Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goin' Aero

Decided to drop the stem 10mm today, supposedly aero is where it's at. Must have saved me some energy as for the first time I had the kick to crest Burgundy Street first on tonight's Tour De Burbs...that or the fact that I got through some lights on the orange while Clacka, Rohin and the multitude of roadie hardmen had to wait out the red.

Noticing something else, those DT Swiss hubs are like a good wine getting better with age. I really shouldn't be able to out roll people with 15kg's on me, but it happened repeatedly tonight. Speaking of hubs check out today's workshop highlight. It's ok to make mistakes, just be upfront about them...

Customer - Can you true my wheel
Me - Sure
Mount in stand, attempt to spin, wheel jumps out of stand.
Me - Actually no, it won't spin.
Customer - Oh
Me - Did you try and service it?
Customer - Um
Me - These two bits are back to front, do you want me to fix it?
Customer - Yeah, may as well, I didn't know which way they went in.

When you pull something apart set it out in order, a foolproof way of getting them back in the right spot.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

That Odyssey Thing

This guy couldn't race. The entry was only for 50 clicks though so I became Mr. Comport for a day.

Needed packing time so riding was done pre-work at stupid o'clock.

Not many keen on joining me at that time.

Even this guy has a snarl to him in the early morning light.

The early bird...struggles later in the day and requires sustenance.

Race day dawned with a pleasant lack of downpours compared to last years race. Nice weather means a bigger turnout.

That's after the 100km race has started. Imagine the fuss with three times the bikes!

Got me a front row possie, wouldn't want to miss a pedal.

Then the gun went. I planned on an easy ride, chatting, taking pics, but that white line fever thing happened so all you get is text from now on. Managed to pass the lead car in the rollout down the Great Ocean Road, took line honours for the KOM then rolling turns with Peacock Junior on the roads and getting the bike all kinds of sideways making our way through hundreds of 100km riders. Then I flatted...so chased, then couldn't evade a somersaulting 100km rider and took a tumble myself...so chased, than got caught in a 30 rider congo line through the 'Timed Descent'...so chased...and then it was over. Results. Special mention to Crazy Craig who obviously found it too easy on a standard single speed last year, so brought the rigid singlespeed 'cross bike this year and managed to cover the 100km in 5.45!

After doing the hundred last year I wondered why people entered it over the 50km race knowing they'd be out there 10+ hours. Now I know why, it's all about reward for effort. The first 50km is the effort of endless climbing, the second 50 is the reward in sweet trails. Once you've done the first 50 you may as well ride the second 50. It's the hundred or nothing for me from now on. Or maybe the reward for effort is form and going fast in Taswegia next weekend is the reward, fingers crossed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

UCI Knows Best

I thought it'd be novel to race a UCI sanctioned road race with a bike under the 6.8kg limit. That plan went well for about half a lap of the 13 lap race. It was then that karma decided to release my rear quick release skewer through a corner to make a menze for my flouting the rules. This quickly jetisoned my rear wheel and I could have been mistaken for a cowboy straight from the wild west as I struggled to control a bike that had transformed into a bucking bronco.

Good news was that I stayed upright, and so did everyone around me. Bad news was that I now had to try and solo myself back to 90 of the best roadies Australia and NZ can offer up, and it was just at the stage that they were all trying their hand at an early breakaway. After 30 minutes the gap started to blow out and I started catching shelled riders that had sat up, so I followed suite. Bit soft but that appears to be the roadie way judging by the near 50% drop out rate the results show. That was reflected in our car with Dmac and Neil finishing strongle in the main bunch, while Jimmy and I have a DNF next to our names. Note that Jimmy was going along rather nicely with a peak power of almost 1700 watts, until he took a digger over the bars at 60 clicks when someone decided to have a lay down in front of him. All bones intact and only missing a little bark he was keen to fight on, unfortunately his front wheel had decided it didn't want to stay intact and his day was done.

Then it was off to the You Yangs to drop in on the Bush Fire Relief Enduro. Awesome turnout and plenty of cash collected thanks to Big Rich's creative 'fining' for anything from skidding to mismatched jersey and bike brands going into the Red Cross coffers. We even got a fine for racing road instead of mtb...harsh but fair.

Lastly I'll leave you with this gem by Mr. Random...Neil VDP...had Dmac and I in tears. Upon entering Subway and prior to this photo being taken (in which he appears to be turning on the charm) he proceded to the middle of the counter where the white feet are stickered on the ground. When informed that the correct place to begin his order was his pictured position he replied with a shocked face, 'I was just standing where the feet told me to'.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Roadie Carnage

A first for me today, a tubular blowout...and they're damn loud. Being almost home I decided to test one of the 'for' arguments in regard to tubulars. I can now say from first hand experience that they're definitely safer to ride flat than clinchers.

