Friday, December 31, 2010

Last ride for 2010

Got a ripper of a ride in today that broke me in a big way. 1900mts vertical gain and 110kms with the end of the ride finishing in 35 degree heat which I was glad was not 43 degree heat.
Rolled out with Mario, NZ Gav and 2 other guys for a Mario lumpy ride around the northern parts of outter Melboure. Rode through Nutfield, Cottles Bridge, Panton Hill to name a few. The col of the day was the climb to Kinglake and the descent back down made up for it. I was glad to get of the bike at the end of this little jaunt, but still had to front up for a afternoon of work.
It has shown me that whilst I am improving I still have a way to go before the Alpine in 4 weeks time.
Anyhow HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you out on the road or trails in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

back rockn it

So had a solid week on the bike finally. Managed to fit it in around work and fatherhood commitments. To tell the truth it feels good to be tired.
Christmas day saw me roll to the start of the annual Christmas morning ride were me and a few buddies hook up for a roll down the beach and back to Brunetti's in Carlton for a brew and a little breakfast. It is a great way to start Christmas day. I fitted in a lazy 90kms that day, so I was happy as the rest of the day was spent driving to and from lunch.
The rest of the week has been rolling to and from work but with the traffic so quiet I have been able to hit up so roads that are usually to busy. So I have got in some quality rather than quantity.
I was going to head out early today for a long loop out through the Yarra Valley but opted for a sleep in as the Boss was home to keep Jnr entertained. So the plan will be a roll maybe on the dirt later today.
Tomorrow I have be invited to roll with some of the Smith's Dirt Crew on a torture test out to Kinglake on some sure to be hilly roads. We are getting out early to beat the heat and it should be good fun and for me a indication of my fitness so far for the Alpine in late January. Looking forward to rolling with a bunch cause it makes rolling long distances a little more fun.
Next week will see me trip on down to Geelong or Portarlington to check out the Bay Crits and watch some quality racing. Dont quite know which one I will attend but am geed up to check it out.
Following weekend I will head up to the Nationals and check out the Men's road race, maybe I will be feeding again this year for Gerro if he needs a hand, it always makes the day more interesting!
Anyway get out and enjoy the weather before the rain returns!
Happy trails!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hope you have a great Christmas one and all! See you on the trails or the road in 2011!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

times flying by

We have entered that time warp part of the year where the days blow by, seemed like only yesterday it was the start of December. The weather has been a fair killer for bike time so far this spring/ simmer. Many people are complaining about the amount of rain as the trails are often too wet to get out. I must admit you get tired of washing bikes only to send em out again to get muddy.
I have been busy around the house having a spring clean out in preparation for our renovations in 2011. It has meant many meetings thus limiting the bike time even more.
The commute has kept me on the bike and I have been lucky as I have missed the rain somehow as the sun comes out just in time to head home from work.
I visited Mooter at home this week to get him to help with a cable change on the road bike. He has the ultimate home repair station with more Park tools than most shops. It is amazing how well the bike runs after some love. Winter took its toll on the road bike and it still needs some more drive train love with new chain rings and chain. I am amazed that after many years of changing the chain when the chain checker shows initial wear has enabled me to keep on running the original cassette.

The last few days I have been thinking about my top 5 bike events of 2011

1. Becoming a father - whilst slightly challenging at times it has been a whirlwind of fun & joy. I have even had the pleasure of introducing her to the bike by towing her in the Chariot behind the geared 29er.
2. SSWC 20210 in NZ. 5 days of MTB heaven rocking awesome trails with awesome like minded people. We got to see the best NZ had to offer and I will make every effort to take 2 wheels back to Rotorua in the future. The race was awesome, I didn't have the best day out there but it was so much fun, I am still smiling 2 months later.
3. 2010 Road World Champs in Geelong was awesome. Sure I took a mental health day to get on down with 100,000 close friends to watch the Men's Road Race on the Sunday. I was lucky to have some accommodation provided to me in the middle of Geelong and get taken out for a roll of the local roads with the local bunch from Barwon Heads with Ryan Moody. Great day and potentially the only Worlds I will get to see live unless I travel to Europe.
4. Rolling local trails with mates. I am blessed that I can roll trails from my door and that bikes and cycling in general keeps me in contact with a great group of people from varied backgrounds. It does make it easier when your wife understands the importance of keeping contact with mates and letting you get out there.
5. Discovering that a new 10 speed XT groupset really does roll well on big wheels, and I can put it together and get it working.
My favorite clip for the year goes to the Coastal Crew for this little gem!

Kranked 8 Revolve: Coastal Crew >>

So as I relive the events of 2010 I am putting together my hopes for 2011. Whilst nothing is set in stone my first big day out will be the Alpine Classic in 4 weeks time. Still getting the body to agree with that, however it is all coming together slowly.
Looking forward to Christmas morning and catching up with the Annual Christmas ride crew. Might be small in numbers but thick in quality people!
Anyway happy festive season!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the low

So, the parentals needed to be picked up from Marysville on Sunday at the end of the Great Vic Bike Ride. What a perfect time to get some time on the bike I thought, plus some hills too boot. So I left early and headed to Eildon to pick up there gear and then dodge my way through the bunches to find a park and jump on the bike.
After kitting up, out I headed out towards Taggarty for a bit of a warm up before plowing into the climb to Lake Mountain. I was nervous about how my body would handle some serious climbing as I have not really been on the bike a hell of a lot and have stayed far away from a 22 km climb for a long time.
The initial climb out of Marysville is not to bad but about 2km into the climb there is a bastard section that is like a wall, it climbs up the spur line and is a good one for testing your mental strength. After that it is all smiles too the top (well not really) as the road is around 5-7% all the way to the top bar a few steeper pinches.
It was so quiet, only a few motorbikes and one or two cars. It was nice rolling through the forest even though it had been badly burnt out 2 years ago. It is recovering, and the greenery is kicking on with all the rain we are having.
After a little under 2hrs I made it to the top, sure I didn't break any land speed records but was glad to get up there to check the view and the rebuilding of the ski patrol building. The descent back down was sweet, shame it goes so fast.
Last night was the 8th Annual Smith's Gully Christmas Ride. A fair turn out with some rather fit individuals, which had me nervous from the get go. I was behind the 8 ball from the word go and in the end conceded that I needed to do my own thing. I was rocking a heart rate in the 95% range. I lost the crew on many occasions and completely on the new section of trail that Mario and company have been putting time into. I ended climbing up past the mine shaft to get home which was a lung burner and made my way back to the General Store for some of Ross's excellent burgers and a beer. We lost Mr Kellett who had taken a wrong turn and in the end we sent out a few cars to try and track him down. In the end he had approached a house who kindly drove him back to our meeting place at the store. It was a good night to be out despite the recent rain, the trails were in good condition and the recent trail maintenance had done wonders to this new growth from the wet summer. Big thank you to Mario and co for getting this thing together, hard to think 12 months have passed yet again rather quickly.
Now the truth hurts and the reality has set in with the Alpine approaching at light speed. I am a big unit to say the least. I seem to be getting slower and slower every time I throw a leg over a bike. I have had 2 discussions with myself on the last 2 rides and myself is not happy with current self.
Its time for some rebuilding, time to reign in the eating habits and get my house in order, as I have a few things to prove to myself and no matter what, at the end of the day it is for me and nothing is worse than disappointing yourself, so stay tuned.
Happy trails!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

