Monday, September 27, 2010

Back Yamma Bigfoot Photos

Back Yamma Bigfoot race report

I cruised up to Parkes on the Saturday morning and headed directly to the race HQ. Kylie and I cruised the first 25km of the 50km loop to scope out some of the course. Fast, Fast, Fast! It was relatively flat, with awesome singletrack that was a bit like Sparrow Hill in that it was not hard to ride, just harder when you started to ride it fast.

Sunday morning came and we headed out once again to the race HQ. With a fully sold out event, there was a large amount of cars with bikes and families all enjoying the perfect spring day. There was a really good vibe to the event with everyone talking crap and anticipating a nice fast race.

At 8:00am on the dot the 100km race was underway with about 135 riders heading off on the slightly downhill fireroad. We hit the first singletrack about a kilometre down the road, and I was well positioned in 2nd place on Ryan Quade's wheel. We were powering along pretty well and by the time we had hit the next fireroad, the group was whittled down to about 10.

This fireroad was a super long one with a couple of puddles and a slight false flat rise. Ryan Quade, Joel Ryan, Trevor Rix and I swapped through a couple of times here keeping the pace pretty high. Pretty much the first hour of racing (and the first 25km) passed through a bit like this. A few of us were driving the pace through the singletrack, then sitting up a bit on the fireroads to regroup before getting back on it for the next bits. It reminded me a bit of Paris - Roubaix and the dynamics between the cobblestones and the smooth roads.

At the 24 km mark, Ryan caught a pedal on something and went down on his stem caning himself in the process. He was quick to get on and the selection of 6 regrouped once again on the next fireroad. At this stage it was myself, Joel Ryan, Ryan Quade, Trevor Rix, Chad Gossert and Brendan Den. 2 kilometres later we heard the loudest bang, and looked back to see Joel Ryan beside his bike, his day ending early with a flat tyre.

The 25 to 50km was a bit of a recce for all of us as no-one had seen this side of the course. Trev caned it along this massive section of fireroad averaging close to 40km/hr, we were absolutely motoring. Trev kept the pace high all the way to the end of the first lap, where as we approached the crowd was going wild cheering for us. We came through for the first 50km in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Each of the remaining 5 riders stopped for new bottles at the transition and we headed out for the second lap with fresh bottles and a full knowledge of what lay ahead for the remaining 50.
It felt as though the pace was raised a bit for the 2nd leg, always hard to say! Again, the next hour went by without too much drama.

At the 70km mark, I lead through the singletrack that ran parallel to the creek, and increased the pace a little to test the legs of the group. I was able to open up a gap of about 20 metres on this flat twisty singletrack. Towards the end, I backed off a little bit, and let the group come back together at the fireroad. The feedback given was that I had put everyone in the hurt box just a little!

At the next singletrack climb I went up as per normal pace - ie pretty high, but not too deep, but on the other side I decided to ramp it up again. This was a twisty singletrack descent that required a fair bit of concentration due to the dry, dusty conditions. By the bottom of the descent I had managed to open up a gap of about 75metres. This was enough for me to decide to empty the tank from here on.

I dug deep knowing that there was probably less than an hour to go and only about 25 kilometres left. By the 95kilometre mark at the superlong fireroad highway, I motored as hard as I could go trying to mimic Trev's initial power ramp. By the end of the fireroad I knew that it was all downhill ,and that I couldn't see anyone behind on the trail.

From here it was just a matter of linking corners and ensuring that the pace was kept high. At the last creek crossing I knew that I had it won and I just had to negotiate the slightly muddy, logged section. After successfully getting around this section I rounded the last bend and put my hands in the air and savoured the victory to the cheers from the crowd.

I had managed to do the back 50km in 1:52 for a total time of 3 hours and 47 minutes for the 100km. The average speed was about 26.6km/hr with the last hour motoring along at 27.5km/hr. Not bad for offroad!

Chad Gossert came in second about 3 minutes after I had crossed the line and Trev came in third a couple of minutes after.

In the fifty, Kylie managed to smoke the course in a shade over 2 hours to win the women's class and get 3rd overall behind a couple of fast Canberra guys, Phil Tucker and Greg Collis.

All in all, an excellent, enjoyable weekend with the bonus of a good result for the Lonsdale Street Cyclery team on a superb course with a truckload of superfast singletrack. I will definitely be back for next year and would recommend this event for anyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Off to the Back Yamma Bigfoot

The training is always consistent, therefore the form is usually fairly consistent also. What does this mean? Not really sure, but the latest twinpeaks TT has indicated that things are trekking in the right direction. I am heading off to Parkes tomorrow to race the inaugural Back Yamma Bigfoot 100km race.

