Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We think Jason has dined out enough of the back of his success on the weekend, so we thought we should bring to your attention some excellent performances in the racing arena over the week!

Trent and Richie England killing it at Tour de Georgia (interview videos on BigMak's site)
Offenberg WC #2
Chris Jongewaard 29th
Lachie Norris 47th
Paul VD Ploeg juuuuuust pulled on time limit...
D-Mac - sick and tired, lap 3 retirement.

Dellys Starr 38th
Emma Colson - juuuuuust pulled as well.
Rowena Fry - same time.

On the back of Jason's victory last weekend, we headed out together for a road hitout with the fitzroy crew on the beach. It turns into a smash fest every week, and this week was no exception. Full asthma cough, the works, and you know you're hittin' it hard! Jase and I had a good bash along the beach, giving it everything, so thats always a nice way to spend a night.

Back into the Ascend as well, and the legs feel like nothing has happened! Too easy with that stuff! :)

Whilst it would have been nice to get the Nightlightning iBlaast out on the road, its kinda frowned upon as the street lights provide enough soft light, and the brilliance of the Night Lightning's would upset a few people as everyone rolls turns so regularly. So they stayed in their box for tonight, although our flashing Smart lights helped keep us safe. Speaking of which, word is that we'll have some new design Smart lights hanging off our bikes shortly, so we wait and see what they've dreamt up!

Finally, some new tools arrived for us from IceToolz, just some small items, but quite handy by the look of it! I've not broken them out in anger yet, but we'll see how they go. By the looks, there is a chain checker with instructions on how to use it - very handy! And also a set of 'chain holders' which take the tension off the chain whilst you use a breaker to get it apart. So I'll give them a run and see how they go!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Victoria XC State Champs.

Yesterday I ventured out to the State Champs at Upper Beaconsfield, and what a day!! With our new sponsor Ascend stoking the fire, and a solid block of higher intensity riding under my belt, I decided I needed to see how I was really going. Regular wednesday nights were going well, being comfortably in the mix, and I needed to let it off the leash.

The guys at Dirt Riders decided to run the usual course backwards which worked really well. The course felt like a super fast, technical, BMX track, with the reward of a fast flowing descent after each climb. This, in my book is a mixture that keeps you coming back for more, kinda handy when you're lapping in the multiples!!

As for the race, (sounding trumpets) I am now the Victorian State Champion, in veteran class, which sound pretty cool to me!!

As for the race itself, I decided to test the legs of myself, and the rest of the vets. With the course being tight and leaving not much room to pass I knew it was important to get a good start and than settle to a rhythm that would see me out for the race. I've gotta be honest, I felt great! I definitely started to fade in the last lap but that’s expected when I haven’t raced since the Kona 24hr in December. I am stoked with the final result and the lap times, and you never know, I may go back next year to defend my title!!

My new race machine worked a treat! I have not changed a SINGLE thing on this bike and straight out of the box, it is race ready. The Juicy 7 brakes are super strong with so little effort required which saves energy, and makes you faster by being able to brake later. The frame feels stiff on the climbs, and forgiving on the descents. The SRAM XO drivetrain just simply works first time every time, in any condition, and the Easton wheels are light and still straight which always helps ;)

And so I went home to the family one very happy man! A trophy in one hand and a six pack in the other.

What more would one want in life!!?

'Ascending' the box

Well how about that! Jason decided to strap on a number this weekend, having realized that he was still packing some decent race legs, and handed out a great performance. In response to a hasty text message, the response was the he was the 'first old bloke to finish'. You check the results to see if his modesty is deserved.

I'll squeeze a race report out of him whilst we plan the finer details of the next Epix, and I'll see if we can't scrape together some photos of the man. But from the outer, I'd be tipping that his new Felt RXC hardtail played a pretty major roll, and that the Ascend has really started to take its full effect. It would appear that solo rider John Claxton has also been welcomed into the ascend family, and I would hazard a guess that few do it harder than him, so stay tuned to see how it works!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

With another glorious Autumn weekend upon us, Jason, myself and loyal families headed up to the beautiful alpine area. A mission after the real world ended on friday took us to Yea for a great parma, and then onwards through the 'controlled burns' (contradiction, I ask??) to the awesome King Valley.

Waking next morning to kookaburras makes you realize how cool this country really is, that 2 city dwellers can make the effort to get out on any given Friday, and be surrounded by nature with so little effort. Road bikes were the order of the weekend, with out F1c's being the perfect bike for some serious climbing, and absorbing the harsh alpine bitumen.

We stopped in for supplies at Gapsted Winery, picked up our cheeses and breads in Milawa, and caught our dinner of fresh trout all on the way to the hill.

Yep, we travel light, bare essentials 'tis all... All of this is essential to ride 30km uphill, alright! Even the 30m drum of electrical cable, all of it!!

Accompanying us on the weekend is the Fatties XC President Joel (Total Rush), desperate to spend some time out of Melbourne not 'testing' CFA fire appliances.

Joel was all over the camera during the early stages, great as there is very few photos of Jason and myself! On an awesome day, the partners were in the car convoy up the hill whilst the boys got to pedal our way up.