nothing to see here

This is a week I would rather forget, way to busy to get out on 2 wheels plus the weather is just plan old shite and non bike friendly, the leaks in my roof at home are a testament to this. I was all geed to attend the Fatties ride last night but the 40 mm of rain at our place in 2hrs turned me off. I really wanted to go but the proposition of having to clean inch thick crud off the bike post ride was somewhat prohibitive. Things might look up tomorrow and I can get out..... lets say the highlight of my week is going to the dentist!
The depression has also set in with the knowledge that the white stuff is falling in massive amounts in the northern hemisphere and alas I wont be there to play in it this season!
Happy trails!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

its workn for me

Well half way through the week and I fell that I am finding to grove already with the training in the early morning. Just like back in the old school junior days, up early before school out training on very quiet roads. Whilst the roads around here have become somewhat busier due to urban sprawl in the last 20 years there is something nice about early rides and the feeling you have post ride. I dig it.
Ran in to the Belgium National Track Team out for a spin this arvo on the way home. I got a few nods and cheers of approval with my kit (Rapha Belgium Jersey). They were all having fun blowing out the cobwebs of jet lag. Me, I was just trying to get home as fast as I could to escape the heat and pick up the car from the mechanics. Hence with commuting today no mtb ride with the Fatties tonight. Next week though should be cool with the riders coming out of the wood work for the nostalgia ride.
For good reading head over to visit Andy White's Fyxomatosis site and read the Ghost Writer piece. It hits a cord with me about the issues of our sport at a grass roots level. The sport is attracting cashed up bogans.
I will say that I do support the local industry when it suits me, as I need to get as much value for my hard earned dollars. I have a family to support, hence I will look OS for deals on parts. It is only natural to get stuff cheap if it suits you, come on who wouldn't and lets face it Ebay can be a gold mine. I would support the local industry more if they supported the racing here more, all too often we are getting shafted by the local industry. Since bikes have outstripped cars sales for the last few years, surely bikes are getting cheaper.... maybe not, maybe I am thinking shit.
The one point it did raise was how the new comers to our sport are all to lacking about the culture and politics involved in this sport of cycling. Andy's blog brought me back to a place a few months ago.
I was at the LBS, my friend owns the LBS and has been in the trade 20 years, me I have been riding and racing for 21 years. I have been around, served the apprenticeship of coming through the junior ranks to seniors, ridden the majority of bunch rides before they were cool and turned into unofficial drag races.
Now I am in the LBS for some technical support, as I try to fix what I can. I am a little old school and don't have a huge interest in carbon, I am a steel fillet braised type of guy who happens to like Brooks products, hand built wheels, wool products.
Another customer is buying a TT bike, never really had the need for one even when I raced the Tour of Bright back in the early 90's, maybe I would slap a set of TT bars on back then. He looks at my bike and gives it a look over and starts criticising my choices. I am not one for this and ask him why he needs a TT bike. The explanation being is you need it for a few of the races (maybe 4 races) each year, a $7000 bike that only really performs in a straight line.
I kindly explain that when I started racing he was a itch in his Dad's pants and that it was uncool to ride bikes back then, the racing community was small, everyone new each other. Beach Road had a few bunches usually after the races on a Sunday at Dunlop Rd back then not the thousands it has now where he and his mates cruise on the weekend looking cool. That, when he gets bored and hangs it up I will still be riding, in the rain of winter with my mudguards, rocking on my steel frame, with my leather bar tape, wool jersey.
Hubbard's they are everywhere, even this years Tour of Bright finishes on the top of Tawonga Gap cause of successive years that fools drop em selves on the descent back down to Bright. Fuck me we are encouraging these guys!
I ride cause, I like it not cause its the new fukn golf!
Happy rolling!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

form.... I ain't got it

So, with illness behind me I ventured out a few times this week to get my show on the road. Its amazing how quick time flies by with it a month since I was in NZ. I have done little since then, and boy it shows.
I decided first ride back would be the Fattie's ride. With some replaced drive train on the geared 29er I was keen to get the legs and lungs moving. The 10 speed XT was sweet and smooth, how a drive train should be. The legs and lungs not so.
We entered Dickie's loop, me bringing up the rear, taking it as quick as I could comfortably. Half way through the loop.... BAM I was airborne. I went up and came down hard over the bars after clipping my pedal on a hidden log. The grass in the loop was as tall as me on the bike. Cool fun to ride through but it can hide some nice obstacles for you to hit. My camelbak bladder blew apart on landing, water pouring out, guess it saved my back. I laid there for a few minutes taking stock of the alarm sensors ringing through my brain. I was winded, but it seemed nothing broken apart from my pride. I picked myself up and limped out of the loop, the group waiting for me. I decided that maybe it was best for all that I head home, as I was feeling slightly fragile after the fall. I have a few bruises but nothing major, I was a bit stiff the next day.
I headed out to Lysterfield yesterday for a roll around the trails, I had not ridden it since the first Chase the Sun back in May. It had been closed for part of winter due to the sheer wet and mud factor, the trails were already rutted out then. I thought that there had been some maintenance done over winter, but needless to say little had changed. What had changed was the trails now have massive mud pools up to 3 metres wide in spots. Whole sections of trail are now not able to be ridden. I have heard that the park is going to get some trail works done soon, it needs it and it needs more trail to balance the volume of riders using the network. I don't think I will head back for a while, as I have better trails close by to here that I may be slightly over but at least they are intact and you can ride them. I still plan to go and do a few dirt crits to sort me out and give me a bit of fun racing.
I have commenced a new plan to get my kilometers done, as the Alpine is fast approaching. More than anything I need consistency, which since the birth of Grier and the Bosses return to work had been challenging. For the moment I am trying to get out early for a local loop on the road bike. Sure its a early start @ 0530hrs but it should provide me with some consistent days on the bike that fits in with the family and work commitments. Today I felt like the fat man, unfit, pedaling squares going nowhere slowly. This will improve, slowly, but man the countdown is on and I need to get it sorted.
Time to plan some longer days in the saddle, with some decent bergs in preparation for the Alpine in January.
Happy trails!

