It was wet. Bike was sweet. 'SRAM all sorts' won our category, 4th overall. Michelin XC AT tyres were the key for me. Endless predictable grip in the slop, rather handy when you don't have any brake pads left after three quarters of a lap.
So you may notice new (shredded) kit in the gore photos below. The exciting news behind that is the return of Apollo Bikes to the Australian racing scene. To coincide with their new product range they're throwing support behind five under 23 road riders and two mountain bikers in Peter Kutschera and myself. We even got our mugs in some mags!
The (successful) mtb team debut came at the Surfcoast 6hour a few weeks ago. We're currently riding the 2010 TeamC. A high modulus full carbon frame is dripping in the best from Easton, Michelin, Prologo, SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Truvativ and Mavic. At a retail of $4000 it's a very strong contender in the hardtail market.
Not to mention it looks wicked as well. Enough with the plug though, stay tuned for complete pics and a review once I get some hours in the saddle. If you spy me at the Kona24 this weekend don't be shy, you're welcome to take it for a spin.
So you've had a lovely morning out on the road bike. Good friends, sunny weather, hard climbs. It's your mum's birthday and you've got to get home to do birthday related stuff. Not to mention the 6hour mtb race the next day that you still have to build a new bike for. Let's role turns down this descent that we've done at least a hundred time before and time trial home.
Nothing new so far.
Fast forward nearly 2km and you're carving up a favourite sweeping left hander at 60km/h, a little bit of sun in your eyes...and a lot of gravel in the middle of the road. There's that familiar metal crunching and grinding on bitumen noise but for the first time it's followed by you personally doing your best cheese grater impersonation.
A week off work to avoid nasty hospital infections allowed time for the skull CT (clear) and a rebuild of both SRAM Red shifters with new shifter bodies and lever blades that hadn't been turned into carbon dust on the road.
So tomorrow it's back to work, still partially mummified.
Daylight savings is upon us and with it comes crit season. My torture of choice this morning was Carnegie Caulfield's opener at the popular Glenvale circuit. As always the report and results are up in a very timely manner here.
48 starters in A grade covered 47.5km in their hour + 3 laps. I spent most of the time trying to keep myself thereabouts in the first 10 wheels and getting some much needed leg speed. Everyone was on high alert with a protour representative fresh off the plane being very closely marked.
As the bell lap came there were three away. Sitting third in the lead out I swung off through the last corner and kept well clear of the potential carnage that followed. The break just held on, but more to the point it was then bakery time. A first time visit to Topbread in Glen Waverly for a delicious Blueberry Danish.
10 points to the first person who guesses who said protour representative was...hint above.
Now that I'm a full time employee my World Championships adventure was a bit of a whirlwind. Still enjoying the spoils of the full time paycheck I shelled out for some airtime with a 7.15am flight arriving in Canberra at 8.30 on Saturday morning. From there it was straight to Stromlo where it was nearly showtime.
A perfect day greeted us and it wasn't long before the Aussie ladies got their chance.
The techy climb quickly showed who had skillz. If you stayed smooth and rode smart there were places to be made as Jo demonstrated just after this.
Up front Lene was showing the field a clean pair of heels and had all spectators convinced the race was for silver between Sabine and Willow. Irina had quickly taken fifteen spots in a lap after some first lap mechanical issues and was on the charge though. Putting 20 seconds a lap into Lene and more into the others she rode into fourth on the second last lap and it became apparent that Willow and Sabine didn't have quite as strong a grasp on the Silver and Bronze as we all thought.
A bigger shock was to come though. As Lene rounded a fire road corner with a couple of km's of racing left Irina was on her wheel having caught and passed Willow and Sabine. We all know the story after that. Irina won her second world championship having dropped the fastest lap of the race on her final lap.
Special mention to Row who was struggling to walk on a badly sprained ankle but still rode strongly and looked set for a top 20 finish before a final lap flat. All the Aussie's finished on the lead lap. A big improvement from being unable to field a single rider a few years back.
A couple of hours for the crowd to refuel and it was time for the men. Macca found some secret lines on the bitumen and led the bunch out from third row on the grid. When he came through hammerhead about fifth the noise was deafening.
