Tuesday, June 30, 2009

in threes I guess

Sometimes it just rains heaps...... I got a flat this morning cruising around Parliament House. No big deal, just whack a tube in and off I go. Going up Northbourne avenue a bus driver went past me extra slow. So I pedalled a little faster and caught the lead out for about a kilometre from Macarthur House to Antill Street Dickson - and as a super bonus got through the lights (this never happens). After this intersection the bus turned off and I just recovered a little before heading up to the badlands of Gungahlin. Going past the Kaleen turnoff, I felt as though I was floating a bit - yep, flat tyre. I managed to get up to a spot where I could get off the road and fix it. Again no biggie - I carry 2 tubes and was only 10 minutes from home.
Because the first flat had cost me 2 CO2 cartridges I was slumming it with the hand pump. At about 80psi, the tube valve snaps off and my tyre goes flat at the bottom. Mobile phone gets a work out. I have to be (dis)content with 40 kilometres for the morning in a little over an hour. When I put a new tyre and tube on a lunchtime I managed to blow 2 tubes up because the tyre wouldn't hold the bead - this has never happened to me before and if you have ever blown a tube up (literally) when inflating it inside an enclosed room - you know how the ringing in the ears sounds!!
Anyway, I also managed to stick some new Crank Bros Egg beater 4ti pedals on the MTB also. My other set 'wore out'. By this I mean they got worn down over the course of the year - but I can pretty much pinpoint it to one race weekend at the Geelong National Round. They had pretty much gotten so loose that I was pulling the cleat out at really inopportune times. The difference in substantial metal between the two is, well, substantial!
I also managed to install my new 'Pine Scented' Kenda Small Block 8 tyres - I will be able to smell the serenity as I cruise through key Stromlo locations. Almost nothing better than new tyres - maybe new chain, cassette and chainrings.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Randomness of it all

The last 2 weeks has seen a lot of riding go down. Obviously it all has a purpose. That is, to get faster. The winter so far has been reasonably mild during the days which has allowed for some decent riding. Today was not one of them. Saturday was spent on a training ride that I would rate up there in the top 10 of all time. It was one of those days when you climb in one extra harder gear, and you can punch it out of the saddle, it hurts but you can still go hard anyway.
It started off by cruising over the back of Mt Ainslie on the MTB to do some dog hills. 3 minute hills - VO2max style - 6 times, all within 2 seconds of each other. Straight after those it was the standard loop up to the top of Mt Ainslie, then over the saddle, and the standard loop up to the top of Mt Majura. I have done this climb heaps of times and know exactly how each minute feels! It is a great feeling when the form is allowing you to push 1 gear harder even when going up the steep stuff, and when the ground is moist.
Anyway, after the Majura ascent, I bombed back down the water bar fireroad, and pinned it back home to refill the bottles. I then made my way out to Stromlo via the way of Bruce Ridge, Black Mountain, the Cork plantation and the arboretum. It was just sensational riding through all of these places. The trails were grippy and the legs were strong.
By the end of the day, I had clocked up my allotted hours and was pretty happy with how things went.
Sunday - different story. I woke up. The alarm hadn't gone off. No big deal. The coffee was good. The roads were still wet from the small amount of rain last night. I cruised out, aiming for 4 hours. 30 minutes into the ride, had readjusted that back to 3:15. Was feeling good when I got to the 1 hour mark. A slow wake up I guess. Started climbing out of the Cotter. Again the extra gear was being used. Cool. Climbing out to Blue Range descent - yep extra gear and feeling comfortable out of saddle. Descent into Blue Range, then up the riser out of the saddle, snap - spoke goes on my Dura Ace carbon 1380 rear wheel.
Ok so at this spot I am about almost the furthest spot away from home possible on bitumen. The rear wheel is rubbing on the chainstay badly and not allowing it to rotate, and I am over it! Luckily I always carry my Crank Bros multi tool and was able to fashion a straight wheel thanks to the integrated spoke keys. However, there was the biggest hop in the wheel, that almost hit the seat tube every rotation. So it was then very carefully back to Stromlo, where Kylie had so graciously accepted my call for technical support and a lift home!
And then to top it off - I had to go into work to rebuild a database that was somehow linked to the soul of Michael Jackson and had crashed badly on Thursday. Oh well, not to worry.
Stats for the weekend
Hours ridden: 7
MTB / Roadie ratio: 75/25
Ascent: 2700m
Clif Shots consumed: 8 packets
EFS energy drink: 4 bidons
Spokes consumed: 1
Cost of shimano spoke: reamed
Hours spent fixing database: 5
V02max minutes: 33
Lens Saturday: Positive Red iridium
Lens Sunday: Blue Iridium
Birthday parties for 1 year olds: 1 - happy birthday Angus!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bring out the sun

