Monday, March 29, 2010

the week that was

A quick week has flown by, busy on all fronts, work, family and bike. I have been back to the gym, the pain receptors can remember the gym in a big way. The bike front was slightly quieter than hoped, I managed a Fatties ride (aka wednesday night worlds) and was smashed by the time I got back to Gav's. He helped me shorten and bleed the Avid Elixirs before we went out, they are now running sweet. I have been doing some hills around Warrandyte State Park and some old but friendly trails that always give me a smile on the dial.
On the work front, time to win Tatts and retire! I am ever hopeful, but am aware that work is a nessacery evil.
I am slowly getting the Karate Monkey dialed in. I have been having some issues with the set up and headed over to talk with Jeff and get the bike set up adjusted. After a bit of cleat movement, dropping the seat height, shorter stem, I now seem to be 1 with the bike and not fighting it as much, particularly when climbing. It feels weird as many things were changed, but all in a positive way and we shall see if it is all good in a week or so.
I had planned to hit the hills in the Nongs this morning, but the weather has defeated me so, it is paper, brew and breaky time before I have some parental duties and a trip to work.
Hoping to make it to the Dirt Crits tomorrow night and Fatties on Wednesday. Some road miles will be the call over Easter as we will be down the coast doing the family thing.
It is not long till Aussie Marathon Champs and I am begining to have some concerns, but hey I will get through no matter what. May is looking good with the potential of Bendigo 6hr and CTS plus the Melburn Roobaix for a laugh. Will have to get some clerance from the boss, but it looks like it could be good fun.
Happy trails!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RIP James Williamson

James Williamson passed away in Ceres, South Africa on Tuesday morning. The former World Solo 24 Hour mountain bike champion had been competing in the Argus Cape Epic Mountain bike race.
He will be remembered as a nice all round guy and I had been fortunate to meet him on a few Wednesday Fatties rides. Always up for a chat. James was also the editor at Enduro magazine.
The OZ mtb scene will be a lesser place with out him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

back to work in more ways than 1

Today sees me return to the coal face, yep back to the boss man, endless smashing the head against walls dealing with people, speaking to clowns on the phone. Since doing my job I find I prefer a environment with out phones and lots of people I have to talk to. I really do prefer my own company alot as I only have to impress myself!
I have had 5 weeks off since the birth of our daughter so today is reality day as I have to get into the grove of working, training and parenting. The last few weeks have blurred by, and I have been able to ride when ever I wanted, the boss is good to me and encourages me to get out.
Today will see me return to the gym as my back seems to have finally calmed down and I feel good so it is time to get some core work done again. I have missed the gym, but have been busy with a few side trips so I wouldn't have made it there anyway.
I am feeling like the climbing is improving after the last few weeks in the hills. Last week was a corker in the hills and I was really happy with the climb to Falls Creek, whilst I didn't get to the village I did myself proud, in my books at least.
I did manage some single speed fun over the weekend, actually Friday was my only day as I was laying concrete on Saturday for a tank base and yesterday I spent around here. I headed out to Lysterfield as Snozza had a new brake hose for my elixirs, so it was a good excuse to roll the trails. As soon as I started rolling a smile appeared on my face cause it was so nice to be rollin simple... no gears! just me and the bike. I rolled all the single trail out there including the Comm Games course (some trail maintenance is needed up there, as there are ruts that could swallow you whole) and back to Trail Mix to pick up my parts. A nice day indeed.
Looking at the forth coming racing season will see me have a hit out at the Aussie Marathon Champs next month in veterans.... going to be a interesting day!
I am looking into the Chase the Sun races again, which will take me into the ski season where I will be hopefully racing again, if I can do it with the family in tow. I just have to organise one of these babies to tow the kid around in, should be great resistance work for me! I am going to be up for the Kangaroo Hoppet again this year in a big way.

Fatties this Wednesday, so hope to see people there!
Happy trails!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

