Wednesday, October 31, 2007

News flash!!

Drivers in the 'ville no longer need to stop at red lights.

Not long ago a law was passed decreeing that all drivers, especially white Toyota ute and Commodore drivers, no longer have to pay attention to red lights. It was also decreed that if a driver accidentally sees a light change to red, they are to stomp on the accelerator, instantaneously sending themselves into warp speed and seeing them safely through the intersection even after others have proceeded across their path. The law has been taken on in force by the people of the 'ville, almost constantly you can see cars careen through red lights.
Bob, a local construction worker, clad in a fluorescent orange and navy blue shirt and driving a beaten up Land Cruiser ute, had this to say. "It's about time it was made official, I mean, I've been doing it for years so that I can save time on my way to the site. I've always felt safe behind my bull bar but I've been worried about red light cameras and cops. More of these laws need to be f*cked off, then those cyclists will really be f*cked, bloody licra wearing f*ggots." Dave, driving a 1996 Commodore with flaking fibreglass body kit, echoed Bob's sentiments, adding that "warp speed on my car is heaps fast! I might buy a blow-off valve now though but! Aye!"
The new law is the beginning of a city wide move to eliminate all road rules. Bike lanes are already on their way out, in their place will be more lanes for more cars. "It's a simple way to eliminate the weak, like small car drivers and cyclists", said Jon Smuthers of City Plan ('ville City Council). He explained that people needed to get places faster, so that they can sit down to eat fast food or watch TV, or do nothing. "Bigger and faster cars, coupled with less road rules, is the way ahead".

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Common

Headed out to Shelly Beach today via the town common. A few surprise trails out there off the main track but pretty rough from all the animal traffic. Let the front tire pressure down to 20PSI to try give the rigid fork a little more give.

Got to Shelley Beach pretty late in the day and the tide was super low, not like when I took Elroy down this morning, we hardly had any beach to play on.

Took a wrong turn on the way home and practised my sand riding skills for a while. 50 km by the time I was home and a good arvo out.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five.
Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer?
We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!

--Henri Desgrange, L'Équipe article of 1902

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crazy German photografers

Just got my pics from the Scott 24hr, taken by the German Photographers - Sportograf. I think you'll agree they are awesome. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Scrubs addict.

When a cyclist can't ride, what does he do? Watch an entire season of Scrubs. So addictive. I always tell myself "one more episode before bed". But how can you stop once you've started.........

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Peaks

I have deduced that it's some kind of over-use injury resulting from riding a bike for a large protion of 24 hours last weekend. My shoulder is pretty much useless, so much so that I definately cannot ride, and the overnight hike myself and Clwedd were going to do this weekend (up Mt Elliot) had to be postponed. So instead we headed to Paleranda to do the Peaks walk (Mt Marlow). Here's a pictorial summary.

So, why is the walk called 'The Peaks'?

Clwedd navigating the jungle and rocks.



Falling vines.

Single track - but no bikes up here.



The city is so close, but i wonder how many T'villians know about this place?!?!?!

And of course, all followed by brunch and coffee at the C-bar on the Strand and a trip to the dump shop looking for bike bits to recycle. No bike bits, but lots of mowers!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Scott Australian 24hr MTB Championships

As I sit here in the Qantas club on my way out of Canberra, my entire body aches, especially my hands, quads and shoulders. I'm expelling dirt from my lungs at an alarming rate and my skin and lips are dry and cracked. My arse is chaffed so that I’m only comfortable when I sit on a weird angle. I've eaten so many calories over the last few days that even though I’m hungry, I don't really feel like eating. My taste buds are burned away from the sugar in the energy supplements and the cold, dry and dusty air at the racecourse. This was my fourth Mont/Scott 24 hr mtb race, and they always leave their mark on me.

The weekend started at four thirty AM on Friday with the usual panic as the taxi arrived late, then two flights and a long wait at Canberra airport while Langers arrived from Melbourne. Out to the racecourse, set up the tent and go grocery shopping. All the while I am eating as much as I can, knowing each meal will contribute to slightly less pain and exhaustion once the race begins. $82 worth of groceries consisted of bananas, chocolate milk, creamed rice, snakes, shapes, coke, pikelets, peanut butter, honey and Gatorade; carbohydrate central (and I can't forget the nappy rash cream, keeps my arse in one piece after so many hours in the saddle).
Race day started off smoothly, no race recon for us, as we knew we would cover the course enough times in the next 24 hrs that it wasn't worth the energy. Bike prep, more eating and then the race briefing. Before we knew it solo riders were told to line up for the start, no Le Mans start for us, and we were off...
The course consisted of two sections, a red and a blue, with transition in the middle. Blue was flatter and about 17 km long; while red consisted of a long climb and super fast downhill back to the start. What a fantastic course. The advantage over the previous courses lay in the length and variety of each double lap. One and a half to two hours per lap meant that you weren’t getting too bored repeating the same lap every hour. Additionally, while the climb was long, it wasn't difficult and was great on the single speed; with the usual geared folk dropping to a way too low gear, making it easy to overtake.
Looking back on it, most of the race is a blur. The bike ran flawlessly, I didn't cramp or bonk, the weather was great and I was actually having fun. My eating plan seemed to be working perfectly and every thing was running as smoothly as anyone could ask for. I rode steadily into the night, stopping at midnight for a few hours off.