After a week of freezing temperatures, the weekend was totally kick-ass. The sun was out and there was some good amount of riding to be had. Saturday morning was spent at the bmx track watching Kylie hit the rhythm section over and over manualling, pumping and jumping her BMX. She was having a blast throwing in X-ups over her favorite doubles. After that, and the sun and blue sky coming out, I headed out on the road bike for the longest ride I have probably ever done. I might have done longer when I was younger, but I can't remember. On my way out of the Cotter past Stromlo, I saw Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell crossing the road. I stopped and talked some crap with them before embarking on part 2 pf the ride.
Towards the end of the ride, I stopped in to see Trev at the bike shop. I was asked why I was running a 23 on the back. I said it was a 25. No it looks like a 23. Both Jim and Trev were adamant. No I am sure it is a 25. Trev cleaned up the cassette and confirmed that it indeed was a 23. Now that explains why those 10% grades of Black, Ainslie and Majura were so hard on Monday. That is just hilarious. I could have sworn it was a 25 - should have looked - I have been running this cassette for at least 6 months. Funny.
On Sunday, I ventured out off road. No racing this weekend. I usually take a 6 week break from racing to just freshen the mind, and keep the hunger. Kylie and I rode out to Stromlo on the dirt. Along the way we climbed 'one tree hill' which probably has a real name, but we call it 'oth'. A massive sculpture of a giant bird and a nest made out of old farm tools welded together has been put in place.  This is pretty wild and probably the best bit of art I have ever seen.
Kylie and I sprinted each other home up every rise and were absolutely hammered by the end. always a good way to finish a ride and the weekend. Some good stats for the week were put down and the winter build is going very nicely. The outlook is for more good riding this week, and a bit of a team bonus should be arriving from Canada also.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


WOW! that is some cold weather we have. I woke up this morning and the trusty Elder's weather site stated that it was -4.7 degrees Celsius. Finally my Assos fetish has paid off! I was nice and warm venturing out this morning at 6am. At 6:40am (I found out later) it had dropped to -5.9 degrees. Maybe Kylie was right suggesting that I join her in the living room at 17 degrees on the wind trainer. When the sun finally came out some time after 7am it was a beautiful day and I was glad to be outside. I try to only revert to the trainer if it is raining before I head out.
I am sure that this weather is nothing compared to what people in 'real' cold places experience. One thing I do notice when it is cold is that there is a bit more ice on the roads and that some drivers have their brain freeze also.
Some inside gossip for the National Series for 2009/2010 has just come to hand. Apparently they will only run Elite, U23, U19 and U17. Personally, I do think that this is a good idea. If it is subscribed well it could mean that the Elite ranks swell up and there could be some decent numbers that start. This means that doing well will mean a whole lot more. The Australian Titles will still cater for the other 'support' classes, but not the National rounds. Only time will tell.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fog, rain, sunshine, wind - what else do you want?

That pretty much sums it up. On Saturday, I cruised out to Picadilly Circus via the Cotter. 2 hours of fog later, I crested the hill before blue range and it was the best brightest sunniest day you could think of, unreal. Up through Condor creek, then kept going once I hit the dirt and spun up to Picadilly circus - it is a different world out here - haven't been out this far since 1993-ish - But I wouldn't recognise it anyway. Last time I rode it was back from an epic that turned bad. We had to ride home from Picadilly Circus to Canberra in the dark! - that is about 55km - mega fringale!

