Category Archives: Mtb

Chunky wheels. Suspension. The correct way to ride.

Riding Update Jan 2017: It’s a biggie

So, it appears I haven’t blogged here for nearly a year. Doesn’t time fly? I guess it’s about time I posted an update.

When last I blogged, I was still trying to find my feet again after some time off the bike. I had officially declared I was quitting road riding, and was working with a psychologist to try and mitigate some of the worst effects and try to get back on the Mountain Bike at least.

It worked, partly. I rode one MTB race (retired) and did a few Zwift races, but there wasn’t enough momentum. I was still not where I wanted to be, though I was in a better place than I had been when I declared my retirement

As things turned out, mid-year I was offered a new job – and this proved to be the turning point I needed. This particular job offered remote working options, and so a plan began to form. A cunning plan. A plan so cunning, you could pin a tail on it and call it Mr Fox.

In October, it all came together, and I left Sydney altogether, and moved into the glorious Ovens Valley, NE Victoria.

Yes, I now live at the foot of Mount Buffalo, right in the middle of 7 Peaks country. Specifically in Porepunkah, a dormitory village for the neighbouring town of Bright, the famed cycling and tourist mecca.

Since I got settled in, I’ve been riding more often, in more scenic surroundings, with safer roads and nary an argument. I’ve had the grand total of one moderately close pass from a driver but – get this – it didn’t bother me in the least.

I haven’t hit the mountain roads in earnest yet (notwithstanding one ill-prepared, spur of the moment assault on Buffalo), but I’ve been riding the MTB on some amazing trails and doing a lot of flat-to-rolling road. I’ve been up and down the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail enough that I know every bump and ripple between here and Gapsted. I’ve thrown my hardtail down the one-of-a-kind Hero Trail, encountered snakes, magpies, kangaroos and wombats and generally had a great time of it. I’m slowly dropping the weight back off, and transitioning (again) from couch-potato-who-used-to-ride-bikes-a-few-years-back to masters racer and MTB explorer.

You might say I’m back.

Not being much of an early bird, I haven’t yet managed to get out for the famous 6am Bright bunchies, but it’s a new year and the mornings are clear, so that’s going to happen soon. I’ve met a few of the locals, I’m getting familiar with Mystic MTB Park and I’m planning lots of rides on the long local mountain trails, some sensible, some on the adventurous side.

And the blog? Well, I might blog a few local routes, and maybe get some picks at the upcoming Audax Alpine Classic, but I’ve also got a new project in the works, which I’ll announce here soon.

Lastly, for those readers who I know in person – I know some of you exist. Yes, I have spare rooms. Come on down!

 

2014 Shimano MTB GP Series Round 1

This weekend saw the first round of the Rocky Trail Entertainment Shimano MTB GP go off at Awaba MTB Park in NSW’s Hunter region. A huge turnout braved the mud and changeable weather after some rather touch-and-go weather conditions through the week. The first attempt at running the event was a washout, so everyone was eager to get the series started, not the least being the organisers, who took to social media to calm nervous entrants who’d spent much of the leadup glued to the BoM radar.

I was, of course, entered – with two changes from last year. This year I’d be racing in the seven hour category instead of four, and also I’d be ticking over from the Elite into the Masters age group, since I’ll be turning 40 in 2014.

Continue Reading →

For sale

I’ve just been having a bit of a tidy-up around my studio, which is, to be honest, not much of a studio any more. It’s more a bike workshop and garage, really.

Anyway, I’ve rounded up a whole load of surplus components which I don’t need any more. So below the fold, I’ve posted a list. Pretty much everything here is flexibly priced. If you think it’s too pricey, make me an offer. Continue Reading →

WSMTB Summer Series Round 2

Photo credit: Bikeminded

What was effectively round one, since the original round one was cancelled, went off this weekend at Yellomundee Regional Park in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. A strong turnout, very dry conditions and monstrously loud cicadas were the order of the day

It was the first race outing for me on my Bianchi Methanol hardtail. I raced 2013 on my BMC Speedfox SF29 full-suspension rig, and I was itching to give the new hardtail a good hit out, even though Yellomundee is one of my least favourite circuits, mostly due to a broken rib I picked up there late in 2012. It’s a fairly short track, technical in nature with a nasty rock garden climb in the first half of the lap, often dry and dusty and with a couple of fast rocky descents. Suspension would be nice for those, but overall a lighter, more chuckable bike would be the better choice. Continue Reading →

Happy 100th Birthday Rocky Trail Entertainment!!