My attitude to the race was one of experimentation. This was my first semi serious solo race, I was planning on going out relatively hard and waiting to see what would fail first so that in the future I could start racing more competitively. So imagine my surprise when a few hours later, with no support crew, no plan and no preparation I woke to find myself in third place!
This left me in an interesting position. First and second positions were too far out of reach, but the rider in forth lingered within a couple of laps. My plan went from one of experimentation to one of trying to keep forth place off my back. For the remainder of the race I ate and circulated in a constant effort to ensure my buffer would remain.
The last few hours of a twenty-four hour race are the most interesting. As a solo rider the compliments never cease to flow from passing riders. As a solo single speed rider, even the geared solos pay compliments (there is also the occasional smirk or snigger as you get a chance to overtake a team rider). Conversation flows more easily and everyone becomes more relaxed, it's what 24 hr racing at this scale is about.
I finished the race knowing I hadn't put 100% in, but I had never planned to. First and second place were a long way off, but achieving third place made me realise what I can possibly achieve if I focus for a while.
My first ever oversize novelty cheque was a nice surprise, and being introduced to the podium as the hardest category at the race is always an ego booster.

(And a special thanks goes to Robbo for riding two different pedals after he gave me his left pedal to complete my last lap).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Very sexy legs and a lost dog.

Arrived in the mail today. The replacements for the ill fated Pace RC29s, a very nice pair of White Bros Rock Solids. Don't think I'll race with them at the Scott 24hr but can't wait to get them on a bike. They feel a lot more rigid than the RC29s, so it'll be interesting.

And if you see Muppet (the little one) anywhere, catch the little f*cker. The delivery man obviously let her out when he delivered my goodies. Hope she's having a nice night out.

RIP TPR David Pearce

Poor bastard.

That's me in July last year. How quickly I've forgotten.

Tarin Kowt was a hell of a place then, just as much as it's a hell of a place now.

Friday, October 5, 2007


One thing I like most about racing is the uncertainty. I know every race I ever do will hurt (so much so that I'll promise myself never to do one again), I also know that once I'm racing all I can do is commit to giving as much as I can, and nothing more. But the uncertainty that comes in the details is what makes it so exciting. Next weekend is the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike race in Canberra. This will be the fourth time I have raced this race, and every time I have crossed the start line it has been different. Different courses, people, weather, fitness level and of course different bikes. The weather in Canberra throughout the years I have raced the Scott has ranged from sub zero temperatures to heavy rain and even heavy dust.

I have had great laps in the middle of the night where I have flowed through the single track comfortably. While other races have left me out in the dark and cold with no energy, fading lights and a kilo of mud stuck to my bike, promising I will never ever race a 24hr again. It's funny how the human mind can censor your memories (although it can't censor the fact that in 2005 I couldn't feel my big toes for a month after the race).

Looking back at those moments I laugh, but will I be there, in that state of mind again this weekend? Time will tell and the excitement builds.

Vicki Porter Awareness Ride

Last Sunday was the first edition of the inaugural Vicki Porter Awareness Ride. The back ground to this ride is that Vicki Porter, a 33 year old cyclist/triathlete, was involved in a hit and run at 5:30am one Staurday morning in Townsville City. She was left a paraplegic and is currently undergoing intense rehab in Brisbane. The spineless coward who hit her is still at large; however, the fuzz claim that they have a suspect, time will tell. So the ride is billed as an opportunity for the cyclists of Townsville to raise awareness about cycling and demonstrate how strongly we feel about our lifestyle, whether it be commuting, recreating, racing or even triathlete-ing.

It was a great morning with 1300 riders showing up. The organisers expected 1000 and I think everyone was a little overwhelmed at the support shown for the cause. The ride was 14km long and without a word of a lie, it felt great to hold up those gas gusling auto-commuters at every set of lights we went through. Considering our convoy spread to about 500 meters long and we averaged about 15km/h, they would have been waiting a while for the traffic-fuzz to let them through.

At the conclusion of the ride a local radio personality broadcast Vicki's voice from Brisbane over loud speakers. It was quite a moving moment as you heard a young and active woman whose life has been changed forever, respond so positively to our efforts and the prospect for her future.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Glory through suffering

Well I've been crazy busy lately, moving house, working and trying to train for the Scott 24hr, but as promised, I headed down to the velodrome for the first time in two years and it all came rushing back. The first few laps at speed and in a pace line were pretty tense, until I remembered how to ride a track bike on a velodrome and could finally relax my shoulders and get into the flow.

I only tried to stop pedalling once, which came as a shock, but everything else came back so naturally. The new wheels are awesome. I think I’ll leave the tyres a 160 PSI as apposed to 180 (at least until I figure out how grippy the cement is) as there are some nasty lumps in the track coming out of the last corner where I could feel the back of the bike bounce sideways at speed.

The interval/sprint work quickly reminded me of the intense pain this type of racing is all about. Short and sharp hit outs with no chance for recovery, your legs have to keep spinning even after you’ve expelled all the energy your body has to spare, something that takes a lot of getting used to. You can’t slow down too much on the corners either; otherwise you’ll find yourself sliding down the bank of the track.

Wow you get some speed up though! The bikes are super efficient and it feels like you could roll forever. In the pace line the wind in your face is surreal as you hit 50 or 60 km/h on an enclosed race track with no brakes and two or three others within 150mm of your front and rear wheels.

It’s all about speed, efficiency and courage; with a lot of pain in their for measure.