Hot Stuff for Christmas
Inside the Postal Bus
Inside the Postal Bus offers a detailed look at Michael Barry’s progression into racing for the infamous US Postal Team, with some heart warming anecdotes and revealing profiles of famous acquaintances along the way.
The first mistake I made was to embark on this book with expectations that it may rival Lance Armstrong’s anecdotal tales of blood, sweat and tears or dig some serious dirt on team mates. Whilst Lance’s inspirational auto-biographies made me want to jump straight on the bike and get training, this book is slightly different. Instead of focusing on himself as an individual rider, Barry paints a picture of the everyday lifestyle lived by the team. He offers an honest and open account of how he has realised his childhood dreams and supported some of the best riders in the professional cycling world. He subtly reveals the characters that comprise the Postal Team and the people who supported him along the way, and similarly the dedication he has offered others. He injects humour into tales of the daily grind of gruelling training regimes and reveals the highs and lows of the changing seasons.
A story of a great cyclist, and the inner workings of his team, which will warm any heart this Christmas.
Read and reviewed by Rebecca Chartlon
The North Face Summit base layer
Though not specifically aimed at cyclists, it’s always worth checking out clothing from outdoor specialists as much of it can be used on the bike. Let's face it, anything that is designed for extremes of temperature, weather and terrain is going to work well on the bike.
The North Face base layer is one such example, and their vast experience is in evidence. It’s 95% Polypropylene and 5% Elastane Seamless Equilibrium fabric. The long sleeve layer is an ergonomic fit with flatlocked seams, with mesh in key areas to improve cooling. This one is a crew neck, but zipped neck is available too, as well as a short sleeve version.
It also boasts quick drying, anti-microbial to keep the odours down and should stay clean due to being stain resistant. Watch out for a full review soon.
Pearl Izumi 'Fast Road' Shoes
Using carbon fibre technology Pearl Izumi have come up with a new stiff and lightweight shoe. Their unique I-Beam plate construction - a molded ridge that runs the length of the sole - is reportedly stiffer than other carbon soles.
Some might disagree, but these shoes do look great. The top of the shoe is covered entirely in a highly breathable single layer mesh - you'll definitly be wanting shoe covers at this time of year. Two straps, one with a ratchet, keep the shoes on your foot. However, we recommend you try them on for size in your local bike shop before buying, as their sizing seems a little strange.
Both the 44 and 45 didn't fit out feet that well, the 44 just too tight around the toes and strangely the 45 too big around the toe area, and despite doing the straps up super tight, we weren't happy with the fit.
Trainright DVD series
The Trainright series of DVD's cater for all disciplines of riding to help you strenghthen your specific training for Mountain Biking, Time Trialing, Climbing, Crits, Sprinting and Race Simulation.
Produced by Carmichael Training Systems, each DVD in the series focuses on helping you to develop and improve specific aspects of your fitness. Whether it's improving anaerobic power, optimizing the efficiency of your pedal technique or improvong your VO2 system these workouts have something to offer all cycling levels.
Chris Carmichael, United States Olypic Committee Coach of the Year, has built workouts that are designed to maximize training time and improve power, efficiency and technique in a 60 minute workout.
With an on-screen running time, cadence and intensity indicator, and an interval timer you can set your turbo up in front of the TV and train effectively for an hour.
You'll benefit from the advice of experts and if you're short of time, you can optimise your training time without having to worry about the elements, punctures or even leaving the house.
A perfect training solution for winter months.
UltraSport Home Trainer 23mm
These new tyres from Continental are designed exclusively for use on turbo trainers and rollers. They may look good but don't be tempted to put them on your road bike as they're only suitable for indoor training.
To make them suitable for turbo use a special harder compound is used to increase their service life. Another benefit of these turbo-specific is that they're designed to be quieter in use, a blessing for your neighbours.
So again, a perfect alternative to battling with the winter elements.