Episode 62 – Tramadol Nights

16.04.14 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Graham

Niki Terpstra


Having forgotten to record any new episodes due to watching the cobbled classics, we finally get around to catching up with all the action so far.

We apologise to the entire population of Norway for suggesting that EBH was Danish (even though we don’t think we did).

Finally, we bring you a round-up of the start of the 2014 MTB season.






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Blog Posts, Gary's Blog

Scots Wha Hae

07.04.14 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Gary


Before I get into this, let me make a confession: I’ve always looked down slightly on the Commonwealth Games. Not really buying into Scottish nationalist (note the lower-case ‘N’) hyperbole, I’ve generally been British in my sporting outlook unless, of course, a Scottish team or athlete has been pitched against an English opponent.  Perhaps there’s an underlying air of underachievement in Scottish sport, possibly as a result of the lack of competitiveness in our big ticket disciplines: football and rugby.  Or maybe it’s the nauseous “here’s tae us, wha’s like us”, Oh, Flower of Scotland, tartan and bagpipes backwardness that follows our sports teams (and culture) on high road and low road alike.  21st Century Scotland, in a year of massive constitutional portent, often seems to have more of an eye on its past than its present or future.

This weekend, Graham and I once again had the hugely enjoyable job of hosting the presentations at the Scottish Bike Show.  Saturday saw us interview Olympic medallists Aileen McGlynn, Craig MacLean and a certain Sir Chris Hoy.  My prep notes instantly recalled Aileen’s 3 Paralympic golds, Craig’s silver from Sydney and – of course – Sir Chris’ 6 golds and solitary silver that made him the most successful Olympic cyclist in history.  I had to look up each rider’s Commonwealth Games record tho’.  Oops.

Anyway, on Sunday we had the delight of talking to 5 of Scotland’s road and track hopefuls for this year’s Commonwealth Games, being held in Glasgow.  You’ll probably know James McCallum, erstwhile Endura Racing and Rapha Condor JLT rider and currently racing his final pro season with NFTO Racing.  I may even be so bold to name check him as a Friend of the Pod these days.  But you may not be quite so familiar with the names Eileen Roe, John Paul, (Dr) Anne Ewing and Charline Joiner.

Each rider has had a different road into cycling and to the eve of the Games.  Eileen, for example, raced on grass track to make up the numbers once and discovered she was good at it.  She has subsequently raced road, track, cyclocross and cross country.  John, came through his local club, getting onto the Team GB Talent Team, winning a junior world championship before being unceremoniously dropped by the Academy last season.  Coming through the Girls for Gold programme, Anne is a trained GP, finished second to Hannah Barnes in last season’s British National series, is racing on the continent and confesses to also being a triathlete.  Charline has raced domestically for a few seasons after switching from the track.  She also broke 3 vertebrae in a crash at the team Scotland training camp in Girona and has only been cleared to race once again a matter of days ago.

Each rider is also at a different point in their training.  For some, qualification times have been met meaning that performances need to remain sufficiently high to keep them in the eye of the Selection Committee.  For others, the opposite – results are good, times have yet to be delivered.  For Charlene, the joy of simply being back on the bike is reward enough.  Well, for now.  Her eyes are no less focussed on Glasgow.

Despite the pressures we may perceive being placed upon the shoulders of elite athletes, there was no sense of that from any of the riders we spoke to this weekend.  James spoke of the weight of a nation “pushing us along” as opposed the crushing burden we’ve often seen of Team GB riders.  Indeed, Sir Chris himself alluded to “hanging on until the bitter end” in terms of his preparation for London.  Eileen was simply a bundle of infectious enthusiasm and each rider smiled with a glint in their eye as they spoke about Glasgow and the prospect of representing their country at home.

While I am a big fan of Team GB and occasional Sky Fan Boy, it’s easy to get drawn into the blandness of numbers and training blocks and it’s-what-we-trained-for.  In some respects we start to believe that that’s the only way.  As Graham said a couple of times over the weekend, it seems that to be a successful cyclist these days, someone has to come to your school with a Wattbike and then you win some medals.   But none of the athletes we spoke to this past weekend have had anything like the obscurity to Olympics experience of, say, Laura Trott or Joanna Rowsell – and that’s not to in any way diminish the achievements of either Olympian (as I type, I’m drinking coffee from my Rouleur/Richard Mitchelson Laura Trott mug!).  What each of them does have, though, is a shining and infectious love of cycling and they exude the sheer joy of simply riding your bike.  They just happen to do it faster than you.

