Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pro superfail

I was amused at the Dutch road champiosnhips held over the weekend.
Apparently the Rabobank team had 19 riders in the event.
And..... they got 2nd and 3rd with a Milram rider, Niki Terpstra winning.
I don't have any more words except for ........ WTF!
The podium faces just say it all really.

Monday, June 28, 2010

a girl's bike

My girl has more bikes than I do!
Her bikes are tricked out just as much as mine are.
She likes to go fast and she knows what she wants in a bike.
She has represented Australia in BMX, Downhill, 4X and cross country.
She just likes to ride her bike.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

big tyres on a flashy bike

the 2.2 tyres are considerably large - like beach cruiser tyres. Roll over small children and animals with no problem.


some random shots of the last few weekends.
Continental Race King Supersonic between the Cannondale Flash seatstays
Looking PRO out the back of Stromlo!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

interesting day

The photo is a metaphor for getting things in balance.
Saturday was a weird one. I got up, had a couple of coffees, got rolling down the street for about 60 seconds and my roadie rear derailleur cable snapped. Luckily it occurred here there rather than 50km from home (which it has before).I cruised back home and fitted a new inner and outer cable. At this stage the roads were still wet after an overnight shower, so I decided to clean up the garage!
After being inspired by the bear's garage makeover, I decided to waste a few hours and give the cordless drill a workout. 3 large cupboards were installed, the multi-gym removed, and a fair bit of re-arranging took place. It is not totally sorted, but should be better. I need to better store my 30 odd water bottles, 50 spare tyres and 10 wheels. Not to mention the 8 bikes. In due course the service course will be better dialed!
At 1pm, I decided to head outwith great intentions of smashing some reps up Stromlo. The Feeling was one of 'is this right' as I cruised down over Commonwealth Ave Bridge at 50km/hr. That is a pretty decent northerly. I head south to do Stromlo hills. Stromlo heads up in a SW direction.
First run up doing 60rpm big ring chuggers was painful. Mainly due to the fact that the wind was horrendous.The climb took about 90 seconds slower than normal. I did another 4 after this. But instead of seated climbs did some out of the saddle efforts as the cold and the wind was somehow keeping the HR down. Riding home wasn't too bad. Just a huge head\side wind with no one to control the echelons except me.
On other breaking news, Friday produced a new PB up the twin peaks climb. By 7 seconds. The Race Kings were run at 29/30 front and rear. The next goal is to lop 16 seconds off the climb to break 47 minutes. I may also have to look at a second run up Mount Ainslie to stretch out the effort for another 30 minutes - I'll see how that goes. Just got to figure out a good way down Mount Majura and over to the saddle. There is always the 'mineshaft'. I think it will have to be that one as it is pretty much the only legal trail around there. Boring, but does the trick.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Continental Supersonic Race King review

