Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Champion in the Making....Pt1.

Hope everybody had a great Christmas and didn't eat too much. I know I did.

Sorry it's been a little quiet on the riding front. Spending lots of time with the family and avoiding the bike at the moment. I did get a chance to play around with some old (and not so old) video though. It's all about Jayden and his own passion for the bike. Take a look and see what you think.


video

Wishing everyone a happy and safe new year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cheers....

Last night was the Groupe Sportif (aka Kona) Christmas function. This was the third year of me attending their Xmas party and each year it gets better and better. This year saw us have the Werribe Open Range Zoo open just for us. To start with was the lion feeding. We got up close to the massive cats, they sure are a real sight.


All that was between us and becoming dinner was half inch of glass. This is Mark (the big boss man) enjoying a glass of red whilst the cat has other dinner plans on his mind.

After the feeding it was off to a mud brick gazebo for a BBQ with style and atmosphere to boot.


The Groupe family. Well most of them anyway. (sorry about the red eye, no time for photo shop) These guys have been extremely supportive of my racing over the last couple of years and it is always great to spend time socialising with them without a bike in sight. I am very grateful to be known as part of the Groupe Sportif family.
I also have some sad news. It is with great regret I inform you, my Dr Dew (as featured a coupled of weeks ago on this blog) is no more. It came off the roof of the car doing 100km/h on the way to the Christmas party last night. I watched it fly through the air and into the car following us and am very surprised there wasn't more damaged caused. Thank goodness for Middleditch insurance, they will cover the bike and the other car. Not to sure what to replace it with yet. maybe even a Ute.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nice Lid

Christmas has come early. I just got myself a newly released Limar 969 Carbon. It has everything you would expect from a high-end lid, big vents, comfortable head locking mechanism, carbon fibre reinforcements and very lightweight. Nice styling to boot.



The guys at Limar also distribute sixsixone. So I now have a set of their XC racing glove in both black and white. Just the thing for hot summer rides.





The Randall Invitaional

Yesterday was a great day for riding in the bush. The dust was settled down nicely with all the rain from Saturday. What better way to enjoy the condition than going for a ride with about 15 of your closest riding buddies on some great (traffic free) trails in the back hills of Melton. I won't go into details, Ash does a great job of that over here, but I will say this was a fantastic ride and a brilliant way to finish off group rides for 2007. The trails were superb, plenty of climbing to be had and lots of laughs along the way. Not even the 6 or 7 odd flats we encountered could dampen the spirits of those who attended.




There were some very unique trail build conducted in this area. Check out this wire bridge. Held in place by star pickets, a real treat for those who venture out this far for a ride.







Friday, December 14, 2007

Retirement..

Last night Jason Jackson and myself organised (at last minute) a MTB ride around his local trail heading out towards Warrendyte. These trails has a lot to offer. I don't venture out that way much but each time I do I wonder why it has been so long since I last rode these trails

This is Jason in retirement, loving ride his mtb with no real structure, just ride when he feels like it. Sounds like me.


Tested some new knicks, AdiStar Bibs. Until now I haven't worn a pair of bibs I am comfortable with. These things get the two thumbs up. And the best part, no more lower back "issues". Hope you appreciate it Ash.




Thursday, December 13, 2007

Large load

I did some weight training yesterday. And no, I didn't go to the gym.

Makes the bike handle like a Kombi in sand, and forget about jumping gutters.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It was always going to happen.



For those of you how don't / can't read the Herald Sun.

Have been waiting for this one for a while now. Things might be a bit different along Beach Rd on a Saturday morning.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Product Review - Ay Up Lights

As most people are aware, I choose to ride most of my products because I strongly believe they are the best products available for the riding that I do. Lights are no exception. After using Vicious Power Arc HID lights for the past couple of year (I still believe they are the absolute best HID riding light on the market to date bar none), I was given the opportunity to test a relatively newcomer to the lighting market world, AyUp. Once again an Australian company (very important to me) and once again producing a product that excels in what it sets out to achieve. I was initially blown away by the physical size and minimal weight. This is what attracted me to investigate further on their function and practical use as a new enduro racing light.

AyUp have set out to achieve what no other lighting company have - to produce an extremely lightweight lighting system practical in just about every way possible. What I mean by this is that most other LED lighting systems over volt the LED to produce more light, AyUp run the LED’s at their specified voltage of 7.4. As a result, the LED’s don’t heat up, therefore there is no need to use cooling fins, excessive amounts of alloy, etc to keep the LED’s cool. This design also allows Batteries to be half the size/weight for the same burn times.

Because AyUp don’t over volt the LED’s they aren’t the brightest LED lights on the market. But, by no means is this a negative thing. I strongly believe mountain bike lights have gone to the stage where they are too bright – where you can see forever but get into some sand or a little rock garden and all you see is brightness, no track contrast. It is now time for manufacturers to move away from making their lights brighter and concentrate on making them lighter and run for longer.

Running the AyUp’s with intermediate beam on my bars and narrow beam on helmet and I can see clearly what I’m riding into. I like to call this usable light. I have now raced with AyUps in four 24 hour events and the only time I would have liked to have the Vicious strapped to my helmet was at the Worlds during a 90km/h fire road decent (although I’d ridden it 6 or 7 times in the light knew there were no obstacles to worry about).