These guys are the real deal, make no mistake: Anne Ewing, Eileen Roe, John Paul, Charline Joiner.  I predict that you won’t need to Google them after the summer.


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Blog Posts

BBC to Cover Women Road World Cup in 2014

04.04.14 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Gary

UCI-Women-World-CupFollowing this week’s announcement of a major sponsorship package of the UCI’s Women Road World Cup, the BBC has confirmed its coverage of the series.

Showing on its Red Button service, the Beeb will show highlights packages of all 9 races, running during the following times (subject to change):

 7 April, 1135-1420 BST – Ronde Van Drenthe (NED) and Trofeo Alfredo Binda (ITA)

14 April, 1200-1420 – Tour of Flanders (BEL)

5 May, 1200-1420 – La Fleche Wallone Feminine (BEL)

26 May, 1200-1420 – Tour of Chongming Island (CHI)

11 August, 1200-1420 – Sparkassen Giro (GER)

2 September, 1100-1200 Open de Suede Vargarda (TTT) (SWE)

2 September, 0000-0100 Open de Suede Vargarda (SWE)

8 September, 1200-1420 GP de Plouay (FRA)

We don’t have exact details of how long each package will be (Red Button coverage tends to loop) but we have been told they’ll be “pretty long”.

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Gary's Blog

Down Among the Big Boys

24.03.14 | Permalink | 1 Comment Posted by Gary

“’Mon, Gary. At least pit some effort intae it!” – J McComisky

f5f319295bb502c717d7896ed2b555c3Sunday saw my first ever foray into road racing at Stirling Bike Club’s Crit on the Campus held – as the name suggests – around the campus of the University of Stirling. Given last year’s disastrous events season (and my massive strop at not getting a place in the Etape Caledonia this year), I’d wanted to do something a little different. As far as my road experience goes, this would be about as different as it could get.

My training had gone inexplicably well, those high cadence hours on the turbo in the company of Cav, Kennaugh and co suggesting that I at least wouldn’t die. Of course, domesticity and crap weather colluded to minimise the amount of actual road riding I got in over the winter but I was reasonably content, if quietly shitting myself as Team Stumpy drove north on a sunny spring morning.

Wedged firmly between the Kingdom of Fife in the east and what is ostensibly the start of the Highlands to the west, Stirlingshire to me was always a part of the country that you had to get through to be in the place you actually want to go. Steeped in (hamstrung by?) the history of William Wallace, Bannockburn and Dougie Donnelly furniture ads, I’ve always had a jaundiced view of a part of the country whose existence seemed stuck firmly in the 14th century. This, of course, is deeply unfair and thus I mused as blue skies smiled upon the snow-dusted Ochil Hills. The University of Stirling is a hub of development in sporting achievement and science. SportScotland’s HQ lies within shot-putting distance of the uni campus, as does the Scottish National Tennis Centre and our National Swimming Academy, to name but a few non-Braveheart establishments. You might argue that within the campus reside the sporting Bravehearts of the future. You’re probably right.

SBC had put on a busy programme for the day and the campus was a hive of activity from the car parks to Race HQ.  With elite men and women’s E/1/2/3 races to follow and the youth races done and dusted, the attention turned to the Cat 4 races, the first of which was mine.  The circuit was an anti-clockwise loop with really only one climb as such – the start/finish straight. From there it was straight into a left hand ascending turn which cut across a car park before rejoining the campus roads. Speed bumps were the main feature of the back half of the circuit with a couple of zig-zags to keep things lively. A sweeping downhill left-hander toward the end of the lap was a joy before a blast through the main centre of the campus and then round again for another go. Right, stay towards the back on the first lap and then see how it goes. As race strategies went, it was hardly ambitious.

After a slightly chaotic briefing (neither riders nor spectators were entirely sure if it was 35 mins plus 5 laps or any other combination of minutes and 5 laps), “5-4-3-2-1 – GO!”. I was off. The back. I had no real idea what to expect in terms of pace, but this wasn’t in my reckoning. Fortunately some botched clipping and at least one chain off meant I wasn’t technically last into the first corner and the bunch was at least in sight. At this point I should probably have been instantly demoralised but it was great to be racing and the VCDL jersey seemed to generate a fair bit of love from people dotted all over the course.

