Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aiming high...

This weekend sees us heading out into the yonder for another adventure, although this one may be a little closer to home. Never content simply to follow, we're looking to step it up in our surrounds, but rest assure that there will be plenty of awesome singletrack, some hills, a damn long day in the saddle based around a theoretical route and plenty of laughs!

Naturally the photos will tell the story, so you shall see!

There has been some NightLightning news of late as well, with Felt Bicycles returning the favour to our friends at NightLightning. Hopefully this week we should have a good little story for you to read, so keep checking back.

In other story news, one of the well known faces of Melbourne mountain biking took a set of Night Lightning Blaasts for a spin a little while back, and is happily in the process of purchasing a set! Apparently he's written a little story as well, but due to technological constraints, we're still working on that one! Rumour has it there may even be a run out special on some of their older stock (and I'll probably get in trouble for saying so) but if you are interested, add to the comments section.

And finally, Jason and myself have been flat out with Ascend of late, and can both report to the positive. We're also using another product that they are offering called Colostrum This is something that I've looked for my entire cycling career, after hearing of its properties though a out-law who spent a few years at the AIS. A quick Google also finds it cracks a mention on ASADA which really only lends to its credibility...! Mentions of items such as IGF-1 pique ones interest, don't they racers!! Rest assured all Ascend products don't step over any regulatory lines, they simple offer the best nutritional supplements going around!

If you are interested in giving Ascend's 'Muscle' and 'Recovery' products a try, get a hold of us as we still have some sample sachets left that we can give you!

Hopefully we'll have some stories for you this week, so check back won't you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mount Dandendong to the You Yangs.

Coming home from work today through Reserch I saw Sam Bach having a blast of a time on his road bike. Taking a look at the weather and the smile on Sam’s face it inspired me to saddle up and head for the Nong’s.

This pic was taken while heading up the tourist road out of Montrose.

As for the weather, once I hit the shadows of the mountain and headed up Ridge Rd the temp dropped just enough to allow me to see my hasty breathing pattern.

I had about three minutes to check out the sunset at the Sky High lookout before all was lost for another day.

And what a view!

If you look close you can see the You Yangs just above the Bay.

Not a bad way to end the day...


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Winter cometh

It was a pretty miserable weekend for bike type action this weekend, but it hasn't seemed to have stopped anyone in Melbourne at least. The blogs have been going great guns recently, giving us all heaps of reading material, with sadly some exceptions including ourselves.

This weekend I had the opportunity to assist the guys and girls at the mtbskills.com.au with their weekend camp at Anglesea. I'm not an advertorial for them, as I was a last minute addition, but they certainly offer a great service for all levels of rider. Check 'em out if you're in the market for some coaching or tuition, at any level.

Down at Anglesea was an absolute mud fest. The clay sticks the sand to everything, and the muddy water serves to wash it through beautifully. All the little tricks like silicon spraying everything, mud guards, 'wet' chain lube, nothing was destined to help in these conditions. Every rider there went thought the better part of a complete set of pads. Amusingly, I had a set of the Innova tractor tyres on, and they shed the mud like they had a teflon coat!

And whilst the weather was poorly, someone took advantage of the falling moisture to add some trail to the works that were started many hours ago... Another 6 hours on the tools sees the trail starting to take some better shape. Oh, the fun to come!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mid week Mullum ride.

Most of us have ridden the Yarra trails now for quite some time. When you get a phone call from Bruce Dickey (Yarra trails guru) that he will be riding from Ivanhoe to the Mullum Mullum trails, linking around 50kms of single track together on a mid week ride, it was definitely one ride not to be missed!

We set off around 4ish which made for a short day at work. 48 seconds later we were riding sweet Yarra trails single track.
Having James Dickey on board kept the ride at a consistant pace from go to wo. Preventing myself, Jim and Neil blowing up to early!

We headed through Yarra Flats, Viewbank and continuing on to Westerfold Park.

With a new Westerfold loop, (HW trail) under our belt we pushed on and popped out the back of Templestowe.

After a punishing climbing we had this view to let the heart rate settle. Not bad for a Wednesday night! Beats watching Big Brother...