Friday, November 12, 2010

illness strikes

So the week has officially been a right off. Apart from turning up on Wednesday night to the Fatties ride and having my arse handed back to me looking like like chop sui, both Jnr and I have been struck down with flu.
What started out as a hay fever like runny nose on the ride ended me yesterday lying on the couch with a hoodie and track pants on stating I was cold despite the nice 30 odd degrees outside. I self diagnosed myself and still went to the doctor and handed over my $65 bucks (I am in the wrong job) for a sick certificate.
Today I feel just as shit and have already been to the ED with Jnr as she is not to well. She has improved since this morning, and still cracks a smile at her dad. Did get a offer from a hooker at the ED to accept her cash to go to another hospital as she said Maroondah Hospital was shit. After growing up in the area I already new that but I told her to keep walking, seems her plans last night might have gotten the better of her!
I had planned to roll down the beach and have breakfast with Gerro but had to pull the pin on those plans. Shame, summer is short enough, it goes so fast when the Euro guys are back in town, leaving little time to catch each other.
My XT parts are almost at my door, so maybe they will turn up and give me some happiness for the weekend between moving from the couch to the bed.
So time to rest up and make the plans for my return to bike next week illness free.
Looking forward to the Fatties nostalgia ride. Thing is Neil has been keeping it alive, though the numbers have dropped, its still going. I will attend to see who drags themselves out of the wood work for a night of trail riding fun.
The Smith's Gully Christmas ride is planned for the start of December. Its another reason to smile and get on out and have fun, the post ride burgers are worth the turn out alone!
Happy trails!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Introduced Jnr to the joys of rolling on bikes.... She slept for some of the ride but seemed to enjoy it!

clear your tuesday nights!

Clear your Tuesday nights twice a month for some torture for 30mins as the boys from Flat Hill have summer crits back... more info here

Thursday, November 4, 2010

its got to start somewheree

So made it to the Fatties and hooked up with Neil, so the Wednesday night pain plan is now in effect. Lets face it, lots of rain and some rather high water was going to result in some detours. We did get some single track in and met up with a few of the other local lads. Bellie joined us for a pedal back out towards home and for a roll around Han's loop which still had some rather wet spots. Still good to get out and stretch the legs, as I had not gotten out since getting home a week ago.
Neil has a few shots of the water on his blog.
I was hurting myself a little last night and really struggling to hold wheels even though I had some gears..... I really need to get my shit sorted out.
Back to rolling to work on the daily commute from tomorrow, looks like the weather for the next few days will be sweet, but due to the water damage on some of the bike paths I will have to make a few short detours.... all will be sweet.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Well I am unsure were to go to from here, commitments are due to stuff other than bikes at the moment. Due to the NZ trip I have had to for go some other up coming races. The 50km single speed at Woodend has clashed with the Gravity 12hr this year, 2 events I normally get in each year but I have to work that weekend as I begged borrowed and sold my soul to get the NZ time off.
The only goal on the horizon is training up for the Alpine Classic on Australia day weekend. This is going to take a fair bit of effort as I need to commit to some weight loss and decent kilometre count.
I am committing myself to Wednesday nights with alternate weeks attending Fatties group rides and the other doing a summer crit on the dirt out at Lysterfield as NZ showed me that whilst fit to a degree, I had no speed whatsoever. Hopefully getting smashed on Wednesday nights starting tomorrow night will get me sorted in that department.
I am looking to maybe and that's a big maybe that I attend the Otway next year but I will make that decision soon.
I need to reign in the eating pattern as I am consuming enough food at the moment to feed a village in a 3rd world country and any weight loss, even a small one will benefit me beyond doubt.
Plans, always need one so focusing on January will be the main one for now. I nee to sort out the road bike from its winter commute and dedicate some time for some nice hills out in the Yarra Valley, in other words staying away from the beach! It has to be quality kilometers for the next couple of months both on the dirt and the road.
So time to shame myself with the weigh in!
Happy trails and get out there!

Rotovegas report 3

Ok so the last 2 days were spent chilling out with a tourist expo on the Sunday morning of the local hotsprings, market, coffee shops. Then we met up with Gav's outlaws for a fishing session on one of the many lakes. We managed to catch 3 2 plus kilo trout and Gav's father in law was kind enough to smoke them up.

This bad boy rumbles up when she gets going!

Never had trout before but I can testify the taste was awesome and there is something prime evil about catching prey and eating it.
Monday we headed back to the trails and hit up some of the must do trails. Corners will forever be my favourite as it offered a never ending roller coaster roll down hill with so many perfectly bermed corners and just when you thought it was over it started again. Granted the climb up Hill road was not fun but the reward at the top was pwell worth it. We also hit up Sweet and Sour and Dragons Tail (which is about to be logged) which I had fun in.

After making it back out to the car and refueling at a local burger place we headed to a local hot spring about 30 mins away to saok our tired muscles and end or NZ trip. Bloody amazing how hot this sucker was the closer you got to were it hit the surface. A very strange experience sitting in hot bath water in a running stream.
Wicked place, a must get to if you have the chance. The trails are awesome and the people easy to deal with and are very helpful.

The banks and berms are big in this forest

Here is some video from a US racer of the race, vision in the trails is a bit jumpy but you get the idea of the madness!

SSWC10 - The Race, A Teaser from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.

Neil has some other photos here

Friday, October 29, 2010

day off

Day off from the reports of Rotovegas and the adventures of the 4....
Its my birthday so I am taking the day off to celebrate chilln with the family... might even get a ride in!
Tune back in another time and I shall hopefully have posted the final Rotovegas report!
Happy trails!
Neil has posted some stuff over here

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rotovegas report 2

So after a sleepless night from indigestion from Neils pasta sauce we awoke to a perfect blue bird day. This was going to be a great day for rolling the trails I thought as I began eating breakfast. After a few brews to get the body going we packed the car and headed out to the Mill site for the start of the 2010 SSWC. We made sure we were nice and early to get a good park and enjoy the sun and check out peoples costumes. Needless to say I am not one for dressing up so was just in some plain black kit.
There were many a costume some funny than others. I will let the photos do the talking.

Heather looked good and was a nice rabbit to chase through the single track

Damo from Cog... human disco ball with tunes rockn away!

So it was time for the race to start and we were ordered into a circle enclosure and asked to roll around it. It was packed with 950 odd racers, and until everyone was rolling the circle. No one had any idea which side the circle would drop away to let us start. I was lucky as when it came to start the side next to me fell away and I got the hole shot start. Needless to say it was perfect if you had the lungs to go with the likes of JHK but I did not and my only plan was to get as far up the trail before the masses picked me up.
Going into the first climb was a killer and my lungs were screaming as loud as the crowd, and I eventually got tangled in people who had stalled on the climb, so it was run time. After a bit of running and climbing we crested the climb and in the first switchback I got t-boned by some guy trying to take a short cut. I managed to stay upright unlike him and continued to sail down the descent.
I really didn't have the legs for the race as there was just under 500m of climbing per lap, 2 beer short cuts were a added bonus. I decided against the beer short cuts as my indigestion from the pepper pasta sauce was giving me some difficulties on the race course. My goal was to finish the race no matter what and just have fun.
The crowd was big in different parts of the course especially on the water crossing just before the finish of the lap and out on some of the more technical drops and roll throughs. The course on the whole was impressive with it containing 95% single track.... awesome!