Normally I have a Cav-esque recall for rides we’ve done but I can only really remember aspects of the race: the left-handed, downhill switchback off the back straight and my growing confidence in letting the bike drift as I exited on each lap (watching Milan-San Remo later, I mused that it would have been carnage in the wet), the fact that the headwind channelling through the main complex as we turned didn’t equate to a tailwind on the other side of the lap. Or that I simply couldn’t jump across to the group as I was lapped (mental note: chaingang this year), or listener Sam Shaw giving it large with his improvised cowbells, my own kids giving it even larger with actual cowbells on the finishing straight (proud of their old man). These were the snapshots from inside my race.

I didn’t know how many laps I’d completed before the moto snapped at my heels for a second and what would therefore be the final time. I knew it was there and I tried to fight off the inevitable, but I also knew that it was a forlorn hope. The leaders would go on to complete 21 laps (our mate Michael Curran finishing an impressive 4th), whereas my race – it transpired had been over after just 7. Did I care? Not really, although the ‘DNF’ on the timing website did jar just a little bit.

Crit on the Campus was everything I’ve seen other events fail to be. Well-organised, welcoming, encouraging and inclusive. But most of all, it was fun. That’s what it’s all about, right?

HUGE thanks and ‘hat!’ to Stirling Bike Club for organising such a great event and choosing such a great course.  Thanks also to the many listeners and friends of the Pod who shouted for/at me.  I’m already casting an eye towards Crit Under the Castle in August!

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Podcast, VCDL Extra

VCDL Extra – Balint Hamvas & Rowan Mackie

13.03.14 | Permalink | 1 Comment Posted by Graham

http://cyclephotos.co.uk/In this edition of VCDL Extra, Graham chats with renowned cyclocross photographer Balint Hamvas (whose excellent picture tops this blog post) and reviews the recently completed season. You can find details of all Balint’s work at Cyclephotos.
Meanwhile, Gary hooks up with Rowan Mackie of the Scottish Bike Show to hear about his exciting plans for this year’s event.


Please leave us a comment below or e-mail us at veloclubdonlogan@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you! You can also use the Wiggle & Chain Reaction Cycles links to help support the show.

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Episode 61 – Classics Nouveaux

05.03.14 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Gary

Episode 61 Blog Pic

There’s so much racing to catch up on that Graham mixes up his Stijn Vandenberghs with his Sep Vanmarckes whilst recalling previous Classics.   We’ve got a quick roundup of Oman, Andalucia & Algarge before we dive headlong into Openingsweekend and some Boonen-love.  Gary risks life and limb, delving into the issues surrounding the promotion of women’s cycling as we discuss the gathering momentum around this aspect of the sport.


Please leave us a comment below or e-mail us at veloclubdonlogan@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you! You can also use the Wiggle & Chain Reaction Cycles links to help support the show.

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Episode 60 – Teething Troubles

10.02.14 | Permalink | 1 Comment Posted by Graham

Bernie Eisel of White In this episode we look back at the Tour Down Under & the recently completed Dubai Tour. Is it still too early to predict how the season will pan out?

We look back at the life & legacy of Marco Pantani on the 10th anniversary of his tragic death and we round up the results from the cyclocross World Championships.

Finally, we announce the winner of our British Place-Names Peloton.  After the briefest of drum rolls we announced Ronan Fox as the winner with his brilliantly cringeworthy Bernard Eisel of White (pictured).

Notable entries (because they were ALL notable) are listed below;



Please leave us a comment below or e-mail us at veloclubdonlogan@gmail.com - we’d love to hear from you!  You can also use the Wiggle & Chain Reaction Cycles links to help support the show.