She's a tough climb on any given day, but it has to be one of the better ones as it has so much variety to offer! With steep pinches, trees growing back after fire damage, all the way up to the barren upper slopes, this climb would challenge anyone.

I though I just had a flat tyre, apparently this is how Jason saves his energy for the kick on the upper slopes. The seatpost drag, an oldie but a goodie ;)

I don't know what I was so happy about, the top is that ridge line over to the left of photo.

Making shadow puppets seemed hilarious. At the time...

With 30km of straight climbing, you know all about it, and the cold slightly thin air leaves you sucking in the big ones.

Speaking of barren...

And that was pretty well the last I saw of the boys... I think they're packing a few more horsepower than me at the moment, so I amused myself with taking photos, maintaining a cadence of about 6rpm...

Jason seems to think he's some sort of tour guide.

I taught him everything I know! (It didn't take long...)

And finally, looking down from the top, you can see the backburns/fuel reduction burns in progress, and it makes you a little uneasy sometimes... Standing on top of a hill, looking down at fire surely can't be the best course of action.

With the climb up in the bag, a great weekend was had in the meantime, and that left just the descent to be complete. This is a killer ride, the first third is crazy exposed high speed nerve testers and a few climbs. The middle third is a lot of false flats and hard work to keep the speed up, and the final section is one of the best descents around. No photos here, just car chasing and keeping it wiide open. Do this descent at least once, and more if you can manage, as its a killer!! :)

So thats us for another adventure! Our bikes were flawless both climbing up the hill, the ridiulous light weight and stiffness makes them an absolute weapon and curiously comfortable at the same time, whilst on the way back down they just carved up the corners with poise and control. The dura-ace brakes were spot on as usual, with some corners getting so wild that the rear end was up and skipping around under brakes, such is the power that they offer up front. They really haul you down, and let you leave that braking for much later!

And finally, the Ascend product really seems to giving us some great results. We've managed to get our hands on some sample packs as well, so if you'd like to give Ascend a chance, get in touch with us and we'll hook you up with a sample pack. Leave a comment and we'll get back to you!

Plans are falling in place for the next Epix as well, and there are whispers of even further reaching adventures...!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How was your weekend??

Ours was really good...!

More to come.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All the latest from Ascend Sport.

Grab a coffee kids... Now sit down and let me tell you a little story... Well you know me, its never a short written story, but hook in anyway.

I wasn't quite sure how I should go about approaching this post, but the more I think about it, I decided that front on would be the best approach. I have an issue with the Recovery supplement that I was supplied. Now you naturally may see the word 'issue', and this that there is something wrong with the product, but nothing could be further from the truth. The issue is with me, and this story serves mostly to highlight the type of people that stand behind these product.

The problem I have stems from a bit of a misadventure, and is a reasonably funny story in its own right. Back a few years ago, a mate and I realised that a local creek flooded on a heavy rain storm, set up a high tension line above a rapid, with a ski handle on a pully below it. One was then able to stand on a bodyboard and surf the standing wave produced by the rapid in high flood. Awesome!

Not so awesome, the cats, possums and shopping trolley's that also inhabit this creek on flood...
The creek looked a great deal more like this...

Result - Giardia for me. Misdiagnosed for a while as its reasonably rare in downtown East Malvern (unless you swim in creeks..) 6 months of quite brutal drugs, after 3 years of CFS and I'm left with what we will call a temperamental digestive system. Things like onion, garlic, certain preservatives and a few vegetables are ones we have identified as bad news, with more adding as we go.. So its pretty ordinary, and makes me almost the boy in the bubble some days.

My problem with the Recovery, and only Recovery, stems from what we believe is an intolerance to a few (or those who know me might say a lot) particular parts of some foods. After my first attempt at the product, I had reasonably unpleasant reaction, but decided to persevere. After a few different attempts with different concoctions, we reached the conclusion that it was in fact the Recovery, and I discontinued its use. I made my observations and experiences clear to the guys at Ascend, and we agreed to have a call conference to talk about it. The guys were especially keen to have a chat, apparently this was the first they'd heard of any problems.

Present amongst others was Dr. Ross Crittenden, who has recently joined MG Nutritionals as R&D Manager for Biologics and Nutrition, with clinical research expertise in food allergy and food intolerances. I'd say he'd be a pretty good bloke to have a chat to about this drama! So we had a good chat about the problems and symptoms that I experienced and decided on the back of that conference that the problem for me lies somewhere in the flavour compounds used, and agreed to trial some new 'flavours' (its not like just adding milo here people...) over time to see if there is something in them that is not agreeing with me.

Regardless of my problem, the point of this story is once again, to show that this product is made by people who have a detailed understanding of the needs of athletes, the aims and goal with which they aim to achieve and how Ascend can be of assistance to everyone of them. This is a case of the actual manufacturer taking on board feedback from the real world and factoring it into their product. This can only lead to a better product for everyone out there, and for me included!

