Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Gut Full marathon, from Big Hill events, sponsored by Felt Bicycles has been run and won for the second year. Giant rider Spink was the clear cut winner on the day, from a valiant Paul Redenback (sp.) on a cool but clear day. Early rain during the week bought on quite a few DNS' but it would appear more fool them. The course contained a few mud puddles but most could be avoided, and went off without a hitch.

Rohin, the man and mouth behind BigHillEvents was on the mike, revving up the caffeinated masses.

I travelled out for a look and to potentially help out, ending up merely prowling the course with Gez taking photos of the day. Meeting the riders at various points was good for a giggle and hopefully it gave them a small distraction for a while..

Jack was feeling frisky this morning, perhaps a change in demeanor a product of recent events?

Elite toeing the line...

Mark McDougall, the least photographed man on the Felt Racing team. Whilst I'm sure they have miles of content for that blog, how about an interview with the riders?

Dougie threading his way though the crowd.
And at 9.30 on the nose, they unleashed the elite. And guess who hit the front...

And was followed by a hell of a lot of riders...

Jack offered up this woeful attempt at the skid-on-request zone...

Josh Fleming and co offered up absolutly no attempt... Kill joys..

And then comes along this man..

Skid? I'll show you skid...

'Oh hell yeah, thats a new record' Benny wasn't having the flashest day ever after a large day yesterday on the bike, and was happy to stop for a quick chat. We had a laugh, and sent him on his way.

Matty L was on a good day...

Scott Liston elected to take the long way, going straight for a while before our yelling distracted him just enough to look up and see the track went 180deg the other way...

He was a bit sheepish as he got back up to speed and on his way... We happily reminded him of it until he was well out of earshot :)
Doogie was cleverly hanging on the back of this little gruppo

Or was his tongue dragging in the spokes? Either way, that group splintered later, and a few riders went on to excellent finishes.

But not before they nearly took another wrong turn... So misleading, the crowds of people standing in the bush... That must be the reason, as they came out of the bush then turned the other way (scratches head...)

And finally, Mr Eva out there still smashing around on the long course, complete with smile-on-dial. Word has it there are big plans afoot involving this man...!

So that was the day, hopefully there will be some more photos of a funny experience we had out there, we'll see if the photos turn up.

Tis all, ride on,


Team Felt gets a buddy for Zink...

Aussie Darrren Pokoj to Felt...

Seems that 2 of the most progressive freerider's are now teamed on to the International Felt team. Whilst most people that check this blog probably couldn't give a rats, Darren and Cam Zink absolutely kill every video section and magazine article they feature in, and it means that Felt may step up even further with the development of their new street/dirt bikes, which seeing as I have an older singleshot (which I can't seem to find on the Southcott website?) it means there may be some cool new developments with that! And seeing as there is another epix tracking around in my mind, we shall see....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tommorrow sees the Gut Full Marathon taking place out near Mt Dissapointment, sponsored by Felt Bicycles. By the sounds of the whisperings that I've heard around this week, we should be seeing a large turnout in for the Felt Camp and a solid amount of riders taking up the fully catered feed zones out on course!!!

Jason went and pre-rode the course 2 weeks ago (the full GPS plot, elevations etc) and returned saying it will make a fantastic race course, so we should see plenty of exciting racing. After the excitement of the Solo24 nationals last week, I can only hope we see racing as close as that, to give the spectators/significant others something to cheer about!

There is a thread over at that has all the latest information on it, if you are a participant and need to get ahold of all the latest, otherwise, pack your bags and head on out. With weather clearing, it should be a good day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New fruit

I reckon that Sager said it right:

He's right, we don't got one, but really really would like one :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After all the excitement that was the weekend and the Solo24 National Championship at Canberra, I've got a few days up my sleeve and hit the beach in search of some legs. They were turning over pretty well too I thought, which was then followed by that thought of 'mmm, that rear wheel suddenly felt a little spongy'. Sure enough, Seaford back roads, broken VB bottle, imagine that... But what it did allow me to do was get out my trusty Cycle Design pump.

Yeah I know, it doesn't sound real trick or snazzy, but its a pump. You don't want trick or snazzy, you want air back in your tire and it has to be reliable. I've been using my trusty CD pump for at least 3 years now, and its still going. Always hanging off the side of my bottle cages, its unobtrusive, and reasonably compact. Together with a gauge, which actually seems quite accurate, and the double stroke operation, its a simple few minutes to hit back to 100psi and continue on your way. I run this pump without sealing anywhere, and its never let me down. Through rainstorms, dirt roads, hellish sunshine and everything in between, its proven to be a low cost, ultra reliable pump that I can see I'll be using for years to come. So check out the cycle design range of pumps at your local bike shop, or contact Southcott for your local dealer.

