Team C-NUT

Everybody has our measure

Epic Rides

World 24 Hour Solo Championships - Rotorua Wembo 2016

It was about 7:00am - 250 meters into the start of a new lap, more than 5 hours from the end of the race. The peanut butter and honey roll I'd stuffed into my mouth was fighting for its life. Despite my maniacal chewing I couldn't quell the little beast. It clung to my teeth and pressed itself violently into the pockets of my cheeks. My mouth was dry, my tongue was bruised and my jaw was tired - and due to a pressing need for oxygen, I couldn't keep my lips closed long enough to generate some saliva.
Involuntarily I threw up a little into the back of my throat, forced myself to swallow and wondered - how long could I keep this shit up for.

I was leading, but I was crumbling...and that feisty little bread roll was still kicking....

My entry into the 2016 24 Hour Worlds was pretty swift when it was announced that it was to be held amongst the amazing trails of Rotorua New Zealand.
Sweet course eh bro?
For mountain bikers everywhere, be it the super skinny XC types or the baggie shorted beer drinking gravity cats, Rotorua is a southern hemisphere Mecca. The local community has a deep and close affiliation with its surroundings and well credentialed trail fairies are empowered to carve amazing lines within the forest. The results are phenomenal. Hero dirt, a lack of restrictive litigation and obliging landowners have allowed a small NZ town to show the rest of the world how mountain biking should be done. When the course was revealed, all manner of froth and stoke leapt across the digital landscape.

Kyllie and I had landed in Rotorua just in time to get rained in. 200mm of heavy NZ precipitation had avalanched out of the sky keeping us and my race primed bike confined to our lodgings. My plans of finding perfect lines for both day and night laps went un-executed - and I had to be satisfied with a quick whip around half of the course and an abbreviated recon of the pit area on the afternoon before race day. 
It was far from ideal, but by this stage, I was beyond nerves. Instead I was heavily pregnant with energy and expectation - and rolling around the now fully bunted trail with Kyllie and SS hardman Michael Timp made me feel like I was waddling the corridors of the delivery ward, begging for the contractions to start.


Last minute banter with 2015 23-29 category World Champ Peter Arch


And start they did. Before I knew it a sleepless night had dawned into the flurry of pit-lane setup which then fell away to see me in the starting chute, enduring waves of silent emotions as the pre-race ceremonies came and went. The pros rolled away with a 10 minute buffer, leaving us wedged in between placarded barriers, sharing the burden of nervousness and poor pre-race humour. The announcer counted down the remaining seconds, cleats snapped into pedals and a chorus of "Good luck's" rose from our ranks as our race roared into life.
Mercifully my nerves faded away as the nuances of the Rotorua course rose to meet us. While not armed with the rocks of Stromlo or the relentless climbing of Wearverville, this loop had captured the essence of the local trails and indeed, turned out to be a demanding beast.

The first few kilometers of the trail were fast and inviting and made us eager to push harder into the forest. But it was bait in a well laid trap and we would soon find ourselves grinding up one of the two technical and rhythmless climbs that would deal out much suffering over the coming 24 hours. Before and betwixt the climbs lay sections of fireroad and sweeping super-fast drops. The descents were fast and dangerous with wet roots laying in wait in alarming places at alarming angles. Trees and ferns leaned out over the trail like football fans, straining to clip a handlebar or brush a shoulder. Jumps and berms begged us to go faster and harder and we found ourselves committing to mid corner G forces more at home in a a gravity race than a 24 hour event.

Thus, there was no rest. We would punch out on the fire trail at the end of these descents with heart rates as high as when we entered. 


Roots maneuvers 


3x womens 24hr World Champ Jessica Douglas had said that a fun course is harder to race than a hard course. She was entirely correct. It was the trail equivalent of a Long Island Iced Tea, too much too quickly and you would be without pants, in a whalebone corset in the company of deviants way more devious than you.


Holding this image soberly in my mind I let the hours tick by. On the wise counsel of 2015 SS 24hr World Champ Scott Nicholas I'd started relatively slowly. The rationale was that as opposed to finding the race, I'd let the race find me. About 3 hours in I was well and truly down the standings convincing myself to hold tight to my plan. It was hard - the restraint was driving me crazy. I felt like a sailor on shore leave - in a chastity belt.

But sure enough, the love I was looking for began to find me. I was told to expect to see my race in waves, the first wave would come back to me between 5 and 6 pm and the next circa midnight. Cats in my category came back to me just as the sun was setting, and through no direct effort, I was drifting up the leaderboard. As 10pm swung into view I began seeing the names and numbers I was looking out for. While Kevin Skidmore and I had been casually lapping in proximity, we'd caught category threat Elvio Fernandez and eventually reeled in hardman Jamie Vogele. Sometime near midnight I noticed that my shadow (caused by Kevin's insanely bright lights) had disappeared - as had his jovial chatter. The chatter I'm Ok with, but his lights were giving me the shits, so I put in a bit of a surge to maintain the gap and rolled through the midnight milestone with a significant buffer.

Dusk - and happy about it

The novelty of riding at night had disappeared and an enduring blackness had settled in, blanketing everything with a an eyestraining lack of contrast. But I was doing OK. Maybe a little too-OK. My average speed had varied by less than a single kilometer per hour for 13 hours, I had almost 20 minutes over Kevin in second and had lapped both Elvio and Jamie. I was beginning to write my speech. 

Then shit started going wrong. 

In an attempt to conserve my batteries I'd been running my lights on low beam on the fireroad climbs, but a moment of inattention saw me barreling into the Mad If You Don't section of technical singletrack at attack pace, with the candlepower equivalent of a small glass of light beer. I was riding by braille and ended up misreading a fast berm and burping my tire off the rim. A panic bomb went off in my chest. While I'd avoided a crash, I was now faced with a flat front tyre, a long way from home. 
My hands were trembling, partly from the adrenaline but mostly due to the fear of being forced from the podium by an avoidable rookie error. I was taking the same deep breaths people take before they jump out of a plane or confess something to their boss. Way too deliberately I primed an oversized CO2 cartridge, attached it to my valve and with a little silent prayer, deep inside the pitch blackness of the Whakarewarewa forest - released the CO2.
In the recent past, I've seen the frigid cold gas escape into the air, through holes or gaps or stupid errors, disappearing as quickly as my place in the field, but in this instance, my tyre went up and stayed up. My relief was so palpable it could have worn a nappy. I was back in the game - but by now my methodical execution of a relatively boring plan had been replaced by a suddenly spiked heart rate and the impulsive desperation of a junkie.

Over the next few laps I began straying from plan. I was unable to retrieve my gel flask from my back pocket without pulling the light cable from my battery - and on arriving into the pits I put on a vest with the idea I could eat without plunging myself into darkness. In my sleep deprived state it seemed solid, but it was a remarkably flawed plan. The vest had no pockets and I couldn't reach my food without pulling up my vest and yanking on the cable. I ended up being appropriately illuminated, but entirely undernourished. My stomach was beginning to complain about all the bananas and muesli bars and while rice cream and custard was a welcome interlude, I wasn't eating enough in the 60 seconds or so I allowed myself in the pits. I wasn't riding to victory, I was riding to bonks-ville.


Wee small hours - starting to get surreal


My lap times were starting to stretch and with each hour, something else had started to hurt. First my hands, then my neck, then my bum. At about 3 o'clock in the morning, my knees, something I've never complained of previously were grievously voicing their displeasure. The science inside me assured me that the pain was a symptom of tight ITBs and while I was placated by the rationale, it did nothing to alleviate the droning, monotonous pain that I found hard to ignore.

In previous 24 hour events I've found the night-time to be a strangely comforting thing. Without the harsh reality that daylight carries technical climbs and arduous fireroad ascents don't carry as much weight. What I couldn't see wasn't hurting me - quite as much as it was about to.

Disorientation and exhaustion are comfortable bedfellows. Ironically I was searching for signs of the new day, eager to rid myself of an extra kilo of lights and batteries. I was planning on shedding this equipment at 5:30am, but twilight persisted right up to 6:30am and in the darker parts of the trail, way past then. It was a little heartbreaking - but nothing compared to the fact that I'd found myself at the pointy end of the event, with 6 hours remaining, almost completely spent.

By contrast, daylight had woken up my competition. I had a 40 minute advantage over Kevin, but he was eating into that like acid. From 7:00am he was charging. In the space of three laps he'd regained 30 minutes of lost time and there were no signs of him slowing down. While still trying to ensure that I ate and pocketed enough food during my pit stops, Kyllie now had the task of recapturing my focus. She let me know, in the gentlest way she could: You're losing this. 

In our pre-race musings we'd often wondered who goes fastest, the rabbit or the fox. With our best quasi-scholarly intents Tobias Lestrell, Kevin, Hayden Muir and I had wondered if the fear of losing one's life is greater than the hunger that drives the chase.
I was finding out in a very tangible way. I was a very tired and terrified rabbit being chased by a very fast fox.



Numbers - Top 4 from the 40-44 age group (White: me, Orange: Kevin)


Kyllie stuffed food into my mouth. I forced it down over the complaints of my stomach. I drank until I felt like I was going to throw up and I pedalled. I pedalled like my life depended on it.
The rot was not routed however. Kevin was still hammering. I had slowed the advance but it was like trying to halt a flood. Like the race for elite category glory, being fought with bottles and chains by Messrs English, Wallace and Lestrell, this was going to come down to the wire.

As the race stormed into the closing hours Kevin's pit chief Kenny Soiza and Kyllie - who had both been magnanimous in sharing the load of caring for two athletes during the night, called a civilized separation of duties - lest an advantage be given to their respective riders.
There were ten minutes left on the clock when I came into the pits for what I hoped was the last time. I desperately wanted Kyllie to say that Kevin had come off the pace, that he was too far behind to overtake me and that I should be able to get off my bike and call this race done. 

Fat chance. I was in concentrated agony. Lactic acid and exhaustion burnt in the back of my throat, smouldered behind my eyes and coursed through me like a grassfire - but despite my protests Kyllie sent me out for one last, final, all or nothing effort.


Run - rabbit - run


On that last lap I was tripping like Alice. The trail sparkled with things that simply were not there. I saw photographers change back into ferns, I saw wallabies turn back into logs and I saw Kevin's blue jersey - everywhere. My mind was both freaking out from hallucinatory input and trying to command an athletic response from my exhausted body. It was like a wrestling coach on acid. The noise in my head was so loud - inputs, outputs all mixed up with the wind and the sound of a broken body mashing the pedals of a mountain bike. I pushed myself over the micro summit that heralded the end of the last real climb and suddenly, there was a moment of silence. I craned my neck to look back at the trail and it was empty. No Kevin, no chase and for the first time in 6 hours, no fear.

The last few kilometers still hurt, probably more so as the anaesthesia that is terror had since dribbled away. I concentrated on staying upright, brought my bike through the last of the technical trail and dropped into the final fireroad section that led to the finish line. Half out of ceremony I stood up and sprinted to the line, crossing with none of my long planned histrionics but to a warm reception from the waiting crowd.

This old rabbit had found himself bent and broken, but with a long coveted category World Championship to take home to his warren.


Kevin, first on the scene post race, first to congratulate
My list of people to thank is significant, as everyone had a part to play that is hard to acknowledge in person, let alone here. 

My sponsors, Cycles Galleria and Pro4mance Sports Nutrition for their ongoing support, Curve Cycling for amazing wheels and David Heatley from Cycling InForm for excellent coaching.
Props to Craig, Lindy and Hayden Muir for their selfless help and huge thanks to Kenny Soiza for his excellent, bipartisan pit assistance.



Post race recovery @ Rotorua Blue Baths
Special mentions should be made of Scott Nicholas for his sage and calming advice, to Adam Kelsall for his enthusiasm and race-day composure, to Robert Douglas and Stuart Peele for their remote support and analysis, to Team Cnut for intercontinental stoke and to all those cats who stayed up late at night to yell at a computer screen as the race unfolded. And a big thanks to Leon, Paige and Maroun for acupuncture and osteo treatments to help keep me on course.

Huge thanks go to Wembo (Russ Baker) for keeping 24 Solo alive and growing and to Nduro NZ events (Tim and Belinda) for putting on such a rad event, even under trying conditions.


Moreover, to all those people who came out and made a race of it, especially to very good mate Kevin Skidmore, who swapped out friendly for fearsome and scared about 10 years of my own life out of me.

Finally, to my amazing wife Kyllie. She not only put up with and supported a strung out athlete for 3 months leading into this event, but executed our race-day plans to perfection, often under considerable duress. You made this happen baby, you're awesome. 




Archie, Ewen & other Lunatics

Mount Donna Buang - Winter Ascent

There's slow business like snow business.

It only takes an hour or so of lurking around on Facebook to bend ones mind into doing less than sane things. Playing games without purpose or passion, reposting stupid comments, downloading another trojan, or deciding to climb a local berg in the middle of one of the coldest weeks in recent history.

In this instance, I was following the lead of a certain Ewen Gellie. Talented bike rider and excellent frame builder he is, but it'd be fair to say that - like me - he is not above failing to think through the consequences of what appear to be dubious recreational pursuits. In a moment of peer inspired sub-brilliance, we'd publicly committed to climbing Mt Donna Buang up the gravel roads from Healesville, in the middle of winter.



Early morning, early days
And so on the morning of the ascent, twelve intrepid riders turned up at the designated meeting point in Healesville ready to begin a relatively novel cycling adventure. Almost everyone, with the exception of myself and a bloke called Brian John on our 29ers had chosen CX bikes for the journey - the principle being that skinny, grippy tyres would cut through the snow to the gravel underneath.

We didn't have to wait long to test that theory. Garmins were reporting 650 meters or so of elevation, and already, we were in a couple of inches of white stuff. It was very pretty, pretty crunchy, in parts pretty slippery and for the most part, pretty good fun. And as we regrouped we were all pretty excited about getting amongst it. However, that was about to become pretty different - pretty quickly. The snow got deep quicker than a breakup conversation and our expectations of rolling to the top in happy harmony through 3 inches of talcum like snow were beginning to melt away.


Waiting for stragglers...still happy...ish
Within the hour we were spending efforts like they were post war deutsch marks and finding our speed dropping south of walking pace. The snow depth climbed with each kilometer. Our group had splintered. Off the 12 that started one had dropped off below the snowline, another four had already realised that this snow climb fantasy was a unicorn and the remaining seven of us were pushing on in the vain hope that at some point, this Christmas in July would let us open our presents.
There were Christmas trees, but no presents. We pressed on, reaching a saddle in the climb were the gradient fell away, but it seemed that the snow had chosen the same place to rest as us. It was so deep that even on a downhill, in granny, we were still returning only single digit speeds. At this glacial pace we passed a sign reading 9 kilometers to go - indicating the halfway point. Another three from our party pulled up stumps right there. We were down to four.


Cold feet? Love some
As the road began to regain climbing status we were beginning to walk a lot more than ride. Those on CX bikes were without the wide bars and deep cassettes that we on 29ers had and struggled to not only get over the gear but to get control of their rides. Having walked the last hour, out of food and water and getting pretty sick of wet, freezing feet, the last two CX bikes decided that the glory on offer was not worth the investment -  and turned back.

Twelve was now two, with only Brian John and I remaining. He's a tough old bastard Mr John. He too has done every Odyssey, he's an expert in distance racing and took a win off me at the Beechworth 6 hour almost a year ago (way earlier blog post). What this meant is that nobody was going downhill until we'd got to the top.


Smile..frozen on 
We'd noticed that a couple of intrepid riders had attempted to get to the top the day before.Their tyre tracks and accompanying footprints indicating that like us, they had found the term 'push bikes' to be particularly apt. We struggled on, our speed now reduced to no more than three kilometers an hour. Feet, backs, hands, legs were all hurting - a pain sometimes numbed and sometimes amplified by the freezing conditions. This slow-snow march seemed to last for hours, our halting conversation based largely on trying to figure out what caused these strange tracks in the snow and where the other previous days riders had gone. Their tracks had disappeared some distance down the mountain. 

Suddenly, appearing on the trail was a bloke on skis, his wife in ugg boots and their labrador. It was a strange encounter. A quick chat, a pat of the happy lab and a snack (thanks to Brian for sharing his Cliff bars) and we were fired up for the final assault. Our off piste pals had informed us that we were only a couple of kilometers from the summit, something that made us very happy indeed.

Before we knew it we had punched out of snow and were on the tarmac, cautiously spinning our way to the summit across the black ice. It'd be fair to say we, as a couple of soggy mountain bikers stood out a little amongst a swathe of wobbly snow tourists, trying to stay upright as they shoved their children into short bursts of toboggan-run terror. We took a couple of celebratory photos and began preparing for the descent. This included four buckets of hot chips and a couple of hot chocolates - all the fuel a slightly twisted bike rider needs.


Brian John, trying to smile...I think
We decided to take on another extended period of exertion in the deep snow rather than accept the almost certain broken collarbone that the icy blacktop offered.

And while we still walked a lot, the trip down was altogether more rewarding. The snow had softened and gravity was helping a little too and despite still being hammered like galley oarsmen we were making reasonable progress - and even having some fun.

We got over the saddle and down under the snow line and wound our way back to the carpark - still freezing cold and using whatever energy we had left to keep up our average speed, and hopefully, our core temperature.
When we got back to Healesville it was a circus. It was a total contrast to when we started and moreover, so totally different to where we'd just been. We'd just returned from something so quiet and so exceptionally beautiful that all the bustle around us seemed a little surreal.



                       Helmetcam Video from the day
       Some would say arthouse, others would say crap 


A great day out. Thanks to Ewen Gellie and Jason Johnson for getting us involved. A huge shout out to all those dudes who came along and mad ups to Brian John for getting to the top with me...because I probably wouldn't have done it without him.


Great bikes too. 29ers, take the win in the snow!

A late edit - Tough guy Gags, up for the ascent on the day, matching his bike skills with supreme video editing. He's what the day looked like from the perspective of a good camera-handler.

 

Archie & Kylie - Gippsland

Gippsland 6 Hour - Blores Hill

Gippsland - God's Country, with singletrack.

The best thing about racing is where one can find oneself. The Gippsland MTB event - the 6 Hour at Blores Hill takes me to Gippsland. And of all the great places I get to in Victoria, Gippsland is up there with my favourites.

Heyfield is the kind of place you'd imagine European based ex-pats dreaming of. Its clean, quiet, calm and quintessentially Australian without reeking of defensive jingoism. As you drive into Heyfield it sort of wraps its arms around you, inviting you to casually listen in to the jovial conversations of the locals and to witness school kids taking the long way home on their rebirthed bikes. In a strange way, it feels like a home.

Kyllie and I had been to Heyfield before, fine dined, finer wined and left feeling like we'd been given a healthy rubbing with a loofah made of clean fresh air.
During last years incarnation of the BLores Hill 6 Hour I was nursed around the course at break-neck speed by a certain Kevin Skidmore, turned myself inside out, suffered like a quitting smoker and crossed the line in a exhausted, lactic infused third place in Vets.



                    Recon ride video, shake it like you mean it.

This year, I wanted to win. I'd taken open podiums and category wins in the last three six hour races I'd competed in (missing race reports for Albury and Forrest coming soon) and despite an upset stomach and a fledgling cold in the week prior, I was enjoying the way that '3 from 3' sounded in my mind.

Shhh...I'm being relaxed. Abington Farm
Swanning around our little beautiful little apartment at Abington Farm after an enjoyable recon ride of the course I was feeling pretty comfortable. Confident even.
Come race day and I was excited. I always am, but this time I thought that all my ducks were lining up.

On the starting grid I bantered amiably with Corey Davies and relived the opening 200 meters over and over in my mind - having repeated it as my warm up.

And when the gates were opened, I was one of the first birds through the chute and found myself hitched to the wheels of the team elites, flying through the opening stanza, getting prepped to power through the kicking singletrack that is the Blores Hill circuit.

Fifteen minutes in and I was feeling like my own tailwind. I was bouncing around in the red zone but I could have been bouncing on a jumpy castle for all I cared. I had more free speed than a corrupt customs official and was living the mid-race equivalent of the high life - but unknown to me, I was under surveillance - and the bonk-police were closing in. After two laps leading  the solo category I glanced back and saw Tobias Lestrell leading a group of low numbers right up to my back wheel. Corey Davies, Phil Orr and sitting in like a syringe hidden in beach sand, was a very composed and altogether scary 40+ hitman Tim Jamieson.


Tim Jamieson, frightening from any angle
On the third lap, mostly out of desperation I suggested that Corey and I attack. We flew over the technical Trigg Point climb and swept into the singletrack. We may have opened a gap of about 20 seconds, but the effort had punctured a hole in my energy reserves. I burnt the last of my matches attempting to stick with Corey as he took a turn, only to see the fire go out as he rode off me. I made it to transition before the chase group caught and passed me. I had been nicked...guv'nor.
I spent the next few laps sitting in a cave. Both my hip flexors were killing me, I had stupidly let myself food flat, get dehydrated and knew that ol' TJ was mashing the pedals like they were root vegetables. I would see him heading out for a new lap as I came in - meaning about a 40 second gap - and infuriatingly thats where it stayed for the next 3 or 4 laps - but despite refuelling and replenishing and I couldn't bridge over to him.


Mrs Archer - bringing sweetness to the
steepness
Despite the crushing disappointment of watching the win get away from me, there were brighter moments. My talented wife Kyllie was out racing in the 6 hour pairs and I managed to pass her prompting a little on bike affection which was a parting of the clouds.

Eventually I was able to get some rhythm, and actually started enjoying myself a little more. I was having a bit of a yarn with some of the three hour riders when my back end started feeling a little squishy. Way squishy. 

One CO2 bulb burnt and I was on my way again. Squishy though had decided to come with me. There were another four stops for air/CO2 before I started my last lap. By now I was scared again. Being the first loser is bad enough, but losing to the first loser is worse. So I powered up for my final loop and prepared to withdraw everything from the account. 

With squish still floating around under my saddle and having already chewed up another CO2 I thought that brutal pace would be the better part of valour. I spent that last lap out of my saddle, weighted up over the front wheel, listening to my rear tyre burping through the corners like a hick at Oktoberfest. To cap off the paranoia, team racer Richard Vrins had caught me with 300 meters to go and challenged me to a sprint finish - which after 40 minutes out of faux-sprinting I needed like having my lips stitched together.


A lines - A study in marginal returns on investment
I haven't collapsed from bike after a finish line since my first melodramatic races almost 10 years ago, but I did then, as it turns out only a few minutes in front of lactic addict Scott Nicholas - on a goddamn singlespeed.

When all the numbers were counted, Tobias Lestrell had pipped Phil Orr and Corey Davies for the open win, Tim Jamieson towelled me up to the tune of 8 minutes (a shellacking) relegating me to 5th and 2nd in Open and Masters categories respectively. Kyllie, partnered up with Jimmy Lefebvre crushed it to finish a category second. Golden.

A big shout out to everyone who had a crack at a super-honest loop, to the Gippsland MTB club for turning on a super friendly but killer race, to Cycles Galleria and Pro4rmance Sports Nutrition for all the wicked kit I need to belt myself in such a fashion and to Kev and Kenny, Jimmy, Craig and Ross for packing away all the kit when I was still shuffling around like a zombie.

Times. In the words of Malachi Moxon, people only remember the times. Check-em out. Race results and Vic Enduro Series results

2014 FREEZA ROOTER

June Long Weekend - FREEZA

Day One : Anglesea - Kennet River - Anglesea 106kms (96 For The Mayor, 76 for Ryno) 

Teamcnut riders : KY, Pauly, Livio, Jason E & The Mayor
Rooters : Craig, Julie, Kathy and James
Free Agent : Ryno

Highlight or lowlights (whatever) :
Friday night load up at http://www.ubermama.com.au with happy hour, nice live tunes and great fodder.
Saturday morning pre ride coffee meeting at http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/346/1556607/restaurant/Victoria/The-Red-Till-Anglesea , with no Ryno or The Mayor as they did not want to ride an extra 4 km down the hill.
Julie & Craig's clown like yellow fluro booties and gear met their match witrh the pink poon on the Great Ocean Road.
 Ryno (after over the years letting the Victorians know that the SA's are great group riders) decided to ride to Lorne with Russ, leaving the others dumbfounded. Extreme arrogance.
The weather was great all the way to Lorne to the next meeting point for coffee at http://lornebeachpavilion.com.au/cafe-and-restaurant.html . Livio returned home probably due to the lack of pace - one Victorian down.
Finally a regrouping and it was mayhem at Mt Defiance with all the buses.In Ryno tradition it started to pour and by the time we reached Kennet it was saturation. Therefore this meant a stop at Wye River for an ale or 2.
The Mayor and Kathy battled hard for the KOM, Kathy the only rider to go the full distance so therefore hands down winner! 
Jason E finally caught us at the pub but decided to go on further - WTF it was pissing down!
Seafood was slammed at Lorne Pier Restaurant before the race back to Anglesea. The Mayor smashed it, Ryno didn't make it. Took the car instead! Officially a dnf - Rooters down one (oh sorry, you were previously axed, so Free Agents down one)
A regrouping was held at the Anglesea Life Saving Club for a nice meal and some awards :

Fastest downhill Award- Jimmy
Gentleman's Award - Craig
Non Group Rider Award & "Still Reaching" Award - Ryno
Booby Socks Award - Julie "I would never wear those!"
See you up Top Award - Jason E sprewking about his climbing skills but giving a red flag to Pauly and Russ
Millenium Cycles Award for political correctness - Pauly
Make it Rain Award - KY
Ryno's  "I am am really sorry I kicked that wheel and caused you to crash and end up in hospital " Award - Russ with a replacement Nando's jersey
King (Queen) of the Mountain - early points sealed the deal, strong all day and totally out smarted The Mayor 
  


Day 2 : Anglesea - Lorne - Benwerrin - Lorne - Anglesea 101 kms

Teamcnut riders : KY, Pauly, Brendo, Jason E & The Mayor
Rooters : Craig, Julie &, Kathy
Not Even a Free Agent : Ryno

Ryno said "one of the great days of riding". Well yes it was.
It was Red Kite again for a de briefing with Brendo coming in for Livio. James was out of the team due to knee soreness and maybe heartburn from the night before.
For once the crew were together until Lorne for another stop at The Pavilion to fuel up for the Erskine Falls climb.
There was some traffic on the climb but the scenery was beautiful. Very little group riding here with Pauly and Jason E off the front and Brendo suffering with his man flu at the rear. He told his wife he was going to turn at Lorne. Trouble coming.
The turn off to the falls was ignored and it was time to get the Rooter's Gucci machines dirty. Pauly was frothing at this stage. It was an adventure into the unknown and after another debriefing at the top of the climb after some dirt, and after a beer it was time to push forward. The Mayor wanted to turn back because he was freezing and because he was scared (no choice for you), and Julie explained that her Cervelo does not do dirt. Brendo also jumped into James Panza Division Commodore and looked a sorry soul. You should have turned back Brendo like you promised! Rooters down one, teamcnut down 1.
The dirt section to Benwerrin was as good as it gets, no cars (apart from James spinning the wheels to cover us in crap), absolute silence and great scenery. 
We all know the road from Benny to Lorne and no pedalling was necessary, except that it was like a race!
A quick lunch in Lorne, with Brendo taking off by himself because he was now 3 hours late only to bust his chain. Jimmy to the rescue as he drove him back to Anglesea.
A very nice tail wind as we arrived at Airey's pub for a beer or 2, and some Greek action as one of the young waiters tripped over in front of us. Ryno "you better do something about that fringe!"
11 kms to go and it was a cruise all the way.
Final briefing as at the Anglesea Golf Club that night for an indoor putting contest. Nice win Craig!
      


A fantastic weekend was had by all for the second FREEZA ROOTER

Thanks to the SA's who travelled all the way from Adelaide and to the local and non local Victorians.
It's going to be hard to top that Sunday ride but we will find a way.
Looking forward to catching up again at the TDU in January and this time next year.

To Ryno, STOP REACHING! 

(plenty of pics in the gallery)

Archiue & Kylie - Otway Odyssey

Giant Odyssey - April 2014

Giant Odyssey

If you've not ridden this race, you should. Its like Wimbledon for marathon mountain biking. Its one of the biggest races in Australia and attracts the A-listers of rough rubber royalty. Its long, fun and scary hard to boot.

This event and me have a long, chequered past. I form one of 15 or so masochistic psychopaths who have completed each Odyssey since its inception some bazillion years ago. In achieving this dubious milestone I have burnt as many calories as McDonalds Ararat sell in 20 minutes, sweated near to 900 litres in human seawater and been vigorously, consistently, mercilessly punished like a small full back playing in Tony Lockett's return to country football. 
And despite the years of mad heat and relentless rain I have fronted up again and again, usually under-done,  to stupidly drag my scarred cadaver over climb after climb, hoping that this would be the year that I would gain something resembling glory. To date? Nothing.

But this time - with the event date moving later into the calendar year, I was ready. A little altitude training, a little attitude training and more than a little wallet emptying and I was fit, awash with kit and ready to rip.
Even my wife, Kyllie had her race face on, having let me shoehorn her into her maiden 100km entry some 6 months earlier. Moving through the starting chute I even had enough sparkle to rev up marathon-mudder hardman Simon Goninon for settling into a mid-pack beginning.

And there I found myself, high heart rate and cold legs, three back from sharp end of a skinny and hungry pack, straining against the start line like wild eyed greyhounds - yearning for the gates to open. And when they did...

