Friday, January 29, 2010

and Im stuck here!

Usually at this time of year the boss and I are normally packing up the gear and jumping a plane to a destination covered in snow. Tearfully I get this report about the goings on at resorts we usually hit in North America. Bloody shame we are stuck here! Further to the point lets hope this translates to a good winter in Oz.
Aussie Ben Sim and other Australian Winter Olympic XC ski team members training @ Silverstar Mtn in BC, Canada

Snowbird records seven feet in seven days
international: 28-1-2010
Low Temperatures In Europe, More Big Snow For Western North America
* More Heavy Snow In Western North America
* Quieter In Europe
* Heavy snow in Russia leads to cancellation of international freeride contest at 2014 Olymics resort.
* Seven feet of snow (2.1m) in seven days at Utah's Snowbird. reports that Europe has had quite a quiet week in terms of fresh snowfall but in most areas temperatures have been low, helping to maintain snow quality, and small snowfalls have helped freshen up terrain at a number of centres. In North America there have been more huge snowfalls on the west side of the continent.

Powder skiing earlier this week in Mountain High, California
Typically resorts have 30-105cm (1-3.5 feet) at the base of their runs and 150-210cm (5-7 feet) on upper slopes. However Sierra Nevada in the south reports the greatest snow depth of three metres (ten feet) at the top and Formigal has the most terrain open with 136km (80 miles) of runs. More snow is expected tomorrow.
More Heavy Snow For Western North America
Heavy snow up and down North America's Pacific Coast has brought huge snow accumulations to most resorts, and also caused operational difficulties at some.
In the north there's been yet more now at Whistler, with the Olympics now just over a fortnight away. Its season-to-date snowfall is now nearly 10 metres (30 feet). Fellow host Cypress Mountain also had a respite from the thaw and rain that is threatening the snowboarding and freestyle venues, with some fresh snow there too.
To the south of the region thousands of southern Californians who flocked to Mountain High resort in the San Gabriel Mountains, which has received five feet (150cm) of snow in recent storms, were turned away by police due to dangerous road conditions and diminishing fuel and food supplies. Truck convoys were organised to deliver food, supplies and fuel to the area on Monday, with roads re-opening that evening. However more snow is forecast, if on a smaller scale.
John McColly, Mountain High's Director of Marketing said, "There is a reason I am in this business. And this is it. Skiers and snowboarders that braved the storm are grinning from ear to ear. And I'm one of them."
With the fresh snow there is an enormous temptation to go out of bounds but both Mountain High and the Los Angeles County Sherriff's department advise against that.
Says McColly, "Anything outside of Mountain High's boundaries is not patrolled so if you run into any trouble, you are on your own. There is plenty of terrific tree skiing and natural terrain within Mountain High's permitted area so stay in bounds, enjoy the fresh snow, and be safe."
It's a similar story at other western resorts, Jackson Hole has reported more than three feet of new snow, Snowbird in Utah, seven feet in seven days.
Up in British Columbia, monumental snowfall over the last week has created perfect conditions at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. With a mid-mountain snow base of 320cm and 399cm at the top, the resort is once again the home of Canada's deepest snowpack. The news couldn't be any better for the first wave of Olympic athletes who arrive this week to train at the Island mountain.
"We received over a metre and a half of snow in the last six days," says Resort spokesperson Brent Curtain.
The Chinese Biathlon team arrived in the Comox Valley late Thursday and hit the snow on Friday, January 22nd. The team will train at the mountain's popular Nordic Centre, an obvious choice for numerous cross-country and biathlon teams over the next month. A total of 26 teams from 15 countries are performing their final on-snow preparations at Mount Washington before heading back to the Lower Mainland and Whistler for the Games.

