The Group Ride by Michael Barry

We've had a bit of mither in the club recently over club run etiquette. Quite rightly some members have been upset by a minority of riders pushing the pace too high and in some cases accelerating away from the group altogether, which obviously is not only disrespectful to the run leader but also brings up a number of issues should those individuals have problems.

It was to happen eventually, we have built up a very fit cycling club and much like a fit horse, all it needs is for the rider to allow it to fizz up a bit, get the adrenaline flowing and you will find it will go bananas. Horses are animals that need taming, which is where the rider comes in to restore order and bring a sensible head. We have a couple of horses within the group at the moment, however we also have experienced riders on board to bring them under control.

Jules from Weaver Valley CC passed around a link below to an article written by Michael Barry. It perfectly describes what a group ride should be like. If you like cycling, following Michael Barry's blog Le Metier is well worth subscribing too. His book of the same title is also worth the read.

http://michaelbarry.ca/2011/11/the-group-ride-2/


Call of Duty MW3 TV Ad



I surcombed to the hype. Flight Simulator and a spot of Football Manager aside I don't play computer games however with everyone known to man talking about the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, I thought I would get involved.

I've had the piss taken out of me many a time for not owning a games console, never mind not playing COD online, so I decided to become a man. I decided to take over my brother's PS3 for the afternoon and take on Modern Warfare 3. I was rubbish. It took me nearly 2 hours to complete the first task but it was awesome.

I then saw this TV ad tonight which I think brilliantly captures where Call of Duty is at; the hardcore The Vet's out there and me...The n00b!

John Lewis Christmas Ad 2011



You've probably already seen it, and no doubt with the amount of noise both on and offline, you will have most probably heard about it too.

This year's John Lewis Christmas TV ad was pushed out over the weekend and sees an excitable young chap unable to sleep on Christmas Eve, not because he can't wait to open his presents but more to give out his presents to Mum and Dad.

Much of the talk has been that the ad is boring and predictable. I can see where people are coming from. It is very "John Lewis". Beautifully filmed on a soft lense within a lovely semi-detached, Edwardian property: a young family is surrounded by the silky tones of Slow Moving Millie performing The Smiths "Please, Please, Please let me get what I want".

It is a good continuation of last year's ad which featured Ellie Goulding's "Your Song" however with Marks & Spencers also going down the softly, softly route this year with their dreadful ad featuring the X Factor contestants it could get a bit lost. Fortunately, thanks to the press on the Smiths cover version and the reported £6 million budget (which I would imagine would include the cost of buying the media, which considering the slots I've seen being used, is reasonable) it has had good exposure.

What I do love about this ad is the proposition"for gifts you can't wait to give". So simple, yet such a brilliant piece of thinking. Where the narrative of a lot of ads is on receive, receive, receive, this proposition is not only refreshing but places emphasis on taking the time to consider what you are buying for loved ones, and hey why not go the extra mile and spend a bit extra.

The ad has already had over half a million hits on YouTube, surpassing its Christmas 2010 effort, which received 460,000 hits over 11 months!

The ad was created by Adam & Eve


Your Sports Therapist


I would like to introduce my brother, Chris, he has recently graduated as a Sports Therapist. If you're looking for sports massage or injury assessment and treatment, be it individually, part of a team or a business looking to bring someone in then please check out www.yoursportstherapist.com

As you would expect being his brother I've had first hand experience on the treatment table. Family relationship a-side, I must say he has worked wonders on my legs. When I first started cycling I suffered terribly from sore, cramped legs, and although the first couple of massages were tough work I now find that I'm considerably better. I've recently had a knee problem which was causing a lot of discomfort, a few weeks later and I'm ok again. Thanks to the support, I was also able to keep on the bike too.

You will be surprised during those first couple of massages just how torn, tight and knotted you actually are. The couple of days after the massage you will be sore and muscles bruised (as he basically has to break the muscle for it to repair it's self) however the next time you're out on the bike, and in the long term, you will definitely notice the difference.

The nutritional and warm up advice Chris has given has been brilliant and definitely made a big difference to my time on the bike.

What I like about Chris is that everything is explained really clearly. If you want to know why a particular part of your quad is sore then he will tell you what particular muscle that is and why it is tight and sore. It's the extra little tips, advice and guidance which make the difference for me; not just a massage and off you go.