And whilst I was out on the road, I came across a few amusing things. How about Adidas 3 stripe tracksuit pants and high heels..? Niiiice! And confusing billboards like 'generic scripts written here' out the front of a chemist. What does that mean??? Here's a script to fix everything??

But just when you though you'd progressed to an age and stage of elite sandcastle making, someone has to come along and show you how the big boys roll...


Finally, Jason and I are up to our eyeballs in the new Ascend Elite nutritional products, and initial results are in the positive. For the record, we are using both the 'Elite muscle' and the 'Elite recovery' products, as well as the protein catalyst, so stay tuned for more feedback as we road test these products. Keep in mind that Ascend Sport are offering a no obligation free trial of some products through their website, so I heartily suggest getting over there and having a look around. That address again?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The GPS plot of the Wonnangatta ride

Freshly out of the ether, we have finally have the GPS plot, elevations, ride distance and all the associated fun bits from the Wonnangatta Epix.

Check it out here!

And for the direct link to the Google Earth image, which looks pretty impressive, have a clicky here

Big Hill Events Course.

Finally I have the full course for you to check out. Have a look and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section.

The latest news is that the course designers today stumbled across some new single track. They have planned to add this to the course after making a few adjustments. Due to the fact that they both crashed on their first pass.

Here is a photo of Adrian Jackson checking out the course before next weekends battle!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Big Hill Events Marathon (pre ride).

Today Rohin Adams, Adrian Jackson, Nat Dunn and myself met at Wandong to pre ride the 90km loop before next weekends race.The start of the course heads up a fire road climb of about 4kms. You are then rewarded with some sweet single track that weaves its way down, allowing you to take in the scenery of MT Disappointment. The only real (steep) climb is encounted early in the course, but believe me I am not kidding when I mean steep!!

The course continues to switch from fast fire road descents to flowing double track and single track.

Throughout the course you will encounter awesome technical obsticles that will challage your skills.

This course has it all! One thing you definetly have to remember, it is designed to be a marathon race and not the stock cross country race.

One of the big attractions is that they have fully supported feed zones! So no need to worry about food and water throughout the race because it's all taken care of. Even after the race they will be supplying some food for competiters.

Check out the website and the course for the full run down. All you have to decide is which leg to enter in 90kms?, 65kms? or the 36.5kms?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Congratulations to the new member to the Bell Family

Congratulations are in order to the Bell family, with a new boy to be joining the cycling team. Suggestions are in for names, with 'Jason' and 'ash' leading the charge. Jokes aside, we're glad that there was no problems to speak of, all is well, and we look forward to seeing the new and enlarged family around the traps.

Good enough for Wolverine, its good for us!!

Today we were involved in a meeting with the (wait for it, deep breath) general manager, international and sales marketing manager, and the research and development manager of a nutritional supplement under the brand name of Ascend. Now we didn't now much about it but we plan to give it a go! Not to name drop, because we aren't those sort of people ;) , we've been told that people of the calibre of AFL footballers (between you and me), cyclist Jai Crawford, Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine and some other leaders in their chosen pursuits, find ways to use this product.

We have been placed in a brilliant position - and I hazard to say a quite unique position. The management at Ascend aren't really interested in us promoting the product if it isn't working for us. They naturally take the punt that their supplements will assist everyone, but err on the side of caution. The beautiful side to this is that everyone wins if it works out. If their product doesn't working for us, no harm no foul. If it does, we'll be promoting it as something we would chose to use as it works! So expectantly, we wait. We'll punish ourselves in the hope that this product assists us (more about the actual product shortly) and then comes the best part of all. Ascend actually offer free samples through their website! Thats right, you read correctly!

Regardless, patience will be rewarded, wait and see how we go. Over the next few weeks, we'll release a lot more information about the unique products offered by Ascend, and any results we notice, and let you make the most informed decision you can. In my experience, the recovery products I've used have worked reasonably well, but they haven't fitted my needs precisely. Hopefully Ascend will be able to fill that gap, and if it does, we'll be letting you know!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wait, wait, we've got more!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two months in and three EPIX rides under the belt.

It has been two months since we assembled our Virtue Ones, I thought it would be time to review our rides.

To kick this off I must first talk about the XT group set. I can honestly say since we first tuned our bikes back in January I haven’t touched the front or rear derailleur in any way! That’s right, not even to take up cable stretch. When shifting under heavy load it maintains a smooth action. This is definitely noticed on those climbs when you have no choice but search for that next gear just to get you over the top, (Wonnangatta).

As for the brakes, HMMMM brakes! At no point during any of our past EPIX rides have I thought, “I need more stopping power”. These brakes will deliver under any situation. The reach and free stroke adjustments allow you to tune your brakes to suit your style and body shape (small or large hands). Some may say this is a big call but I’m going for it, “They are by far the best brakes I have used”.

