Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The last week or so has had a few big rides. Saturday was spent doing truckloads of climbing out in the Brindabellas on the road bike. This was a decent set of riding around which burnt up around 5000 calories in the space of 4 and a half hours. On Sunday there was a speed trap set up on Mount Stromlo. Essentially there was a big sign that stated your speed at a certain point of the descent. I was doing hill repeats on stromlo into the fiercest headwind, august is wind month here in Canberra. Therefore the descent had a tailwind. It was also 'old-person' day out on the road at Stromlo. This meant that I had to overtake some of the cars going down. They were cruising down at 35km/hr and with the wind I was spinning out the 53x12.
Coming down from Picadilly Circus into Condor Creek on Saturday was the same, big tailwind, sweeping corners. Cars can't keep up at over 60km/hr on these ones. Pretty much the only reason I head out here.
I have a new pair of forks on order as I am sure that the ones I have are not straight. I had a racing incident in January where I pulled a foot out straight after the start of a short track race and put it through the front wheel. The fork stopped the wheel and me from going any further, but I think that it may have done some damage, that as time passes on, is becoming a little more obvious. Of course it may be all in my mind, but the justifcation of getting the new forks makes me happy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Super D is here

Seeing all of the hype that this type of event generates in the United States makes it all the more exciting. About 200 ish riders turned out on a random weather type of day at Stromlo to take on the Mountain. This event was being billed as the Carolyn McKinlay Memorial Gravity XC in memory of a hard working club person whose life was cut short earlier this year.
As John Tomac rightly said "you have got to do Super D - it is what you do as a mountain biker" --- This pretty much sums up what Super D is about - getting to the top and pinning it back down.
Team Lonsdale Street Cyclery was out in force with Cam, Doug, Will, Devin, Kylie and myself all sporting the orange and black. There was a lot of crap talking going on both up top and down the bottom. The format of the event was to take in the best parts of Stromlo from the top to the bottom. This meant starting at the top and going down through Magpie Rock, Skyline, secondary berm track (real berm track being closed for repair), and down through the bottom section finishing in the carpark.
The DH crew had brougt their Tag Heuer timing system out so that each and every run could be timed. A mass start was not used for this event. Each rider could have up to 8 runs if they wanted to. I am pretty sure that the most any one did was 4. The length of the run was 9:12 for the winner, Chris Tucker. I managed a 9:14, and second place overall, on my final run - which also felt the slowest due to fatigue - but it was ok it seems! Kylie did 4 runs all up and convincingly took out the Elite Women's class ahead of Claire Whiteman and Cara Smith.
The weather was so weird today. It started off sunny and still, then went overcast and windy, then rained, then went sunny and still again, then followed the same pattern for the rest of the day. The best part of the wind was the awesome tailwind down Skyline - absolutely flying. The small block eights were fantastic as usual on Stromlo - run super low for super grip. The Titus Racer X was flawless as usual. I have not ridden it since March where I used it for a few of the Short track races whilst the Scale was out of action. All I did was put on a fresh SB8 on the rear and roll it out.
Different people ran different bikes and different gear. Some were on full DH rigs with moto baggies, and there were a few on XC hardtails with full lycra. The good thing is it didn't matter what was ridden, there is no way you can not enjoy 10 minutes of descending.
Saturday was spent smashing up the hills in the Brindies for about 4 hours where the headwind out turned into a headwind home - very annoying as the payback for the hard work out never eventuated! The afternoon on saturday was a nice little recce of the Super D course, which was conveniently marked out. This also confirmed that I needed to change the Raven to a SB8 on the rear of the Titus - grip is good at Stromlo!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sutton Road XC