It always takes forever to gather all of the equipment needed to take to a race where I have to drive and stay overnight. I have to make sure that I have adequate cycling clothing, cycling food, and bottles, a million bottles! All premade with the stuff I drink in order to not waste energy the night before.

Two bikes to wash and prep takes up a bit of time also. But, it is always worth it. A smooth bike is a fast bike that's for sure.

I also hit up the massage table. 3 massages this week. I had some tightness in my left ITB that was caused by the new S-Works shoes which have a slightly thinner sole than my SHimano ones, thus effectively giving me a higher saddle for my ride on Sunday.

Tools, spares, cleaning rags, extra water, table, track pump, bike cleaning products --- it is all there as well.

The wagon will be packed up tomorrow morning and I will head north out of Canberra on a well travelled road. A bit of a course recce. Some chilling whilst watching the AFL grand final (not supporting Collingwood though) will be a nice distraction until dinner time. Some more pasta, as a cyclist, it is a good thing that I do like pasta. 8 hours sleep, then a morning coffee and breakfast before heading out to the race.

I still love racing after doing my first one back in 1989 as an excited 15 year old. The technology has changed dramatically, however the simplicity of a group of people racing on a course with a number plate on will never change. Hit up the course in the shortest time possible, going as fast as the course will let you.

I can't wait for this one either - fully amped!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recovery Monday

 Long road ride Saturday, Long MTB ride Sunday. Two days without any need for arm warmers or leg warmers. After riding through all of winter again, when it gets to 10 degrees, I am pretty stoked as, relatively, that is quite warm.


After doing a huge build up to the non-existent Angry Doctor, and then having a weekend of not much riding on a relative peaking curve, I needed to get some more long miles in the legs. Last weekend I managed 3 hours on Saturday and a race on Sunday. Not a huge amount of volume, but intensity was quite high.


So this weekend I put out 4 and a bit hours on Saturday on the road bike and 4 hours on Sunday on the mountain bike. Saturday was the worst day to be out on a road bike, 30km/hr wind, foreign pollen in the air, but the weather was good. I did my normal Condor Creek loop with a run up Mount Stromlo at the end followed by a 20km/hr struggle on flat bike path into a mental headwind up to Gungahlin. When I turned around, it was easy-peasy – 55km/hr all the way back down to Northbourne avenue.


Sunday was less windy, but I was pretty hammered from the Saturday fight against the wind and the pollen. One good thing was the tailwind out to Stromlo, and the dust on the trails. I don't think I have seen dust on the trails at Stromlo or Bruce Ridge since April. 2 wheel drifts are now back in fashion at Stromlo!


This was also the first time that I have used my Continental Race King Supersonics tyres in the dry (ie dusty). They are pretty damn good I must say. I was running them a little high with regard to pressure (testing), but they hooked up superbly in the skaty conditions.


Another first this weekend was the use of my new Specialized S-Works MTB shoes. For a first ride, and one being 4 hours long, these were sensational. The comfort levels were excellent and my feet were happy when I got home. The BOA system allows you to fine tune the fit as 4 clicks on the dial is equal to one click on a standard buckle ratchet system on other branded shoes.


These shoes are also really light. This can be felt when spinning the cranks round during any sort of pedalling. Sprinting out of the saddle is just unreal.


The beauty of the dry conditions also meant that the shoes didn't get covered in mud and crap, always a bonus with patent white shoes!


With the warmer weather, I also managed to see the first snake out on the trails. I had just finished climbing heartbreak climb at Stromlo, and was cruising up a fireroad to get some water and almost rode right over him. Luckily for me, I think we were both in a cruisy zone.


To finish off the ride on Sunday I did some more singletrack through Bruce, followed by a climb up Mount Ainslie to take in the view.


It sure does feel like Spring again, which means great riding conditions and lots of enjoyable trail time.


This weekend, I will be heading up to Parkes for the Back Yamma Bigfoot. I am super stoked as the weather forecast is one for no rain this week. What an absolute novelty – dry trails! Excellent………

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Specialized S-Works Amira

I got a text from Trev the other day. He said that a Specialized S-Works Amira bike had turned up at the shop in a size for Kylie. In the flesh, the bike is stunning. The red is a deep glossy colour which contrasts nicely with the matte carbon lower tubes.
The Amira is the female line of the Specialized bikes, that align with the Tarmac men's model. In short, Specialized make exceptionally good female specific bikes. Geometry and ride quality is absolutely dialed.
Dura-Ace makes up the running gear, with the S-Works FACT crankset providing a tight unit. 45mm roval wheels come standard as well, with graphics sorted to match the frame.
Without pedals the complete bike weighed in at 6.4kgs which is nice and light for snappy acceleration and effortless climbing.
Specialzed have tuned the carbon to provide the same ride feeling in all sized frames regardless of front and rear triangle size. This is a good thing as sometimes a small 'man's' sized frame can be overly stiff.
The next step is to actually see if the bike is the right size for Kylie by comparing her current set-up (tried and true for 6 years) with the Amira. Fun times ahead tonight at the bike shop.
Also, just as a heads up if you are in Canberra this weekend. Lonsdale St Cyclery are having a huge carpark sale of 2010 stock in order to make way for some 2011 goodies. If you are after a bargain, drop by.