Back is on the improve but the stiffness is still a issue. No bike time as yet this week, but will get out over the weekend and stretch it out. Got a few more osteo treatments lined up and a trip to the remedial massage torture artists. I have been rolling out the back and legs, and in the case of Neil I agree to the pain a roller can inflict on you!
I am looking forward to racing next Tuesday at the dirt crit and getting back into the swing of things for 2010.
Happy trails!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Well I have made a decision, not with out some hours racking my brain. I am going to give up my Otway entry, as my back is totally fucked. This is the final blow in my quest to compete in the Otway as with limited time left to train I am going to be well underdone for the race so the option of selling on my entry has been made.
I headed out yesterday and today and despite a bike with gears was in struggle town. I cant climb without serious discomfort through my glutes and lower back and it feels like Satan himself is pulling with both hands on my spine.
I realise that the quote is quite fitting as pain is almost expected however I am not up for suffering with the chance of permanent injury. I am going to refocus and repair myself and I think that the Aussie Marathon Champs will be a goer instead. I will get my back right and refocus the training for a new objective.
A big influence in this decision was the expected birth of our first child and we are beginning to get a bit edgy about it. We are looking forward to it however the last place we need it to occur is during the race with me un-contactable or in the car either on the way down or back from Apollo Bay. So there we go the decision is made.
No back to some R&R, stretching and watching the final stage of the Tour Down Under.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Project Karate Monkey

Done, its been quick but it is finished! Thanks to the help from the LBS and some overseas mail order this baby is done and dusted.
The last of the parts turned up this week with a King headset and some Avid Elixir CR brakes which have moved to the Gellie SS so that the Chumbucket could get the Juicy 5's. So the final build at this stage is;

Surly Karate Monkey 22inch frame in Chumbucket red
Rockshox Reba fork
King classic black headset
Avid Juicy 5 185 front/ 160 back
XT drive chain
DT Swiss rims
Easton seatpost
Specialized Captain tyres

90 % of this bike was in the shed in parts so its been easy on the wallet to some extent. Hopefully tomorrow will be test day out at Smiths.
I managed to strain the left side of my lumber spine this week at the gym doing squats. Needless to say I had been sceptical about doing squats and I managed to really give my back a decent strain. I hit the osteopath for a tune up and I am on the way to repair. Today is the best it has been for a couple of days partly thanx to Mr Voltaren Rapid.
A bit of stretching today and all should be sweet for a gentle roll tomorrow with Gav. There has been some crazy talk of a big loop on the road bikes with Matt and Jase on Monday. Hills will no doubt be involved and my arse will be firmly handed to me on a platter. Will have to see how I pull up on Sunday.
I am also sceptical now about the Otway as it draws nearer. Mainly due to some piss poor performance, injury and the fact that I am expecting my first child with the Boss somewhere around that week. I will continue to work and chip away at the goals and review it all on weekly basis. If the Otway is not possible then it will have to be the Marathon Champs instead.
Get out and enjoy the sun!
Happy trails!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Loop

Gav and I headed out yesterday for some crazy km's on the single speeds. We have a loop that heads out through Warrandyte to Smiths Gully via some serious climbs for single speeds. On the way out the door post some morning wake up coffee we ran into Jase who was more than jealous at the prospect of being anywhere but work on a glorious day. Luckily for us we were on the bikes, unluckily for him his day was packed with work, and more work.
Gav was on his new Kona 29er as he snapped the last one and was tweaking things as time wore on and the trails shook things loose. Sweet looking ride in all black, finished off with his new bit of bike bling, a King headset in silver. I was on the familiar Gellie, however I am currently forced to use a shitty rear tyre made by Maxxis (Crossmark), as on the last ride a tore the side wall out of a Racing Ralph. Now I will say that Maxxis made a beautiful 29er tyre in the way of a Ignitor and I still state that they are bang for buck they are hard to pass up as they are a reliable tyre in most conditions and surfaces. I will soon be back on the Racing Ralph as I have some in a jet airplane on the way from the US.
Anyway we conquered the loop with a stop at the General Store so Gav could get some more H20, I did the stupid thing of having a can of Coke and paid for it during the next 30 mins, as it seems that the huge sugar rush messes a little with the body. The trails out there at Smiths are in top shape and are progressing nicely, as are some of the less ridden local ones.
So after 4.5 hours of riding we had climbed 1500 odd meters, covered 65km of trail and black top, seen 1 echidna, 1 blue tounge lizard, and Gav had polished off 6 bars, me 1 bar and 2 pieces of fruit cake.
Bloody great way to spend the day, in near perfect conditions.
In further news about the next project, the Karate Monkey landed on my door step this week after being ordered 4 days prior via the web from the USA. Now whilst there is always the argument about supporting your LBS, I argue that why bother supporting local distributors when they have you by the nuts. If I can find the gear I want at a reasonable or unbelievable price why wouldn't I buy it. It is my hard earnt $$$ after all and I want it to go as far as possible. In all the years of supporting the local industries/ distributors I argue that they have put little back into the cycling community, particularly as the cycling boom has increased rider number. It appears that distributors wallets get thicker and bike and the accessories stay the same $ value. This is a personal observation, but one that I feel is shared by many. I will continue to support my LBS with particular purchases, however if it suits me I will purchase elsewhere.
Now the project of a geared 29er is running smoothly and I have put some parts on and am sorting out a headset so the fork can slide in. Next thing will be some brakes, not to sure what to use but I will work that out as time moves on. Just need to find a shim for the front derailleur and the drive train will be done. Not long til it will be out on the trails.
Get out there and ride people
Happy trails!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