Needless to say I was cooked 3/4 of the way through the race and needed water of which I found at the high point of the course. After that I was rolling the sweet trails and having fun. It was a festive mood out on the trails with plenty of people with big grins cheering each other on. The lack of racing or speed work I also contribute to my day in struggle town but in the end it was all about participation with like minded people.
I was glad to be done and rolled through the last beer short cut and got my hands on a cold fresh beer and joined the rest of the crew for stories of their race. We were all happy with how we went as the start was pure luck. How did I end up, we I have no idea, I guess mid field as many didn't do the second lap as they were enticed to spend time at the beer short cuts.
After a bit of recovery we packed the car and headed into town for a post race feed and then home for some more R&R. I will say the steak bagel at Zippy's cafe rocked my world after being shattered at the race.t
That night we headed in for the after party and checked out the male and female winners tattoos as this is what we were all racing for. Basically if you don't want the tattoo don't win!

The event big tent for the presentations!

With a bit of color the winners tattoo should be sweet as bro!

I did have some inspiration on my top tube, but even with that I was still in struggle town during the race!

So after some beers, and a little food, some catch up with friends at the after party we headed home. Tomorrow was another day, and we had some plans that involved playing tourist and fisherman.
More to come!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rotovegas report 1

Well what a time we had. I have not had so much fun in such a long time. We flew out of Melbourne early last Wednesday for what was to be a week of racing, trails, a few beers and lots of fun. I was pumped cause I was going to have a catch up with long time friend Trent who was flying in from Brisvegas to be a party animal at the SSWC10 events.
After getting totally short changed at the check in and having to hand over cash for excess baggage (mind you I am big so I should instantly get extra kgs) and then handing over some banned stuff at the security check point we were on our way.
Once in NZ we picked up our gear and did the customs bike check. My nervous nelly ways paid off and I sailed through. Neil was not so lucky and had his bike pulled and he went off to a room (I think he might have paid with natures check book!) to wash his bike down further. Mind you he was gagging around and left his bag behind at the baggage claim and had to get the customs lady to escort him back to get it.
We had organised a 4wd to pack every thing into. With a bit of creative packing we got 4 bikes and our gear into it. Needless to say Neil and I had the better spot up front, Gav and Trent were getting reunited like two lovers in the back surrounded by gear. We pushed on to Rotorua and made our way out to find the house we had rented.
The hosue was sweet looking over a extinct volcano called Mt Tarawera hence the lake of the same name. It was a awesome spot, million dollar view, I could wake up to that view every day. We cruised back into town to register for the race and pick up the swag, race plate and have dinner and a few beers. We ended up chilling out with the Flathill crew and planned the coming days events.
We awoke the next day and had a breakfast, put bikes together and made our way to the trail head at the Redwoods. Amazing forest with these massive giant trees guarding the forest. We grabbed a map worked out a few trails to hit up and let the fun begin. We rode the course and decided it was a climbing mans game (counted me out - 450 metres of climbing each lap) but what you climbed on the up hills was replaced with the sweetest descents, twisty single track that just begged to be railed. I was riding stuff that I would usually be aprehensive about rolling here, but when in Rotovagas ride it! The smiles and hoots from the guys was a true indication of the fun being had. I was begging for a lighter gear as the climbs were killing me.
After a couple of hours smashing the trails we rolled back into town for a spot of lunch and a catch up with a few guys. We then headed back for a little more riding and got caught short in a rain storm and pulled the pin on the day.
That night we caught up with the Flathill guys again and decided to meet for Day 2 out at the Mill trail head for a long ride to do some of the epic trails from the high points... Split endz is a must if you are there.

stolen from Cam Wells

We climbed for what seemed like ages (well for me at 120kgs it was a nasty wake up call) and the whippets in the group were driving that pace. Once we made it to the top we entered the Split endz trail and it was all tight flowing single track in a downwards direction that gave you arm pump beyond belief. We entered the next trail called Pondy New and I was in heaven ripping it at the rear of the group taking my time and savoring the trails.

After a 2.5hr ride we had covered some 40 plus kms and 1000m of climbing and I was cooked beyond belief. It was going to be a tough race day as I had little in reserve after a couple days of climbing. We headed home and stood in some rather cool lake water to get the legs to recover... I was enjoying the beer whilst up to my nuts in a fresh cool lake.
We had a big cook up of Neils pasta.... lots of pepper in that baby after a slight measurement mix up and then attended the race briefing. All sounded sweet for the next day.
More to come!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So 95% packed and ready to jump a vomit comet to NZ. Early start tomorrow, and a full day of traveling but the end result will be awesome.
Cant wait to feel the Rotorua loam under my big wheels hooking into perfect trails and hopefully perfect weather. I am really looking forward to the next couple of days rollin as many km's as I can and racing on Saturday.
It has taken many hours to get the bike spotless for the trip across and I am still expecting a hard time at the NZ customs. I am hoping that the bike makes it in 1 peice. I have packed that much extra foam in to the bag to help protect it. I do now realise how big my bike is when I had to drop out the fork to fit it in.
Still deciding whether to take a laptop..... I am thinking I might just rock it old school and leave it til I get back. mmmm wish maybe I had picked myself up a iPhone, but Im a little over modern technology a bit and spend enough time on the web as it is.
These next few days are about the bike, trails, mates and a few beers....
Catch you on the flip side!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the way I see it

Hope it makes it to our shores on the big screen!

Makes me wish I was rocking a trip to a snow destination this summer!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


So it was a busy week with a lot going on. I was on nights for work which does not translate well into riding time, as I am often too rooted. We had the sister inlaws engagement as well so riding was kept to a minimum last week. I did get out for a decent MTB ride on the single speed on Saturday.
I was rocking the new Xx fork and I am in love. That baby is silky smooth and sucks up everything in her way. The elbow is a massive fan and scrapped through with out any discomfort. The legs were a bit hollow after a week of poor sleep so the speed was lacking but the weather turned on a fantastic day to be rolling along quiet trails as the 2nd grand Final for the AFL was on.
I also attended a little bike race with 150000 plus other people on Sunday in Geelong. The 2010 UCI World Road Champs was a spectacle and a half. Ryan was a great host for me and Mr Mooter by putting us up on Saturday night and showing us the local cycling scene on the Sunday morning prior to watch the Worlds. We rolled with the Barwon Heads crew for a tour of the coastal towns and every man and their dog were out and about on bikes. After a quick bite of breakfast we rolled back to the house for some showers and preparation for the arvo. On the way back after breakfast we joined a bunch back into Geelong that had some guys from Sydney. One dude was rocking some suspicious shorts (we think he might have crapped the nest) but the other guy was rocking a Gellie Custom. First one I had seen in the bunch, it was nice talking and swapping stories about the builder Ewen and the end product. It was a great start to a Sunday with 90km's covered.
We watched the bunch on TV rolling into Geelong and once we had all the ingredients for a picnic on the hill we headed out. We rode to the second hill and with thousands of others found some space out of the sun and joined the festivities. We were joined by some friends of Ryan for the madness on the hill. A perfect way to spend the day, beer, food, a bike race and great people.
It was awesome to see the guys smashing each other up the hill. It really gives you a insight into the strength and fitness these guys have to be able to light it up for 7hrs and fly up these climbs.

