Thursday, April 29, 2010

check it out

Paul VDP is a local boy doing the Aussie MTB proud since the dropping of support for the MTB program by the AIS. You can check out his latest capers in Europe here.

Resting the days away

Been taking it really easy. It seems like I have been in a bear like pre winter festival of food and sleep, just before hibernation. Since the Marathon Champs I have been flat as a tack, I seem to be having massive sleep requirements. Seems like my body needs to have a bit of a reset. I am happy to oblige as the weather has suited sleeping, now it is more winter like.
On the topic of winter it is that time again to get myself organised for the forthcoming XC season. I will sit down this week and work out my plan of attack to do some of the races I did last year and hopefully get some better results than last year. The question on my lips is do I aim for the Hoppet again this year or just the Australian Birkie..... not to sure, guess it might depend on the skiable snow for training.
I am thinking about doing the 3hr race at Bendigo in a few weeks as I figure it might be a good lead into the 1st round of Chase the Sun. I am not to keen to commit cause I am finding the balance of family/ bikes is difficult as I want to be spending time with Grier when she is awake. Its all good playing dad but the reality is that you don't get fit playing at home, however you realise the importance of squeezing what you can into the time you have. The thought of a long journey in the car puts me off, the only other option to to spend a night up in Bendigo.
It will great when the ski season comes as I can take her with me in her new Chariot that arrives sometime soon care of this online site called bike kid shop.

Should be a good training aid towing her around the trails, at least it will give me some freedom to get on the snow this winter.
Happy trails!

Monday, April 26, 2010

ANZAC Day 2010


One of my favourite days of the year was yesterday, where I get to celebrate and remember those who sacrificed so much for those to have a choice in their lives.
Gav aka Snaps and I attended the Heidelberg March and remembrance service. It was a great little service with pipes and drums and a short march around to the RSL post service. Snaps and I had other plans and quickly dashed back to his place for a change of clothes and to head out on the bike. We were meeting the Flathill crew for the Dig Deeper Single Speed Ride. This was my first pedal since last weeks death march at the Marathon Champs, so I was hoping the legs would be happy to join me for a ride. 5 mins into the ride one of my nipples on the front wheel let go, so for the duration of the ride I would have a nice ticking sound on the front. The other problem I encountered was the lack front brake from a air bubble in the line, it soon sorted itself out.
We met up with 5 others for a jaunt out through the Mullum Valley on the single speeds, sweet trail and good weather greeted us. The trails were nice and tacky, the pace sedate which seemed to suit all.
Snaps had some issues with a creek in his bottom bracket and despite ensuring all was tight it continued. As we climbed up a trail in Donvale, his drive side chain stay snapped... (hence the nickname Snaps!) stopping him dead. This is his 3rd Kona 29er Unit he has destroyed. I will say that the build of these frames is some what..... weak. It appears that the forged drop outs are prone to snapping due to the scalloping of the drop out to make them lighter. So Snaps is back to square one without a 1 speed frame, but there might be a offer on the table for a very sweet frame (more on that if it comes off!).
So with a totally rooted frame we were in a bit of a tricky situation, half way around the loop I placed a call to the service course as I live only a short distance away. We bid farewell to the others and got picked up by the boss.
We had a date at the ANZAC Day football at the MCG. We headed back to Snaps for a bit of lunch, shower and a drive to the game. There was 30 odd people from work who attend most years, so great company was ensured. There was the usual mucking about once a few alcohol beverages were consumed. It was a one sided game but after a few beers and some meat pie action we were not fussed. It still amazes me how silent 95000 people can be when they have the service at the start of the game, with the Last Post.
So we got a lot done yesterday, and I would have to say it was a awesome day with all my favourite things covered!
Happy Trails!

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 Australian Marathon Champs

This is going to be a short post. It is still hurting and quiet frankly I could have hung bikes up after yesterday.
The organiser put on a cracker of a course on and who ever won was truly deserving of a green and gold jersey. The course had 3000 mts of climbing over some 90 kms. It was tipped the the elite winner would take over 5.5hrs to complete it..... Ben Mather proved them wrong in under 5hrs smashing the field. I was overwhelmed at the course and at the first feed took the short route home, this still took me over 4hrs to complete. I was in pure survival mode with a lot of others. I have never humped a bicycle so far, I would have walked at least 5kms maybe even 8kms. I was in never never land by the end. I covered 45kms with a average of 10.7km/ hour..... not one of my better days on the bike.
I travelled up with Matt and the Epix lads with Jason's awesome van, which was one of my highlights for the weekend. At this stage I never want to do a marathon again.... I am sure that is an over reaction to the race yesterday but fuck I thought I was never going to get out of them far hills behind Avoca.
The other guys made it through with some awesome results, something I can only aspire too and at this stage seem far beyond my abilities.
Hats off Rohin for organising a great event that tested all. Only downside was the toilet truck that suffered some mechanical issues and never made it to the event site so there was 4 toilets for some 1000 plus people.
Enough said as I want to block out the memories of humping the bike, of which ran like a dream apart from my attempt at a ghetto front tubeless that failed on Saturday and I changed out for a tube.
I need another coffee!
Happy trails!
I am glad to be heading back to the single speed for a while!

about time and yes please!