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Competition entries: Zdenek StyBarmouth, Doug(las) Dailey, Kent Bostik, Bernard Hainault, Ned Doverend, Stephen and Nico Rochdale, Matt Whitehaven, Brett Lancaster, Steele Bishop-Stortford, Emma Liverpooley, Chris Sutton Bridge, Ted Kings Lynn, Tyler Hamilton, Francis Mourey-Firth, Rob Peetersfield, Bart Wellens-Garden City, Chris Frome, Richie Portsmouth, Peter Laggan, Roger De Flemington, Lancs Armstrong, Cadell Evans, Floyd LandsEnd, Michele DumBartoli, Helen Wyman Garden City, Thomas de Kent, Nicole Cook(e)stown, Jonny Engerland, Simeon Hemel Hempsall, Chris Hoy-lake, Taylor Finnieston, Bernard Castle, LuTony Martin, BrighTony Gallopin, T(h)orquay Hushovd, Brad(ford)Lee(ds) Wiggins, Ritchie Stockporte, Theo Boston, Ryde-r HesjeDalton, Chris Newtown, Dunbar Martin, Kenny Eliesonde, Grega Maybole, Jeremy Royston, River Tyner Farrar, Bernard Eisel Of Wight, Michael Barry, Marcel Ketley, Bert De Wales, Theo Bos-ton, Graeme Jones-boro, John Here(ty)ford, Grega Bol(e)ton, St Mark’s Cavendish (keeping it Manx!), Francesco Moseley, Phil Anderton, Paul Kimmeridge, Jacob Fulham-sang, Vincenzo North Nibley, Beryl Burton-upon-Trent, Andre Tsch-Mill Hill, Eddie Mercia, Ian Stansted, Tejay Van Welwyn Garden City, Matt Gosport, Chris Hornsea, Nicolas Rochester, Christophe Ripon, Johnny Soonderland, Barnard (Castle) Hinault, Ian St Boswells, Bernie Iselworth, Nathan Earlestown, Joshua Edmondsley, Christian Kneesall, Danny Pately Bridge, Richie Portsmouth Gabriel Rash Dike, Luke Roehampton, Ian Stannington, C.J. Sutton Coldfield, Xavier Sandhurst, Gerrans Thomas, Nicole Crooke, Victoria PENDLE HILL, Gee, Dan and Rachel ATHERTON, Rik van LOOE, Fausto COPPLESTONE, Francesco MOSELEY, ROGERSTONE de Vlaeminck, Lancing Armstrong, Alberto County Durham, Chigwell Indurain, Morcambe Pantani, Pedro Gordano, Gerald Ciolek District, Halifaxel Merckx, Adam Blythe, Rory Sutherland, Alex Dorset, Ivan Basingstoke, Greggs LeMond.

The nuclear team: Emanuele Sellafield, George Hinckley, Conor Dunne-geness, Torness Hushovd, Frank Hoj-sham, Robbie Hunter-ston.

The seaside team: Felixstowe English, Michele Scar-poni-borough, Emma Poole-y, Sarah Padstow-rey, Mar(k)gate Cavendish, Richard Moor(e)gate.





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Episode 59 – A Pod Lesser Known

21.01.14 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Gary

crocodile-dundee-1Roused from post-New Year lethargy by the news that we made the Observer newspaper (yes, really), we start 2014 with a look at the Tour Down Under and the first full-on sightings of this year’s team kit.  Despite being utterly unqualified to do so, we comment on their style (or lack of it.)  We also delve into the muck and filth of the UK National CyclocrossChampionships and cast an eye over the Cyclocross World Cup before collapsing with a good book courtesy of the VCDL book club.

Anyone interested in competing against Gary as he makes his “racing” debut should check out Stirling Bike Club’s Crit on the Campus being held 23 March.  Be gentle with him now…

Details of the Highland Perthshire Enduro being held on 3 May 2014 will be available here.  Entries open on 24 January so watch that space.


Please leave us a comment below or e-mail us at veloclubdonlogan@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you! You can also use the Wiggle & Chain Reaction Cycles links to help support the show.

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Blog Posts, Gary's Blog

All in the detail

22.12.13 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Gary

Minutae Flyer“So how do we pronounce this again, Stephen?”

Minutae.  Min-You-Tay.  A name chosen basically to bugger up the minds of those who pay attention to the details.  You know, the minutiae.

The first Minutae took place back in May at London’s Look Mum No Hands! Tonight is Minutae2, being held in the salubrious confines of Edinburgh’s Rondebike, a venue familiar to us and where we grilled Graeme Obree before a packed house last year.

