ARE YOU SPEED
For me the most exciting things about the Tour de France are the sprint finishes, especially now that we have Mark Cavendish for whom to wave the Union Jack!
Sprinting is the ultimate expression of cycling power, and as such is a great developer of overall fitness. Going anaerobic for those few short seconds, usually not more than ten, will not only put power into the quads, it is also a great workout for heart and lungs.
It is these recognized benefits that have made sprints to speed limit signs a long standing favourite of bike club riders. Unfortunately traffic on our busy roads can now make this practice dangerous.
Great care needs to be taken before pulling out to try and out sprint your club mates.
The safer option is the lead out sprint. Here the rider at the front jumps out of the saddle and goes hell for leather, the rest staying in their same order, try to catch up and stay on the wheel of the person in front of them. The leader can choose where and when to sprint, and whether to go long or short, adding an element of unpredictability. The Anerley’s old time favourite is the sprint into Warlingham.
This is perfect for a lead out sprint following on from the fast descent down from Botley Hill Farm. The road flattens out passing Ledgers Pond and a fast pace can be maintained as the riders approach Knights Garden Centre. Here, on the right, you will see the sign board (photo below). This is a great marker. Time to rise out of the saddle and give it your all until you pass the 30 mph sign some 250 yards ahead.
Have you the power, the speed, the determination, to see 30 mph on your bike computer?
But don’t just confine your sprints to the Limpsfield Rd. Over the past few Tuesday Club rides I have been testing my sprint. You will be surprised at how many speed limit signs we pass on a normal club ride. For a really good workout, try doing 10 or more such sprints during a ride. I can assure you that 10 will really challenge you!
Below is a 30 mph sign which we regularly pass when homeward bound on our rides. There is of course another one, a 40 mph sign, when going out in the opposite direction. Do you recognize where these are located? Sent your answers to me, preferably on a £5 note!
Cav Wins The Worlds!
If proof was needed of the benefits of sprinting, then that proof was evidenced when Mark Cavendish won the World Road Race Championship. The first such accolade for a British cyclist since the 1960s. Before most of you were born!
I watched the BBC highlights and was riveted to my seat when Team G.B set up the final lead out as the peloton entrained towards the finish. Then, after 265.75 kilometres at racing speed, the melee of sprinters still found the power to launch themselves at the finishing line. But there could only be one winner,
The Amazing Man from the Isle of Man.