You would think in this weather you wouldn't need to drink much. With two hours of solid riding behind us, think again!

This photo was taken when we riding the Mullum Mullum trail at Warrandyte/Donvale. Bruce and James have struck gold with these trails. They just keep on going.

By the end of the 2hrs 53 min ride we had clocked up 54kms. Ascended 850 meters. Check out this link for the full stat's on the ride.

And who said the Yarra Trails have no climbing!!?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mt Herbert with the Hoff (part II)

The part we all seem to love of most rides, occurs often after the toughest part of a ride. The descent that follows a good hard climb is always that much sweeter, and the descent off the side of Mt Herbert was a ripper. Singletrack, fire road and a hell of a lot of rock was a pretty good description of the trail, but damn me it was good fun. With the fox RP23 shocks on open, the rockshox revelations wound out to full travel, it was full gas down the side! Bump jumping the biggest rocks to clear the furthest distance was the game, to avoid getting the hell bashed out of yourself, and I was thankful for the big squishy bag of tyre I chose to ride!

The Hoff put his local knowledge to full use, railing the hell out of the trails. Most of the singletrack that we rode had these berms in it, pretty well the whole day! Usually moto berms are rubbish for pushies, but these were perfect to rail around!

Matt aboard his new Felt RXC Pro was rock solid all day, nipping at Jason's heels every time the trail turned upward, and bummed every time we had to stop at the bottom of a descent as he just wanted it to continue!

Nat was mad for getting into the berms as well, although a few haunting memories of a tabletop gone awry in this area may have given him cause to give the jumps a miss. Helmet shattering incidents sometimes do that...

And as usual, Jacko was taking it to everything he found, including the Bendigo dirt Jumps (the early shots in the vid). There got to a point where the consensus was 'I'm not calling your wife if you f$%k that up!!' And we moved on... ;)

There was a few stops that were made along the way as well, due to untoward mechanical instances. Matt suffered a few problems including a chain issue I'd not seen before, as well as a sliced sidewall, whilst Jason suffered a flat early on, and Matt II suffered one later in the day, so it would appear that Bendigo lives up to its reputation as tough on everything!

Hmm, no air...

Ah ha! A sneaky slash...

I know, lets stick a wrapper in it to stop the tube bulging out!

Gold! And it worked all the way home...!!

Sadly the wrapper in the tyre made not the slightest lick of difference to the chain parting company with itself at a strange spot...?!

Nat was straight into the problem, delivering his complete attention to the imminent problem. Whilst snacking :) Men multitasking; to think they said it couldn't be done!

Whilst the rest of us subscribed to the theory of too many cooks....

And this was the cause of Matt II's deflation. An errant rock had a little bounce around and took the valve clean off. Nasty, and fairly rare in my experience. A tube shoved in, and we were away once more.

Gearing back up we passed a thought that some rides feel short and are actually long, whilst this ride felt quite long, but was actually quite short. Thats a great thing in terms of value on a ride, you can go out for only an hour, but feel like you cover so much varied terrain that you never feel sold short!

The Garmin plot will be up shortly, (I spoke too soon, the link is now here!!) with the area, distances and all the other details that the Garmin 405 has to offer! There is always plenty of information that comes off these plot, and perhaps it inspires you to either check out the area we were in, or perhaps head out on your own little adventure!

And that would be the latest installment of our Epix stories. We hope that you've gotten a bit of a giggle out of it, enjoyed the pictures, and its perhaps made you that little bit more keen to get out amongst it! Without the support of Ascend Sport, Felt Bicycles, Nightlightning for our sensational training aids (lights!!) and the Southcott family of products, we couldn't get out and do these rides. Hopefully in the future, you'll be able to see us getting some coverage in the Freewheel magazines also, so be sure to check that out as well.

Thanks for taking the time to have a read, we appreciate each and every visit you make (and we can see them), so tell your friends, link it where you can, and encourage us to keep making this happen!

I'd also just like to note that our first south American visitor has stopped by! Whilst I do know who it was, and I mentioned he should have a look, its still our first legit visitor from South America!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mt Herbert with the Hoff.