Gerro did his work and the crowd loved the home team but supported everyone who was riding. Once Gerro had swung off and came up the hill for the last time he got a standing ovation from everyone, the biggest from the top of the hill.
We waited for the last lap to see the final split and moved sown to the big TV screen to watch the last 5km play out. We thought that Cadel might have been able to stay away, but was glad that Alby Davis got up for 3rd. It was a well deserved win for Thor as it was a tough course for a big guy.
So with the day done it was a roll back along the river and pack the car and try and escape Geelong. Traffic was a bit of a killer and it took a fair while to get out of the centre of Geelong. I would have to say that I have a new respect for Geelong after the weekend as it really turned it on for the Worlds.
The riding since Sunday has gone out the window, playing Dad, work commitments and some shit weather has put a hold on the bike time. However weekend is looking up for some decent km's.
13 days to go till I head to NZ so the next 2 weeks are important to keep the legs tapping over. Still finalising a few things for the trip, it is going to be sweet!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Golden moment

Lets hope it can be repeated for both the Women's and Mens races over the weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back to Beach rd

Well I have hit the beach after some 10 months away from it. I avoid the place really as it pulls a fair crowd, some of which are real wankers that destroy the publics image of cyclists using the roads (what red light, it was green!). I have also never seen so much bling on the road, people just love those really expensive all carbon bikes. I just dont get training on carbon tubulars... call me old school but a good set of training wheels will always get you where you need to be.
Mr Mooter contacted me about a Saturday morning ride and I was convinced it sounded good. I has the option of up the hills or down the beach. I chose the beach option as it would give me some speed work that I dont really get much of these days as I ride mainly on my own and rarely do I race. The other bonus is some long kilometers on relative flat roads.
We rolled down to the beach missing the Vets group that Mooter normally rolls with. We did pick em up on the way back from Frankston and rolled with em til I couldnt do it anymore. Actually in hindsight it would have been easier to roll with em, as the head wind when we pulled off was not friendly. We did eventually pick up another bunch and rolled quite happily up to St Kilda.
We pulled into Cafe Racer for a quick coffee and ended up having a quick chat with Gerro who was meeting some guys for a roll down to Mt Eliza to stretch out his legs before the Ballart Classic the next day. He was looking fit and well, I think he will do Ok this Sunday at the Worlds in Geelong.
By the time I had gotten home I had been out for almost 4hrs and covered 115kms. I was happy to get out for a long ride on the road bike as it has been along time since doing one.
I have been bogged down with family commitments and managed to get out on Monday on the geared 29er. I decided to do a modified Urban Epic loop from my place. I heard that I might get some nasty weather, what I copped was nothing short of shit.
I had only really gotten into the single track swing of things when mother nature started to dump rain on me and for the next 1.5 hrs I got wet, really wet. In the end I cut out some of the single track as it had quickly turned in to mini rivers. I ended up with a solid ride and some nice climbing, but it was wet and cold.
The Xx Reba forks have arrived and have been given the love with a shortening of steerer and are on the bike and ready to roll. They might get a brief test tomorrow if I wake up OK after my night shift. Otherwise I will do the same Monday loop on Saturday and give em a good test. The brief roll around the neighbourhood was sweet but lets face it the real test will be on the local single track.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

elbows are a needed thing

My elbow has been giving me some major headaches over the last few months. Despite osteo treatments and lots of massage, ice and stretching it never seems to fully recover from riding, particularly on the rigid 29er.
Surprisingly the ski season seemed to do it some good and the constant workload I put it under XC skiing didn't inflame it as much as rolling rigid. The final nail in the coffin was the Grinderman ride. The descent half way through Han's loop started to bring tears to the eyes and I rolled through the ruts on the 200m descent. Ice and anti inflamatories were the call of the day post the ride.
After much deliberation and trials of rolling rigid with different tyre pressures I have had to purchase a new fork. I have searched high and low for something sweet that was obtainable.... a Fox F29 would have been sweet but finding one to meet the budget was not. I did discover this at the right price!

I am hoping to have it in my hot little hands at the end of next week if Mr Fedex can get here on time.
Bruce from Flathill has been running a XX on his 26 SS and loves it so I thought why not and with the Aussie dollar being strong this week I decided it was time to purchase one.
Will report on it and let you know how she rolls.
Happy trails!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grinderman photo's

Cam Wells from Flathill cranks out some seriously nice photos and has done a photo journal of Sunday's Grinderman ride. He took the photo in my title shot.
Check em out as they say a picture tells a thousand words!
Check here and click the shot of Brett & Alex!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grinderman Urban Epic

Yesterday dawned a little grey and rain was present as I stuffed down some breakfast. I was glad when I was driving towards the start point for the ride that there was going to be some sunshine. I stashed the car close to work so I could make it back to it in time to get to work (sometimes shift work sucks balls, but penalties for Sunday make up for it) and stash the bike.
I rolled out way to early and arrive at the start point with plenty of time to kill. Not fussed as I enjoyed chilling in the early sun and watching the roadies cruising along the Boulevard. Ewen was the first to turn up and was rocking his new 29er that he built for himself. Its rocking some S&S couplers and is a sweet ride. It breaks down into a suitcase for travel.

Every time I see one of his new frames they are better than the last, makes me want another. He told me that he can get the down tube dent removed from the Gorilla so after worlds I think I will get him to do it.
Anyway by the time 0830 rolled around we had at least 20 plus guys all bar one or two rolling single speeds. Awesome turn out and the weather was being kind so a good morning was going to be had. Unfortunately Gav missed the start and had a mechanical, so he was a no show.
Due to a event on the Boulevard we had to modify the start of the ride to avoid the crowds. We hit the trails and started having fun. The majority of the trails were in pretty good shape and we were ripping the trails in a massive conga line. A few have been pretty rooted from winter riding and still had massive amounts of stinky gloopy Yarra mud.
I had to pull up stumps early to get to work but managed to get in a lazy 60kms and rolled with the crew around Hans's loop. I stopped to help Hans fix a flat and by the time we got rolling again the crew had rolled on. I hope Hans caught em again. Me well I had to get to work shower and then devour a lot of food.
Awesome day out.... a big thank you to Bruce and Cam from Flathill for getting this going and leading a wicked ride. If you can watch out for the next one and come for a roll!
Happy trails

