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Eli Iserbyt and Toon Aerts gave us a master class of cyclo cross over the weekend in France.
The duo pedalled away from the rest of the field with Laurens Sweeck the best of the rest over a minute down.
I asked the question earlier this winter as to whether the dominance of Mathieu Van der Poel was good for the sport.
Dont get me wrong. I love the guy and his strength and power. But this duel was perfect racing and great entertainment.
First it looked like Iserbyt was going to win. Then Aerts came back. He then went ahead and the gap looked unassailable before Eli got back on terms.
Somehow he then found the spirit and strength to attack before Aerts found his way back to the front from a position where all looked lost.
It went down to a sprint with the young talent Iserbyt getting his wheel over the line first.
What a brilliant advert for ‘cross.
The road season starts up again with the Tour down Under this week and it will have to pack a punch to get to this level.
According to the race organisers social media feeds, British cyclo cross champion Tom Pidcock is going to ride the Rutland CiCLE Classic in April.
Pidcock is a prodigy and likely World Tour rider of the future and has been consistently at the spiky end of Superpresteige and DVV trophy races this winter.
The course and conditions will likely suit him so we await his participation with baited breath
Even though the end of 2019 doesn’t feel that long ago and the cyclo cross season has been keeping us entertained, despite Mathieu Van der Poel dominating, its now time for the road season to restart with racing in Australia and in the next few weeks Argentina and Columbia.
The Tour Down Under is hurtling upon us with the Australian Nationals now out of the way and the racing starting in 2 days with the Ladies and on the 21st with the men.
I have been quick to criticise the Tour on previous blogs and podcasts feeling its a bit too synthetic and trying too hard.
I am no Richie Porte fan either but you have to say that his brilliant record on the races queen stage to Willunga Hill will be reason enough to pay some interest.
Maybe its my old age but I am starting to warm to the TDU as I have the Tour de Yorkshire. On the dark winters nights there is nothing better than watching some sunshine and bike racing.
It will also give those of us in the Northern hemisphere time to reflect on the terrible tragedy unfolding down under through the bush fires.
I can hardly wait to get going!
After the challenge of going meat free in January 2019, my family and I had another crack at it in the run up to Christmas.
We took the decision to try and offset some of our carbon (from driving from Lincolnshire the Alps) by going without meat for the month of November.
It was the second month of 2019 that we took on this challenge and it was an equal test of mental resilience as well as creativity in the kitchen.
I am not a scientist and have only watched Game Changers on Netflix as a point of reference, but there could be a correlation between my improvement in cycling last year and the reduction in my consumption of meat.
If you take a 10 mile time trial on a sporting course as a control check, the numbers are stark.
2015-2018 best time – 25m14s
2019 best time – 24m44s
I also beat that previous marker 8 times during the season on either the same or similar courses.
The last time I consistently went that fast was in 1998 when I was free of children and had a lot more time to both train and rest.
The November challenge was tough with a lot of head colds and missed sleep in the family. I have to say that it didn’t mess with my head as much as the previous time but it was clear we were all running out of steam and creativity (for meals) towards the end.
We are planning to continue cutting our reliance on meat. We don’t want to see valuable rain forest consumed to make animal feed, nor valuable arable land used by greenhouse gas producing cattle. So, we are doing our bit and becoming fully flexitarian.
Of the 21 meals per week the average human consumes, we are aiming to have two thirds or more free of meat.
Our main challenge going forward in 2020 will be to move to a dairy free milk and I will update the blog on our progress.
I will also look to tie this all back into cycling performance.
I think its always useful at the start of a review to point out the source of the product on test.
It’s been a while since the last round of product reviews on Fendrien and some of those items were supplied by companies who wanted my opinion.
For the Galibier sunglasses I am scribing about here, there is no discount, no freebies no incentive. I saw these glasses online and fell in love with the design and and frames before buying with my own hard earned cash!
They weren’t the first Galibier product I have owned though. The eagle eyed amongst you will have seen me scaling the Alps this summer in their leather retro look track mitts, an amazing buy.
Sunglasses though are an altogether different thing and something cyclists are very particular about.
I see myself as somewhat of a connoisseur, but mainly having stuck to Oakley over my lifetime in cycling. However there is a bit of chatter online (and its building) that “they aren’t as good as they were”. Now I don’t know about that but I have now used other brands.
For example in 2015 when I rode the Tour of Flanders Sportive I chose BBB products were did the job in a really effective way.
However we are here to talk Galibier and what a find these specs were! I love all things to do with retro cycling and the tortoise shell frames were the first thing that attracted me to the glasses when I saw them on a peruse of their website.
They are stunning although my photo above doesn’t do them any sort of justice at all. You will put these on and look every inch a Fausto Coppi or even a Jan Janssen. They ooze 50’s and 60s chic and once I’d put them on I instantly knew I’d made a good choice.
The lens option in the tortoise shell frames is a gold mirrored lens which works brilliant on those low sun days we are getting at the moment. However even though they are more for use as the light gets brighter, I am using them on every ride.
Whilst the finish on the frames are getting lots of attention, the real work here is in those lenses which offer great clarity and little if no misting.
The price of these glasses is under £45 and I did wonder if that fact they don’t come with a silly price tag might put people off. I hope it doesn’t as you need to get some of these on your face. They are a bargain (based on the pricing of other brands) and I would thoroughly recommend them to you.
A link to the page on Galibier’s website is here.
It is worth mentioning that since I purchased and started riding in these glasses, they have brought out a new frame called “Ardennes” with a number of lens and frame options (ain’t that always the way!!), but I can’t see Mrs Fendrien agreeing to another package arriving with them in!
Sadly Youtube have deleted the race footage and closed the account (not mine!) that hosted it so you will need to search out official footage.