Month: December 2006

Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge

This certainly sounds interesting – a 4 day cycle tour of Ireland , 200km each day. Come May next year I might be capable of doing this, definitely something to target.

The Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge is a four day – 800kms cyclo sportive , taking in all four provinces of Ireland, involving over 500 cyclists from all over the world and will take place on the 11th of May through the 14th of May 2007 and annually thereafter.

The tour with start on the 11th of May with Stage One from the Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn City travelling through the picturesque ‘Orchards of Ulster’ to Cavan Town, continuing on the 12th of May with Stage Two from Cavan Town through the ‘Emerald Triangle’ to Galway City, continuing on the 13th of May with Stage Three from Galway City around the magnificent scenery of ‘The Burren’, continuing over the Silvermine Mountains to Kilkenny City with Stage Four on the 14th of May taking in the challenges of Co. Wicklow, passing over ‘Aghavannagh’ and the long ascent of ‘Wicklow Cap’ and onward to a grand finally and presentation dinner in Westmanstown Dublin.

An international event to start with, the organisers have a clear objective to have Ireland united on the global stage of cycling. With a longer term objective to have Ireland included in the World Golden bike series of cyclo sportive’s were the Tour of Ireland Cycle Challenge would be included in the UCI world calendar alongside such classics sportive’s as the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Classic, Paris’ Roubaix and Liege’ Bastogne’ Liege.


Rocka #1 Bikeshop in the Philippines

Raymond, of Rocka #1 Bikeshop, and his daughter in beautiful scenery in the Philippines

Raymond runs a bike shop in the Philippines called the Rocka #1 bike shop . He asked me to link back to him in the cyclists blogs section of my blogroll so I went over to see what his place was about. I was really interested in a some things on the fledgling blog, especially when he tells the story of how they got started with the shop:

When we first thought of opening a bicycle shop in October 2005 we really didnt know how to go about it . I did a short informal feasibility study and presented it to my American brother-in-law in november of 2005. as it turned out…he didnt like the small earnings so decided to beg off.

in the beginning… business was slow. Clients were coming in to see what was on display and shaking their heads in disbelief… we wanted our place to showcase middle to high end bicycles and products so our product ranges from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands for a new bicycle. Nevertheless we soon caught the attention of middle income to higher income professionals…and soon the two onlookers became groups of 5, 10 and 20 cyclists.

Looks like they have beautiful scenery too – the picture is of Raymond and his daughter up at the Taal Volcano in Tagaytay.

for me the only way to avoid conflict with cycling time and family time is to hit two birds with one stone

I agree wholeheartedly – that’s the great thing about cycling as a sport – it’s easier to convince them to come out for a nice cycle than to head to a rugby match 🙂

Ebdon wins UK Snooker Championship

Peter Ebdon holding UK Snooker Championship trophyAs an average pool player (8 ball) and poor snooker player I really enjoyed the UK Championship this year. Peter Ebdon won a mediocre final aginst Stephen Hendry , who looked tired and spent, 10 frames to six. Ebdon is a quiet kind of player, whatever it is I like his style.

Of course the competition was in the headlines with Ronnie O’Sullivan walking out on his quarter final match against Hendry. He’s given no explanation and the snooker bosses are making noises about getting tough on him this time.

I was happy to see Graeme Dott beaten by Hendry in the semi, I was really put off by the way he celebrated before the end of the final frame of the World Championship… it may be harsh to hold that against him, but I thought he showed a serious lack of respect for his opponent.

Christmas shopping for a cycling fanatic? Try CRC

Paris cycle lane - photo from psd on flickrI just did my Christmas shopping – well, most of it anyway. So this is the blog post where I list a load of cool suggestions, and my hundr thousands of readers click on the links and I make loads of money. I would list piles of stuff off of or, but I gave up trying to order my presents from them earlier this evening – they’re not able to guarantee that a book ordered on December 17th will be shipped (not delivered!) before January 16th! And that’s in stock items sent by next day courier.

Instead I ordered some presents (mainly for my cycling crazy dad) from my old reliable ChainReactionCycles . I also bought myself a pair of Shimano glasses to replace the pair I lost on crash #14 when mountain biking up the Dublin Mountains a couple of months back. So does their affiliate tag bring in a load of $$$? ‘Fraid not – no cash involved at all. Instead they give me a link-back – mine is currently front page, which is nice, and will move back to their partner links page when someone gets around to adding the next sites in. I’d prefer to take a percentage of sales but I have to say that I’m so happy with their superb service that they’ve earned a gratuitous plug from me.

To get an idea of how much I like these guys, here’s what I’ve bought from them in 6 months. If you’re looking for a gift idea, maybe this stimulate some ideas!

