Thursday, November 29, 2007

Opps he did it again...

Just a quick one today. Last night whilst out on the Fatties ride Sam "crash test" Bach pictured a corner in his head that didn't even exist and this was the outcome. This man has no fear when it comes to tricky technical xc stuff, which stands to reason when his regular job involves running into burning buildings. But to see his crash on the easiest of trails.....good one Sam.

I should also mention, he needed teammate and doctor in training Matt Ligtermoet to remove prickles from his face with a multi tool. Now that’s trackside maintenance for you.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Different races.

Tonight I took the kids to a race of a different kind. Liz Randall (Ben and Alex Randall's Mum) was having an attempt on the 1hr World Record. Until recently there was no bench mark set, but now for Liz to get the record see needed to ride close to 40km/h. That's damn fast no matter what your age.

This is Liz warming up before the big effort.

Putting the power down. Only 60 minutes to go Liz.

Liz's coach giving encouragement.

The proud sons supporting Mummy.

Good efford. A few laps short of the World mark, but she can be proud that she gave her all on the night.
The kids and I enjyed the outing. The Darebin indoor cycling facility is amazing. Keep and eye out, I may even have plans to race on this track next year.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Randall's Playground

Today I headed out to Randall’s playground. A little used area out the back of Melton. We were there doing reconnaissance for his invitation ride in a few week time. The trails are a bit weird out there, heaps of rock, kind of no low shrub growth but heaps of fun. There is plenty of climbing to be had, which is probably what attracts Ben out there, what goes up must come down.

I tried out the helmet cam, Notice the little amount of pedaling Ben is doing. I’m pedaling my ass off to keep this close.

See what I mean, have you ever seen terrain like this?

I caught Ben walking up one of the more technical, steep climbs (and yes I was walking first)

Looking farward to heading back in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

While you were sleeping....

With time running out to get any decent training in before the Kona 24, I made a last minute decision to test the endurance on the bike by doing a long road ride. I haven’t done any training rides longer than about 3 or 4 hours since heading off for the Worlds. Family duties have been keeping me off the bike and it scares me a bit to think I have to race 24 hours solo with the fitness I currently have. Two rides a week does quite cut it.

Thursday night saw me leaving home at 6pm for the Tour de Burbs ride around the outer eastern suburbs. It’s a fairly intense ride with enough climbing to get the heat pumping and legs burning. Once all of the other 50 odd riders were well and truly home and showered, I was on my way down the Mornington Peninsula to test the legs. I grew up in Mornington and here I was at a ridiculous hour of the night riding roads I haven’t ridden for many years, I felt many urges to drop down on the tri bars. It’s funny how the body remembers.

The ride went well. Apart from the consistent drizzle and moronic drivers, it was good to be out on the bike enjoying my own company listening to some tunes. The pace was very low and the climbing was keep to an absolute minimum, but hay, you do was and can do given circumstances.

If you could read the clock it would say 12:03 am. Crazy times.

I had to get back out on the bike on Friday. But it was only for 30 mins to work up a bit of a sweet for a test with the VIS. We are still trying to work through things and rectify and issues associated with nutrition and race at high intensity for 24 hours.

I had to wear this jacket to make sure I got sweaty. It sure was hot under it in the sun. I wore this jacket through winter when I did a couple of rides in the snow.

The patch. Absorbing the sweat.

Monday, November 19, 2007

6 hour of fun in the sun....

Yesterday was Round 8 of the 2007 Victorian State Enduro Series at Nerrina Ballarat. I teamed up with Randall for 6hrs or fun in the Sun. Leaving Melbourne at 7am saw us driving most of the way in gale force winds and rain to match. Getting to the race site at about 9am we were greeted with blue sky and what was the start of a very warm day. Our race plan was mainly to enjoy the great course that was put on by Club Mud and have fun in a "no pressure" race. The pace was pretty quick from the get go but Ben was able to hold onto the quick boys for his first lap. I was also holding pace until I took a wrong turn and couldn’t get back on their wheels. The course was a hoot to ride with plenty of technical riding to be had, but the steep climbs quickly got to both myself and Ben and we ended up riding a little off the pace but very consistent, finishing in forth place overall and in the two-man category.

For me it was great to see that in the heat I maintained body weight, rode very consistent lap times (one minute difference between fastest and slowest over six laps) and was able to keep my HR up, which has been a problem of late. It looks like the cupping session on Thursday did me good and I think I will has another session before the Kona 24.

Much of my down time was spent on the wind trainer, “keep those legs a moving”

Joel Reed, one part of the winning two man team.

Randall supporting Movember. Enjoyed the riding.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The things that we do.

I tried a new masseur today, he does cupping. I haven’t worked out yet if the therapy has done me any good. I just had to post this photo of my back (Olivia took it) because it just looks cool.
I am heading up to Ballarat this Sunday for the six hour. Going to do it in a pair with Randall “just for fun”. We’ll see if the body recovers from the cupping and just enjoy the race. Might even see if I can drag Jayden out of bed at 6:30 so he can come up and show off his new bike.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rip it up....

