Friday, July 4, 2008

Slowly adapting…

The I-day ride....Eat some breakky at 7am. Leave town headed west out on highway 160 on your mountain bike. Make sure you have a posse. Ride over Hespreus (8200’), and take a right up La Plata Canyon past Mayday then Climb. Then climb some more. 1 hour to Kennebec pass (12000’; 3650m). Descend slide-rock goat track which is in fact the Colorado trail. Continue descending the loamy Colorado Trail singletrack for 1 hour, then single-track climb for an hour, then descend some more mind-blowing singletrack again for two, yes two hours!! I was lucky enough to meet up with Todd Wells (recently confirmed on the USA XC olympic team), Troy Wells, Tad Elliot (USA U23) & Ben Kneller (jittery joes). This meant a solid day out. A 5 hour treat both up & down.

Get back to town & eat a tonne.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

some local scenery...

One of the loops on the edge of town is animas mountain. a 6 mile loop (3 up , 3 down) that overlooks each of the valleys that durango is centered in.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

getting high in Durango...

After day one my decision to use Durango as a base for some altitude adaption is a decison i'm quite proud of. At a svelte base elevation of 2000m rising to approx 4000m up in the hills & the hometown of legends like Ned Overand & Mr T Tomac, the decision to be here was made pretty easily. As the worlds elevation is at 1350+, adapting to that altitude will reduce that initial shock from the thinner air & I’m sure will make racing over 24 hours bearable, as opposed to unbearable if I didn’t. If it means having 3 weeks riding in a place like this, then I’ll happily oblige. Once off the plane (after a very very fortunate upgrade to business class for the long haul flight!) & I was greeted by Mark & Jeanne of the Pastore family. They are a sporting family & their names are synomous with mtb & Nordic skiing in the region. Their two kids Gino & Alicia are taking the mtb scene apart here.

I could feel the altitude straight away & my first ride with Mark to show me the main trailheads was a real eye opener to how unfit the altitude made me I feel. He showed me several areas & the quality of trails in the area are outstanding. They are generally highly polished, flowing, packed loamy single-track and miles & miles of it. The riding areas border all sides of town. Up the road from where I am living is the start of the Colorado trail which winds its way 480 odd miles to Denver. A definite for some serious backcountry single-track adventure. A quick look around at the snow speckled mountains in the distance combined with the knowledge of what lies on the edges of town, the enthusiasm to get out there & explore is sky high. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alice springs adventure - 5 days racing


11th - open men
prue - 197th

event details : (write up to follow soon...)

Stage 1: 46km
Stage 2: 300m hill sprint time trial
Stage 3: 50km
Stage 4: 100km
Stage 5: 26km offroad time trial
Stage 6: 26km mass start night race
Stage 7: 56km

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Enduro Ceramic Zeros...

...and you thought the normal ceramic bearings were good!!! These new models are named zero's for a very good reason.

Something has to be said for cranks that turn with next to no resitence whatsoever. This stuff from Duncan at DIYMTB is pure hidden Bling! and in my book, well worth every cent in maintainence & the energy it saves over long distances.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a race where things finally went right...

MATRIX 6 hour - weekend warrior festival

1st solo mens, Prue - 1st solo womens

I felt like a pinball through all those rocky sections on this brand new track. And like any XC race, not even the downhill sections gave much respite. It's very obvious that Bill & his track team from TWP has put in a huge amount of work getting these tracks going though. Time, some new flowy additions & a bit of rain will hopefully see the track bed in & be a bit more enduro like. Getting through & over that rocky stuff is energy sapping at the best of times, 6 hours of it made for a really challenging day.

And how's this...Prue & I got through without any major mechanicals or any such zucchini slice adventure. Yep, things went really well for both of us. We pushed our support crew to the limits once again. Kaz & Ratty were absolutley awesome providing food, drink, good cheer and underneath it all was that unquestionable expectation that we would stay on our bikes. As always it was really encouraging to see a lot of new riders at this event. I'm sure many would be pleased to know that they were introduced to mountain biking on one of the most rigorous tracks around.

Monday, May 19, 2008

AY-UP lighting...

I used some AY-UP Luxeon lights for the first time at the world 24 hour in California last year. They were really light weight, with a simple robust design and a perfect bar mounted light. That was then....they've got better...

