CLICK here to view the 2016 Greek Triathlon Calendar

CLICK here to view the 2016
Brevets (long distance) Road Bike Events in Greece

The Motivation: If not now, then when? Life is too short to stay inactive.
The Challenge: If you are not willing to suffer, then you shouldn't be racing
The Dream: Staying fit and feeling younger day by day!




Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts

08 March 2016

2016 Brevets (long distance) Road Bike Events in Greece

Brevets 2016


09-01 200 km "Tour Evros - Rodopi" - Alexandroupolis (Ble Cycling Club)

 24-01 200km Elefsina - Xylokastro - Elefsina (AO Aeolus) 
30-01 200km Elefsina - Nemea - Elefsina (P.E.P.A.) 
07-02 200km "Chios ... easy" (Ble Cycling Club) 
21-02 300km 'Atalanta' '- Agios Stefanos (Ble Cycling Club) 
27-02 300km Elefsina - Lake Glory - Elefsina (AO Aeolus) 
05-03 300km "Tour of Evros" - Alexandroupolis (Ble Cycling Club) 
19-03 400km 'Leonidio' '- Elefsina (Ble Cycling Club) 
26-03 200km South Evoikos (P.E.P.A.) 
01-04 400km Elefsina - Patras - Elefsina (AO Aeolus) 
15-04 600km Elefsina - Katakolon - Elefsina (AO Aeolus) 
16-04 200km Thermo (Thermo LE.M.A.)

Greek Triathlon Calendar 2016

Greek Triathlon Calendar 2016
 
- 02.14.2016, Biathlon, Schinias, "Energy Duathlon Attiki & National Championships Biathlon" (Distance: Sprint), www.energyraces.gr 

- 03.13.16, Biathlon, Kyparissia, "National Championship small classes", www.triathlon-hellas.com 
- 03.04.2016, Biathlon, Schinias, www.transitionsports.gr
-
04.10.2016, Triathlon, Marathon-Schinias, "Energy Triathlon Attiki & 1os Football Greek Cup", www.energyraces.gr

- 04.17.2016, Triathlon, Schinias (Distance: Sprint), www.transitionsports.gr
-
7/05/16, Off Road-Triathlon, Vouliagmeni, "XTERRA Greece Championship" (distances: Sprint & Olympic), www.xterragreece.com


12 May 2015

Road bike tire review: Bontrager R3 700x25 clincher (but, is it really 25mm wide?!)

I recently purchased a Bontrager R3 700x25 tire, moving up in width from Bontrager R3 700x23. The main reason was that I was looking for more comfort, for my 100kg weight. The 23mm width felt too sensitive to shocks and road vibrations, so much, that I was feeling as if I was slowing down instead of going faster. The 25mm width seemed logical to compensate this problem.

I have been using the R3 700x23 for about 18 months, with only 1 puncture (rear tire) and that was due to my fault hitting hard inside a road hole. Compared to R2, the R3, feels 'softer', faster, more responsive. I wanted a 25mm wide tire though, to give me some extra comfort.

I normally inflate the front R3 with 105-108psi and the rear R3 with 112-115. Sometimes, I might take 2-3 psi away from both tires to boost comfort, but I can observe a noticable reduction in top speed and acceleration.

On my new R3 700x25 setup, I did this test: Front wheel remained at 700x23, rear R3 wheel now gone from 700x23 to 700x25. Upon inflating both tires at the same pressure (115psi) for testing purposes: To measure tire width in order to double check manufacturers specifications. I noticed something weird, which I didn't see before in any tire: To my surprise my findings were the following:
Front tire width: 23.6mm (instead of 23mm)
Rear tire width: 24.3mm (instead of 25mm)


BIKE SETUP FOR MEASUREMENT:

10 May 2015

The amazing Spetses Island in Greece: Swimming, cycling and triathlon races (2015)!

3rd time in a row, the island of Spetses welcomed another great weekend, full of sports action, with swimming, cycling and triathlon events, all 3 in two days, the famous Spetsathlon! No way this can leave you disappointed.

Since its first appearance, this event have attracted an increasing number of participants, both from Greece and abroad. The event's organizers were trying to promote the concept of 'sports tourism', so people could enjoy both the landscapes of Spetses and compete in one (or more) of their favorite events too! No better option to do this in Spetses, as the island has also a 'no cars' policy, which means that only small motorbikes are allowed, and of course bikes! :D

Saturday
There were 2 options for Saturday: A 1000m swimming and a 25km (1 round of Spetses island) bike event. As cycling is my favorite sport, I decided to be a spectator for the swim event starting at 10 am. That was also a great way to mentally prepare myself for the 1pm start time of the bike event.

