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!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First the podium shot of the All Comers race, thats Grover rocking the suit and Dyon the photographer of these shots of me! There are some other shots over here

Dirty Deeds CX 2

After organising a day off to attend the 2nd CX race, I had it almost revoked at the 12 hr after a phone call from work. For a few moments I thought I was going to be putting the bike on the car and heading home for a change of clothes.
The day could not have been any more perfect with sunshine and a sweet course that would keep even the best honest. I have been impressed with the 2 events so far and the organisational detail. I really believe that this will take off next year and we may see a few more CX races organised for winter.
I signed on and scored the lucky number 13. It got the upside down treatment when being pinned on to ward off evil. I rolled a lap of the course and was glad I had lightened my gearing as the ground was soft. The course was great with a few barriers to jump in front of the pits and a run up on the backside of the course with some nice off camber descending to keep your attention.
Grover was rocking his red Cathy Freeman inspired out fit. Bloody funny to see him racing in it, but he won the all comers and then backed it up with a borrowed CX bike and ran high in the CX race.
Me I had a blast, hit the red line from the start and from there, it was all down hill. I did have a few good laps and got the dismount run jump thing down pat, there is still always room for improvement.
The crowd was hefty and cheered all on especially on the hill, I had a few of the boys cheering me on at various parts of the course. At the 40 min mark I was fried and pulled the pin. Mallachi sorted me with a beer, which slid down at record speed. I watched the last couple of laps and the front runners nail each other for the win.
First barrier of the CX start and as you can see nothing but bottle neck. An awesome afternoon of fun in the sun and mud. Some 60 plus riders lined up for the CX race and at least 30 for the all comers.
Dyon taking on the barrier just before the hill run.

The race had proven one thing to me, that is my lack of fitness. Despite riding to work, XC skiing a little and keeping some base fitness, I have no speed ability. I am going to need to work on this for NZ in October for the SSWC. It was a bit of a wake up call really, time to get it sorted!
Happy trails!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

wish I was there

Stolen from Andy Newell's blog on fasterskier

I wish I was there doing some solo km's. We were hitting the same trails around this time last year @ Snowfarm. Strange place, no trees but awesome area for the only nordic in NZ. Might even try and get back there next year.
Life has been pretty good with a bit of riding, sure its part of the commute but getting the fix done always makes me a happy little camper. Been wet and cold but hey that's winter.... the cold and wet weather gear has been getting a fair bit of use at the moment. With some mud guards, decent light, quality winter kit and a solid set of tyres the commute has been a real joy even in the shit weather that Melbourne can throw at you.
I need to get out on the MTB as I have not had a solid dirt episode since the first Chase the Sun. The dirt skills will be lacking me thinks!
Skiing is coming along as I have had the ability to get up to Lake Mountain a few times in the the last week. We took Grier back to the snow today and the session an absolute killer, it kept me honest dragging the Chariot around in wet snow. At least the Chariot did its job and kept Grier out of the weather which was drizzle with a bit of wind. Snug as a bug inside that little cocoon, as she slept for a large part of the ski. As for me pulling tht extra weight has me in the red zone and the hurt box on some of the climbs that I usually cruise up.
Sunday I had a decent hit out split between Classic and Freestyle. The intervals hurt a lot but in a good way! Trying to find a secluded spot with some classic tracks was had but eventually I found some space.
Going to make the effort to hit the trails next week at Falls Creek, as I need a distance hit out... sure I can get it at Lake Mountain but its always nice for a change. Will have to watch the weather and see if it will all eventuate.
Unfortunately the Australian Ski Chase has been cancelled due to the poor conditions. Shame cause it was a great event last year that I enjoyed enormously. Still hoping for a big cold outbreak to secure the Hoppet this year.... time will tell with still 5 weeks till the event.
Happy trails!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

weekend bliss

Spent last two days on the ski's. I felt not to bad really, still plenty of work to do as always. Got some classic intervals done today which blew the cobwebs out good and proper. Nothing like finding your own little place and smashing the uphill trail and then cruising back down only to start the process again.
Hopefully some more snow will arrive soon as we need a top up. A few rocks sticking out around the place always in the corners ready to scratch the bases of your ski's. We might even make the effort to head up to Falls Creek later this week to get in some distance training (both in driving and skiing) if the snow that comes falls in good amounts.
We took Grier yesterday for her first visit to the snow. She was checking it all out dressed up like a little polar bear. Got her in the Chariot which was the best money I spent in a while, we even saw somebody else out there with the same set up. The Chariot is a pretty amazing system that can do many things. Took a bit of getting use to dragging 10-15 kilo's of extra weight but it was worth it (extra resistance training) and once up to speed you barely new it was there, but it did keep you honest on the uphills. Grier seemed to have a good time between sleeping and a few times there was a giggle or 2.