 Minutae1 celebrated cycling and coffee.  This evening we celebrate Scottish cycling and are joined on what we quickly coined as the Minutae Couch (can’t see it catching on, that one) by RaphaCondor-JLT mainstay James McCallum and Trek World Racing’s Rab Wardell.  Our notes are quickly rendered useless as James and Rab spark off each other, regaling the audience with tales of the recent Team Scotland training camp in Mallorca as riders prepare to qualify for road, cross country and track places at next year’s Commonwealth Games.  Training regimes are ripped to shreds from Rab’s (actually, Nick Craig’s) approach based on the amount of time you have to the libellous accusation that Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar is “lazy”.  It’s all in jest, of course, but the enthusiasm and joy of 2 riders at opposing ends of the cycling spectrum is intoxicating.  I have to keep reminding myself that Graham and I are supposed to be working here.

Stephen Minns is part-owner of the Minutae brand.  He and para-cyclist Tom Staniford came up with the concept, which is indeed to celebrate cycling and coffee.  Stephen has invested a lot of effort in all of this and as we chat beforehand, we’re acutely aware that Graham and I are in no small way responsible for his and Tom’s brand for the next couple of hours.  The Minutae coffee hasn’t pitched up (nor, sadly, has Tom, waylaid by other business), but the cycling most certainly has and we’re in a celebratory mood.  Well, Rab is for one, having left the Dirt School Christmas bash to take part.  Caution: strong drink may have been taken.

After some questions from the audience, the pace changes as we shepherd people next door and introduce Finlay Pretsell’s Standing Start documentary.  Stephen seems quite happy with how part 1 has gone before we roll the tape.  Well, press play on the laptop.

Finlay is here as the director of the forthcoming David Millar Project and has come with the Project’s producer Sonja Henrici, but he’s a little reticent about giving too much away about the film.  This is understandable, given the uncertainty that surrounds independent projects like this.  So we focus on his directorial debut from 2007, which follows track cyclist Craig McLean and captures the – well, watch it for yourself.  Back on the couch, we chat for a good while about Standing Start and – inevitably – the new film, but manage to do so without making Finlay a hostage to fortune over what may or may not make it into the final cut.

All too soon, Graham is wrapping up proceedings and I realise all the stuff we never got round to asking.  I didn’t get Jimmy Mac’s thoughts on his new team, NFTO Racing, or Rab’s on the step up from domestic racing to the XC World Cup or – cue wide-eyed fan voice – “what’s David Millar really like, Finlay?”  But it doesn’t matter.  The audience look happy, Stephen is smiling and Neil D from Ronde (there are 2, just to confuse you) simply looks relieved. 

To the outsider, some people have just been sitting about talking about bikes and having a laugh.  That was entirely the plan.

Grateful thanks to Tom and Stephen and Minutae for the idea, Neil at Ronde for trusting us and to James, Rab and Finlay for being a joy to interview last Thursday night.

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Episode 58: It’ll Probably Go Rubbish for a Bit

05.12.13 | Permalink | Comment? Posted by Graham

Ep58 blog pic

Our latest 5-Star iTunes review suggested of the pod that since it’s the off-season, “It’ll probably go rubbish for a bit.”

Just to prove the reviewer right, we bring you a pod full of off-season rubbish.  A cloak of mediocrity woven from threads of purest shite.

Oleg Tinkov and Bjarne Riis get our attention.  Frank & Andy Schleck get Gary’s unwanted & slightly creepy attention, and we are worried about cross-country MTB.

But never mind all that, erm, rubbish, the quality starts here.  We are delighted to announce that VCDL jerseys are GO!!  After much procrastination, prevarication & downright inertia and after many long breakfast meetings over Buckfast & sausage rolls with Sir Paul Smith, we have settled on a design & we can’t wait to get them out to the listeners.  Hop on over to our jersey page and get your order in.  We will be taking orders for the first run until 31st December.

Ep58 blog pic jersey


Check out Grame Obree’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film, The Outsider, which charts his attack on the Human Powered Vehicle record.

Finally, for a chance to win a jersey, pop over to iTunes & leave us a review (5 star, naturally) that makes us laugh.  We’ll read out the best ones (you may even get a show named after it!) and award a jersey in a couple of pod’s time.




Please leave us a comment below or e-mail us at veloclubdonlogan@gmail.com - we’d love to hear from you!  You can also use the Wiggle & Chain Reaction Cycles links to help support the show.

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