Monday, September 13, 2010

more pics

some pics from the weekend

CORC XC - Sutton Road

Bit of a theme this winter. Lots of rain, lots of mud. The CORC XC race at Sutton Road Kowen foothills was no exception. After doing a fairly solid 3 and a half hours on Saturday out in the Brindabellas, I backed it up on Sunday morning with a smash around a pine forest.
The last time I raced here was during the Capital Punishment 100km race. To be honest, it wasn't that much different, except that it was warmer and sunnier. To this end, the numbers out today definitely backed up everyone's sentiment of the mud - ie low numbers in attendance.
At least Brad Morton and Matt Rizzutto turned up. We only had 5 guys in A grade, but getting the podium was not going to be a given. No easy ride here that's for sure! When the gun went, Brad leapt out of the start, attempting to lay down some power that he had stored up from the previous weekend's Angry Doctor no-show.
I quickly got onto his wheel and powered up the first fireroad in hot pursuit, with Matt on my wheel. Brad was smoking it today and it was relatively tricky to keep with him through the singeltrack. There were times when I was out of the saddle just smashing it hard to get back on the wheel.
The train stuck together until the 3rd lap when Matt attacked on the uphill around some backmarkers. I was wondering what he was doing attacking here, as for me it was pretty much the hardest part of the course, and when you hit this part you are just about at max. Matt and Brad got a 20 metre gap on me, but I could see that it had hurt Matt a bit. 3 minutes later through the start \ finish fireroad, Brad had bolted and Matt had blown big time.
So, 2 laps to go, and I started to see if I could reel Brad in. Knowing that he was in great form for the Angry Doctor 50km, that never eventuated, I knew that he would be fast. I had about a 20 second deficit for the 4th and 5th lap, and at one stage during the last lap I was able to see him through the trees, but unfortunately that was about it.
Now I am pretty sure that this is the first XC club race win for Brad, and he was flying - a big Congrats to him. Too strong on the day.
We were doing roughly 17 minute laps consistently around the course. The conditions were grippy wet. There were some bits of the track that had turned to porridge, which made things very interesting (and not that fun - but that is mtb racing).
Some of the mud was so deep that I was picking up pine needles in my cassette which made the chain skip a bit. I also got these caught in the chainrings and small reedy vegetation caught in the jockey wheels. A bit of a mess!
Some stats:
1 hour 25 minutes (roughly) of racing
2 hours of bike cleaning!
17 minute laps
170bpm average HR ~92% of max
185bpm maximum
Oakley Radar G30 vented glasses

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back yamma bigfoot

Entries are in for this event to be held at the end of September.100km of pancake flat singletrack. I think that this might be a fairly quick race.

Not having seen the course, I am gunning for a sub four hour time. I will be hitting this up as a training race, I.e. still doing a standard training day the day before.

Way back in the mid nineties I was doing geophysical exploration in the Parkes area searching for gold and copper for North Exploration. We were using cutting edge technology of real time differential GPS combined with top of the line magnetometer.

We were able to find more resources inthe shadow of the Northparkes mine, which was quite satisfying.

I lived in Parkes for a year whilst working here, after finishing my studies. I was fortunate to have a mountain bike which I used to explore the local trails. These had mainly been created by motos and 4wd vehicles., a bit rough but cherished like any 'local' trails that you have

With the angry doctor having been canned this year, I am definitely looking forward to this smashfest!

Posted via Blogaway

Posted via Blogaway

New MTB Shoes - Specialized S-works MTB initial review

After a good 12 months of racing with my trusty Shimano MTB shoes, I was in the market for a new pair of shoes. There is nothing wrong with the Shimano ones, just a bit grubby from all of the mud racing done lately, a few dodgy buckles (replaceable) and just looking a little tired.
About 8 months ago I got myself some Specialized Body Geometry soles and put them in my Shimano MTB shoes. For me, these allow my knees to track straighter and provide me with 5% extra power. I can't quantify it, but I know I am faster using time. Plus that's what the brochure said it would do!
Yesterday I was checking out Trev's new 29er Carbon Flash (9.5kgs with heavy stuff on it BTW), and he showed me the new Specialized S-Works MTB shoes. As is often the case, he had my size ready for me to try on and it fitted just like cindarella's (cancellara's?) slipper. The BOA system is pretty smooth and there are 2 of these at key places. There is also a standard velcro strap lower down to fine tune the fit.
As a bonus the tread on the sole can be replaced a'la the Sidi way with their Dominator range. With Specialized making a big move in the Australian market of late, the price has also come down considerably making the decision a little easier. It probably wouldn't have mattered as with the patent white and black faux leather look, these look relatively smooth and enhance the overall PRO-ness of 'the look'.
Last night I fitted some fresh eggbeater cleats and took it for a test spin around the back yard. They feel pretty nice on the feet with no hot spots or wierd stuff that made me think. With the crappy weather, these may not get a look in until November at this rate when (if) the trails dry up. There will be a follow up review in due course after I have logged some actual miles on them.

