Warren
Tour Series Explored

SSEC2010 9
Belgian Cyclocross Fan
Terry Cronin_0231
brake blocks
Cafe St Germain, Crystal Palace

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shooting yourself, and living to tell the tale

Earlier in 2010 I travelled to Utah in the US for a feature that is currently on the shelves, in the January 2011 issue of MBR.
As I was travelling alone, I had to shoot all my own photos, which meant shooting myself as the riding model. This could have been a nightmare, but in reality, it actually proved quite easy thanks to one small piece of equipment.
A remote shutter plugs into your camera's side and allows you to trigger the shutter by holding down a button on the transmitter. With my 7D on a tripod and set to 8fps, and with the lens switched to manual focus so as not to have it hunting, I was able to hold the trigger under my bars — out of sight — and snap away.
I got some really good shots this way, some of them look a little staged if you look closely, but most of them came out really good. Have a look below and see what you think.
TorrreyRiding 097
Give it a go. I picked my remote shutter up on ebay for about £15 and it works faultlessly. The only downside to this style of shooting is that you end up having to do A LOT of editing, especially if your camera can rattle off 8fps.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Koksijde 2010 Photo Special

I took my Bronica medium format film camera to Belgium. I only shot three rolls of film, so 36 shots in total, but I got some — I think — really good ones. I left the 150mm f3.5 prime lens on all day.
See the whole set on Flickr
Helen Wyman
Helen Wyman
Zdenek Stybar
Washing out the sand

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Regional Championships

gwp-101205-0013, originally uploaded by wideopenwaugh.
I came sixth. Proficient — not not set the world on fire amazing, just proficient.
I didn't bother doing a practice lap, as the course looked horrible and I wanted to keep my bike clean and in working order.
I got an amazing start and led the field up the hill — the Hoggenberg — going through the finish line in first place (visual proof below).
Not knowing the course I lost a few places, but was in around 5th by the end of the first lap. Darren Barclay and Nathan Miller got past me and I ended up riding with Greg Simcock and Andrew Nichols from the Eastern Region most of the race, competing for sixth. With two typically long (every time we race at Hog Hill the lap seems to take 15minutes) laps to go, I distanced those two and got away by myself. I nearly got across to Darren and Nathan at the bell, but I then crashed and lost some time — the wet, muddy corners were icing up again by the end of the race.

So I crossed the line in sixth.

Gareth Montgomerie of Sigma won ahead of Jamie Newall and Billy Whenman. Interesting that all three of them are really good crit riders, and either ride, or have ridden, the Tour Series.

That was the third time I've raced at Hog Hill and every time I've raced cross there, I've sworn I'm never going back — today was no different. Apart from having showers and the ability to make the course regulation 3m wide at all points (ffs...), it really is a miserable place to hold a cross race. The clay just holds water at the surface, it's revolting. I don't think many of the Eastern lot are desperate to come back any time soon.
Pics courtesy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Out of the freezer, into the fire: Southampton National Trophy

I had perhaps my best ever start in Southampton on Sunday. Starting from the fourth row, I somehow snuck my way through a whole heap of riders to find myself up in the top 20 at the end of the first lap. Unbelievable. Kevin was stood trackside yelling at me about how great the situation was, and I believed him. I was up with the strong guys, I just had to keep it going.
One lap later, things started to go pear shaped. I was getting knackered; I'd been punching above my weight, and I was starting to get hit back. Billy Whenman and Darren Barclay got across to me on the only real descent of the circuit, and as I tried to get round the hairpin at the bottom of the hill, I caught my STI on the course marking post and knocked myself off.
The group rode away as I untangled myself.
I sprinted off, but with the foresight that I needed to relax for a bit and recover if I wanted to avoid making mistakes. The errors kept coming though, and I crashed twice more on the next lap before I pulled my finger out and started riding well again. The whole race, I was up and down like a yo-yo — literally and figuratively.
I found myself riding round with Andrew Nichols, and together we caught Mike Cotty with about three laps to go. Things were looking good for a while and I took the lead. Nothing much happened from there on, except first, Cotty rode away — fair enough, he's a very good athlete — and then on the last lap, Nichols dropped me. He's a skinny little under 23 who goes up hills somewhat easier than me. Oh well. I came home in 31st, outside the points, so technically no better than a DNF. What a load of bollocks.
Realistically, it was quite a positive ride as I had an amazing start and I was mixing it with some good riders all race. Negatives were the lapses of concentration and the lack of strength in the final. Lessons learned — more miles needed, more skills required.
Two weeks till Bradford, scene of my first decent ride at this level when I came top 30 at the 2009 National Champs. At last year's Trophy however, I had a thoroughly shitty ride, so who knows how I'll go. One thing — my fingers are crossed that fewer than 10 Belgians turn up in Yorkshire. They're taking all the points scoring places and ruining my ranking!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thought for the day

GymClass 07_05
Quote from the legendary George Lois in the latest issue of the brilliant Gym Class Magazine (my copy's in the post), via the equally brilliant MAGCULTURE blog

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Good fortune (new Specialized tubs) and bad fortune (broken Ultegra rear mech)

Bad — my mech snapped off after one and a half laps at today's London League
broken mech
Good — full quiver of new Specialized Tracer tubs (they worked great for the lap and a half I got to use them in pretty wet, muddy conditions)
Specialized Tracer tubs

Drumming at the London League

I ripped my rear mech off during my warm up lap, so I didn't get to race today. Instead, I cheered on the other riders while Geoff played drums. More of this please — it's fun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Adam Craig on TRP CX9 brakes

