With Sunday being the You Yangs state round I figured I should take the new bike for a burn at least once before race day. So Friday evening (after I finally got away from work - note to self: don't sell a bike with five minutes left in your shift) I jumped in the car headed Lysterfield way. After finally negotiating the Monash Carpark aka Freeway I was on the bike at quarter to seven. Hooned around the trails fiddling with bike setup encountering Joel Reid doing some secret training, three numpties without helmets and a family that reminded me of Cleetus from the Simpsons, that's how many kids there were, good passing moves practice though. By that time the fork and shock pressures were dialled along with the position on the bike. Finally an attempted hot lap of the comm games track, which turned out to not really be a hot lap thanks to the kamikaze roos out and about at dusk. A nice surprise when I finished with the time equalling that of recent hot laps although it didn't seem quick. Those beach road k's I've been roped into doing recently must have had some effect afterall. A contributing factor was probably also the Hutchi Piranha tyres the Felt boys have been raving about of late, quick with some bite, I like.
Saturday saw sleep take preference over the Hell Ride, and it looks like I chose wisely if Ash's experience is anything to go by, which brings us to Sunday and GMBC's state round.
After only an hours drive I was at the You Yangs - yep, only an hour, it's close, so close in fact I think I'll be there instead of Lysterfield a bit. Why? Because it's sweet - it's got the flowing bits like Lysterfield, but it has some climbs, and it has some unreal decents - northshore style wooden bridges and berms, rockfaces all included. Another reason for coming back on non-race days is of course so I can learn to stay on the bike out there. It seems everytime I race out there I eat it, and it's always where you think it impossible to come off, so annoying.
The first 'off' was a couple of minutes into the practice lap - letting the front wheel go a little wide on a sweeping left hanger in one of the nice flat flowing section it hits the sand and out it goes. A few scrapes but nothing major and I'm back on the bike to discover I've managed to bend the thumb paddle on the X.0 trigger, seems Truvativ's butter alloy is making its way into some SRAM components. Anyway, finally a use for the adjustability on those X.0 triggers, I rotate it around so it doesn't catch on the shifter body anymore and we're sweet, away for the remainder of an incident free lap.
Sitting on the startline in what is a relatively large field nature calls and upon return I'm relegated to the rear of the grid. With a rubbish position comes an equally rubbish start and I'm sitting second last through the flat winding single track. We hit the the first climb and any techy section sees a rider in front walking and hence, me walking. With the race already well gone up the road I cruise along with Sleeman for a while having a chat about his DH experience at buller last weekend and the resultant cracked rib. We hit the main climb and I figure I should make an effort. Picking up three positions up the climb without much effort, another two on the decent and one coming into the start finish area things seem to be looking up.
Onto lap two, 5 minutes in I come around the switchback at the top of a small climb and the track is wide and pointing downwards, big ring and pedal. Well I got maybe two pedal strokes in before clipping the end of my bar on a tree and doing my best superman impression (it must have been good, Duncan was coming the other way at the time and later told me he was preparing to scrape me of the track when he saw it). Anyway, the body didn't seem to beat up so I jumped up, pretty annoyed I'd done it again - I swear the trees have legs at the You Yangs and jump out in front of you, everytime I clip a bar out there - anyway, I was ready to ride, but the bike wasn't. The front end was facing the wrong way, and in order to get that way either the top tube or the brake lever had had to give - the top tube had a couple of gouges but the brake lever had been pulled out of the lever body. Two choices - ride what was almost four laps with one brake or call it a day, I chose the latter.
Meandering around the start/finish area it seemed those who had taken a tumble outweighed those who had stayed on. Maebus had managed to carry some rocks around embedded in his knee for a few laps on his way to third in Elite. Finally, that man Erin freaked us all out again, pulling second in expert after finishing an eight hour shift as a bike courier at 2am that morning. Check out the GMBC website for results and maybe some pics as there were a few photographers out and about.
Now to get this lever fixed before the fatties HDATO 8 hour next weekend. On the plus side it looks to be an easy/cheap fix - the lever popping out is better than the lever snapping, well designed formula. In fact, brilliantly designed - a two minute phone call to the always helpful guys at MTBPrecision, five minutes of labour and not a cent spent. Excellent, doesn't even require a bleed - those Italians know what they're doing when it comes to bike parts.
Bad Lever - see that silver bit pointing down from the lever, it's meant to be disappearing right into the little rubber sleeve. Five minutes later it was, not a cent spent and not even a bleed required. And now you can all call me soft for not doing it out on the trail and finishing the race - would have been hell with a multi tool though.