5 Things We Learned From Box Hill 20

Box Hill 20 2015


1. When you’re with your mates, the rain doesn’t matter.

2. You spend a lot more time than you think going downhill.

3. Once you try one of Alechia van Wyk’s Death By Oreo cupcakes prepare for any other baked goods to feel pathetically substandard for the rest of your life.

4. Roger Barr must have been bored out his mind doing 73 reps when Everesting Box Hill.

5. It’s easy to lose count.

Photo: Carel Du Plessis

Pies. A Christmas Tale.

The festive period is often a key time for athletes, and I recently put this important question to Twitter.

Before we proceed, let’s be clear about defining the actual pie. We are talking exclusively about the Mince Pie, described on Wikipedia thus: “a small British fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season.”

For the benefit of American’s and Dundonians, we are not talking about mince as in minced beef, or indeed the mince peh (sometime confused with the ‘mince roond’).

Now that we are clear, lets move on.

The first reply came from Team Sky rider (and Black Line London playlist contributor) Luke Rowe:

This was a good start – advice from a pro is always worth listening to and it seemed to be an endorsement of a high pie volume.

But then a reminder that pies can easily escalate from James:

Thanks James – but I need answers. Then Tom suggested there may be a some sort of  golden ratio:

This was edging closer to what I wanted – unambiguous numbers.

Then Guy blew the doors open and flipped my thinking on it’s head – maybe it’s not how many, but how few:

And expanding on that theory, Troy pops up with an equation:

Just as it felt like things were moving forward – Captain Buzzkill chips in:

But that was just a diversion. Back on track as Paul Burton suggests a single pie might require 10 TSS points to offset. I might have thought it would be more, but an interesting theory:

And the most recent contribution defines not only an actual number of pies, but an acceptable window of pie opportunity. Very interesting….

So I feel OK about the pies now – it seems that by almost any measure, I’m well within safe territory. I may even be able to increase my pie intake slightly.

Please feel free to add to the discussion below……

UPDATE: Whilst I loved the idea of an equivalent TSS per pie (as suggested by Paul Burton), I was uncomfortable with the 10 point allocation. So, i consulted the experts at Training Peaks, with the help of a shark.



Slow Cooked Oxtail Stew Recipe

Diet is important, and if you are anything like the BLL guys you probably think about food a lot.

And after I posted a picture on Twitter recently of my mostly make-it-up-as-you-go-along Oxtail stew I got loads of incoming mail asking about it so here is the recipe. Some people are a bit freaked out by the thought of eating oxtails, but if you are happy to eat eggs………

It’s full of gelatine and fat which is vital to the taste and texture, and because it’s cooked for so long is really tender, flavoursome and extremely healthy. Fat is not evil…right!


6 large piece oof grass fed/organic oxtail. I got mine from my local organic butcher and it cost about £8.

1 Head od celery

2 large onions

5 large carrots

1 bulb of garlic

1 bowl of frozen peas

2 Star Anise

Tablespoon of butter

To cook:

Turn your over up to full heat.

Roughly chop all the veg. And I mean roughly – it shouldn’t take more than about 60 seconds to do the lot. I just crushed the garlic with the flat side of a knide, and the skin flakes off.

Brown and seal the oxtails in a big pan that is also safe to put in the oven. Remove form the pan and set aside.

Melt the butter and chuck all the veggies and Star Anise into a pot. Keep on a high heat until they stat to sizzle, give it another 5 or six minutes then add the oxtails back to the pan. Add some salt and pepper.

Pour water into the pan, enough to cover the oxtails.

Turn the heat down to 150 degrees, and put the whole lot in the over, with a lid on the pot.

Come back about 6 hours later and add the frozen peas to the pot, and stir. Add a little more water if required – mine didn’t need it.

The meat will more or less fall off the bones, so you can fish them out if you like.

It took me almost as long to write this post as it did to cook the meal – this is a really easy dish to prepare and would be ideal to come home to after a long bike ride.