Category Archives: Racing

Pedalling harder than the other guy

Race season must wait another two weeks

My racing intentions for this year seemed clear back in October 2012. My plan was to race the entire Real Insurance XCM series (slated at the time to be seven 100km+ events), and fill gaps in the calendar with a few other races – some shorter XC, some enduro/all-mountain and perhaps some timed endurance.And another crack at Kanangra.

Oh, how that all fell apart. The XCM Series itself is now a non-starter, though the individual events remain. I’m racing Capital Punishment on March 16th, but am not confirmed for any other of the former XCMs. I am, however, confirmed for Round one of the Shimano MTB GP, which is what I’ve been stressing about for the last few weeks.

I get obsessive in race leadups. Continue Reading →

Classics Season starts this weekend…

I’m tremendously – unfeasibly – excited for this year’s spring classics season, which starts on Saturday 23rd with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. And in celebration of this, here’s one of the most dramatic views I’ve seen of Booooonen’s Paris Roubaix 2012 victory, from behind the scenes at OPQS

I’m unashamedly hoping Tommeke smashes the classics again this year, even though his elbow problem of the off-season is forcing him to be a bit conservative at this stage.

Incidentally, rumour has it that the only reason that hard bastard of all hard bastards Boonen didn’t chomp into his infected bursa, suck out the radioactive pus, spit it to the roadside and just keep pedalling is that even Belgians cannot bite their own elbows. True story.

This Just In: No XCM Series for 2013

My main racing aim for 2013 was to race this year’s installment of the Real Insurance XCM Series, a series of six marathon-distance MTB events that’s been proving wildly popular for the last few years.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard this morning via Capital Punishment’s Facebook page that there will be no XCM Series for 2013.

I’ve so far found no details on why the series is off, but no doubt that’ll become clear over time. It’s possible an abbreviated series may emerge, but the Wombat 100, Cap Punishment, The Convict 100, The Highland Fling and The Kowalski Classic (which was to be a first-time inclusion) won’t be part of it, making it a rather emasculated version of previous years.

The races themselves will go on, in stand-alone fashion, but there’s no overarching series tying them together.

This is a loss for Australian endurance MTB, but with so many other races to choose from, the scene is still healthy, even if it still doesn’t seem to know the difference between marathon and enduro.

On a personal note, this means my racing ambitions for the year will shift. I’m unlikely to head south to the Wombat 100 if it’s not part of the XCM, since it’s logistically tricky to organise, and may instead refocus on the Shimano MTB GP series of endurance events, depending on how the first round goes this weekend. Or next weekend, since weather is worrying the organisers a little. I’d still like to do the Convict 100, and I’m entered for Capital Punishment already. I have unfinished business with the Highland Fling this year, too, since I missed last year’s start due to a car breakdown.

More news on this will be posted as I find it.

UPDATE: CycleNation have announced on Twitter.

A Very Special Relationship

Most cyclists would agree that there are some very special relationships in their lives. There is the relationship with their bikes*, of course. And the relationships with their favourite local roads or trails. A rider learns their moods, and their differing characters over time, and comes to an understanding and respect of a very deep and meaningful kind. This understanding is rewarded with those riding days where bike, terrain and rider work harmoniously together and produce crisp, bright memories of effortless speed to be cherished for years to come.

Oh, and I understand some riders have relationships with other humans too.

But the relationship I’m writing to talk about now is another, with which most riders will be familiar.

It’s about the legs.

Yep, the engine room. The pistons. The guns.

Continue Reading →

A prediction for the year

Omega Pharma-QuickStep will kick ass, take names, crumple up the sheet of paper on which they took the names, stuff it in a bottle of petrol, light it, and spectacularly immolate the team standings for 2013.

And indeed, Cavendish has taken the first stage of San Luis, his first race for OPQS.

Now, if Tom Boonen’s elbow can get itself out of star-studded rehab, the coming classics season will be stamped into the pav√©, and the year will be set up for complete dominance

Mark my words!

It’s not a fucking Enduro

The author at the 2012 Kanangra Classic 100km

Not an Enduro

I got an email this morning, enjoining me to sign up for the Stinging Mettle MTB Marathon event.

Except it didn’t call it a marathon event. It called it, as it’s been calling it since the first announcement, an Enduro.

Let’s just get something straight here.

Stinging Mettle is not an Enduro. It’s a marathon.

In years past, it was acceptable to call 100km XC races “enduros”, because the meaning of the phrase “MTB Enduro” wasn’t settled. It was used interchangeably¬† as shorthand for “endurance race” and for events inspired by motorcycle enduro. In Europe and North America, the timed-stage version prevailed. Here in Australialand, several organisers applied it to marathons and that definition seemed to have the upper hand.

However these days, there’s an Enduro World Tour, which is All-mountain racing, in timed stages with untimed sections, and as such the meaning of Enduro can be said, fairly, to be settled. It’s gone international, and as such, Aussies need to get with the program and start calling marathons marathons.

Stinging Mettle is not an Enduro. The Tathra is not an enduro. Kanangra is not an enduro (my 2012 race jersey, with “enduro” written all over it notwithstanding).

Catch up, people. You’re on the wrong side of history here. The meaning is settled. Enduro is timed stage all-mountain. Your events are marathons. Deal with it.

(p.s. apologies, such as they are, for the intemperate language of the title. If there’s one thing guaranteed to wind me up it’s inaccurate use of the English language)

Update: Pinkbike weighed in on this topic not long after me. AS did Flow Magazine on their Facebook page. Get a grip, The Australian MTB Racing Industry!

Durbridge’s Chin makes it two

I popped out for a while to do some hill repeats in the rain because my SBS reception was awful. I returned home to find Luke Durbridge has made it two national championships by riding away from the peloton.

Congratulations Durbo’s chin. You are indeed the fastest mandible in Australia.

And it’s pretty clear that the young riders of Australia are kicking the wrinkly old arses of the preceding generation. Chapeau, young ‘uns.

Review of 2012: The author’s highlights

It’s still January, so I feel I should be partaking of the retrospective fever that grips so many people around this time of year. Sure, we’re two weeks in, but hey, I’ve been busy.

More importantly, it’s roughly a year since I myself got back on the bike, after a very long leave of absence. So here’s what I did in 2012. (Don’t worry, I’ll cover 2012 in pro racing in the next day or two). Feel free to click away if the cycling tales of nearly-middle-aged blokes bore you to tears.

Continue Reading →

Luke Durbridge’s chin takes second Road Nats TT Championship

Durbridge's Chin celebrates a stage winNews is in from the Road Nats that Luke Durbridge’s Chin has successfully defended his Australian National TT Championship. Congratulations are in order for the chin, which has rapidly become a force to be reckoned with. As chins go, it’s a pretty fast one.

Rumour has it that several of the chin’s competitors are in consultation with chin enhancement specialists, hoping to gain an edge on the Durbridge Chin.The UCI are drafting rules on allowable chin implant sizes, speculatively allowing a chin critical length or “chinocrit” of no more than 50% enhancement. Other teams are investigating the possibility of prosthetic chins, perhaps attached to the chinstraps of aero helmets, in order to regain an edge. Wind tunnel testing has indicated potential aero savings of up to 50 available watts over more conventional chin shapes, which is not to be sniffed at.

(SBS covers the day here, with spectacular chinography)


(seriously though, gratz to Luke and to Shara Gillow for taking her third women’s title)


The embodiment of Rule 5

In celebration of the fact that Velominati gave this the V-Moment of the year, I present something I dug up on the YouTubes. Watch Boonen fuck off into the distance at the 2012 Paris Roubaix.

Roll on April and five victories for Tomeke.