A year on!

Well its now a year since I jumped off a garage roof in Russia. The view of my training diary  says it all 🙁

A quick update – my back continued to get better over the last 6-8 weeks and I have been able to do a little turbo trainer and road rides (on a full sus mountain bike) though only for up to 90 mins but it has plateaued again and I can easily over do it. What really still gets me is impacts and standing still for any period of time, I have to avoid them completely.

I had an MRI scan 2 weeks ago and see the Consultant and Surgeon together in two weeks. We will then make a decision as to whether I try another lumbar injection or if its under the knife time to get in there and see what the problem is…..

In the mean time I am under orders to get some aerobic fitness back and get rid of some weight (lost nearly 3 kgs already) so I am in the best possible state to have an operation. Fingers crossed!

Be2Awards & Talks 2012

photo by Paul Wilkinson

Last Wednesday I found myself underground at the Building Centre in London with a select group of people for the BE2Awards / Talks. (Built Environment Web 2.0 and Social Media) chaired by Bernie Mitchell


I’d been invited to speak about “BIM, Bikes, Blogs and Pozzoni”, particularly how BIM and social media go together like “ipads & skinny latte” and how I had used social media to promote Pozzoni’s BIM credentials since the 2011 Government Construction strategy mandated the use of BIM. I was sharing the platform with some other speakers and the awards were given out between the talks.

I was on after the interval so nervously fumbled my notes with thumbs dancing on my phone tweeting away as I watched the other speakers before me.

There was a definite biking and outdoors twist to the talks and I found them engaging and entertaining. There were about 40 in the room and many more watching online as it was held as part of London Social Media week.

Richard Saxon, the UK’s BIMbassador was up first talking about Growth through BIM, selling UK PLC BIM skills to the rest of the world and gave us the news we are now 2nd behind Finland in our BIM maturity. (he also told me during coffee that the Pozzoni / Kier scheme Poynton High School was shown in Brussels the day before!)

Cycling Journalist Carlton Reid then spoke about the UK bike scene which was well received before a great presentation by Phil Sorrel on GeoBlogging, a few of us in the room immediately seeing possible practical applications for this technology on Construction sites.

Nick Katz talked about Honest Buildings, a crowd sourced platform for connecting business opportunities and building data and Tim Oldman spoke on the Leesman index, a measurement of workplace productivity to feed into evidence based design.

The closing address was by Liz Male, chair of Trustmark who spoke about the Green Deal and the implications of a recent omission to the legislation regarding ancillary works.

My piece seemed to go down well, I used my normal style of big images, trying to lighten the tone of what can normally be a fairly dry subject as I bounced around BIM, Bikes and Blogs, ending with a call for more use of project collaboration extranets and use of open IDs and encourage this.

Of course every awards ceremony has a party and we all trooped across the road to the College Arms for a Beer or 3 of course all checking in with Four Square as we crossed the street!


Tour of Britain – Brocton

We managed to get Holly out of school for a couple of hours and rode up the road to Brocton to watch the Skoda King of the Mountains Climb from Brocton Green up to Glacial Boulder.

Originally we were just going to ride up to where we were going to watch but Holly got a good reception form the crowds lining the climb so we carried on up to the Skoda finish line where she got a really big cheer. Hopefully the feeling will inspire her for the future.

We came back down and watched on a slightly up hill section without too many others with good views down the road. we scribbled on the road with chalk, met up with more friends and started the wait. After what seemed like hundreds of police motorbikes, sirens blaring, through came the tour. All over in 30 seconds but we got to see our heroes close up.


The @Be2Talks + Be2awards – London 26 Sept


I started blogging as a way of increasing my profile, to attract sponsors, to help with the costs of racing, particularly internationally. I joined twitter I seem to remember to try and get some more publicity to win the Doreset Cereals little blog awards. I then realised that twitter was huge in my area of work (Building Information Modelling and IT in the Construction Industry) and I have jumped in with two feet becoming a big user of twitter and ausing it to network effectively amongst my piers and promote the company I work for, Pozzoni (www.pozzoni.co.uk).

I have just been invited to speak at the Built Environment Social Networking awards next week in London, the Be2 Awards and Talks ! Ill be sharing a platform with a few Built environment types giving 20 minute presentations amongst the awards, but also Carlton Reid who will be the Be2Bike Keynote on the growing application and importance of social media in the world of cycling. I am honored to be in the same lineup as Carlton @carltonreid who has been writing about bicycles and travel for 20 years. He has written for many cycling and travel magazines and UK newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent, and is the author of several books on travel and cycling. He is executive editor of BikeBiz.com, editor of Bikehub.co.uk, Quickrelease.tv and iPayRoadTax.com. Author of the acclaimed Bike to Work Book, his latest project is Roads were not built for Cars

Be2 talks and awards are not just about the built environment but are about promoting the use of social networking across sectors. If you are in London on Wednesday afternoon why not come along. Cost £15.00


The @Be2Talks + Be2awards – London, 26 September 2012

http://www.be2awards.com/2012-be2talks/ for more details


Android bike computer – IpBike

Many UK riders have seen in the past few years British Mountain Bike Orienteer Ifor Powell riding around with a small box on this handlebars, a home made cycle computer. (he is a electronic engineer and programmer) This development has culminated with an android phone based bike computer which in my opinion ticks every box. I have been using it for a while and recommend trying it if you have an android phone. ( I use a sony Xpeira Ray though the Active model would be perfect)

IpBike is an Android bike computer app. It does everything you would expect of high end bike computer plus a bit more with the extra capabilities of a phone. There are a good number of Android bike computer apps but most of them just use the GPS. IpBike also gets data from ANT+ based sensors, e.g. bike speed and cadence sensors as well as heart rate and also ANT+ power meters. For this to work you either need a phone with built in ANT support, like various members of the Sony range or with a modern phone you can plug in a USB ANT stick to add ANT support as detailed here. This of course allows you to use it to log your turbo trainer sessions as well as outdoor rides.