I have an interest in any part of the bike that can make a difference to how it performs. Wheels, bearings and tyres as a unit can dramatically modify how a bike handles. As a short distance racer I value speed over grip, light weight over strength and colour doesn't really matter. White rims tend to scream civil union.
For the last 4 years I have run a standard tyre setup for every race. The Kenda Small Block 8 in a 1.95 configuration. I am so used to this tyre that I have run it in the dry, on rocks, in mud and it works and suits my style of riding.
Occasionally, I look around for something that matches a 420 gram, low block height, fast-hauling rubber rim protector. I have dabbled with Schwalbe Rocket Rons and Stans Crow and Ravens and that is about it! I also own some mud tyres that I take to races with me to ward off bad weather. Ie. they have never been used in 3 years.
I recently read about the Continental Race King Supersonic 2.2 tyres. The hype was quite substantial to say the least. I do run the Continental GP4000s tyres on my road bike and find them to be pretty cool with regard to rolling resistance and grip. I don't have any major requirements for the road bike as I just use it for training.
Loading them up: Easy to set onto the Stans Crest rim, just burst it through with the compressor gun. 3 scoops of sealant as per the suggestions by many on the mTBR forum. A very long time to seal these ones fully. I am counting at least 2 weeks to where they don't lose truckloads of air. This is a bit of a compromise.
Riding: the ride is what I would describe as supple. Almost the same feeling as the road tyre (in a sort of way). The tyre pressure is an interesting parameter to discuss. There is a definite sweet spot where the tyre feels awesome. any more and it is rough as guts. Any less, and it squirms like crazy.
Due to the big bag on this tyre it can float over just about any terrain with ease. This theoretically makes it faster for these rough sections. The extra weight over a SB8 is about 40 grams per tyre, so not hugely significant. The tyre has a very similar feeling to the SB8 when cornering. As tech skills are a relative strength in my arsenal of goods, I do like to lean and drift the bike when cornering. I am happy to use the side knobs for their intended purpose, relying less on brakes and an upright corenering style and more on good positioning on the bike. The Race Kings do not disappoint. I think that they have more grip than the SB8 - so of that is down to the rubber compound and larger bag obviosuly.
Against the clock. Those that are familiar with my work know that I am a fan of the stopwatch. After all it is all that we are racing against. I understand quite implicitly that there are many factors that can affect the clock such as wind, soil moisture, fatigue and atmospheric conditions. However, it works reasonably well. KISS!
Twin peaks. The climb up Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura from my front yard. I knocked 15 seconds off the fastest time I had done. In pure terms, this is 0.5% of an improvement (over 47 and a half minutes). What does this mean? Not a huge amount except that the tyre are as good as the SB8s I have been running.
Weaknesses: The tyre is thin. Probably the same as the SB8. Watch out for rocks that bite. Sealing properties are a little frustrating. This would not be good for a quick retread. 2 weeks to fully seal is a little ordinary. As a rule I will always install a tyre a week at the least before a race to ensure that it is a keeper, but 2 weeks is shady. Extra weight for steep climbs - being picky here though.
All in all, the tyre is pretty good. I have some photos of how the tyre sits in the bike and on the rim that will be posted shortly. Half my battle might be overcoming the comfort of running the same sort of tyre for 4 years. but for now, I will keep it on, run some more timed tests to get a feel for its baseline performance, then compare some more to the SB8s.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oakley Photochromic lens review

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I got a set of Oakley Photochromic Radar glasses. I have a quite a few different sets of Oakleys in the collection. I would go as far to say that I probably have more pairs of Oakleys than spare tyres in the garage!

In the Radar lens alone I have the following:
Fire Iridium - 16%
Blue Iridium - 15%
Black Iridium - 10%
Positive Red Iridium Polarized - 15%
G30 - 30%
High Intensity Persimmon - 59%
Clear - 93%

Now these all do slightly different things depending on the sunlight. Obviously black iridium for sun and High Intensity Persimmon and clear for darker conditions.

(insert Jeremy Clarkson voice here)
Enter.... the Photochromic.

As stated on the Oakley website: To reduce eye fatigue and improve performance and safety, photochromic technology automatically darkens and lightens the lens in response to the environment.

Pretty much the lens goes lighter or darker depending on whether your are in shade or sunlight.

This particular lens has a muted rose tint for improved contrast and image resolution across a wide range of light conditions. How far? From 40% to 9% apparently.

Yesterday was a really overcast day. The sun was only peaking out a little bit here and there. I must admit that the G40 lens is relatively boring compared to say fire, blue or positive red iridium, but as they say somewhere, horses for courses.

This lens was just about perfect for the day's conditions. My eyes felt as though there was a consistent input of light the entire ride (4 hours). The ability to see trail issues such as rocks, roots, bumps etc was excellent. I had a day where either I was totally 'on', or my eyes were 'on'. Everything just seemed to be easy to figure out at whatever speed I was hitting stuff at.

I really enjoyed wearing this lens. It worked extremely well in the overcast conditions, which is pretty standard for winter in Canberra. Also, with the sun a bit lower in the sky, the shadows are cast longer in the pine forests so often you might ride an entire area that is just dark. The fact that the lenses change colour seamlessly is a major bonus. I didn't really notice them changing at all.

One application that I think I will get a fair bit of use is the standard weekly early morning ride. This is where I start out with it being pitch black, then riding for a couple of hours through the sunrise and corresponding influx of sunlight. Another would be a dusk or dawn lap at a 24 hour race (teams of course) where the light is so varied.

So to sum it up, I am quite impressed with this lens. The G30 has been my Winter "go-to" lens for a couple of seasons because of its 30% transmission rate as well as the ability to handle shade and sunlight. But with the wide range of 40 - 9% on offer with the lenses of the G40 Photochromic, it might become the one that is reached for more often.

