A look at my TdY with a gadget twist
I have just returned home after family visits and the long course at the Tour de Yorkshire. The course is 80ish miles (129km and over 2km of vertical) taking in the varied and beautiful Yorkshire countryside on, what was, a perfect-to-slightly hot and windless day.
Results: Here at https://letour.yorkshire.com/maserati-tour-de-yorkshire-ride/results/2018/ there seem to be some people with times allocated to the wrong distance. Or I’m getting slow.
Recommendation?: Definitely worth doing once. If you are local it would be a sensible annual event but too far to become an annual pilgrimage for me from London.
Course Recap: There are some relatively long climbs of several KM and some climbs have very steep sections in them. There were signs saying 20%, for example. The course itself has a reasonable surface for the UK but there are potholes; and on this particular day, there was a fair amount of light grit on the smaller roads.
The course is mostly on roads that are NOT car-free; although traffic was light and this did not cause too much of a problem. Marshalling that gave directions and traffic assistance at junctions was generally OK. But the flow of the ride is obviously not as good as a closed-road route like Pru Ride London because of enforced stops both at junctions and when going through the smaller towns.
I witnessed a crash and witnessed a near-crash and saw the aftermath of a crash. In my opinion, the organisers need to pay a little more attention to marking some of the more notable hazards on the course. After all, there is a wide range of abilities of riders present.
I was trying out my newish bike on a longer course and riding with friends. Essentially I wanted to see if the gearing on my bike and the bike itself would get my nod of approval for later in the year in the mountains of France. From a training point of view, I wanted to see if I could maintain my current 3-hour power for 5 hours.
I had a bit of a scare with my Favero Assioma (review ed here) power meter pedals. I have the new V2.05 firmware which claims market-leading 1% accuracy. That all seemed fine but ‘someone‘ in my house had ‘tidied up the charging connectors‘. I’d not charged them for a month or so and was nervous about running out of juice. As it turned out I got a battery low warning during the ride but all was good – that message is supposed to appear when there is about 10% of the charge left. (On returning home I found the connectors). I’ve got no idea if the new, more accurate firmware made any difference. It may well have done if you read about the scenarios where it might make a difference.
I used Shimano’s 50-34T on the front and a 11-32T cassette on the rear. I understand that this is the spinnyest supported combo for Shimano for my kind of 2-ring road setup. Whilst I didn’t have any particular problem getting up any of the hills on a one day 80 mile ride, I was a little nervous that my cadence was too low for some of the climbs in the Pyrenees for 5 days each day with longer rides than the TdY. Although my buddies assured me that the French climbs tend not to be quite so steep…just a LOT longer. If that’s true I ‘ll be alright when on overseas duty. If not. I won’t. 5 consecutive days of that will be too much for me.
Whilst I hadn’t charged up my Assiomas, I HAD charged up my Di2 battery…just in case. The Di2 battery seems to last forever but I was taking no chances. I also had a pre-ride play with the configuration on the rear shifting and fine-tuned it.
Note to self: don’t fine-tune things before a ride! I seemed to manage to get perfect rear shifting in EVERY gear EXCEPT one of the middle ones where it insists on missing a cog when going down a gear. #MildlyAnnoying aka Leave it alone next time.
I had seen Di2 originally as a ‘bit of a toy’ but I’ve definitely noticed that I shift gears more often. Perhaps that’s to let others around me know that I’ve got a fancy bit of motorised kit or maybe it’s really helped with more frequently correct gear selection? I have ZERO comparative stats for that, but my feeling is that it’s helped. Here are the stats I do have…2020 rear shifts. That’s a lot … I think?!? [PS Don’t look at the Torque Effectiveness balance, that’s why I’m slower than I was 2 years ago..#WorkingOnIt)
edit: After DCR’s welcomed interjection, below, I visited di2stats.com (worth a visit #free) and what they say is slightly more believable. Though why it’s different I’ve no idea other than it could be from how a Syncro shift is counted.
Especially if you have a high-end Garmin Edge device then there are some great Di2-related metrics you can play with. Have a look at the article below (“the dark side of the metrics”). I used the WAHOO ELEMNT as usual so I had to settle for the basics on my handlebars augmented by the ability to use the shifter buttons to add in the odd lap now and again (actually I used autolap as I wasn’t quite sure when an appropriate lap point would be)
Performance & Summary
I ended up with a chip time of almost one hour more than my moving time. Perhaps I can blame 5 or 10 minutes of the slowness on the traffic in the town and another 10 minutes on the foodstop but the rest of it came from 4 punctures in the group, a mini accident and another minor mechanical – I had one of those punctures and probably, in hindsight, should have replaced my ageing training tyres before embarking on my Northern adventure.. I didn’t manage to extend my 3-hour power to 5 hours, not surprisingly my NP was a bit less than I hoped. But I had a nice time to compensate.
I prefer Prudential Ride London to TdY because of its closed road route and proximity to home. Nevertheless, TdY was ‘relatively challenging’ for me and I was OK with it. BTW: There were LOTS of people walking up the hills.
The cost for TdY and Pru Ride London is similar. I expected a bit more from the organisers although I expect they do not have the luxury of the Olympic legacy for a closed course and the numbers of entrants to justify a lower price.
Other Reading: Thumper Mini Pro Review