Thursday, July 31, 2008

An intro to XC racing, 2nd Aug.

The session is aimed at intermediate mountain bikers who do a far bit of mountain biking and would like to give XC racing a go for the 1st time.

What time: 9am

Where: Westerfolds Park
Just off Fitzsimons Lane – “Canoe Launching”
(Melways Ref. 21 F12)

What to bring: Mountain bike in good running order (ie. front suspension, clipless pedals etc), helmet, shoes, water, riding food etc.

Duration: 1/2hr briefing / discussion before a 1.5 - 2hr mountain bike ride around the tight and twisty Yarra Trails. Cost: If you already have a MTBA licence, there is no cost. If you don’t have a MTBA licence, you’ll need to fill in a $5 participation permit. You don’t need to be a FTF member. We’re not aiming to make money from this session, but like to encourage new riders to the XC race scene.

We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Felt single speed.

Finally after many years of wanting to build a single speed I got off my you no what and completed the dream.My new Felt Q920 single speed. The frame is new along with the ozriders grips, as for the rest, I purchased second hand folks, running gear, brakes and wheels.
I decided I needed to spend some quality time on the new steed, so I rolled/spun down to the regular FTF ride. With the weather not looking to flash Rohin insisted on wearing his new rain jacket.
Ten minutes into the ride no more jacket…
Stand aside I will fix it!
Nightlightning iblaast light set, one does feel a little greedy with so much light.

As for the SS, l loved it! Once I got over the fact that I have only one gear and my thumbs stopped twitching I was left wanting more of this new-old method of riding a MTB.

Get rid of your ab machine and get yourself a single speed!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chasin the 'sun'

Rain, rain, what happened to the drought??

Well there wasn't much sun out there, but the Anaconda Enduro series round at Lysterfield went off without a hitch, albeit a soggy, soiled hitch...

Rich was soothing the shivering riders with his dulcet tones, and keeping all and sundry up to date with the latest from the 24Solo worlds.

The track copped a bit of a hammering, as you would expect with a race so popular, and there was some very dirty looking people and equipment returning... I was out there to deliver the shiny new trophies

from race sponsor Stonnington Rennovations

And to support the guys and girls at Felt Racing

Everyone was coming back preeety muddy, and with ex Felt Racing member 'rubberlips' Rhinomaking the trip down from sunny Queensland, he was getting pretty over the horrendous conditions..

Perhaps pictures will say it better than words.... and everyone loves pictures!!!

Jack busy on the maintenance side of things.

Jack, like a coiled spring, just waiting to attack the track again. Or something...

Randall found a clean patch...

But it was a lonely clean patch...

Big Paulie V made the trip down to S'Melbourne, for reasons that were becoming increasingly hard for him to remember as the day went by...

ah shit yeah, this is the best thing ever....!

Cheese, and mud, courtesy of Mr Liston

Booty fab is baaaack!! When you really need it, you just get 'er done! Hutchinson packaging, doing double duty as a crud catcher.

And as usual you can find all the good oil about the racing at any number of blogs on the right hand side, or at Full Gas Promotions

Tinker Withdraws

Its all happening!

Tinker has withdrawn from the race...!!!

That puts Willow back in the box seat, with Jason English in pursuit.

Bailey leads

Troy has managed to sneak up into first place* in the race at midnight, here's hoping he can hold it!

Tinker has snuck past Willow and extends his lead...

Joel Donney is sitting in 3rd place*

*age group

Breaking news

I would appear that Johnny has been forced to pull the pin at the World 24 Solo's. We can't imagine what it must feel like to have to make that decision, and know that Johnny is one of the hardest men out there, so the decision could never have been taken lightly. I'm sure he'll tell the full story over on his blog, so swing by there to read all about it when he's ready to talk...

John Claxton

In the latest update, Tinker has now surged ahead of Willow, with Fenner (blog to the right) making it into 5th, and Jason English (also on the blog role) keeping them honest in 3rd.

As the wise say, there is still a long way to go...

Willow leads Tinker

And Tinker is looking rattled...

check the video

Results are at Adrenaline live, keep on checkin back for more!!

Chase the sun pics to come shortly as well...!

4 hours in...

