Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's a Hell'er deal

Eating on the bike is fraught with problems. From chocking on peanuts in nut bars to fumble fingers trying to rip open packaging. It is a world I have become hugely involved in this strange and tentative place of problems.

It was hanging sky day, a storm of southerly cold rain waiting to happen. With jacket packed and headphones in to isolate me from the realities of riding on the road in the wet I spun though a casual bays loop. After the escape of the south coast I was blown into Lyle Bay for a quick shop for inappropriate ride food.

Discount food stores all smell the same. Something becomes of combining unwanted goods in small space. And there is always heaps of unusual soap that did not do well with the middle class mums. I choose a small tub of ice-cream, a packet of shapes, a six pack of marshmallow Easter eggs, a small number of chocolate biscuits and an unpopular variation on a popular energy drink. All out of fashion, close to expiry or the result of failed marketing campaigns.

Another favourite activity of mine is how it will fit. This involves the problem of storage when riding bicycles. Yes you normally have back pockets in your team kit shirt or whatever, but they are small and thing melt in there like on a tar in the sun. My road bike is adorned with a top tube food box/bag thing, which has been relocated to stop it touching my knees (can't stand that shit). This gives a new avenue of stowage. And I am always pushing it limit.

So this game starts out with buying clearly a bit too much food for the space available and preceding though the check out with gay abandon. Then arrive back at your bike and realise what you have done. A little dismayed place everything on the ground around the bike. First smart move is to start eating; the biggest pocket is on the inside. Start with things that can be easily crunched or melted. But you won’t feel like that right now, and we went over why you can’t put chocolate in your back pocket. But there were three bars of Moro's for $3 or some other hell’er deal, so in the frame box thing it goes.

That can of drink will sit nicely but briefly in-between your aero bars. By briefly I mean until you go over the curb to get back on the road, then it will smash and you will have to suck what remains following this though a gravely hole in the aluminium.

Packets of chips and biscuits and prime back pocket fodder, no chocolate. They are light and bulky and pretty much won’t go anywhere else anyway. The real problem of these foods comes when it’s time to put it in your face. Unless its real cold and/or wet ditch the gloves, you will only make a mess. Carefully extract the packet and remove unnecessary packaging. Gingerly open the bag while nervously riding no hands or on stably on the aero bars. Then put your non-dominant hand into the bag and hold it to the handle bar. Then watch as the bad rips and the entire contents drops onto the road before you can eat anything. Quickly stop and proceed to pick up and eat as much of what is strewn across the road before a car runs it over.

Then the rain started and I got wet, then cold and it was shit even though I still had chocolate biscuits left to eat. At least it was not let the few days before when I came close to been struck by lightning.

Also the World 24 hour Solo Champs are in a matter of days, wicked.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Training, Yes

So many years of training, all 14 years of using my body to make bikes go fast in varying degrees of speed, time and success. At some stages I have calculated the percentage of my life I have spent on a bike, most its lots, some days it competes well with sleeping. Other days the sleeping is dismissed for more riding in the strange concept of racing that is 24 hour solo’ing.

All madness, all this time and all this worry about the right training. I do love been fit and fast on the bike and I lack not race competitiveness, but there are real worlds out there that hammer on the door when training life is turned on.

Hard things like getting enough sleep, cured by more coffee. Having enough money, resolved by working more. Having enough time to train, solved sleeping less and work less and drinking more coffee.

I have two coaches during the years and they both helped. My last one Andrew Patterson drove a disciplined precise raceme that brought great results and gave me new insight into training with power.

This year is another big race
year and its close again in Canberra. And the balances have shifted slightly since the last times. I now have gainful employment as a self employed person, harbour a caffeine attraction (unrelated) and have no coach.

Yet it’s not all lost. I have few bikes and the will to train and ride. Knowing how my body works after many directed and undirected years has fooled me to believing I know what I am in for.

One of the biggest balance factors is the physical nature of my working life. This has added a great deal to my overall strength and stability on long rides. But it does take away my energy to train during the week and leading up to races. I am not sure that anyone would have good rule to follow here apart from don’t overdo and don’t get injured.

A real asset is my power metered road bike. This coupled with a good deal of experience with it measured accurate sessions are easier. It is also the ‘road bike’ is a grant abrogation of all things pure and neat about road bikes. From 28c tires and mud guards to a power tap and a set of aero bars the machine is focused on only been an ace training device.

So I bound on into the depths of training depravity and it’s acutely quite nice. Long slogs in the raining around the Eastbourne coast to Wainuiomata. The constant madding tirades with thick arrogant drivers. Sideways looks from slicked up roady’s on the latest fad wheels. And loads of time within my head, speaking aloud to no one interrupted sporadically by the odd Katy Perry pop track.