Saturday, September 18, 2010

its flying by

Hard to believe that it is mid September. The year has flown by. The weeks are getting shorter it seems. Had a few days in a new job this week so it really made time fly. At least the days are getting longer and its light at 6am. Makes for a nice change, as I am over the cold dark mornings that are often wet. The commute can only get better from here on in with the mud guards coming off briefly this week. Sure in a few months I will be whinging about the incessant heat in the afternoons.
I could still be skiing as there is still plenty of spring snow around. If it was not for the Singlespeed Worlds next month I would be skiing this morning after some fresh snow this week.
Road Worlds are only a a week and a bit away. Should be a blast watching the mens road race in Geelong.... that will be a big day. Will be calling in a favor or two so I can stay in Geelong the night before as it will be complete mayhem trying to get down there the day of the race.
Tomorrow is the Grindermen urban epic (80km's of singlespeed joy!), looking forward to it as some of the guys I haven't seen for months, good opportunity to catch up with the crew that is heading to NZ next month. I have to work a late shift so I will more than likely pull up stumps early so I can make the start of work a 1pm. So I should get a solid few hrs done and dusted. Dusted is the wrong thing to say as I feel that there will be some mud on the Yarra trails, hopefully not too bad as it has been reasonably dry this week in comparison to other weeks this winter.
Not alot else to report other than the maintenance continues in the workshop at home. Always something else to be done, will be time to sort out the road bike with new cables and a complete pull down and grease up after a long wet winter.
Happy trails!

Red Bull rampage teaser

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mr Repairman

Well its been a busy few days. Winter has taken a toll on my bikes, thing is the more of them you have the more servicing you have to do. Now most bike servicing is common sense, keep it clean and the bike will love you back. I have most tools, only a few I don't which means a bit of car travel to get stuff done. I will say that I am probably a better nurse than bike mechanic, but persistence pays off....
My 29er single speed needed alot of love, I didn't ride it through winter as I skied alot so I thought it wont need to much. I checked the chain.... rooted, front chain ring.... rooted, bottom bracket... rooted, front brake needed a bleed.
Luckily I had a spare White Industries 32 tooth chain ring, but I had to travel to see Dan @ Shifter Bikes as he has the tool for my bottom bracket. Now I love my Phil Wood BB, apart from when it shits itself. Dan had it sorted in about 20 mins with new cartridge bearings, new chain slapped on and then we diagnosed some worn rear hub bolts, and a broken chain tensioner.... easy fix, just a quick stop for a few bolts at the local bolt shop.
Dan's workshop is worth a visit for some quality gear and wheel building, awesome little place with a no fuss approach. See his website for info.
I needed to bleed the front brake.... should be straight forward. Avid Elixir CR brakes.... easy to bleed... not for me, despite 5 attempts the level would depress to the bar. After a late night email to Ben Randall for some gun bleeding advice he gave me the secret tip. Turn the bike upside down.... extra air will come out... hey presto done!
So after some 7 hrs in the shed I had cleaned and sorted the single speed, cross bike, geared 29er and started my road bike. The road bike is still not finished but its going to be a wet week here so I am not in to much of a rush to clean it right now. I had to replace a rear axle that only took some 3 months to come from Japan for my Dura Ace 7800 hub. After a complete rebuild by the LBS she runs like a dream again.
Got in some quality time on the bikes this week. I have had 2 long rides doing the double up and over of Mt Dandenong. Had great weather for those 2 rides, good enough to be sitting out in the sun having a brew @ Ripe in Sassafras. The area is the stomping ground of Chris Winn when he is not in the US ripping up the domestic road scene. Great twisty narrow roads through some of the best forest doing around close to Melburn! Perrins Creek road is sorting me out with a couple of 14 -17% pinches in the climb. I have bought a 11-28 for the Alpine Classic in Jan 2011 and it was a dream for climbing that nasty hill.
I also headed out on the 29er SS and hit the local area for some choice, but wet trails. Another 2 hours of torture, pushing the lungs and legs to their limits. Great to be out on the single speed rolling simple, and loving it. The elbow held together not to bad, so I still may keep it rigid for worlds. Next weekends Grinder Man Epic may prove to throw the elbow some curve balls. Will have to see how the arm pulls up post that ride of 80 km's.
Today is the last day of my holidays and its been a good brake with skiing in the Aust Birke at Falls Creek, and extra skiing at Lake Mtn. I could still be skiing but I have hung that up for the year and put the skis to bed for summer. Still plenty of spring skiing @ Falls Creek and still a little at Lake Mtn. I would still be out there but needed to get the legs turning in circles in preparation to rip up the trails in Rotorua NZ for SSWC10.
Happy trails or tracks!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The Black Spur..... chasing snow!

Not much going on last few days, been doing the Dad thing solo, as the Boss has headed back to work. Been fun times, plenty of laughs and thank god not to many tears (me or Jnr). The weather has been pretty woeful as most would know, the North East is under water after massive rainfall, some of which undid the work of mother nature's snow dump of the week before.
I did however get out on the ski's with Ryan Moody for a skate session at Lake Mtn last Friday. Glad we did it as the weather started that afternoon and gave it a fair hammering. We managed to ski almost the whole trail network last week in some softening snow cover on great grooming. Great morning of skiing was had by both of us. I was thinking that that might be the last ski of the season, however I saw the pic below today.....
Looks pretty sweet and just maybe worth the drive in the morning? Its rare to be able to ski this late @ Lake Mtn!
I am torn between getting out on the single speed or hitting the road for possibly the last ski of the season. I know I can ride other days this week, but I really need the time on the 29er to get those bike legs back.
I did get out on Sunday post fathers day lunch and rolled in some pretty average conditions for 1.5 hrs on the road bike. I was wrapped to be out there despite the shit rainy weather! I am looking forward to the warmer months just around the corner.w
Mmmmm got some thinking to do in regards to tomorrow.....
Happy trails!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Java Bean Run

Not much to say today.... got out for a quick roll just to pick up some gear for my other addiction, Java from my bean dealer @ Romeo's. A pretty short roll of 30 odd kms but it was nice to be out rollin free on the roadie again.
Missed out on any bike time yesterday as I had a early rise and shine to drive a 4 hr round trip to pick up some skis from Pullins @ Mansfield, plus it rained cats and dogs most of the day. Dropped the skis off last weekend on the way home from Falls Creed so the Wax Room there could give em a grind and hot box session. Pullins have a video which demonstrates what they did for me, just on my XC skate skis.

Pullins Wax Room from alex "chumpy" pullin on Vimeo.

They managed to get some of the nasty stone marks I picked up last year (I should have given them some love at the start of the season, might have made last weekend even more enjoyable). Cant wait to give them a go tomorrow!

I found this video, looked cool so thought I would drop it in!