Male - Elite
1.James Williamson (AUS)
2.Tinker Juarez (USA)
3.Kelly Magelky (USA)
4.Jason English (AUS)
5.Jeff Toohey (AUS)
-all at 3 laps-

Female - Elite
1.Jennifer Gersbach (USA) - 3 laps
2.Rebecca Rusch (USA) - 3 laps
3.Kate Aardal (NOR) - 2 laps
4.Katrin Van der Spiegel (AUS) - 2 laps
5.Carena Dean (CAN) - 2 laps

The weather seems to have passed...

Latest results :

Male 40-44
1.Craig Bartlett (CAN)
2.Carl Maroney (AUS)
3.Shaun Kinna (AUS)
4.Gary D'Aluisio (USA)
5.Gary Buxton (CAN)

Female 40-44
1.Kim Birgh-Pitkanen (USA)

Male 45-49
1.Craig Peacock (AUS)
2.Shaun Taylor (CAN)
3.Dave MacDowell (CAN)
4.Mario Roma (BRA)
5.Charles Mortensen (USA)

Male 50-54
1.David Braddick (AUS)
2.Rob Robson (USA)
3.Douglas Smith (USA)
4.Don Mcphalen (CAN)
5.Tomek Razniewski (POL)

Female 60+
1.Wendy Skean (USA)

Unnofficial results *live*

Male Under 25
1.Joel Donney (AUS)
2.Thomas Lindup (NZL)
3.Taylor Lideen (USA)
4.David Diamond (USA)
5.Kurt Defreitas (CAN)

Male 25-29
1.Michael Cotty (GBR)
2.Andy Fellows (AUS)
3.Dariusz Sawicki (POL)
4.David Huntley (CAN)
5.Phil Puurunen (CAN)

Male 30-34
1.Travis Hauck (CAN)
2.Keith Batstone (CAN)
3.Tim Ferres (AUS)
4.Jean-Francois Rapatel (CAN)
5.Brian Whatley (CAN)

Female 30-34
1.Grace Hiom (CAN)
2.Megan Culham (CAN)

Male 35-39
1.Mike Gaertner (USA)
2.Troy Bailey (AUS)
3.Erik Auger (CAN)
4.Anthony Manning (AUS)
5.Dan Stern (USA)

Female 35-39
1.Laureen Coffelt (USA)

World 24 Solo Champs

They're off...! Or on, as the case may be.

Results just in are:

Elite Men - 1.Kelly Magelky (USA) 2.Tinker Juarez (USA) 3.Jeff Toohey (AUS) 4.James Williamson (AUS) 5.John Claxton (AUS)

Elite Women - 1.Rebecca Rusch (USA) 2.Jennifer Gersbach (USA) 3.Kate Aardal (NOR) 4.Katrin Van der Spiegel (AUS) 5.Carena Dean (CAN)

Single Speed Men - 1.Lonn Bate (CAN) 2. Steve Fassbinder (USA) 3.Dereck Fish (USA) 4.Greg Martin (USA) 5.Ray Porter (USA)

Aparently the rain and wind are picking up, and everyone is scrambling to get everything in order for a weather change.

There is a start video posted on the Adrenaline site, you can see it here

I saw Johnny and English in the mix, and I think I saw Willow getting along there as well.

So, links to riders are now on the right, I'll post as much as I can find out, and we'll see how it all pans out!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another chilly early winters morning greeted us today, Jason and myself rolling out on the hell ride, with almost a complete set of po-po. Missing was only the copper chopper and we would have had the box set.... Seems like everyone had their SBS form today, a mind addled by watching really skinny fast guys chop each other to bits, and bought their legs that have spent the past 3 weeks sittin in front of the tube. Choppy choppy it was, but its all part of it. Big bunch too, mind.

Jase getting a noseful of pit.

It was bloody cold this morning, nice and clear, but watching our new Echowell cycle computers, we watched the temperature dip as low as 2 degrees down at Mt Eliza. It took a concerted effort to stay on top of our breathing in the cold air, as your body tries to make you take short breaths of cold air.

These new cycle computers that we've gotten a hold of, are great. The usual Echowell features like total waterproof-ness (is that a word?) and reliability are present, but this R2 brings added features like a thermometer, dual wireless operation of cadence and speed, the ability to swap between two bikes and cumulative totals of each ride, each bike and both bikes. With some nice low profile looks, easy fitment (done whilst not paying attention and watching the tour) and reliable performance, its a winner straight out of the box. Check out the Echowell R2 at your local decent bike store, they go pretty good! And on the plus side, they are very affordable!