(Friday, 2 days before the triathlon event, familiarizing myself with the swim part, not particularly warm this year, but the water was absolutely great to watch inside and no wind around)

What particularly amazed me in the swim part was the huge number of athletes, from all ages, both men and women, almost balanced in number. Spetses is great for families and friends to visit all year around, and now, these sports events make it even more attractive destination. Most people were on their wetsuits, waters are still cold in Spetses end of April. A 3mm full wetsuit will give you that extra warmth to swim comfortably.



At 1pm it was the time for the 26km bike event around the island. The distance is not that long as you can see, but the terrain is full of turns and climbs, and the route is particularly technical as there are many sharp turns to watch around. Triathlon specific bikes (TT, etc) have no benefit in Spetses, you need a pure road bike with durable tires, to defend the average condition roads. The roads can surprise you, as the presence of dense forests around the island, do not allow you to view what's behind the next turn. So, take it easy if this is your first time at the start of the bike event!


(left: sunset moment in Spetses, relaxed and peaceful)
(left: me with the red/black jersey in the middle, waiting for the start of the bike race).

The were around 200 athletes registered, and with the technical course in mind and the fact that the first 5km or so are rode inside the uneven village roads, it requires exceptional care, as crashes are easy to happen any time and out of nothing. So, better cycle safe first and then pick up your race pace when outside the main village.

The 26km long route meant that there was no time to pick up if you stay behind, but if you go too fast you might give too much too early on this demanding course. The terrain is very variable: Turn after turn, uphills following downhills all the time, very sudden turns behind narrow and limited visibility roads. Keep an eye on the road for small holes too (but nothing serious). All these together, make this 26km ride particularly tricky to complete if you haven't ridden the island before. For me, this was the 2nd time to be here, but believe me, this didn't help me much, it was still tricky to handle the bike under full speed!

This year, I have also seen several people with flats, and that was an extra concern to look for. Always ride Spetses with spare tubes, don't underestimate the short 26km distance! Ride the event with constant pace, don't give too much of your effort at the beginning as you might easily run out of reserves in the last closing kilometres. The climbs are short, but their steepness might surprise you, I am 100kg, and with my lowest 39x28 (crankset x cassette) combination, I felt I was riding marginal some on the climbs. And there were many of them! At the 13th km there is a water station waiting for you, in case you need to refuel!
(left: cooling off after the bike event)

Sunday
Time for triathlon! This is perhaps the biggest triathlon event in Greece, so far. When you stand at the front of the mass start, you feel that you will be squeezed all around from other athletes. But, this is what makes this event so exciting too! The water is crystal clear, it's so amazing to swim the sea, and observe several kinds of fish swimming under your feet!
The organizers had all safety measures in place: Divers and life guards for the swim part, volunteers at dangerous turns on the bike course, roads open to athletes only, doctors, water points, etc.
Temperatures are pretty good this time of the year (end of April). Except for a wetsuit during the swim part, a t-shirt and a short it enough to keep you in comfort during the race.

(left: The mascot of Spetses! This dog is 4 months old and it absolutely rocks!)

There were two distances for triathlon, a sprint (750m-26km-5km) and an endurance (1500m-52km-10km). Most athletes go for the sprint, there were around 280 of them this year. The endurance is pretty demanding, especially the bike course, and around 70 of them made this up this year.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable event. The Saturday night pasta-party and the express registration made the event extra special. Media from radio and TV, plus drone-video cameras flying in the sky make you feel that you're a 'sport's celebrity' and it gives you that extra motivation to push hard during the event. The spectators are all around, especially in the run part. You run in front of the full seated coffee areas and you get the pulse of this event at maximum level!

An event to put down in the triathlon/bike calendar as a must!

(used to race with a triathlon jersey, but now I feel more comfy on short sleeve)

(Spetsathlon events, is all about having fun and enjoying the amazing landscape)

(at the end of the triathlon race, my bike did it all!)


The official Spetsathlon website: www.spetsathlon.com

Spetsathlon results: http://spetsathlon.com/en/the-race/2015-results/

Photos and videos of the event:
i) http://spetsathlon.com/multimedia-year/2015/ and
ii) https://www.facebook.com/marathonspetses?fref=ts



30 September 2014

Epidavrus (Επίδαυρος) Road Bike and Triathlon Race (27-28 Sept. 2014)


λογοτυπο

If there is one word that can describe this event that would be 'magnificent'!
Epidavrus is an ancient historic region located on the east side of Pelloponissus. It was the first time that a major bike and triathlon sports event took place there. Not for one day, but for two. Saturday found athletes with 2 road bike events (35km and 70km), while for Sunday, a sprint Triathlon event (750m-30km-5km) was scheduled both for adults and kids. 400 athletes registered throughout the weekend for these events, which is a large number for the Greek athletic community.

