Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in the saddle...

Yesterday had me back in the saddle for the first time since the 12 hour on the weekend. I had a busy day couriering (during which I also employed two new riders). Then it was straight out for a ride with the Fatties. I grabbed the Four Supreme for this ride, only lubing the chain after it spent 10+ hours lapping in Bendigo, got to be happy with that. It was a little muddy on the trails but after missing this ride for the last couple of weeks it was good to be back on the local trails.

While I was back in the saddle, poor Jimmy was missing his. To his credit, he lost it trying to leap over a log that everyone else walked over. It happened at the turn around point of the ride, and he was on his single speed. Ouch,

Sunday, May 25, 2008

12 Hours of Fun...

Waking up Saturday morning to a fresh glazing of frost on the ground was a great way to start the day. Knowing I was in for a long day in the saddle on a course that has been described to me as "rocky as hell" left me a little unsure whether to be excited or scared of what was to come. I had the tactical decision not to pre ride the course - I wanted to take it as it comes and have no preconceived ideas. My support crew (Mum and Dad) rocked up nice and early to greet Jayden and myself as we polished off our breakfast.
The 10am start rolled around nice and quick. The air was still fresh and the track had soaked up most of the dew, leaving it in perfect condition. The smallish start group lined up for a rolling start. The atmosphere was relaxed and I was looking forward to a nice fun, cruisy 12 hour MTB ride (is that even possible) ... even though 4 of the male soloists were using this event to prepare themselves for the world 24hr champs only eight weeks away.

As I expected, Clackers took off with the quick team riders and disappeared into the distance pretty quickly. He made it look so easy, but I knew this was not an option for me. This race was almost double my weekly training time over the past 2.5 months so I had to watch my heart rate closely or I knew I would pay for it later on. I didn't get any gap splits until about 3 hours in, and I was very surprised John was only 7-8 mins up and I had 20 mins on third after Troy Bailey lost 10 mins early on with a mechanical (stick through rear derailleur).
By about hour five my legs began to feel the pinch of the first climb on the course, so I decided to go 'Josh Street style' and walk it to conserve energy. This avoided the onset of cramps and allowed me to knuckle down and enjoy the rest of the lap. This continued for the rest of the race and although I lost 30-60 seconds by walking, I reckon I gained that plus some over the rest of the lap. The course was so much fun ... yes it was rocky and yes I did climb over 4,500 metres, but I stayed very comfortable, kept my heart rate well under control and finished with a big smile on my face.
I had to take Jayden for a spin on the course on Sunday morning before we headed home as he was keen to ride the entire loop (we managed about 2km's).

Thanks to the rider who removed the branch responsible for these scratches. You can count my first 5 laps on my arm - it would have been heaps worse if the branch was left there for the whole 17 laps. Ouch.
I will hopefully have some more pics to add later in the week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The latest Kona ad...

The photo in this ad was taken during my single speeded assault on the first Anaconda Enduro Series (formerly CTS) less than a week ago. They don't muck about hey. It will be going to press in the next issue of Freewheel Magazine.


Today I made time to prep the bikes for this weekends race (12 Hours of Hard Knocks). It was the Four Supreme's turn to get some fresh gear from Shimano. Now both bikes are running pretty much new drive trains, cables and derailleurs.

Another new product to test. Thought I would give the Ozrider Grips ago. So many riders have been raving about these, I needed to find out for myself. The white ones look the goods and are slightly firmer than the black, so I thought I would run a pair of each and see which ones fair the best.

Keep an eye on this brand ... there are going to be some great products released in the near future.

Another product on test this weekend is the new AyUp head torch adaptors. My pit crew will be using them. The 3hr battery is mounted on the rear on the elastic strap. Very good design, am keen to see what they think of them.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Position Vacant...

For those of you who don't know, we run a courier business. We employ bike couriers and provide a labor force to Toll Fast Melbourne (the busiest and best company to work for in Melbourne). We are currently seeking a new rider to start ASAP. There is no need for experience, but must be motivated and reliable. Currently Toll are running a nine day fortnight, therefore this rider will have every second Friday off.

When employing a new rider, I always look for someone who loves to be on the bike. Working 8-9 hours a day riding through the city and inner suburbs is a tough gig, but is very rewarding both in a physical and financial sense.