Monday, September 6, 2010

2010 Angry Doctor - the aftermath

First off, the race was cancelled. Eventually. I drove down on Saturday morning through the rain and the mist of the Clyde Mountain. I kitted up and rode the last 10km of the back fifty to see what would be on the cards for the last half hour of the race.

The course at this stage was pretty soggy, which was to be expected, but I figured without more rain and a bit of win it should dry out.

Be careful what you wish for! The rain stopped and the wind picked up - a lot. Whilst eating dinner looking out over the beach, the wind was howling - hurricane style. I could barely sleep during the night due to the sound of the wind, it was absolutely huge. At 3am, the power went out and the alarm system at the unit went on - loud and crazy. In a flash I was out of bed trying to figure out what the hell happened.

The noise was so loud I could barely hear myself think. In the end the code combo of 1-2-3-4 worked a treat and peace and tranquility was restored. The day was starting well!

At 4:30am I got out of bed with the alarm clock and had a coffee and the standard breakfast. When we left the unit for Mogo, the wind was mental. There was debris everywhere and the main highway to Mogo was closed.

We took the plan B route, but that was closed also, so we were forced to use the GPS and go via Malua Bay. Eventually what should have been a 20 minute drive turned into a 75 minute comedy and we were finally at the event hub.

What was a race event HQ looked like a hurricane aftermath. The race had now been put on hold for 2 hours whilst they checked the track. I think that it wasn't exactly rocket science to figure it out as the course was trashed. This will eventually be argued to death on rotorburn, but I do believe that AROC made the correct decision not to hold the 100km event. However it is my opinion that it should have been made at 7am.

At 9:30am they made the decision to hold a 'token' event later in the day - they would do a 20k track and if you were doing the 100k you did 2 x 20k, 50k - 1 x 20km. Kylie, Brad, Darren and I decided to go for a ride to check out the carnage and to see if the new event would be worth it. We hit up the back 50k trails. A couple of fireroads weren't too bad for the first 300m, but then it was a struggle to go 50m without stopping or hopping a branch or a tree.

In the end we turned around at the 57km mark, we were just having the best time talking crap and riding carnaged trails, whilst hopping logs. When we got back to the carpark we talked some more crap with some good Canberra crew discussing the merits of the day. There weren't many - except hitting the beach.

And so the decision was made to cruise. And for good reason. The 20km turned into 8km and subsequently turned into FAIL. At this stage though I was walking along Long Beach looking to the future and planning the next build.

I did manage however, to get my race entry worth in free Red Bull shots and drink, thanks to the Red Bull ladies! I don't drink RB anymore, but someone in my crew someday in the future will get some use.

Despite the issues, I will definitely be back next year (IF). I have been racing long enough to do races for the course and the experience that it provides rather than the prizes (haha) 0r the event presentation. This was however, in 21 years of racing only the 2nd event that has ever been cancelled due to weird weather. The other one was a state BMX round sometime back in 2003.

Next up - a few options - Back Yamma Bigfoot 100km in Parkes NSW might be on the cards. There is a club race this weekend at the Sutton Rd course, and the Scott 24 hour race in early October. There is always something on!

A few photos provide a summary of the day.....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Angry doctor.

Short summary thus far. At event hub, race cancelled 2 hours due to gale force winds. Random decision will be made later after motos have done course recce. Possibility of shortened course. Really sunny and warm though.

1 hour course practise yesterday. Pretty wet, but jot too bad. Only the clay was a bit dodgy.

Gees, I have eaten quite a few carbs this week! If it is cancelled, the corc club race next weekend might be a massive turnout.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good karma

Hopefully by feeding my local Magpie grated cheese on a daily basis, will hold me in good stead during spring this year.

Somehow I think it is just wishful thinking.

All the training has been done for the week, now it is about freshening up, a massage to loosen up the legs, some carbs to stoke the muscles full of glycogen and I am good to go for this weekend at the angry doctor 100om race in mogo.

Definitely looking forward to this one. Lots of fast guys in the elite class this year. It will be a hard fought battle that is for sure.