Friday, July 30, 2010

happiest bear in the world

Ok, so this doesn't have too much to do with cycling, but it is funny. David might get a kick out of it though ;)
Me, Kylie Minogue doesn't too much for me, music or otherwise.
Due to the feral weather in Canberra this weekend, I will be heading down the coast slumming it on the mogo trails once again. It is truly awesome that a major shift in climatology can occur with a 2 hour drive.
I am looking forward to 19 degrees and dry trails. Always a good excuse for a road trip. After shoving the legs full of Glucodin last night, I am hoping that they are slightly recovered from all of the hills in the last week. I'll find out today at lunch on a twin peaks smash fest on wet trails.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recovery on the wind trainer

All of the climbing I have been doing in the last week caught up with me yesterday. I did my standard Wednesday stromlo repeats, with precision 5% variation, but the legs were trashed, and it was more sheer strength and stupidity that got me through. There were about 3 moments at various times where the sky turned black.
I'm not all that surprised, however, so Thursday was scheduled for a really light day. Fortunately it rained. I find it almost impossible to do recovery rides on the road, what with all of the commuters and other roadies to chase down and tease, and the trails were just too wet to even bother to trundle around on.
The photo attached shows the 'mission control' area of my handlebars. Keen eyes will pick out the specific attention to detail I have gone to ensuring that the electrical tape that binds my handlebar tape matches the electrical tape that holds my battery on my stem. Yes this is a PRO setup, and I will probably work harder at it in due course with some white tape being a subtle, yet classy addition.
As you can also see, my recovery ride is essentially just 'walking' whilst on the bike. 93 beats per minute at the 18 minute mark is pretty much all I did for the duration of the ride. It's like stirring a pot slowly, where the pot is me and the mixture is blood and oxygen (and the other things in there). I think I averaged 94bpm for the entire ride. I know it is a good time for a recovery ride when the windtrainer is a viable option and I actually enjoyed riding slowly on it.
Tomorrow is massage day, and a good thing, because I am attempting to miss the windy, wet and cold Canberra weekend and head down the coast again to ride the Mogo trails in balmy 19 degrees warmness. Got to be happy with that. Also got to have fresh legs for the hills that await.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview with Dylan Cooper

I thought that I would throw something new out in my blog world. A few random questions with arguably one of Australia's fastest cross country and short track exponents, Dylan Cooper. Dylan is one of those guys that you see who makes riding a bike look effortless. He is also one of those guys that you always see out training, riding and racing. And so he should be, as he is PRO.
Aside from building up and managing his own business ( Dylan has managed to battle through a mid-career debilitating illness to come out on top in the MTB world in Australia and ride mountain bikes really fast. He currently splits time between Australia and Japan keeping his sponsors happy.
I like racing against Dylan as he pushes you hard. Much harder than you would normally go either by yourself or with others. When I think I am going fast, I just need to line up on the start grid next to Dylan and be shown how much more training I need to do. He is also extremely generous with his time and knowledge, which is a lot more than can be said about others who blow hot or cold.
Alright then, onto the interview..........

1. Name, age, current sponsors

Dylan Cooper, 31, Trek, Bontrager, Conceptis

Q2. Best day on the bike you have ever had

A.Riding northshore stuff in Vancouver on a perfect summer evening

Q3. Hardtail or Dually?

A. Always hard

Q4. Roadie or MTB?

A. Both. Variety is the spice of life. But if I had to choose - fat treads of course

Q5. Hours per week of training. Roadie \ MTB split % ratio.

A. 12-22. Mostly road actually. Especially in Japan where MTB trails are too full of hikers and overgrown plants. In Australia, more MTB.

Q6. Best result at any race (or best season if applicable)

A.Would've been the World Cup XC in Canberra in 2008, if I didnt puncture twice. Went from top 15 to 21st. I love that track!

Q7. Favorite cycling discipline \ Preferred Cycling discipline

A. Dirt

Q8. High socks or low socks?

A. In between. Too short or too long both put one's sexuality in question.

Q9. Coffee or Cola?