The wheels are still rolling! I do believe after the high number of river crossing on the last EPIX the bearings might need some attention soon but beside that all is good. Ash’s tyre choice for all our EPIX has been the Hutchinson Barracuda’s. So far I have heard no complaints, he has had no punctures which is amazing when you look back on some of the trails we have ridden.
I chose to ride an old set of Hutchinson Scorpions. I always pulled these tyres out during winter, and now I remember why!!! They simply wear down the tread to fast in the dry. The aggressive side walls have suited the trails we have encountered, and I have managed to get no flats (so far)!!! But when you are paying cold hard cash for a good set of rubber you want them to last. So its mud for them I say!!

I nearly forgot to mention the new communication toys!! The hand held UHF radios. They worked a treat! They really do work well when on the trails, especially when you want to yell out smart arse comments while descending at 60kms per hr. Most importantly they keep the ride alot safer, allowing all riders to communicate at any given time (CAR UP!!!!).

We have definitely learnt a lot since our first EPIX. We plan to keep searching for the ultimate trails and will continue trying new products to make the journey that little bit more enjoyable.

I hope you enjoy the next pic as much as Ash and Nat did!!?

Jason Jackson

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Over the course of the last Epix, we took a few little videos, which I've just slipped together for your viewing 'pleasure'. Its a good way to get a bit of a feel for the area, although as I watched it again, you don't really get the remoteness feeling that I'd hoped for. But I think you'd need to go to the desert to get that, in reality...

So have a look at this little clip, and we hope you get your head around what were trying to bring to you through the web. A little bit of fun, some amazing scenery, and a damn good challenge. Keep in mind however that we are there to take photos, so any vid's that we collect are just for giggles. Any videographers want to come for an adventure?

Ride on...!

And Ben's bike? A teaspoon of water in the BB the only damage. On his personal bike too! I guess even bikes get hot and it certainly needed a wash...

The final installment of the Wonnangatta.

Over night was another chilly night, just perfect for lying back and starting at the stars. And there is certainly no shortage of them. But we had places to be, and so at dawn we were up and at ‘em again. A breakfast of baked bean toasties in the fire got us going again, some of us were a bit more sluggish than others, but we all agreed we could go a bit more sleep! Pack was a pretty simple affair with only swags and a bit of table action to go, and we were out of there at a pretty reasonable time.

Ben and his hilux had bought something to our attention earlier that we had glossed over as we didn’t want to have to deal with the problem. He’d made it to the Wonnangatta Valley, from Melbourne, without refueling. That meant that now he had a quarter tank, and had to get out. In the valley, its best to look at things in hours, and the climbs and descents on a map don’t give you accurate kilometer readings, so its safe to say we had hours to go. As it turned out, about 5 before we hit a servo. So it was gently gently on the throttle and we hoped like hell we made it. Contingencies included siphoning out of mine, or just a flat out tow, so we weren’t totally stuffed, but it was nervous times for many hours. But you know what, with a tank we assumed was 55 litres, we managed to cram 58 litres when we got to the servo in Mansfield…! So it was low baby, real low!

Anyway, it wouldn’t be an Epix without some drama, so we decided that was that, and away we went. Zeka Spur track was a good way to start the day, and a hell of a climb. Any hard asses wanting to prove a point, you are welcome to this track! I’m not sure it would even make a good descent!? Up and up and up she went, and by the time we had reached the Howitt Plains Road, we were pretty well into it. The sway bar that had come off my truck, and was now assisting the ‘lux with weight distribution, had made a huge difference, and now the big truck was easily walking up some of the steeper rocky tracks. Ben and Nat were sucking huge amounts of dust all day, something I am not envious of, but they made it through with barely a whimper.

The inner trial rider in Ben was too much, and he had to get out (maybe it was just the velvet ride of his truck that made him do it) and run all over this enormous rock field. The lower photo shows him atop the large rock, giving you an idea of the scale of this thing!

Lunch was called for Howitt Hut, and we pulled out the leftovers and had a cookup and a coffee. Kangabangers were the best use of skippy I’ve seen in a while, and tasty!! So whilst we were cooking and chatting away, my truck let out an almighty woosh and continued to leak something at high pressure. Thinking it was a tire, we were all ‘alarmed’ shall we say, as well as ‘surprised’ (in reality, we all s$#t ourselves, this thing went OFF!) and then worked out that it was a blanked-off air line letting go on my truck under pressure. Out came the tradies, tools in hand, and Nat fixed it up best he could in a jiffy.