Holy shit.

Go that way...really fast.

I held on, bumping elbows and rubbing tyres as the group rushed through the opening five kilometers like bogan crowds at Boxing Day sales. Occasionally I could see my rivals in the 40+ category, bobbing to the surface like flotsam and then disappearing again under the torrent of dust and lycra. Then, as we swung off the tarmac and hit the first of the sandy climbs I saw them all quite clearly. Riding off into the distance.

Climb it like you stole it












At this point all sorts of voices started howling in my head. Those harsh, hurtful ones that seem to enjoy puncturing holes in your soul, just to watch the strength leak out. I was hunched over my bike, head down, to the casual observer trying both to draw out my breath and slow down my heart rate. But in truth, I was trying not to let my heart break. 

Racing is a funny thing. The expectations we place upon ourselves seem never to be met and those we place on others are regularly exceeded. The Odyssey is my benchmark, my high and low watermark, almost a fucking birthmark. This time I went into it expecting a category-win, or at least podium - and while I never said that openly, lest somebody else's expectations of me not be met, I had rehearsed my acceptance speech, such was my level of commitment. To watch the podium ride off me, and easily, like I was a roadside mailbox, was one crushing little moment in my usually pretty jovial history of racing. First world problems yes, but problems none the less.


Dudes, podium, dudes on podium...somewhere up there...
Eventually, all that shit stopped. Largely prompted by a gentle realisation that bitching to myself about myself was probably going to get old pretty quick - reinforced by knowing it would certainly not bring the finish line any closer. Racing called and I got back to business, kinda embarrassed by my little internal moment. I got up and over the Sledgehammer and made up a few places barrelling down the long fire road descents. Hollow little victories but at that stage I was happy for whatever scraps I could get. Post the first stop at Forrest football ground and I was in a better place. I was refuelled, refreshed and had my racing is fun fire rekindled. Moreover - I was in singletrack...and I like singletrack almost as much as mid morning sex.

This section went all too quickly, which, due to having a plate zip-tied to my bars suited me just fine. Marriners run, Grass Trees, Foxtail - some of the sweetest trail in the country was being very nice to me indeed. By the time I'd reached transition for the final loop, I'd made up a handful of hard to get places and was feeling like this race wasn't going to be so bad after all. I think I even let out a 'WooHoo!'

The course, rough, course even
Post the final transition and we were all faced with a bit of a grind. 7 or 8 kms of tarmac smooth fire road ascent, straight up Kannglang road. I was forcing down an Odyssey sandwich. Some sweet singletrack corned-beef in between two stale and hard to stomach slices of HTFU.

Women give birth with less moaning than what I did dragging my arse up that climb - and by the time I'd got to the top I'd almost forgotten - again - how much fun all this racing should be.

With more than just a little resolution I attacked the timed Red Carpet descent and while it was largely ceremonial, with nobody immediately in front or behind me I still ripped through it like a beer bottle goes through a grocery bag.


Turns out I made up a little time. I had descended through the ferns, deep into the belly of the beautiful Forrest undergrowth and had climbed up one of the last painful dirt ladders to gain a little altitude again before getting onto the final 25kms - beginning near the famed West Forrest trailhead. While the climbs had hurt me, I was still in the ring with more than a couple of punches left to throw - and having ridden this section more times than I eat cheese (which is a lot) I was looking forward to finishing on a high.

Not smart - or attractive. Baby air.
But there was more fighting to come. West Forrest trail is a deceptive beast. At recreation pace its a mostly sweet, occasionally savoury section of singletrack with arousing features and lines that will make a grown man wish he'd worn shy-shorts. But at race-pace, it can be a piercing howl as every meter seems to demand more and more tech prowess to get by. I got by OK, and also got by a few cats who were more writhing than rhythm. And as this wonderful section came to a close I caught Liam McCrory - a hardass mofo holding down 5th in 40+. A place I was more than happy to relieve him of. 
Mrs Archer - flying
I popped out of that section knowing it was only 5kms or so to the line, but also fully aware that I needed at least 1.5 of those kilometers to hold off a certain Mr McCrory who goes up hills like a bushfire...and sure enough, as I crested the first of three small climbs, there he was. Right behind me. I bombed the resulting descent, hoping that the ultrafast downhill would put enough space between us, and while there was 'space' - I was a little short on 'enough'. On the next climb he went by me like helium, and despite licking the paint off the inside of the hurt box to hold his wheel -he had gapped me, easily.

With only a time trial kilometer to go - with nothing technical or vertical between us I tipped everything in. I mashed the pedals, flicked up gear, mashed them again. It felt like I was gaining on him, and the odd furtive glance he shot back confirmed it, but with 200 meters between us - I needed him to be getting bigger in my vision a lot faster than he was. As is would turn out, I made up almost all of that space in the final approach - hitting the last gravel turns brakeless and gunning it over the grass to come in only a bike length behind. No podium, no glory, but the best result I've had in the Odyssey and a cracking balls-out finish to boot. A total time of 5:07:03 - 34th overall, 6th in Masters.

Kyllie also had a flyer - storming home to finish her first full distance Odyssey in a touch under 7 hours...a feat many of my riding buddies are yet to manage. So proud.

And big thanks go to Rapid Ascent for another surgically precise event, to Cycles Galleria for not only my epic Pivot Mach 429 Carbon, but Kyllie's very cool Trek Fuel and to Pro4mance sports nutrition for fantastic foodstuffs all day. Mavic can take a bow for the excellent Crossmax SLRs I was rolling with and SRAM for the XX1 group that ran better than flawlessly.
Moreover, thanks again to everyone who came out and pushed themselves, dug deep, grimaced and grinned to make an event like this so much more than a bike race. And finally, while we all race for one reason or another, uber-hardman Simon Goninon races for a really good one. Check out his work for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) over at MudRacingMechanics.

Full Race results should you like numbers. I know you do. We all like numbers.

Archie in Geelong

Geelong Crazy 6 Hour

Oh...my word... I love the You Yangs. Oftentimes at endurance races I'll turn up and hope that I can learn a trail fast enough to - in turn - be faster than everyone else on that trail. In the case of the Crazy 6 - held at the You Yangs MTB park near Little River, I am more familiar with this trail than I am my own face.

There we all were. Packed in, rubbed down and fired up.  I was so up for this race it was getting peculiar. But I wasnt alone in that sentiment, and as the gun went off, the speed at which the pointy end opened up pretty clearly indicated that most of these dudes were not only hungry to race but were sons and daughters of this trail too.
Generally the starting speed of a race is usually directly proportional to the number of elites, divided by the  length of the race in hours. I don't know what the numerical representation of "fark-king-hell!" is, but it appeared that most cats in this race had been on their bikes when they should have been in maths class. A wave of riders 12 wide and 25 deep poured towards the valve that was the opening to the single track - with me getting tossed around up in the middle like a tourist in the surf. 

It could have been an explosion in a bike shop, but testament to the mad-skillz of my fellow races, we all squeezed in and opened our respective racing accounts over this very, very sweet XC race course.

Each lap started with whip through the Kurrajong trees and a small climb with a gradient about as steep as a sea breeze. We would then get loose with some big spandex air through with what constitutes a jump park in XC terms, hit some more fast berms, wind up the heart-rates on the fire roads and hurtle fire back towards camp. 
Hot laps were being cut, people were popping, others were attacking and all I trying to do was hang with the team elites for a while. This worked out, I managed to stay within complaining distance for the opening couple of laps - and hoped that had given me a handy start over my solo 40+ competition.

The race progressed to plan. I pulled in some of the elite solos, mistook a dude for another dude, and turned myself inside out catching him - only to realize that all I'd done was burn a bunch of matches gapping the 40+ category cats trying to get to me. 
Matches however, I had many of. I was running purely on Pro4mance gels and bottle mix - and despite yearning for a vegemite sandwich - I was jumping out of my skin with energy. My legs were spinning like government marketers and my mind, usually sulky with pain and suffering was gibbering like a grade 3 class who'd discovered a big stash of teachers Koolaid.

Five hours in and I was still time-trialling the fire roads, tearing up the quasi climbs and having the time of my life tweaking out the big jumps at the top end of the loop.


My raceday lines on the YYs jumps

 I was having obscene amounts of fun. This was turning into that one in a dozen race, where there was nothing but free speed and glory. And I love glory, almost as much as I like obscenity. 

Turns out there was a bit of it going around. I managed to cross the finishing line in first of the old buggers and sneaked my creaking carcass into 3rd overall - covering about 157 kms in a little over six hours. It not only meant 80 arbitrarily valuable points in the Victorian Enduro Series, this being the first of seven six hour races that make it up - but it almost meant two big bags of grocery trophies. Yum!

Gradient profile that looks like a pump track - sweet!

Big thanks go to all those excellent cats who make my racing life so much fun. Cycles Galleria deserve props for looking after me and my truly epic Pivot Mach 429C, Pro4mance Sports Nutrition for 6 hours of power, to the GMBC for an absolute chuckle-fest and to J Lefebvre, GT, K Skidmore et al for all their help pulling down camp while I was bathing in category adulation.

Racing! Groceries! W000t!

Archie - March 2014

Bendigo Golden Triangle Epic - March 2014

I have history with this race. The last time I turned up I spent 8 and a half hours essentially wandering around with my head in a plastic bag full of cat shit pretending to be a bike racer. I had mechanicals on masse, got dehydrated, got lost, food flatted and for all money basically had a (non-free range) pig of a time.

This year, using my free entry into the race I scored at the Bendigo Six Hour, I was back to avenge my pride. This raced owed my ego a debt and collection was due. I was coming into some form, had some kick-ass SRAM Roam 60 carbon wheels on my ride and a bunch of race food from Pro4mance that was handing out the big power. Boxes were all ticked and I was going to get all Ninja on this shit.

Not a Ninja, or a bike racer. You cant race with hair like that...
unless you're Tim McGrath. (Stolen from the Interwebs)
The day before race day was spent milling with Jimmy Lefebvre and his water ski mates on the banks of the Lodden river in Bridgewater. The weather was totally random, one minute calm and balmy and the next howling with cyclonic winds and wine-bottle sized raindrops.
It meant good and bad things...good in that it should water down a notoriously dusty course and bad in that it may have deposited the Pivot marquee I'd set up at race central earlier that day in some arbitrary Bendigo suburb.

The course was looking just like...what I like. Flat (ish), technical and with the rain bedding it down, fast and tacky. The start list however was not. Generally reserved for masochists this race was stacked with strong names, none more so than Shane Roberts - the two time champion, who I'd previously seen disappearing into the forest from the get-go like he'd mixed up his miles with his meters.
We were each up for a three-peat of a twisted 52km circuit, largely made up of the same bloody rocks that Bendigo make most things out of (breakfast for one) and a fair swathe of brutal, off camber singletrack. (Course GarminConnect link for trail geeks). We knew it'd be a long race. The marshals were suggesting a winning time north of 8 hours.

We all milled around, shared stupid nervous jokes, got a ceremonial race briefing and in the yawning light of a modestly beautiful Bendigo morning, we were released into our event.

As expected, Shane Roberts lept off the line and bolted up the road. He did that last year and for all I knew he did it the year before. I thought it best to hang with him as long as I could, just to see what he had. Quite a bit as it turned out. I had been on his wheel for about 10 minutes when I looked behind me to see nothing but  an empty and eerily quiet forest. We began taking turns, eventually breaking into conversation - and while still mashing the pedals having a pretty good old chinwag at the same time.

We tested each other occasionally during that first lap, quietly and half-heartedly flicking on the power or the speed to see if it would dent the other, and for 99% of that first 2 and a half hours, it did absolutely nothing. In the last 1% however, Shane took some sick skills to technical section just before the start of the second lap and began getting smaller and harder to see - eventually crossing the pads about 10 seconds up.

About to cross the timing pads for the start of their race however were the 50km riders. Shane relived his race start by sprinting up the strait and before I knew it I was gapped by about 30 meters and surrounded by the 50km elites. I chewed on some tough love as I fought to stay on their wheels - wheels which pretty quickly had locked back onto a certain Mr Roberts, some 60 seconds later.

A Zoolander moment "All he had to do was turn right"
Strangely we'd all caught some of the slower riders from the 100km race and during the ensuing hilarity - involving comically relaxed beginners and super-pro XC whippets from the 50km race, I managed to pass Shane as he found himself caught behind a suddenly prostrate backmarker. And as I tried to stay on the vicious wheels of the guys who had brought me up to him, I managed to create a little gap between us.

I was bouncing off the rev limiter staying with this one guy. He lacked finesse in the singletrack where I took a ceremonial turn at the front, but he would open the taps on the open sections, dragging me along some 10 kms an hour faster than I otherwise would have. We were burning past and burning off guys in his category, let alone mine and I was in that sort of enjoyable place where the pain is actually fun. Eventually I was jettisoned off the back - but by that stage I was only 1500 meters from the start of my final lap - but critically about 1500 meters in front of Shane.

The commentator was frothing as I came through. I swapped into a fresh Camelbak and bolted up the hill to what sounded like him revving up the prospect of a 'changing of the guard' - or somesuch.
It did provide big inspiration though, and with relatively clean and clear trail ahead of me I attacked the last 53 kilometers like a birthday party kid attacks a Pinata.

Sometimes in long races, it gets quiet. There was nobody out on the trail except for the odd 100km rider who would initially freak out as I approached and would fire up the encouragement as I passed. I too was a little edgy. As one point I took a wrong turn and ended up burning valuable matches tearing up 500 odd meters of wrong way trails. In a rare moment of clarity I managed to u-turn and get back on track before too much damage was done, but it did nothing to soothe my nerves.

I was terrified of getting caught, and in such situations the cup of my imagination runneth over. There were the three CO2 cartridges I had in my Camelbak. Every so often they would clink together and through the fabric and over the noise of the trail, it sounded exactly like somebody - ie Shane Roberts - was changing gear, right on my wheel. So I would periodically hear this click/clink, look behind me in panic and bolt off as if I'd actually seen some errant big cat.

Thats me...on the right

The I kept checking my watch, looking behind me, pretending not to be totally freaked out as I passed dudes on the trail and dug right into the hurt bank trying to reel in the finish line. The 8km to go sign heralded the start of some 'I might win this' sentiment, but also the start of some 5km of new and very technical trail. Even though I had already gone over it twice before and despite going as hard as I could, I was still only creeping through it. Race HQ felt like miles away - but soon enough, the trail opened up and I laid down heavy pedal strokes in a desperate attempt to remove whatever space there was between me and the win.

And win I did, thankfully.

I win something! Get the shakas out
It must be pointed out that the Bendigo MTB club has much to be proud of. All categories of the Golden Triangle Epic attracted very deep gene pools of MTB racers, the trail was a fantastic mix of tacky hardpack, tech-rocks and flowy whippable turns and like always, the race was run with the efficiency of German arms factory with the vibe of a community garden.

A big thanks again to Bendigo MTB for a cracking race, to Jimmy Lefebvre who put me up at Casa dela Lefebvre in Bridgewater and to my awesome sponsors, Cycles Galleria, Pro4Mance Sports Nutrition and Jet Black for all the things they do best.


More stuff to follow should you be remotely interested (photos are quite good).

Strava malarkey - Results - Photos from the day

Trevor Mildenhall (Anglesea Legend)

Faceplant: 
An Adventure in the Snowy Mountains:         Trevor Mildenhall

The Plan:
I was keen to join the walking group on the first stage of their walk on the Main Range (Snowy Mountains/Mt Kosciusko region) starting from Round Mountain Thursday April 3 and trekking for 6 days ending up at Guthega Alpine Inn Tuesday night April 8.  I needed to leave my car at Guthega Power Station as I was to return home on the Wednesday April 9. The plan was to meet the other walkers at Khancoban on their way to start the walk at Round Mountain Thursday around 2 pm April 3 with my pack and walking legs ready to go.
In order to increase the adventure and to get the cars and gear and body in the right places, the logistics were hatched.
Tuesday April 2. Travel Anglesea to Khancoban and leave pack at Caravan Park Tuesday (with the plan of staying there Wednesday night). Next, I wanted to consult with Khancoban Parks Office re logistics and track condition, before continuing journey to Jindabyne to spend the night in a cabin. Managed to slip out for 1.5 hour ride on Copper track at Jindabyne. Lots of great single track to explore.
Wednesday April 3. From Jindabyne to Guthega Power Station leave car, and travel around 70ks to Khancoban by mountain bike via Schlincks Track and Pass (up to 1870 metres) down to Geehi Dam, about 25ks, from Geehi Dam down the Dam Rd to Alpine Way, about 22ks, and back to Khancoban via Geehi Walls 4wd track another 23ks. I was to stay at Khancoban that night recover pack, deposit bike and meet the group Thursday 2pm for a lift to Round Mountain to start walk.
Disaster: 
The first 2 sections were a sensational ride in beautiful country on solid tracks and gravel road. At around 5ks along the Geehi Walls Track, there was some steep downhill country on a track with loose gravel and rocks. At around 2 pm I face planted and body slammed the road, circumstances unknown. I came around after what I think was about 30mins later, covered in blood.
The selfie was taken to try and figure where the blood was still coming from. I spent some time laying on the ground removing head scarf to use as packing over wound to try and stem the bleeding. I remembered a clearing and bridge couple of hundred metres down the hill.
Standing and walking was very difficult after a heavy whack on the left hip, so I tried to mount the bike to roll down the hill. When the left leg went out to support me at the bottom of the hill, it promptly collapsed sending me to the ground on the injured side. I just lay there for a long time – maybe a few hours – assessing the injuries, slowing the bleeding, and thinking about my options.
I was conscious that I would not be missed till Thursday, that nobody had been along the track and nobody was likely to come along the track, being fairly remote, and of course no phone reception. With significant blood loss already, I was keen to rest and recover while blood loss slowed and the body was going into repair mode. Pushing it to walk out Wednesday evening would probably generate more pain, bleeding and shock. If I did the wrong thing here, things could go terribly. 

A Night Out:
I was in a clearing and left my bike in the middle, visible from any direction and overhead in case of a chopper overhead in the next day or 2. I checked the river but just couldn’t climb the 2 metres to water’s edge to get water and clean up a bit. I had enough in the Camelbak to keep me going overnight. I crawled/limped along the clearing to some grassed area under a tree, put on my rain jacket and lay down to rest/sleep the night. Light was fading but it was no later than 7pm Wednesday. I awoke in light drizzle about 2am and worried about hypothermia with the rain. It took 30 mins to stand and walk 2 paces thinking it would be good to light a fire. Only then I thought – I have no matches – no paper – no wood and wasn’t really cold anyway. Didn’t take long to lay down and resume sleep.
Thursday April 3: Action Needed:
I woke on Thursday morning and had some of the leftover salad wrap from the day before and half a muesli bar. Using bike and stick for support, I checked a clearing (for horse camps using the track as part of the Bicentennial Trail) in case there was some shelter - but no luck. I returned to the clearing and took an hour or so to get water and wash out the head scarf/bandage etc. Very slow and proppy after a big whack on the hip. I consulted my map and figured I was around 17 klms from Khancoban along the track or 5ks back to the Alpine Way, a fairly busy tourist route. I also remembered there were a number of off track huts heading back that way. I wasn’t going to be missed till later Thursday so chances were I might be spending another night out.
 And then more solid rain started to fall.
I would definitely need shelter in a hut or get to the road if I were to spend another night out. Another night out was possible but not desirable.  I still had another muesli bar and a couple of gels, so I could manage if I got to shelter.  
  I set off up the hill towards the Alpine Way and it took a couple of hours to get 1km along the track to Old Geehi hut Track corner. The hut on the map was listed as “good condition” and didn’t look too far off track. A painful and laborious walk down the hill was in store and I left the bike on the trail in case people came along the trail they would realise I had headed for the hut. 
Saved:
It was a long way down to the river flat where the hut was and a fork at the bottom of the hill. Of course I went left for another 400m before turning around when I got to the river without sighting the hut. I had heard chainsaw noise from somewhere along the river valley but there was no telling where from. Back to the fork and try the right track along the river flat. I rounded the bend to loud chainsaw noise and around 50 metres was Andy and Jo, 2 Parks staff working on a fence at the hut. As I stumbled toward them, they were putting stuff in the Ute and I was hoping it wasn’t for a quick exit! I gave out a yelp/cooee and Andy turned around, “Jesus, look at you”.  A helping hand, a blanket, a spot in front of the fire in the hut and a cup of hot tea has never tasted as good.  
We discussed ambulance/ chopper but over cast sky and rough conditions meant it would be hours waiting and they were packing ready to head back to parks office in Khancoban anyway. 
Andy radioed into the Parks office to let them know they had found an injured mtb nut and the Parks worker replied to say they had a family/walking group arrived at the office asking if they knew anything of an overdue mtb nut. We had a connection.
My brother Floss and his partner Liz and the group had been to the caravan park to find that Trevor had not arrived Wednesday night as planned, and looked around town before going to the Parks office. I had left a good trip plan via text with Lynne and they were reviewing information when we connected.
Andy and Jo packed me up and we picked up the bike on the way back to Khancoban. On arrival at the Parks office the walkers were a bit shocked by my appearance. One of the party, a GP, ordered me straight to Corryong Hospital.
Already my saviours had become legends and my family and the walkers were fantastic in their care and organisation.
 Day 2: 24hours after the stack. At Khancoban.  Rescued.  
Medical help:
Floss and Liz and Jim from the party took me to Corryong Hospital for assessment. When you arrive looking like this, a wheel chair materialises and there is no waiting or ramping.  At Corryong Hospital, the staff pretty quickly figured I needed to go to Albury Hospital by ambulance for more definitive care
. I wasn’t in too much pain and quite conscious and alert when I arrived in Albury Thursday night. My walking buddies resumed a wet advance on the walk as planned, knowing I was in good hands.
The emergency section at Albury Base Hospital works best when you look unwell and arrive by ambulance. I figure my appearance would have made others feel unwell. So a bit of cleaning up, x-rays, CT scan, and a fair bit of poking and prodding and lots of repeats of the story of misadventure followed for the evening.
The damage included a fractured eye socket, decent cut over the eye, bruising and lacerations to shoulder hip and knee and the face looked like I had been clawed by a yeti or grizzly. The CT scan revealed 2 small bleeds on the brain consistent with concussion. They initially found a fracture to front of pelvis but this was later found to be a false finding and they found fractured ribs 8 and 9 but that was from more than 10 years ago.  A massive corky on the thigh/hip is the source of most grief.
A series of discussions and consultations with cranial/facial surgeons, neuro surgeons, and the surgical registrar at the hospital followed. Onto a drip for fluids and IV antibiotics for the next 4 days while discussion followed. Options discussed included immediate transfer to the Alfred Hospital, insert a plate in head, surgery for bleeds if they worsened, general anaesthetic for face fix up.
 All the while I was supporting the ultimate treatment: a quiet single room, IV therapy, monitor condition, stitch up, and follow up CT scan Sunday. I was a project/case management job with visits from lots of trades. After a few days the IV line was kinking and an alarm was going off regularly through the night. Sleep was difficult and uncomfortable anyway but this torture would have done the CIA proud. Fantastic care however was the order of the day from a skilled and compassionate staff team.
As I got better, I ventured with the walking frame down the corridors to test out a few bits. As I limped along at my pathetic best, I met a chap with similar left side mongrelled face, stitched and scabbed up, bruised and proppy, and a fractured vertebrae as well. Kevin from Mt Beauty came in around the same time after a drop off onto rocks riding his local tracks at Mt Beauty. It was clear that mountain biking was not enjoying favourite pastime status at Albury Base Hospital. Kevin and I swapped stories of adventures and injuries and incidents aplenty over the next few days.
Getting out is harder than getting in:
Sunday and the repeat CT scan to check progress of the brain bleed included the metal dye through the IV complete with hot flush, and bad taste in the mouth. A bit late for staff to review so the Sunday escape was not an option.
Later that Sunday evening all test were ok and departure Monday was approved. Lynne spent another night in motel and more Albury shopping ready for Monday depart. Lynne had travelled up to support me first thing Friday and accessed terrific digs supplied for regional visiting families directly across the road from the Hospital. 
I got myself up, showered dressed, got my stuff together, received paperwork for discharge and we finally shot the bolt around 11 am. 
 

I still have some follow up to go but well on the road to recovery

Trevor Mildenhall


 

Macka - 2014 Melbourne Ironman

"Macka getting the red carpet treatment - well deserved"

We don't think Macka will want to see Beach Road again. With Stevie, Wizza and Kylie he has joined the Ironman crew. He battled his way through the race with a dodgy calf, saddle issues but somehow looked fresh at the finish. Fresh enough for some high action armwork and backwards running on the carpet. A brilliant effort to finish in the time of 11 hours and 50 minutes.  

Love your work...but not the one piece outfit!

Archie - Mt Buller

Mount Buller MTB Festival

Big mountain bike riding has something a little more to it. While quasi-urban trail builders actively seek out gradients to provide the pulse raising rushes we're all after, trail artisans at altitude, when they pull out the tools are already building on gradients well in excess of double figures - hoping that what they build doesn't dramatically increase flight time for local rescue helicopters.

Or in less eloquent terms: Riding mountain bikes on actual mountains can be scary as fcuk.


I know Buller well. Over the last five years I've ridden its rapidly maturing and altogether brilliant trail network, and despite the fact it will scare the bejesus out of me at any given moment and command more hardness than six months in the Foreign Legion - the riding at Buller is big 'A' awesome. 

And so it was that Rapid Ascent took their twisted minds to Buller and created the Mt Buller MTB Festival and that their version of an all-in race weekend, 4 contrasting events over 3 days of racing was going to be brutally hard and quite possibly - shit hot fun.

Having raced this event before I had my expectations. Last year I was half as fit and earned a Vets 4th, but this year - tooled up with some confidence and a kick ass carbon 29er I was ready to lay some smack down. Interesting to note that smack (whatever it actually is), wasn't really in the mood to lay down, and in fact came out swinging like a gibbon.

In the first race Rapid Ascent loaded up a 50 km short-marathon with about as many high meters as you could fit in a Dubai hotel and with the addition of a sneaky opening climb up around the Arlberg we were all deep in oxygen debt within about a kilometer of the starting gate.
I was holding onto the pointy end in about 6th or 7th wheel as we powered over One Tree Hill and track and pointed ourselves downhill, towards the Corn Hill and the very honest Stonefly climb. Tim Jamieson was the only visible threat in my category he was only 20 meters or so up the trail - well within striking distance should I not pop or blow something up. 


Just so happened that I may have been in the suburb adjacent to popping, but I was in the immediate vicinity of blowing something up. On some of the steeper sections of climbing I would feel what appeared to be a slipping chain - which would herald its momentum theft with a crack like a bullet hitting a shipping container. 
I'd change gear - hope I wasn't about to snap a chain and continue, but the sounds and symptoms also continued, becoming more pronounced and regular. Eventually, as I tried to rip into the fire-road that summits Mt Stirling - my hub, which by that stage was sounding like a SWAT team hunting the waterside workers union - totally gave way. Halfway up a gravel ladder I was spinning forward like I would be if spinning backward. Pedal spins - wheel doesn't, crazy - and as my rivals crested the hill and disappeared - totally heartbreaking.


I took up Sam Maffetts generous offer to use his event sanctioned toolkit from the back of his ute at the top of Stirling, and despite removing and resetting the cassette I was getting myself ready to chew into the bitter reality of a DNF.

DNF-ing is F-ing crap. I was getting all bi-polar, yelling 'Allez' at passing racers when I saw them and when alone, ripping out torrents of obscenities as I tried to manage my frustration.
Eventually I found my way back to the village with some help from Rapid Ascent and set about trying to get my wheel sorted.
I had no luck at bike shop at the top (XX1 freehub bodies aren't in great supply yet) and despite the efforts of Dan at Jet Black and Phil at Cycles Galleria - no help from the mountain was forthcoming. In short, it meant a day spent behind the wheel and not on the trail if I wanted to race again that weekend.

First world problem, yes, but I was gutted. DNF-ing is bad, DNS-ing is something I've never done. I was consoled by Kyllie and endurance hard-man Simon Goninon (think 24 hour Tough Mudder - he did one) while we drank cider and watched the very excellent pump-track comp put on in the village.

Sunday morning came around with me under a seat belt and eight hours later, as the sun set on the cracking Buller day I'd missed - I was back on the mountain with my BH Ultimate 29 hard tail, with nothing more to do than lament a lost day and to take a couple of hours to ride out some frustration in preparation for Monday's hitout.

In the starting chute for the final race of the weekend, some were showing signs of fatigue more than others. I'd pretended to earn my stripes by thrashing out a bunch of descents and ascents late on Sunday, but I was really only doing course reconnaissance. There were bandages a-plenty, mismatched wheels, tubeless tires with tubes in them, and grips and gloves sharing new damage from the weekends frivolity. Not that it made much difference, because there were sheep stations on the line apparently - and when the horn sounded the mob bolted out of the gates like death-row rams with a chance at freedom.

I was able to hang with the top ten as we shot off toward the start of Copperhead trail. I had ol Tim Jamieson sitting on my wheel and another bloke in front who was strong as neat rum but handled a bike like he'd been drinking too much of it. So with the goal of getting a little clean air in front of me for the technical descent approaching, I attacked.



Are you kids crazy starting at a pace like this? Show the old man some respect...
As I'm getting older I've realised that whatever 'laying the smack down' is - it is definitely a finite resource that needs to be handled in little gambles, and in this rare instance, it paid off. By the time I got to the bottom of the run and up the resulting climbs leading to Corn Hill, I had gapped Tim (rivale numero uno) by about 2 minutes and was sitting about 6th.