Jason has also promised to edit up some video from last weeks ride too, so that should be coming to you shortly!

**edit; you also may notice that we've added another slide show to keep things moving. Pretty pictures 'n all! :)**

Friday, July 25, 2008

So we'd hoped to have some pretty pictures and such for you by now from during the week, but we're still working on it...

In the meantime, its all about Le Tour at the moment. My personal 10 ten in a sweep we had included Trevor in 3rd GC (hey it also had voelker in the top 10!) but regardless of the placings its still a great race and here's hoping Cadel gets some mongrel in him and smashes it to the yellow on saturday!

We should have some pictorial evidence for you shortly, 'till then enjoy the tour, the late nights and the lovely cool days!

This shot made me laugh from 'hardman' Tristan Bennett.

It was with the story (paraphrased) .... "Gone to Mt Bogong, back when my food runs out, good training for solo24 nationals...."

Mad bastard, I love it!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nice to see we're getting some shoutouts from the other side of the world!

Johnny, fellow Nightlightning rider, has landed in downtown Canmore for the World Solo 24hour champs, with Nightlightning rider Troy, and John think's he's found a ride that we might like!

Check it out

Good luck to all the Aussies over there - Jason English, Mark Fenner, Joel Donney, Carl Moroney, Craig Peacock, Troy Bailey, and let me know who we've forgotten in the comments?! Any Ladies racing??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Whats been happening??

For the most part here at Felt Epix, it was a pretty long recovery from the Grampians Epix. Its not a normal action for us to run on flat ground, so to run across the cliff tops was pretty tough, but thats all good in the end.

Le Tour has been going well, with some crazy late nights and not a lot of sleep in the camp. Last nights stage was just awesome, Jens Voigt is some other sort of animal the way he pulled to the bottom of Hautacam. Naturally its good to see Cadel in yellow, but moreover its good to see him being personable to the cameras and actually wanting to hear what he has to say. He actually sounds like a real person! Tech is here for those interested!

In the latest news from the 24hour Solo MTB worlds in a very short time, its appears that Troy Bailey has joined the Nightlightning camp, with a set of Digital Blaasts in his hot little hands in readiness for the big race in Canada. Hopefully he'll have a review up on his blog shortly, let you all know how they go for him. I know that I've been scaring hookers and motorists (alike, not together, except for that one time....) in StKilda of late, commuting to work in the dark each day, and I'm loving them rain hail or shine. We do still have a demo set that are available to have a test ride with, feel free to drop us a line and organize a ride.

And finally, Ascend have provided us with a fresh supply of sample satchels of 'Muscle' and 'Recovery'. I've been using the 'Muscle' and the colostrum every day, with milk, ice and a banana to great success. Wizz it all up in blender and away we go! Health and strength are better than ever. Check out the range on offer at Ascend, they've got everything you need, and with the introduction of quite honestly the best tasting bars every, we're sorted!!

Make sure that you never get into a position like this again.... Poor Absalon, you have to feel for the guy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Night sweats have stopped!

After reading the Grampians post I felt the need to elaborate on the ride.

Around six months ago I suggested to Ash that we should hit the Grampians for one of our Epix rides. With Ash replying “that’s a great idea, I once walked/hiked that area in grade ten, I know some tracks…”. From there, we searched Google earth and some random maps to create a ride that would suit our needs. Mental note- *don’t design a ride from a web site at 20,000 feet and some year ten memory of a boy who walked/hiked/CHASED SKIRT (hey, hey, there was none of that, -Ash) through the Grampians*.

The starts of the ride proved truth to the saying “no pain no gain”. Fortunately at this point, the gain out weighed the pain.

With the first climb major climb out of the way, we headed to the start of the walking track. At that point it all literally went down hill, so to speak.

This photo sets the tone for the next 5 hours.

One would think after reading this notice board we should have changed our route!??

This was the last photo that I took of Ash before we realized all was not well...

The ride, sorry I meant run, all turned pear shaped after we finally reached Major Mitchell Plateau. The track, it turned out, was designed to be ridden by Andrew Dickey on his trials bike.

We ran,walked,hopped, jumped,climbed and occasionally rode for the next three hours, only to find more and more rocks ahead.

