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!