  • Shimano Eyewear – Sunglasses Karida Sunglasses Gold + 2 Free Spare Lens
  • Smart Lights – Front BL-201 H Twin System 6w – 6w Lead Acid
  • Cannondale Headwear Balaclava
  • VDO Computers Cytec C4 22 Function Wire
  • Topeak Tools Compact Tool Wedge Bag 16 Piece Tool Kit – Quickclip
  • Brand-X Bags – Pannier Pannier Set Black
  • Crank Brothers Pedals Clipless – MTB Egg Beater SL Steel Spindle – Steel Body – Blue
  • Cannondale Gloves Full Finger Windfront Glove 6G04 Winter 2006
  • Endura Shorts Cycling Hummvee Baggy Shorts inc Liner
  • Brand-X Stems – MTB CNC Style 75mm 10 Deg Polished Black 1.1/8″
  • Easton Handlebars Flat EA30 XC Bar Black 580mm
  • Atomlab Stems – MTB G.I. Stem 55mm Ano Black 1.1/8″ 22.2mm Clamp
  • Endura Jackets – Bike Gridlock Jacket
  • Marzocchi Forks – Suspension EXR 2005 105mm Black – IS Mount
  • Park Tool Tools Triple Spoke Wrench Each
  • Park Tool Tools Chain Wear Indicator Fits All Chains
  • Tioga Bar Ends PowerStud 6 Mini Barends Black
  • Cannondale Bags – Saddle Fast Bag 17 5BO2 Each – Black
  • Kryptonite Locks KryptoLok & Kryptoflex Twinpack U Lock – 4″x9″ & 4ft Kryptofllex
  • MET Helmets A-Tomo
  • Gill Gloves Fingerless Amara Track Glove
  • Electron Lights – Sets F&R Front 3 LED & Rear 5 LED EHP120 2 Mode Front – 6 Mode Rear
  • Tacx Water Bottles Team Body Sol 500ml
  • Topeak Computers Comp 130 Computer 13 Function Wire
  • Topeak Water Bottles – Cages Mono Plastic Bottle Cage Black
  • Topeak Water Bottles – Cages Mono Plastic Bottle Cage Black
  • Gill Gloves Fingerless Amara Track Glove M Graphite
  • Muc Off Lubricants Muc Off Bike Cleaner 1Litre
  • Shimano Eyewear – Sunglasses Karida Sunglasses Clear Pale Blue + 2 Free Spare Lens (the ones I lost!)
  • Crank Brothers Pedals Clipless – MTB Egg Beater C Carbon Steel Body / Wing – Black
  • Gill Jerseys – Short Sleeve Urban Jersey SS XL 44″-46″ Yellow – Carbon
  • Tioga Brake Pads – MTB V Brake Pads Black
  • Tioga Brake Pads – MTB V Brake Pads Black

These guys are selling in the European market at American prices – but that’s not all! They’re selling at US prices with free delivery to UK and Ireland. I’m telling you as a fellow cycling fanatic – if you need cycling gear , CRC is where you should head.

Dean Richards will be new England rugby coach

Dean Richards will be new the England rugby coach .

No, it hasn’t happened yet, but that’s my bet now and here’s why: on Tuesday, Eddie Jones committed himself contractually to the Queensland Reds. He’s definitely there until the end of May 2007 when the Super 14 ends – it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he’d be available for England after that.

This afternoon Sir Clive Woodward ‘s pick for the job, Nick Mallett , is reported to have ruled out the England job, at least according to his current boss.

I met with Nick yesterday and he told me he had no interest in the England job. We’re in negotiations to extend his contract for a further year.

The list of potential candidates for England coach now looks something like this:

  • Rob Andrew (ruled himself out)
  • Warren Gatland (boss ruled him out)
  • Eddie Jones (ruled himself out)
  • Martin Johnson (ruled himself out)
  • Nick Mallett (boss ruled him out)
  • Dean Richards (said he “could be persuaded”)
  • Jake White (worked hard to cement his tenuous hold on the South Africa job – unlikely to quit before Rugby World Cup 2007)
  • Brian Ashton (current attack coach)
  • A N Other (is there anyone else suitable who’s available? I don’t think so)

You saw it here first.


Jilm over on mentions another possibility – Brian Ashton:

Brian Ashton getting a promotion to Head Coach – even just for the short term – might be a possibility.

I don’t think Ashton will get it because Andrew doesn’t want to appoint from within the current administration. A new, outside candidate is what he needs politically. English rrugby is far from appointment by merit at this stage. It looks like the BBC disagree with me:

England could have a new head coach as early as Wednesday – and the hot tip for the job appears to be Brian Ashton.

Ashton, England’s attack coach under former boss Andy Robinson, is thought to be the choice of new Rugby Football Union elite director Rob Andrew.

Rob, seriously, you might want to give this a little more thought. Didn’t you say that you would take the time necessary to find the right man for the job?