I would give a testicle to give one of these a go..... About time Yeti came to the 29er market. The Big Top has been previewed at Sea Otter and looks sweet. $$$ have not been discussed but I will be keen to see what a frame will retail for?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

hand brake

Seen some unlucky stuff being a nurse but this takes it to a new level!
Read more here


So Cancellara gets his double in 7 days. Boonen was in my words creeping, looks like it could be a has been situation (sorry to all you Boonen fans out there). I was hopeful big George would get up, but he too might have had his day. The aussies gave good representation including Mitch Docker from Melbourne who was in the early break, good to see local boy doing us proud.

It was a good night to catch up with mates over a few beers, fritz, and some sausages, belgium style (I omitted the sour crout). We even had A Sunday in Hell before the main event showing the Cannibal himself smashing the cobbles. Craig was looking fit, really fit, makes me a bit jealous really but shows me there is still life post children involving bikes!
Happy trails

this shit can be fun after all

Yesterday was how riding a bike should be…. Fun. I figured that it was my last chance prior the Marathon Champs to stretch the legs with a 3hr ride, as I am on night shift this week.
I picked up some rim tape, valves and 1 Saguaro 29 TNT tyre on Sunday from BSC, the other should turn up in the coming days. I have to say that with Jase’s help they were installed in a few minutes with some Spex sealant. I have been apprehensive in running tubeless on a 29er as there are few UST/ TNT tyres available on the market and next to none in Australia. My other concern was setting them up and getting them to run correctly. There have been many a guerrilla attempt by various 29er riders with some success, but I did not want the tyres to be burping and unreliable. I am a big believer of the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle and want to make sure I get through rides when I can with out mechanicals. Jase set me straight and I have to say I can not believe how good the front end is tubeless and can wait for the back end to be set up later in the week.
I hit the Yarra Trails in a big loop from my place and the trails were gold with nice tacky surface and the occasional puddle. I was having a ball and for once the set up felt good and reliable. I sloshed my way through to the Mullum Valley in a rain storm and added in some extra climbing to get home. It was a great arvo out on some favourite trails.
I have realised the gearing for climbing with those big wheels, the future may see a smaller big ring as a 42 front is big for 29 inch wheels. It would be nice to see a 29er specific high end cassette rather than the lower deore by Shimano as gearing on a 29er needs to be spot on especially when vertically challenged on the trail.
I am feeling more confident that the weekend will be fun, but challenging. It is nice to know that there are a few bail out options, however I am planning on getting all 90kms and 3000 plus meters of climbing done. I think the granny ring will be thy friend on Sunday.
Happy trails

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Autum... here she comes

Now that day light savings has flipped the switch to off, winter can be felt on its way. I love this time of year with a sense of things changing, trees are starting to go golden, early mornings are fresh, sometimes with a little fog like on Friday. Today it has a real winter feel with low cloud on the nearby hills, cold storm fronts and the expectation of snow on the higher peaks. I pity them fools doing the Mt Baw Baw classic today as it will sort the boys out from men.
The biggest thing about this time of year are the Spring Classics especially the Paris Roubaix.... the queen of the classics. Its on tonight and I will as always be watching it for the madness of the race. Hence my title picture has changed recently for the celebration of the Classics.
I have had a good week on the back all bar yesterday. Had time down the beach earlier in the week and got in some km's in the wind and on dead roads. Friday I got out early and smashed my way around some of the Yarra Trails finest. It was a golden morning of a bit of cool fog and tacky trails.... sweet riding.
Yesterday I headed out to Smiths and discovered that the local council has weighed in on the trail debate and sign posted off some of the trails due to a recent real estate deal. So after a small diversion I got on a bit of a roll and was enjoying myself. After about 40 mins I was hit with some abdo cramps.... lots of wind from the rear! Me thinks it was the poor choice/ lack of decent breakfast. Then after trying to climb the stupidly steep 30% kick ass climb I flatted on the descent to the water bar climb..... managed to keep it upright with some emergency braking. I am now determined to go tubeless on the KM29er to hopefully save me some frustration. After fixing the flat and then climbing out the way I had come in I decided that with no spare left to head to the car, made it to the top and realised my cleat was coming off the shoe. I stopped to fix that and then had a severe dose of the bonk on the way to car. Hit myself with some coke and lollies from the General Store and headed home.
I got home and found Jase in the street playing on his weapon of choice for next weeks Aussie Marathon Champs. An all carbon hardtail from FELT. Nice looking bike and with a few tweaks to suit Jase I am sure as always he will be smashing it. Me well we will see, it is going to be a two horse race for me, either I will win over the course or the course will win over me. I feel that it is going to be a matter of survival of the craziest!
So I am off for a bit of tubeless conversion equipment and a set of UST 29er tyres.... might be a bit of a task but hopefully I can get it done before next weekend.
Happy trails!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beach Easter