A. On the bike: coffee before, cola at the end. Off the bike: coffee rules, cola is dirty.

Q10. Ride slow and long, or short and fast?

A. Long and fast. Slow is boring.

Q11. You have 4 hours to do a ride. What is your choice, and where do you go.

A. Bike path thrash, then hit techo trails with lots of cornering and climbing.

Q12. What's your take on the colour 'white' in cycling?

A. It's good for summer and stands out for sponsors, so I rate it. Having said that, it is starting to be over-used. Backup stealth kit for muddy days is a must.

Q13. Any people in cycling that you either look up to or respect. (apart from me of course;))

A. Yes, you of course JD. But also those people you see out there, whether it's on a race track, on the trails, or on the bike path, just having a go. It's easy to push hard when you're fit, but to push hard when you don't train hard or aren't experienced - that's real pain. Beginners at races who push themselves to the end, or those sweaty commuter-war riders on shitter bikes with wobbly wheels and brakes rubbing... respect.

Q14. Favorite place to ride (overseas and in Australia)

A. Australia: Stromlo or Mt Beauty

Overseas: Whistler, easily the best.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

more mogo pics

Far out, another granny gear climb.

Recovery session, cold water.
Artistic, over the shoulder shot

This is a full granny gear hill. Ouch.

First bit of singletrack for the day

Navigation by HTC Legend mobile phone. Downloaded KML file off internet.

Let's get rolling....
Dry trails, steep hills

Dry + warm = happy - riding without warm gear both days

Interesting Notes:
  • Half the total climbing (vertical metres) occurs in the first 25km of the 100km route.
  • Some of the course was overgrown - a little hard to see where the track was cut in.
  • Totally understand why the course is raked prior to the race - lotsof leaf litter
  • Chose the Photochromic lens option each day. Winter sun = lots of shade. Kylie ran the Positive Red iridium option, and was happy as well.
  • Did a 'flat' ride out to Condor Creek on Sunday. Was a strong feeling ride - the tailwind out didn't hurt either!
  • Accommodation manager said that the weekend in September is more busily booked than Easter.
  • Course familiarity is now quite strong. This removes a lot of the anxious energy not knowing where a trail goes.
  • I set the DVD to record the final ascent of the Tourmalet, only to get the latter half of a Law and Order episode - DVD program FAIL!
  • Had awesome pizza at 'Heat' woodfired pizza at Batehaven.
  • Was totally awesome to ride without winter gear for a couple of days.
  • I think I might head down again next weekend......

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mogo singletrack

Stories to come in due course. But, here is the executive summary.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Off to see some sun with warmth

Another early morning, another effort to get dressed for the ride, another minus 3 morning, another flat. This time out in the badlands of Gungahlin.
Therefore, it is with great anticipation that I am heading off tomorrow morning to the sunshine and warmth of Batemans Bay and the hilly trails of the Angry Doctor at Mogo town.
I intend to hit up the trails of the 2009 Angry Doctor as part of my recce for this year's Angry Doctor 100km race. Friday will be spent sorting the first 50km. Saturday will be spent re-learning the first 50 and then sorting the 50-75km section.
I have downloaded a KML file for the 2009 event which should assist with the navigation of the parts that I cannot remember from last year. I actually can recollect most of the first 50km, the main parts of the 2nd fifty I remember are the massive climb at the 60k mark and the snake track. The rough guide (using the 2008 image) is shown above
In other semi-related news, I am really looking forward to the attacking that may occur on the Tourmalet tonight as Andy Shleck attempts to wrestle back some time from the Pistolero de Pinto, Alberto Contador. Should be good. With only a couple of flat stages plus the TT this is the major place where the overall results can be upended. My prediction is that Menchov, whilst a better time trialler than Sammy Sanchez, will try to make up time here to reduce the pressure in the race for 3rd place. I do think that first and 2nd are sorted, unless something just goes horribly wrong.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cold, hard intervals

