Tuesday, May 29, 2007

There's nothing else like it

When the wind is behind you and there's no rushing in your ears. All you can hear is the sound of your tyres on the tarmac.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Four seasons in one day

Autumn. Packed the bike into the car at 7am and headed down the highway, it was cool enough not to have to open my car window for the breeze.

Winter. Arrived at Paluma dam, up in the clouds, just before 9am. It was cool enough that I had to sit in the back of the Rover to stay warm while I waited for the others to arrive and finish stuffing around. We headed off into the rain forest and a fine mist started to fall, felt like I was in Victoria again.

Spring. As we started to descend in to the valley we started to warm up and so did the weather. The ferns turned to bushes, the rainforest turned to scrub and the moist mulch turned to dust and sand.

Summer. Thirty kilometres of 4wd roads and singletrack brought us to a crystal clear stream flowing into a water hole. Stopping for a snack we shared the cool water with the turtles and enjoyed the rest and sunshine before the imminent climb back out of the valley.

Ascending, once again we could feel the changes in temperature until we were back at the cars and back in the cool wintery climate at the top of the range.

Back home in the late afternoon and just in time to head to the local for a few. It’s a small and constantly amazing world.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wool review

Who would of thought that some one, some day, would come up with a miracle super fabric called ‘wool’? Who would have thought that I, living in tropical North Queensland, would one day be wearing a so called ‘woollen’ cycling jersey and loving it more than any other jersey I have ever owned? Truly astonishing, a modern marvel.

My synthetic jersey collection is now hanging dormant in the closet like extravagant shower curtains.

I love my new Rapha woollen jerseys and find it quite humorous that a 25 000 year old form a fibre can out perform the synthetic fibres that make up all of the jerseys I have previously owned.

After a quick search I found the facts: ‘Wool fibre has evolved over 25,000 years to create a uniquely complex structure of interlocking protein molecules surrounded by electrically charge lysine side chains. Through a natural process called "hydrogen bonding," these side chains electrically attract water vapour molecules. The wool fibres actually pull the moisture vapour away from the skin. It's also naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant. It has natural elasticity for comfort and natural UV protection.’ Those scientific sheep are amazing.

In an effort to prove that wool is the new super fabric I decided to experiment with the sweat handling and odour retarding capabilities of the jerseys, so I took them riding. (The temperature ranges were between 20 and 33 degrees Celsius for all test rides and the rides were of at least an hour in endurance).

My facts: Sweat wicking has been amazingly good. I have felt dry, comfortable and cool despite the thick weave of the fabric. But here’s the clincher! I have not washed one of the jerseys, have conducted 6 rides wearing it and it does not smell!!! (Take that as an indication of either the amazing properties of the fabric or proof that my body expels only pure glacial spring water).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

There is nothing else...

...on your mind when you are bike racing.

Harveys Range Road Race - 20 May 2006.
The bunch looks pretty strong today. Should we hit off hard? The climb starts soon. Is he testing me with these break aways. Should I chase all the breaks down? Where should I put myself before the climb? Legs feel bad today. Might jump off the front and the others can catch me as we climb. Just me and one other up the climb. No one’s catching us. Where’s that lower gear? Stand. Sit. Stand. Sit. I think the two of us can keep this gap even after we hit the top. Stand. Sit. Gel. Gotta keep eating. We’re doing okay. Fifty kilometres to go though. Can see them gaining on us. There’s only four of them though, good. Let them take us and check out how bad they look as they take the front. They look better than us but I don’t think any of these guys have sprint legs. Keep with them to the finish and we’ll see how we go. This new Sportwool Rapha jersey feels great. Drink. Eat. Stand. Sit. Rolling hills, they never end. No chance to rest at all on a course like this. Lost one from the bunch. Five of us now. Where the hell is this turn around. Hill, roll, hill, roll. Take a turn at the front but never finish my turn at the top of a hill. Gotta adjust these bars, hoods are too low. Turn around point. Twenty kilometres to go. These guys are looking tired, 42km/h when they’re at the front, 47km/h when I’m there. Keep it up. Push up the hills, they’re hurting. Lost another one. Four of us now. Just one looks like he’ll sprint. Glad we took off up that climb but not sure how it’ll effect my legs for the sprint. Where’s the one kilometre to go flag. Sprint? He’s gone. Can’t catch him now. The other two are behind. Second.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A bad week in the office

Another week in the office. Well eight days actually, without a bike, floating along the tropical Northern Queensland coastline. I took two Bike magazines and one Singletrack magazine. Great magazines, without a doubt the best available, but how much worse did they make my week, reading about great trails and great bikes…….?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Going up

Any Monday you don’t have to go to work is good, but what makes it great is when you get a nice long ride in too. One of my riding buddies cancelled on the early morning mtb ride we had planned so I made the most of the morning and slept in, hypocritical I know.

