Archive for the ‘Just riding around’ Category

It’s my last night in town and I’ve finished the days operating and I am patiently awaiting the first of what I will imagine to be many casualties of the Country Music Festival. Moreso, I’m keen to get back to Newcastle and regain my life both at home, at work, and on the bike. It’s all coming up Millhouse at the moment with long days, plenty of riding opportunites, ProTour racing on TV and the steady trickle of components arriving into the household.

I’ve managed to clock up a few hundred k’s so far this year, but once again that all grinds to a halt when I have to pack up my life and drive back this way. Riding this week gave way to a myriad of social outings and farewells culminating in a big night out last night and not enough sleep to be of much use today.

First and foremost is the arrival of my belated Christmas gift from Ms Motor Cortex. A nice set of Stans Arch 29ers on some DT240s. Complete with an extra set of Aerolite spokes and DT skewers. This of course is just the first slip in what is going to be an avalanche of new components over the coming months as I need to buy a single speed spacer kit, some tuggnuts, rim tape, valves, rotors, adaptors, and most importantly tyres to get these things installed on the 9r. Then of course comes the conundrum as to what to do with the frame? I’m hoping there’s a titanium answer for that, so stay tuned for updates. In unrelated news, I have a kidney for sale. Enquire below.

In the spirit of reciprocity, I bestowed unto Ms Motor Cortex the gift of a Dutch City bike. I am awaiting the ride report from The Unknown Rider with regard to his Alfine hub. This little beauty has a Nexus 3-speed, and by all accounts its a great little hub. It’s got a very wide range, as you’d expect, but for Newcastle’s flat streets and gentle grades (with exception to the Cols and Alpes I log in Strava), the set-up is perfect. A recommended gift for the bike-widow in your life.

So, what more is there to say? Not much really, except I’ve missed my week on the bike (and I note that the Power Granger has pipped me up King Edward), so I’ll be back with a vengeance. Looking forward to riding on and off the road, and generally getting on with life in the big smoke.

See y’all soon pardners!


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Great weather today, nice enough for a fixed ride into town. Took some one-handed iPhone pics which show the front brake, and the straps that keep my feet from slipping out.

Sadly my riding days are numbered over the long weekend, with the dreaded work phonecall begging me to cover some night shifts. That might put a damper on Sunday’s Awaba round, and Monday’s Kooragang race.

Hope you are also enjoying this damn fine weather while it lasts. Winter can’t be too far away.

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Yesterday, nice 30km cruise with the girl on the fixie into town. Stopped at Estabar for coffee and gelato. Hardly training, lots of fun.

Or so I thought. There was some residual soreness in the legs this morning… what could that be? Anyway, not enough to dissuade me from venturing out for a ride on a perfect morning. I decided to stick locally, and did a hill repeat session. Seven times up Oakdale Rd to the Dudley Memorial.

Nothing demonstrates commitment like projectile vomiting.

In other news, I’m about to pull the trigger on a gym membership. I’m looking at the CrossFit program, and there’s a gym in Georgetown that runs sessions. It costs a King’s ransom, but it will substitute nicely for television watching and take away meals. I’ll do a trial session then commit for a month and see how things go.

You don’t improve by training your strengths.

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I have recovered well from last weekend’s racing, and I have managed to head out for two leisurely road rides. Nothing special, just a quick 40km loop into town. It was nice to get on the bike knowing that in an hour and a bit I’d be back off it again. The body has held up well, with my feet getting better and all the muscle soreness gone.

It has been great to read the reviews from people on the Rotorburn forums about their highlights and lowlights. Seems like almost everyone had a good time. Once again I must stop and reflect in quiet awe at the distances turned out by the riders at the pointy end of the field. The fact that I qualified still does not place me in the same league as them. To paraphrase Mario Cippolini when asked about the greats of his sport – “I’m barely worthy to clean their shoes”.

I’ve been on nights this week at work, meaning that I get home at 9am with some caffeine-fuelled nervous energy. I’m not in a state of mind to concentrate on academia, so it’s out to the garage to tinker for a few hours. Firstly, I managed to finally clean down the 29er after the race, and give the bike a once over. I also managed to rummage through my spare bits and pieces and managed to come up with another bike:

The keener-eyed readers of this blod may recognise the frame. It is an ALAN (anodised and lugged aluminum frame) which, until the arrival of the Stealth Bike, was the original training bike of The Unknown Rider. However, prior to that, it was my do-everything bike when I was a teenager, and so in the great bike universe it managed to find its way home. The bike does have a pedigree, as attested to by the rainbow stripes on the seat-tube. It was originally picked up by  The Motor Cortex Sr (who has in his own way partly funded the entire Italian bicycle industry for the last 20 years), and it was raced professionally before its new life here.