The only place where I haven't tested this is in truly bright sunlight. I just don't think I ever will either. I truly love my fire iridium and positive red iridium and black iridium options for this sort of light.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

a bit of everything

Saturday 19th June. 7 degrees, 22km/hr wind. Time tohead off road for today's 4 hour ride. I started off with a 'fast lap'at Majura. Now it rained pretty heavily on thursday so this was not that fast. There were still puddles from Capital Punishment there I reckon. Then I went across to the foothills of Moutn Ainslie underneath the powerlines, waking up a tribe of kangaroos, before descending some sweet, fast singletrack to Officer crescent.

From here it went urban. I did the most awesome skid past the druggo northbourne ave units onto the footpath. Bike was skidded around a right angle bend speedway style. Unfortunately, no one saw it. But it was pretty rad.

Went across to ANU. Somehoe whilst powering off across Barry drive, my rear derailleur cable pulled through, and I almsot flipped over the bars when the derailleur slammed it up 3 cogs. Just saved it, stopped and fixed the derailleur and got going again.

Chucked a hard right at Black Mountain and headed up. My initial thoughtwas to turn left after about 6 minutes of climbing the tar and hit the dirt. I climbed out of the saddle from the bottom for the first 5 minutes. I passed 2 roadies which was funny. I was feeling OK so continued out of the saddle to the top. That is the first time up Black Mountain road on the mtb, and out of the saddle the whole way. Interesting.

Headed down, and therefore took a right hand turn, to head down the firetrail down the western side of the mountain. Cork Plantation, Arboretum, dairy farmers hill, then onto Stromlo.

Stromlo climb up the trunk trail, hero grip, so left it in the dog. Tailwind up the climb. Feeling is superb. Then the descent down skyline and the berm track was perfect. Grip, tailwind, speed, all in abundance.

Next up was a World Cup climb including a reasonably sketchy run through hammerhead! The organic brake pads are way too grippy here. Sintered is better! Fireroad up to top of Stromlo, then another skyline and berm track run down.

Then I took the tailwind \ sidewind home, which got me home in about 40 minutes. Protein shake, shower, cheesecake, toasted Turkish bread. Stage 2 of 2009 TDF, snooze in bed!

New things today. Oakley Photochromic Radar lens. Continental Race King Supersonic 2.2 tyres.

Good things to say about these products, which will be mentioned in a new blog post or2 in the next week or so.

Monday, June 14, 2010

intervals with music

2 weeks on after the Capital Punishment I have done the right thing with regard to life in general. I took a week off 'outside' training and spent some time bonding with the wind trainer! Just really low intensity trying to get the muscles in the legs loose and supple again. It probably took about a week to feel semi-normal again on the bike.

Speaking of the bike.... Mud does interesting things to bike parts. New brake pads, new cassette, new chain, new saddle, new jockey wheels, new chainrings and new BB and hub bearings and the bike is feeling great!

In assisting with the relaxation phase, I invested in some good quality Scandinavian Vodka. This definitely made things pretty mellow.

But in due course, eating and drinking whatever I like in a recovery week gets old. Or more to the point, with a compulsive sort of phsyce it could get slightly addictive! So back on the bike for some outdoor work.

With the long weekend just gone, I went back to my power stomping grounds of Mount Stromlo on the road bike for some grinders. Because this was the first one back after a while I took some music with me.

On my IPOD I have some interesting music. I have a 2 hour mix which gets me through quite a few workouts. The songs are there for various reasons which I will highlight below. I think I had better keep this to the 20 most influential songs of my interval list.

1. Bombs over Baghdad. By Outkast (Rage against the Machine cover). This is a really fast song that just fully amps you up. The guys from outkast really pump it out hard. "Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals, Make a fair diamond out of dusty coals"

2. Paradise City. Guns n Roses. From one of the best albums of all time. And the best that GnR did I reckon. Trying my best to pretend that Canberra is the paradise city! "Take me down to the paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty" Really, what more do you want or need in life?

3. Tricky. Run DMC. How could you not go past Run DMC to get you going with a quick belter to get you up a third of the interval. "it's like that ya'll, but we don't quit, you keep on rock shot, cause this is it!"