Oceania Road Champs are Sunday so I'm glad it happened today. Good excuse to replace the Conti Giro with a nice new Vittoria Evo Corsa, making the bike weight a little more illegal. In other carnage news I don't know the full story behind this one that came through the shop, but I'd say he's lucky to have his teeth.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Keep On Rollin'

The bike didn't want to stop yesterday, k's continuing to tick long after I'd stopped for work.

Wheel not spinning, magnet nowhere near sensor. It was an indicator of what was to come that night as I was sans lights a long way from home with the sun setting. More k's than expected and some seriously tender trigger points in the legs.

A visit to Kew Boulevard Crits care of Hawthorn Cycling Club meant 25+ hill sprints and no doubt contributed to the soreness. I haven't been there for years but still managed to get plonked in A grade.

Willo made it a couple of mtbers in the bunch and was very active in the early moves. With 10 minutes left I managed to move clear of the bunch and found myself working well in a group of three chasing another two off the front. We didn't catch them, but I did nail the final corner and cross the line best of the rest.

Like Glenvale and Sandown all placegetters of course donated prizemoney to those affected by the bushfires. I did score a bidon to forever remind me of the tragedy that continues to unfold around us. We all know someone that has lost their homes and/or loved ones.

We're a nation that stands behind each other, as illustrated above cyclists tend to be pretty good at it so get down to the You Yangs this Sunday for some fun on bikes while fundraising to help those affected rebuild their lives.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Main Event

Saturday's race was purely the warm up to what could have very well turned out to be an Eva Epic exploring Klingsporn.

Practically hunger flatting when we rolled out after a lengthy delay collecting people from all over Buller the pace was on. We crisscrossed the DH track during their race runs managing to avoid a collision and then soon reallised XC race bikes probably weren't ideal for the trail.

Fourty minutes later, with a group average of about one digger each, we reached the bottom with disc rotors sizzling. Special mention to Ben, Sid's thirteen year old cousin, who had three of the biggest over the bar adventures I've seen and not only got right back on the horse but was happy to lead the way.

That's him to the right ignoring the routine face washing and bottle filling in favour of stripping off and going for a dip. Meanwhile I checked how my wheel building skills were holding up and am happy to report that 1300 gram race wheels can survive Klinsporn at least once without developing a single wobble.

As to the Epix boys trail ranking criteria I will have to make some enquiries about it. If the decision is made purely on the section of trail being ranked then I can understand their decision to put Klinsporn at the top of the list. Unfortunately I'm going to have to deduct points as the remainder of the ride was a plain old death march.

Up...for 90 minutes...with a distinct lack of shade. Good for you but not so fun. Shuttles anyone?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

National Round #4 - Mount Buller

Things went better this weekend...
...much better.

It was looking good when I got time to do TWO practice laps. The theme to the course was 'baby head' rocks and bull dust, the plan therefore was to get the holeshot, ride smooth and maintain momentum.

Come race day I started from the back row, missed a pedal and was dead last and a few metres off the back as we looped our way around Buller Central on the bitumen. On reflection it couldn't have been a better way to start as I closed the gap to the bunch just as we hit a small rise, and used the extra speed I had to roll past everyone as we crested it. The holeshot was mine. Now all I had to do was ride smooth and maintain momentum...which went well for two and a half laps before I spied second place for the first time in the race a few switchback behind me on the climb.

The rest of that climb was a flashback to National Champs last weekend. Worrying about the other guy, riding off my line while checking on the other guy, losing time to the other guy. There's definitely something to be said for the mental side of racing as the difference this week was that I then forgot about the other guy and focused on this guy. Going back to riding smooth and maintaining momentum I nailed the decent, floated up the granny ring climb and got the bell lap.

It was easy to keep the focus on my riding from then on, 'the other guy' was nowhere to be seen as I zigzagged my way up the switchback climb. That focus was well spent aswell as my front derailleur managed to rotate around my frame. Big ring...tick, tick, tick...hmmm, hitting my crankarm...can't use that one. Granny ring...grind, grind, grind...not changing...can't use that one. With no big ring available and the gap reopened the final decent was a bit more cautious not wanting to flat or drop a chain. As I approached the final granny ring climb my right hamstring gave me an ultimatum, find the granny ring or I'm gonna cramp. I ignored and pushed the middle ring over the first section getting some strong reinforcements on that ultimatum from my hamstring. A slight levelling of the climb gave me opportunity for a desperate ankle flick towards the chain, or should I say precision ankle flick as the chain dropped to the granny ring, the threats of cramp disappeared and I set sail for home.

So I had a win, the results tell the numbers story. The podium was a reverse of the top three series placings which tightens it up nicely with one round remaining, and my final Expert race before graduating to the Elite ranks. If that podium were to repeat in a months time Sean would hold on to take out the series two points clear of me with Damien one point back in third.

As always there are some thanks to give out. Tim for capturing the podium shot, Jimmy for transport and being a very helpful practice lap buddy, DC for organising accomodation, Rollin' Cycles for having the solution to all things bike and finally the fatties for running the race and having the sense to place a neutral water station half way around the course in this record heat wave.