I got over Corn Hill OK, did alright on the climb up to Misty Twist and then started to feel decidedly average. The kind of average you feel when you know that the decision to not eat on the last section of clear trail was the wrong one. Add that to the Burke and Wills moment on finding that there is no more water in that bottle and things were beginning to  look pretty bleak. I was food flatting, dehydrated and the brutal climb I was on at the time was bouncing me around like I was a cocktail party waiter trying to offload hors d'oeuvres made of crab-shit.

I think I can, I think I can. The Little Red Engine getting over Corn Hill climb.

From that point on I was riding through a wall of noise. A veritable cacophony of heavy breathing, strained grunts and terrible gear changes all mixing with the fear and self doubt that swims into ones mind when the warning lights start flicking up on the dash. In my oxygen deprived and sugar depleted state I was passed by two guys who had the wherewithal to not only ride fast but eat and even occasionally drink. I knew that Tim Jamieson was probably catching me but I could do nothing but tip in more than I thought I had. In desperation I set about adopting a mindset akin to the kind that I adopt in the finale of really long races. 'Hurt yourself son - it helps to pass the time'.


And so as the final few kilometers climbed and went - I was still grovelling around in the cockpit, chewing the laminate off my stem trying to imagine that anyone who would take my little piece of category glory was still two minutes away. As it turned out, they were.


I crossed the line 1st in Vets, 8th overall and with a little north of two minutes in front of Tim Jamieson - (who had comfortably won overall vets honours) and after a little post victory exuberance settled in for a period of relatively relaxed breathing.

It hurts to DNF, and kills me to DNS but in the post race glow of a little win at the dead-rubber end of an event I still let myself enjoy a few warm and fuzzies - and it is in these moments that I remember why I race and what it means to me. Moreover - to thank all those cats that make racing - racing.

Mad ups to Phil at Cycles Galleria and Dan from Jet Black for all their help, Simon Goninon for being around and true to form (ie larger than life), and to Rapid Ascent for putting on another clinic in how to run a kick ass mountain bike race. And not to rotate a cliche, but big thanks to the broader MTBing community, who are an excellent bunch of cats and a true pleasure to be around - for being a critical part of what constitutes a great event and great racing.

And a very proud and heartfelt thanks to Kyllie Archer, my loved and loving wife who not only helped me through my first world problems and subsequent moping - but even had the time to place first and fourth in the two events she raced. Super-chick. X

                                    

Archie Geelong

Geelong 3 Hour - Gazebo without the relaxation.

The GMBC is a proud and vigorous club. They run a bunch of races in their You Yangs stomping ground but only a and few that fizz and pop more than a round of their very popular Gazebo series. Its a roll call of all those kids that shave down and oil up and get out the mad-skillz over trail that Victorian mountain biking would almost call its ceremonial heart.

As such it was a packed starting chute that I found myself in for this, the last round of the series. It was straining with talent, most of it up the terrifying front of this group - with the likes of Adrian Jackson and Sam Chancellor trying to out psyche the very serious Murray Spink. Not to mention just about every other cat with a number swinging from their bars and a race-face north of the neck line.

And I've been there many times, but I never fail to be surprised by how flat-out XC races start. There is no commissar waving a doily from the top of a red Skoda tempting the race to roll into its climax - no way, its the equivalent of firing 10 or 11 salvos of human cannonballs, all at once.
Halfway up the main straight my heartrate was nearing critical levels - and not looking like it was going to have the chance come down.
Early efforts - A grade reminding me where I am
A long line of riders hit the singletrack. I had stuck with what resembled the front group (about half of the pack) and pretty quickly found myself settled in. A little too settled as it turned out. About three wheels up a dude fast enough to sprint with A Grade was showing some fine B grade technical skills, holding up a little-too-polite line of meandering spandex.
By the time passing was opportune, the fast group was away and much work was required to cover the real estate between me and the last of those wheels. 

But I set about it. The course was relatively flat, bereft of 7 km strips of climbing instead swapping them out with the beautiful sweeping uphill berms that when hit hard enough still made you whoop, even while you were pooped. Once on the top of the hill we bombed down through Lactic Acid, one of my favourite ever descents. It is fast, really fast - with slippery small-gravel and stretcher spec rock gardens at the top ending with sweeping berm-jump-berm combinations at the bottom that would make a rider throw mad tail whips, had they not had timing attached to their lines.

The race progressed and I was starting to drag in some kids. The spaces between riders in short A grade races are always so much longer than enduro races, and each rider I caught felt like a little serious moment. I eventually caught an old Kung Fu associate Adam Elford who was recovering from illness (half dead and still fast enough to be at the sharp end of A grade) and ever so slowly I was reeling in veteran hard-man Tim Jamieson. I got to him with some effort and even got by old TJ, but shake him off? A totally different proposition. I attacked a little, spun up and out of a couple of corners, bombed a couple of technical descents but not enough to pop the old bugger. He occasionally took his turn at the front and probably threw his version of a half-hearted attack as well but coming into laps 7 and 8 we were still suckered together.

As the race ticked away we'd crawled into the top ten - and as we near the finish line at 2:55 odd we chalk and cheesed. Strange voices were rationalizing the idea of finishing now, holding back for the Mt Buller race, saving my legs, being safe with my preparation, and in a rare moment, I believed them. I sat up - and Tim, he took off. It took about four guys to roll past me, uncomfortably parked under my marquee before I got back on my bike. 

With clear trail ahead I took off, to reduce some of my losses, only to have them revisit when my favourite descent issued an invoice for all the fun it had given me.
I hit a rock garden a little too hot, burped my front tire and ended up with a dribbling flat that tracksided me about 2 kilometers later. To his credit Jimmy Lefebvre - who was running hot in B grade rescued me with a CO2 but by that stage my top 8 finish had swelled to 12th.

Still - as far as prep races go it totally rocked. There are few things as fun as whipping through golden trail being pushed and pulled along at race pace and for that I'm very grateful to the GMBC for basically being bloody awesome, at almost everything. Props to Glenn Tournier, an old 3 Peaks colleague who smashed it to win B grade and to AJ, Sam Chancellor and Murray Spink for showing us how its done. Results are here and GMBC stuff is all here

Thanks to Cycles Galleria for their love and attention pre-race and to all the guys on the day for helping out with the marquee and other infrastructure. Racing rocks.archie - Geelong

Archie Gravity 12 Hour

It was a throw away line, something like 'I hope the rain comes...' or something equally stupid. Only farmers, green-keepers and people in sudden self immolation remorse say stuff like that, not mountain bike riders.
There is some kind of twisted rationale to my madness. On my drive up to Bright I was watching bush fire smoke lurking around the mountains, mixing with the raging humidity creating air as easy to breath as flatulence in a vacuum. With some rain, maybe a nice gentle 5 mm the air would clear, the trails would bed down and the riding would be as easy as losing your keys.

I woke at 3 am to the sound of what I know to be rain and lazily let a little smile settle on my face as I drifted back to sleep. 3 hours later when I woke up properly, that smile had every reason to be absent. It was still raining, and by the prevalence of mud and puddles on the ground outside, it hadn't stopped. I wondered if this gave me reason to be gloomy.

In the starting chute gloom was without companions. Everybody was chumming it up, allowing all the unseriousness of long racing in torrid conditions to flow over. It seems to be a given in endurance mountain biking, in that knowing that your day will hurt like bladder stones allows all those high expectations we can have to be washed away by the rain, mud and broken derailleurs.

On the encouragement of MTB emperor and MC Norm Douglas, we solo riders corralled ourselves at the front of the race, relieved that we were exempt from the onerous task of running to our bikes in a LeMans start. I led the solos out into the rain and mud and onto what turned out to be a very honest mountain bike coursed indeed.
There were proper climbs, fast, flowing and altogether technical sections of single track. In between were short bands of fireroad allowing the consumption of suddenly muddied bananas, gels or anything that flew or crawled within chewing range.


Half a lap in - half a kilo of mud on...already

The rain kept coming. During the first lap we solos kept ourselves largely together. Jess Douglas was there in amongst the boys keeping us both honest and slightly scared, Kev Skidmore and  Sam Moffitt of Wembo fame were letting their legs warm up and lurking around the edges was a bloke I'd never seen before. Like most of us he was skinny, had sunken cheeks and hollowed eyes and that kind on expression that indicated that he'd tasted too much of his own blood. His name was Corey Davies and he reminded me of Peter Carey - another freakishly fast dude that I've yet to beat.

I was still on point when the first serious climb reared out of the ground and was promptly passed by almost everyone in my little peloton. Kev Skidmore, Richie Read and Sam Moffitt all disappeared and I was left alone to hold up the team riders as they flashed through the trails behind us.
The rain kept coming and within a couple of laps large parts of the trail was turning to shit. Various different shades, textures and resulting levels of grip, but it all had the consistency of baby-poo mixed with fast setting Araldite. At about lap three I cracked it. In a flash pit-stop I changed out my Racing Ralph front wheel with one equipped with a Rocket Ron tread pattern and my world changed. Within two laps I had caught and passed messers Read, Moffitt and Skidmore and during the course of adding a couple of pounds of mud onto my face had put a couple of minutes into the bank.



Male Solo Top Five - A bit rude out of context




The trail had started with its own dry weather technical challenges but with the incessant rain it was becoming a bona fide bike handling nightmare. It was like the twisted spawn of Belgian Cyclocross and the Red Bull Rampage was lurking in the pines, ready to mug the unsuspecting with a fistful of wet roots and muddy off-camber.
But even with mud trying to fill in every cavity on my face I was finding that this tough love was working for me and I began to cruise through the trails thinking that my secret stash of grip happily spinning away on my front wheel was enough to counter any massive differences in pure power or athletic prowess.

Laps 6 to 9 rolled by. It'd be true to say I was feeling a little lonely. In many of these races I pass the time swapping stupid stories with Kev Skidmore, but he and his gripless race tyres were sliding around the trail 2 or 3 kilometers behind.
Coming into the pits and shortly before the rapid ingestion of some mud covered food (long fingered gloves - downside # 1) I'd asked Kenny Soiza, Pit God to the Gods, to give me an update on gaps, times, fashion trends - whatever. 


On my next pit I heard that I was in front, eight minutes or so up on Corey Davies. But he had cut his last lap 2 minutes faster than me. I'd counted out 10 laps so far, had planned to do 14 which meant that at current numbers he and I would be finishing this race with a balls -out sprint. Something I could do without after 12 hours of mud therapy.


Really? Really. Real racing starts now. (Stolen from the Interwebs)
So I tipped it in. On my next pit Kenny said that he's still coming and that my lead was now 6 minutes. On lap 11 I tipped in some more. In my attempt to hold on I attacked anything that didn't threaten to attack me. Hills, fire road, even some fast jumps that I thought I had wired. With the rain stopping my grip advantage had been whittled away as the trails began to dry out and become tacky, and despite me lifting my work rate by a factor of 5 by the time I launched into lap 12 Kenny told me I had only 4 minutes in the bank. 

Now I was scared. I found myself tearing out of pit lane with a mouth full of jellies, chocolate and mud and trying to catch and hold the wheel of a team whippet as they blasted up the trail.
Not only was I scared, but now I was starting to hurt. World 24 hour Champ Jess Douglas has this great saying that resonates with crazy endurance athletes - Pain only hurts. Its the 'only' bit that should take precedence in that statement, but it was the only bit I forgot at the time. And during that lap-long moment, pain was synonymous with shit, and with the absence of the 'only', I was left with 'shit hurts'. I still find it bizarre sometimes that I pay money for this.

There was some upside however. My lap times were starting to come down, the trail was way easier to stay fast on and I had the fear derived tailwind of somebody being chased. It was only at the start of lap 15 when Kenny and Bede had moved from 'hold him off' to 'you've got it in the bag' did I let myself start to entertain the thought of winning this thing.

Nevertheless, I charged out into my final lap with a consortium of imaginary woes. Puncture, mechanical, blood sugar dive - damnit, alien abduction - anything that might befall me as I forced my exhausted cadaver through one last loop. But none of these things happened and lo and behold I crossed this line first and threw a couple of shakas in celebration to a warm reception from Norm Douglas and the assembled crowd.

Yay. I'll take that.

Podium - chuffed
























Norm made quite something of a category rider winning overall - which I was grateful for. I was (and am) very grateful to Cycles Galleria who beyond being a kick-ass bike shop, race tuned my XX1 and plied me with enough excellent Endura product to power another 15 laps, Jet Black for letting my ride be the totally epic Pivot Mach 420C, to Finishline Events and Bike Superstore for putting on and supporting the race and mad thanks (again and again) to Kenny, Bede and Kev for putting up with my shit and supporting me through to a handy little win.

Big props as well to Corey Davies, Kev Skidmore, Sam Moffitt and the indestructible Jess Douglas who all won stuff and rode like lords. Yeah.


Archie - Wembo Part 4 The Final

The Finale - Wembo 24 Hour Solo World Championships - Canberra

Temperature generally seems to be commensurate with darkness. The blacker the blackness, the colder it is. I would have hoped that after 15 laps and 250 odd kilometers I'd have been at least a little bit warmer than I was - or at least a little more resilient. But no. The cold chewed into me, gnawing into my arms and worming its way into my psyche. It bent my mind from the task at hand and seduced me into thoughts of duck-down doonas and shots of schnapps in Swiss jacuzzis. My lap times were beginning to slow - partly due to the darkness, partly due to fatigue but mostly due to the fervent desire to doing anything else than dragging my skinny carcass through a strangely forested walk-in beer fridge.
When I began wondering about the potential warmth gained from leaking a little urine into my pants I knew it getting desperate. I had tried to keep my pit-time spend as low as possible, hoping to get through the night without another stop for clothes, but on that next pit Kyllie wrapped me up in all the nuclear winter spec racing spandex I'd brought with me - and despite burning another five minutes, I felt like everything was all right.

The first half of the course was almost all climbing and should a rider chance a buckled wheel or broken wrist it rewarded them with a spectacular view of race HQ and the Stromlo hinterland. As the wee-small hours ticked away each time I rolled over the summit I glanced over at the horizon, hoping that the sun was soon to make an appearance - to not only light my way, but to also lighten my mood.


If you're happy and you know it...
And two laps later, when it did, I let a little holy moment wash over me. 

The sunrise heralded the start of the last part of the race. The 'race' part. The first part was an exercise in restraint, the second an excursion into survival, the last part, with 280 odd kilometers in my very tired legs was all about winning, something. Anything.

Kyllie, Linda and Bede had not only been feeding me food and maintenance, but information as well - and it was about now that I began to actually hear it. With each pit I was told to look out for a target, and if I got them, look out for the next.

Now that I was feeling a solar powered my lap times were tumbling. I was told to chase 'Project 63' on one frenetic pit stop and bolted out onto the hunt with the desperate hunger of a bad salesman. I caught him in that lap (to be honest, continental drift would have lapped him, he looked like a tombstone) and on my next pit was told that I was only seconds up or down from either 3rd or 4th place. I wasn't at my cognitive best at that stage. Kyllie could have been reading me the ingredients list from a box of edible condoms and it would have all meant the same thing. Just go really fast.

But now all this racing business was starting to hurt. My feet were burning and bruised having repeatedly stamped on unforgiving carbon innersoles, my legs were boiling in lactic acid and my hands had shut down feeling to both my pinkies in protest. But positions in the overall standings were now being contested. I had no clear space between me and the people in front or behind. With the exception of World Champ Jason English, it felt like everyone was within striking distance of each other.

Getting all 'friendly' - AKA: Trying to break a bloke
I still had 4 hot laps to get through and now had some company. At the time I didn't think much of it, but I called out to pass a cat on one of the climbs and turned around to see another dude right on my wheel. His plate was numbered close to mine, he looked about as old as me and he looked like a tough bugger who'd just spent a night in the trenches. We hit the next lap suckered together - and driven by sleep deprived paranoia, I decided to see who this bloke was. I waited until I was right in the middle of the first technical steep climb - and attacked. My feet complained bitterly as I stood up and mashed the pedals, hoping to snap the ten or twenty meters of elastic that welded us together. Sure, it stretched, but it didn't snap. I tried again closer to the top and then again as we crested the climb. Over the sound of my exertion I could hear him heaving for air, but he wouldn't fold. 'So - old mate - looks like you can climb a bit'.

As the descent came up I steeled myself for a Sam Hill style ripping run. Its one thing to be able to dig into a climb, but another to hold onto a racing line when the trail is nothing but motion blur and swirling gravity. Again, I tested my new friend, to see what he had. I gapped him almost immediately - but not enough. The elastic stretched, deep into the range where it would snap for lesser men, but even after bombing drop after drop, as the trail flattened out he would roll back up to me. I attacked on the next series of climbs and he stuck with me, I bombed the descents into the race village, and there he was, holding it together 100 meters or so off my wheel. 
A little further back, but still there...still unbroken.
With only a few laps to go I pulled into the pits and ditched the last of my pre-dawn kit - which combined with all the exertion had me sweating like live exports in Saudi. Kyllie stuffed food into my mouth and information into my head. Old mate was actually a guy called Jamie Vogele who had stormed his way into third during the night, only to have me sniffing around as the race began to count down. As I stripped down to race weight, I saw him tear past and disappear into another lap. He had vanished like an election promise. 

Had I'd comprehended half of what Kyllie was saying I'd have been heartbroken. Thanks to my brothers-in-law Stuart and Robert, who into the small hours had been remotely following the race, Kyllie knew exactly who Jamie was and what his sudden acceleration meant for my little piece of podium. For my part I thought that I was in first, fifth, an alien, dreaming, all of the above - and apart from going as fast as I could, had nothing else to think of, nevermind some bloke I couldn't crack on the previous lap.

The clock slowed down, sped up, wound backwards as the third last lap flashed by. I was looking out for anybody with a five in their number - for in my madness this had some special significance - biblical significance for all I knew. I found myself lurking around Jason McAvoy (the eventual World Champ in my category) and embarrassed myself by attacking him too, not realizing he'd lapped me. To add to the kalidescope playing out in my psyche my body was really beginning to bitch at me now too. My knees felt like they were grinding cartilage like chewing tobacco, my shoulders and neck were seizing up - and my poor old feet would have felt better in the hungry end of a wood-chipper. 

Still, I couldn't drop the pace, it wasn't going to make the pain go away in any case. I didn't stop at the next pit, driven by a desperation that was half pure madness and half racing paranoia. There was only two hours to go and I had to go fast - not that I knew the hell why.

'Aliens! Snakes! Snakeliens!' Riding crazy.
My last lap started at 11:20am or so after another insane hour of trail and misguided thinking. In the pits Kyllie had yelled at me one of the only things that I actually took note of. "Jamie Vogele is in third - he is five minutes ahead". 
Five minutes is a massive gap. In the laps since I stopped to drop my winter kit Jamie had laid down two cracking times and had built a bulletproof advantage. It was a pretty harsh reality check. Coming fourth is the worst position in the world, even worse than second. And I had more chance of making a jumper out of my own hair than I had of making up five minutes in the last hour of riding.

Had I not been hurting so much, and been so well and truly done with being on my bike, I would have just rolled through the last lap, stopped and talked crap with the marshals, run my hands through the trail side foliage and generally been a tourist. 

But I was hurting, and the only way to make it stop was to get through the remaining kilometers as fast as possible. And so in one last twisted little sojourn into my brain I decided that I'd try and hurt myself - a lot - as much as I could while being on a bike - just to see what that kind of hurt actually, really, felt like.

Not terribly pleasant, as it turned out.

I pounded through that lap like I was being chased by wolves. On the climbs I loaded up my gears and on the descents I went brake-less. In between laboured breaths I wondered if the pain in my feet was actually a sensation of cold or if the jarred numbness in my hands was like being tickled through thick skin. 
I was riding like a tool and thinking like a twat, and then suddenly, bang in the middle of the lap - something quite strange appeared. 

Jamie Vogele.

There he was - 
grinding his way up a painful climb, with a head like an apple on a slinky, moving about as fast as decay. Here was the bloke who, for the last 6 hours had bravely defended his place on the podium...looking like he was clinically dead, with only twitching nerves turning his pedals over. 
For one enormous, pregnant moment I didn't know what to do. 
Then it all came rushing back. 

"Passing on your right"
I dropped down onto the trail in front of him, stood out of the saddle and sprinted. I turned around, expecting to see him right on my wheel. Instead, he stopped riding - crossed his arms in front of him as if to sleep on a desk - and gently laid his head on his handlebars. It was a deeply moving moment. It was like seeing an old Samurai laying down his sword.

Moving moment, yes, but also a moment in which I needed to move. I was terrified that Jamie might be foxing, or be magically revived and so I turned back to the trail, stood on the pedals and sprinted all the way to the line.

Pit lane had been turned into a media gallery. There were cameras and a crowd and a torrent of banter being bandied around by the race commentator. 
Kyllie and Linda were waiting for me, as was pit legend Kenny Soiza who had supported not only me, but my co-competitor Kevin Skidmore through a torrid 24 by his standards. Kyllie wasn't surprised to see me, but shocked to see that I'd finished in an age group 3rd position and 15th overall. She was as excited as I was emotional - and I struggled to keep up appearances as I was warmly congratulated by those people who were watching over me. I was helped off my bike an over to a nice chair in the shade of the Stromlo Pavillion. 


With Kenny post race. Tired and emotional.
Just me, that is
From my plastic chair I watched the race wind down, still a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. Its easy to get wrapped up in the riding but if there is any form of solitude racing that is a team event its this. Kyllie and Linda had been absolutely epic, had stayed up all night and endured my bleating and barking during whatever frantic pit stop I was putting them through. Kenny had been a sage voice of pit wisdom and had more than once totally ignored whatever I thought I wanted and gave me just what I needed - and Bede our mechanic kept our bikes running smooth and hard all race.

Fellow racer Kevin Skidmore had been out with the fast starters up until midnight when some heart-rate strangeness put him trackside for a few hours. Moving from a warm doona to the blackened trail during the cold dead hours before dawn is a feat not to be underestimated...and while well down by his high standards still tapped out 18 laps of a brutal course. Thanks go to Robert Douglas and Stuart Peele for a pro-level information stream, Kev and Paul from Team C-Nut for keeping the stoke up and Lyn, Colin, Tim, Paul for swinging in to help.

And big props to Wembo for a cracking race. Phil, Robin, Mark and the kids at Cycles Galleria for their wisdom and for setting me up on the truly excellent Pivot Mach 429C. Thanks to Jess Douglas and Lance Cupido for their advice, to Jamie Vogele for making the last 4 hours such a bareknuckle pitfight - and to every other competitor who flew in to make such an epic event, so absolutely, properly epic. 

Physically - I'm still not yet over this. Maybe that's to be expected. Emotionally however, I don't ever want to be, and there may still be events to come that get me excited enough to put a 24 hour solo bike race back onto my mountain biking bucket list.

Photos (refreshingly without me) are here: http://www.sportograf.com/bestof/2196/

Thanks Wembo - you rock
PS: Congratulations to Jason English and Jess Douglas. World Champions. Again. So proud.


Archie - Wembo part 3

 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Part 3 - Wembo 24 Hour Solo World Championships - Canberra

There was no gun, no puff of smoke, no Daisy Duke waving away two tearaway drag-cars, just the sound of cleats snapping into pedals and the gentle cheer of the gathered crowd.

We were racing, though to the casual observer, it was very gentlemanly indeed. Low pressure tyres casually hummed as we did a presentation lap of the tarmac. Fitzroy Rev rider Mark Sandon rolled up next to me and simply placed his hand on my back in a no-words gesture of camaraderie. I did the same, nothing was said, but the understanding was there. We were both rolling into the biggest race of our lives.

Rocks! Who'd have thunk it?
I had some reservations about the opening hour. I'd heard that it'd sometimes start like a time trial, blasting into 24 hours of trail like a coked-up SWAT team, which is what it is usually like in any race 6 hours and under. Instead the peloton formed well behaved conga line of co-ordinated colour, with almost a completely synchronized cadence as we snaked up the first climb. The pace was not flat out, but not exactly slow. Usually riding at this kind of speed would indicate that you'd got to the starting chute late and were rolling around at the back with the wobblers, trying to avoid the carnage as heavy breathing beginners aimed themselves at trees, rocks and sudden drops. By contrast each rider possessed such a command of their respective bike that they seemed to float over the trail, effortlessly cutting efficient lines through the barking rocks and snarling foliage. It was like watching bullets in slow motion.
3 hours in. Still clean, still covertly having fun.
Strangely, nobody talked. In past incarnations as a team rider at 24 hour events I'd come steaming up on a couple of solo riders who'd been discussing Jungian psychoanalysis at 4 in the morning, and appeared to have been doing so for the past 3 hours. Not at this Wembo. With non-UCI approved rainbow stripes on the line it seemed that talking was reserved for the un-serious. And here, on some of the funnest trails in the southern hemisphere, un-seriousness was rarer than rocking horse shit.
There were no well formed micro pelotons of similarly skilled riders, no witty banter, no discussions of concussions or tales of gore about saddle sores. It was like each rider was watching everybody out of the corner of their eye, in the fear that a fellow competitor would pickpocket their last gel and use it to out-sprint them - 22 hours from now. I stole no gels, spoke no evil and wound through the open lap lurking in tenth in the 40-44 age group. Not that I knew...I was still mildly terrified of what I'd look like in 20 hours time.

The laps ticked away and strangely, I was feeling pretty damn good. My ever attentive support crew of Kyllie, Linda and Bede the mechanic would jump to attention as I rolled into the pits, plying me with lube, bananas to gobble during transition and gels that I would mainline on the short and rare quiet sections of the trail. I tried to keep my ticker beating south of 160 per minute on the climbs and bombed the descents like I didn't like myself - which on such kicking trail was hella-fun. Much more fun than 'actually' not liking myself. I save that for road riding. And I didn't know, and wasn't told, but I was drifting north on the score sheet and as the sun started getting shy circa 7.00pm I had crept into a category 6th and mid 40's overall.

Dusk - Light bulb above the head - but no idea
Shadows stared to stretch out and tiger-stripe the trail, mutating pretty average lines into a freak-show. Every so often I would misread a line and end up with white knuckles, complaining tyres and a massive momentum leak.
This was happening more and more regularly and by the time it was properly black, I was beginning to appreciate how hard this period may actually be.

Ask anybody (with a suitably loaded question) and they will agree. Darkness is isolating. It washed in around the trees and chased all the contrast out of the trail. My lights did a reasonable job of re-presenting my path in shades of white, light grey and black but I was still losing perspective, braking way too late and shedding speed like it was a painful memory. In the deepening solitude my thoughts got louder, madly clear and resolutely weirder. In a moment where I almost out-weirded myself I imagined that I was a post-apocalyptic bike courier who had to deliver an important package across a radioactive wasteland whatever the cost - with the odd zombie encounter in there for entertainment.

Role playing games, no dice
The darkness took hold like pneumonia and I was starting to get sick of it. To make matters worse I was being very well looked after my pit crew, but seeing them heralded only the harsh reality that I needed to roll out onto the trail again. Out on course, there were sections of trail that, once painted black may as well have been blunt force trauma. In a shining example of why alcohol should never be prohibited, at the impact point of one of the hardest sections of trail a group of spectators had gathered, and fueled by rum and their own warm hearts chanted whatever funny support-crap they could coherently sing, bringing a much needed smile to the parched lips of many a rider. 
"If you're happy and you know it, um... pop a mono!" 
I performed the weakest mono ever popped.
"Yahay!!!"

Having tucked away three or four night laps it was in-arguably colder and at my 11:00pm pit I threw a rain shell on for warmth. Kyllie stuffed my pockets with something that I apparently needed, but as I rolled away with a mouth full of muffin I only recall silently complaining about the weight.
One lap and 10 minutes later I was singing her praises - if a little desperately. Some 5 or 6 kilometers from race central, on the downhill run in to a particularly tough section of trail I flicked the switch on my lights to bring them up from one third, to full power. Instead of plastering the landscape with 5000 lumens of light, they went out. Dead. Ex-parrot dead. I don't recall my pupils enlarging so fast as to cause pain before, but they did at that moment. Not that it made a lick of difference - for all I could see I could have been in a coal pit during an Icelandic winter solstice. I locked up front and rear brakes and after a few loud moments of heartrate elevation breathed a sigh of thanks that it was rubber on gravel that pulled me up rather than skull on rock.

I must have dropped five minutes - four and a half being stupefied with stunned disbelief - and 30 seconds in switching out the dead lights with the weight that Kyllie had lumbered me with - a set of helmet mounted Ay-Up race lights. I was saved - but I had to savour it, quite literally. There was no way to mount the battery for the spare light to my helmet and it's cord was too short to allow me to pocket it - so I put the battery in my mouth and gummed it through the lap, dribbling saliva down my chin like an old Labrador with a mangled chew toy.

Mmmm...lithium polymer

Final episode tomorrow...daylight, oh baby.

Archie - Wembo Part 2

Sleep and me generally don't get along. We argue about 2 or 3 times a night, where sleep cracks it, storms out of bed and I end up wandering around the house until the wee small hours looking for it. The night before race day I really wanted a good nights rest, and to my astonishment, I actually got it. 

