Friday, 27 May 2011

Pearson 150

We have all just about recovered from the annual Pearson 150, which took place last Sunday. We hope you all had it in you to pull your achy frames from your beds on Monday morning as well.

As the event approached, it was dubious as to whether the glorious sunshine would make a come back for a second year running - riding conditions were particularly challenging. Entrants were subjected to a pretty decent wind bashing and I can't imagine such blustery conditions facilitated the 150km for those with aero wheels. Despite the slightly lack lustre weather, the ride was a success with 620 people signed up and and no spills en route.

Despite my tardy ways, the Pearson team was out in full force; some of us marshalling, some of us riding and the most fortunate of us were sitting in deck chairs at the feed stops. There, we sipped on hot tea and sampled the delights from SIS, Infinity Foods, Eat Natural, Diva Smoothies & Doves Farm Ltd… The nutrition and treats were plentiful. I must hand it to Guy Pearson, who, upon rolling in managed to consume three bags of assorted nuts, an energy bar and an entire fruit cake before setting off again with William.

Pearson would like to thank all of you who participated on the Pearson, for your donations, your time and your sweat to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. A special thank you as well, to the boys at Puncheur for their hard work and collaboration in organising what - we hope - was a fun and rewarding ride for every one who participated.

You can access the sortable time sheet here, thank you to Matt Bee for these. Further, if you are interested in getting your mitts on some snaps from the day; visit Sportive Photo for a plethora of quality prints.

Donations continue to roll in, if you would like to make a donation, please visit us on the Pearson 150 Just Giving page.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wouter Weylandt

Yesterday, cycling lost a young hero in a descending crash of the Giro D’Italia’s Stage 3 from Reggio Emilia to Rapallo. Wouter Weylandt, 26 and already a seasoned, Belgian, pack rider lost his way, descending from the main climb of the day. The accident led to a head injury which resulted in such a loss of blood that emergency medics - despite their efforts - could not resuscitate him.

Deaths within the professional circuit are infrequent, Weylandt was wearing a helmet and despite its technicality, the descent from Passo Del Bocco was not an extreme challenge. Road rash is commonplace, but fatalities in professional cycling are extremely rare; thus, it is the sheer nature of this accident that brings home the risks that professional cyclists undertake willingly, and the skills they possess to stay out of harms way. Unfortunately, even the greatest of cyclists can be put in adverse, potentially life-threatening situations in a moment of misjudgement or by a simple mechanical failure.

The weight of this tragic occurrence is sure to cast a shadow over this years Giro as well as our entire sport, and with today’s race neutralised we can reflect on the life, career and courage of Wouter Weylandt with the upmost admiration and respect. RIP.

Photo - Road Bike Review

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Guy Pearson & The Paris Roubaix: Part Deux

To take part in the first edition of the Paris - Roubaix sportive event was definitely one for the experienced cyclist. Steeped in history, the race réal has defied belief by its voyeurs for over a hundred years and is considered the hardest race in the pro's calendar. Politely named the 'Queen of the classics', its organisers let mere mortals like us ride the course on the preceding day (we had to pay, bien sûr).

We were very lucky to have dry, sunny weather on the day as things would have been very different in the wet. Us cyclo-tourists could do a 140km section of the 260km course, taking in 28 pavé secteurs, including some of the most difficult like Carrefour de l'Arbre on which, incedently, we finished our ride... The pros don't call it L'Enfer du Nord (The Hell of the North) for nothing.

The approach to the first section of the day was filled with trepidation, my riding partner Riggy hadn't done any cobbles before and there was nothing I could say that could possibly lessen the impact that was about to hit him. To say he was a little surprised would be an understatement; even I had forgotten how bumpy they were, despite having done the summer Roubaix five times previously.

We soldiered on moving from group to group - sometimes 200 strong - and as the day went on we shared the road with just ones and twos.
Riggy and I finished the course in just over 4 hours, then made our way up to Roubaix vélodrome for a welcomed wash at the famous Roubaix showers, where each cubicle is named after a winner - I chose Sean Kelly's.

It's always a very levelling moment when you watch the pros the next day tearing along at breakneck speed across the pavé, going as fast at the end of 260kms as they were at the beginning, it’s just so impressive. All it did was make me want to do it all over again next year!

Guy Pearson