I’ve discovered a new genre of cycling. I like to call it “ripping up the bike paths on a pimped up hybrid”. Now that I’m only couriering one day a week my Dr Dew has been sitting idol for a while. I decided it would be pretty cool to stick some cyclocross tyres on it a use it for easy rides on the extensive amount of bike paths in my area. I have set out a few guidelines when riding in this style. Number one, no lyca allowed, must where demim shorts and a t-shirt. Number two, if you see some single track coming off the bike path you must take it. Number three, your bike must not be “off the shelf”, it needs to be pimped up or else you’re just another hybrid rider. Number four, gears are optional.

This is my hybrid. 2006 Kona Dr Dew, Mavic speedcity wheel set, Shimano 4 pot XT brakes, Conti Twister cyclocross tyres.

You never know what you’ll find at the end of some new single track. I’ve found some single track which was a whole heap of fun to ride, especially on one inch of rubber.

Product Review - Crumpler Sinking Barge

This is the first products review for my blog. I plan on doing them every now and again when I come across a product I truly believe to be innovative and worthy of a giant plug.

Over the lasts few months I have been doing a lot of traveling. I was fortunate enough to be given a Crumpler Sinking Barge backpack before we left for the US and I must say it has been brilliant. It is designed to carry both a laptop and a digital SLR with spare lens and flash in padded comfort. When you consider the cost of these digital devices, a good bag to carry them in is essential. The Sinking Barge is one of very few bags on the market designed to carry these two items in tandem reducing the need for two separate bags. I found it perfect to use as my carry on bag when flying that way I could keep an eye on my stuff or even pull them out for a bit of a play. There is even enough spare room in a separate compartment for other travel essentials.

Once at my destination, removing the laptop for day trip type stuff gives a bit more room for other things and accessing the camera is a synch with the clever design of the compartments. I found myself wanting to take my camera with me more often than I normally would because the bag does not reek camera bag and is extremely comfortable on all contact points. The padded camera compartment can be Velcroed out, giving more space if the camera isn’t required, making this bag one of the most versatile bags I have ever seen. If you have a large laptop, or a professional sized SLR, never fear because it also comes in a larger size, the Customary Barge.

I couldn’t do the bag justice in front of my camera, so I borrowed these images from the Crumpler website.

As most of you probably know, I have been working as a bicycle courier for the past ten years. A lot of this time has been spent with a Crumpler satchel strapped to my back. These bags are made bomb proof and if you ever were to have a problem with it, the boys and girls at Crumpler would get it sorted out for you reel quick.

I think Robyn was thinking about replacing me with a bag.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Single track’n Sunday….

A message from my riding buddy for the day half and hour before I was due to be picked up for a road ride in the hills meant it was now just Triple J and me. I had no desire to smash myself silly on my own on the road bike. It was the perfect excuse to take the Green Machine (AKA Four Supreme) out for its debut ride. Heading out to Lysterfield, a venue I haven’t ridden since FGP’s Chase the Sun races, for a blast in the single track.

I was delighted to see new tracks made to bypass the ones that copped a flogging in the mud over winter. When I rode through the main lakeside car park I was surprised to see such a huge number of cars with bike racks on them. The trails swallow such a huge number of riders, I didn’t have any troubles with traffic in the two hours of riding I did.

The new four-inch travel bike was a dream to ride on the superb single track Lysterfield has to offer. I found the new model Hei Hei rode pretty much the same as last years model, smooth, fast and stiff. The Four Supreme has gone through many changes and rides a lot different to the King. It now ride like a longer travel Hei Hei, the angles have been brought inline with it shorter travel brother. The weight savings are also noticeable, it climbs like a mountain goat and with a flick of the Pro Pedal switch and it descends like a four inch travel bike should, stable and predictable. I am reeling looking forward to zip tying number plates on the new rigs and giving the flogging they deserve.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Over the last six month or so I have been pushing my body pretty hard. The enduro racing calendar is so full now days it’s hard to say no sometimes. However, I had to make the decision not to race the Gravity 12 Hour this weekend. This has been an integral race on my calendar in the last couple of years and I love traveling to country Victoria to race on one of the counties best enduro courses. So, to everyone making the journey to Rosewhite this weekend, good luck and enjoy the riding.

The next race on my calendar will be the Kona 24, now at a new and exciting venue, Forrest in the Otway Ranges. This event will be run over three fantastic courses over the 24 hours to show case Victoria’s superb diversity of XC MTB riding. This race has become an icon in the Australian enduro scene and is set to impress all that attend in 2007. Full Gas Promotions put on a fantastic event and keep raising the bar higher and higher each year.