Going to head to Lake Mtn tomorrow for what will most likely be the last ski of the year. Going to show Ryan Moody the local trails as he has never skied there before. Should be good as long as the temps stay in the negative tonight!
Weekend looks like a bit of a right off due to the major rain coming through. The predictions are for a big Pineapple Express (warm rain... bad for snow, bad for mtb trails, road riding, anything fun) dumping a months worth of rain in a day or two.
Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Australian Birkebeiner

What a day we had for the race, blue bird, little wind and fast snow. I could not have been happier than I was. My fitness was average this year and it was all about enjoying the race.
I got a great start and stayed out of trouble and kept myself in the green zone and did not push to hard in the first 8km of relative flatness. I slowly worked myself into a rhythm that I thought would be maintainable for the whole race. The first section of Sun Valley went well and I avoided the few accidents in front of me. Once onto the Omeo road I opened up the speed a little and pulled back a few spots, constantly looking for open snow as it is really easy to get boxed in. From here it was up the Paralyser which I struggled with. It is a climb of maybe 3km and the pitch varies as you climb.... I was struggling after about 1.5km and went to pass a skier that was too slow for me, at least I thought that was the case. I blew big time and from there getting to the top became a real struggle. The lesson here is more hill work for next year.... running stairs and the like should sort me out during the summer months.
Once at the top it is a easy glide through the park before climbing to the highest part of the course for the descent down the Blade runner. I had a hoot coming down, being a big guy it helps with coming down the descents. Across the dam wall and up and into the finish chute..... 21km done and dusted.
I ended up 56th out of 163 male starters and 4th in my age group... 1 min down on third.
Happy with the end result, it was fun.
Ryan Moody joined me for the day after crashing at our place for the night. He skied himself into 24th overall and 4th in his age group I think. Shows you what you can do when you have a decent sized engine! He is a fit bastard, god help us if he gets his technique down pat and combines it with his fitness.
It appears that my season may be over as I have a long list of stuff to do around the house before I go back to work. The weather looks like it is going to be too warm for snow, but I might try and get to Lake Mountain again before the end of the season. I dropped my skis of at Pullins in Mansfield on the way home for some stone grinding and a bit of hot box love. I had obtained a few nasty stone scratches and need them to be sorted with a stone grind. Below is a video of some of the snow trip related stuff and a little pirated footage of the Hoppet race start.

The plan from here now is a bit of preparation for the 2010 SSWC in October. I have to pull the finger out and get the leg over the SS and get moving. I am going to get off the beer, Thai take away and ice cream to get the weight down.... time for a Big Mak slim down. A few decent road kilometers before I go back to work are in order as well. Maybe from next week I will post the adventures of the Big Mak slim down challange!
Happy trails!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Epic snow

Arrived in Mt Beauty on Wednesday night after a very wet afternoon drive up from Melbourne. Great to see alot of water under the Bonnie Doone Bridge, confirms that we are indeed having a wet winter in Victoria this year.
We awoke Thursday to snow capped hills around Mt Beauty, snow had dropped to at least 600m, I looked at the snow report for Falls Creek and could see 50 plus cms had fallen overnight...... epic.
We loaded up the car and drove up, a bit of a white knuckle drive, never have I seen so much snow so low at Falls Creek. After 15 mins of driving up from Mt Beauty we were inundated with snow, fallen trees half blocking the road and the occasional land slip.
We arrived at the village and I decided that I would put chains on, as I did not know what to expect further up the hill, it was still puking snow. After fucking around for 20 mins I could only get one on. That's all I needed in the Subaru anyway. We witnessed people trying to dig out cars, you would have to move about 4 cubic meters of snow to get the car out. Buses were stuck and needing help from earth moving equipment. The resort was struggling to cope with the dump.
I will let the photos do the talking!

Where did I park?, you should have seen people searching for their cars.

We had a good ski yesterday despite the testing conditions. We went out and classic skied in fresh groomed trails and found Mckay Rd which is protected from the weather by forest was a good place to ski.
In contrast to the poor conditions yesterday, today was a great little session to stretch the legs for tomorrow Australian Birke. Every man and their dog was out doing a little recon for tomorrow due to the poor weather of the last 3 days.
Tam and Grier taking in the view out near Washbed Creek.

So skis have been waxed, dinner eaten and now for a little chill out before bed. Early start tomorrow.... looking forward to getting out there!
Happy trails

Monday, August 23, 2010

couldn't resist


The weekend saw me get out for some last minute preparation for next weekends Australian Birke. The boss and I had a perfect ski on Saturday on some fresh trails, some snow still falling out of the sky. Conditions were close to perfect, the only thing missing would have been some sunshine. We cruised the trails (well I did, Tam was working a bit harder than me) and got in some solid kilometers. It was probably for me the best snow of the season.
Yesterday I got up nice and early and got some serious kilometers in with some decent hill repeats in to keep me honest and the lungs burning. I got the chance to get out on Jubilee which I had not done since before the fires of 2009. Nice to be out on one of my favourite trails in the world, when its good snow its awesome to motor on with nice flowing trail, a real pleasure to ski on. Grooming has been topnotch of late and really I cant complain with the ability to ski this late in the season at Lake, generally the last few winters have not been good for the area. I might get back up tomorrow for a classic session as I have no plans to keep me close to home.
I forgot to take the camera on Saturday, but managed to remember it yesterday. Managed to grab a few shots and a little bit of video which I hope I can string together with other pieces from the Hoppet and Birke up at Falls Creek later in the week.

Top of Echo Flat trail just before the intersection of Panorama and Royston

Looking into the start of Jubilee from the Camp

The Camp from Echo Flat trail

Plans for this weeks race are simple..... survive as comfortably as I can.
I have had to tell myself to keep the brakes on and not get carried away and just race myself as I am not as fit as previous years and need to enjoy being out there.
Hopefully this year I can get to the night sprints and watch the locals race internationals over the night sprint course up at Falls under lights.
Will update from up at Falls Creek later in the week!
Happy trails

Thursday, August 19, 2010

been a little while

Yep I am still here just super busy. Its the madness at the pointy end of the ski season with trying to get my shit and head sorted for the Aussie Birke in 10 days. I have had a average season this year on the skis as conditions stopped some of the racing and I (for some weak reason) did not attend the last 2 races that were available close to home. Not to despair I have had some good days on the skis, and things are looking up.
My latest trip this week saw me hit some near perfect conditions at Lake Mountain for a quick ski before work on Tuesday. I even ran into Mr T (lit up like a christmas tree doing his early morning commute up the Nongs on my way out to the Yarra Valley. I have to say by the end of Tuesday's session I was getting my shit down pat. I have to head back up for the weekend and into early next week to get the most I can out of some last minute drills, distance and speed sessions but I am confident that come Saturday week I will have enough form to cruise through the race.
I have been so lazy that I have not even thrown a leg over a bike in the last 10 days and a few runs have been the substitute. No worry cause I have 3 weeks of leave from Friday so I will be getting some time on two wheels to prepare for the SSWC in late October. A friend has been in Rotovegas doing a bike test camp for Avanti bikes and posted some trail shots that are having me foaming at the bit. It is going to be a awesome little trip across the ditch!
I am planning a little bit of video footage for the next 10 days of skiing adventures.... see what I can put together!
Happy trails

Sunday, August 8, 2010

off the grid

Been off the grid this week in my search for some ski fitness. Headed to Falls Creek for some nice kms and some varied terrain. So after a early finish Thursday, I headed home to pack the car with kid, the boss and all the bits and pieces to get us through a few days at Bright. A lazy 4hrs of driving saw us hit the accommodation for a few days and Grier was bouncing off the walls after being cooped up in the car.
Friday saw us greeted with blue skies mixed with a few clouds for a session of classic on a fresh cm or two of snow. Perfect was the description. Grier was rocking it in style in the Chariot nice and warm. She tends to sleep most of the session occasionally checking on Dad, her pack horse, that I am still moving letting out the occasionally giggle as we glide through the terrain.