It was decided to have a family Easter with some of the Cairns Clan from West Oz this Easter. We have had a house in Portarlington, on the Bellarine Peninsula. A great spot for some training on the road bike. The accommodation is a old church called Porthaven and have been A grade in comfort and style.
The area has some world famous riders originate from here including Team Highroads Lee Howard, Sir Hubert Opperman, Cadel also has a summer home here.

The 2010 Worlds are in neighbouring Geelong so if you get my drift, the riding is obviously okay. Plenty of quiet wide roads, hills are not to far away in the Otways, but I have not travelled down there this trip.
I have ridden most of the Peninsula the last couple of days and have devised a nice around the block of 60 odd kms.

View Larger Map

Some nice rolling hills, dead roads and lots of windy areas keeps you honest. The scenery is pretty nice with coastal views and lots of farm land for something to gander at, keeping the mind moving. I am glad that daylight savings is over for another year and that for a brief period light has returned to the early mornings letting me get out with out lights.
My shoulder is currently my only issue for the up coming Marathon Champs, that should get sorted in the next few days, more of the concern is the block of night shift I have to do in the week prior to the race. That cant be helped and I will have to just get on with it.
I know I can do the distance with out much concern, I am sure I will be in the hurt box from the word go, but isn't that half the fun? Cant say I will be racing per say but will be out there having fun none the less and getting through the day. I am still sorting out the KM29er for the race and have planned a few long MTB rides later in the week to get use to the position that Jeff has put me in.
So it is all systems go and hoping that the forecast of rain holds off to let me get out tomorrow for a quick roll of the legs before packing the car for the trip home.
Happy trails!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ben's killing it in the US

Ben Day has been slaying killing some giants in the US in the last couple of weeks. Wins at Redlands and the San Dimas stage race for Fly V Australia is doing the Aussie cycling scene proud on the domestic US calender. Keep it going!

Melburn - Roobaix 2010

Have to think about it a little cause it clashes a bit with another event.... For those of you who can get on down as it is a great fun event.

Respect! Its simple

Now I am one who has a bit of a short fuse when stuff pisses me off. I have some moral codes that have been instilled in me, one of which is never leave a man behind. I guess this comes from my days in the Army, but also out of respect for people, no matter what make sure they are okay and let em know you care a little.
You may be reading this and going what the fuck? This rant is not aimed at any one individual but at the group as a whole.
After reading Neil say that he wanted to get the Fatties ride back up and rolling again and putting himself on the line with the statement that he was going to do every Wednesday night come hell and high water I thought great. He wants to get guys out who want to improve, those that are new to the sport to mix with more seasoned guys. Therefore I made the commitment to myself that when possible I would join him.
It was a awesome night and we were all having a good time last night. The speed was on as certain guys have the ability to really smash some of us mere mortals. This is great cause it teaches you to ride faster. One new guy Michael I think was a little put off when he flatted cause after the offer of waiting he said "nah next week".
Now the end of last nights ride pissed me off in no uncertain terms. Some might be faster than everyone else, however when you split the crew and get to a major road, wait and don't cross it and ride off into the dark. I got split from everyone else and had a rough idea of the direction and continued on my way. Make sure everyone is okay and not lying in the dirt in the dark! Pretty simple, its about respect. If you have something to prove pin on a number and race.
Cyclingtips hit the nail on the head when the entry was written about the Patron of the bunch. I realise that it is more directed at the road scene but the principle is the same.
Lets be honest, attitude is everything and if people want to be wankers (trust me there are some stronger words I would like to use) to others that's there prerogative, but karma always comes back to haunt you. Next time it might be you split and cursing, but you know what I will be waiting at the road in the dark!
The ride otherwise was great, a good turn out, a lot on singlespeeds. Trails were in tip top shape apart from that shit smelling puddle that I hit and had me in distress from the smell for the rest of the ride. The bats flying out with a orange full moon in a big sky behind them was a highlight for me as it looked awesome, like a movie set out of a horror film. Neil got his way by finishing with out lights and keeping it real with his no lights before the end of day light savings.
Happy trails