After having an awesome ride on Tuesday in the relative warmth of 11 degrees and no wind whatsoever, I ventured out on Wednesday morning to the West of Canberra to Mount Stromlo. After heading downstairs to the shed to get my rear light, I was seriously deliberating setting up the wind trainer and watching TDF Tourmalet stage 15.
After taking about 15 minutes to get dressed.......
  • Assos winter plus socks,
  • Outwet long sleeve undershirt
  • Standard LSC knicks
  • Assos windblock long tights
  • LSC team winter jacket by Sugoi
  • Assos windstopper\roubaix booties
  • Bellweather Roubaix booties (yes a 2nd set)
  • Jetblack roubaix\windstopper gloves
  • Assos windstopper gloves
  • Assos Robocap roubaix beanie
  • Oakley Radar Photochromic glasses
  • Specialized D2 helmet
  • Shimano road shoes
I had warmed up considerably and was almost sweating!
I was heading out on the road finally, it was coolish and very quickly all the heat from my body was sucked out. It was after all, about minus 3.5 degrees celsius. As I live on the foothills of Mount Majura, it is all pretty quick for the first 5 minutes - The average is about 40km/hr until the left hand turn off Antill Street to Northbourne Ave.
By the time I had cruised along Northbourne avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Adelaide Ave I had warmed up reasonably well, and was motoring along nicely(ish). My muscles felt short and the seat felt pretty high!
I made it to the bottom of Stromlo road in a fairly decent time but could feel things getting a little colder. I did 4 climbs of the mountain. All times were within 10 seconds of each other. This is probably because the legs were cold slabs of meat and only going around from sheer determination.
There was a massive section of black ice 3 metres long that I was hitting whilst climbing up at 20km/hr and also from the other direction going down at 50km/hr. Only a hassle going up really, the rear wheel would spin out a bit if I gave it some.
Due to the cold, the times were all about 20-30 seconds slower than normal, thus showing that when a little cold, the legs just do not put out the same power.
I would dare to say that this has been the coldest morning of the year. And to top it off, on the way down the mountain, I picked up a small sliver of wire which resulted in a slow leak, an email with a photo to work, and a late arrival of 10:10am at work. Luckily Wednesday is my 9:30am start day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A great weekend, they always are.........

The weekend past was always going to be a good one. It started off nicely on Friday with a recovery ride through Mount Ainslie trails followed by a massage of the legs after work. Saturday was spent doing Alberto Contador impersonations in the the mountains. A fair bit of high-ish intensity sort of work going up the hills out in the Brindabellas.
I don't think that there was a breath of wind whilst I was out there. It was only coming home that it started to pick up. I finished off the ride by heading out to Gungahlin into the headwind which was a bit of a struggle, but the tailwind reward fully made up for it, as I averaged close to 45km/hr for the entire trip home. That is a really good feeling. it makes you feel really fit!
Sunday was a more subdued day on the bike, and my 7th day in a row. So as to be expected, it was pretty mellow. The singletrack through Mount Ainslie and Bruce Ridge was pretty damp, so I kept mainly to the dry firetrails, and battled an awesome headwind out to Stromlo, via way of the arboretum.
From here I met up with Kylie and we cruised around the ancient plantation firetrails enjoying the 1 hour of daily warmth (peaking at 11 degrees celcius). After 3 hours I was happy to finish and go home and eat some rollettes! Assorted. Strawberry and cream, Swiss, Chocolate and cream. Excellent to get the carbohydrates in to depleted muscles. In conjunction with the Protein drink, it successfulyl provides the insulin spike which allows the muscles to suck in all the nutrients really efficiently.
The week has been pretty decent with 16 hours logged on the bike(s) without trying too much to cram it in. 2 of those hours were on a windtrainer, but in my defence, it was stage 9 of the TDF and I was able to put out a good session as the pretend-contenders got shelled. I secretly hate the windtrainer, but it was cold, wet and windy.
On other bike news, Lonsdale Street Cyclery will become a new dealer for Specialized bikes. Whilst I am happy with my Cannondales, Kylie is pretty stoked as the Specialized Amira is essentially a chick version of the Tarmac SL, and she is waiting big time for the September release of the 2011 bikes.
In addition Trev is getting trained up by Andy Pruitt in the Body Geometry fitting system. I have put myself at first on the list for this process to see if I can eek out a few more (perceived exertion) watts. It's all about the extra 1% gains that can be made! I don't feel bad on the bike, but I do know that one leg is slightly shorter than the other, and occasionally the hips tilt a little to the right to compensate. Nothing a good shim or 2 wouldn't fix.
I have also taken stock of 2 new Lonsdale Street Cyclery outfits as the mud this year has pretty much brought an end to 2 sets prematurely. The white isn't white and the black looks grey, and the orange looks sherbet!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A nice recovery day