das mountains

So spent the last few days having a bit of R&R up around Bright with the family and yes I took a bike. I decided on the road bike so I could tackle at least one of the Alpine climbs whilst being up there.
Monday saw me roll gently from Myrtleford to Bright to get the legs ticking over cause on Tuesday it was going to be my big ride day. I got dropped off before Mrytleford so I could take my time and work out the kinks from the drive up. What great weather I had for the pedal to Bright, little wind and 27 degrees, and little traffic. The hour ticked by fast and I met the ladies at our accommodation, which is a favorite on the back road to Wandilagong.
I headed to the brewery to check out the brews and ponder my choices for Tuesday, as Bright has 3 reachable climbs, Hotham, Buffalo and Falls Creek, its just a decision on which to choose. I elected for Falls Creek one way with Tam and Grier to meet me near the top.
Tuesday saw me head off mid morning, I was geed, I had bars, fluids, money, phone etc so it was a good day. The weather was blue bird perfect and balmy. I trundled out of Bright, little traffic and a bit of a tailwind. The first obstacle of the day was going to be Tawonga Gap which is a gentle (not) climb out of the Ovens Valley and into the Kiewa Valley which has Mt Beauty township at the base of the climb towards Falls Creek. It took me around 50 odd mins to climb the Gap, with some nasty 10% gradient I was biting the bars a bit. I felt ok for 10 odd kms of solid climbing. The descent off the other side of Tawonga was fun and fast. I have a bit of history with my junior days racing over this road for the Tour of Bright, I never much liked it and had always climbed it from the other side to reach Bright.
As I rolled down the highway into Mt Beauty i re hydrated and munched some bars, knowing that the next part of the ride would take its toll. I grabbed some water and continued to climb towards Falls Creek. First you have to climb towards Bogong Village which is not that bad, a few sharp stints and a few brief down hill relief sections, but trust me it was keeping me honest. I spotted a few cyclists descending down from Falls with nice smiles and shouts of hello, my look I am sure was greatly amusing as I was starting to hit the wall.
I eventually hit the Keiwa Bridge that is the start of the major climb up to the village. Now Junction Spur from here was really the nail in the coffin for me. Another sharp point of 8 -10 % gradient. My legs were hurting big time and apart from the amusing sight of a bug collector with his net ( no I was not hallucinating), I was in trouble. I could still tap it out but the engine was slowly dying.
I thought about Jens Voigt at this stage and his SHUT UP LEGS quote

It didn't help me but I did chuckle a bit, however once I had reached the Mt McKay power station turnoff I decided that the hill had won. I needed some energy in the tank to descend down to meet Tam at the bridge so I pulled the pin. So after 3hrs, most of which were spent climbing I was happy to be heading back down. I climbed some 1200 metres for the day which is good for me given my hefty frame. I was wrapped to see the car as it came around the bend to meet me.... comfort! Food!
I spent that afternoon eating my way through Mt Beauty bakery and then knocking back a few at the brewery in Bright. It was a perfect way to end the day.
Yesterday I rolled the legs over for a 50km ride around the outskirts of Bright and tripped my way over to the base of Buffalo, another climb worthy of tackling, my junior days reminded me of that bad boy. The sun was out, jersey undone and flapping in the breeze, perfect. Well it was perfect when I headed back to.... that's right the brewery.
So a great couple of days pounding the pedals, sure a few trips to the brewery but hey next to bikes I like small brew houses and there products.
Next few days has me busy with home duties, gardening, but I am sure I will squeeze in some single speed fun to cap off a top week.
Happy Trails


Friday, March 12, 2010

busy week

This week has flown by. We had a busy weekend with a trip up to Rheola for a family reunion and boy the weather was bad both there and here in Melbourne. So after Saturdays shenanigans I didn't get much done on a bike till yesterday with a trip up the Nongs again. Time is coming down on the climb so I guess that means the fitness is coming together again slowly. Picked a pearler of an afternoon with blue bird sky and a little wind.
The dog kept me busy this week with a very expensive trip to the vet emergency centre in the middle of the night. She is coming good so that is good news.... poor thing she was in dire straights with gastro on Tuesday and Wednesday, thus I missed the Fatties on Wednesday night. Then to cap off the week I have had the ducted heating unit blow itself and it is more economical to get a new one installed so you can imagine the expense of that! When it rains it poors as they say.
I had a parcel from my friends in the US via fed ex with my new mtb bar and Thomson stem. I picked up one of these babies from Edge at a bargain price. After a bit of hacksaw shortening she is on and the Pig is ready to roll again! I would almost say I have completed bike with its final spec some 12 months after putting it together and swapping out pieces as they fall by the wayside. She is now a bit of a blingle speed, but I love riding it.
After the wheel issues of last weekend I was in the market to replace the aged hubs I was running. In the end Mario came up with a solution. He new that there were some 29er wheels brand new but old stock hanging at a store near his place which had come off his 29er when he bought his Fisher and upgraded the wheels. They were a pair of Bontrager Rhythm 29er wheels silver in color and came at the right price. A big thank you to Mario with the assistance in picking these babies up, should be a sweet ride. The only issue I had was getting the tyres to bead up as they are tubeless rims and I am running tubes. It was a fair struggle (a 2hr battle, making me sound like a fair amature) and should have hit the service station to aid in the seating of the tyre with the compressor. I am to be convinced about tubeless under someone my size on 29er wheels, however at least I have the option to try it if I want.
Going to get out today on one of the 29ers for a spin of the local trails and try out the new swag of stuff, my last for a while until the kitty comes back up after the other big ticket items this week!
After the stories and photos from Jase at Epix about the Mt Buller trails, I am planning to try and get there before winter comes for a roll. I should try and do it before I line up for the Marathon Champs, the trails look sweet and very worthy of a road trip.
Happy trails