its coming soon

Coming soon to the WWW is the OZMTB site. It should have gone live today but the blog is on the right hand side of the blog. Check it out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2 wheel cruising

Wrapped up a great weekend on the bike this weekend with a spin around the trails at Smiths today. The weather was spot on but got hot towards the end. I went up the water bar climb, and I have to say she is too nasty for me on a single speed. I ended up with some 700 metres of climbing over the course of the ride. Did not see a single sole out there, only a echidna which spooked me big time with movement in the corner of my eye making me jump a little thinking it could be a snake. Trails were in tip top shape and its good to see that the locals are adding some berms to the trail out at Rob Roy.
I made it back to the general store for a coke and cool down and was surprised at the amount of roadies there having a break. I was chilln in the shade when one of these cocks knocked over the 29er. Less than impressed by this fools effort at knocking it over his sheer disrespect about doing it pissed me off even more. Some of new comers to cycling need to learn a little etiquite in riding, clothing, and how to treat others bikes. I had to contain myself, but did offer to repay him by ghosting his bike onto the road.
Once I got home today and was pulling the bike off the roof I noticed a nice sidewall cut in my racing ralph. Looks like I will be online again today to pick up some more.
I tested out some new Ergon grips and have to say they are pretty darn good. Comfortable, although a little weird looking they got me through the day.
Yesterday was a cruise down the beach with Mrs Gerrans, Shane, Hysen and a few others. The main aim was a catch up with Rahna before she heads over to join her fella in Spain for the year. Sounds like there will be lots of travelling and organising with the move to Spain, so Simon can get organised for the Classsics.

Simon left last week and has been busy with the launch of Team Sky. We had a great roll along the bay and breakfast (scrambled eggs on toast) in Port Melburn. Ended up with 2 hrs of riding and some time in the sun. It ended up being a bloody hot morning and I was glad to retreat to the comfort of the couch and the air conditioner in the afternoon.
Back to work tomorrow and will be glad to miss out on the 41 degree day in the comfort of my workplace. A trip to the gym will be in order in the morning before work and a cruise of the local neighbourhood with the fur children.
Happy trails!

Friday, January 8, 2010

why ride a bike with one gear?

Why use a bike with only one gear???

Sheldon Brown

“Why - The three F’s... Fun, Fitness and fficiency".

FUN: Riding bikes with one gear is fun. It forces a different pace upon you. You will sprint and walk the climbs, and have fun trying to avoid using the brakes on the downhills (because you don’t have a high enough gear to put the speed back on). At the 2001 world champs in Wales, on the flat fireroads, everyone spun out at around 18mph, we sat up, chatted, shared food and drinks, and then when we reached the downhill singletrack, it was elbows out, jostling for position, no brakes and hell for leather death or glory racing.

You will also find that you develop a closer relationship with your bike, it feels like its part of you. Single speed gatherings are also a blast, riding with and hanging with singlespeeders is considerably more fun than tolerating geared leg shavers drinking orange juice. Single speed races are always a hoot. Basically single speeding is more involving and therefore more fun.