So we headed out through Washbed Creek on to Langfords and then turned around to head up towards Mt Nelse. Awesome session, felt good to get the classic legs going again.
Saturday saw us in for a skate session covering more or less the same terrain with a few laps of a loop taking in the Boat Ramp, High Plains rd, and the Nordic Bowl trails, fun time, hills were not my friend. Grier was rocking a pair of sunglasses... too cool for school.

The boss gave the Chariot a whirl, all smiles after a km, she was happy to give it back to the pack horse.... me!

We had a bit of a arvo session in the sun at the Bright Brewery afterwards, great way to end the day.
Only had one ride this week with Gav, he forgot his light but we still managed to get in a nice loop of local trails, still a bit wet from the recent rains. I have not seen it this wet in many many years, lots of puddles and sopping trails.
This week I hope to get some more ski kms in on my own up at Lake Mtn and I might even have a race on Saturday at the Bullfight Charge. Will have to see how the week pans out. Should be some more snow this week!
Happy trails!

Monday, August 2, 2010


What shit weather yesterday, great for me, bad for bike riders. I know some trail fairies who were on the shovels yesterday apparently.... would have been a bit wet and cold. Sounds like some new trail might be evolving soon.... stay tuned.
The weather has lead to a dump of snow, that's great news as I am heading to the North East later this week for some training.... not to soon either. I have entered again the Australian Birkebeiner (21km XC ski race), last year I entered the 42km Hoppet but it was weather shortened for safety. Not quite up to the 42km this year (I will be one day, maybe next year) so I have a few weeks to get my shit organised for the shorter distance.
I have also entered myself in the Alpine Classic in Jan, and I don't know if 200km of big nasty hills is a good idea but gives me something to aim for. Some reason to ride hills locally and not the beach come summer.
Not much else going on at the moment, still resting my knee from the tweak I gave it at the Dirty Deeds cross race, so running is on the back burner.
I guess one comment I will make is how frustrated I am getting with bike shops. I attended a shop yesterday for a new chain. I enquired about a specific tyre that I ordered some 2 months ago and if they had any in stock (granted I took a different option at that time as the stock was not available). The answer was nope, maybe we will get some in soon. Now is it any wonder why people shop on the interweb!!! I think not. Its simple really, you can find shit from the comfort of your house, order it and it often turns up in half the time it does when you order it from a shop.... simple! Plus you don't get some half arsed effort at service.
Whinge done, I am off to fit the new chain!
Happy trails!

Friday, July 30, 2010

3hrs... more dirt

Got a leave pass and headed out on a old loop from home to Han's loop. Took a small detour through the State Park in Warrandyte. Had weather of all types in that 3 hours, sun, rain, overcast at times. It was fun being back on the dirt for the second time this week. The Karate Monkey was proving fun to ride, she didn't enjoy some of the slop on offer with a few times getting a bit of slip and slide. Lots of really wet sections, winter has really given the trails some water.
I pretty much cooked myself today, deciding to ride hills, pretty much not many other options out here. I ended up with 900+ metres of climbing for the whole ride, not heaps but there are some nice pinches on offer.
I managed to break a chain good and proper, took out 5 links in the effort. Lucky for me I had a quick link and chain tool on offer to fix it. The ride continued but on a much shorter offer of gears. That means a trip to get a new chain this week!
Was glad to roll into the drive and have lunch and put the feet up after a shower.
Next week will involve more time on them skinny skis with the approaching weather hopefully dumping some white stuff on the far hills for my enjoyment!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dr Doolittle

That's how I felt the other day on my return to the dirt, like a friend to the animals as I had never seen so much wildlife out at Smiths Gully. I made the decision to hit the trails out at Smiths Gully. It had been a while since I was on a MTB, the last time being on the SS 29er at the first Chase the Sun. It had been months since I had ventured out on the geared Karate Monkey, it had not turn a wheel since the Marathon Champs in April. I was feeling rusty and needed to get back amoungst the dirt!
So I kitted up and threw the rig on the roof and got out to the General Store, which I noted is up for sale. Shame as Ross has been a driving force behind some of the trail advocacy in the area. Plus he cooks a awesome burger!
Some of the trail had run into trouble a few months back when some land changed hands. The new land owner didn't want the trail running across their back property boundary. I note that the trail had been bedded in in a new direction and followed it, typically Smiths trail.....steep and deep!
There were some areas of pooled water in the gullies, which I haven't seen in many winters and the ground was often soft and squishy off the trail. I guess we have had a lot of rain over recent months and finally area I once thought of being dry have now soaked up all the water on offer. Needless to say there were some water crossings.... more than expected. Once I was sure I was going to need a snorkel.
Now it is not uncommon to come across the usual kanagroo's out on a loop of the trails. But it is rare to see a deer. I know they are out there and have maybe passed a few without seeing them, Wednesday was different. I came pretty much head on with a deer as I was climbing the single track up to Rob Roy. Basically the deer took a look at me and decided it should high tail it down the escapement , honking as it went. At first it scared the shit out of me, as I heard it honking before I saw it.
The list of animals spotted out on my loop were;
Kanagroo's not always fun when hammering down descents!
Samba Deer
Plenty of bird life
A bloody awesome few hours of fun in the dirt, kept me honest and woke me up a bit about my fitness and how fast you loose your MTB abilities. Smiths is a fun place that I am sure I will continue to visit. Already planning my next ride out there!
Happy trails!

killer hill

Personal experience of this hill..... its a killer, lung popper!

Snowfarm NZ is an amazing place with some unusual vistas. The skiing is top notch. I know where I will be heading next winter for a break. Me thinks a stint of 10 days in Wanaka so we can visit for a ski will be in order.
The weather has been disappointing for our own season this year. Sure it has been cold, then wet but often not together to produce snow. Things look like improving from the week end for a bit of a dump.... maybe Falls Creek next week... 48hrs will tell me if it is worth it or not.
As for bike time I have returned to the dirt! More on this later....
Happy trails!