I'm fortunate enough to have the newest high power version which I've been running on my helmet since April. Andrew from AY-UP tells me that the new switchable battery (making lights capable of 4-40 hours burntime!!) will have this high power capacity. I ran HID lights as soon as they were available because they provided superior lighting to everything else on the market at the time but they have traditionally been heavy. The latest AY-UP LED's (CREE Q5's) provide a broad centre brightness without the washout that sometimes happened with HID's. At a third of the weight & price for the same burntime, it's an easy choice.

We are fortunate to have this innovative company in Brisbane leading the way in lighting systems for mountain biking and road cycling internationally. AY-UP have been supporting races locally & abroad allowing riders to borrow sets of lights for events. They will also be at the 24 hour world's in Canada and I look forward to being part of the team showcasing this brilliant Australian product.

click here for an interview with Andrew from AY-UP

AY-UP at sea otter....

Friday, May 2, 2008

24 hour experiences...

This was my third 24 Hour Solo Race. I was using it as preparation in the lead up to the 24 hour World's in Canada at the end of July. I wanted to learn and I wanted to deepen my experience in solo 24 hour racing. It's difficult to predict what might go wrong in such long events & for both rider and support it is crucial that they can be managed.

The Merida 24 hour certainly provided the unexpected. For 15 hours I was reaping the rewards of the previous months training and I was really happy with how it was going. I was on the new Superlight Felt RXC Hardtail paired with a cushy 2.25 rear tyre & a carbon seatpost. I felt like I was at home: the bike was light, comfortable, responsive. My body felt good, my support were faultless and nutrition & hydration were spot on...well so it seemed. I'd added home cooked zucchini slice at the last minute to my nutrition arsenal and it was going down a treat.

The "unexpected" arrived at about the 16 hour mark: cold sweats and blurred vision forced me into the pit. Things got worse very quickly and when I could keep anything down it was off to Beaudesert Hospital. I recovered in a few hours still confused by what had gone wrong. The mystery unravelled itself that afternoon when three hours after the race and after knawing on some zucchini slice, Prue found herself in a similar mess. Back to Beaudesert Hospital it was for us!

It's so often the simple things that are completely overlooked. The zucchini slice had travelled with us from Mooloolaba, it spent most of its life in the esky but certainily not all of its life there. Overlooking things like this in race situations can quickly become dangerous as our body's are already under stress.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Introducing two new members to the team:

Mr Superlight Felt RXC Team Hardtail

& Mr Felt Virtue R1 with fancy redbits

Both bikes are paired with modified Pace (now DT Swiss) Carbon Forks.

What I love about them?

We're talking comfort you can instantly feel. The compact design of the hardtail allows for a long seat post which provides additional cushioning over the wishbone rear end. At the Koorablyn 24 Hour, I rode for 16 hours straight on this bike and didn't want to get off it. The bike is really light at a touch over 9kgs. which benefits everything: climbing, braking, cornering ...and Prue when she's packing the car.

As for the Virtue dually... in the tough midnight hours of a 24 hour I would change to a dual suspension to help preserve the body for the morning. I've been training on the Felt Virtue dually and six hour rides suddenly now feel like three or four. Good for the old bones & more importantly leaves me with more energy to clean the house & Prue's bike when I get home!

Monday, March 3, 2008

12 hour dusk to dawn...

Having decided to sit on the sidelines for this one, I thought it might be a good opportunity to be a support person. I've always wondered what it would be like watching everyone spending eveything in their own personal pain bank just to keep moving forward....well, for a moment there, I thought a shared support role would be easy. It was not a decision i should have taken so lightly. I have to say that all this week i am seriously exhausted & looks like a week or two in full recovery mode.

We had what we thought was a well executed support plan. Al & I had radio comms, plenty of food, sleeping accomodations & most importantly of all, a bar nearby. Personally for the event I managed to properly prehydrate & in my taper I ensured that my nutriton was well balanced & thorough. I might just add here that i was a bit lax about the training required for this one & knew i was in over my head.

I'll be honest, during the event, we both suffered pretty bad. There were very rushed bottle hand overs, wrong food, there were times when i wasn't even there when our rider needed. There were other times I struggled to remain upright & veered off into my tent for some much needed recovery. I think i remained upright for about 8 of the 12 hours. Pretty good going if you ask me, assisted of course by the abundance of easter eggs. Thankfully Al made up for my shortcomings as a support person & brought the team home. Thanks Al.

A huge congratulations to Prue, our rider, who battled through the night and showed us how it is to be done with or without support. 12 hours on a bike will never be easy but to see her & so many out there doing it with a smile is what its all about. I seem to remember an article about this at the last 12 hour?

click here for Prue's write up