A lap later and the 'heads of state' (thanks Phil) had come to the front. Florian, Nino, Abi and Jose were almost swapping turns roadie style for the next four laps. With two to go it was time and Abi turned the screws.
We'd decided cardiac was where it was gonna go down and last time up Abi gave it everything. Nino stuck like glue though and just as they rode by Abi sat down, blown, with Nino still there and just waiting to show the winning hand.
Florian pipped Jose for third and K-bomb rode an ITT for fifth, pushing a single chain ring all day (as were Abi and Adam Craigh).
Coops and all the other Aussies were still riding strong spread from fifteenth to fiftieth. Well except Blairy who had had a minor digger that resulted in major mechanicals. As he attempted cardiac for the third time a bent hanger threw the chain behind the cassette and wasn't budging. A few minutes there plus the extra time lost meant he was destined to fall victim to the 80% rule.
Haas gave him a bit of extra sustenance to get him over the line. I'm sure you'll figure out what it was. Top ride Blairy!
I was pretty tempted yesterday. The trails looked to be in prime condition as I cruised by on the roadie. The roadie spin wasn't too bad though...until the heavens opened.
I took refuge at Emerald bakery for what must be one of the best apple cakes on the planet. The weather wasn't letting up though and eventually I gave in and braved the conditions for a very long hour's ride home. It was made even longer when the rear tyre started going soft a little too quickly to be nursed and required a change. On the plus side after more than four hours of hills and cold the legs still had some spark.
Back to the trails though. I snapped a (possibly worst quality ever) photo of a fancy new offering from Apollo at the SRAM X.X launch on Friday night. Whether it be the X.X or X.0 spec I don't know but I think I've found my new mtb.
For two weeks I've been a full time employee. Yuck! The nice part is a bit more routine. Normally I'd be just wakig up and heading out riding about now. With the body clock now used to early starts instead I'm finished riding and finding time very a long overdue update. Lucky too as it's overcast, spitting and the wind is picking up. Perfect weather for blogging and a long way from the perfect conditions a couple of hours ago.
Sunny, clear and still...well until we started heading home when the wind picked up nicely behind us to blow us home at about 45 clicks.
Plenty of others had the same idea with the 1in20 resembling Chapel Street last night. Our group was nine and it certainly wasn't alone nor the biggest. For the most part cars and bikes were playing nice which was unusual to see. Maybe we can co-exist?
I can't seem to buy a tail wind these days. After an hour yesterday pushing straight into the wind a childhood memory surfaced, When The Wind Changed. I can tell you it was all lies. No matter the face I pulled the wind just wouldn't change and I was stuck pushing into it the whole way home. On the plus side my face isn't stuck in any of the above expressions.
This is going to look like a bit of spam, but I'm quite excited. Forget what you thought you knew about these guys, they're back. I went to their 2010 product launch last night and met a whole new beast.
And that's just their high end. There were multiple low end models cool enough for me to consider exchanging cash for as well. Once again Australia has a domestic brand capable of occupying the dominant position. Forget buying Apollo to support the Aussie industry, buy them if you want the right tool for the job! They've got it all covered. Add them to the list of brands to consider.
Part of getting organised post Europe is figuring out what races I'm going to do, and therefore when I'll start riding again. This one is definitely on the calendar. 24th October...can't say no to the beach and the bike in one day.
With the roadie dispensed with in order to get to Europe, and the mtb finding a new owner on the weekend to wipe out the credit card I'm now bikeless. Actually I've still got the rigid bitsa commuter mtb but that doesn't count. Anyway the result of being bikeless is a break from the bike, time to organise non-bike life and of course no content on the blog for a while so I'll leave you with a hot tip...SQUIRT Lube!
I've been using it for 18 months but 9 weeks in Europe, 3 World Cups, 3 Random National Rounds complete with mud, dust and jetwashing has reminded me how far ahead of the competition it is. After all that you'd think the chain would be suffering. Imagine my surprise when preparing the bike for sale when I found the chain was practically new. No sideways slop, and stretch barely registering, I've seen new chains in worse shape. Now I know why it's a favourite at the Croc Trophy. Available at all good bikeshops, like Rollin' Cycles.
See you in a month or so. PS...need race wheels...check the garage!