Another interesting point with the AyUp’s as a dual system (one light on bars one light on helmet) is that they are still lighter and have a longer burn time than most single system items on the market. All this from a company who are continually pumping money into improving their products, from more styles of batteries, to bags with solar charging panels for adventure racers and the list goes on.

As a result, I’m more than happy with my lights, and very happy that AyUp are sponsoring me. But I would be using these lights regardless of sponsorship. An Australian company owned by mountain bike riders.

I Usually run the larger 6 hour battery with the extension lead running under jersey and into my pocket. You don't even know it's there.

I you use the 3hour battery in this way, this half of the system weighs 200g.

With the 6 hour battery, it jumps up to a whopping 250g.


The Vicious Power with a five hour battery come in at 600g.
Handle bar setup with small 3 hour battery, very small, can hardly see it from the top.
With the six hour battery you can still mount it comfortably under the stem,

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Once Were Warriors

Yesterday I was asked if I could help out ORCA (Off Road Cycling Adventures) by taking a group of kids for a ride in Murrindindi Scenic Reserve at Toolangi State Forest. I jumped at the chance. It’s always good to show young kids what mountain biking is all about. These kids (all boys aged 11-12) all come from broken families and are in need of positive male role models to help them make the transition from boy to manhood. The program is sponsored by Anglicare and called Peaceful Warriors.

My day started at Hallam picking up the ORCA ute and trailer fully loaded with Kona’s. I thought I have an impressive shed full of Kona’s, these guys have about 60 all kept up to date and running smoothly.



The camp leader informed me he wanted to teach the kids about teamwork and over coming obstacles in life. Having visited Murrindindi earlier this year, I had ridden the perfect track for this life lesson. I sold it as a ride’n hike. But I knew it was going to push everybody on the ride, including myself.

Oh, did I mention it was steep. Bloody steep.


Each kid had a “buddy” to support them whilst on the camp, a male role model. That meant 10 kids 10 buddies and 2 support group leaders and 2 ORCA mountain bike guides. This was a lot of bikes to hike up. We stopped at Wilhelmina Falls for lunch. After lunch it took 1 hour to get everybody plus bikes to the top, a total distance gain of about 400m. Everybody needed to dig deep and put in or we would have been there much longer.


Lucky we had a great descent back to camp. Everybody enjoyed the experience and the program leader was most impressed with the “lesson” ORCA was able to provide the kids. Total ride time = 5 hours, total ride distance 9.5kms. (And no that is not a typo)




Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lifes good.

Today was my one day of the week spent couriering the streets of Melbourne. And what a great time of the year it is, the streets are crowded with Christmas shoppers, clients are panicking about jobs that should have been completed long ago, the sun improves your golden tan and as for me, not a care in the world. Legs pulled up real well from the weekend, so I just rolled around in my own little world.

This is Bourke Street Mall. Looks good since they revamped it a couple years back.


I ran into this ugly bloke on the way home, Mark Fenner from NSW. Another enduro nutter.





Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Jayden's big race....

Jayden lines up ready to defend title from last year. New course, new challenges and new machine.



He led from start to finish. All those hours of racing around the front yard after school paid off. Power went straight to the ground, kept eyes up and focused on the track ahead.

About to take the drop into the gully. He has had the correct riding stance for as long as I can remember.


His proud little sister. I think she will be ready to have a go next.
And year, Jayden does have a set of Ay Up's on his bike. He kept riding into the night and probably did more hour than most people racing in teams.




Kona 24

I think I found out the hard way why it’s so important to treat 24-hour solo racing with a huge amount of respect. After doing so many, I decided I would have a go at this one with minimal training and an extremely relaxed (even more so than normal) attitude. Since racing the Scott 24 six weeks ago I have only been on the bike an average of eight hours a week, usually less. This has been due to a variety of reasons, but the main one has been lack of time. I have found this low volume of riding to be a good break from the body crushing 30 hours a week I was doing pre worlds, giving me more energy to spend on other aspects of my life.

My race plan was always going to be sit back on the first day loop (6 hours), testing the body and seeing if I had anything to have a bit of a go during the slightly easier night loop (12 hours worth). The swap from day to night lap gave me a time advantage over John, who was storming ahead during the day loop. By 2am I had closed the gap to about 10 minutes and was feeling great. This was probably my first mistake. Getting a sniff of the win at my fitness level made me push a bit harder to gain more time. Then it happened, not sure what exactly, but I will just say lots of little things added up which took the race well away from me. I rolled around for three more laps before John caught and lapped me. This was a huge relief. It meant he wasn’t slowing down and I had no chance of making a mends on the time I had lost as my body cried out for help. Finishing that lap at dawn, I decided to have a rest and see if I felt like going out again.

I did end up going out again. Motivated by a congo line organized to say farewell at two of the sports great team enduro rides, Ash Thomas and Jason Jackson. Both leaving the Felt Enduro Team to “try something new”. I really enjoyed throwing the leg over the bike for one last lap with a great bunch of riding mates. It was a good way to finish the event off for me and I’m sure the Felt boys also enjoyed themselves.