I was also feeling a little more relaxed about tactics. Some really smart-crazy people had published online that a 24 hour should be broken up into 3 distinct competitions. The first is not really even a race, its who is the freshest and strongest at the 10 hour mark. The second hinges upon who can get through the night the best and the third part, covering the last 6 hours is a bona-fide balls-out red lights flashing mountain bike race. 


Our pit crew had set up camp in a golden spot, perched right on the hairpin that signified the halfway point of Pit Lane. It mean that all the hard work was done to get there and once refreshed and refueled, a rider had a tailwind and a downhill run down to the singletrack. 



Pit Crew HQ - 85% built
We all buzzed around HQ. Sweet somethings were lined up in little zip-lock bags, electolytes were mixed, bottles lined up and thanks to our resident mechanic Bede we had our respective bikes tweaked that last 1% that stood to make all the difference. I pained over my choice of chamois cream, the tension on my shoes, the placement of my number plate and had to be held back from making nervous and stupid last minute adjustments to my saddle height or handlebar angle.


Dancing with the Stars, Matt Page with Kev and me
Welshman Matt Page, who had come out to shake up Jason English's dominance rolled up and had a chat and as most of these very fast guys are, was a genuinely nice bloke. 

Now feeling somewhat more relaxed than I should snapped myself into race mode, lathered up with about a litre of sunburn cream and chamois cream in no particular order, did a pointlessly brief warmup and rolled down to the starting line.

The starting chute for a 24 is a strange beast. In stage races and 6 hour enduros, the pointy end is straining against the fabric of the invisible line like a nipple in a Southerly. Instead we were all very chilled, even the usual embarrassing chatter born of pre-race nerves was surprisingly AWOL. 

We held a moments silence for Kane Vandenberg who fatally crashed the day before and watched the pros roll away with their entitled 10 minute head start. 

See you cats tomorrow...the Wembo starting chute
To be continued...the actual race.

Archie - Wembo Part 1

It'd be fair to say that entering a 24 hour solo mountain bike race is about the same as deciding to have cosmetic surgery on your wedding tackle. Not that they have the same physical outcomes, almost opposite in fact, but they are both high risk pursuits with debatable returns, that most people can do without. 
To those outside the world of mountain bike racing - and even to some within - it seemed like a stupid thing to do. Most people I spoke to about racing my bike for 24 hours non-stop reacted as though I'd said that I'd booked my man sausage into the shop for a set of speed fins and a custom spray. 

But soloing a 24 is something that has blinked away on my mountain biking bucket list for a while and with the World Endurance Mountain Biking Organization (Wembo) hosting the 2013 World Champs in Canberra, the opportunity to race it had become both relatively easy and terrifyingly real. Having loved racing team 24s at Canberra in my distant past I thought that this was an opportunity not to be missed, and in a moment of unrestrained impulsiveness I threw myself at the online registration, paid for my entry and sat back thinking that this was going to be epic... or an epic fail. 
Subtle reminders - everywhere
I had heard - and mostly believed - all sorts of myths about 24 hour racing. Stories abounded about the sleep deprivation, the madness, the buildup of lactic acid that would burn your legs down to bleeding stumps. I had searched Youtube for tips and watched crazed, wild eyed psychos offer that kind of advice that sounded like a cocktail of frantic warnings and outright abuse.
I had no idea how to train for a 24 but I did have many epic training ideas. I had planned to do full day stints on the wind trainer watching series after series of Breaking Bad, ride to and from Bendigo/Warnambool/Rio de Janeiro  in a day  or wear a hairshirt under a lead filled vest and do repeats of Mount Hotham.

Instead, I did very little and followed current and multiple 24 Solo World Champ Jason English on Strava and basically spent a bunch of time sitting in front of my computer with my jaw hanging open in disbelief. Jason's direct competition was also racing many hundreds of kilometers at many thousands of feet of altitude (Mongolia Challenge for example), and the numbers I was watching fall out of their stats was mind boggling. It'd be fair to say that the terror meter was finding new high water marks.



Don't add sugar to the crystal meth Walt! 
Fortunately, fear and resolve often hang out together. And when it reached some kind of critical zenith I was spurred into action. I trained. Hard, and a lot. 
And in a fashion it became contagious. Kyllie and me had hooked up with 24 hour veteran Kevin Skidmore and his team of Kenny and Linda we all started tempering our respective steel as it were - the riders were in the gym, on the trainer, tapping out long rides and racing 6 hour enduros, and the pit crew building spreadsheets packed with logistical considerations, such as whether we wanted marg or low salt butter on our Fairy Bread. 

We spent up on kit. Half in desperation and half out of pure respect for the undertaking. I did my research and reached out for a hot new bike. The very epic and incredibly fast Pivot Mach 429 Carbon from the very good kids atCycles Galleria. Kevin rode it once, immediately got his own new bike and as race day approached, riders and support crew were all starting to feel - almost - prepared. 
Canberra awaited, glittering in the not too distant future.

The 24 solo course was cherry picked from the the singletrack utopia that is built into Mount Stromlo Forrest Park. Stromlo is a veritable Disney Land of trail, with excellent, mature networks that have hosted national and international race rounds of all flavours. And while it doesn't let you get dirty, it even has a cracking road criterium circuit upon which the race village was centered.


Race central from to top of Mount Stromlo
Most of the atmosphere of the race bubbled away on pit lane, which was about a one kilometer tarmac loop, with a confetti of marquees, portable offices and other paraphernalia shuffling and settling with the industry of the 24 hour pit crews . Popular items were motivational whiteboards with worn slogans like "HTFU Robbie", "Go Kelly!" and "John, did you remember to turn the iron off?"

A massive electronic scoreboard was blinked out the lap times in the middle of the circuit, a big inflatable arc marked the start/finish line, various media vans and meandering semi-officious hacks completed the look - and as the sun set on raceday-eve, everything shouted that this was going to be a cracking event indeed.


Pit lane, waiting for race day


More to come...



(A minutes silence. The day before race start I was in the carpark watching an ADCC downhill race taking place. One particular gent hit the second last big jump and got a little out of shape in the air - though either wind or bad luck. At considerable pace he landed front wheel heavy, it threw his weight forward and forced his bars to cross up. That effectively whipped him around his bars and straight into the high side of the last jump. He hit this wall of dirt at about 50 clicks...and stopped. He stopped way too quickly for it to be anything other than very serious.
Despite the immediate and commendable first aid efforts of the ADCC, he died that day - by all accounts, instantly.
Kane Vandenberg - 46, Naval Officer based at Nowra, survived by his wife and three sons.)

WEMBO World 24 Hour Championships

It maybe lunacy but ARCHIE YOU ARE A FARKIN LEGEND!

Looking forward to the report - no rush!

Jason Archer: Male 40_44 :

Place in Overall Male: 12 Place in Male 40_44: 3 Total Laps: 23 Km Ridden: 388.47 Last Lap Finished At: 12:23:32

Overall Male: 203 Riders

Archie - A Little Too Skinny Part 2

 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Magellan 6 Hour - Bendigo

Rocks. Who would have thunk it?

Rocks and me have a tense relationship. Its not like I was pelted with them at primary school or had to dig my way out of a collapsed quarry, but we just don't seem to get along.

Bendigo has lots of rocks. Plenty of them. So many of the damn things that they've made a reasonable living out of fixing high explosive to them and replacing them with big holes in the ground.

I've heard that Bendigo trailbuilders like rocks. They sleep on rocks, mix rocks with their drinking water and name their children after different types of rocks. And so why I was surprised to see vast amounts of palaeozoic metasediment reaching out to rip holes in anything resembling shoe leather or tyre rubber escapes me.
Rocks on course
Surprise! Rocks!
As such Jimmy Lefebvre and I found ourselves doing practice laps of the Sedgwick course early Saturday afternoon. It is a picturesque course, with much grass and frivolity. Half of it located upon private land, lovingly built by one of the local rock farmers and the other half reaches out to where the wild rocks live - deep in the surrounding forest.
We rolled through the trail, looking out for fast lines, letting our legs feel the climbs and generally faffed about with not too much to do except impersonate serious bike riders. A quick chat with Joel (MTB club member) about tyres - specifically about their distinct lack of longevity in Bendigo - and we meandered off to Jimmy's holiday pad in Bridgewater.

One of the relatively cool things about mountain biking is that you can get to see some interesting places. Race road crits in Melbourne and its unlikely you'd see anything like Bridgewater - unless you took a left turn at the Port Melbourne hot-dog circuit and didn't realize your mistake for 15 hours.


The view from the back door

After an excellent sleep, with breakfast digesting and bikes on the roof we headed off to race central. Now fans of history would know that Bendigo is a pretty serious place for cycling. Its got both heritage and gravitas - and as a Bendigo bike racer, after braving sub zero winter mornings and mid summer days that would freeze and burn your tackle off in equal measure, you're a reasonably robust individual. Not to mention fast. 


Such is the stature of racing in Bendigo that big names were present and large groups of lazy sub-rouleurs were not. Its not a place where you get out your rusty old rig for a annual charity roll around a circuit laid down by the crazy niece of the local mayor - no sir, if you came to a race in Bendigo, you came to race. And this was painfully apparent when the gun went off. 


Hounds, just waiting for a rabbit

The pack shot out of the starting gate like the unfriendly side of a Claymore and within 90 seconds I was holding onto my hair trying to stay with the leading pack as both the trail and my heart rate went sharply skywards. I have this view (another one, I have plenty) that keeping the team elites in sight for the first couple of kilometers is an honourable goal. The rationale being that it provides both a carrot (a rider to catch) and a stick (a rider catching me) to keep this old nag moving at race pace for the duration of the event.

As the early kilometers moved from future tense to recent history I noticed a skinny bloke with big legs hovering around, sporting a little too much 'silver on his back' so to speak. Letting the pups get an early break on me is one thing, but letting the old dogs take the steak before I've had a sniff? That's not the way we roll.


"Soooo, which category are you in mate?" 
"Solo" came the one word reply.
"Ho-kay..."

Bollocks. This bloke looked a month older than me and he was doing exactly what cagey old buggers do. Give away nothing, except a carefully opened can of whoop-ass.

From what I could ascertain, Old Mate here was rivale numero uno. He looked composed, focused and properly dangerous. So 4 clicks into a race that was going to run north of a ton of kilometers, I attacked.

It wasn't a bar twisting Tommy Voeckler burst up the trail, but a more camouflaged little effort as I ever so quietly tried to slip off the front without raising the alarm. By lap one I had made 15 seconds, lap two it'd reached 25 and by the time laps 3 and 4 had rolled under me he was reaching his bottles almost a minute after I'd got mine.

There was daylight between him and me, enough space to convince him to settle into his own race and not worry about where I was. Or so I'd hoped. 


The course, while only an 8 kilometer loop had some distinct challenges. Sprinkled over the tight uphill switchbacks was a confetti of loose and sharp rocks - and on the fast and flowing downhill sections waited their more sedentary cousins, lurking in the trail like hungry crocs. As opposed to Beechworth, where the elements had worn some of the personality from the granite, these rocks looked like they'd had a little C4 surgery and were bearing their teeth in post-op displeasure.

I'd thought to keep the pressure on until I'd done 6 laps, putting a gap of at least two minutes between me and Old Mate, but in doing so I took a line passing a cat on a downhill section that pushed me straight into the waiting jaws of a trail croc. 
Both tyres punctured as I hit it with latex spinning off the tyre and into my face as it hemorrhaged from the wounds. I had my bike upside down pumping air into it as Old Mate came past - and he didn't say a thing. From the neck up he was like an Easter Island statue, his face being completely bereft of expression. That's just pure hardened professionalism, and it irritated me no end.


No champ, he's now in front of you

By the time I had refilled my front tyre, nursed my rear tyre home to transition, I had chopped up over three minutes. Add to that a very well executed filling of my bleeding rear wheel (thanks Craig) and subsequent pressure change I had not only been caught by the elite 3 hour riders but had gone another two minutes into debt. Not only that, but I was a little cranky now too. And so I chased.
And chased, and chased.
I chased Old Mate Easter Island like the meaning of life was hanging off his saddle.


A composed Jimmy Lefebvre smashing the 3 hour
Despite me ripping into this race like a dog rips into homework I was only gradually pulling him in. Laps 9, 10 and 11 went by and I had pulled back a little over a minute. As we both started lap 12 I got close enough for him to see me as we passed each other in transition with maybe 90 seconds between us. It appears that me being that close to him poked old Easter with a stick and he disappeared into the forest. 

I thrashed myself on lap 12, half out of self loathing for picking a stupid line earlier in the race and half entertaining the possibility that the evil puncture trolls had dolled out a little rupture to one of Easter's rubber hoops, but nay, honest racing was in the house. Such things were not to be - and rightfully so. 

By the time I crossed the line with 3 minutes left on the clock and had been convinced by race commentator Big Rich to do another lap I had burnt everything there was to burn. The course had been fast and fun, but after 6 and a half hours of rocks, tricky climbs and tight technical berms I had been chopped up like sashimi.

I let myself roll through the last lap, semi-content that I'd given all I had and that the win had deservedly been taken by another cat. Easter's real name is Peter Casey, who (I discover after a little Google stalking) is a consistent top three finisher and has actually pulled the kinds of results in the kinds of races that I aspire to. In our post race conversation he turned out to be a nice bloke and at one point, he even smiled.

In addition to the Bendigo MTB putting on a cracking race, a big thanks go to Jimmy Lefebvre who sorted me out with digs, kit and help during the weekend, and even found time to have a blinder himself. And a massive shout out to Craig, Paul and Dan (and their loved ones) from the Earth Wind and Water crew who again, raced, smashed it and were there to fill bottles and deliver harsh motivation from the transition area.


Objective validation of my story (ie race results) can be found here: http://www.mtbbendigo.com/files/6013/7872/1904/2013-MagellanBenCyc6hr-Detailed.pdf and Garmin guff is below, for the cats who dig that stuff:


Thanks for stopping by.

Archie - A Little Too Skinny Part 1

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Six Hours in the Saddle - Beechworth VIC

I see rocks when I sleep

I'd tried hard to put the acronym of this race into a funny sentence. The best I could come up with without mutilating my first language was 'S.H.I.T.S and giggles' or 'Giving me the S.H.I.T.S'. Both were just plain stupid and had probably been done to death by hosts Beechworth Chain Gang over beer and pizza since they came up with it a couple of years ago.

The S.H.I.T.S is a standard issue 6 Hour enduro over what appeared to be a relatively short course. It was just the north side of 10 kms, not a lot of climbing and in an area known to be tacky at its wettest. Youtube had shown clips of happy old fellas lapping on bedded down hardpack trail, with nary a care in the world. It'd convinced me that this was going to be a flat out, big lungs, big legs burn to the end.

Youtube lied.

Wake up Wang! Its raceday
Old mate Jimmy Lefebvre and me had pitted overnight in Wangeratta and struck out at dawn to set up camp at race central. It was a crisp start with not a tickle of wind and the sun was out tearing up the thick fog that had come to sleep on the paddocks. For all appearances, it looked like it was going to be a cracking day.
We got to Beechworth and made it to race central. We erected the Casa d'Custard (my yellow 6 x 6 marquee) set up our race-food pantry and with everything bedded down I set off for a quick recon lap.

I had entered the solo 40+ and convinced Jimmy to come out and enter the solo as well. He's a tough lad Jimmy, well up for a challenge, but beyond smashing a couple of races at the You Yangs and Forrest he hadn't spent too many hours on the knobby tyres after crossing over from the tarmac. Before getting here I said that he'd be fine. Just tap it out, knock over 6 or 7 laps and go home happy. About 400 meters into my scoping lap I realised that I might actually be considered a bit of a prick.

To generalize, all Beechworth trail is what we might term 'honest'. It hasn't been created with a digger, it doesn't have any North Shore style bridges or jumps and it doesn't have any carpet keeping its manicured berms in place. Instead, this course looked like it had been made by a bunch of dudes who spent their day-times as either physiotherapists or bike suspension mechanics. 

The way a Garmin sees it
It was proper, skinny singletrack, both technical and very fast. There were rocks everywhere. Rocks on rocks, near other rocks before and after more rocks. The A lines were rocky and the B lines were just as rocky, only with smaller rocks. On a 6" AM bike with some body armour you'd be picking hot lines and smashing this all day. On an XC bike in man-spandex in the middle of a 6 hour enduro, it'd be smashing you.

I was out there trying to determine where I could eat and drink, but with the longest break between technical sections being only about 4 seconds I was beginning to think this race was going to make me very skinny indeed.

The way humans see it. Not me, pic blatantly stolen from http://speedcyclingsystems.com.au

By the time I'd pretended to understand the course and had got back to camp, Jimmy had heard the word 'brutal' mentioned half a dozen times. It was indeed an honest course. Brutally honest.

The prologue involved a little something to spread out the pack and as T minus zero came around, the organizers sent us about 2 kilometers down a relatively steep gravel road. After some sub-witty banter and a remarkably relaxed official start, we all began mashing the pedals to climb back up this road and over the timing pads to get into the racing proper.

Racing at Beechworth is a cerebal challenge. The trail twists upon itself like an Escher stencil, albeit one filled with rocks. I had hit out pretty hard, with a view to keeping Tory Thomas in sight. 
I have this idea that if I'm faster than the fastest girl (girls fly - let it be known) then I'm doing ok. Its been a while since I've been able to do that - and with Tory beating me at the Blores Hill 6 hour by a minute or two I thought it to be an admirable goal. 
So I was looking out for her - I would see her through the trees just up ahead, then all of a sudden, it would look like she was just behind me. It was hard enough stopping the rocks from eating my bike without seeing where my competition was - and it was only through dumb luck that my furtive glances off the trail didn't put me in an ambulance. So I gave up on the glances, stopped thinking about podium placings and just raced.

The race tapped itself out through the first couple of hours with the an above average rate of attrition. I'd passed a myriad of cats sidelined by punctures to either tyre, tube or heart but despite hitting stuff harder than it was hitting me I'd got through unscathed - and with more than a little surprise, I found some mojo. 
It was the good stuff, serious, high potency, straight into your eyeball mojo and I started really having some fun. Laps 3, 4 and 5 had swung by without incident. Lapping with me was solo hard-man Kevin Skidmore and we were swapping positions, talking shite and trying ever so gently to gap each other. The race was going very,very well. Smooth bottle pickups, energy to burn (thanks Endura) and my 656B Mach 4 was charging through the rock gardens like it thought they were Rotorua berms. Sweet as, bro.

The way a Garmin sees a race going to pot

My tyres had been barking in protest all day, and then, not altogether unreasonably the front tyre made a sound that I really didn't want to hear. I'd hit the sharp side of a rock and cut it - leaving me with a bigger than little cut and a quicker than slow leak. I had the 'Please stop' mantra banging away in my head as I turned the leak south and hoped against hope that the whistling would be replaced by the sound of a puncture choking on latex. It didn't. Stans sealant spat out of the hole but didn't fill it. I ripped off my CO2 + sealant cannister and emptied that. The CO2 worked OK filling my tyre but the sealant, less so, doing just what the original goop did and made for the exit. Freaking out just a little, I took a punt and made for transition, which was on the other side of 4 kms of technical trail. The whistle continued and my tyre protested ever more loudly as I nursed it back to camp.

I'd lost a lot of time, but apparently was in first place as I crossed the pads to begin lap 9. At transition I got a little help from Jimmy (retired, the rocks had massacred his wrists) to pump a bunch of air into my front tyre. And with some relief I set out to roll through another couple of laps and into victory. What I didn't know that 2nd had overtaken me during my pit-stop and was doing a pretty good job of taking the win.


Lap 9 was painful. The slow leak didn't stop, the lack of pressure in it forced me to bomb less and brake more, and twice I had my bike upside down, delivering air with a hand pump. As I rolled into transition for the final lap I was told that I was now second, two minutes down on the top spot.

Sometimes there is a little moment of quiet before the effort dial is turned to 11. Its an intake of breath, a moment to consider what is about to happen and maybe even some space to wonder why. In this instance, there was no moment - it was all filled up with the chase. And chase I did.

So there I was, blasting through the trail like a psycho trying desperately to recapture the win I only recently discovered I'd had in the bag.
And as (a lack of) luck would have it, cresting on of the rocky climbs I broke my chain. An XX1 chain - 2 races old had taken a hit somewhere and with some poor gear selection and too much torque it had snapped clean through the plates. I sort of gazed at it for a bit - not really believing it was happening. It may have been 10 seconds or so, then upon remembering I'd handed off my tool pouch (read chain breaker and joining link) on the 3rd lap to a stricken rider I lifted my bike onto my shoulder and bolted down the hill to race central. 
Fortunately it wasn't far away and within a few minutes I had my bike in neutral spares with two mechanics - appreciating the urgency - working on the fix. To their credit they got me back on the trail and back in the race, but not before I'd lost enough time to be a good 10 minutes away from the win. 

Now it was all about what I didn't know. First was away, who knew where second was, and third and fourth could have been up for a podium stealing mugging for all I knew. Time ticked away as I burned matches I didn't have.

I had re-started the lap from scratch and the evening light was starting to make things look a little different. My tyre had stopped leaking allowing me to go back to pre-leak lines and I got to thinking that I was now in third place and that second was only a minute ahead. 
'He's just around the corner' I kept saying to myself 'He's just around the corner...'

To add to the theatre playing out in my mind, as I came out of the final corner to climb up to the finish line there he was. Another rider, out of the saddle, giving it everything. With one last effort I dug in and - somewhat pointlessly in the end - rolled over the line just in front.

The podium, me on the right. 
Turns out that the lad I'd passed in the finishing chute was riding with a school team and had probably wondered what the hell some ginger blowhard was doing racing him to the line.
And when all was said and done, I'd held second in the solo 40+ and had torn the paint off in the last lap for nothing other than pride. It was an incredibly well deserved win by Brian John who had been absolutely ripping all day. As irony would have it he had lost the top spot to finish 2nd the year before - in not too dissimilar circumstances.


We didn't get to thank them at the time, but I'm sure that everyone would hand out a big bag of appreciation to the Beechworth Chain Gang for putting on an an epic, spectacularly organized 6 hour race, in a beautiful location over a brilliant, if 'honest' course. Big props to everyone who raced, great crowd, great trail, great atmosphere.
Definitely on the calendar for next year.

Joe in Italy Part 2

Long live the pirateLampre zero7Wilier factory tour - enrico & john

Now for the obligatory Italiano chow down post raceNear enough to 4000 vertical meters today in charley Gaul granfondo - smashed!Here we go again. Charley gaul granfondoReady to race

Gruppo degrandi on wilier test rideCould almost turn for this one. Wilier 2013 cento1 SLRMorning tea Italian style

"Joey in Italy at it again - riding something they call an Italian Commodore otherwise known as a Wilier"

Joe in Italy part 2 - "Near enough to 4000 vertical meters today in charley Gaul granfondo - smashed!" http://www.lacharlygaul.lu/English/bondone.htm

Report "6 hrs 43 for 138ks. 2 x 20 k monster climbs that seemed to go on & on. Ripper descents that left the arms & shoulders burning from the stress on breaking & cornering @ warp speed.

The wilier cento1 sr (super rigid) is a very very fast bike. Many admires of these new machines not yet released  Kylie & her friend Amy were riding them as well (Amy with flat peddles) and were getting looks of astonishment from local wilier tragic who would leaving our captain for dead. Marco pantini bikes everywhere & Gilberto simoni ( met him as well - see photo).

Striking up a convo enroute nearly impossible with the Italians but tried nonetheless. Speaking with Francis from Belgium for a while who knew Robbie & I said I knew eddy Merxcs. Poor bastard nearly fell off his bike (an eddy m). So dropped him & continued.

At the end the fed was a highlight. I wish they did this at home (see pics)
Totally shanked & messed up big time & descended last hill post rode (as a hilltop finish) total 165km for the day with ~ 4000 vertical. Not as steep as angliru but only has a 25 on the back & was invariably looking for a get out gear allot of the time. To rub insult into me a guy with 1 leg passed me with 9 ks to go on ascent. Guess he had less wait. Insult # 2 was from mountain bikers who jumped out of the bushes, drafted me for a few ks & then helped me bridge gap to Paleton up the road. Big Swiss bloke with hot girlfriend with very fit bottom.
Showered up & got smashed after dinner as a salute to charley Gaul who won the stage in 1956 in the snow top finish 8 minutes ahead of his rivals!
Viva italia
Salute joe"

 

Joe in Italy - July 2012

 

First big ride complete. All up over 185ks for the day with 3057m vertical. Started on the start line with the pinarello family & the pros from sky, Movistar & liquigas, thanks to rochelle Gilmore (she was supposed to be there & like ky in vuelta final stage 2011 we werern't). Weather was hot & pace was on from the start. 4 lines with pros & would be's flying along. The surges were extraordinary & bloody dangerous. Ended up taking the footpaths a few time.
After 40ks the short ride turned left & the longer turned right. The pace backed off which meant a climb wasn't far away.  Didn't pass anyone going up but held posi.
Thunder & lightning at the top of first major climb. Grab a banana a quick leAk whacked the slicker on & headed down to avoid the ominous weather. Wishful thinking it bucketed down with bruising hail & rained for the next 80 ks. Carnage everywhere, then ambulAnce sirens, flats everyone & many sorry arses hiding under what shelter we could find. Descents were especially scary. As bad as angliru but much longer.
Finally rain cleared with 30ks to go as we sailed back into Treviso with a pack of 15 doing turns. 6hrs 24 mins later & back in piazza for pasta & beer. Survived to ride another day.
Ciao

Pina - Tough Mudder 31-3-12


MUD REPORT:

 Mission:

To assemble a hardy group of willing fellers to tackle the 20km obstacle course that is Tough Mudder. Not a mission at all! Seems like a large percentage of grown men love rolling around in mud and challenging themselves over obstacles designed by the British SAS (Boy Scout obstacles as it turned out). The word was put out and immediately we had a Captain (self appointed), a Chairman (allocated by the self appointed Captain... a bit of "jobs for the boys" type stuff there), a sustenance manager, hair and make-up, a mascot and a rough looking bunch of troops ready for the assault on Philip Island in 12 weeks time. Berry's Brigade was born.

 Preparation:

Slowly but surely the team rallied and begun group sessions 8 weeks out from the event.... The self appointed Captain (fondly referred to as Le-Captain-Crumbles behind his back) took his time to show the true leadership qualities he possessed, but once he took charge the Brigade was firing on all cylinders! Running groups, Berry's circuits, weight sessions, sand dunes, goat tracks etc were used to whip Berry's Brigade into shape. Big thanks go out to all that contributed to the development of the squad.

 Equipment:

Andy Theo, Soz, and the Knight Frank boys contributed to the uniform, turned out a great choice for the day. The tighter the better to gather up less mud and water!

Mrs Macca (a.k.a. Aimee) provided pre-game carbohydrates. Handmade Gnocchi, lasagna with the creamiest béchamel sauce and desert of chocolate, snakes and choc chip cookies ensured our energy levels where high!

Mr. T (Sustenance Manager) provided on field energy gels and priming fluid from Gatorade to get us high before crossing the start line.

Accomodation was supplied by the Maccas & the Nolans.  

 Game Day:

The early bird catches the worm, so a predawn wakeup call saw us on track 1.5 hours prior to the start and allowed plenty of time for forehead tattoos, team photos and priming fluid consumption and to scope out other entrants and the amazing PI sunrise. The energy gels given away as freebies at the start line tasted like sh*t and were probably liquid laxative so were avoided by the Brigade under good instruction from Mr. T.

 To enter the start gate a quick jump over a "Berlin Wall", the smallest of the day, lulled us into a false sense of security of what was to come... The Berlin walls of which there were half a dozen scattered at various parts of the track apparently got higher and higher! Word goes out to Bevo for his unselfish efforts assisting a young lady (the search4hurt cutie) over the top of Berlin wall #3, his boost nearly push her right over the top (and not over the wall btw ha ha!) 

 Obviously we'd hydrated well as a wiz break (photo attached) was needed two obstacles in from the start.... Thanks go to our Mudder eve sponsors James Boags and a couple of Pure Blondies! Onto the Arctic Enema, a neck deep pool of icy cold water took our breath away! Feeling surprisingly refreshed once out of the -15c ice bath, the body regenerated a higher level of conductivity ready for the first of 2 Electrical Eels. The only way through this adult style slip-n-slide with electric wires dangling over head is on your belly. Piss funny watching others in front of you get zapped continually until the smile is wiped off your face by a stinging kiss of 10,000 volts..... Faaaaaaaaaaark!

 A few more Berlin Walls, a Boa constrictor, The Ball Shrinker (if your balls weren't shrunk enough already), a Mud Mile (which felt like at least 6k's long), a coffee flavoured gel, an arm wrestle with a couple of tattoo clad chicks, a back-flip by Stu Balls on Walk the Plank, half a banana before the slippery Monkey Bars, a mountain of hay bales and something called Everest saw us close to the finish line in just under 2 hours. Look out on YouTube for funniest video of the year with Jimmy Kosta attempting to avoid a camera man who popped up (was there the whole time) in front of during his 450m run up to have his 3rd attempt at scaling Everest bah ha ha..... Oscar coming your way! I don't think the pools of soapy water at the bottom helped much though Agro.

 Everest conquered, time for a quick group photo taken before a session of Electroshock Therapy. Not very funny if you get a buckling double belt but super funny if it's someone else getting slapped by the dangling wires! A quick hop, skip, pirouette and jump through the finish gate, gathered up a t-shirt, the coveted orange Mudder head band, tin of soup, a VB and kiss on the cheek from a cutie named Lucy all in 2:04mins... not bad for a mornings work!