On occasion, it is a nice thing just to ride the bike around, and re-oxygenate the legs. This is usually a recovery day. Today was sensational. Light wind, full sun and warmish at about 10 degrees.
There was truckloads of water on the trails after having about 10mm of rain the other day. It pretty much flows down the mountain turning everything into temporary creeks.
A nice hour around the mountain without having to worry about the stopwatch or the heart rate (except to keep it down) was excellent. Add in an hour long massage at 4pm and the body will be fresh for the weekend and the next week of training.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cannondale Flash Long(ish) term review

I thought that I would throw up a long term review of the Cannondale Flash that I got back in January this year.

After spending a good 6 months, training and racing on the Cannondale Flash, I feel as though I now have a good feel for how this machine goes in a variety of cycling disciplines.

I have raced it in Short track (~10 events), Olympic Cross country (~5 events), 100km (1 event) and a Super D (gravity XC). Each of these are almost specialist material, but I think that they pretty much capture what I am into. I do admit that the shorter races appeal to me a lot, but the 100km races are "where it is at" for this era of mountain biking. It is a good thing that I also really enjoy this format, as it is just about a standard Sunday ride (sans race number and 1000 other people).

I must admit that I love the geometry of this bike. Coming off the Scott Scale, I was welcomed by the 70 degree head angle, 4 inches of Lefty travel, and a slightly longer wheelbase. Coupled with the really low bottom bracket height, this bike handles like a dream. I have never, ever lost it on a corner on this machine. No lie! It is so close to perfect with its ability at speed and ability to corner with the lower centre of gravity. What this means is that you are using less energy to 'pilot' the bike, which you can put into pedalling energy.

And it is that pedalling energy that is not wasted. The bottom bracket region is so stiff, it is amazing. There is no lost energy at all. Add in the BB30 cranks and BB bearings and it is an up-sized version of stiff. Very effective in transforming your effort into straight line 'go'.

The back end comprising of seatpost, chainstays and seatstays is also playing a part in the quality of the ride. There is a visible and sensational (ie you can feel it) amount of give in the form of 'vertical compliance'. This is the carbon catch-cry, that is fondly bestowed upon road bikes. However, the flash probably has a good 2 inches of movement. You can see 1 inch in the amount that the saddle goes down when you push on it thanks to the ellipsoidal seatpost shape. You can see the chainstays flex upwards when you grab a handful of rear brake and rock back and forth on the seat.

The Lefty fork is nothing much short of perfect. You can fully lock it out, therefore creating an awesomely stiff overall bike that feels as efficient as a road bike. This works extremely well for Short track, XCO and 100km races where there are just either hammer sessions or long fireroads where you don't want the suspension movement to suck your energy, thus robbing you of forward motion. It works extremely well for times when you want to hammer out of the saddle, such as on an open fireroad during a short track race, or even when hammering up that last minute worth of climb, with ubandance of hero grip.