I got up feeling suitably guilty and jumped on the R3 for some mountain climbing. Half way up the climb I wished it had the 12-25 cluster, I suppose i was just feeling lazy today.
Castle Hill is a funny climb, not hard, not easy; steep, but not steep enough to stop you from doing it a few times in a row. You’d have to agree it’s worth it for the view.

Why do I only hear comments from fat men about how stupid I am for riding instead of driving!?!?!?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Depressed monkey

Today was a big day for my Karate Monkey. The other day I noticed that more and more things on it were becoming blue. Since I replaced the perfectly functioning FSA headset with a much nicer blue Chris King headset, the entire theme of the bike went from multi coloured anodised bits, to blue anodised bits. So, in a fit of fashion conciousness, I replaced the cranks and chainring with the Middleburn set which sport nice blue bolts.
I put the new Egg-beaters on that have a blue spring as apposed to silver. The Salsa Rasta coloured skewers had to go and on went the blue Hopes. Then all that was left to do was liven up the bars by wrapping them in some blue bar tape. I suppose now i need to find a blue seat post collar.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Home alone

Between myself and Pia, I’m usually the one who travels all the time, leaving her at home to do her thing; so her being away this week has been a new experience for me. For a few reasons, this week has proved that I must really enjoy my time with her.
1. I don’t even look at my watch when I'm at work in order to count down the remaining minutes before knock off. I don’t care how long I hang there because Pia isn’t home. And I ride home at a liesurely pace, what's up with that?
2. I keep seeing her in crowds she’s not in.
3. I’m bored because the things i want to do would be better with Pia.
4. The garden is getting out of control.


6:55am, Friday 4 May 2007. My commute to work, Hermit Park.
There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Morning Worship

Things I like doing no. 2: Morning Worship.
They are a strange breed, I like to think of them as somewhat mysterious. Those people that fly past in the shadows before the sun has even begun to fill the sky with colour. The only real sign of their presence being the sound of thousands of synchronised parts meshing, tyres hissing on the road and a small head and tail light acting as beacons to unsuspecting

Getting up at 4:55am to go for a long ride before work or on the weekend is probably one of the most masochistic things I do. I don’t love the act of getting up but I love the result, a long, fast and generally social ride through the city streets at dawn before all of the cages begin to take over the roads like a plague, auto-commuting like robotic rats.
The virtues of such a ritual cannot be explained to those ignorant to the joys of cycling, even some cyclists wouldn’t understand the freedom that can be found on the city streets before the heads of those uninitiated have risen.
Akin to outlaw biker gangs we travel in packs; our leathers made from synthetic moisture wicking materials; our weapons made from carbon fibre, metal and rubber; and our ideals simple and somewhat selfish: to speed through life with the wind in our hair and the world behind us.
It’s kind of Fight Club-esque, when later in the day, dressed in suits, behind desks, behind counters, in laboratories, office buildings or cafeterias, we can only be recognised by our bulging quads, funny tan lines and distant glances; our bikes hidden in corners of homes and offices, poised for another dawn raid on the city.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Killing MySpace

The other day I decided to cut my ties with MySpace and let my page run free; I wont check on it anymore, wont feed it new info or change it's background. It will be free to thrive on comments, hits and messages; getting larger and larger until one day it will be destroyed by an automated system that will detect the fact that its owner no longer loves it. I was pretty sick of a few things, here's just a few:
1. The people who exist on MySpace to portray an image that they can’t back up in real life. I’m pretty sure most real gansters don’t give a crap about whether or not someone has left a comment on their MySpace site and a ‘hit’ probably means something completely different in their world.
2. I’m more of a get on the internet, do my business, get off and go do something else with my time type person. For that reason, browsing and searching aimlessly doesn’t usually work (except for nice new woollen jersey or some beautiful leather bar tape).
3. Many, many, many (but not all) of the people on there are weird and slightly scary to me. The latest was a girl called Rennie who lived far too close to me and wanted to know how my night was going when I was by chance at home alone!!!
4. If something makes me feel slightly embarrassed to admit to, then I probably shouldn’t be doing it. Admitting I have a MySpace page was equivalent to my admission that I watch Ugly Betty.
5. I don’t understand the concept of getting an email telling me to check my messages, only to have to then log in, click, click, click, click and click and then find what strangely resembles an e-mail anyway lodged deep in the bowels of MySpace.
Don’t get me wrong, some aspects are worthwhile and some of my good friends find it a great tool to meet people and keep in touch, I think that's great, but I prefer to ride my bike somewhere and meet people when I get there, the same thing really, might call it MyRide. Do gangsters ride bikes?