If you're suffering from pain, don't put up with it, get in touch. 
Niggles and sore, tight muscles can be irritating. It can be easy to simply have a couple of days off, apply deep heat and get on with it however these little niggles can lead into big pains. Yes taking Ibuprofen hoping it will go away may relieve the pain but it doesn't solve the problem.

It will seriously be the best £30 you've ever spent. For those running along ok, a regular massage is great to flush out the toxic acids, keeping the muscles soft, which can effect future performances. Chris also offers Musculoskeletal profiling, which analyses your physical and fitness condition. He will then put together a plan of how you can improve to achieve your goals which is great for pre-season.

For more information visit www.yoursportstherapist.com - I built the website using a Wordpress back end. Branding was created by Steve Podmore.



Back on the boards

After last week's disappointing attempt at Cross it was good to get back on tarmac this week. I had a week off work so made the most of it, notably heading out on Wednesday with the wrinklies notching up a pretty decent 65 miles. I love hanging out with the wrinklies on a week off, they are an inspiring bunch of guys, with the fitness levels that some of us could only dream of. Not only do they have a wealth of experience to lean upon but they would run rings round anyone who would dare to take them on too! If you're happily retired, enjoy heading out on your bike and fancy some company you could do no wrong in meeting up with them at Hatchmere crossroads at 10am just outside Delemere Forest.

Thursday saw the return of the club track nights to see us through the dark Winter nights. I loved every minute. The thrill of bombing round the boards, air whizzing past your ears is just awesome.

For me, it was a really good indication of how I've come on fitness wise too. This time last year I was puffing and panting after the warm up, ending up so exhausted that after the 2 hours I couldn't complete the 15 minute warm down. This time I handled it all pretty well, sitting comfortably within the group and completing the warm down with no worries which I was really happy with.

Saturday I took in an easy 32 miles to keep the legs going and today the club run headed into a rolling route of 55 miles.

Over 150 miles in the bank over the last few days. Happy with that!

Cyclo-Cross

Today I failed miserably at Cyclo-Cross. To be honest I got myself in a bit of an eager twist, hearing that the year before there were quite a few taking part on mountain bikes I thought I would get into the spirit and give it a go. I didn't quite realise how popular Cyclo-Cross had become, everyone, bar a couple of people, had light Cyclo-Cross bikes and also were made up of a very strong field that I recognised from the races I had been to watch.

I rolled up on my mountain bike. A Carrera Kraken, which I haven't ridden for about 3 years especially not off-road. Although in good nick it would be fair to say it is a budget mountain bike at best and secondly it is incredibly heavy. I rode around the course early doors and I knew it was going to be tough. Although muddy, the terrain was quite firm which suited the thinner tyres and lighter frames of a Cross bike.

As I found, my mountain bike, although I made up time in the muddier undergrowth, got battered everywhere else. Mud stick to the deep grooved tyres like glue. The weight of the bike dug into the grass while the lighter riders and bikes glided over. The steep hill sections, while many slung the bike over their shoulders, I struggled to even push it up. I didn't have SPD pedals, just flats and my trainers couldn't grip the surface either. I found my heart rate souring into the red midway into the first lap and not matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get it down.

I lasted a couple of laps and pulled out. I hated it and felt completely embarrassed with myself, if humiliated, by the experience. I didn't want to let the club down by pulling out but feel I have by actually competing. I was spending so much energy just trying to keep the bike moving I was blowing up.

It felt bad because Nick at Weaver Valley CC had put on an awesome event with a great course and I wanted to do him justice. If you love Cyclo-Cross I would highly recommend taking part in our event in Northwich next year.

I'll move on, it's been a big lesson for me.

New Get The Label Christmas TV Ad


Unbelievably Christmas is only just round the corner and at work we've just completed a new TV ad for online fashion retailer Get The Label.com.

Christmas obviously being the party season you want to stand out from the crowd whether you're going out or simply having folks round at home. GetTheLabel.com offers big name brands at up to 70% off.

You may remember the last ad we did for them which featured Wretch 32 on the soundtrack. The music this time is "Pressure" produced by Nadia Ali, Starkiller and Alex Kenji.