When the Lefty is opened up and is soft, it is amazingly superb and just tracks over terrain like water flowing slowly over undulating ground. The front wheel does not leave the ground (unless you want it to). This in turn means sensational control. The stiffness that the Lefty also provides is just awesome. It is stated that it is identical to a 7" dual clamp fork in stiffness. Having ridden and raced the venerable RockShox Boxxer fork in the early part of this millenium, I can definitely vouch for the stiffness.
As a package I have this bike set up at 8 kilograms. I could quite easily go lighter, and may choose to do so if the new 2011 XTR is something to go for. It doesn't worry me too much as I am running a decent lightweight wheelset, and am probably more inclined to run a featherweight set of hoops instead of shaving grams that aren't rotating.
The mud clearance on the frame and fork (strut) is sensational. There is so much room it is not funny. I could probably run 2.5 inch wide tyres and still have no issues. Good for those 5 days of the year where mud is an issue!
Issues or weaknesses: not too many, due to the higher front end with the lefty attached, I have had to modify my riding position a little compared to what I used to run on the Scott. This however, has turned out to be a benefit as it has me slightly more upright, which in turn allows me to essentially laugh at drops or steep stuff.
Lefty brake caliper attachment - I have stripped an XTR caliper thread where the caliper bolts onto the Lefty. A simple fix with new Ti bolts (slightly longer) and 2 nylock nuts has me sorted.
As the rear brake caliper bolts onto a threaded portion on the rear mount, I will have to be careful not to go too hard with the allen key. Not a huge issue, just something to be aware of.
I thought that the brake cable going underneath the BB would be a pain. I am happy to report that it has not even been a blip on the radar.
Fork lockout: I am a huge fan of utilising the fork lockout. Cycling is all about the 1% gains, and the fork lockout helps achieve those. It is a slight pain to take the hand off the bars and turn the lever 15 degrees to lock or unlock it, but that is about it. Cannondale are releasing a remote lockout based on the Avid hydraulic setup that the XX SID forks has. If this is available as a retrofit, I will seriously consider investing.
So I guess that the bottom line is that I am absolutely stoked with the bike. It is fortunate that the results are also aligned with how highly I regard this bike. It wouldn't be ideal to take a proven peformer in the Scott Scale and replace it with something that made me slower.
The only issue comes down to the cost. It is pretty expensive in its retail form. However, when you pretty much devote your entire life to an activity that consumes your whole day either with training, racing, thinking, researching, appreciating or anything else regarding two wheels, the money becomes less of an issue, and the thoughts are replaced with the absolute pure quality of life whilst on the bike. Life is too short in all reality.
If you do get a chance to take one for a spin, I would highly recommend it. It may not be for everyone, but it does a lot of positive things and ticks a lot of boxes with regard to ride quality. For me, it's a definite keeper.


Sometimes it is of pure necessity that the training has to be inside. Today was one of those days. Cold, wet and windy. Pick two, but if all three are present, rack the bike up on the trainer and throw on the Tour de France stage 9 dvd and go for it.

I have to say that stage 9 was absolutely sensational. Probably the best stage that I have watched in the last five years. I can not wait to see how the rest of the race pans out.

It definitely made the two hours go extremely quickly.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mucking around in Google Earth

In the last week or so, I got myself a new HTC Legend mobile phone which conveniently runs off the Google operating system, Android. Clearly there is some sort of subliminal marketing occurring after watching HTC-Columbia win so many races last year. Probably the same reason I bought a Saeco coffee machine. Thanks once again to Mario Cippolini for that brand recognition process.
The attached photo shows the first half of the 'Twin peaks' training ride that I do. This is the part up Mount Ainslie. I was able to quickly drop a kml file out of the phone, straight to Google Docs, which nicely opens up in Google Maps, which can then be manipulated in Google Earth.
The faux 3D capability within Google Earth is pretty cool as it allows for a feeling of the topology of a given region. Now, Mount Ainslie is only 846m so therefore not even considered close to being at altitude. The big scarred area in the middle of the image is the old Ainslie tip.
The application on the phone is Google Tracks, which also provides me with key statistics of the ride, such as max speed, average speed, max gradient, altitude etc. It is fairly battery hungry though, so not sure how it will last for a 4 hour ride. Might need to tweak the settings to capture at a more spaced frequency.
I have been using GPS and GIS technology for work since the mid 90s and I would have to say that this is the most basic software and field based technology I have ever come across. Very impressed.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The coffee - verdict