If you or someone you know is after a new job/career, please leave a comment and I will reply.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nuts anybody???

I don't know what I was thinking but after getting a couple good races under the belt, I decided to get some training in and what better way to do it than getting up at 3am on a rainy Melbourne morning. I fed Jackson, donned what I though would allow me to brave the dreadful conditions and I was rolling down the driveway at two minutes to 4.

I decided if I was going to be out at this hour I may as well head up the hill before rolling down to Black Rock for the Hell ride at 7am. Holy crap was I kidding myself. The ride up the hill was pleasant, but the descent sent my body into shutdown mode. After crawling down (trying to avoid the wind chill as much as possible) I couldn't get the heart rate up, therefore blood flow was not warming me up at all and I had had enough. I decided to roll home and call it quits.

Fortunately there was one other crazy cyclist on the roads this morning. John Claxton had scheduled the same ride and he was able to keep me company and therefore motivated to continue on and get my ride done.

Making it down to Black Rock right on time, we were greeted by no-one. So we decided to ride back home via the city which would give us a solid five hours and home to our surprised wives by nine.

Once John peeled off, I saw this sign. I love the TV ad that goes with it and though it to be appropriate to the many regular Hell riders who decided to sleep in.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chasing the Sun...

Sunday started off well. I had a nice easy cruise to Lysterfield on the Unit 29er with a backpack full of stuff needed for the day ahead. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere pre-race, even with plenty of big hitters present. Rolling up to the start line I was a bit unsure of where to put myself. Looking along the front row I saw another dude on a rigid single speed 29er, so I pulled in next to him. The gun went off, I found myself in the top 20 or so riders as we headed along the access road before entering a small section of single track. I can remember thinking this is probably not where I want to be due to the amount of pain that pace would soon have me in. That is exactly when Troy Bailey took care of that notion. A simple gesture of a pat on the back ended with the two of us on our arses sliding down the gravel road. Feeling a tad pissed, I waited for almost the entire field of 200 or so riders to pass me before I grabbed my bottle and took off. There was a bit of damage control in the first lap. I passed a steady steam of riders whilst trying to assess the damage to my body and decide whether it was worth continuing in the race. From what I could tell, a nasty cork in my quad and some skin off my left arm and shoulder was it.

I quickly got myself into a sustainable pace and settle down for a nice day riding the single track of Lysterfield. All was going well (as well as can be considering) and it wasn't until about the fourth hour my legs started to feel the climbing and constant flogging they were copping. The biggest thing I really noticed about riding SS was the way you need to stay on top of you gear whilst climbing, if that cadence dropped, the hurt really kicked in. I wasn't making it any easier by running a tallish gear either. The other stand out for me was the crossmax 29er wheels, these things roll so fast, I found myself descending past riders with gears as they pedalled and I hadn't been able to get a stroke in.

I haven't seen my result yet, but I'm pretty sure I was a lap down on the top three in male solo. If this is the case I am very happy with that. It was a great days trailing and seeing how the tough guys do it. The injury list stands at, 1/ no skin on right forearm and shoulder 2/ sore right knee due to corked quad (ITB) 3/ pretty sure I have a broken scaphoid. Still, it was good fun.

It's surprising how little you need to race, all my stuff fitted in a 20L backpack.

How cute, my race number was the same as the amount of gears on my bike.

The upper body copped a bit of a hiding with all the rack, roots and logs. Thanks Stephen for the pic.

PS Happy Mothers Day, Robyn!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bar none....

Finally I got the tyres to hold air, just. They did go down over night but am hoping that was a one off. Maybe if I had some of new wonder sealant, things would be different, hint, hint. I will try running 32psi and see how things go.

I made another upgrade decision yesterday. The old school 4 pot Shimano XT brakes are on. I have had these puppies since about 2002 and they have spent most of their life on my courier rigs. I wouldn't even want to a figure on the amount of kilometres they have done, but I doubt there would be much change from 40.000. They would have to go down in history as the best bicycle disc brake ever made. bar none. They were Shimano's first go at it and they rock, great modulation, extremely good maintenance free running (I have flushed fluid two or three times, but only because I thought it was a good idea, not because they needed it) that's it, oh and the odd set of pads (say 20 set or so).

