Monday, March 31, 2008

Test trial Ay Up lights....

Ay Up is a Brisbane based company that supplies heaps of light sets to the riders in and around Brisbane. I noticed how popular these were when I was in Queensland for the Ay Up Dusk to Dawn 12hr. I reckon between 50-70% of the field were using AyUp systems. Down south the buzz is beginning but we have the advantage of more sunlight during Summer. We are about to lose that precious daylight, so it's time to look at upgrading your old light set and be well prepared for those long winter rides.

Andrew from AyUp has been kind enough to supply me with a set of the latest lights (helmet and bar mount kit) to use as trial set for riders around Melbourne to see the advantages of these lights for themselves. I will predominately lend these to riders that can make their way to the Fat Tyre Flyer Wednesday Night ride.
So if you think it's time to see what all the hype is about, let me know and I will get you out on a set. You can read my review on the Ay Up lightset HERE.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday morning from Hell...

I was super dad/husband on Friday, getting heaps of jobs and cleaning up done so come Saturday morning I could disappear for a few hour for a ride. I decided the Hell ride would be my ride of choice today as it is probably best bang for your buck ride going around.

The nights have been tough of late. Jackson (yes he now has a name) has been sleeping great during the day, but come night he is desperate for our attention and keeps both Robyn and myself up all night. Friday night was no different. I was finally in a deep sleep, when my alarm went off at 5:20- I couldn't move and decided 10 more minutes was in order. 45 minutes later I jumped out of bed, kitted up and was riding down Springvale Rd flat out to catch the bunch at Mordialloc (thank god for the tail wind).

I think Ash Thomas was happy to see I didn't desert him. We spent the whole ride hanging off the back of the bunch. Not so much fun. Turning off at Mordialloc to avoid the mayhem that was unfolding in the stiff head wind along Beach Road.

Jayden has spent the last couple of nights at a school friend house. I went over this afternoon to pick him up and was reminded of my youth. There where six kids fanging around the court on Green Machines. Those where the days. I was very close to jumping on one just to feel the some of the joy I had as a kid sliding recklessly down the street. But then I thought some things are best left as memories.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Congratulations to Ben and Mel.

As most will be aware, Ben didn't race the 24hr Nationals. Instead he took Mel to Beechworth to do some riding and relaxing. It must have been a great weekend together as a couple because Ben dropped the big question and now they are engaged. Ben and Mel are such a compatible couple and I am sure they will share a great life together. Congratulations to you both.

Sorry about the pic Ben, but you didn't give me any notice.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

National 24hr Champs...

Unofficial result sees Jason English holding off Clackers after a hard nights racing. English finished with a 2 lap buffer in the end. Local rider Dan Mackay finishing third, 20 mins down on John, not bad for a guy studying pre-med.

As for the girls, Katherine Van der Spiegel 1st Alex Kiendl 2nd.

Well done to all, sound like it was a tough race.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Today I was able to get a ride in. I have started looking at up and coming races so I can now get me some motivation to train after concentrating on the family for the past few weeks. However I didn't get out of all fatherly duties. After leaving home I headed straight for the hospital to give Jr (we are trialing Jackson, like it?) his very first bath. I spend some time with Jackson and Robyn before heading to Ivanhoe to start a Mullum loop. I was moving at a much lazier pace than when we did the same loop as part of the FTF Wednesday night ride a couple weeks back, (read Rohin's ride report here). I must say it was a nice ride and it feels good to have a goal to work towards in the not to distant future.
There are plenty of trail out in the east, you just need to know where to look for them.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The fuss..

Here is what all the fuss has been about lately. After spending the night in hospital, then been told this morning that Robyn may not be able to give birth today as planned because of the issue she was having with a high HR, it was a relief to meet our anesthetist who basically put it like this; the baby needs to come out, we have ruled out the major issue with Robyn, so why not get him out before the hospital goes into holiday rostering. Made a lot of sense really and everything went very well. Robyn is feeling great (when baby came out she had a feeling of huge pressure release from her body) and baby is healthy. What more could you ask for...

The kids were stoked and wanted to take him home right away. For some silly reason we are stumped on a name for the poor little guy. We have a short list, but can't make a final choice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ain't happening

As it stands I won't be heading up to the National Chaps this weekend. I write this post from the hospital where Robyn has been all day. She started the day with an unexplainable very high heart rate, ambo called, and here we are until baby is ready to come out, or more to the point when Robyn is in a better condition to deliver.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all competitors in the weekends race the best of luck. Racing is fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Remember at 2am why you love riding you bike so much and relish the time you have on it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Things have been going very well for me lately. Putting my training on the back burner has given me a new drive. After riding very consistent lap times at the Dusk to Dawn, pulling up extremely well and generally moving well on the bike, I have put a contingency plan into action. The parents are on standby, Robyn has been booked in a couple days earlier for giving birth and if all goes well I will book flights Easter Thursday to get me in Canberra for the National 24hr Championships.

I have said all along I wouldn't go and it still may not happen, but there is a chance and if I can swing it I will be there to defend.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shadow Chasing...

The kids were stoked on Friday when I received new lights etc from Ay Up, not because of the lights but they both got given a super cool jersey that actually fits them. And as I write this on Monday night, I can honestly say they have both worn them all weekend, thank goodness jersey dry over night.