The organizers, municipality of Epidavrus and Smart Solutions Company, did a perfect job with nearly 200 (!) volunteers laid down on the race course to support and secure the event during the weekend. The landscape during the races was just top class - no better place to compete and enjoy a race.
χορηγοι
I registered both for the 35km road bike race and the triathlon. It was the first time I had 2 races on my diary within an 18 hours time frame, but I was excited for it!! I hadn't really prepared myself for anything good, but I always enjoy participating in big sports events. And Epidavrus is popular for its world class ancient attractions - that kept busy both me and my friends who came with me as spectators to support me.

 (prior to the start of the Saturday's road bike race)

22 August 2014

Fulcrum Racing 5 Road Bike Wheels (2014): TWO broken spokes within 8 months of purchase.

Well, no equipment is perfect and failures can happen to anyone anytime, regardless of how expensive or cheap is the product.

I had my first broken spoke ever about 3 months ago. I have been into cycling since 2010 and I have changed several wheelsets since then: From Alex Rims, into Shimano, into Pro Lite and then into Fulrcum. I bought my first ever Fulcrum wheels in Dec. 2013, after shop's recommendations and friends' suggestions.

But, about 6 months after purchase a Fulcrum rear wheel spoke broke. At the worst place and time: During a 200km Brevet cycle race with about 50km to go when I also had a good ranking (within top 40 out of about 200 cyclists).

I was left in the middle of nowhere with the sun burning on top of my head at 36+ degrees in a very remote location (50km outside Theva, Greece). I was very lucky to have a race support car picking me up, as it was left to the athletes to deal with their emergencies according to race regulations. It was the first time I realised how a broken spoke sounds.. and the flatness your mind receives when it realizes that you no longer can pedal. My rear wheel lost its symmetry. It went into an 'egg' shape. I tried to open the rear break as much as possible, but still nothing. THAT spoke was fatal. I had to quit the race.

After the repair, the bike shop assumed that these things happen to everyone and it's normal. I accepted this.

4 weeks ago and about 2 months after the first ever spoke breakage on the Racing 5 wheels, another spoke on the same rear wheel broke. Again.


06 April 2014

My bike fitness test exposed!

Measuring method based on information provided on the well established book by Joe Friel 'The Triathlete's Training Bible' (3rd edition, 2009).

With the help of a friend, the exerted watts on an indoor biker were monitored and the heart beats per minute (bpm) were recorded using my trustful Polar RS300X watch. At the end of the test, I took the data from the paper and I inputted it on an excel spreadsheet to draw the graph that is shown below. The test was performed 2 Feb. 2014.

The threshold is the point where a 'break in the knee" is observed (shown with the red lines on the graph).
This is roughly the point where your body shifts from an aerobic into an anaerobic state.

For your info, my resting heart rate is around 51bpm, while my maximum (running) pulses are 183bmp.
Hence it can be observed that the the maximum HR on the bike is less than the maximum HR on the run (this is to be expected as less muscles are activated during cycling) - this comes in agreement with the findings provided on many textbooks in the subject of sport's science (although I would expect that the bike HRmax should be about 10bmp or so less than the HRmax achieved of the run, perhaps this was influenced from the fact that I had completed some endurance training sessions the days towards the fitness test).


Bike fitness test

It is recommended to repeat such tests every 4-5 weeks or so to assess progress and overlay the results on the same XY graph to compare them with the previous tests. An improvement on the performance is noticed when the most recent line is shifted on the right compared to the previous test. You won't necessarily observe a significant change on the position of the threshold point, otherwise the other data points should shift. For a given effort (watts) a lower bpm is recorded when your fitness has improved.

Execute a fitness test at your own responsibility! Always seek a medical advice before putting yourself under an excessive effort.


24 December 2013

2014 - Brevet (long distance >200km..) Road Bike Races in Greece

PLEASE, CLICK ON THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THIS BLOG (titled:
' 2014 - Brevet (long distance >200km..) Road Bike Race Calendar in Greece  ') FOR THE MOST RECENT UPDATE OF THE BREVET ROAD BIKE RACE CALENDAR.
THE  POST BELOW IS NOT UPDATED ANYMORE AND IT IS ONLY KEPT HERE AS A REFERENCE. THANK YOU!


