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Stuff about the blog. Site news. That kind of crap

Taking it elsewhere

Credit: zilverpics on flickr. noncommercial reuse licenceI don’t know about you, but I don’t like letting my bikes out of my sight. Sure, on a cafe ride I’ll park it, unlocked, somewhere nearby, but at any other time, the bikes do not leave my side. Ever.

I don’t even like to lock the bikes to public bike racks. We’re looking at several thousand dollars worth of carbon and alloy apiece, not $100 K-Mart specials. I think I’m fairly justified in this, given that bike thieves have plenty of techniques at their disposal to break bike locks. Not only that, but being race bikes, everything is quick-release, meaning it’s pretty damn difficult to secure everything – wheels, seatpin, accessories. It becomes a logistical nightmare. Not to mention the possibility that some clown may just take it upon themselves to break something instead of just stealing it.

So generally, if I’m doing a local shop run, I take my bike into the shopping centre with me, and wheel it around. Maybe you do the same. Or maybe I’m weird. Continue Reading →

An interesting test from @carbonaddiction

1522923_548857148545704_1200429868_oPete over at Carbon Addiction has devised a little quiz to determine if one is a road bike snob. I was going to answer in a comment but it got a little long and involved. So I put it here instead.

1. Do you find it difficult to say hello to a passing commuter on a flat-bar hybrid?

I find it difficult to say hello to anyone. I’m too busy desperately trying to suck in all the oxygen in the surrounding 100m3, sweating into my own eyes and drooling from both sides of the mouth. To say hello in that state would be… unseemly. I’d probably get reported to the RSPCA as a rabid animal.

Also, I’d risk projecting spittle into the face of the passing commuter in question.

So no, not even trying.

2. Do you secretly laugh inside at the sight of a rider with a sun visor on his or her helmet?

No. But zipties, now they’re another matter entirely. Seriously. I mean. Man. Zipties? They don’t even work and you end up looking like Sonic The Hedgehog’s senile grandpa.  Yeah, I secretly laugh inside at that.

Also openly. On the outside.

3. Do you pity social riders who wear WorldTour team kit in public?

I dunno. Which team is it? Oh no, not Mapei? Or that seethrough Team Sky thing?

Oh no the mental pictures please make them stop NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

4. Would you be embarrassed to ride with someone who has reflectors on their wheels or, heaven forbid, a bell on their handlebars?

Nah, I always had a secret crush on Mary Poppins. Didn’t we all?

5. Are you allergic to steel bicycle frames or wheels wider than 23mm?

Everyone who’s anyone is riding 25mm these days, don’tcherknow. And I have a steel framed 26er somewhere, just waiting for me to rebuild it as a singlespeed. So no.

6. Is 29km/h too slow?

29km/h is a perfectly respectable average speed.


Or on a mountain bike.

7. If someone has their sunglasses inside their helmet straps do you notice?

Yes. It’s a safety thing. If your straps are over your sunglass arms then turning your head can dislodge the glasses off your nose and cause a distraction and therefore an accident. I’ve done it myself. If you’re a highly aware rider, like you should be, it’s really annoying having your sunglasses pushed around on your face just because you’ve forgotten to put them on right. I had no smartass answer for this one. Sorry.


So there we go. I think it’s just possible I’m a road bike snob. Or a mountain bike snob. Or maybe just a snob. I don’t even know.

Thanks Pete.


Sydney Waste Services and dangerous driving

Sydney Waste Services: Responsible driving? What's that?

Sydney Waste Services: Responsible driving? What’s that?

This morning on my ride to work I was subjected to a very dangerous close pass in a door zone by a garbage truck carrying the logo and contact details of Sydney Waste Services. The incident happened on Harris Street, Pyrmont, between Miller Street and John Street, heading North.

This is a mixed commercial/residential zone with a long strip of short term parking on the left, already a potential danger zone in and of itself.

I’d just turned left out of Miller Street on the green arrow and was heading along Harris at perhaps 30km/h when the garbage truck I’d passed at the Miller Street lights thundered past me at close range. The truck was maybe 15cm from the end of my handlebar as it appeared, and it felt like I was squeezed towards the parked cars as it passed along.

I yelled out, naturally, “Too close!”. The left-side window was open and a dismissive hand emerged, accompanied by what sounded like a “fuck off”.

Nice, huh?

(post updated 27-3-14, see footer for detail) Continue Reading →

The 2014 SCODY Three Peaks Challenge – Part 3: Dinner Plain to Falls Creek

3peaksfinishWhen we left off the last post, I’d just gratefully rolled into the Dinner Plain lunch stop, slightly behind schedule but optimistic, despite some warning shots from a niggling leg injury…

Lunch at Dinner Plain was one of the tastiest roast vegetable wraps I’d ever tasted. After ten gels or so, actual food tasted like a five michelin star experience. I half expected Heston Blumental to step out of a nearby door and grin at me inanely. It probably wasn’t testament to the quality of the food, but rather my body’s desperate craving for something that wasn’t a vaguely disgusting fructose/maltose paste. I also grabbed two cans of coke for a sugar/caffeine boost.

While eating, I rid myself of the base layer that’d been a perfect choice for the Falls Creek descent but had been overkill since Harrietville, and grabbed my clothing valet bag. I’d packed a second set of gloves, so got rid of the sweaty pair I’d had on for the first half. I also sent my windvest and base layer in the return bag, certain that there wouldn’t be a sudden drop in temperature over the next few hours. I’d also packed a heaping helping of gels and bars for the last section, which got shoved into various parts of my kit, sleeves, legs, pockets, the lot. Prepping to leave, I ran into the main contingent of LACC riders just coming in. A couple of them were looking a little grim, so I wished them luck, pointed them towards food and headed off.