From the recent JetBlack 24 hour, Rocky Trail’s 100th event. Here’s to at least 100 more!

The Maverick Series is here

The author at Capital Punishment 2013

The author at Capital Punishment 2013

Australia now has an embarrassment of riches in terms of XCM racing, and yesterday that lineup was further strengthened by the announcement of the Maverick XCM Series.

The name is something of a thumbed nose towards the Real Insurance XCM Series, which formerly included two of these races but was dropped for 2013 and revamped for 2014 without its former flagship events, but with the backing of Cycling Australia, who have ambitions to integrate it into the national XCO and DH series, thus making it a far more national-scale event. From this it will gain a far wider reach but possibly alienate some of the XCM-faithful who could formerly ride each and every Real Insurance XCM event, but will now be hit with huge logistical hurdles if they want to do the same in 2014.

Obviously more than a few people were annoyed by the whole thing. Hence, I assume, the name of the new series. Continue Reading →

Flung

Yep, the 2013 Camelbak Highland Fling went off yesterday, but for me the day was not without a hitch or two.

Last year, I signed up late for the Fling after posting a competitive time at the 2012 Kanangra Classic. I figured another 100+km XCM a week or two later would be awesome, so I headed off to Bundanoon at an unholy time of the morning, only to end up parked at the side of the Hume Highway with a flat tyre and no spare. I’d used my spare the week before and not got round to replacing it, so 2012 was a no-show. I went home and sulked.

So this year, inevitably, I had unfinished business with the Highland Fling Continue Reading →

First Ride: Bianchi Methanol SL 29

Yes. Yes, it is.

Yes. Yes, it is.

So as I intimated in an earlier post, I’m now the proud owner of a carbon hardtail MTB, more specifically a Bianchi Methanol SL 29 XT. I took it out on dirt for the first time yesterday, and my impressions so far are more than positive.

So the basics on the bike

  • 29″ Carbon hardtail.
  • RockShox Reba RL 100mm fork w/poploc remote lockout
  • XT groupset (with the exception of a Truvativ X9 double chainset and FSA chain)
  • FSA components, Magura hydro discs, Selle San Marco saddle
  • Fulcrum Red Power wheelset, shod with Kenda 24seven rubber

In focus, it’s a racing-oriented carbon XC hardtail. Pretty straightforward, right? Well yes. But no. Because there’s some serious thought gone into this frame and while you might not agree 100% with what’s come out, you have to tip your hat to the design. Continue Reading →

All of this is true

Thanks for sharing, Norbs.

My new toy

So I woke up this morning one year older, and as it turns out, one bike up. Thank you Esther for organising that little surprise.

methanol_at_home

That’s my new XT/Reba/Magura-equipped 2013 Bianchi Methanol SL, which I’d put a deposit down on a month or so back but didn’t expect to be paying off for a while, since the budget that would have paid for it was spent on new wheels when I crashed the road bike at the start of October.

Turns out that Esther does sneaky things with the budget. Very sneaky.

It’s currently in the workshop having the seatmast cut to size and a few minor tweaks done before I chuck in work for the day and head out to try and find a trail that’s not on fire. Its first competitive outing is unconfirmed, but might be the Highland Fling in November. I’m not 100% sure whether the dual-sus machine might be a better choice for that particular race, but no doubt I’ll figure it out once I’ve put a few kms on the new one.

Full report on the bike to follow. And big thanks to Atelier De Velo for going along with Esther’s little plan. Sneaky.