 Post Mudder Clean-up:

Cold El groupo showers (don't drop the soap!) sponsored by a body wash company who supplied the lemon/lime soap and some pretty average looking ladies to squirt gel on your back because men are not allowed to wash mud off each other!

 After Party:

Sausage and burger sizzle at the Maccas again!

The Otway Classic 24-3-12

WTF? - Angry Devils

For The Captain - you don't get this inside a car for 14 hours or inside a gallery looking at paintings you see in European Op Shops.

Friday - Paul, KY and later Supa enjoyed some riding on the Anglesea single track. KY crashed on some kindling at 1kmh climbing 25 per cent hurting his wrist. Pauly was as smooth as ever but he also nearly fell in the mud. Supa got lost in the forest somewhere with Pauly finding him miles away where he should have been. Supa made up for it by cooking dinner for the crew mixing the cultures of Morocco and Italy with his spaghetti and spicy meatballs. Beer, wine and Jack Daniels was enjoyed by all, some having more than others by venturing to the pub for their preparation for the Otway Classic the next day.

Saturday - Tanya, Rob, KY, Supa, Wokka, Vista, Wizza and The Mayor woke up with the sound of KY's didgeridoo and scoffed some breakfast (Le Rice included) for the ride around the Otways. A little later than usual meant that the crew got caught up with muppet traffic and they battled to get into a decent group. Supa (aka Stevie) was determined to find the right group and was always ahead in the middle of a bunch while the others tried to get clear. The Mayor had to turn off early and was probably glad to get out of the muppet brigade. Wiz was battling with SRAM and nearly casued a massive accident in the 200 plus group by crunching the gears and going backwards on an incline. KY was looking forward to hearing "My Life" at Dean's Marsh and by coincidence the piano man was playing it as he arrived. There was no lying down here as Vista was revving the local raffle ticket sellers up. He questioned some shoewear (golashes) and was then given a verbal back about how we waltz in and piss everywhere! It was everyman for themselves up Dean's with KY spotting some bloke trying to chat up Tanya. Supa and KY stopped for a photo shoot with the Devils before KY had a decent crack up the hill. Some woman accused KY of trying to spray her. He got confused what this meant and got away from her quick! It was cold on top of Benwarrin so there was little waiting on the summit. Supa got angry on the downhill when KY passed him and somehow turned into Jason Ellis taking on riders in the right hand side of the road. An ambulance picking up an injured rider slowed down the mayhem. Coffee and Thai sausage rolls (just normal sausage rolls served with sweet chilli sauce!) were consumed in Lorne before a slight smashfest back to Airey's where some local brew was enjoyed. A couple of ravings took a shine to Wiz strutting around in his baggy bummed Skins. From Aireys Wiz finally worked out how to work SRAM and settled into a decent clip arriving at Anglesea. We all were gorn but it was a 19 per cent hill left for some. We were officially rooted after this. All finished together and it was another great day around the Otways.On arrival Vista started on the black cans and then fired up the bbq. More amber stuff, and off to the pub. We met Ross there and it was too many beers for some, mixed with Pizza. Wokka survived better than most years and only had a slight tomato blush. Vista and KY were left at the pub with local legend Richo, and with 3 bourbons and 3 beers in the last hour, got out of there. Unfortunately for Vista the Fart Room was 'un-enterable' on arrival with Wizza sleeping through the high level of methane.

This was it http://connect.garmin.com/activity/161198522

3 Peaks - Archie at it Again

Archie with not many muppets :

3 Peaks – aka Painting Racing Stripes on the Hurt Box

(Preclude)

Usually I write these sorts of things waxing hard. I’ll mangle the language as I muse over muppets, masochism and massive hills, entertaining my internal audience with some soon to be hilarious anecdote. Sometimes I’m guilty of missing some of the beauty of the event in the pursuit of lyrical flow, chasing events and climaxes before realising, sometimes too late, that there was a journey in there that deserved recounting.  I’ll do that in this piece, no doubt. But before I get wrapped up in touch typing and my abstract lexicon let me find some space to state:

There was magic in this ride that I’ll never forget. It was the best single day I’ve ever had on a bike. Ever.

(Falls to Tawonga South: It’s not raining, but I’ve got my jacket on)

You get a jersey. That’s right, a jersey. A dodgy SCODY one with a fat blokes cut and a set of those pockets that turn into cellulite as soon as you put anything in them.

The organizers are proud to say that you can’t buy one on Ebay, or order one from Bicycle Vic direct or even get one by skulking around the post ride drinks with your shoplifting fingers on; this is a jersey you have to earn. They say that, lots. Over and over.

They also say all those words that indicate this event is hard. In the pre-ride briefing they started a lot of sentences with ‘Your training would have…’

Getting up at 4 in the morning to drive up the goddamn mountain from Tawonga South was hard enough. The beautiful Mrs Archer was again labour of loving it as she cosied up in the Volvo while I buzzed around the Falls Creek carpark in 6 degree early morning hue like a lost bee, desperately trying to step on or forget everything I wanted to remember. Food, water, gels, arm warmers … um … wheels…

I flounced about, going to the toilet more times than George Michael and tried to remember that this is a ‘ride’ not a ‘race’. As the witching hour approached I kissed a drowsy Mrs Archer and rolled into my place in the ‘9 Hour Finishers’ chute. There were about 100 of us in our little section of tarmac, another 30 just up the road in the psycho ward allocated to the 8 Hour cats and the remaining 1000 or so other dudes forming a straining mass of bikes and humanity, stretching way back up the hill. The music being played over the event PA seemed to betray a knowledge someone had that we didn’t.

Time ticked away. Amongst the milling cyclists nervousness seemed to steel itself into determination. The PA counted down our release and wished us luck.
If you can imagine one of those 20 cent gumball machines breaking and letting all the gumballs out down the chute at once, you’d have a pretty good idea what it was like during that first descent. It was properly, unashamedly, dick hardenly fukcing awesome. By the time I’d got to the bottom I’d had my bike banked over like Stoner and relived about 14 televised descents of whichever Grand Tour you’d like to mention.

(Tawonga to Harrietville: In real life, the pros are faster than us)

Just before we’d got to Tawonga South I was at the front of a little group that had formed around the BV pacing pro, a BV pro kiddie called Peter English who, technically should be going at 9 hour speed to help give the pack a sense of how they’re going. He’s a nice bloke the pro, I’ve had done a few good miles with him in training rides, but as we got to Tawonga Gap, he was more pro than pace. We had hit this climb at a ‘just faster than sustainable’ pace and he just rode straight off the front. Inside of about three corners he had completely disappeared.

I settled in with the cats I had around me, though ‘settled’ is hardly accurate. Just holding wheels had me bouncing around in the orange, and with 200kms and 3500m of climbing in front of me, it would be more fitting to say I was starting to worry.

The timing technology used to read the chip enhanced race sticker on the back of my bike resembled a collection of old fridge doors hammered onto star pickets. It looked like whatever radiation they were using to record your time could also kill your sperm at 500 meters but I was pretty happy to see them as it indicated that I had crested Tawonga gap. I was rolling with a bloke called Rohan Andrews who had been part of the early pack and looked like he could handle himself, so I stuck with him as we pitched off the down side towards Harrietville.

The day was beginning to open up, there was hardly a breath of wind as the morning sun burned the mist off the orchards and rolling green hills. At this stage we’d picked up some little groups and had formed twelve man paceline – ripping along, yelling out shit like “Roll up and slow!” and “Stead…y!”. It felt like la tête de course as our breakaway hammered into the food stop at Harrietville.

Harrietville is a lot like all other places called ville. It’s got a small shop, a beautiful bubbling brook and a steep little hill leading out of town, but beyond that, not much. Despite the scenery it’s the kind of place that local teenagers turn into either Satan worshippers or some kind of sporting gods.
I didn’t care for any of that, I just wanted to ditch my leg warmers and eat a banana – and I did both in quicktime, making sure not to get those two activities mixed up.

Half of our little pack had rolled on past Harrietville. The remainder of the bunch had somehow lost the urge to keep our progress at race pace and had settled in for a leg-cooling 20 minute break. We’d opted to stay hot and as we stood out of the saddle to get out of town Rohan and I made the decision to wait for a cat called Glenn who had been a strong contributor to the rolling paceline – which turned out to be a very good decision indeed.

(Harrietville to Hotham: Mother Nature handles a brush well)

While things were looking beautiful, I was feeling far from it. As the 29 kms of Hotham began to rise up in front of us, I began to feel decidedly patchy. Maybe it was too many turns, not enough gels, a rubbing brake or simply being a fat old gimp, but I found it hard to stay on. The wheels I was watching got further and further away and before long I was resigned to watching my knees rise up in an ever slowing cadence as my shelter rode off the front.
Though as luck would have it, a dude with a novelty Raccoon shaped saddle bag rolled past me. Not only were his socks the wrong height but he clearly had bought one of Supa’s unbranded Chinerellos and he had hairy legs to boot. Out of fashion anger I latched onto this wheel and sat there. Turns out that he was a monster, and despite the fact I was digging deeper than Bendigo we were veritably flying up this hill. Within minutes we’d caught my two new buddies and reformed our formidable micro-peloton.
With this dodgy Raccoon saddle bag staring at us we crested the vicious little walls like The Meg and burst out of the forest into the sunlight of the Hotham climb proper.

It was fortunate that oxygen was in such demand, because such was the beauty of the mountains that it would take your breath away. I have many things I wish I could forget, but this is something I hope I never do.
We were torn between enjoying the view offered by the valley and the being torn up by view of the road as it stretched into impossible gradients, punctuated as it was by the pained rhythm of climbing cyclists and the timelessness of rugged mountain perpetuity.

After accumulating much lactic acid, we crested Hotham with a little cheer - and with the thought of a descent and short meal spurring us on, we ripped along the tarmac taking kilo turns until we reached our lunch stop at Dinner Plain.

Dinner Plain was pretty much that. Pretty, but the supplied dinner was plain. We noticed that it wasn’t the hive of activity we thought it might be. Attendants snapped to attention behind tables laden with bananas and a farkin appalling roast vege wrap, without any of the weary resignation that would indicate we were number 987th in the queue – telling them the same food joke they’d heard 985 times already. No, it appeared that we were at the sharp end of the stick, and we wolfed down our inedibles and took off like we’d been poked with same.

(Hotham to Anglers Rest: Heaven with white lines painted on it)

Without being a farmer, lost - or stupid enough to own a Harley, you’d never know these roads existed. Riding the descent into Omeo and the road between Omeo and Anglers Rest was akin to having your breathless, naked lover arching her back to meet your touch. It was scenery worth six months of your Grandma’s embroidery time.
In retrospect it feels like a disservice to our surroundings – but we were hammering, only a few heartbeats off attack pace. I had thought of staying off the front to save some matches for the Falls climb – but as we rolled into Anglers Rest my ego had sacrificed a sizeable chunk of what I had left to keeping our average speed up.

Our pit stop was frantic – fuelled by a hunger to get over Falls. It was like we had a hankering to face the Chernobyl meltdown. Carried along by the momentum I refilled my bidons and inhaled a banana and choked back another gel, which by that point were starting to go down like bucket bongs.

(Falls climb to Falls Creek: I don’t know what I’ve done, but I’m sorry)

We had careered though the perfect roads of the previous 50 kms in an exquisite example of simple harmonic motion.  Each man on the drops, taking his turns, holding pace and form, with speed so plentiful and easy to come by it felt illegal - and then we rounded a marshaled bend and rode straight into the back of a brick truck.

The easiest part of the Falls climb from Omeo is as steep as the hardest sections of Donna Buang. The rest of it, which is in the majority, is as close to double digits as makes no difference.  Within the first one hundred meters my legs felt like the victim of a nailgun accident – and I still had nine kilometers to go.

Rohan and his 900 gram Lightweights had sprinted up the road in the grand old spirit of ‘lets get this over with’ whereas Glenn and myself took a more cautious approach. But its not like you can creep by a climb like this as if you were Ninja – no way. At the two kilometer mark, we were going slow, but not out of stealth. Slow was fast as we could go.

Halfway up the first section my jersey was unzipped, I had my tongue hanging out like a Labrador locked in a car and I was breathing like my lungs had been whipped into a blood mousse by some kind of airborne line-trimmer.  Glenn was a bike length in front of me dropping his shoulders into a cadence of about 30. In my infinite wisdom I’d thought a 25 would be Ok for this event. Glenn and Rohan were infinitely wiser – each packing compacts with 27s, and as Falls failed to relent and pitched steeper and steeper I was get close to a point that I’d never been to before. I couldn’t turn the pedals over. A panic reared up inside me, in desperation I looked up the road for some respite, but there was none, even Glenn’s bike only meters in front of me was blurred. I was about to walk.

And just as I was about to clip out my right foot, a distant memory came back to me.

Weave.

So I did. I banked right at a 45 degree angle and felt a wave of relief as half of the nails lodged in my legs popped out. At the far side of the tarmac I banked back the other way and that feeling remained. I was doing more but it felt like a lot less…and at that moment, I’d been saved.

Even with all the extra meters I’d stayed with Glenn and even managed to drag in our Raccoon bag friend who had been off the front since Dinner Plain. We passed proper A graders who were walking with heads down – trying to hide from the shame. We didn’t even offer encouragement, but gave them some solice in silence.

Eventually we got past Trapyard Gap and had only another 8 kms of not-quite so brutal climbing to do…and by the time we’d got to the highest point in the ride, with nothing but a gentle high plains descent in the brilliant sunshine as our reward – we knew that we’d earned something special.

 (Back of Falls to the Village: Happy – then some)

I get emotional about things, but rarely after I’ve been on a bike.
It had been 9 hours and 15 minutes since we’d nervously started. Now, we returned as gods, or at least it seemed the crowd thought so. They were pressed up against the barriers and they cheered us like we were liberators. I picked out an excited Mrs Archer in the stands, and as I rolled through the chute, amongst the noise and the excitement, a little lump formed in my throat.

We  took off our shoes and helmets, all got our photos taken and a podium-esque girl came and gave me a peck on the cheek. I got a beer and a piece of pizza. We’d got there in the first 23 so we even got our choice of seats and plenty of space to relax in.  

We’d got through it and I was happy.

And I got my jersey.

Otway Odyssey February '12

Race report – Otway Odyssey (Author : Jason Archer)

 

I’ve come to the general conclusion that mountain bike racing is kind of like going to swingers parties.
Great in small rooms with close ‘friends’ but going to a gig with 1000 hacks at Rod Laver arena usually ends up being a conga line of meatheads waiting to get knocked back by the 257th hottest chick in the room.

Such was this year’s Odyssey.

Usually, I like this race. I love this race. It’s as tough as p|ssing a gall stone, it rolls over some of the best trail in the land and gets a dude racing with a bunch of dudes a dude wants to be like.
Usually, this race ends with a dude being absolutely spent. It’s a dude retiring on the Forrest footy oval feeling very proud that he has raced out of his skin over terrain that can’t even be called terrain, tenaciously holding and gaining places amongst a rapid fire line of other dudes so hardcore they have full sleeve tattoos – under their tongue.

 

Now I like people…mostly. This year, I don’t know - maybe there was a ‘Get a free entry to the Odyssey’ deal on dildos for men, but the percentage of poons was up. It was like somebody overproofed the poon count. Usually at a manageable 20 odd percent, this year, it was sporting a warning label and a flame-retarding cap. With a little luck, that sort of thing isn’t too much of an issue. This year I was without luck and with issues.

The start of the race was pretty standard practice. I was somewhere near the pointy-ish end, trying to avoid a trip on a stretcher as a bunch of psychos form a crazed, foaming monster peloton and howled off down the road. I stayed safe, and as the hills started to jump up I watched the triathlon/roadie set dish out a teabagging.

 

Then the bumps turned into wallpaper and the roadies put on the reversing lights. Mount Sabine hands out about a kilometer of climbing in about four kays which meant that anybody who didn’t have toe spikes (for walking) or lacked the skills to keep their front wheel on the ground went backwards.

I got over Mount Sabine in the same way that you get over getting a testicle pressed through a garlic crusher, so I was in a pretty tragic state by the time the singletrack came. But I like single track and single track likes me. By the time I had seen five kilometers or so of whipping trail I was pinning lines like a junkie with fresh veins and looking forward to the taste of somebody else’s blood in my mouth, other than my own. On a sweeping downhill section I came up on a poon. I called out, asking for a line to get by but he didn’t move. I rode the next kilometer or so trying to stay out of his rear tyre as he powered up the hills then grand-ma’d down them. I was polite, hoping he was just about to call me through. He never did. By this time the dudes I had strung out behind me had since caught up and we ended following this idiot around like a slinky made of meat. Then something happened.

 

I had backed off a little to give myself a little space when I came hard into a left hand corner to see him pushing his zimmer frame around very same turn. My front wheel clipped his rear wheel and I was airborne. I came down, jumped up like ninja and turned just in time to see the dude behind me go over the bars and face-plant the hardpack like he’d been dropped from a plane.

For about 3 minutes he lay on the trail not moving. Another dude was good enough to direct traffic away from us and when there was some self induced movement from the guy who was down, we managed to help him off the trail and into the bush. A mandatory carry in the Odyssey is a first aid kit, which for the first time in six years came in super handy. He had a canyon above his left eye that was leaking displaced flesh, dirt and blood. He’d been fukcing mugged by somebody with something heavy from Bunnings.

 

By this time the mountain biker’s call of ‘Y’right?’ was getting rhythmic as dudes streamed by us, undoubtedly relieved they didn’t have to stop and tape a blokes head back together. About fifteen minutes had elapsed before I realized that a sub six hour finish was evaporating and I began getting profane. Not only that, but my front wheel was as bent as George Michael and wouldn’t even spin through the forks. This started off the bloke who had crashed, who by his firm grasp of Glaswegian swearing outed himself as a Scot with a strong opinion of the poon who pulled us down.

As fun as it was swearing unreservedly mid race, it wasn’t sustainable. Within a couple more minutes this tough old Scot had pulled himself back onto his bike, thanked us for the help and using whatever adrenaline was still coursing though his body - took off up the trail. The other dude (who had been brilliant) took off as well and I got up to take out the enormous kink from my leading hoop. It was actually pretty therapeutic. Pounding your expensive race wheel on the ground like a ten year old smashing ants with a bin lid is strangely calming.

 

Riding singletrack at attack pace is usually pretty interesting – but on a wandering front wheel the 17 kilometers of technical trail before transition was like trying to walk home blindfolded with a Beagle for a guide dog. So it was with some relief that I saw Kyllie at the Forrest Footy Oval, covered in dirt -  because it meant her bike –  with my soon to be new front wheel – was nearby. In a flash Kyllie had reappeared with her front wheel, and after a little mechanical jiggery-pokery, a pocket refill and an ‘I love you baby’ I was off.

Things were immediately looking up. Between me and the finish was 33 odd kilometers of trail. Most of it was singletrack and all of it I’d ridden enough to give it a rash. This worked out well for me, and while there were poons a plenty doing their wobbly best to ruin my already ruined day, I was able to get by most of them as they rode themselves into trees or off cliffs.

 

By this stage I was having fun. The photographers were on the hot jumps and wicked berms, there was enough room for poon passing and I actually began to feel strong for the first time in the race. With all this going on I steamed into transition for the last time and bolted up the road to finish the last section.

 

The best bit of the race is 11 kays into the final 13 kilometers. It’s the point at which a dude has climbed another stinking hot 300 or so meters on soft sand and gravel, lost all of that in a double black diamond descent into the valley and scratched their their way up the Sledgehammer like they’re getting out of the bad dude’s pit in Silence of the Lambs. Its where they have crested the final pinchy climb onto the fireroad that indicates you’ve done all there is to do except get into a time trial tuck and roll through the final two kays to the finish.

And while I may b1tch and moan about the wobblers and muppets that slowed me down, or complain about the evil forces that kept me from my respectable time I should really say that even with all these things, it is a cracking event, deservedly getting bigger and better, and with a little more luck and preparation I’d have finished in 5:40 and be sitting here quietly thinking how awesome I am.

Also, special mention should be made of Kyllie, who not only flew around the 50km course (missing a Vets Women podium by 4 minutes) but also was brilliant at my first stop to get her shattered legs moving in quicktime to rescue me and my borked front wheel. And mention should be made of our own CNUT heavy hitters, Pauly and Adrian who tapped out respectable times that were no doubt stretched out by the same muppets I was falling over.

For your viewing pleasure (really, these are good) check the following clips from the 50km guys including David Ollie getting overtaken, which you should like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRvj14nOH9I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk4QSGsV-zE&

Overall results: http://www.rapidascent.com.au/konaodyssey/OverallResults.aspx?evn=1

 

 

Archie - SurfCoast 12 Hour

 

"Only 10.5 hours to go Archie" - An easy ride for Jason

Archie's Report :

Compared to your standard issue MTB painfests the Surfcoast 12 Enduro is a bit of a strange beastie.

To begin with, it’s a staggered start. The six hour races start at 4:00pm but at 10am, the witching hour, the three hour sprint distance kiddies start with the random units doing the twelve hour. This leads to this weird phenomenon where half of the field disappear into the single track like whippets chasing rabbits, and the other half meander into the race like Labradors looking for a nice place to take a pee.
The disturbing thing was that some of the twelve hour cats had gone chasing rabbits…

 

Being my virgin solo effort I went with the Labrador option. It was kinda nice starting at a leisurely pace and I tapped out a nice, sustainable rhythm, happily talking shite with the kiddies around me. Occasionally somebody would miss-time a corner and spear off into the undergrowth, which would generate a sequence of “Y’right-mate?”s from passing riders as the fallen rider tried to recover a little dignity.

The trail was turning out to be fantastic. The climbs were either nice sweeping singletrack ascents or pinchy little numbers that jumped out like a flasher - that is, just enough to give us a bit of a scare, but not nearly enough to send us into meltdown. One of the climbs took us to a magnificent lookout, with views that seemed to get all the way to Apollo bay.

The descents were proper mountain bike spec. Some were marked with the obligatory skull and crossbones and others with seven different sizes of ‘Caution’ signs, but all of them could have been taken brakeless – if we had grande cojones. To join up the climbs and the drops was really, really sweet bermed flat trail.

 

After about lap six I asked my support team where I was placed in the field. She said I was 9th. That kinda poked me with a stick, an every lap after that, Kyllie would tell me where the guys one place in front and one place behind were. Apparently I was four minutes behind 8th and lapping quicker with the guy in 10th some 15 minutes off the pace. Nightfall was about 3 hours away and this nice leisurely roll I was enjoying was quickly turning into a race.

 

By that stage the six hour guys had been let loose and they blasted up the track like they were pieces of 12 gauge shot. I had about just under half a lap (20 minutes) on them and vowed to not get passed until night fell. That didn’t really work out, as about 2 hours later one of the Torq pro team went by me like he was doing flying 200’s. As darkness fell and the pointy end of the six hour field started passing, things were starting to hurt…quite a bit in fact.

 

Just before it went black I caught the kiddie who was in 8th but it was starting to get to the point where the longer I stopped the harder it was to start. I had paused to put my lights on when Kyllie said that one of the pros had pulled out, so I was holding 7th. I was battling with Velcro and frantically stuffing my face with food when Mr 8th passed Camp Yellow peril to take back 7th. This was not good. I made a special request for Red Bull on the next stop.

 

With three laps worth of time to go and with a little anger in my belly I caught 7th and took back what I believed was righteously mine. He didn’t look good –like a slinky with an apple for a head. This gave me a little rush and I put something into the next hour to put a gap on him. But by this stage it was proper black – and if you’re not a vampire or some weirdo emo teen, then doing shit at night at attack pace isn’t second nature. Ramping up the revs when you can’t determine if that’s a piece of trail or the goddamn Rainbow Serpent has its risks.
By the time Kyllie passed me my much desired can of Red Bull at Camp Yellow Peril I had taken all the great lines I used to make up time on the descents and re-written them, like a p!ss-head on an Etch-a-Sketch and was lucky to still be conscious.

 

With one lap to go Kyllie said that the kiddie in 8th was still coming – apparently only seconds behind. I buried another half can of Torro Rosso and took off up the trail, half thinking he was in front by now, half fearing he was behind. That magic number 7 is MY spot, damnit!

 

The last lap went by looking like a mash-up between the battle scenes in Platoon and a 1920s stag flick. In my haste in the pits I had not taken a new bidon and so had no water and had long since run out of food.

All I had was fumes and they were running pretty low too.

 

Any cyclist who has done an hour climb, or has sat on the front driving the peloton back into a 40 knot headwind will know that you can end up talking to yourself a lot. For me, at this stage it was a rowdy session in Parliament. But over the roaring and the swearing, the only thing I heard was the Speaker of the House, quite calmly say: “Take nothing home”.

 

Whatever was left I tipped it in. At this stage I didn’t know sh!t from shelving but I thought I saw the dude who had taken 7th from me glittering away through the trees. It seemed like it took years, but I got closer and closer – and when I finally got him I was appalled to see that he was a f’kn singlespeed. He had taken the place I had worked so hard for, and he didn’t even have f’kn gears.
Finally - In fit of pique I took the magic line on an uphill step up to take back my beloved position, I got out of the saddle, climbed into the red zone and almost sucked the fuel tank in on itself in the sprint to the line.

 

Once the dust had a chance to follow the streams of sweat into my eyes, it turned out that the kiddie I had just passed had also passed the dude who was trying to pass me and had passed us both during our respective pit stops. It doesn’t make sense to me either. What it does mean in trying to defend 7th I accidentally took 6th, by 10 seconds. Sorry about that, dude.

 

In closing I’d have to say that it’s a little unfair I got to have all the fun, others had to make their sacrifices for naught.

Mrs Archer was brilliant, keeping me informed, fed and just angry enough to get my race face on. Just as I was fading she’d say stuff like “He’s four minutes ahead, go GET HIM!” That’s what good wives can do, and she was awesome.

And enduring thanks to the Young Family who were very generous to let us camp at Casa Del Anglesea for the two nights, something that was appreciated vastly more than they will let us demonstrate.

 

FWIW results are here: http://www.surfcoast6hour.com.au/results-2011.php and I’m sure there’ll some photos soon.

 

Yay.

 

PS – only binned it once, not seen by anyone and far from award worthy.

 

 

 

 

Melburn Roobaix 26-6-11

Riders - KY, Piffy, The Corbett, The Captain, Archie, Ewen, Matt (lost at start!), Supa, Pauly, Mitch, Brendonovitch & new Irish recruit Joe.

Minutes of ride :

Early kiss to the 2009 trophy, The Captain & KY early reccy on the Nappenmuur, The Captain early mechanical (loose headstem), Pauly early mechanical (loose crank), Matt early mechanical (floppy chain), KY - Poon Leaders jersey, Hawthorn velodrome - big bikes, ninja's, clowns, Supa early crash Twa-ville at speed (took out another, covered in mud, thought wrist was broken, brake lever busted), Corbett's salute to Glenferrie Oval,  Supa presented jersey by podium girl, Pauly & Mitch taking on the off camber single track along the Yarra and nearly crashing, Joe presented the jersey by Super Girl, Brendo presented jersey by anti- podium girl in Northcote (no kiss for you), lunch at the Great Northern (black beer, amber beer, dodgy coffee, microwaved pie at milk bar, pizza with eggs and bbq sauce - YES), Archie presented the jersey by taller podium girl,  Ewen disappeared but returned (battling with - a hole in his leg), The Koppenberg twice (except for The Captain, why not? He already had his chocolates), Piffy final wearer of jersey, 1st time up Koppenberg high level of excitement by spectators, 2nd time spectators had enough!, Nappenmuur for the 2nd time (just a bit harder), funk music blasting - love it!, finally get there, Power Rangers - love their work, Catwoman - not so sure!, a couple of laps of track, KY left some skin on the track much to the amusement of fellow team members, (actually a complete lack of concern, thanks to the 2 riders that looked after him, thanks to St Johns who patched him up, track rider he is not), Beers and sausages (The Captain - you cannot get a better meal!), Brendo wins DVDs, no trophy for us - next year. Enough beer, enough riding, Corbett only had another 50km to get home! Pauly, KY and The Captain finished off with coffee at Ray's, KY discovering another scar.

Thanks to Andy and his crew  - another great day, don't know how they pull it off!

Thanks also to the podium girls -

Wiz the Ironman 1-5-11

 

Arrived at port mac on Wednesday pm after a drive up from Melbourne  my back was still sore and it then starting raining all the way thru to Saturday afternoon without stopping got one short ride in  (got wet)  two runs (got wet)  one swim  (got even wetter) before the big day

Alarm went off  415am on Sunday    this is it   10 months of training  early morning swims afternoon bike rides and evening runs were going to be played out over the next 12-13 hrs.