Oh, and it looks like I will have to ride to Lysterfield in the morning. Robyn's car is getting a new gear box and I don't want to leave her without transport. Doubt my legs will have the return trip left in them after the race so I might need to bum a ride, any takers?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mission Impossible....

It's all confirmed, I will be racing (I should say riding) the first CTS event for the year at Lysterfield. I am enter to ride in Open Solo Male but will be doing it on the Unit 29er. Tonight I decided I would have a go at making the Crossmax 29er wheels on the Unit tubeless so I can run a lower pressure in the weekend. It seems as though you can't buy tubeless 29er tyres in Australia, so I needed to use Stan's in standard tyre (something I don't like doing) and hope for the best.

Tires fitted, and five minutes of hard pumping, I decided a trip to the Servo to use their compressor was in order. Sounds simple, right. Wrong.

I strapped the wheels on the Ute and off I went. First station, out of order. Second station, one of those fancy pumps that don't give a constant flow, no go. Third station, out of order. I gave up after that. I left home at 9:30pm in jeans and a t-shirt, buy 10 I was getting a bit cold. This mission will have to wait until tomorrow.

I did finish the other job I set out to do on the Unit. I wanted to fit carbon bars and my Eurgon grips for a bit of added comfort from the rigid front end.

Monday, May 5, 2008


This turned out to be a very fun event. The course was kick arse, with more technical aspects than I have ever seen in an enduro event. There were rocks upon rocks upon rocks, step drop offs and tricky technical switchback climbs. Hmm climbs, this is were my day went wrong. The lack of racing (and training for that matter) showed on the climbs. After about two hours my legs began to tire of the relentless power climbs over obstacles etc. I was cramping quite badly and had to take it a bit easier or else I would have nothing left in the legs to allow me to enjoy the pleasures on the course, mainly the thumping down hill sections.

Even though I could sustain my normal power output for the entire race, I was able to sustain a very good heart rate. For me this is a great sign that with a few more races (and a bit more training) I will be back to full form. I spent most of the racing riding with the eventual third place getter Scott Chancellor (Orbea). We chatted and enjoyed the riding together until I needed to slow down. I held on to finish in fifth place less than 1 minute of fourth (Paul Randell) and 3 minutes off Scott.

The bike (Hei Hei) didn't miss a beat all day (although the new XTR cranks don't look so new now thanks to the rocks). I parked my pre made bidons etc in the Total Rush tent, and the boys helped with my transitioning for the day, thanks guys. Thanks also to all the supporters on the course, even though I wasn't in the running all day, I got heaps of encouragement which helps a lot in when the body is hurting.

A huge THANKS also to Robyn for supporting from home with the three kids. She does a great job supporting me even when she isn't at the race venue.

These two immages came from Stephen Rowe, check out his site for some great action shots from heaps of MTB events.

Thanks Shelly for this image. (She was waiting for her man Tim, not too far behind me)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I ain't no BMX star...

Today was a good day. The kids had a play date with friends from Jayden's school at the Knox BMX track. I think I was looking forward to it more than the kids were. I figured it was a good excuse to see how well the Unit 29er jumped. It definitely doesn't have a low centre of gravity in its favour, but the big wheels sure did roll quick through the whoopdies.

The size of this track freaks Jayden out a bit and rightfully so I reckon. But after a while he got going and had loads of fun.

This is Jayden's school buddy Casey. He has a lot of potential and was rapt when he finally made the gap.

The late afternoon was spent getting my bike ready for tomorrows Crazy 6hr event at the You Yangs. The Hei Hei is the bike of choice for this short one. I had the luxury of dressing it with new Shimano bits (cranks, chain, cassette and dual controllers) and a new set of Mavic SLR's so that wipes out the bike as an excuse for the race. I am really looking forward to racing again, my last one was the Dusk to Dawn 12hr in early March and there are a few cobwebs to clear out. If all goes well, I am planning a Single Speed assault at the CTS event next weekend at Lysterfield. I want to see how tough those SS guys really are, so I'll ride it fully rigid. Guessing it won't be easy.