19 December 2013

What has happened to my 'rowing' blog space? The start of a new season.

As the name of this blog suggests, it includes topics about triathlon and rowing. But, the title of the blog has now changed into 'Triathlon and Cycling in Greece'. Why is that?

Firstly, I would like to say that I am a huge fan of rowing. The sport of rowing fits me exceptionally well. I have the right body shape for this sport and it's a perfect exercise too, as it's a sport that trains the entire body (one rowing stroke uses about 80% of your body muscles! Which other gym machine do you know that can do this?). In addition, I have performed pretty well as a part-time rower: I've participated in 4 Greek indoor rowing championships, I've managed two first places and two second places, plus a national record that I set in 2009. I also raced in the European Championship in 2012 finishing a respectable 7th place between top rowers all across the continent. I loved and I still love rowing a lot, it gives me a complete satisfaction and fulfilment when I train, race and improve my conditioning on this machine.

But, the main obstacle is equipment provision. Indoor rowing is not popular in Greece. I really straggled a lot to identify a gym near my home, which can provide an indoor rower. Between about a dozen of gyms, only 1 of them had an indoor rower - just one machine and yet that was an old make model that did not give correct and accurate readings anymore.. On top of this the subscription fees to this particular gym were exceptionally high - I was paying around EUR 180 for a three month subscription..back then (to give you an idea, an annual gym subscription in Greece costs on average around EUR 250). But, I didn't mind, as I was so excited about it and I was willing to take off cash out of my pocket for indoor rowing.

Now this has changed and it's a kind of luxury for me to keep doing this. In addition, I couldn't find any partners interested to share training sessions and keep myself motivated. I was fine training on my own during the first 2 years about 5 times a week, but I gradually realised that I needed a kind of a team to keep my excitement going forwards. Furthermore, there were not many (only 1 actually..) indoor races organised in Greece. Apart from the main indoor rowing championship held every December in Athens, there wasn't anything particularly going on around this sport in general. I was training hard and consistently for 5 months only to race a 3 minutes event once a year. This wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted some more action and competition around me, which I couldn't find.. I had huge reserves of energy to put into rowing, but there was only one event every year that gave me the chance to release it. Not enough for me.

So, during this year ( Aug. 2013), I decided to switch into different sports with the hope to involve myself in races all year around and in addition to find some training partners. In these terms, triathlon was always a very exciting idea at the back of my mind. I was racing triathlon events during my indoor rowing season, as a means to cross-train and refresh my mind. I soon realised that triathlon provided more or less what I was looking for: Action, competition, many events, chance to meet other athletes easily, train with others, direct access to commonly found equipment/facilities (bike, track field, swimming pool), challenges and a very variable mixture of three different sports all in one...etc .etc...

So, 2013 has been the turning point for me in terms of sports. I leave indoor rowing behind (sadly) to welcome triathlon and cycling too! Both sports have exploded in popularity in Greece especially during the last 2 years. There are now more than 30 annual race events in Greece all together for triathlon and cycling. Every time I take my bike and cycle out, there would be at least one person that I will join or know from somewhere. My training and fitness have also improved dramatically since August, when I finalised my decision to make the change into triathlon and cycling.

I feel refreshed and motivated now. A nice way to welcome 2014 too!

See you out there and wish you all a happy 2014 with plenty of sports action, health and race events! :)



 (my bike dressed up for Xmas! On the background: the shiny cover bag of my windsurf race board)










06 December 2013

The 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar in Greece (updated as needed)

PLEASE, CLICK ON THE TAB AT THE TOP OF THIS BLOG (titled: 'The 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar in Greece (updated as needed)' FOR THE MOST RECENT UPDATE OF THE TRIATHLON CALENDAR.

THE  POST BELOW IS NOT UPDATED ANYMORE AND IT IS ONLY KEPT HERE AS A REFERENCE. THANK YOU!


12 November 2013

Road Wheelset Review: Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Alloy Clincher Wheelset

Hello there! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Ok, reviewing a product is a tiring process, as it requires many things to be carefully explained and have them all well described, so that they are well understood to others. But this time, I felt it was worth going through a review for two main reasons: The first is that I've nearly spent 2 months searching for a new pair of road bike wheels, so this article might save others' time to take a decision or give them a brief guide to wheelset purchase. The second reason is that there are many nice interesting points to be mentioned about this product!