WOW - how freakin cold was it? Well when I woke up and checked the Elder's weather site, it said it was minus 5 degrees centigrade. That is nice and fresh. Kylie got the car going early so when I hopped in it was nice and warm. That was a good start. I also had about 4 layers on of the new Lonsdale Street Cyclery winter gear. Nice work with this lot Janie and Trev!
After racing out to Sutton Road, I entered and proceeded to do a lap. I have only ridden here twice before about 3 years ago, and never raced here so it was on the to do list. The course had some secret 'rake sections' that were being bedded in for the first time in this race. I am not a fan of this but everyone has to ride it. After doing a lap, I figured it was pretty bumpy, so lowered the rear tyre pressure by about 2psi and dropped the saddle about 0.5 of  a millmetre - mainly just placebo fixes!
I spotted an ACTAS power meter on Michael Baker's bike and asked him about it, but he got a bit shy!
The XC coordinator called everyone down to the start line and got the race off underway on time which was fantastic. When the gun went off, I got a decent clip in and looked over and saw that Andy Blair was on a mission. He was bringing good form back from his last 4 months in Europe and Canada and was flying. I hit the singletrack in second place, but Andy was in and going. After a few of the fireroad sections Ben Henderson (back from Japan) went past also, which was no surprise. I settled in and was going nicely halfway through the first lap when I went to pedal out of a corner and heard some interesting noises.
Devastated, I looked down and saw my chain totally wrapped around the bottom bracket area near the frame AND around the outside of the crank down near the pedal. I tried to backpedal, forward pedal and totally use the force to sort it but it wasn't happening. I apologised to whoever was on my wheel and pulled over to sort it. All the hard work went down the drain as once again, all of the class went past me. It took quite a while to figure out what the chain had actually down. It was also an absolute miracle I didn't pull the derailleur off trying to sort the mess. When I got the chain in a normal location, I was floored by the biggest kink I have ever seen in a chain. One of my links was bent at about 70 degrees to the other one.
A few thoughts went through my head. I absolutely despise DNF options, but even that option went through my head, especially after the first try at trying to straighten the chain. I then got creative and used the leverage of the other links to bend it back. Yes, it was working! I got back on the bike and tried to stay calm. As I pedalled around I could feel the imperfection still in the chain. As the race wore on the chain would occasionally skip a little under pressure, which was pretty slight compared with the alternatives.
I lost about 40 seconds to a minute trying to sort the chain, and it took ages to get everyone back in sight. then it was a matter of trying to get through the pack back up to the pointy end somewhat. In addition, by the time we came through for the 2nd lap, we were already hitting traffic - they must have only just started these classes! Over the first 2 laps I pretty much worked my way back into 4th place.  But that was pretty much where things were going to stay for the day as Andy, Ben and Nick were lapping consistently faster and even more laps wouldn't have made any difference. Oh well, doesn't matter, could have been way worse.
Interestingly enough, this was a really fast course. Andy averaged 25.7 km/hr and I managed 24.9 km/hr. It was really cold - I even raced in arm warmers for the whole race. Haven't done that before. The Qoleum embrocation (number 1) was used on the legs and they didn't even break a sweat - Belgian style. I also didn't feel shattered after the race for the rest of the day. Might have been the cold weather, or might have been some other forces at play.
Socks - assos winter plus, arm warmers, 661 Raji gloves, Oakley Radar Path Blue Iridium, normal jersey and shorts, Qoleum No1 embrocation, EFS drink - lemon
The pictures attached are courtesy of Russ Baker. I threw out a slayer the first time I saw him, but he just missed it. As is the case, I had to get the hand back on the handlebar in the bumpy singletrack.
Next on the race list is the SuperD at Stromlo next weekend - this should be about 10 minutes of pure awesomeness. Ii will probably bring out the Titus for this one. Just a bit of extra speed!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

fresh mornings

Out this morning for an hour and a half down to Woden, then back up to the windy badlands of Gungahlin. The third early morning start in a row is always a killer and the second cup of coffee whilst recovering sitting down at work is pretty much the best.
The MTB is prepped and polished for the weekend's race. I have it on good authority that the race will be held in the clockwise direction at Sutton, as the motos have chopped it up a bit in certain quarters.
Hopefully the traffic will be a bit easier to deal with this weekend after the XC coordinator posted a bit of a warning on the CORC website. I liked the part - 'Don't ride around in your own bubble' and 'don't ride along for ages looking for the most perfect place to pull over'. But knowing how things go, and it is only a handful of certain people, it will be a good challenge as always!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

the last 7 days

In the last 7 days I have done the following.....
  •  gone to Mogo to do a recce of the Angry Doctor course
  • ate fish and chips at Bateman's Bay
  • had an icecream at Bateman's Bay
  • done a 15 hour training week
  • got a new Polar HRM - RS800CX
  • done a 4.5 hour ride in the wind in the brindies
  • frozen my ass off doing stromlo hills in the big dog
  • done the 4th fastest majura lap on my secret test loop
  • done the 2nd fastest twin peaks loop up Ainslie and Majura
  • had the best Italian wine with Kylie, Janie, and Trev
  • watched Boogie Nights and Studio 54
  • frozen my ass off in the morning on the road bike
In the next 7 days I hope to do the following
  • Have a strong race at the Sutton Rd XC clubbie
  • experience some warmer weather
  • do some cool stromlo singletrack
  • receive a postcard from Trev from italy
  • have a lighter week
  • in all reality do a bigger build week
  • have some good times!!!