4. I wanna rock and roll all night. KISS. When I was in primary school, a mate said that he went to the KISS concert and got a piece of the guitar that Gene Simmons smashed on stage. I think I was in grade 2. Not sure how my mate got tickets!

5. Whisky in the Jar. Metallica. This is the Saunier Duval theme song. Probably need to check out you tube for this one to make sense. The lyrics don't make much sense!
Click here for some sense

6. Straight outta Compton. NWA. Probably still trying to hang onto the teenage wigger gangster dreaming from grade 10. "Ain't no telling when I'm down for a jack move". Word!

7. Dude looks like a lady. Aerosmith. This somehow in a weird way makes me smile when I hear it. Makes the next 4 minutes and 25 seconds just absolutely fly. I like how the start goes in and out of both headphones. "So never judge a book by its cover". Beware cyclists who don't wear white!

8. U can't touch this. MC Hammer. OK 1989 was a sesnational year with respect to life in general. I attended my first MTB National championships, and the All Hallows girls from Brisbane were invited to our school dances. The fact that I knew all the words and could dance like MC Hammer was a big hit with the ladies. No, seriously!
"Bust through the moves run your fingers through your hair, this is it for a winner,
Dance to this and you're gonna get thinner"

9. Nitro. The Offspring. The offspring I could pretty much ride to for the entire duration of any ride. "Live like there's no tomorrow". Pretty much how Interval day goes.

10. Figured You Out. nickleback. Sometimes you just need some bogan rock to make things get you through the 5th climb of 7. This song is sort of like (describing) a porno.

11. Walk this Way. Run DMC, featuring Aerosmith. When Run, Daryl and JMJ got to gether with aerosmith, they managed to make a good song better. Rock did assist here.
"ya ain't seen nothin till your down on a muffin, and there's sure to be a change in way" I do have a muffin for breakfast, but tend to always have 2 eggs with 2 slices of bacon.

12. Staring at the Sun. The Offspring. A good metaphor for when you are at the bottom of the hill looking up at the top which seems so far away. "Maybe life is like a ride on the freeway"

13. Welcome to the Jungle. Guns n Roses. I mean seriously. This is just rock and roll! It is a wonder I don't bang my head up and down when I am riding with this one! "You can taste the bright lights, But you won't get them for free"

14. Best of Me. Foo Fighters. I went and saw Nirvana back in 1991 when they supported the Violent Femmes at Festival Hall in Brisvegas. I sort of thought it was cool that Dave Groll made a new band after Curt Cobain died. I try and use the word to pull through the latter sets. "it's real the pain you feel".

15. The Real Thing. Faith No More. My first coach got me into FNM back in the day. Good rock is solid. FNM just makes the legs go round and round. "It's the jewel of victory, The chasm of misery, And once you have bitten the core, You will always know the flavor"

16. Suspicious Minds. Fine Young Cannibals. This is a pretty good Elvis cover in my opinion. The dudes who used to be in the The Beat formed FYC back in 84 and did a lot of covers, making ood songs upbeat. It's ok to do intervals to - better for the recover though. "We're caught in a trap, And I can't walk out"

17. Send me an Angel. Thrice. When you do a Punk cover of a song, it usually goes harder and faster. Which, incidentally is what I feel like I am doing when I hear it. "Empty dreams can only disappoint, In a room behind your smile, But don't give up, don't give up"

18. Stronger. Kanye West. "Work it, make it, do it, makes us, harder, better, faster, stronger. Now that don't kill me can only make me stronger". I cannot think how many times I have relied on these words whilst I have been on a Big ring slog fest up the 6th climb into a bitter westerly headwind whilst the sun is turning black with the pain. It is a song that sets up the future.

19. Spare me the details. The Offspring. It is just pure comedy. "Three hours later and 7 shots of Jaeger". Well jaegar is my sets of climbs. Three hours is the time on the road. Set them up and shoot them down.

20. Want you bad. The Offspring. Just makes me think of when Jim was running in between houses when trying to score with Nadia (American Pie 2). "I want you, In a vinyl suit, I want you bad". Not lusting after some dude in an aero skinsuit!

So, what's next. Well, the CORC SuperD on July the 4th should be a good event. 9 minutes of speed down Stromlo's Skyline and berm track in a timed run for one and all. Bring skills, Anaerobic Work Capacity and a superfast bike