The review, as the title suggests, refers to the Pro Lite Bracciano A42 Alloy Clincher Wheelset (product page: http://www.pro-lite.net/road-wheels/bracciano-a42#page ) . This is Pro-Lite's a new product model on the market. It's a 42mm deep alloy rim (from edge to edge inc. braking surface) and it accommodates clincher type tyres. The comparison below is set against my existing Shimano WH-R500 standard wheels that came with my bike (Orbea's top of the range alloy Aqua T105 road bike). I am also into regular cycling and triathlon training for about 3 years now, so I believe that my experience plays some role too when reviewing this product.


23 October 2013

From no training to achieving a PB finish time in Olympic triathlon distance: My quick story for the 2013 tri-racing

A recap of the last and major triathlon events of the year: my story


I know that I've been pretty quite this year on my blog. If you see the new posts uploaded during 2013 you will notice that you can count them in the fingers of your one hand. Well, there are many reasons for this, mainly because I've been too busy with my full-time job and on top of this I've been dedicating almost my entire free time towards a potential job hunt all across Europe (applications, interviews, travelling, CVs, calls..).

It's the first time after many years that I realise my active participation into sports is at its minimum. In 2013, after 4 successful years into indoor rowing and systematic training, I decided to shift into triathlon. I have changed many sports in the past from basketball, into windsurfing, into rowing and now into triathlon, I like trying new things! However, for 2013 it was only during May-June and September-October when I managed to follow a rough training schedule - and still during those more active periods I didn't perform athletically in a structured manner. So, all in all, 2013 was a kind of 'time off-sports' for me as I had to sacrifice my sports for the things I mentioned above.

(shown on the left: Jan.2013, London from London-eye tourist attraction)

However, sports, training and racing has always been something inseparable from my life. I believe that sports must be integrated within everyone's routine, regardless how busy or free time you have available. Sports have always helped me to organise my mind and put things of life into an order.

In May 2013, after 4 months of complete absence from any real training due to an intense preparation of an important business trip to Ireland, I signed up for 2 Sprint distances and 1 Olympic distance triathlon races, which were to take place within a 5-week period! This sounds crazy, as everyone knows that triathlon in particular requires significant training in terms of volume and intensity. I will never forget my first ever tri-race in 2010, which left me with a huge surprise as to the amount of effort and pressure it is required to complete even a sprint triathlon race. But, for some unusual reason, this time I felt it was possible to go through this time-squeezed 3 race schedule - probably I've missed racing for triathlon and I felt that I was full of energy (mainly mentally) to accept the challenge.


12 September 2013

The first ever Ironman Event in Greece - scheduled for the 20th September 2014


http://www.threelevelpower.com/images/stories/posters/2013/poster_tlp_2258_lg.jpg

So far, the existing Triathlon Races in Greece have been for distances up to Half-Ironman.
This is a huge achievement, considering that triathlon in this country is still a relatively new concept for the majority of sports people.
To have an Ironman event being organised seemed an impossibility , until recently.

The first ever Ironman even in Greece is to take place on Monday 20 September 2014 (correct at the time of writing) by 3 Level Power. For more info you can click this link: http://www.threelevelpower.com/index.php?lang=en .

On Monday 14 October 2013 the Three Level Power organisation will initiate pre-event summits for the technical side of this event.

Well done guys, keep up the good job.

01 May 2013

2013 Triathlon Race Calendar - Greece

Triathlon Races in Greece have exploded in number the last year or so.
Normally, competitors had to pick up races between from a number of 4-5 triathlon yearly races. Now, the sport has received so much attention that many organisers have taken the initiative to setup tri-races in various locations all around Greece (on main-land and islands) and throughout the year (i.e. dualthons).

The races below do not require any subscription with the Greek (or any other) triathlon federation or triathlon team, etc.
From my experience, most organisers are requiring you to bring a medical certificate from cardiologist (issued the last 6 months or earlier) to provide a proof of your ability to race safely and have a declaration form signed up prior to race (each organiser uploads such form/s on his/her website for the race under consideration). I am stating this as a general guidance, for those who might be coming from abroad to Greece to join a race.
Please, contact the organiser to check the essential documents needed every time you want to take part in any race. Everyone speaks English in this country, even if they have never learned it before!

(dates below correct at time of writing: 1 May 2013. Check the link at the end of this page for updates, but I will try to make sure I keep the list below updated too!)

Tri-regards!

2013 Race Calendar Greece

(last update: 3 September 2013)
*Attika: County, with Athens its city.

(sources: http://www.triathlonworld.gr/hellenic-calendar-2013/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/118822331562700/doc/253658668079065/ )

(above: Olympic Distance Triathlon Race, Schinias Bay, Attika)