Friday, April 19, 2013

24 Things That Make No Sense

There are no bounds to the length of depravity that we will go for a thrill. Luckily the world is littered with sure bountiful opportunities. In some places at some times other even create set out thrills for others to join and participate in. this can be known as an event.

After many simper events one can grow accustomed to the burn of it all and a new challenge is required. The variation is wide from trickier, more dangers, more stupid or just longer. As the general participants meet the challengers new ones are created. And on and on till you reach something of barrier of human spirit. An event that so completely drains you of will and going further can make participants cry.

So after many 24 hour solo mountain bike races and tears I am just dying to get back into the seat groove of grovel.

This time though I have the bikes, two mighty carbon Santa Cruz’s. And one soon to be red eyed mechanic who we will know as Owen. So physical prep is as good as it gets. Training wise I have been off a bit because my focus lies much further into this year. But I will be falling back on many years of abusing my body in strange ways to get though.

A recent ride home from New Plymouth went pretty well. The only set back been a ride ending puncture thanks to plate glass on highway 1 just north of Waikanae. So this weekend is a big test session for the fitness.

Who knows how things will go, as many have said ‘people in glass houses should be in Rome.’ Skids will be done and my biggest concern is that they might tape off the jumps on Old Chev.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Few Short Things

There was a moment somewhere on the Hutt river trail, on Sunday, as a dropped into another sharp gravel corner where in considered whether I should perhaps be on a more appropriate bike. Now my ‘road bike’ sits in the bike room coated in mud with another 200km on the clock. Later in the ride I rode up a nice climb in the sun with a man on a bike half the weight of mine.

Many a time I have tried to describe what it’s like to ride a bike for lengths of time longer than most people sleep at night. And I guess I enjoy it, all fucked up out where unable to speak clearly and lacking basic motor function. Things get real bent, a sort of withdrawal. I think I leave parts of myself out there, ridden into the roads and tracks between places where others travel too. Those no name locations that I hinge memories of times, states.

And I miss losing my sense and grinding myself into the paste you might find between your sprockets. So Sunday came around and despite the northerly gale I followed though with a near 8 hour stint aboard my ‘roady’ called Bernard. Taking in every off road opportunity too and over the Blue mountains, Akatarawa's and Makara. Just shy of 200km I was not ashamed to be a bit uncomfortable grinding up though central park on the way home.

But so often that I have done these things to myself my body is harder shock. It’s become resilient to abuse, to a point of course. Where it just gets injured and makes me mad. So yes I did get a bit lost and bent but not as much as I am use too, maybe a little disappointing really.

In more understandable news I have a new steed, the Santa Cruz Highball, a wonderful entry into the carbon mountain bike world. From building it up it’s hard to grasp how much this frame will take compared to its weight, which is next to nothing. After a few adjustments I've been enjoy the fine times of light hard-tail riding including three local races finishing in the top two.

With a slightly more trail/aggressive geometry set up compared with other XC based 29’er bikes I've ridden it really shows class on the way down. Coupled with the directness and weight of a hard-tail carbon bike it also climbs like a minx. It’s been quite some time since I raced a hard-tail and its bloody good time. Fully's are still dam sweet but there is something more honest about a hard-tail that gets soaked up in the rear end of a fully and beaten out by a rigid. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Creeping into my thighs is the acid that comes on after 4 hours of salivating over the bent bars. Oh I do love that soft ache of the second half of big rides, pushing though the gentile sting as you stand up into the next climb. The feeling of progress, gain though nice achy pain and will no doubt cause some wicked cramps that will have to be fought though in bed that night.

Joys of training, great stuff, yes I am getting well into the longer rides and the yay times of making my bar tape turn from light pink to off grey, or something. Into the times of chewing though chains, tires, spear time, frames and brain cells. It’s a place I’ve had a break from and I've missed it and all its qwerks and beauty.

One of the joys is getting away and into back roads or the real back blocks on the rigid single speed. Vistas and quiet like nothing achievable even in sleep at home. Well until the phone rings. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Much Love

Two coffees down and winging around the bay talking the smack. Having been though the frozen valleys out of the morning sun I was grateful to have the use of my hands again. The south Alps nicely placed in the distance with lovely cold snow from the past few days. I was grateful that it was not cold and raining as I had been then. The drag out of bed away from comfort had been worth all the inconvenience. A lovely morning spinning the cranks over the grey mass making life a little more inconvenient for motorists and in the eyes of the authorities waiting to die for it. Cherry waves into back windows as their brains steam at our merry riding pleasure obeying rules and been heckled relentlessly. Hey thanks everyone for been so tolerant and not killing me as I deserve, I’ll blow you a kiss next time.