If mountainbiking was meant to be easy, it would be called “easy biking” and we would ride around flat smooth indoor surfaces, on comfy bikes with cushions as saddles.

FITNESS: You will simply become uber fit. At first some climbs will be impossible epics, but as you steadily tick off and make it up the previously unclimbable hills – you will feel like Lance Bloody Armstrong (but with two testicles and without the shaved legs).

Singlespeeding will give you legs a much broader range of spinning speeds: mental fast spins on the tarmac home from the trailhead, and dead slow screaming grunts on the climbs. This makes you much fitter than a geared chap who seem to always spin round at the same RPM.

A seasoned singlespeeder will also have an upper body in good shape, as much of your climbing power will come from out of the saddle monkeying, where you grunt and wrestle the bike with your arms.

(e)FFICENCY: With no silly little jockey wheels, clangy dangly derailers, evil Japanese shifters, yards of cable, and loads of extra cogs and chain – you bike will be as much as 5 pounds lighter. This means it will handle better, and be easier to push or carry (which tends to happen quite often).

Your chain runs directly from one cog to another, and the power transfer from pedal to wheel feels more efficient and direct.

But one of the most significant benefits of having a sleek striped down bike is your new maintenance schedule…. Simply point a hose at it once in a while, lube the chain, put air in tyres – job done! Say goodbye to all the fiddly nonsense. that goes with owning a geared bike.

Enough said, I like it but still a new project awaits!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

keep moving

Busy days at work, busy days at home. It has been a quick start to the new year. I am back in the gym this week and rediscovering the various muscles that have been under used in the last few weeks giving me a wake up call. I have commuted a few days this week and am enjoying the early morning rides into work and have pretty much found a peaceful ride home via the bike path which is a good way to end a hectic day as well as not get smashed by a car.
Speaking of which Gav was cleaned up this week by a car out training with a crew from the Fatties. Needless to say the bike is a write off, but he is just bruised. The other guy brought down in the same accident is ok but his leg is a bit messed up. Early morning sun and lack of visibility on the drivers behalf is behind it. Drivers look out and pay attention!. At least no one was seriously injured.
I ventured out on Sunday with a crew led by Mario and suffered immensely from the word go. I rode a stupid gear selection for Smiths Gully and suffered a pinch flat on the Calodonian trail. My form is some what lacking and caught up with me in a rather large way Sunday. So much so I packed it in early and went home with the tail between my legs.
I have decided that a new project is in order. I am in search of a steel 29er frame (most likely a Karate Monkey) that is with in a strict budget so I can up the XT groupset, wheels and 29er Reba fork I have in the shed. I have almost everything and will surf the net to find the best deal I can. With a child coming into my life soon the budget is going to tighten up so deals, and soul selling is on the cards. I have discovered that at times I really need a few gears to hang with the faster crews I ride with off road. As much as I love my SS, my motor just cant come to the party all the time. So watch this space for a new project in the coming months.
With the week almost over my attention turns to the MTB for some decent riding this weekend to get the body sorted for the Otway. If it is not to hot tomorrow I am heading out on the trails after work for some much needed quality trail time. I am thinking that I will miss the road nationals this weekend as I have no one to feed, the first time in 5 years so I figure some extra trail time might be benificial. I will decide it Saturday depending on the weather.
I have seen the worst that humanity has to offer this week at the end of a meat clever..... pretty fucked what one human can do to another! Sad really that you could hurt some one so bad.
On that note get out there and have some fun....
Happy trails

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some of us a thing to do on NYE, well I had to work. Looked like we didn't miss much with that crappy weather and I had to work early on NY day. Gav and I after work waited patiently with a few cold ales as did Neil at his place for 10pm for the opening of the SSWC10 entries to come on line. We have all entered and will be there in October to rip up some of the finest trails on the planet. The planing has begun for a few side trips as well as the mayhem of SSWC. Cant wait, as this will be a highlight of 2010 I hope.
Happy trails