As well as supporting ANT+ sensors if your phone has a pressure sensor IpBike uses it to give you high quality altitude information and thus those interesting incline and rate of climb numbers. The display is optimised for use on the bike, with b
IpBike is free to download from Google Play but there is a 1,000,000 wheel revolution limit to let you try it out after which you you need to buy IpBikeKey to unlock the limit.ig clear text you can read at a glance for the main sensor data. There is mapping data from Open Street Map sources that can either be directly downloaded or pre loaded on the phone as described here. You can upload a .gpx route files to follow, the map will show the route with your position on it and automatically rotate the map to keep it aligned as you go. Post ride there are all the stats you want from the ride as well as a map of the route and a plot you can pan and zoom over to take a closer look at the climbs with. The feature it has you don’t get with a stand alone bike computer is direct upload to various websites like Strava, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and Attackpoint so no need to have your PC around. Once you have a good bit of data recorded you can query it to say find out how many race miles you did in the year or your total stats for the month.




New Bridge for Cannock Chase Mountain Bikers

Last night, planners at Cannock Chase gave their unanimous approval to the  construction at Moors Gorse, off Marquis Drive
This is great news as the crossing has been an accident waiting to happen for a couple of years now.

However the danger of the main road crossing where cars regularly exceed the 60mph speed limit is still a problem.

Read more:  http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2012/09/13/new-cannock-chase-bridge-to-be-built-in-months/



Tour of Britain – Brocton KOM preview

This year stage 5 of The 2012 Tour of Britain (the Stoke on Trent stage) will be passing through Stafford and more importantly my village of Brocton.

The race route comes out of Stafford on the A34 before turning left into Brocton and then turning right for a short sharp Cat 2 Skoda King of the Mountains climb up towards Brocton Coppice and Glacial Boulder after 29km of racing (expected time of arrival 11.20am).

This climb is a favourite haunt of mine for hill sessions being a nice 5 minute warm up ride from home and the steepest bit of road around. I will be there on Thursday together with a gaggle of kids from Berkswich Primary School to scribble on the road in chalk and cheer on Cav, Wiggo and all the other riders.

As I know the hill intimately from many reps up and down it I thought I would preview it and give my thoughts for tactics.

Firstly the entrance to the hill off of the village green is approached after a very fast series of tight right, left and right hand bends and becomes extremely narrow as soon as you get on to the hill which immediately becomes very steep. I’ve marked steep section on the map with blue. (green is fast and more or less flat or downhill and orange is a slight gradient (more or less flat to a proff cyclist)

The steep section is only 300metres or so in length before it levels off and becomes a gradual gradient or flat for another 800m to the entrance to the Brocton Coppice Carpark. A key feature here is the danger from deer who constantly run across the road. There are also some mild speed bumps to overcome.

From Brocton Coppice to the KOM summit at Glacial Boulder, the 800 metres of road is essentially flat and very fast with the exception of some fairly rounded but sizeable speed bumps which will make the sprint for the line a challenge.

So in summary the Brocton climb is half climb half sprint. The narrowness of the access meaning a there will be real advantage to being on the front of the peloton coming into the village, though the finish at Glacial Boulder really suits the sprinter rather than the climber. There is time to attack the steep section, sit on a wheel and recover somewhat and then attack again on the last 800 meters – one for Cav perhaps or one for an early breakaway?

On Sunday my 9 year old daughter Holly and I went to ride the climb ahead of the race to let her get a feel of what it would be like. I didn’t think for a minute she would manage it on her Isla bike but to her credit she got stuck in and rode it all and even practiced a hands up winning celebration when we got to Glacial Boulder after she beat me in our sprint finish on this normally fairly quiet slow road.

The views out over the Sherbrook valley out towards the Peak District are spectacular from the Glacial Boulder trig point so be sure to take in the view after you have watched the tour wiz past. For those wanting to watch the action on Tuesday there is limited car parking on the cross chase road and several small car parks along it but there is no parking at all in Brocton. See you there!

Photos of the climb below from bottom to the top


Croatian Water Polo

Tonight at dinner we found our evening restaurant terrace in Korcula overlooking a waterpolo arena. It is a Lido type affair, sectioned off from the harbour so I suspect the players had little fishys swimming around their legs as they played in the crystal clear salty waters. Firstly there was a warm up match by a couple of local teenage teams as we munched through dinner but as the sky turned to night and the floodlights came on a full blown regional league match between locals Korcula http://www.korculainfo.com/kpk/      http://wkkpk.blog.hr/ and the visitors  started. There seemed to be more women than men watching the match, perhaps attracted to the warm-up exercises by 20 fit young men in speedo’s and a good mix of locals and tourists. Our meal finished we moved across the lane to watch poolside from the terraces. Eventually we got the hang of the rules, 4 x 8 minute quarters with 30 second possession periods. Although a not contact sport the football equivalents of shirtpulling etc were all there in waterpolo with splashing and ducking in abundance and lots of fouls being awarded to both sides plus an over enthusiastic coach from the visiting team. I am sure too there was an unofficial bombing / diving competition going on when any of the substitutes entered the pool.

Korcula got properly thrashed 12 goals to 4 but it was a great night out and all for free. Bit of video I took is below.