From my parts bin I managed to assemble the frame, bb, cranks, pedals, front wheel, saddle/post and bars and stem. Thus leaving only the rear wheel, and chain to be sourced. How hard could that be? A quick trip to my local roadie shop soon netted the remainder of the parts. In a bizarre (and typically uncharacteristic) stoke of luck, the bike came together with the minimum of fuss. That includes the dilemma of how to mount a fixed wheel drivetrain in a bike with semi-vertical dropouts. Luckily for me, the combination of a 46 front, 16 rear and a half-link chain means that I found the “Jesus Gear” that gives me the perfect driveline and chain tension. Plus, it’s a nice ‘riding-around’ gear.

The even keener-eyed readers will also notice the absence of any brakes. This is not in deference to the Hipster God (tight-jeaned may He be), but I did manage to stumble across one hurdle, and that is the lack of a front brake in my parts bin (and a lack of stock in the local shops). Fear not, for it is in the mail (thank you eBay) and will be installed shortly.

What do I see happening with this bike? Firstly, it was too nice a frame with too much history to be left on my garage floor. It deserved to be built up. Secondly, I wanted a fixed-gear bike to ride over winter, to generally get me out and about more, and to keep my skills and enthusiasm up. The bike will shortly be equipped with very unHipsterlike lights, and possibly fenders for wet weather riding.

Do Assos make cutoff denim bib knicks?

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It’s always a good feeling to wake before the alarm, and I had slept soundly after yesterday’s ride. An evening storm served to cool the temperatures somewhat, and also the rain settled down the track for our impending arrival. On the cards today was a social meet up organised by the master trailbuilder (aka Pi11wizard), and the HMBA build crew. All in all, about 50 people descended (or ascended if you’re from Sydney) on the Awaba carpark for a few laps around the newly-constructed track, followed by some beer.

Session: Mtb

Bike: 29er

Time: 2:13

Distance: 23km

Route: Awaba long course x3

Weather: Sunny, warm and humid.

Summary: Despite the fact that I’m preparing to race big MTB races this year, my weakest link is still my general MTB skill level (other people’s weakest links turned out to be in their 9-speed chains).  Just cruising along at conversational pace has my hr up into the sub-threshold zone, and indeed today I was in my zone 4 for 75% of the time (and 13% in zone 5!). The 32×19 seemed to be a good choice for the track, with the new technical areas presenting some challenges – I am yet to make it up the Murderhorn in one go, but I will before the month is out. Three laps of stop-start in the January heat was enough for me. Sitting here now, I have recovered well by eating and drinking lots, and feel ready to ride tomorrow morning, and then race in the evening. My quads are sore but not overly so, and there is that typical post-mtb upper body ache. It looks like a few more off-road sessions are needed to hone my skills. At least I stayed upright. One step at a time I suppose.

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Yesterday I bought a new training tool, a Garmin Edge 305. I bothered to read the manual, and installed it on the 29er today. I woke up after a restless night’s sleep with a bit of soreness in the legs, but less than I expected. I headed out to meet the Pi11wizard, the Feltron, the Ronster, and the others that make up the core of the HMBA trail building team. These guys have done a fantastic job cutting in, and maintaining, all the track that the rest of us (me included) take for granted. When I arrived it was about 38 degrees, and these guys had been digging, benching, and carting gigantic concrete blocks for several hours. I tip my hat to them all. What follows is a post-beer scoot around the regular trail, plus two laps of the newly completed section. It’s such a shame that months of work passes by in a few seconds as you dive down the chute, or scramble up the Murderhorn. I now have a heightened appreciation for what these guys do, without their work Awaba would simply not exist. Thanks guys!

Session: MTB

Bike: 29er

Time: 0:46

Distance: 8.6km

Route: Awaba (old and new)

Weather: Hot.

Summary: Well it wasn’t a training ride, and it wasn’t a recovery ride either. Beers were had and new track was bedded in. The new sections get a big thumbs up from me. The bike handled it well, although I think a 19T cog is in order as 32×18 feels pretty tall though the singletrack and on the climbs. Everything else worked just as it should. Below is the Google Map of today’s ride. Over the next few days I’m going to experiment with a few websites (once I have some training data to log) and see how I can use this new toy as a proper training tool.

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