Got down to the check in  was feeling ok   1086 people of all walks of life and about 300 of them like me doing this for the first time

About 610am started getting the wetsuit on for a 630am start then when all was done and walking to the start   oh no  I need a crap   so wetsuit down to knees  tri suit to knees and a big shit was taking and needed. Got zipped up entered water with about 5 mins to go  (so much for a warm up)  swam out to the start about 50 mts off shore then tried to get the goggles right that at 630am BANG 1086 people started off I was right in the middle all arms and feet by I said to myself don’t get upset or uptight with all the arms and legs   just relax and it seem to work  got in an easy stroke and away we went only had 1 women call me a fuckwit in the swim so all good and exited the water 1hr 20mins  which for me wasn’t too bad  I was taking it easy

Got help with the wetsuit for all the helpers in transition so got all my food and now off for a nice 180km bike ride the 12mts draft zone was interesting came past the first penalty box and 9 people were in it so be carful

The first 20 kms  I was told was like kew  but I thought it was a lot steeper and the road surface was crap and to top it off all the way down to the turn around 45 kms  was into about a 25kms head wind   tough

I kept  telling myself to take it easy not to blow up on the bike don’t forget what was to follow and to keep eating and drinking and it seemed to work  about 8 kms from the half way mark is a  climb called mathew flinders drive  it makes yarra st like like a bump  my legs were both cramping and I was doing 6kms with a heart rate of 185 when I got over it and all I could think off for the next 90kms I how I was going to do that again.

The second lap was harder with the wind picking up   got over the hill and returned 180kms is 6.5hrs  slower than I thought but I made sure I had something left

Went out on the 4 lap run never having run 42.2kms before and determined not to stop except for the aid stations

Got into the grove ok  and the kms ticked by by the time I got to 25ms I knew I would make it  just wanted to keep going to make sure I could run it without stopping

Got on my last lap it was dark and I was going to be a IRONMAN

Coleen,Sarah,emma were in the finish cute gave them a kiss  then as I ran to the finish line mike to voice of IRONMAN thru out the world said “AT 50 YEARS OF AGE AT HIS FIRST ATTEMPT FROM SUNBURY VICTORIA PAUL WILLIAMS   YOU ARE A IRONAMAN”  that was great   42.2 kms in 4hr 46min   and stopped the clock at 12hr 59 mins 13 sec

Thanks to all you guys  for all your support and interest it was great to get all the good luck messages and thanks god its all over

I may not have retired from IRONMAN but I wont do port mac again  the ride is too hard

Regards

WIZZA

Tour de Kids March 2011

Rob and Paul did this - 1,150kms, over $30,000 raised between them, ABSOLUTE LEGENDS!! Well done boys.

If you haven't donated please go to this site. http://www.starlightfundraising.org.au/paul_currie or http://www.starlightfundraising.org.au/robert_poulter

 

Route 

The 2011 Tour de Kids ride COMPLETED – Saturday 2nd April 2011 and will span 1150km from Adelaide - Melbourne.

Day 1 (Sunday 27th March): Adelaide  - Meningie 163km

Day 2: Meningie to Robe 190km

Day 3: Robe to Casterton 161km

Day 4: Casterton to Warrnambool 191km

Day 5: Warrnambool to Apollo Bay170km

Day 6: Apollo Bay to Queenscliff 120km

Day 7 (Saturday 2nd April) : Queenscliff to Melbourne 130km

2011 Otway Classic 26-3-11

"The Devils were in full flight........"

Participants : KY, Wiz, Supa, The Captain, The Mayor, Pauly, Piffy, Brendo & Tony

Minutes : Friday night pub activity, Nando's, beer, more beer, Guiness, le rice, gravel, Wiz's music including MJ & Hairspray (WTF?), digital signal - pathetic, football, SBS 10pm, late start 7:30am, fair stench from overworked toilet, more le rice, early mechanical Supa, early mechanical for quality chick - The Mayor stopped for her causing complete split in group, "shortcut" through Moriac that may not have been short, rain, "comrade" formation at 40kmr with Tatura milk team, The Mayor's jacket with inbuilt split system air conditioning, "no 1" got an earful, KY scaring the female riders with his tattooed arm warmers, rain, more rain, The Mayor up the road leading the big bunch, The Captain in his own personal world, punctures everywhere but not us, no Billy Joel at Dean's March, The Captain angry in a world of hurt, the Devils weren't playing ACDC and were told, Brendo's comments re holes in the road and the "walk of shame", Wiz retaining KOM for 2011, the rest were at full tilt and the photosession with the Devils, The Captain and Supa leading a bunch up  to Benwarrin, freezing on downhill, another mention of The Mayor's jacket, Brendo and The Captain nature call on downhill (couldn't wait? KY went back up the hill to see if Brendo was ok! At 55 kmh couldn't differentiate between slash and flat), Thai sausage rolls at cafe, magnificent tailwind, madness at speed through Big Hill on the Great Ocean Road, The Captain, Piffy & Supa lead us home after the monument, Supa in unknown pain territory, Spanish style hill to finish us off, beers and bbq (plus QF shots), Led Zeppelin, good byes, pub action for KY & Wiz (missed the 'Z' at $14 but got "Jimmy Choix"), cheesiest pizza in the world, bed by 9:30pm!!, a great ride enjoyed by all.

From Pauly :

ah the love

 

excellent riding ladies

 

Dave with his fist in the air at the top of a climb - never thought I'd see that.

Brendo taming Donna and seeing the fruits. And he is so so quiet. 

Super - just for coming and gutsing it out.

Piff - the quiet achiever. No more where's Piff. He is right there in the thick of it. 

Youngy - in his element and smashing us all. Every time I tried to get near you I got humbled  

Russman - turning into the hardman again. Slow not soft is out the door I reckon.

Wizza - just rode with quiet determination then as we all sit back for a beer he goes for a run - WTF

Tony - where did that man go ?   

 

My highlight and lowlight -

 

Brendo trying to commune with Alpacas by squeaking at them.  

Idiots flying past on team replica bikes with carbon wheels -  they are not even anywhere near the front of the field. toss pots

2011 Ballarat Classic 20-2-11

"KY attempting to hold things together at Ballarat"

Joe & his fast crew with KY, The Mayor & Ross had a dip at the Ballarat Cycle Classic :

Joe & the fast crew attempted to stay with the first group. After a lot of battling they finished in the 2nd group averaging 34 kmhr for the 100kms. A fair effort considering the conditions. KY, Ross and The Mayor let the crew go and enjoyed some strong tail wind through the farmlands. The Mayor was coughing up numerous oysters and scallops and was told by KY to turn at the 60km turn off as collapse was imminent. The Mayor didn't like this as he was hallucinating thinking he could do the 85 km  route. Some quality passed him and away he went, somehow surviving the 60km!   KY and Ross enjoyed the country surroundings until the turn back into the wind when it started raining. At the 65 km mark, for some reason KY took off and time trialled all the way back to Ballarat selfishly leaving Ross to bat for himself. Ross punctured twice and rode the last 5kms on the rim. Nice bloke that KY.

A ripper course and a few more needed next year. Hopefully not as wet and windy. (What's with those Pearl Izumi gloves Supa? KY's disintergrated in the rain!!)

2011 Otway Odyssey 19-2-11

 

Pauly, Archie & Grinderman completed the Otway Odyssey. Pauly - "50km not as hard as 100 but still hurt. Rained all night but the trails were perfect. Windy as fxxk out there." http://www.rapidascent.com.au/asp/Main.aspx

Some gems :

Archie - "Might be up for crash of the year again kids. 
I flew off the high side of a berm during one of the descents – right in front of a camera-woman.
She looked pretty happy with herself when I got back on. 
Props to Fletty and Pauly who punched out good times in trying conditions. Moreover for having the brains not to do the 100. 
+1 to taking mud tyres and switching onto them at the last minute.
+111 to getting the roadies out there. You’d love it. (Check the cycling tips blog: http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2011/02/the-otway-odyssey-ive-been-odysized/#more-17293)"

Pauly - "What happened on the weekend lads ? Ballarat ? Beach Rd ? Nesting ? 
Archie, Fletty and I took on the wilds of Forrest and the Otway Ranges.
Archie finished the 100km marathon in spectacular time and then collapsed in a sea of mud, pain and why did I do that thoughts.  
Fletty and I took the scenic route this year - 50km of pure joy.  
We camped in the Cnut tour bus on the edge of the trail and listened to it pour rain all night. Waking to think the race would be postponed or the track changed. Turns out that neither happened and the trails were perfect if not a little muddy in a few places.   
I reckon I'll be back on the 50 next year - at least I can walk today and at least I can make it without my legs cramping to the point of disability or praying to the cycling gods for a well placed mechanical. Lets see some of you roadies out there with us - there nothing better.  
Congratulations to Archie for finishing his 5th 100 Otway Odyssey in a row.    
Ps As we were sitting at the tour bus yelling encouragement to the late arrivals in pain and suffering, the bloke next us lit up a ciggy - his reward for finishing. I asked him what the fark ?  He just laughed and said he was disgusting.   

Tour Down Under January 2011

"Macka - Would you believe he now loves the hills? Still did it tough but he is going well on his Colnago, with carbon wheels"

"The Crack a Vic Loop HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!"

From KY :

Well, I have returned from Adelaide beaten, but not cracked! Pinna is still over there getting smashed on and off the bike.

 

I am sure Ryno will put together a report but briefly this is what occurred on the first 3 days :

 

Saturday – Crack a Vic loop, 105kms, 33 degree heat, 21 per cent hills, something called a corkscrew, “pro look” opening of jerseys, European climbing of hills with no helmet, 6 cramp stop tablets, Vics weren’t cracked  but the head rooter, Ryno, destroyed himself! Also caught up with the BMC boys. Ballan was so happy to be riding something other than a Wilier.

Sunday – paired time trial to Norton Summit. On handicap 2 Vics won! Rob from Jones Cycles in Frankston and myself took the glory (we started second !!) Back into town to give Pinna a serve (he was somehow in a promotional car) and also to tell Cavendish about on what side of the field he plays.

Monday – pleasant ride to winery for lunch. This is where I left the crew. Most were half cut and not sure how they got home.

 

Pinna and myself sorted out Ryno by having a beer at every stop. The Southwark finished him off! He was a mess when I left him!

 

For some photos of the 1st few days (Pinna has more to come) check out the photo gallery and load up the slideshow.

 

We all must do it next year. The SA’s were strong but need to be taught the nutritional value of beer while riding.

Joe in Italy July 2010

Pinarello Cycling Marathon & Denbo's Tour :

Brief trip summary
Northern Italy was amazing. Weather was warm (38 in Treviso!) & we cycled
750km in the week with over 10,000 meters up, so felt more like 7,500kms!!
The Pinarello weekend was fantastic & we enjoyed the best of Italian
hospitality; brand new bike's (2011 Pinarello Paris, Fulcrum Zero Racing,
Campag Super Record 11 speed), 7 course dinners, product presentations,
factory & shop tours - cycling heaven in luxury accom that would even be
good enough for The Captain.  Treviso, 30 km from Venice, City of Art &
Water, is a charming little town which hosted the Pinarello Cycling Marathon
on Sunday 18/7. The ride was shortened due to weather but pace was on from
the get go with some great stacks in the wet - fortunately managed to miss
them. Virtual pasta & beer festival at the end is a great way to recover
after 130 kms, 4 major climbs & average up @ 33km/hr. Maniacs from Perth
were setting the pace & even though it hurt I managed a few turns.

On Monday "Denbo's Apres Pinarello Tour" commenced with a 9am pick up from
Treviso hotel enroute to Cortina, a posh ski town in the Italian Alps.
Managed to score a ticket on the trip by accident as one of their riders had
injured himself prior to trip.  9 blokes in total with 2 guides & knew we
were in for a treat.  Drove from Treviso to stay in Cortina (the first climb
"Tre Cime" or 3 peaks was only conquered by 4 out of 9 of us - sections @
17%), rode through the Sella region, over Passo Pordoi to Bolzano, then down
to Bormio via Passo Stelvio (2,758 meters - ouch) into Switzerland, staying
at St Moritz (another ski town) & final ride day rode down to lake Como,
Menaggio for lunch ferry to Bellagio, up to Madonna Ghisallo (Chapel &
cycling museum) & then Palace Hotel, Como. A whole lot in a week but awesome
experience. I was supposed to go home on Friday but after consultation with
Kylie managed to get an extension, a new flight & home Monday night. Denbo
owns Glen Parker Cycles in Perth & is a triple British track & sprint
champion. Likes a drink so he is now a very strong descender! His Dad,
Ernie, was also on tour & still holds a 1962 hill climb record (Snake Hill)
in the UK. On a handicap basis (where you gained 1 minute for each year of
age) the old bastard won the climb up the Stelvio.

Another bloke Clive, 46 & retired, rides 700kms per week & calves were so
big he had to remove the rear drink bottle cage as it was scrapping on his
calves. Vince & Andrea our guides made the trip. Nothing was too much
trouble & even changed your tyre, chain & made any bike adjustments
required. Garmin GPS bike computer with daily ride pre-programmed were a
useful tool. Even showed % gradient - useful for climbs ... although you
knew when going up; with so many passes over 2000 metres that I lost track.
You climb that much that 5 to 6% feels easy, 9% your working & above 12%
your using most of the gears. Bike were fitted with a compact crank set & a
29 on the back so ready to climb up the walls that we faced.  The descents
are often forgotten but they are fast & the scenery is etched in your memory
forever.

Managed to see the controversial "chain gate" stage of the TDF as we were
rained in, in a nice wine bar in Livigno, Switzerland whilst the Tourmelate
stage played out.


Link to Passo Stelvio - 24 kms, 48 switchbacks ... this is a lifechanging
experience which everyone should do at least once
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZm8VFCKNj4

Link to Pinarello product presentation - explains the Asymmetric frame. Viva
la Pinarello http://www.pinarello.it/eng/multimedia.php?video=gf_pina_09_01

turn it up.

Bring on Spain in 2011 I say. (SEE PHOTOS IN "HOLIDAY MAYHEM)

Melburn Roobaix 30-5-10

Riders - Pauly, Mitch, KY, The Corbett, The Captain, Archie Jones, Piffy, Supa, Brendonovitch & Joel.

Highlights, lowlights - your call :

Pauly's mechanical 10 metres into the ride, Supa turning up with the 'first MTB with full suspension" straight from the racks of the Brotherhood, The Captain's "only one in Australia" Wilier single speed getting scratched, nameless people wearing bike shorts under their shorts upsetting Milano man Supa, Archie getting us lost before we started, The Captain getting off his bike one metre into the first cobbled climb, The beer bike - gotta love it, Archie for riding a 'purpose built' Melburn Roobaix 10kg single speed 29 'er, Joel riding a formula one MTB and didn't raise a sweat, The Corbett at his angry best getting a flat and chucking his bike in the first 200 metres, running in the last group because of the flat, Mitch's tight 'mardi gras' jeans purposely cut the night before to take on the rigors of the ride, KY's "Poon Leader" jersey was cooking the man - the curse has not been lifted, Mitch taking out a downpipe, 1st beer stop - was it The Rose?, The Napier?, no it was the Lord Newry (lost and confused!), the sad soul on the bridge berating cyclists telling us to get a life and learn to read, she was walking 4 corgis for god's sake, loved the comment "it's a 2 dog limit on this bridge" & "how do you pick up all that dog shit?", conversation on ice fingers, Archie's continual skidding giving KY the shits,  Pauly's MTB skills - something to behold, Piff coming down hard in Whisky Alley and getting up straight away and back into it (as a hard classics rider should), he has some quality bruising that is still ripening, Archie making us ride the equivalent of 2 Koppenbergs by leading us and 20 others up the side road when it was meant to be the laneway, KY's spill through lack of skill on the mud section on top of the Koppenberg, Red Bull shots - now a daily intake, chicken feast at Nando's, riding with greasy chicken hands after the feast, Archie missing the arrow over Moonee Ponds Creek and taking us up yet another unnecessary hill, Brendo for thinking it was a race, Piffy for nearly going backwards on the final hill but nailing it (those who walked should be ashamed), Single speed rider credentials noted but called soft by Mitch (Piff, Brendo, The Corbett, The Captain & Archie), Fixed riders noted and called hard by Mitch (Mitch, Pauly & KY), Fixed rider who said riding the Roobaix fixed is lunacy (KY), all those that dressed up - definitely a highlight, The Lomond - why aren't there more pubs like that?, the cloudy filth was spot on with many consumed, unfortunately couldn't order the Lomond's famous salt and pepper calamari, we couldn't retain the trophy from last year but will be back next year, the joy on the face of the bloke winning the MASI - gold!, the last 2 large t shirts were purchased by KY & Pauly to be worn with pride, KY couldn't talk Pauly into another beer on the way home because he 'had enough", How's your husband Pauly or was it the pub?, thinking we all slept well, great training for Tour de Lager July 3. See "Events" page.

A great day had by our team - thanks to Andy and the rest of the crew involved.

Photos - see "Photo Gallery", load up the slide show and relax.

Votes -

3. Archie - for somehow making us and countless others believe he could navigate. Absolutely clueless. Also for playing with our minds taking us up non routed hills just to cause pain. "Poon Leader" jersey coming your way - preferably in some big MTB race!

2. Piffy - for coming down hard, twice,never complaining and gettin' on with it. In his natural habitat at the pub.

1. The Captain - at least fuckin' attempt to go up some of the hills!! That italian beauty of yours has never been ridden hard. It's about time it was!

The Otway Classic 27-3-10

Riders - Wokka, KY, Vista, Pauly, Ross, Pinna and Wiz. Also joining in for after ride activities Rubber and Richo.

Highlights or lowlights (whatever you prefer) :

Vista's new nickname "Chrisso", Vista's refusal to drink Becks, Wizza's refusal to eat cous cous, Wizza yelling at the TV when the Bombers were playing (why?), perfect weather, very little wind, no rain, overcast, local call by Ross "it won't rain" (it didn't after raining all night), Wokka forgetting gloves, bridging a gap at 42 kmh and then dropping from the group - wtf?, 31 kmh average to Dean's Marsh, Billy Joel "My Life" again with some Elton John and Frank Sinatra, total abuse of the free energy bars, Vista and his 'hot' foot and near exhaustion, extended stop at Dean's Marsh due to Wokka's wheel malfunction, Wokka's new best mate fixing the wheel, Vista's 'UFC' recovery after the extended rest, Wizza - KOM (was last up the hill last year, 1st this year!), Ross's statement on top of the hill (see votes), Pauly assisting a female bike rider from the ground (see photos), Vista riding down Benwerrin Hill with a deflating tyre (he was wondering why his wheel was skidding out!), quality at the Lorne cafe, lack of service at the Lorne cafe, passing of the numero uno jersey to Pina at the Lorne cafe, Wokka struggling over the 'pimple' hills on the Great Ocean Road, Wokka keeping his face a lighter shade of red instead of bright red, 29 kmh average over 133km (good for us) WE RODE 90% OF IT TOGETHER (2 word to those who thought or said it could not be done), Vista's marinated chicken burgers with thinly sliced tomato, plenty of coldies at Club Young, Wizza's lack of underwear and HAIR, pub mayhem, KY's 'Z' and 'Mr' theory on betting - they kept winning starting with Mr Nappy and finishing with Zoro, keeping pizza shop open at 9pm!, Vista and an old mate on the return to the pub causing raucous behaviour with the locals, Wizza's comment "no more nostalgia", Wizza giving Vista the shits on the topic of apricots.

Votes:

From Pauly:

Big effort on Saturday lads - hope you were all well hydrated on Saturday night.
 
Points
 
3 The Plod for scaring the cr@p out of cyclists who dared cross the centre line with their sirens
2 The bloke with the carbon aero wheels - wtf?
1 The bloke with the DILI GAF tattoo on his legs - wtf II?

Team Points
3. Pinna - rebel entrant - then having the hide to scam the No1 entry and put it on his back
2. Wizza - last up the hill last year and a questionable first up this year (must be the full body shave down). i.e. Whilst his fellow riders are slowing down at the top to safely pull over to wait for their fellow riders one Paul Williams puts the foot down from behind and claims king of the mountain  
1.Ross - for showing such compassion and being politically correct  - Quote " their is a lot of fat cnuts on this ride" Don't know how they get up the hill.
 
Hospitality Points
3. Youngy for letting us stay at his house. He may well be asking why oh why. Particularly when the paint peels off as a result of Wiz's disgraceful odors. But he is SORRY

Comments from Pinna :

Points to the good looking waitresses in Lorne for being so bloody hopeless at their jobs that we all got up and left!
And the guy at the pub for his tip: Rosehill race 8. number 8...... What a donkey!

Ballarat Cycle Classic 21-2-10

Wiz, The Mayor, KY and Ross from Anglesea had a crack at the 100km Mt Buninyong Classic Challenge. Kath and Kate lined up for the Yankee Flat 65km ride. Perfect weather

The lads did a flyer and immedately broke away from the bunch (started 5 minutes earlier than anyone else) and got 15kms in before the breakway got caught. All was good before the Buninyong hill which decimated the pack and sorted out the crew. Everyone was strong on the ride but Ross seemed more content on chatting to the ladies. Poons were a plenty and the crew wearing Jayco gear had no sense of humour so beware of these guys on the road. They were compaining about anything!!. There were also some triathletes that arrogantly took over the road and wouldn't let us pass. Boys, you looked good with your carbon wheels and gear but Wizz had your measure so next time GET OUTTA THE WAY! The hills were short but steep and Wiz and KY were happy to get the last 2 bottles of water at Gordon. Talk about under catered for! Ross tried the Gordon tap water which no doubt caused some problems downstairs. The Mayor at one stage had his ear bitten by flies waiting for Ross. We all pushed towards the finish thinking it was nearly finished but there was one cracker of a hill left. Many were walking with their expensive bikes as the crew rolled up looking strong. A lap of the empty lake as we all rode through the finish to the sound of the band playing "The Letter" by Joe Cocker. Kate and Kath had been waiting for a while and completed their 65 kms with relative ease. Next year the 100km for them!

A great ride which we all should do next year.

Votes :

3 - Wizza, for his promise to shave down before the next triathlon. Was strong the whole ride.

2 - The Mayor - gutsed it out, took on the hills and the Jayco poons.

1 - Ross - for attempting to drink the local water in Gordon and surviving.

1 - Kath, Kate and KY - great effort in finishing, not stopping on hills, and putting up with the band playing some dodgy covers on arrival at the finish.

Half Iron Man Geelong 7-2-10

From Stevie :

Geelong Half Race Wrapup;

SWIM
Started at the front with the blue caps thinking "Oh shit there's 1000 people behind me". Got to first turn buoy without getting punched, kicked, or swum over. Saw what I throught was a plastic shopping bag on the way out to the first buoy, over the next 800m discovered that it was actually a jelly fish and promptly got stung on the face 3 times (I do not recommend this, it was kinda like having hydrchloric acid poured on your face).  Got out with most of the front group, which according to Michelle had swum half way to Melbourne!

BIKE
T1 was "interesting". Couldn't get wetsuit off. Face stinging like hell. Michelle yelling instructions - thankfully. Eventually out and going onto my favourite leg. Rode solo up Eastern Beach hill, through the botanical gardens, and onto Port Arlington Rd with a huge pack of 50 odd around 600m up the road and no one behind me. After about 1km, several riders came past and formed a pack which grew to 40 riders by the 10km mark which is where the first hill kicks in, as Wizz said, it's a 39-21 grinder and the girls in the pack went backwards in a hurry. Around the first turn and on the return leg was sitting at the back of the pack (legally 4-5m behind) riding at 45-50km/h and getting up to 68km/h down the hill. Back to the botancial gardens, down the hill, and through the Eastern Beach carpark for lap 1. Repeat above another two times. Completed bike in 2:31 for the 91kms, yes the course was long.

RUN
Onto the run at 3:08 and thinking "looking good for a sub 5 hour race", after 2km the wheels fell off and hamstrings locked up. Stopped, stretched, then got going for 100m and the same thing. Stretched then walked for a few minutes. Finally got running at snails pace around the 3km mark. First lap was 37mins and not looking good! Got through second lap without cramping but still slow at 35mins, told myself to "harden up" and ran the last in 27mins to sneak in under 5hrs with 3 minutes to spare.

Look forward to seeing a C-Nut team at next years event to go up against the likes of "Far Kennel", "The Muffin Riders", or "RWETHEREYET".

From Wizza :

Swim - 39:40

Ride - 2:53:33

Run - 1:54:24

Yes  i am alive.
The alarm went off at 530am on Sunday   I thought I had enough time to set  the bike up a get ready by 700am  but when I arrived   I couldn't get my tyres pumped up above 80 then I couldn't get the power bars to stick to the stem  then I had to wait 20 mins for the toilet  then it was 655am  I I still hadn't put on my wetsuit or warmed up, well at least it didn't give me a chance to get nervous  then as the pros were going off at 700am  I was getting my wetsuit  wet and getting ready for the 705 start when 1000 people swam off together only separated by a swim cap colour means yellow was slow and white was fast and orange was in the middle  and by the way a lot of people in orange thought they were better than they were because I was passing them
 
so the gun went and my 5;34;52 had begin  my main aim was to relax and after about 300 metres  I thought    this is ok I hadn't had any problems with people swimming into to me  then coming up to a guy who was already swimming breaststroke     bang a full blooded kick right in the jaw  that nearly turned me over     the joy of open water swimming  then at 800mtrs a right hand turn to swim in a easterly direction and at about 715am the sun was just above the water making the sight of the 2nd buoy  impossible I just followed the crowd and after about 300mtrs a guy on a surfboard was yelling left   left  left  I must have swum a extra 200mts  as well as about 100 others  anyway we reached the next buoy and turned for home and the sight of the big buoy on the shore was easy to spot   so after 39 mins  the swim was over   great now the fun starts
 
got the wetsuit off and started on the bike   felt rely good  but keeping telling myself  don't go too hard and have spent everything by 40kms  a very hard hill at about 10/40/70 kms brought me back under 20km/hr but on the way down was doing around 58km/hr lapped at about 56/58/60 mins  so looking back I was getting tired
 
then got off the bike  really stiff in the bum and legs  and was worried about the 21kms run  but started off and kept telling myself  just to relax and drink heaps  it was heating up and I was just trying to keep my heart rate under 150   lap 1 was over and I wasn't feeling any worse so I begun to think I will finish this  after 2 laps I knew I would finish so after 5.34.52 I crossed the line and after 10 months of wanting to do this event   I had done it
 
tired by satisfied and well within my goal of hers  so really happy
 
thanks to you guys for your help over the years in making me a better rider and your interest in my efforts
 
wizza 

Amy's Ride 3-1-10

Well the first official C-nut event of 2010 was a grand affair with the introduction of the new female branch of the c-nut clan.  Not sure if they'll be looking to name this branch differently & whether votoing should be separate or included??? Have your say but for the moment I'll assume where all one big ha[ppy family
 
Voting
3 Jason (aka Robbie) - exploded 15kms into ride - a number of excsues included up late working on bike, trying to keep up with the real Robbie (5 bikes ahead - seriously!!), incorrect pace-maker setting and/or (my favourate) shorts too tight!! which made him spew (even though these were the old Nando shorts supplied by KY & tipping shorts don't change in diammetre - therefore interpretted as the "Too much Christmas pudding" excuse)
 
2 Steve - 6 km run off the bike after completing 120kms @ an average of 34km/h - Not necessary & overachievement
2 Kylie for completing the 60kms on a Giant Rincon purchased 12 years ago, never serviced & weighing 3 tonne
 
1 each to Michelle  & Kate for looking after Kath & Kylie - unheard of in the c-nut camp - looking after others?
1 extra to Kath & Kylie for boldly stating 30 kms that 'this is easy ... should have done the 120kms' - next year beckons ladies
 
4 female reps vs 3 males - we could be in trouble lads as the girls all performed spendily & seemed to enjoy it.
 
See pic of our new mate & world champ Cadel Evens who along with Robbie McEwen & Cookie were in the pack that we rode with

Joey had his measure!!!

KY - South Africa November 09

See photo gallery - 900 kms of pain on and off the bike

Around the Bay 18-10-09

As Stevie was waking up  & rolling out of bed in preparation for the house warming party 4 c-nuts were well on their way to Sorrento.  Tunes of Tina Arena's "Sweet Sorrento Moon" come to mind however things seem far less romantic with a 5.30am start in pitch black at tempartures of sub 10 degrees.
 
Departed with Piticher Partners crew as scheduled at 5.30am.  Corbett at the ready but some nest feathering saw Piff, Supa & Adrian's mate depart slightly after. Was hoping they would catch the PP's pack as the pace was setady & the road clear at that time in the morn but no cigar.  By Oliver's Hill the PP's pack had blown apart & found myself in no man's land for a short period before joing some new friends.  The Shell at Mornington was the drop off point for an unwelcome tortoise & then onto Sorrento. 90km's down in juts under 3 hrs & feeling the pinch. Found the one & only PP's rider to have arrived & after scoffing lunch we decied to head for home as too cold to sit around.  A light tail blowing us towards home was very welcome.  Mt Martha Hill saw my companion depart ahead of me & not to be seen again until after Mornington where a couple of sets of light brought as back together. 
 
Looking for some assistance & found little.  Finally an unorganised crew picked us up about Chelsea.  That lasted until after Mordi & then toughed it out till Black Rock.  Stopped to water the horse & refuel & then on for final strecth. Picked up some maniacs shortly after & powered home to Alexander Gardens blasting past my new mate Tim & total ride time of 6hrs 1 minute. Note distance was more like 185km or defiantley somewhere shotr of 200 for Melb/Sorremto/Melb route. Massage & lunch whilst looking for any team c-nut arrivals.  Text message to the Corbett to check ETA with no response.  Hopefully his ride report will illucidate us all.
 
 
Ciao
Joe

SRAM Whittlesea 29-8-09

Minutes of ride :

- Pauly, The Corbett (actually paid!), KY, Fletty and Wizza signed up for the mayhem

- Vista's carpark, Wizza's music a journey through the decades culminating in some strange Indian dance music. The Captain would have been dancing, the neighbours would have thought "what the fuck is going on?" It was 8am.