In a previous blog I mentioned that I had got some new coffee. Today I got into the Cosmorex Rio Gold blend, whole bean. I bought a small packet of 125 grams of this liquid gold. It came in a nice little brown paper bag and it smelled sensational when I finally opened it after lunch on Sunday.
I dropped it into the Saeco coffee machine, and pressed the 'espresso' icon, with the strength dialled all the way up. after grinding the beans, it started filtering though on the slowest pump setting to get the longest filtration and thus the best drain through the ground beans. I then hit it again, to essentially get 2 espressos into the double wall bodum coffee glass.
When it had finished filtering through, it looked almost as though I had poured a glass of Guinness beer (or whatever it is). There was a nice 1 centimetre head on top of the awesome dark black liquid.
After dialling in my required amount of sugar, I put the glass to my lips and took a sip. Totally sensational. As I watched my DVD copy of Stage 7 of the TDF I truly appreciated Sylvain Chavanel's efforts through the heightened awareness of the caffeine kick. So much so that I made another cup.
Bottom line, is that I really enjoyed this coffee blend. I am not a coffee connoisseur per se, however, I do enjoy a good brew, and a good taste. This one definitely pleased my senses.
This essentially was a DZ \ Flandis coffee training day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

5 best moments of the tour in the first five days

Here are my top 5 moments from le tour over the first 5 days......

5. Adam Hansen driving the bunch for 40km after breaking his collarbone. Definitely not French.

4. Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck getting through the cobbles on stage 3. AC engaging Peter van Petegem's services and Fabian Cancellara guiding the younger non-broken Schlecky obviously worked.

3. Sylvain Chavenel actually being successful in a DAFB. (Dumb Ass French Breakaway [TM] [C]). I actually like his style of riding, sort of like Phillipe Gilbert. I wonder if he and Cavendish have the same dentist?

2. Robbie McEwen being brutally honest "I just didn't have enough power". I loved it when Petacchi jumped when the HTC (non) train ran out of gas. Rob-dog was on the wheel immediately. Average age of top 5 finishers on that stage, excluding EB Hagen = 35.5. i'm just saying......

1. Fabian telling journalists that "it's not like I can flick a switch on my handlebars and turn on a motor"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mmmm coffee

Got some new coffee. Cosmorex standard breakfast blend, plus some others to demo.

Unlike some pinarello poseurs I use my coffee before my ride for its ergogenic benefits.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Old and new

Consumable parts.... Some items on the bike get a fair workout due to different factors. I have just gone onto my 3rd saddle on my hardtail in the time that I have had the bike - 6 months (ish).
Why? --- Mud, crashes, and one just didn't feel right. All have been the venerable Selle Italia SLR. 135g of (claimed ) carbon, leather and titanium to rest my ass on. It works, it is reasonably light and it is white.
Capital Punishment wrecked one --- mud. That is a no brainer. I still have it. The leather is pretty much peeling off the carbon shell. The one in the photo that is not new got crahsed on in the last week or so and tore off a bit of the leather and eva foam. To help justify its replacement, it just didn't feel right either. Hard to explain, but the interaction between leather and behind was not to my satisfaction.
Good to see that Selle Italia have updated the graphics especially to match my bike's colours of black, red and white. These are, arguably the best colours to have for any type of bike. They are classic, and have a timeless characteristic which will be admired for years to come!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The workhorse

My road bike is a workhorse. I am just after a dependable bike that can go day after day with no problem. I am running a 2010 Cannondale Super Six frame and fork. The Groupset is a 2009 Shimano Ultegra (non-PRO). The wheels are Shimano Dura-Ace 1380 with Continental GP4000s tyres. I also run Dura Ace clipless pedals, Specialzied Romin 143 saddle and Control Tech handlebars and seatpost.
The geometry on the Super Six just inspires confidence. I have been able to sit up and ride no-handed down Mount Majura at 75km/hr. It is nice and stable, yet when I want to hit some tight fast turns up in the mountains or even just around a car in traffic, there is no problem.
Both the frame and fork are very light, but superbly stiff in the bottom bracket region. When I first got the frame, I verified this by slamming it into the 53x11 and mashed up a rise. There was no movement at the bottom bracket at all. Everything was going to the back wheel.
I probably put in about 10-15 hours a week on this particular bike. As it gets used every morning, it has its own spot in one of the bedrooms on the Topeak double bike rack.
Future upgrades: as I got the frame and fork separately, I just threw on the parts on my previous road bike. They are kicking on to about 18 months old now, and apart from a new chain and cassette, I will probably be looking at new shifters, derailleurs and brake calipers. Might as well just call it a new groupset. Trev tends to make subtle hints along the lines of "just get shimano Di2". This is an option that I probably won't be taking just yet though. If I raced on the road (exclusively) I would not hesitate, but for a daily training bike, a bit of overkill.
The other photo sums up a text I got from a work colleague on Sunday. "Did I see you doing wheelies up Mount Stromlo this morning?"
Tru dat!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stromlo Super D Gravity XC photos