When I cruised back (on saturday) after the awesome descent, I hit the fog again - and it was thick - I could barely see about 50m in front of me. It lasted all the way back home. I even took a slight detour back up Mount Stromlo to see if it had lifted. Not really.

Today I looked out the window early and saw potential blue sky. A quick check on the Elders weather site said 'go climb some hills' A bit of snow in Thredbo has made it cold here. 4.4 degrees C windchill. 20km/hr winds. Time for some Assos windstopper and I was good to go.

A nice cruise up Majura, Black and Ainslie was only punctuated by 1 flat tyre and a punter trying to use my draft in the side wind. I stepped it up and flicked him off my wheel so I didn't have to worry about anything else. I don't do lead outs for muppets!!!

The hills were hard today with all of them having some form of headwind - as if they weren't hard enough. The descents were great though even with the wet roads. As a bonus 3 minutes after I got home it started raining - that has to be good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Long weekend coming up

The bruises are coming out very nicely now, great shades of yellow and purple. The knee is feeling great. And as a bonus there is a long weekend coming up. Thanks Queen for your birthday.
This week the inside/outside balance fell in favour of the trainer. On wednesday I actually felt pretty good for 2 hours on the trainer. On Thursday I was just about over it! It does build mental toughness though.
I also managed to acquire 2 new pairs of Oakley Radars this week from my connection at Oakley South Pacific - thanks Rob! I got my paws on a set of pro white with positive red iridium lens, and also a set of Retina Burn radars.
These retina burn glasses are a sweet throwback to 1990 when I got my first set of Oakley sunglasses. This was a set of Oakley razor blades in exactly the same colour combo. Hopefully I will get a chance to wear them this weekend, even if it is forecast for cloud and rain!
Apparently Oakley have limited these to a run of 1000 worldwide (500 in path and pitch lens types) and australia has 100. They will be treated like white gloves - only brought out for special occasions!

Monday, June 1, 2009

flats and crashes

Funny old weekend. As is the way, I haven't had a flat on my road bike for ages. Descending down to Blue Range, my front tyre felt a bit soft. Yep, flat. Going back past Parliament House the rear felt a bit soft. Yep, flat. Lucky I carry 2 spare tubes, that got me home with a bit of a loss of rhythm, but not too bad for the 4 hours.
It was so cold down at the Cotter River when I stopped for some water, I mean, the morning was cold anyway, I left home at 7 to try and beat the wind as it was forecast to be picking up a bit in the day. Climbing Mt McDonald and also up to Condor Creek and Piccadilly circus definitely warmed me up.
By the time I was cruisng back past stromlo to head home, I decided to climb Stromlo to get some water and check out the weather. Parliament house flag, upright all the way home, just had to get to adelaide ave for the tailwind.
On Sunday, I decided to take the MTB out as it had rained a bit overnight and was forecast for drizzle. It all started well, riding from home out to Bruce Ridge, then through Black Mountain and the cork plantation before the first hour had passed. Hammering through the arboretum and then along the superhighway I was then pinning it up to the start of Stromlo. The see-saw was good, then around a few more corners and across a rock armoured water crossing. Here my chain decided to jump off and when I went to pedal I just went over the bars and splat. OK, dust off everything and get pedalling again. The knee had been hammered in that one - not sure if stem or ground, but it freakin hurt. Better keep it warm though, so up to the top of stromlo via the trunk trail in the big dog - probably had a tailwind.
After the ascent I was pinning it down the berm track and lining up for the small gully jump, when the front wheel washed through a nice erosion drain leading into the small take off ramp. Somehow I was spat off at 45 degree to the take off line and heading towards the inners of the gully nowhere near the take off ramp. Somehow I got into and out of the gully, did a somersault and landed on my feet, and as a bonus, the bike was fine and I was fine.
Well sort of anyway, I copped a seat in the groin, and may need a new helmet, and some new skin for my elbow, but I was OK enough to keep going down, and then do a run up the World Cup climb - no dabs of course, then cruise back home.
That night my knee blew up a bit, but the ice kept it in check. My neck feels about a centimetre shorter - It'll lengthen out over the week though! But most of all ,the bike is OK.
But I think I have drunk too much coffee - I need some food now - starting to shake!