Continue Reading →

The 2014 SCODY Three Peaks Challenge – Part 2: Falls Creek to Dinner Plain

3peakshothamWhen we finished up the previous post, I was lined up in the starting area with clubmate Jason Livingstone, waiting for the off. The sky was still dark, with hints of a fine day approaching, and over a thousand riders were crammed into Slalom Plaza, tail lights flashing, headlights blazing and ready for the off. Inevitably, trying to funnel this many riders through a narrow start gate was always going to be a shambles, but rolling through happened largely uneventfully and we got onto Bogong High Plains Road in one piece.

I’d discussed my vague plans with Jason and I don’t think he was altogether surprised when I mumbled “right, let’s have it” and kicked off down the hill at full gas. I wouldn’t see him again until lunchtime at Dinner Plain, 116km down the road. Continue Reading →

The 2014 SCODY Three Peaks Challenge – Part 1: The Leadup

A couple of weekends back, I headed to Victoria for the annual festival of uphill suffering known as the Three Peaks. For those unfamiliar with the event, what you’re essential looking at is a  parcours comparible to a Tour de France mountain stage, over 235 kilometres of stunning Victorian Alpine roads, accompanied by nearly 1800 other riders, complete with road closures, medical and recovery services, feed stations, electronic timing and mechanical assistance, and, during the leadup, detailed training advice.

It’s rightly a Blue Riband event in Australian cycling, and indeed has made some global lists as a best-of-breed event. This is something I had to do.

So I signed up. Unfortunately, my preparations were a bit rocky. I picked up a few injuries in January and February, which drastically cut the amount of riding I was able to do, but nevertheless I kept to my original target time of under ten hours – ambitious, but not unachievable.

Of course, that was almost derailed the Friday before I left, when my Chief Financial Officer and unoffical Directeur Sportif (aka girlfriend) offered to buy me a new set of carbon handlebars if I broke 9:30, or a Stages Power Meter if I broke nine.

Game. on.

Continue Reading →

Race Report: Capital Punishment 2014

Capital Punishment 2014, 50km and 100km MTBI’m still in the process of drafting my blog posts from this year’s Three Peaks Challenge, but in the meantime I lined up for the 2014 Capital Punishment 100km XCM. In 2013, despite cramping early in the race, I did a time of 4:47:55. This year, I was lining up much fitter, much stronger, on a bike nearly 3kg lighter and with an extra year’s experience. If nothing went wrong, I was going to shatter the previous year’s time. To tiny pieces.

Of course, things never work out perfectly on these days.

Continue Reading →

Why yes, I *do* take racing food quite seriously. Why?



Yup. That’s my little box of racing munchies, consisting of a mixture of:

  • SiS Caffeinated gels
  • Torq gels, Black Cherry Yogurt, Rhubarb & Custard and a few others
  • Body Science gels
  • Hammer Endurolytes Fizz electrolyte tabs
  • Hammer Perpetuem Solids chewable energy
  • Dextro energy for a high-glucose hit
  • Swisse recovery bars (I don’t normally buy Swisse due to their dodgy supplement claims, but they were on sale. Cheap.)
  • Some apricot delight
  • Painkillers, tape and some spare CO2 cartridges that didn’t fit in the toolbox.

This box goes with me to MTB races and training days, but generally doesn’t make it to road events. The variety means I can stock up on energy without every getting bored with the same thing. Or at least, that’s the theory. In practice, some are better than others and some are just terrible. For instance I’ve given up on the GU coffee gels as they’re just too thick to get down quickly, and I tried a mint flavoured Endura gel once and vowed never to do so again. The Torq gels, though, are excellent, wit well-thought out flavour hits, a nice consistency, and a pack that’s easy to open on the go.

How do you manage your race-day food requirements? What’s your favourite and least favourite energy hit?

Hard lessons learned

image: wikimedia commons


Last night I raced again in the ongoing Newington Armory Criterium Series.

Boy, did I learn a thing or two.

A little background. For the last few weeks I’ve been labouring with a cascade of minor injuries, each flowing on from the last. It started with tendinosis and bursitis in my elbow, aggravated by a low aero position on the road bike. Subsequently, I managed to strain my shoulder and neck, from trying to stay off the elbow. My physio got that under control with massage, taping and enforced rest, to which were added a set of recovery exercises to both strengthen weak points and loosen things up a bit. Of course me being me, I managed to add a calf tweak and strained abs to the list of woes by overdoing the off-bike workouts. Yeah I know.

So there I was, hurting already before I’d even turned a pedal. Leading to lesson learned number one: If you’re injured, don’t carry on as if you’re not. And if your training regimen changes, ease into it instead of suddenly shocking your system with new workouts.

In addition, because I’d lowered my overall training volume, I’d also let myself slip and had a few mid-week beers the night before the race. And, to be honest, the night before that. This meant I’d spent the morning fighting off a bit of a hangover and didn’t get properly hydrated through the day. In fact, I ended up slamming nearly a full bottle just before the start.

Lesson number two: lots of beer the night before is a bad idea (though to be fair I already knew this)

Continue Reading →

Focus on a segment: Lilyfield Road

With the news that Leichhardt Council is planning to put speed bumps in on Lilyfield Road – in part to slow ‘speeding cyclists’ – I thought it might be an idea to focus on this much maligned and much ridden section of Sydney road and see if we can come up with some numbers on just how fast riders are going, and see whether Leichhardt Council is right in their decision.

Beware. Nerdery follows below the fold.

Continue Reading →