Finally I must add, in a twist of irony, that it turns out the 'Recovery' product is not the best suited to my needs in the first place. After discussing how and why we use these products, it became clear that the 'Muscle' product is more suited to my needs, in conjunction with the Protein Catalyst. In the next post, I'll go into a bit more detail on which products we use and why we use them, but everyone has done well to get this far!

Thats enough reading for one day, everyone. Well done!

The Latest from Nightlightning

And so here we sit with the latest and brightest incarnation from Night lightning. Fresh out of the mail, excited athletes around the world always look forward to new goodies that they can use, and hopefully offer some constructive suggestions to the manufacturer to improve their product in real world scenarios.

Jason and I have had a relationship with the guys at Night lightning now for over 3 years, and we are proud to say that the combination has produced both some excellent results and improvements, in equal parts. The combination of excellent quality lights, and using them to the fullest of their ability has contributed to an awesome product available to absolutly anyone.

The latest parts to make their testing debut are the new multi fit pad for the helmet, where previously the Velcro was required on any helmet used. The Velcro, and I've said it before, isn't anything like standard Velcro, this stuff is amazing. I'd almost trust it more than a standard mount on hook and loop tape; this stuff is incredible. Regardless, the multi fit plate is a great new acquisition for people who need to change setups, whilst others can still use the original arrangement.

The new iblaast is controlled via an internal switch on the back of the light. The electronics inside the unit allow you to modify all light output settings. All these little tricks help increase your run time.Over the past three years we have found the 14.8volt, 2.2 ah, batteries to last around 3hrs 15min on full power.

We have raced and trained with these lights in all conditions for three years now and they simply just keep working!

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask us or nightlightning. If you are interested to demo a set, come to the FTF wednesday night ride.

After wednesday night, there been a few questions about the ride, and I guess all the hard data would be contained in this GPS plot from Grover who did this wednesday night. Its got speed, elevation, and everything you could ever need. In actual fact I believe that you can download this data, put it into your own Garmin 305, and follow the same route.

For those interested in getting on board the GPS market, my Edge 305 will be coming up for sale shortly. It still has the box, all the leads and disc and the like, and is good to go! Check back later as details firm up.

Also whilst we speak of future plans, the new 09 Felt Range is slowly starting to make its way into living colour, and I can tell you that an exciting new road bike is on the horizon. Which means that ya'll better start the savings plans up, as there will be an awesome F1C up for sale! Full Dura Ace, Ceramic bearings, Ksyriums, High Modulous Carbon, and sneaking over the UCI weight limit only just!

More to come over the weekend, as well as a Nightlightning first look, and some more news from Ascend Sport. Enjoy it out there!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dented panels

Fatties ride is always a good one, well I think so anyway. I guess seeing as I'm not there week in, week out, maybe I have a little more perspective than some. Regardless, riding in from near Caulfield, it makes for a kinda long day and with Bellie being unreceptive to my ESP suggestion of riding home with me, I was in for a long one... Fortunately Troy was able to keep me company for a while before he flatted again, making it a pretty ordinary night for him.

Choma here, checking out his 'guns' on the right...

JD, getting his stock portfolio squared away.

There was a huge turn out once again, for a warm night at Ivanhoe, and with some confusion as to which way we were going, I took off in the direction I wanted to go, and the rest kinda just happened. Probably 20 people headed out of the city, with the rest heading in, and into the land of fallen trees.

Jack, ready to smash the field at the enduro this weekend, as well as rocking a great set of Nightlightning Lights.

With plenty of timber laying down in little piles, it was a constant squawk of warnings of 'tree' and 'log' and when you couldn't see but knew there was a hazard, 'something!' Log jumping was the order of the night, and the other trend seemed to be either falling over (not me, thankfully) or shoulder charging trees (err, me...) I think I have dents in all my corners after last night.

Two extremely fun riders to ride with, both of whom laid it over in front of me at different points. I'd laugh more, but usually its me doing it to them, so I'll be quiet!

I really love the trails out that way, as well as the names too. The Nightlightning lights also turned up last night, so I'll have some pictures and a few details on them later today, but I noticed quite a few sets out there, burning up up the dust. There was also a few homemade sets causing their owners some grief, so I stand by the fact that quality products is money well spent.

In all, a great little ride, and well benefited from splitting the group apart in terms of numbers. The dust is pretty mental out there, we need to get it watered down before we arrive... ;) Volunteers?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Under construction

Here's a bit of tease to see whats around the corner...

In other news, Nightlightning's latest offerings are also just around the corner, in transit as I type. We're not quite sure what will be tumbling out of our bag of goodies, but we're assured its the very latest that Nightlightning have to offer! So you know we'll be out there giving them a good run, hopefully we'll have pictures of the latest models for you tomorrow night, in time to influence your decision for your winter light purchase! And how much easier is it when a company is prepared to list its prices!

And finally, Jason has taken delivery of his new hardtail, a Felt RXC Team and from first reports, its a weapon. I guess there is still racer left in the man, good to see!!

Tomorrow night we'll be seeing many of you out at the Fatties ride, and those of you that can't make it, we'll you can just live vicariously. The next Epix is taking shape at the moment, staying under wraps as usual, but its now forming its way out of the concept stage.