She was snug as a bug in a rug, smiles all round for anyone wanting to say hello.


The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GabyGaby stencil art @ TDF

Stencil artist GabyGaby is leaving his mark on the French road system applying his awesome stencil art. Check his Tour art @ GabyGaby on Tour.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

blue bird days are a memory

Riding in this shit weather gives me some respect for the days I am lucky enough to get out on the blue bird days in forest flanked winding roads. A tree that has blown over has been hindering my commute, glad it had been given the chain saw treatment today, meant I didnt need to go all cyclocross on the roadie!
Plus I know that this shit weather may turn to snow giving me some time on them skinny ski's.
Happy trails!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gerran's out

Awoke today to see on Cyclingnews and Twitter that Simon has been force to abandon on the rest day due to a broken arm in a fall on Stage 8. He finished that stage through the mountains with a broken arm..... Hard Man I say.... cant imagine riding to massive climbs with a busted arm, talk about turning yourself inside out.
Follow the Sky Blog for other info or his website blog here!
I wish him the best for a speedy recovery....
Happy trails!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting the ski legs

Getting the ski legs done is always a bit of a test. I have been procrastinating for the last few days about whether to go or not, do I wait for more snow. Then I saw some web cam shots, procrastinated some more and then this arvo I bit the bullet and got in the car with the kit and drove up to Lake Mountain. A favourite of mine even when it is still so scarred from the fires. Great to see it coming back to life with the forest sticking with new snow gums.
I really didn't know what to expect as there is not heaps of snow at the moment. After getting the low down from the staff about the best trails to hit up I kitted up and headed up the hill. The body seems to be in better shape than I expected. I made it up to Echo Flat with out busting a sweat. The snow from Echo Flat on was hard to fault, sure there were a few spots that were thin or had a obstacle poking through, but nothing impeded my ski. The snow up top was spot on and all I needed to blow out the cobwebs and get the body back into the swing of XC skiing. I would have to say it was really good for the soul to get out there and give myself a little hurt and see if the muscle memory would click in to gear.
All I need now is more snow...... hopefully a bit will come in the next week.
Happy tracks!

the looks of the Pro @ TDF

That's how you end up when you face plant racing @ the worlds biggest race the TDF. Gerro has a daily update you can read on his website. Worth a read as it gives a bit of insight from the rider first hand. Glad he was able to get up and continue, as it has been a brutal race so far.

got to love them cobbles

Ah got to love them cobbles. Best stage of the Tour I have seen in ages, kept em honest. Whilst I don't like seeing riders hurt in falls I think it has really opened up the race from week one and given some with weaker teams a better chance. Gerro came down and needed a few stitches in his face, I wish you a speedy recovery mate!
Going to be interesting when the dust settles and riders lick their wounds. I saw a interview with Jens Voigt who was complaining about the stage, suck it up Jens, as I am sure the sprinters don't like going over the mountain passes!
Me not much to report, few days off so I am out on the bike as the snow has still been slow to arrive.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

wet, foggy & flats

Got little done as planned this weekend. A bit of bike maintenance yesterday as the road bike was giving me headaches in the rain the other day on the way home. New chain and some rear mech love was in order and seems to have done wonders. Skiing was put on the back burner as we had a few social engagements and looking at the snaps from the trail cams were making me slightly nervous about the prospect of driving and getting a poor ski in. May be tomorrow before work.... that's a big maybe.
Hit the Nongs this morning given that skiing was off the cards so I needed a decent hit out to burn the lungs into submission.... it worked, managed to shave a minute off my time which was nice. Very few out , given the cool wet and foggy ascent I don't blame them. I liked it though as it is always nice climbing up through the forest. Managed to pick up 2 flats today which threw me a bit, had to change the first and limped home the second.
Am off to the shed for some cleaning up and flat fixing!

Friday, July 2, 2010

its go time.... TDF10

I am geed up to have some late nights to keep tabs on the Aussies at the Tour this year. I will be following closely the progress of Simon. Hopefully he can repeat and win a stage if he gets the opportunity. Cant wait for Sunday to roll around..... it will be go time!

Slow week, weather wreaking havoc with my plans, looks like maybe a quick recon and blowing out the cobwebs on the ski's in the morning..... weather report depending. Will post a few snaps if I head up. Plan b will be a pedal on something 2 wheeled. Bummer that the first XC ski race of the year has been cancelled due to poor snow. Maybe next weekend for the High Plans Tour.....
Got caught in the rain today big time and ended up between 2 storm fronts dumping some serious rain and ice chips on my way home. Was glad to bail out of my wet kit when I got home and hit the warmth of a shower. I will say my new Rapha long sleeve was keeping me warm, very impressed. My cassette was jumping so I can hear the $$$ already as it will be time for a new one after a number of years of punishment. There will be a bit of web searching tonight to place a order!
Happy trails!