- Fletty's excuse not wearing "Grinderman" wool jersey "it's in the wash". Fletty - Pauly wore his for 3 month's without a wash, just wear it! Your alternative "Bic" jersey was full of grease anyway!

- Stench of toilets before ride, terrible, and those in the council were told.

- Pauly's dodgy top, what with the puke green? Was wishing he had the wool.

- Pauly's number - no 3. Are you third in line for The Mayor? Was reminded the whole trip. Heard complaints about roads, trees, weather and anything else the council should attend to. (Toilets still a talking point!)

- Pauly refusing to start with Team CNUT. Prefering to start with the council crew, without The Mayor who is supposedly out of form. Pauly later refused to help his colleagues when they needed him. Great to see his true allegence was with Team CNUT. Rode with his the CNUTS all the way.

- Start of ride, 4kms then hill. What? No warm up before the hill? Fair head wind first up - tough work. All together helping each other. Not much banter as vocal chords could not be utilised.

- Fire devastation for all to see, scary

- One single speed rider, what was he thinking? Very nice bike though - see pics

- 1st stop, no we didn't, no fruit cake for you Fletty, Pauly nearly cleaned up someone thinking of the fruit cake. Still all together

- 2nd hill, absolutely ridiculous, no fun, near spew from The Corbett. People walking their bikes, poor effort. Dunno how the single speeder did it.

- Nice downhill, stroll back to Whittlesea (so we thought!), full Lampre gear with white booties - no, don't rate it! Someone yelled Ballan!

- 2nd stop, no fruit cake for Fletty. Wizza ate his, and Fletty's! Live music played - no Billy Joel, only Hank Williams Junior. Wizza loaded up on some strange concoction, Sukkie.

- What was with the carbon wheels? Fair few wankers with them. They were told.

- Thigh gripping inclines, cramp stop tablets & Pauly refusing to help his council mates

- The team not letting KY get angry, until the 20km mark. By then he was a mess and talking gibberish. Pauly could not understand why Wiz and KY could still talk.

- The Corbett's 15km time trial on the way home, no one took the front, mainly because the speed was hovering around 40 kmh. The Corbett in full flight at his angry best.

- Wizza, very strong, due to fruit cake intake and Sukkie juice, but still refused to take the lead.

- Finish - torrential rain came, when we finished. (ALL TOGETHER!) Some more Sukkie consumed (www.sukkie.com.au) . Get Piffy onto it - with Tequila.....with ice!

- YES, WE ALL RODE TOGETHER AND FINISHED TOGETHER! Some others can join us next time. We may possibly want to burn you, but we WON'T! Why? Because we need you to shout at the pub. Take that it in non riders!

- Some street nudity in Whittlesea, no alarm, must be normal activity!

- Vista's supermarket raided, beef terryaki jerky, lemon sherbet drops and mixed nuts somehow got past the registers. Vista - there is a need for security

- Beers and steak sandwiches consumed at local tavern. The drive through constantly filled with cyclists buying travellers. Riders still riding in the rain - The Corbett made sure we missed it.

Votes -

5. Pauly - for doing the council proud & for dropping his CEO within 5 minutes (great career move!)

4. Fletty - for not one piece of fruit cake & greasing up the BIC

3. The Corbett - for the final 15kms of hurt, was like sitting behind Stuey O'grady. He kept his head down and drove us all home.

2. Wiz - for riding his heart out, just to get to the football. Wore the skins all day, fair stench!

1. KY - this time last year he never thought he would ride again. Smashed the hills, took photos, talked the whole way and for letting carbon wheels upset him

See Photo Gallery for pics

Tour de Lager 3 17-7-09

The crew - KY, Pauly, Wizza, The Captain, Piffy, The Corbett, Hot Toddy & later The Grinderman

Start - . Fed Square – Transport                       

   


1st Stage - Corner Hotel Richmond                     

Highlights    

- Wizza  wearing very high 'volcanic' shorts, Tiger Woods polo shirt & Adidas night club shoes (What the?)

- The Captain leaving his bag in Federation Square with $700 cash in it, only to be found by Piffy

- KY's navigation - taking the wrong turn and nearly ending up on the South Eastern 

- First beers    

      
2nd Stage - The Retreat

Highlights

- Hot Toddy's grimace heading up the hill in Richmond, and against the wind

- Memories of the Sullivans

                             
3rd Stage -  Napier Hotel Fitzroy

Highlights

- Cadel Evans turning up, no sorry, it was Grinderman

- Symphony orchestra on the television instead of football, Wizza very upset.

- Bogun burgers snorted by Hot Toddy and Piffy

- Lentil pies

- The Captain's text messages to Wizza requesting strange 'man' acts


4th Stage -  The Rose

       

Highlights

- ugly Carlton supporters

- "No Police" tattoos

- Rubber yo yos

- Ravings at the bar

   
5th Stage - Little Creatures Dining Hall          

   

Highlights

- Pave section taken on by all

- Very cute waitress

- The Corbetts 'free' Little Creatures shirt

- Wizza's ball playing skills

- Cider horror, 5 pints appeared in front of Piffy, his worst nightmare

- The Captain's and The Corbett's escape to coffee

      
6th Stage -  The Melbourne Wine Club

   

Highlights

- Hot Toddy's call "MY SHOUT"

- Wizza's and The Captains spat on the subject of wine tasting 

- Wizza's skulling of a glass of $70 wine and then getting a refill from The Captain

- Piffy's taste in LOUD music (Tool, Metallica) while we were sitting down for wine

                                                               
7th Stage -  Pelligrinis   

       

Highlights

- Meeting legend of fixed riding - Frank Noonan

- Frank's willingness to be part of our night

- The best coffee     

- The Captain telling Wizza's wife, Colleen, she must be the most patient wife in the world

- Goodbye to the soft riders - Hot Toddy, The Corbett & Piffy

- Goodbye to Wizza who somehow arranged for his wife to pick him up. Gutsy considering the Captain was in full voice.

 

8th Stage - The Lomond Hotel

Highlights

- The Captain having no recollection of this trip

- Goodbye to the Grinderman

- Riding into the wind half cut

- The Captain's fart in the Lomond stopping the music and forcing one of the female violinists to dry reach

    
Final Stage -  My Mountain  

Highlights -

- Pauly's power output on the trainer

- KY & The Captain jointly winning the over 45's time trial (they were the only one's over 45!)

- KY's hip soreness after the time trial

- The music played - Bob Marley, The Stones, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits! Anything from the 90's boys?

- Special beer

- Bloke with pony tail having a chair issue

- $1,300 raised for World Cycling Relief - great work Mark & Scotty

- KY's ride home at 2am

Joe's Giro 2009

 
Believe it or not? Joe did some riding but more vino and pasta!

The Ride - Epic Italian ride from Bellagio nestled on Lake Como to Monte San Primo.The highlight is the Madonna Del Ghisallo Cycling Museum where there is a church containing a lot of memorabilia from Italiano cycling legends (Coppi, Merckx, Pantini, et al) includding bikes, tropies & jerseys. The other highlight of course was the climbing @ 14 & 15% on a crappy Scott hybrid...god I missed my Pinarello. Italian riders drop in pay there respects with a short prayer & then continue to the summit of Monte San Primo where the snow line starts. The Musuem has just been opened & is impressive with bronze doors & is configured internally to replicate the switchbacks in the ascending climb.

The Presentation - Highlights
 - New Jersey - Magla Rosa
 - Team poons doing what they are told by sponsors
 - Very nice De Rosa - see pics
 - Familiar American?
 
Update no 1 - Go cats. Richo 12 weeks? Start of giro was fun & very easy to get a good spot vs tdf was on roundabout with some local & guys from perth drinking pinot gris as bikes wizzed by on either side. Lance is huge & mario chippolini is everywhere looking like a well dressed routing machine. Kylie was excited to get up close to fabian cancerella. Which team won stage? Ciao joe
 
Update no 2 - Way down sth in lipari now with Carra family. Francesco is the hydrofoil captain & bit of a legend about town... Bit like richo! Young guns in giro seem to have edge or right drugs! Coverage is unbelievably biased towards italianos but guess to be expected in 100th yr. Ciao j
 
Update no 3 - Got abused today in a hot lava pool on island of volcano by bare breasted Swede. Kylie thought it was funny...luckily & captured on film! Ciao Joe
 
Update no 4 - Went up mt versuzius yesterday, in a friggin bus ubfortunately as would rather have been on the bike! Fridays stage of giro looks to be a cracker a the climb is awesome. Not sure if you've been to amalfi coast but the italian gs all think their studs & the women's arse's get broader from all the pasta & gelati. Only thing worth looking at was the implants of the portals rician girl on the bus. Talk soon j
 
Time Trial - Highlights- Largest spin class ever seen, some pasta in those fat arses, Lampre warm up, Mavic & Lead cars, Women in uniform, 100th Giro cup presentation - quality presenter, Pink balloons signifing the official start, Team High Road first out of the block, Rabo bank & more team action - amazing how close you can get to the action, much more relaxed than France, My new Italiano friend shared his bottle of Prosecco with me
 
Update no 5 - Here we are in Amalfi. Day trip to Positanto & visit to the green grotto today. Yesterday Pompeii & Mt Versuvius. Giro d,italia will pass through here on friday but wont see it as we will be heading to roma. Kids walked to the summit of the Volcano at 1254 mtrs (from 1000 mtrs where the bus stopped) & all needed to walk off some surplus pizza & pasta...not to mention GELATI. Great day tour with some amazing history. Our week in Lipari started & ended with hospitality from Francesco Carra. Toured all the Islands of Lipari, Alicudi, Filicudi, climbed Stromboli,s active volcano, Island of Volcano & Salina to see where the family Carra originated from. Had some serious Italian feasts washed down with gallons of home made wine. Kids were lucky enough to drive the Hydrofoils between the islands with Captain Carra & Ben (aka Beniamino) now wants to move to Lipari. Weather has been hotter than we expected so every time where near the water we end up in it! All a bit browner too & not looking fwd to melb winter. Capri Island tour including blue grotto tomorrow & then Ravello on Thurs before heading to Roma on Friday 29/5 for final leg of the tour of italy. Where having a great time & all gone too quick. Ciao for now Joe, Kylie, Ben & Aliza
 
Update no 6 - Rodgers fading in giro. Lots of wannabees riding the roads on amalfi coast. 'Some of them should not be wearing lycra'- quote from kylie
 
Update no 7 - Last stage of giro set to roll in roma. Looks like menchov a dead cert but a de luca upset will Bring the house down. Ran most of circuit this morn with only obstacle being a few wankers on treks (scusi pc) riding it. Got the roma & eski sorted - flagon of lambrucsco & will take position shortly 4 pm start. Will return to italy 4 cycling, possibly better than francias. Ciao joe
 
Update no 8 -  Yes much to the disgust of the local Italian crowd the big fiesty Russian prevailed as the rain polished the cobble stones in an attempt to get Di Luca the Maglia Rosa. Not to be & full credit to Menchov who was clearly elated to have won the 100th Giro d,Italia. Amazing event to watch from the Colosseum. Ciao Ciao Joe
 
The Finish - Highlights
- Positioned ourselves at the Colusseum so that we could see the finish but
also the screen as you need to see the times that the riders are clocking,
otherwise you have absolutely no idea what's going on
- Dressing up like a clown & watching the Italians get very excited about Di
Luca's chances
- The roar from the crowd when Menchov came off with 500 m's to go & the
anguish when he grabbed another bike & finished like the true galdiator he
is
Viva la giro
Joe
 
See photo gallery "Holiday Mayhem" for some snaps
 

2009 Otway Classic 28-3-09

Once again some of the crew turned out this year for some hill mayhem through the Otways from Anglesea to Anglesea. Only a small team with Wiz, Vista, Wokka, KY and The Corbett representing Team CNUT. Pauly turned up later for the after ride festivities.

It was a weekend of low GI, medium GI and high GI with a mixture of electrolites. After some theories on what it actually is or if it is actually real we are all still clueless. Must have worked though!

Friday night pre ride : It was chicken, rice and beer while watching the football followed the Le Rice as dessert. Others needed more food intake and the honey soy chips were devoured. Wiz had control of the remote so there was no Friday night SBS filth to be watched - only sport. The beer meant a procession to the toilet overnight and who could sleep anyway with "fart wars" in Wizza's and Vista's bedroom.

Saturday : We were all awoken by none other than a foghorn fart from the "fart wars" bedroom. The foghorn was required as outside it was freezing and also full of smoke from back burning. Wiz did his standard nude "Valdar Conehead" walk as we laced our knicks with the Captain's favourite gel. Wool was required in this temperature. Unfortunately for Wokka he didn't have wool and wore our summer jersey in 6 degrees.

Anglesea to Dean's Marsh : After a Wiz mechanical up the hill from Anglesea and passing people moving dead kangaroos from the road it was Wokka setting the pace trying to get warm. We met the main ride at the main roundabout and the aim was to stick together. The pace was comfortable and yes, we did stick together for 95% of this section. The Corbett had to sort out a one of the female riders who cracked it with him. Evidently she was leaving a space between her and the next rider which The Corbett took. He told her what he thought. KY spotted some freak with a camera on his bike and asked him what wanker would actually watch it. Wokka thinks he must have a lycra fetish filming bums - male and female. The wool jerseys were a hit as our names were being called frequently. At Dean's Marsh would you believe Billy Joel was again being played. Super would have loved it.

Dean's Marsh to Lorne : The Corbett and KY headed off in front of the others. The Corbett attampted to hang from the back of a ute in the early part of the climb but common sense prevailed. Many were struggling as the 2 tried to pass as many as possible and get the hills over quickly. The Devils were back but very soft this year as KY abused them with no retort. KY won the KOM but The Corbett took the downhill with ease. Wiz, Wocka and Vista clawed there way to the top as they passed riders stopped, walking and falling off. This year Vista did it with ease on his converted salt flat machine.

Lorne to Anglesea : After a quick rest it was an easy 28kms back to Anglesea (or so we thought). Wokka was feeling the pinch as the colour of his face was "tomato like". The weather was perfect so it made for a great ride but there were a few hills to overcome. The Airey's hill put the finishing touches on all of us but we all made it in one piece.

For those who don't believe we can ride together : two words!

Post ride festivities : Pauly arrived,Vista cooked up a storm (except for the onions - why they wern't cooked is still a mystery), The Heineken kegs were opened and the stereo cranked up with 'Kram'. The aim was to watch Wiz drink 27 pots so we started the slow wide legged walk to the pub. It was difficult to find a seat with 200 bikies there and it was eyes down as no one wanted to get caught perving at the bikie chicks. We met some other cyclists actually doing a pub crawl. Vista still had the 'eyes down' and was caught checking out the nether region of the female cyclist. A few bets and few beers, followed by some dodgy pizza and then back to the pub for some feral folk music. Wiz did not quite make his quota and was sober enough to use the remote looking for more sport. The Corbett was playing some loud music to upset Wiz.

Sunday : Vista was once again at the helm of the bbq and cooked up a huge fry up. We were worried about his cholesterol as you could have a shave with the reflection of fat from the bbq. Pauly left for a MTB ride, The Corbett had to get back to little athletics and the others visited the local cop shop in Torquay to check out the busted bikies.

A great weekend had by all and as Vista said "it was not a boy's weekend but a ride weekend". Could have confused some!

Votes :

6 - Wokka - Suvived the "Test of Character" by surviving the ride and surviving the post ride festivities. Was heard as we were walking back to the pub after the pizza "I don't want any more beer, I just want to go to bed!" He did the ride tough at the end and it was a great effort.

5 - Vista - Put the skeletons of last year to bed and completed the ride with relative ease. Was busted for perving at the "V" area of a female cyclist at the pub and had no retort. Also receives votes ordering a pizza with peppers, capsicum and chillies and then complaining it was too hot. What the?

4 - Wiz - for assisting in stripping paint from the bedroom wall with the use of internally generated sulphur, the impersonation of a nude Valdar Conehead, not wearing undies for the whole weekend and for wearing high socks on the ride. Evidently these socks were folded over much to the amusement of the fashionado Vista.

3 - The Corbett - for again riding in an event he did not enter, getting involved in a spraying match with a female cyclist and for getting his skull capped valve covers stolen from his Land Rover. Also votes for his bizarre 3 in 1 garment - shorts, 3/4's and longs all in one! 

2 - Pauly - for actually not riding. The "Otways" somehow have an effect on Pauly. However, it was family reasons he could not ride. He looked strong on the post ride activities. 

1 - KY - for cutting his forehead on the toilet urinal and having faith in his betting system. Mr Hornblower got up at Doomben at 33 to 1. 

Let's see more on you on the ride next year!

See Photo Gallery for pics

Holden High Country Challenge March 1, 2009

From Brendonovitch :

Twas a semi chilly morning. Piff and i arrived at the designated e.t.a point, but no jason. We collected him and were off.

after about a minute in jason had disappeared. Leaving me and piff in the lead group. Followed by piff about ten km's later. We re-grouped at the base of bulla, and set clocks. Were joined by a bunch of n.s.whalians for a quick banter session and away. ascent times as follows. brendo 1:18, piff 1:40, jason 2:08.

A quick decent brought on two things... Piff's second flat, and the comment of 'the tanks on empty', from jason. The final two small hills proving too much for some.

final times. B-ovitch 3:58, piff@4:30, jason somewhere @5:20. Well needed massage all round and home we went.

votes

Jason 3. do you need to ask?

Piff 2. yet another two flat tyres.

n.s.w.'s 1. cause i can.

 

http://www.bikevents.com.au/hhccc/home.html

2009 Otway Oddyssey 21-2-09

From Mitch :

The start line at this years Otway Odyssey was a 'self seeding' affair and while Archie made his way to the front of the bunch Paul and Fletty found comfort somewhere in the middle while Mitch looked towards the rear.  The race started bang-on 7.15am from the main drag in Apollo Bay; all lanes of the Great Ocean Road were engulfed by Mtb skanks heading east towards the first climb of the day up Wild Dog Road.

 At the 10km mark the first hill was conquered and a fast downhill section saw the start of the carnage.  There is nothing like a cocksure skank leaning into a loose gravel corner at close to 60km to make you smile - then wince at their pain as they take layer upon layer of skin off their body as they slide across the surface at and come to an abrupt halt in the ditch at the side of the road. 

 Pauly was the first c-Nut casualty of the day when just 15km in his trusty steed failed under the stress of the challenge.  How does one break the rear swing-arm on a bike I ask?  Luckily it occurred on an almost unrideable uphill section of the course and the older statesman recorded no injury as a result of the catastrophic mechanical failure. Paul climbed out to the nearest checkpoint, dumped the Scott and hitched back into town.   

 Archie powered on, Fletty maintained a consistent pace while Mitch sweated his way through the steep and bone jarring terrain.  As the miles ticked over so did the number of casualties on the side of the track, which was soon littered with broken bikes, poons wearing makeshift slings to support broken collarbones, and the odd grown man openly weeping.  More treacherous rutted downhill sections saw even more casualties with the sweet smell of burning disc brakes scenting the air of some of the fastest sections of the track.

 By the 40km mark the tools on 'novelty' bikes (single speed and cyclocross) were howling out aloud or curled up in agony, as a constant stream of skanks peddled passed.  The biggest hills of the day were now behind us and the fire roads and 4WD tracks made way for some sweet flowing single-track.  At just under fours hours in Mitch had passed the 50km mark, some 15 minutes behind Fletty and a good hour or so behind Archie.  Pauly had already had made his may to Forrest in his more trustworthy MG and was awaiting the imminent arrival of the race leader (Chris Jongewaard) who clocked up and an insane 4 hours, 31 minutes for the full 100km.

 Archie put his heart and soul into the race and finished 73rd in just under 6 hours, while Mitch was the next casualty pulling out at the 87km mark after a gruelling 7 hours in the saddle.  The decision to abort was made after he took on a few fast downhill sections without the strength in his hands to pull on the breaks.  Better to fail than falter.  Fletty put in an impressive effort and came in at a nice even 400th in 7.5 hours of saddle work.  He was happy with the performance of his knicks and had no chafing of significant note, which has been known to plague him in previous races.

 3 Points to Archie - for being a freak

2 Points to Fletty - for finishing

1 Point to Mitch - for stacking when he hooked up his handlebars with a poon on a straight section of gravel road. - ouch.

0 Points to Paul - you need to ride further that 20km to be considered for points.

From Pauly :

Otway Oddysey report - dirty, dusty, steep and ridiculously hard (Why Oh Why) 1500 lunatics - one bloke did the last 15km (the hardest and hottest) nude except for shoes, camel back and helmet - MTBers ?????

Archie - sub 6 hours blitzed it on his new bike Fletty - 7.5 hours despite a leaky bottom and crook guts Mitch - innaugral attempt 85 km - could not feel his hands Paul - third crack - 20 kms and then snapped my chainstay - walked and hitchhiked back to Apollo Bay

TDU 2009 - ROOT Tour

It is Macka and Millenium Dave versus Ryno and his team of Crow Eaters. Macka now has the ammo with his new pro Colnago machine and Millenium Dave has the pre packaged white knicks so let's see the outcome. Can Ryno get Lance in a headlock or double up on Stuey?

Head ROOTer's Wrap

The ROOTing Tour for 2009 has come and gone....

and it only be right to give such a great week some closure by sharing some thoughts.....
It is true that from humble ideas come great things, this event, this week of ROOTing is one such example. We rode hills, 5800ft of climbing in one morning in fact, we started with about twenty (hi to the Marines), and as each climb ended with the beginning of another our numbers shrank. Our man Macka representing the big V was showing good form, it was early though!!

We took in the hills, a lot...... we watched the Pro's suffer up Checker Hill then road flat out to watch them finish at Mawson Swamp. Who can forget the Hahndorf/ Stirling day when Chippo (our iphone-gigabite guru) had us cycling through the hills in quick sand!!! Still meant we couldn't stop, sinking to the axles in gravel was motivation enough to go on. Big Dave (all show - no go), gave us a demo on gucci wheels meet shit roads- roads won, first member of the big Vteam...GONE!!

Reinforcements were on the way, Big Rob flown in, the SA team had a plan. "yea its a nice ride, nothing to hard- be a good warm up to your breakaway stage............ So we headed to Meadows , having to tack into the wind like a bloody maxi in the Sydney to Hobart it was that blowy. We ducked tree branches, Gaye was blown off into the gravel, even the pros came to grief, not pretty watching these busted up boys getting loaded into ambulances. "Easy from here", we headed back to Adelaide, found myself thinking how good this was for Rob's big day tomorrow.

Oh know you wont believe what happened, its like last year again........... Macka representing the big V, lighter, more determined than in 08, keen to erase the 'ralphing' and DNS result from last year ends up......... you guessed it RALPHING again. We win, team V, another DNS......gone. Rob rides on alone, but no headline, his counterpart is all the news- again!!

We did Willunga Hill in the GR8 machine, what a laugh. Cut off any other cars to get a good spot, get up on the roof and getsunburnt, then forget to pick up the mrs on the way home. Oh yea, its all about the bikes!!


Beers, laughs and a lot of great K's with ya mates. will be hard to beat this one lads and ladies. From me a big thanks to all for playing, luved it.

Sort ya pics out and add them to our page, great work Mark.
regards

Ryno.


The Plan (we almost followed it... some more km's and beers than planned with a few detours)

Sat 17th Crack a Vic Session: Now a tradition, a welcome to the ROOTing tour week that always takes in the legendary heart rate maxing, thigh squealing Cork Screw- yea baby!! A short but kicker loop through the picturesque hills overlooking the city, coffee, a big winge and a laugh to finish. A drink at the Hilton/ Tour village in the evening. Approx 70k

Sun 18th Time Trial up Norton Summit: Lets put the legs to the clock and see how we look. 5k’s, best S.A time is held by Jack Bobridge (13 min), a time around 19 min is pretty fair. Bacon/ Eggs & coffee at Ryansville after. Approx 20k

Sunday arvo Evening: Pro’s Adelaide classic, City/East End. Drinks and eats after in the park.

Mon 19th Yummy Mummy Alley Spin: The Vic’s will still be winging so a coastal cruise is the plan. Not out of the ordinary to see a few of the pro teams out and about on this circuit. Approx 65k

Monday night Norwood racing. Hot dog circuit, carnage for sure. The elite teams from SA will also be racing, well worth a look after us old timers. (note- strategic placed supporters to call the time gaps when we are off the front are required)

Tues 20th Pro Tour D1: Norwood to Mawson Lakes. ROOTing: Ride to Checker Hill for KOM, return to Mawson Lakes for finish. 9:30 Gorge rd, Main Rd, Adelaide Rd, Little Para rd to Checker Hill. 13:15 Adelaide Rd, Montague Rd to Mawson Lakes. Approx 90k

Wed 21st
Pro Tour D2: Hahndorf to Stirling. ROOTing: Ride to Hahndorf for start, over to Stirling for the finish. 8:00 Toll Gate - Old freeway to Hanhdorf then to Stirling by 12, meet at Tranquillo Café for pre arranged lunch & drinks with family and friends. Chicks & kids meeting at Stirling will need to be in place at Tranquillo by 11am. Approx 55k

Thur 22nd Pro Tour D3: Unley to Victor Harbour. ROOTing: Ride to Meadows for Sprint #1, return via Flag Staff Hill then along the coast via Seacliff. 9:00 Tollgate- Old Freeway, Stirling, Mylor, Echunga, Meadows. 13:30 Meadows to Clarendon, Flagstaff Hill, Seacliff, Glenelg, Home. Approx 85k

Fri 23rd Pro Tour D4: Burnside to Angaston. ROOTing: Ride up Gorge rd for great viewing, coffee at Cudlee Creek then home via the picturesque Lobethal, lenswwod, Basket Range and finish off with a team mach run down Montacute rd to home. Approx 80k

Sat 24th Pro Tour D5: Willunga/ Snapper Point loops ROOTing: Van day. Esky & food , drive down south to watch the Pro’s, eat cransky sausages and stork the feed station.

Sat Night is party night at the Legends Dinner, chicks booze and some blokes who ride bikes.

Sun 25th Pro Tour D6: Street Circuit Adelaide City Option fro a morning spin, may be a small turn out considering the night before. Van in to city early, boys set up & spread out near finish line.

As it happened :

Update 1 - Pre TDU Drinks

macka, mim and i having a drink with the unit jens voit

Update 2 - Hill Ride no 1

Super ride 1500 meters of climbing , i think beers with jens voit motivated the mack , he passed. started with 25 rooters, each climb lost a few but Macka hung in and made the coffee stop.

Update 3 - Hill TT

TT Update : Norton Summit 17 minutes best time (5.5k), very similar to Arthur's Seat - Macka 19 minutes and flogged a few Crow Eaters

Update 4 - Criterium Race

Macka cracked - crit race dnf 3 laps only. Ryno's race - Big turn on the front mate straight after sprint lap , causing pain for tv camera  then motored around waving , finished with main group , beers chicks and moaning macka for the rest of the night

Ouch!

Update 5 - Hill ride no 2

Mate another super rooting day -big climbs 90 k nandos gear on display . Kristal has been great . The mack survived , was on the edge early but we talked him through it . On the gas tonight at bike show chicks stalking riders at hilton - i luv this week

Update 6 - The Toilet

Very cruel this but I must report - 4am Macka currently hurling in our crappa, think he will be a dns for Friday. I see a pattern forming.

 

Tour de Lager Serie II - Samedi 27 Decembre 2008

"Run Like You Stole It" Reminiscence Edition

Prologue

Les Participantes: Pauly, The Captain, KY, The Corbett, Wizza, Vista, Piff and 3 MYSTERY WOMEN (Sarah, Andrea and Janine)
Perfect weather for the second edition of the Tour. Reclined in deck chairs watching cricket on the big screen while waiting for the whole crew to assemble.
A round of Stellas to kick off proceedings..
Prologue abandoned due to complete lack of interest. On to Stage 1

Stage 1

Pauly wins the first stage (again). Only one traffic violation this time, old habits die hard.
At the first watering hole, avoided the Speckled Hen in favour of real beer (I forget which variety but it seemed to meet with The Captain's approval)

Stage 2

** WILDCARD **  Pauly calls for a lap of the Exhibition Building, however the MYSTERY WOMEN shun the call. (Piff chaperones them to the Napier while the manly men complete the assigned challenge.)

Stage 3 - The Napier

Ah, Bogan Burgers. What an absolute culinary treat, washed down with several jugs of Goat. By this point we have completely lost track of the race standings

Stage 4

** WILDCARD **  Rolled down to the Rose for James Squire & other assorted beverages. One of the MYSTERY WOMEN starts getting frisky, the other two keep to themselves

Stage 5

MYSTERY WOMEN abandon Tour
** WILDCARD **  Pulled into the Little Creatures brewery en route to Pelligrini. Beers were fantastic, cider SHITE
Wizza spits the dummy over the standard of the MYSTERY WOMEN, however Pauly leaps to Janine's defence. "At least she was having a go".
Looks like we shall have to introduce entry requirements for Tour III, suggest jelly wrestling trials to see if they have the Right Stuff.
On to Pelligrini for a Delightful machiato, one of Piff's favourite stops of the day

Stage 6

** WILDCARD **  Mitre Tavern closed, so the lads continue the mad sprint across town in search of a replacement pub..

Stage 7

The Corbett smokes up the back tyre avoiding a jaywalking pedestrian, who then freezes in the middle of the road. Perfect. Piff guns it & gives him a verbal spray at full speed. Nobody messes with the Nutters and gets away with it.
Vista suggests a replacement pub which unfortunately eludes detection. We instead head back to Fed Square via Banana Alley and come across a cracker of a bar down near the river

Stage 8

The lads complete formalities by rolling past Transport Bar but instead opt for Hoegardens at Beer deLuxe. Accosted by three young thugs pimping overpriced chocolate bars. Drug lords of the future
Another Tour, another great day out
VIVE LE TOUR!