If you have one last race that needs to be done before the end of the year, than this is the one. Support Victoria’s only 24-hour event and become part of history as FGP revolutionize the 24-hour racing format. Just remember, the three courses are designed for the riders. Fresh single track at two stages of the race, bring it on…..

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One very happy boy.

Jayden is a very happy boy. Today was his sixth birthday and he got the Kona Shred 2-0 I have been hiding since we got back from the States. He loves it. Already he is using the gears and skidding it around corners. I decided to leave it in original spec because I figured boys will be boys and I expect things to break and as they do on goes the bling.

Ginger Invitational

The Hei Hei is the winner. I was about to load the Four Supreme onto the back of Joel Reed's Ute only to discover I hadn’t put the Hopey on correctly. Back to the bike shed and out with the Hei Hei.

The Rohin Adams invitational was a blast. We meet at the Wombat trail head out in Woodends pine forest. This area is one I have never visited and after riding it for a good two hours with some of Victoria’s best xc/enduro riders, I’ll be back pretty soon I’m guessing.

Fifteen minutes in and Ash needed some trail side maintenance (little hint guys, never go riding with only two chainring bolts).

My driver and all-round good guy Joel Read, a man with a heap of style on the bike. It was also good to see Ken Allen getting back into MTB after a good rest.

Me, showing off my Aussie jersey. Thanks for the photo Ash.

If you want to read more about the ride look HERE and HERE.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pick me....No...No, Pick me...

Who went for a ride in Melbourne yesterday? How wet was it. I haven’t ridden in that sort of rain for a long time. Randall and myself had organized an 8am departure but after listening to rain on the roof all night and no sign of it letting up we delayed leaving until about 11 o’clock. Even then it didn’t stop the whole time we were out. Needless to say, not very inspiring.

Today however was different. No riding for me, but I did pick up my two new race steeds. Once again I opted for the Hei Hei and the new version of the King called the Four Supreme as this combination worked well for me.

The Hei Hei is pretty much unchanged. The only difference is the drop in the top tube. I haven’t ridden it yet, but I am already a fan as it makes my huge 22” frame look not so big.

The Four Supreme on the other hand has gone through a huge overhaul, which is probably why they chose to change the name. It also has the drop in the top, but more dramatic is the one-piece forged linkage. This is one trick piece of work, helping save weight and increase lateral stiffness. The other major change is the tube set, although still Scandium it's no longer the box section stuff used in the past. This seems to have shaved off some more weight along with the smaller Fox RP23 shock. I would be surprised if the four Supreme was move than 100g heavier than the Hei Hei, not bad for nearly twice the travel.

I was fortunate enough to be given another of my beloved Hopey steering Dampers from Jesse at the Speed Shop. Whilst building the Hei Hei, I put it on, so now both my steed have one. Very happy indeed.

My only problem now is deciding which bike to take out tomorrow on Rohin Adams Invitational Ride.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Scott V Mont

Ok, so now I have competed at both the Mont and the Scott I think it’s time to compare the two. As most will know, the Mont was put back on in a controversial manner. I don’t want to talk about why it happened that two HUGE 24 hour events would end up being run two weeks apart in the same Australian city. But I do want to give my opinion on the two events. I’m not sure on the number of people who made the effort to travel interstate to both events, but there sure were a large number of Canberra residents at both events.

Firstly the courses. Originally I wasn’t too keen on the Stromlo course because of what I heard about it from the Nationals, “one big dust bowl with no tree cover”. Not the most inviting description of a course. However, once I arrived and had a ride on the Friday before the event, I was fired up and keen to test the course out. Yes it is open to the elements but we were lucky enough to have almost perfect weather, with only strong winds to contend with. The riding was phenomenal. Fast flowing track with a nice technical element and enough climbing to make the downhills that little bit more enjoyable. And the two-lap thing worked a treat from a rider’s perspective, however not so good for solo’s support crew.
In total contrast to Stromlo, I had ridden 99 race laps around Majura spread over two solo 24 events and was well prepared for what the tracks had to offer. My biggest concern was how the course would hold up with such a large amount of riders cutting laps. It did get very chopped up and some section became no fun at all. The downhill sections were very short as were the climbs. It saddens me to say the course did put a dampen on my fond memories of racing at Majura.

The atmosphere at both events was great. Riders on course were having a ball and plenty of people yelling and screaming as laps were smashed out. Slower riders were only too happy to give room for faster ones to overtake. As far as I could tell heaps of prizes were handed out to the punter, particularly at the Scott. It was happening non-stop by the sounds of it. However, the transition area at the Scott was a bit of a let down. I’ll put that down to new venue blues. I’m sure next year both events will be that little bit better just because of what the organizes have learnt from this years event.
If asked, “will you do both next year?” My response would be “probably, I love all rides that last 24 hours”. I am now really looking forward to the Kona 24 at Forest. Once again new venue and new ideas on how to keep the tracks interesting for riders of all levels.