Today I did something that has been a very long time coming, took Jayden for a MTB ride. We went to Westerfolds park to hit the nice flat bits of single track. Jayden had a ball and to my surprise on the way back to the car I gave him the option of riding the sealed track or the single track and he chose the single track. I recon 95% of the high school kids I have taken out on MTB's would have picked the easy way home. That's my boy...

I can tell you one thing for sure, he won't always be riding in my Shadow.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Other Projects...

The last couple of weeks have been full of other activities designed to keep one off the bike. With the new addition to the family around the corner, we decided now was a good time to get Olivia and Jayden a cubby house to keep them occupied whilst we tend to the new fella. The pic below shows my handy work. Originally I was going to build it from scratch, but because of time constraints we purchased a kit...simple.

Last week I needed to shop for a new 4wd. The Delica needs to go, we wanted a more up to date family/work/race/camping vehicle. And here it is, a 2004 Mitsubishi Pajero NP 3.2 direct injection diesel. Drives great and am looking forward to seeing where it can take me.

I needed to make a few mods, Ash Thomas style. A large storage box, with fridge slider, fork mount and trap door to storage under the floor.....nice.

Next weeks project awaits. These two guys took me 231km and 4000 vertical meters last weekend in the Dusk to Dawn without a hitch. They are due for a few new parts, the usually chain, bottom bracket and cables should see them good for a few more months.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

AyUp Dusk to Dawn Race Report.

I was a little disappointed when the AyUp Dusk to Dawn was postponed due to flooding three weeks ago. The change in date meant I would have to race it with tired, possibly sore legs from the Otway Odyssey – not to mention that Robyn would be 8.5months pregnant and might not let me go! As it happened, my mum helped Robyn out with the kids for the weekend, and I visited a myotherapist for the first time in about ten years to sort my legs out. The last myotherapist I saw told me I should quit competitive sports and join the majority and spend my weekends watching TV. Obviously I didn’t listen to him, but the guy I went to see this time was good - he used acupuncture on me in an effort to relieve my twitching muscles, as he couldn’t do anything with his fingers due to the tenderness. All the pushing up muddy slopes at the Otways left me with a torn left calf muscle and even the night before the Dusk to Dawn I had thoughts about not turning up to the start line.

Waking up the morning of the race I was pleased that the attention I had given my calf had paid off. It was relatively free from pain and I was ready to focus my thoughts on the race. My travel companion and fellow competitor Alex Kiendl and I had the whole day to waste, as the race wasn’t starting until 7pm. I decided I would like to head out on the course and check out the water damage for myself. Dragging Alex along with me, it soon became evident the damage in the lower creek section was not rideable and the course had to take a detour with some tracks being cut, reducing the track length 1km. We ended up getting lost trying to avoid wet shoes and the spider webs strung across the track.

I spent most of the day watching streams of people stopping by the AyUp tent to pick up loaner lights for the event. In the end I think 80 percent of the people who borrowed lights ended up purchasing a set for themselves. This just goes to show how good the product is, but more on that another time.

I was feeling very relaxed as we lined up on the start line as the sun set. The atmosphere at the Queensland events seems to me to be a fair bit more relaxed than Victorian ones. There are not as many fully sponsored riders attending and people come to enjoy the great course and soak up the atmosphere with friends and family. I am approaching this year’s races with a more relaxed attitude and simply enjoy being able to do what I do. So this event was a perfect way for me to begin my 2008 enduro calendar.

The starters horn went off and I watched a dozen or so riders take off from me. I had to re-compose, drop a few gears and push forward as we headed off into the hilly first section of the course. Coming around on to complete lap one, a quick bottle swap and off I went in about 6th place overall. This was going to be the pattern for the next six hours, as the splits I was getting to second solo male were not increasing and he hovered consistently about two minutes down. I didn’t let this bother me and I kept riding what felt like consistent lap times into the wee hours on Sunday morning.

After eight hours on the bike, I came through transition thinking that I didn’t feel any pain, discomfort or tiredness one should feel after riding for such a long time, so I did what I do best and headed out for another lap of the 9km roller coaster MTB track. It wasn’t until the ten hour mark I started to get a substantial gap on the solo field and I then started to think about my bodies condition on the other side of the race and that I was heading home to a very pregnant wife and two kids that needed daddy to run around after them. I started to back off and decided on finishing the race on lap 24. I had some time to waste so I made sure I stopped to thank all the volunteers out on the course for the efforts in cheering me on through the night. Also worth a mention are the amount of team riders and support crew cheering me to go well throughout the race - it just goes to show how nice the enduro MTB community are all over the country.

Special thanks to the efforts of Matt (Kona’s Queensland sales rep) who stayed up all night to make sure neither myself or Alex went without any of our necessities. Thanks also to Andrew Patten from AyUp lights for making us feel special and well looked after all weekend.

Alex and myself ready to go...

On your marks...get set...GO...

Feed zone, about 4am...

Myself with Andrew (founder of Ay Up) and Female solo winner Alex Kiendl

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ay up Dusk to Dawn.

Myself and Alex both had great races last night. We had a win each, myself by one lap, and for a change Alex had a close one, only winning by five minutes. Also worth a note was my overall place of eighth.

We are flying back tonight and not getting home till about 1am, so we have some sleep to catch up on before we leave.

Race report to follow in the next couple of days.