Saturday, March 6, 2010

slothin it

Today would have to be one of my worst rides on a bike I can remember. Mario gave me a call last night to organise a pedal through the fine trails of Smiths Gully. I was more than happy to oblige, sweet single track, good company, but I new deep down that maybe I was going to struggle. Alex also was roped in and had his new race bike to smash and test, he is no slouch on 2 wheels. His brother Ben is one fast guy on the dirt, Alex is just the same with a take no prisoners approach. So from the get go it was going to be on. I do realise I was partly psyching myself out, but the only way you get faster is to ride with the big boys.
From the first hill I was in the hurt box and that's where it stayed, I was red lining, gasping for air. Now I can blame the humid weather, the 2 beers I had with my home cooked Mexican, hell I can blame the axle I broke. Fuck it was just shit today, I could have hung it up after today. Again it was a battle between bike and human, there was no unity. The unity of bike and man were you feel connected as one (mmm weird moment here) I would have been faster on the single speed for sure.
It seems whenever I go vertical I go way backwards... it might be my set up, it might be the added weight of the geared bike, the 4 or more extra kgs I put on in the month with a back injury..... I don't know. I am just frustrated. I got to get my shit together and soon!
Hence I am opting for some quality time on the road bike. I headed up the Nongs (aka Dandenong Ranges) again yesterday via the 1:20. It is a nice climb and gives you some other options for further climbs off the back side of the mountain. Now I didn't break any land speed records, but it did give me the data I needed to partly realise where I was on the bike fitness scale (lets say I am embarrassed to state the time but it was above 20 mins) I took a different route there yesterday which was out of the ordinary for me. I decided to take the bike path up to near the base of the mountain. Now this got me away from the freight trucks, as the base of the mountain has a large industrial component, so a lot of heavy traffic. The trail got me there with out incident and I must admit it was a great ride. The only dampener was the rain on the way home but as I was on the path, I didn't have to worry about traffic and wet roads.
So the question from my brain at the moment is what to do to improve..... give it time I suppose as a month ago I was flying... I cant explain the loss of form.
In other news I received my delivery of Behold tool pouches from King Cage. I have installed one on the road bike and will post some pics. It does look a little different but I prefer it to a under seat bag, plus I dig the different factor and it suits the bike.
Happy trails

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It comes in 3's

So last night I started my weekly must do which is attend the Fatties ride. I have organised it with the boss and the new edition to the family that Wednesday night is my night of sanity, not that life is at all insane at the moment! My decision to attend is mainly to support Neil as he is determined to do it every week. I will try and get there as much as I can as it is a good skills session on some trail close to Melburn.

The new edition doing her cute thing!

So I met Gav at his place and we rolled down to were the Fatties meet which has some sweet trail sections on the way to it. I was feeling good for a change as of late I feel like a fat diabetic having a hypoglycemic attack!
So we rolled out with 5 of us, Gav, Mario, Neil and Alex. I was feeling not to shabby and was rolling the trail nicely. Now some parts I don't fit into as my height and shoulder width is a issue so I skip em generally. So I met the boys in a clearing and was in the process of heading the the Burke rd bridge to cross the Yarra to head in to the city trails when I promptly flipped over the bars. I was less than impressed and had trouble in understanding why this happened. I discovered that there is a nice little stump protruding under the level of the grass and I had clipped it with my foot.
So with some dusting off and getting back on the bike we proceeded to head in and cruise the trail a little further, I bugged out on a couple of sections as I was now stiff as buggery and feeling a little worse for wear.
We got out to the trails at Yarra Bend and as we were negotiating a fast section I got a nice pinch flat that was totally deflated in 2 seconds flat. It meant I missed the Tiger snake issue that the others had whilst fixing the flat.
The rest of the ride was perfect on some nice trail on a barmy night. We soon ran out of light and on the way home I lost a cleat bolt and was now stuck in the pedal. We continued home with some borrowed flashers from Neil and Gav had a run in with a couple of bat strikes.... pretty funny really.
We got back to Gav's and had some pizza and beers which made it a fantastic night despite the few little issues I encountered.
I was feeling slow last night, not sure why but need to work on the speed thing a bit more.
Happy trails!