Giving it some from the start.

Cool remnants of a burnt out building from the 2003 fires. A good place to sort the bikes and start the warm up from.

Mount Stromlo - 8:30am

Stromlo Super D - Gravity XC

View from Mount Stromlo with Black Mountain in the background. 8:30am

First run of the day - warm up at minus 2 degrees!

A very cold morning of minus 4 degrees greeted us for the annual Carolyn McKinlay Gravity XC (SuperD) event. This event is a timed run down Mount Stromlo linking all of the cool trails including Skyline and the berm track.

Kylie and I got an early start and I was fortunate enough to get in a practice run - while it was still cold (minus 2!) - to suss out the track. A bit wet here and there, hero grip and 9 and a half minutes of flat biscuit racing to come up.

I was back up the mountain pretty soon after registering and was lucky to be able to get first run of the track at about 9am. This run netted me a time of 9:30. The next 2 runs I did also were just under the 9:30 mark by a couple of seconds. I rolled through the runs pretty quickly so as not to let the crap in my legs settle too much. By the 3rd one I could feel the fatigue though. The track had got a little wet in places and was a little hard to get a lot out of without digging deep. How deep? Well, my average HR for my runs was hovering around 175bpm for the 9 and a half minutes. That is pretty deep. About 95% of max. Funnily enough a very similar rate at which short track is run at. I know how I am going to feel tomorrow that is for sure

Over the next 2 hours I provided Kylie with a few lifted runs. The day was getting warmer and the track was getting grippier, and as a bonus the northerly was picking up which meant a nice tailwind down Skyline.

I pinned a really nice 4th and 5th runs and was able to lop a good 6 seconds off my initial time. I got down to a 9:24 which I was stoked with. This got me the win in the Elite men's category in the end which was extremely satisfying. Kylie also pinned it hard and was also fortunate to come away with the win in the Elite Women category.

I thoroughly enjoyed racing this event, and also really enjoy the format of racing. It does take a lot of endurance to punch out 5 x 9.5 minute runs at super race pace. I sure did rely on all of the long rides I have been doing lately. Something's got to pay off that's for sure.

Bike: Cannondale Flash ----- 8kg!
Tyres:Continental Race King 2.2
Fastest run: 9:24 (9:30, 9:25, 9:35, 9:27)
Avg HR: 175bpm
Max HR 184bpm
Glasses: Super D special - retina burn with fire irdium path lens
Photos taken: 175
Time out on the mountain -- 8:30am to 3:30pm

Friday, July 2, 2010

That's cold

Today I did a bit of a test run up the twin peaks to demo some lower tyre pressures on the Race Kings and to also see how the form was going. The conditions were cold, and ever so slightly damp on the ground, especially up Majura.
The run was excellent and another 10 seconds were taken off the course record. By the time I got to the top of Mount Majura it was starting to sprinkle, and by the look of the ground, had been sprinkling on and off for a while already.
I snapped a couple of pics at the top and then it started to shower down. And it got cold - around -1 or -2. Luckily 7 minutes later I was at home, cleaning the bike and sorting a short black coffee to warm up the insides.
This weekend --- Super D at Mount Stromlo. Everybody should do SuperD as it captures the essence of mountain biking in its purest form. Ride up, race down!