 

Around the Bay in a Day 19-10-08

Joe's view :

3 votes to Piff who flew in from KL on Friday night after eating curry laksa all week, worked furiously in the garden all day Saturday, had facial sunburn to prove it & then rolled up very matter of fact & pulled it off.

2 votes to Adrian for yet again participating in an event unashamedly without entering

1 vote to Supa who, like a girl I once met at a bar after several drinks looked good early but not so good later.

I rode like the pirate for at least 130km with one eye shut due to conjunctivits. Hard work when I kept running into the guys in front! But managed to get home safely. Easiest trip back from Queenscliff ever with tail wind from Geelong to Westgate averaging 40 -45km/h which helped pick up the ave pace after a very slow start (left the PP's crew after some idiot called for a bathroom stop at Sandringham).

Who's for the 250k next year???

The Corbett's view :

Killed it. (and Supa!)

Joe Mcshanag is unstoppable.

Piff - Tropical Training reaped some benefits.

Supa - knee trouble and DNF. Shared pizza with the cabbie back from Rye.

Me - slept like a baby when I got home.

Archie's view :

I passed a couple of cnuts on the way back from Sorrento, Adrian and Piff if I remember rightly. Nice jerseys, I should have been wearing mine - as I ended up freezing my arse off in cheap team kit.

Prick of a ride that 250km loop. Into a relentless headwind all the way down to QC - no help on the front at all. Cold on the goddamn ferry with kiddies laying around on deck like a ship full of spandex refugees. A smashfest on the way back, leading out from Sorrento at 40+ kms only to get into a dog-fight with some non-entrants who were out strafing poor bay riders in the hills. (You know you're doing involved in some unsustainable sh!t when you're on a wheel doing 47kms an hour UP a hill).

I completely blew up at Mordialloc. Made the same kind of noise as when you pop a bag of chips. Dribbled home and poured myself into a hot bath.

As Paul said, boring, long, painful....and all the reasons why perfectly good mountain bikers prefer to stay off the tarmac.

But if I do get onto it again, I'll make sure Im out there with you cnuts, so I don't end up doing all the work.

Piffy's retort :

Well done Archie, the whirlwind you created as you flew past us at Carrum increased my speed by 10kmh. I think your exact words were "C'MON PIFFY, GET INTO IT!" Your motivational speech worked, after a quick stop at Mordy I was on fire for the remainder of the trip.

By the way, I stocked up on Jose Cuervo on the way back from KL. Not long until the end of season margarita fest..

 

The Melbourne Marathon 12-10-08

Stevie's Sunday madness :

Completed marathon in 3:26, Joe still has c-nut marathon record. Still unable to walk properly, especially down stairs. Disappointed in finishing time, but a tough day due to ego taking over from head and running too fast to catch the 3hr bus , caught the bus and settled OK until I got to the 16km mark and went lactic. Cramping started at 23km. Two hours of lead-leg pain later I crossed the line.

Must return next year for sub-3hr attempt with better preparation - all comers welcome, training starts July 2009.

Degani Kinglake 21-9-08

Le Tour de Lager July 5 2008

From "The Corbett"

I assume that like me, your preparation for this year's Tour is well underway and you have undertaken the necessary training balance of bike and beer.

The governing rules of the ride are few but in summary:

One drink minium per stage
Leaders between stages can determine route and call 'wildcards' which may lead to deviations in route or beverages.
Have Fun
Stay Safe

The organising body for this year's Tour is proud to announce the route for this weekend.


Prolouge - Transport Bar   Transport Bar   Federation Square, Melbourne    Time Trial to determine the starting order for the tour. A quick dash along the river and back. Get those legs warmed up and the thirst levels active.  0.5 Kms         12:30 - 12:40

Les Participantes: Captain, Paulie, Mitch, Piff and Kiss my Ar$€.
Perfect weather. A pot of Carlton readies us for prologue..
Prologue abandoned due to swarms of protesting pedestrians.


One - Transport Bar   European Beer Café      120 Exhibition St, Melbourne    The first stage is unique as it is also the first (mc)Apline stage. This could sort out the contenders from the pretenders. A ride up Swanston St to Collins Street then into Exhibition Street. This stage end will bring welcome relief to weary legs.        0.8 Kms         1:00 - 1:10  

Paulie off to an absolute flyer, committing three traffic violations en route. Judges uphold the stage win. Ended up at Elephant & Wheelbarrow due to Beer Cafe being closed. Speckled Hens all round. "Not fizzy enough" - Captain


Two -  European Beer Café      The Old Colonial Inn    127 Brunswick St, Fitzroy       Into the longer flat stages which will test the stamina and thirst of riders. This gentle and gradual uphill will see riders arrive at the spiritual home of Team CNUT for that one day in September. Expect the unexpected     1.5 Kms         1:30 - 1:40  

Piff takes stage 2, riding straight past the pub.
"Watch out for the pedestrian, I don't want to have to give her mouth to mouth" - Captain
Average beer at an average pub, the stench of piss pervades. To add to the ambience, Dave backs one out.


Three -  The Old Colonial Inn    Napier Hotel    210 Napier Street, Fitzroy      A sprinter's delight with a downhill run along Brunswick street to the Napier Hotel. Care will be required on this stage to deal with traffic and trams. The presence of the local cop shop adds an additional level of complexity but not beyond the capability of the riders.         1.5 Kms         2:15 - 2:20  

A quick right at the Perseverence, then up to The Napier (I think Paulie got the win)
Awesome lunch in the sunshine, the burgers even have potato cakes on board. Mountain Goat hightale ale - superb!


Four -  Napier Hotel    Pug Mahones Irish Pub   175 Elgin Street Carlton        This section takes in the technical and demanding sections through Fitroy to Carlton. Skill and resolve will be required to meet the challenges here but reward will be waiting at the end.     1.5 Kms         2:45 - 3:00  

** Detour ** to the Rose for James Squire amber ale
"Hey Knackers, your phone's ringing" - VB ring tone
** Detour ** to German mountain bike garage sale. Sehr Gut!
Finally arrive at Pugs for pints of Kilkenny. Dave "donates" half of his to Paulie
Now running 30 mins behind schedule


Five - Pug Mahones Irish Pub   Pelligrini      66 Bourke Street, Melbourne     The longest stage of the dayt is also a transit stage for riders to head to the home of coffee and strudle. The welcome addition of caffine may be just the tonic for weary riders.     2.0 Kms         3:30 - 3:45  

Almost the first spew of the tour. Very tight finish as participantes converge on Pellis from two directions.
No time for strudel, but the coffee is fantastic


Six -  Pelligrini      The Irish Times         427 Little Collins St, Melbourne        A demanding and semi technical 'down town' section. Expect to see the commuters, singlespeeders and wool wearers battle for supremecy here. A stage where cool heads will prevail.      1.2 Kms         4:00 - 4:10  

** Detour ** to Mitre Tavern for more Goat.
Outside heaters come in handy as the sun starts to sink on the horizon.
Still way behind schedule, setting off at 5pm..


Seven -  Irish Times     Waterside Hotel         508 Flinders Street, Melbourne  Fatigue will no doubt be the enemy of riders here, along with the alure of King Street. Strong resolve will be required to negotiate this section. This stage will no doubt determine the overall leader into the traditional last stage.       0.8 Kms         4:40 - 4:45

Straight shot across town to the Waterside
Confronted by bouncers at the door, not allowed to bring water bottles inside (then again, what the hell was I thinking?)
Another round of draft, then Piff gets the dreaded call from missus to abandon tour. Disobeys.

  
Final -  Waterside Hotel         Transport Bar   Federation Square, Melbourne    A tradtional roll into the finish line to celebrate victory and stupidity will see the peleton ride along the yarra bike path past Flinders Street Station and triumphantly back to Federation Square. Another circuit beckons for the eager and insane. The rest will soak up the atmosphere of knowing they have completed a challenge few dare.      1.0 Kms         5:15 - 5:30  

Twilight descends. True to form, participantes sprint triumphantly into Fed Square, Kiss my Ar$€ takes it on the line to claim victory in the inaugural TDL.
Piff sadly parts company and rides on to Burnley.
The remaining four stay for yet another a beer then head home.
What a day, Vive Le Tour!

Votes :

3 for all participants

 

Report and votes to come..............

 

Supa Italia Tour May 2008

The Supa Tour

 

 

Monday travel to Florence – Just walking and looking around

 

Travel through Tuscany until Sunday, Will do a cooking class or two…

 

Travel to Riccione to start the 1st section of the “Supa Cycling Tour”….

 

Check it out:   http://www.bikeholiday.com/eng/home.php

 

Take my brand new Scott Pro Carbon CRI

 

After 5 days of Cycling in the sun, heading to he spa or beach I will be set for some serious riding:

 

Thursday 22nd May to Monday 26th May 2008

Have you ever dreamed of riding Mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia?

Sports Tours Cycling Graham Baxter have brought to you the new concept of riding a classic mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia 2 days before the Giro completes the same stage and staying on to watch the pros complete the same stages.

For the 2008 Giro d’Italia we have chosen stage 15 from Arabba to Passo Fedaia (Marmolada). It is a classic Dolomite Mountain stage over a 153km that takes in no less than 5 mountain passes (Passo Pordoi, Passo San Pelegrino, Passo Giau, Passo Falzarego before finishing on top of the Passo Fedaia (Marmolada).

Unlike many cyclo sportive events, we don’t require a medical and there is no broom wagon chasing you, but you must be in good enough condition to be able to complete this mountainous stage. We will set some timing guidelines and should you fall behind these you will be required to get in the support vehicle.

Not only will you watch the Pros complete the same stage, you will also get the chance to see the mountain stage finish to Alpe di Pampeago.

 

Super has promised photos..................

 

Ride no 1 May 19

Went for my first ride on Monday with a group of about 30. All international riders about 10 women.It was planned to be a 85kms ride that took two hills one about 850m while the other about 1050m.Into the ride I took my usual position close to the back so watch out for the poons and those who could actually ride. The was a Swedish girl on a Mt Bike who looked great from behind but was a little suspect and three Americans who stuck together in their team colors....talk about me being a super poon who should have checked out their gear...At the first check point about 500m up the first hill and about 18k into the ride I had crept to about middle of the pack which I thought was about my measure. The guide then gave the instruction that from here we were ready to race to the next check point about 15ks but most of it up hill including a 8k 1:10 climb and all given a map. First to the top receives free drinks for the night. Well that send the group flying out with the Swedish chick on the Mt Bike and her friends (4 others but on bloody good road bikes) and the Americans pushing the pack to get the advantage before the climb. The other girls quickly fell off the early pace about 40ks/hr while I found the biggest guys and stuck on his wheel. The only other Aussie was just in front of me and the yanks leading the pack rotating the lead amongst themselves. Into the climb and the Aussie get a puncture and brings down the guy behind him while the guy in front of me has a near miss, I make my move about 10ks into the climb thinking I don't want to let the yanks yet to far in front. The big guy also follows me and he cuts into the yanks pack into second place and they start yelling at him....I stay on his wheel and find a new way of being dragged back unlike brendos way of grapping my seat post this guy actually grapped the pocket of my gurnsey.A swift block and I was away and they dropped off, however not to long later I lost the guys wheel as he and the yank both had triples and were spinning while I was pushing mighty hard. Anyway finished a third behind the big Swede and the big yank. The Yanks finished up buying me dinner anyway as they were impressed with my block and thought it must be the Aussie rules tackling that helped.Bloody great riding and great group.

 

Ride no 3 - Clueless to where Ride no 2 got to?

Today rode the Cippo circuit 112 kms in total but what a mountain.Started out in 4 groups of about 20 rides in each. I was in group 2 while the gun riders were in group one.The conditions were very overcast and there was a 70% change of rain down here so up in the mts I was sure it was going to rain.Took my normal position in middle of the pack and after 6k's the guide yelled out change which saw me one from her at the front. Although I could see the girls face in front she had an oresone figure from behind. After a further 10ks mostly climbing similar to the hill in front of Piffys manor I could clearly see the drops of perspiration running down lower back. As the pace didnt drop below 18ks I needed something to take my mind of the pain that my thighs were starting to experience. A further 20ks then we really started to climb the first of many such climbs Some of the guys started passing us so again I made my move to stay with them...second up the top and still had a little gas in the tank. By this time the scenery is starting to get bloody fantastic with Castles in reaching distance perched on the top of cliffs. We hook up with the road that the Giro is on and ride about 10ks along it with the crowd who has started taking their positions clapping us as we go pass. Great experience. We eventually get to the bottom of Chippo about 52 ks from were we left and met up with the first group who had arrived at least 10 mins before as they were into lunch. Both the third and fourth groups rolled in shortly after. A quick bit to eat and then a 5kms up to the top average of 16% with some parts 18-20%. The first section looked like Yarra St but was about 500m then a turn to the left...then more of the same but only about 50ms then switch back after switch back. Although I have passed a few riders doing about 8ks many were passing me spinning while I am grinding and pulling up ...you guessed it triple cassettes at front.....any I am stuffed and looked at my computer and figured that I had at least another 1.5k to go. I stop for a 2 min rest stop. I get back on bike and turn the next corner to find that I only had 500mts to go. Anyway I conquered Chippo....Bloody fantastic. Stayed around to take up a position to watch the Giro pass, get a photo then the cloud burst and the rain just came down in sheets. We could see more than 5 mts in front and no place to shelter except under a tree. It didnt let up so as I was already soaking wet decided to go down to find a dry place. It was raining so much and the track is so steep that gravel was washing over the road. I start off behind another 5-6 guys and first corner the front two land in the bush as they couldnt stop.I am heading down and a crowd is on the road in front about 10mts away I put on my breaks and my hand are so swore from breaking, cold and wet that I have little feeling in them and my brakes lock. Fuck! Bang smashed into them. they were crowded around another rider who was down. I am ok but the od guy who I bought down was in pain and was complaining his arm was broken. It wasnt. Got back on the bike and got to the bottom and found a cafe until the pros went passed at a flying pace.Rode back soon after they passed with the first group who took no prisoners. Averaged about 45ks and only one hill to climb which was 2.5ks and climbed 1250 m ....they had to wait for me and another guy as I was hurting. By the time we got to the bottom the rain had stopped and the sun was out. I spa and a red wine has been had ready for dinner.Moving on in the morning to base camp in the Dolomites, so until then and after the first ride ciao from the Supa in Italy.

2008 Tour of Coleraine April 12 2008

 

Stevie and Michelle's mad weekend.

Report from Steve :

Headed down to the regional megapolis of Coleraine of Friday morning, with a howling cross wind attempting to blow the bikes off the roof and the occasional blast of rain followed by brilliant sunshine. Arrived in Hamilton around 3:30pm and immediately searched for a Cafe that made something resembling a long black - yeah right! Coke instead followed by Bakers Delight Cheesymite roll.

To ensure we could get a decent nights sleep on Friday night and make detailed plans for our assault, we drove the Stage 2 course for Saturday with Michelle navigating via the new "Cycling Profiles" print-outs that showed intimate details of the climbs. The indicated flat sections were all up and down rollers, and the two KOM sections can best be described as kinda like the climb outta Yarra Glen to Kangaroo Ground but longer AND steeper. After we got to the top of the second KOM I stopped to remove Michelle's hands from around my neck and offer creative encouragement like "it'll be over before you know it" and "it's only a 72km stage babe". Once again removed Michelle's hands from around my neck and proceeded to the TT course aka Stage 1.  This was better as the climb only went for 5km at an average of 3.5% - easy.

Settled into our accommodation at the Black Horse Inn (built in 1854), right next door to one of two pubs in Coleraine - the National Hotel. Luckily this was also where race registration was located so we checked in and ordered our meals, spag bol and carbonara washed down with a fine bottle of Jamiesons 94 Shiraz (half a bottle actually). Polished the bike, fitted the Zipp 909s, and prayed for fine weather.

Saturday morning and a big sleep in as our start times were 10:19 and 10:56, love this cycle racing stuff - so civilized. Rode out to the start into a steady headwind and hoped that it this would be behind me on the way back... Stage 1 was a 9km TT with 3km downhill, 1km flat, and 5km uphill at an incline slightly less than Kinglake, 30 second gaps between riders so the pressure is on to stay in front of the 20-something guy behind me and catch the 50-something guy in front. 5-4-3-2-1 and start mashing gears until I get to the 53/11 and hit 70km/h with a cross wind trying to take the front wheel out from under me, onto the flat section and bunny hop the nasty bump at the bridge (not a good idea at 50km/h) and the bike goes into a speed wobble. Heart rate was high enough already without that idiot! Get to the bottom of the climb and I'm catching the old bugger in front and he's catching the two in front of him! Legs start to burn after I get to the 4km to go sign and Mr "I'm so young I could be your son" goes flying past which instantly deflates the ego and makes the legs hurt even more. Get to the top of the climb and I'm 50 metres behind the old fella and the young  "gun" is only 20 metres in front of him, sprint to the line in about 16:10.

Michelle has a great run and crosses the line in a lovely shade of purple, very happy as she didn't get caught by Kathy Watt or any of the other professional girls that started only a couple of minutes behind her. Quick debrief and we're off to recover, refuel, and get ready for Stage 2 in 2 hours.

C Grade kicks off the 72km stage 2 at 1:30pm with the first 5km under "control", now I thought this would be a nice little cruise along at 20-25km/h with an easy roll up the first climb out of Coleraine (3km at 4%). But boys will be boys and the egos were out in full force so off we charged up the hill at 30km/h, heart rate at max after 5 minutes and I'm wondering why I thought this was a good idea. We get to the top of the hill and the next 10km are flat with the wind at our backs. The 65 strong peloton is riding 5 wide until the road narrows and suddenly there are lots of elbows and knees banging as riders fight for road space. My strategy is to stay far left, out of trouble about half way down the pack and wait for the hills then see what the legs have got...

We turned off the Glenelg Hwy to Wannon Falls and started climbing again and the pace increased immediately, the road has narrowed to a single lane of bitumen and we are four to five wide and using every centimeter of it. There is one guy off the front about 100 metres up the road and I sense that the pack is getting twitchy, there's an attack and the peloton stretches out until we catch the break  and the  pace comes back down. This means that everyone has packed together again and all of a sudden I hear "you FARKEN idiot" and see a helmet drop vertically about three bikes in front of me. I implement the bail out plan which is to head for the grass but before I even get pressure on the bars my front wheel goes out from under me and I'm heading for the road. Tuck and roll and look up to see some blokes bottom bracket (with rider attached) coming straight at my head, duck and close the eyes. Next thing I notice is blokes picking their bikes off me and the Colnago, then charging off after peloton with some guy yelling "why don't you learn how to ride you farken idiot". >:o

After picking myself up and assessing that the bike is OK to ride I take a moment to stop the world from moving around from under me - or was that the trees walking around? - and get back on the bike to try and catch the now distant peloton. Dead last, dizzy, 52km of headwinds, blood running down my leg and arm, and two KOMs to go - I think this is going to test the mental toughness. Set a goal to not get caught by the D Grade guys who started 10 minutes behind me. On the first KOM I catch two C Grade blokes who are weaving to get up the hill, ahhh what could have been. Catch another guy on the final KOM and then a desperate attempt to stay in front of the D Grade leaders with just 15km to go, but the legs have had enough. Catch another C Grader and we take turns pushing into the cross wind until we get to the Glenelg Hwy and turn left with a tailwind back into Coleraine. The sense of relief is tremendous as I know it's almost over and I'll be able to get the gravel washed out of the gouges in the knee and a now rather painful elbow. As I go to wipe the sweat from my brow I poke myself in the eye and suddenly realise why the stickers on the left hand side of the bike were yellow and the the right were not, there was no orange lens in the right side of my sunglasses. Ah shit! :-D

Crossed the line after 2 hours and 19 minutes at an average of 31km/h, not bad for an old damaged bugger, then go looking for the med tent but there is none! Ask directions to the local hospital but nobody knows where it is!! Start rolling back to the Black Horse and ask a local who points me in the right direction. Fortunately there are two lovely ladies at the hospital who have been expecting someone like me to appear, the trainee is about 90 years old and struggled to hold the pen whilst the nurse was not going to be appearing in FHM any time soon. Nonetheless they clean me up and I call Michelle, she has just crossed the line and is wondering where I am. Michelle got dropped by the bunch after the turn off to Wannon Falls but stuck at it on her own, through the KOMs, and still finished in a respectable time (albeit with a little short-cut ;-) )

We returned from the hospital by bike and decided that it would be much more sensible to sleep in rather than compete in Stage 3 and 4. A leisurely breakfast, packed the car, and headed home looking forward to getting some satisfaction outta Collingwood belting Carlton. But it really was not my weekend. Better go back next year and get a better result??

Murray to Moyne April 5, 2008

Woody's Murray-to-Moyne
24 hour - 520km - Team Cycle Relay Event
5th & 6th April 2008

The Ride!
This is a 24 hour team relay over a distance of approximately 520 kilometres, starting from the locations of Mildura, Swan Hill and Echuca. You elect where you want to start from and are allocated that start location if places are still available. A maximum of 1650 riders is applied to the event.

Super's Report :-

Does anyone have a soft cushion that I can sit on…..? With perfect riding conditions, no wind, no rain and an overcast 20c degrees during the day although 6c degrees at night, I rode 325km’s in the 24hrs. Had a 6 hr stop off in Hamilton for a sleep. Also lost about 0.5hrs due to girls needing toilet stops every 2hrs.It was a degree of luck rather than good planning that we were able to catch an extra hour sleep due to daylight saving ceasing the week later than normal.

I will let everyone know how much we raised but take this opportunity to thank everyone for their wonderful support and donation. You can still donate to the "soft cushion fund" for the effort by ringing Amy on 9667 1740 or by following the link below.

http://www.mycause.com.au/fund_preview_page.php?id=337

 

Great Otway Classic - March 15, 2008

Very early start for some (4:45am) for the road trip to Torquay.

The CNUT combi was unavailable due to some beaurocratic turd so Jason and Paul headed to Torquay listening to Justin Timberlake while KY and The Mayor sang a few Led Zep and Stones' numbers.The crew (KY, Russman, Super, Stevie, Pauly, Jason, Wiz and Vista) met outside the pub 7:15am. On the start line the announcer took an immediately liking to us as Stevie explained our motto.

The announcer replied that the Hawiian Iron Man started with a group similar to the CNUTs. Maybe our parties are becoming legendary so let's step it up another level this year.

Poon summary :

1. Stevie - headed straight to the front with Pauly and never seen again. Was in training for a stage race and was treating it as one. Hopefully you inflicted some serious pain to some of those poons. Predicting was in Melbourne by the time we all finished.

2. Pauly - attempted to do the CNUT's proud by staying with Stevie and sensibly dropped back to take on the hills with KY. Sometimes the Otways do not mix with Pauly and the famous Reading cramps were ready to cut in. Says he wouldn't have made it to Geelong but don't believe that.

3. Super - only came into his own at the Torquay pub. Was enjoying the version of "My Life" by Billy Joel at Dean's Marsh and this song probably haunted him through the hills of the Otways. Solid ride once again.

4. Jason - only rider not to use the kit but it has to be mentioned was on time and rode with gusto. Again, rode down the hills with usual flair trying to upset other poons so nothing has changed. Nice work!

5. Russman - his tried and true method of training worked again. 9 quick beers consumed the night before, again worked wonders and he made it back with ease (apart from cramps caused by 9 beers the night before!) Also performed well post ride and the last Jack Daniels can was southed around 6:15pm near Little River.

6. Wiz - actually stated that he was gorn 2 kms into the ride. Needless to say it was an uphill but gathered himself to join in the group doing 35 - 40 kmh. He still refused to put it into the large front cog and when told to do so - see you later. Looked rooted at Dean's Marsh and not sure how he rode over the Otways. Once the Corona's with lime were ordered at the pub all the pain was forgotten.

7. Vista - his first ride over 100km and first ride without undies. We have never seen someone so rooted than Vista at Dean's Marsh and we were all concerned he wouldn't make it - especially when he was found snoozing, and there were still the hills to come. The gearing on his bike does not lend itself to hill climbing and it must have been his 'armadillo' style that got him over the ranges. At Airley's Inlet he could not or didn't want to speak as he did not want to waste any little energy he had left. Awesome effort with little training.

8. KY - was saved by the Zulu cramp stop tablets. Was very happy to ride in with the majority of the CNUTs to shut The Captain and Joe up, proving that it can be done!!! Poor effort at the pub and chose the beach with Angus as the other option.

Riding time was well under the 5 hours as previously scoffed at and it was great to see us all (except Stevie) finish together for the first time in one of these epic rides. 

CNUTs who did not attend, you missed a great day, with a lot of pain, and a lot of laughs. 

(see "Poons of CNUT" for photos)

Also see www.fusephotography.com for some 'professional' photos

Check pages 9, 23, 26, 44, 206, 273, 275 & 276 - probably more but not trawling through photos of poons.

 

 

Holden High Country Challenge March 1 2008

Super's Report on his and Brendonovitch's mountain ride :

Not cold at all, especially if you had seen Brendonovitch' beetroot coloured face as he arrived....10 minutes behind

You would have thought it was 100 degrees celsius!!!!!

We cooled down on the decent though I think we averaged 45 kmh and that was around the curves.........

Great ride...we should all do it next year....stay overnight on Buller and party and then ride down in the morning still maggotted!

See you at the Mardi Gras boys?

2008 Otway Odyssey MTB Skanks

Pauly's report :

3 letters : DNF

2 words : Mud, Cramps

1 day : I'll finish the bloody thing

Fletty was a legend and showed his usual grit - 265 from about 800

Archie smashed it and came 45th - Chris Jongewaard won it

Those boys are hardcore!

You want any Zulu cramp stop tablets Pauly?

Macca's Tour Down Under Pain 2008

 

Macca's view:
I am back and pretty happy to survive the Root Tour. I was well looked after by the SA boys and we still have some work to do to match them in the hills. I think I have seen half of teh pain the Adelaide hills can bring and suggest strong consideration for the ROOT tour 09. My return present to these guys is the Sat Morning Hell Ride which I am yet to finish. Ryno also fails to mention his DS decision not to ride on D3 where he prefered to stalk all of the riders at the Hilton as opposed to the flat ride on to Sellicks. Must admit struggled to get to Handorf in the Car day 2. He is neglecting to mention teh 2 days in the hills prior to the start of the official tour. Also whilst not riding with them on D4 I did ride with my brother in law who enjoyed sitting on my wheel for a 50km time trial. Maybe I just got sick of Haning out with the SA boys, who would know. I am back and may even be there on Saturday morning. Will try and get on the Torquay ride.... Steve hopefully my bike gets stolen too soon if thats the upgrade!

Ryno's view:
Hi lads, thanks for including that truley "poona" type pick of me as an honary. A yes the memories of some epic rides Kev. More news and pics to follow of the TDU "Rooting Tour" but let me say we busted Macka up pretty bad. The exec summary would read a long the lines of: Prolouge- corkscrew- pass D1- 145k, hot, hilly folowed by beers and gourme food at TDU special function- Pass Followed after by the big Macka heaving in my dunny....... D2 no show - Fail D4 hot nasty, very nasty climbing , Macka stuck with it, cracked, got nasty, got angry, got home, got to bed- Pass D5 didn't get up...no show Fail!! We are of the view that you down hill , tail wind specialsits will need to pre qualify for the 09 "rooting tour".

"How does your husband ride up hills Macca?"

Intelligencia - Australia Day 2008

200km - The Big One!

 Joe's view:
Alpine Classic round-up. No multi-stage pro-tour event but one long 200km "classic" ride that saw us depart from Bright at 6.20am, climb Tawonga Gap 850m, through Mt Beauty, up Falls Creek (30 kms & 1560m) back through Mt Beauty, back over the hard side of Tawonga Gap (as if the first side wasn't hard enough) back through Bright around lunchtime, scoffed down anything we could find - even small children - then onto Mt Buffalo b4 returning to Bright. Most climbing I've ever done in a day & happy with a time of 7hrs 50min. Saw Big Stevie a couple of times when he passed me going up Tawonga & then again on Falls. Also saw him coming down Falls & looking angry & in a hurry. Apparently he had some circulation problems in his leg (third) going up Buffalo & was happy to finish in 7hrs 45min. Poor Jas had a shocker with a bad nights sleep & tummy cramps on the morning which inhibited performance. Intelligently pulled the pin at Mt Beauty & headed for the sag wagon. Bonjour Bright festival was in full swing & the jazz played whilst we bathed our sorry legs and very sore back sides in the river...then loaded up. 70kms climbing in one day was tough but the descent (fats & dangerous) alamost made it worth it. Need to do it again - nil. Recommended though as awesome country & well run event.

KY's South Efrican Adventure

Pretoria to Durban November 2007

Survived the ride? - No issue!

Survived the 20 jaiger bombs on the last night? - NO!

Survived the 20 km ride in heat on the last day after the jaiger bombs? -  With difficulty

http://nandosmad2007.blogspot.com/