Adam Craig is a dude — check out his bike check and interview on CyclingNews

Interviewer: "So why do most people still use wide-profile Euro-style brakes?
Craig: "Because most people suck at riding, and they don't know any better. They think that the wide-profile Mafac thing is cool, which it was back in 1954"

Adam is using the new TRP CX9 brakes. See that pic down below from Mallory Park? You'll see I'm using the same brakes. That was my first race on them and they were great. I was swapping between EuroX's and CX9s on my two bikes and the CX9's made life so much easier. With good brakes you're either on the gas, or on the brakes. With normal - ineffective - brakes, you end up freewheeling the whole time so as not to pick up too much uncontrollable speed. 
Which sucks.
Anyone who tells you you don't need brakes in cyclocross is a crank who's never raced properly and/or is a crap rider. Brakes matter — get the best you can, and set them up so they work!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Specialized shows new cyclocross tubs

pic by James Huang for bikeradar (click pic for orig article)
So just hours after I posted yesterday's moan about how I didn't feel confident on my Vittoria XM tubs, I discovered that Specialized are in the early stages of producing their own cyclocross tubulars over on and cyclingdirt. Trust me, this is brilliant news for amateur cyclocross racers.
It would seem that manufacturers are finally getting annoyed with having to buy their sponsored riders £500 worth of new tubulars every year from just one manufacturer — Dugast. The quality of those Dugasts might be good, but a company like Specialized wouldn't have taken kindly to Dugast's old-world delivery times, pricing and the fact that the tubs come unfinished — you have to seal the sidewalls yourself, and even then, you can only expect to get one season from a pair of Rhinos before the sidewalls rot. How hard can building tubulars be? If a one man show in Holland can dominate the market with a very idiosyncratic product, surely a company with Specialized's design, feedback and financial clout can surely do a better job?
So Specialized entering the market is good for me, and probably you too if you're in any way ambitious on the cross course. The main reason Dugast has cemented its position at the head of the market is the tread pattern of the Rhino — it's aggressive 3mm deep central tread digs in providing traction both for driving forward and for not sliding out sideways. Its one problem is that it clogs. Looking at the Terra tub above, it's very much inspired by the Rhino, but with a more open tread pattern to better shed mud. The 33mm thing is practically irrelevant: yeah, that's as wide as you're allowed to go by UCI rules, but such is the variability in tubs that Specialized has had to err on the side of caution and make these slightly narrower than 33mm to ensure they all squeeze into the commissaire's calipers.
pic by James Huang for bikeradar (click pic for orig article)
The second tread is called the Tracer and is based on the Renegade MTB tyre. I'm yet to try the MTB version of this tyre, but Burry Stander and Christophe Sauser have been racing it all season in mixed conditions, so the tread pattern itself is likely to be pretty good. My only thinking is that you can't lean a cross bike over the way you can an MTB, so that shallow tread might be limited to dryer conditions. We'll see. There's also a file tread design, but I'm not that interested in them — check out the video below for more info on them.
The Terra is undoubtedly the tread that will be most exciting to UK riders who for a long time have had a choice of Rhino's or, err, nothing (and thanks to the extortionate cost and lack of availability of Rhinos, very often chose nothing). What's also exciting is that Specialized is entering the sport in such a serious way — choice is always a good thing, and up till now we haven't had any. With any luck, it is the start of a trend, with more big companies coming into the market in the near future. Cross is on the up, and a great way of keeping your brand in the public eye during the winter months, especially now the sport is growing so quickly at a grassroots level (the people who actually buy this stuff). Personally, I don't think Specialized will be the last to challenge the dominance of the european tubular industry — exciting times all round.

Visit for more Videos

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mallory Park National Trophy

National Trophy Cyclocross, Mallory Park
Mallory Park has an unenviable reputation as a venue that eats bikes, riders, and the enthusiasm of all who step over the threshold. I'm glad to say that I, my bikes and most of my enthusiasm for cyclocross are still intact, despite a completely mediocre result.
I ended up coming 28th yesterday, which on paper is my second best result at a National race, but I still feel a bit disappointed. I never really got going in the race — a lack of traction and enthusiasm being the main culprits. The Vittoria XM tubs I'm using have no central ridge to them, unlike the hallowed Dugast Rhinos I borrowed from Kevin to use in Ipswich, so I was finding that I had very little cornering grip on the greasy, flat grass corners and cambered straights that made up much of the Mallory course. That lack of confidence meant there were only a few places on the course where I was able to really push on the pedals without fear of crashing. Excuses excuses...
Next round is Southampton in two weeks time. I'm hoping for a return to the top 25.
Photos are all by Dave Haygarth, who came fifth in the vets. Loads more on his Flickr
National Trophy Cyclocross, Mallory Park
National Trophy Cyclocross, Mallory Park

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More great cyclocross photos by Geoff Waugh

Pics by Geoff Waugh, including a few of me — all from this year's Eastern League Cyclocross Series.
Regional Cross - Images by Geoff Waugh

Friday, November 12, 2010

Richmond Park, Autumn, off-road cycling

It's been blowing a gale all week, consequently, there aren't many leaves left on the trees. Shot this today in Richmond Park for Cycling Active magazine.
Wimbledon Common, Cycling Active shoot

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Double whammy

It looks like I've got the cover of tomorrow's Cycling Weekly magazine. I did the shoot back in February or March with Ben Spurrier and Claire Beaumont from Condor Cycles, so it was a surprise to see this shot being used so much later. We spent a whole day shooting covers in Sussex, down near Beachy Head, this was one of the first we did, en-route to where we planned to shoot.
Talking of Ben, he's interviewed on the Condor blog together with another of my shots. I'm quite pleased with this portrait — it was shot on the steps of the bandstand at Southwark Park in Bermondsey.