It wasn’t the only time it blew out either- along the highway at about 90km/h, it let go again, and that definitely sounded like a tyre. Again, lucky us. So its on the list to get fixed…

We saw some funny sights along the way, mostly to do with other trucks, the people contained within and even saw a Honda Accord sitting at the Howiutt Car Park. That would have been a long slow drive, and I don’t care how much of a butcher you are! Being mindful of the fuel and dust situation, we managed to creek out little convoy all the way out to Sheepyard Flats, the site of the first Epix, and by then we’d had a sniff of home and were away! Ben’s fuel gauge just continued to drop, and drop and still the unbreakable hilux plodded on! Amazing!!

Quite thankfully we made it to Mansfield, fueled up and made contact with the outside world…

And in another few hours we made it home…!! And that, kids, is the end of our latest Epix. With 440 photos to sort, videos to make, bikes to service, gear to clean and ‘administrative tasks’ to attend to, work is never done, but the reason that we enjoy these rides so much is we can get away from all that. Riding a bike is ultimately a simple, pure exercise (ignoring the technology and equipment) and doing it in an environment like the Wonnangatta and its surrounds is quite honestly brilliant! We hope that you’ve enjoyed, just a little, seeing what we can get up to, and we hope that you too will be encouraged to get out there and ride your bike for the same very reasons you started – because its fun!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Part 3...

With a healthy ingestion of chocolate to keep matters in hand, and some therapeutic water treatment to aid cramping, we were back, and down low in the valley once more. Rolling along the valley floor in the bull dust, we happened across a few convoys of 4wd, surprising the hell out of one bloke who wasn’t expecting to see 4 disheveled, and skinny looking bike riders out here. Everyone was in equal parts amazed and courteous, which was pleasant and I’m sure it gave them something to giggle about for a while.

We came across the second pseudo house out here has well, a bush built lean to that would be just the thing for a group camp site, with someone having trucked in the iron for the roof, and the rest of the materials look like they had been harvested. Someone back near our main campsite had done something similar, making a few tables and seats out of the surrounding timbers which we became very jealous of… Just after the campsite, the trail headed up again. And it was a ripper.

With water back on board, the climb was a bit easier than the last one, but possibly the steepest one we did! Traction was the big issue, hunkering right down over the bars was about all you could do to balance it out, and I think we may have all had to walk a teeny weeny bit. At least you can see the steepness in some of these photos!

With a bit of relief, we made it to the top, slopped a bit of oil on the chains as they were just shy of talking to us with the amount of noise they were making. The Finish Line Wet Lube we were using was pretty good, it held up to the river crossings for quite a while, but the bulldust really dried it out well. I think we applied lube 4 times in 85km, so that gives you an idea of the terrain we are encountering.

Anyway, the top. Relief at last, and the trail curved around and dropped quite steeply. Dropped quite steeply down to basically where we just rode up from…! Bugger. We had just ridden a massive climb because some clown wanted a challenge and built the only road straight up and just about parallel straight back down. Lucky it was a killer descent! One of the best for the day to be sure!

Riding out the valley, once back on the floor of it, we criss-crossed the river multiple times, each time trying out hardest not to fall off on the slippery river rocks. Plenty of photos, laughs and the awesome feeling of icy cold feet on a hot day. At the end of the valley, we met the Wonnangatta Trk again, and headed back north towards camp, this time taking the low road. My legs had just about had enough, and with another electrolyte tablet from Ben, I was still ticking over. Spending an hour with cramp balanced out on the fronts and the backs of my legs, stopping to get a tab from Ben wasn’t really an option, so I did the ride by. He didn’t expect it, and disaster ensued. Having to stop, my legs did the lock up. Doing that little dance we all do to get off the bike, I jogged/hopped/ran around to try and stop it, but the boys got me back on my bike and with a good shove, I was away again, and peddling was what my legs really needed.

Familiar territory was good for everyone, seeing things that we knew, and in a flash, we were back at the Homestead. Rolling along with one small pinch to go, we made it back to camp and straight into the river. Some of us took that literally (see the video when I do it), but we made it as quick as we could into that river to cool down and recover.

After 9 hours on the bike, we’d covered about 85km and climbed only 2500m. I say only as it felt like about 6000m, simply because of how steep it all is, but regardless it was a solid and entertaining day in the saddle.

A few beers over dinner, and wash up in the river, and we were all feeling human quite shortly thereafter. A bbq meat tray for dinner hit the spot, but by the time it arrived, we were eating it straight out of the pan, such was the hunger.

Still, it was just what we needed, and not long after that, we collapsed into swags, and watched the overhead TV twinkle its little show for about 15seconds before crashing out.

So that’s the ride that was. Tommorow’s installment is about getting out of the Wonnangatta Valley, yet another part of the whole adventure, so be sure to check back.