The latest Epix has been a little while in the making, with a few false starts on other Epix due to riders and schedules but better late than never, they say in the classics!! The Mt Herbert Epix was a combination of a great ride, and the opportunity for ex Felt Racing team mate Matt Hoffmann to show us around his original stomping ground. For those who haven't had the opportunity to race, train or ride with Matt, he has the skills to pay many many bills, and regardless of stepping back from racing, he still has more than enough pace to keep the ride frisky. Riding his new Orbea for the first time, there was no settling in period for him, hitting the singletrack not more than 50m from his door and keeping it wide open for hours after that.

For the rest of us Melbourne dwellers, it was an early alarm to drag our carcasses out of bed and caffeinate them into function. Still in the darkness when we all met up on the highway, we cruised up the highway to Bendigo town through the fog and mist.

Clearing just as we reached the Hoffmann Ranch, we were treated to a bluebird, still, and perfect day.

Joining Matt, Jason and myself, was Nat and Matt II who were all ready for another day of adventure.

(Matt, waiting whilst we all faff around with our gear)

(Maybe everyone was waiting for me...?)

We are currently testing a variety of new products for Ascend as well, including an electrolyte drink and some recovery bars, which have the best flavour and texture of any athletic bar known to man! Think choc-mint Aero bar!! The prima packs are a handy single serve of the energy drink, and with a bit of water in a bottle, they worked well with a mild sweet flavour.

Rolling out the gate, we headed off into the unknown for us.

Less than a kilometre from the ranch, Jason succumbed to the first flat of the day, caused by a rock hard thorn penetrating the tyre. A quick change and we were away once again.

I know you all love my self portraits!!

Food time!!

Here's Nat, who has actually found a use for one of those silly bento box things that were given away at the Mont 24 years ago. Thats also an ex Felt Racing team bike, still loving service out in the real world, and going exceptionally well!

The first loop took us back towards Bendigo through some awesome singletrack, tight and weaving, and much more enjoyable when not at full race pace.

Hell, often it was just the 'gun show'... Makes skinny blokes want to ride a bit faster to make up of a lack of something?

After Jason's first flat, we were happy to play around and not take many photos, and we popped out back in town.

Rolling through the industrial part of Bendigo in full kit was pretty amusing, and we got some funny looks, let along motoring incidents. They don't seem to be all that keen on cyclists out this way, at least not the people we encountered. Perhaps they could sense that we weren't local...?

This little bit of a hindrance is apparently the done thing for riders in this area. The shotgun shells kinda inferred otherwise.

Up you go boys! On the right of shot, just along that treeline, is a motorbike 'widowmaker' where the only way you'd make it up is total commitment - getting halfway and deciding against it is totally not an option. We laughed about trying to ride it in granny ring on the grass, but even that was too tough an ask. Not even Randall could ride it...!

Umm yeah, we're going up there...

There are some steep climbs out this way, and the view from Mt Herbert makes it worth while. Whilst the climbs don't go forever, they're certainly are tough on the legs, and the rocks make it particularly hard for balance and traction. I found myself climbing with some success with the pro-pedal off on my Virtue 1, allowing the bike to still use full travel and keep the wheel in contact with the ground. Descending on these bikes was just awesome - pro-pedal off, and find the biggest rocks to boost the furthest over all the scree. The 2.3 tires were awesome, fast rolling and as Pirahnas are known for, their awesome predictability! I'll post about how the clearance went in a different post.

Under the watchful eye of our state champion (veteran), I bludged off Matt until the last possible moment then rolled him for the top. Yep, thats my story, and I'm sticking to it! I think in reality it played out a little different, but you can't take the racer out of the boys, even without a number plate.
So the view was pretty good for up here in the flatlands eh!

Lunch time, after plenty of awesome bermed singletrack, a few climbs and a whole lot of sweet trails.

Now what was I saying about shotguns??

Now is that 'team' or what ;)

And with that, we're off again. When you come up this high, the only way for you to go, is down!! We'll cover the second half in part 2, and add some more photos as they come to hand!!