At this point I must admit I started getting a little concerned. No, let me rephrase that, I was shitting myself! The thought of being stuck on a massive rock for a night in Lycra didn't appeal to me in any way. At this point I said to Ash "maybe it's time we call for help", thinking I have ambulance cover and we can get a private helicopter ride to a safe place. Sadly Ash replied "do you think they will send help to us? We have food, water, reasonably fit, have radio contact and no one is hurt . They'll just tell us to find a safe place and sit the night out". After hearing that I wanted to change the 'no one is hurt' part to the story, but decided against it as he is a lot bigger than me. So we continued to run some more.

As the sun started falling from the sky and we could see our breath in the air, we reached yet another cliff to pass our bikes up. We decided if the terrain didn't change soon we would leave our bikes and collect them tomorrow. Fortunately our 'luck' changed and for the next six km's the track (in sections) was rideable.

Happy times all round!!

Moral to my story is, plane your adventures carefully, take heaps of food and water and never ever trust the memory of a boy going through puberty, it will only get you in trouble.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Washing up, the carnage comes...

Jason's once good shoe.

Now with both main buckles feeling very sorry for themselves, and the soles will never be the same...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It isn't always smooth sailing...

(please excuse any typo's or errors, its been a long weekend....)

I had to laugh when I looked down at the last post that we put up before we left for the Grampians. Something along the lines of its 'going to be a good one'. Well it was a good one, but perhaps not for the reasons that we were expecting...

Friday night as per usual we rolled out of Melbourne straight into peak hour, and headed west in the direction of the Grampians. This Epix saw just the two of us out there, but none the less we were happy to be getting out!

(BYO redwood sleepers for firewood - camp oven cooking is the bomb!!)

The western highway delivered us to the refuge of the Burra-something pub near Ararat for a surprisingly good Parma, and we also got totally up to date with the latest soil pH and rainfall courtesy of the locals. They also contended that we get 'quite a lot of snow down in Melbourne', so I think it had been a long friday sit-in for some of them....

We set up for the night sometime around midnight at the Borough Huts, a campsite a handful of kilometres from Halls Gap, with the shiny new camper trailer!

With the comforts of home on hand, warm porridge and coffee were brekky, although there was a marked lack of hasty movement due in no small part to the sub zero temperatures. Everything was frozen, from the gas struts on my tail gate, to my car keyless entry remote - nothing was working, but a bit of ingenuity and everything was back to normal.

As we began to thaw out, we got ourselves ready to rock and headed off into the sunshine. It was a beautiful morning, but just as we strapped helmets on, the first puff of breeze swept across the campsite. It sent a bit of a chill through us, but with clear skies and the forecast to hold, we were right, no wurries maaate!

Looking down the barrel of another mission on the bikes, the plan was formulated using some hazy 14 year old memory, parks vic maps, google earth and a healthy dose of confidence. We'd planned a loop of the southern end of the Grampians, taking in Mt William (the highest point) and the escarpment that runs south from that point, and a long run back up the Gramps on a low-lands (valley floor) linking trail. All pretty straight forward, plenty of information on the tracks, I'd done at least part of it at school and knew it was going to be a challenge, but nothing like how it turned out... Its amazing what the mind forgets, isn't it!

Climbing up to Mt William was perfect straight from camp, with heart rates up and bodies staying warm. It was so cold we could care less that we were climbing on bitumen, but all the people that drove past thought we were nuts!

This shot is for ex-Felt Racing teammate Ryan, who had a throughly miserable day over at the World Marathon champs, so I thought he might get a laugh from this wheelie shot. He's been known to wheelie entire hors cat. climbs, so this is my feeble attempt to replicate it.

Hell of a view though....!

Hello trusty steed! Our Felt Virtue ones were just the ticket today. 5" of travel was used almost constantly whilst we were able to ride, and the pro pedal was pretty much the best thing ever! By flicking a switch, the bikes just raced downhill in full control (note; the bikes were in full control. The riders, wellllll.....) We were loving it! Tyre wise, we were both on pythons and the big bag of the tyre was great over all the sharp edge rocks.

Happy days going up the climb! We climbed about 1000m vertical straight from camp, and didn't really lose that until the end of the day. The plateau made sure of that!

I know I didn't get sick of the view all day, so we've taken plenty of pictures of it for you!

"We're going up there!!"

Prepared? Check. Walker? Errr, no...

After the final jumping off point (and chocolate top up from wives, daughters and partners- this is a family show after all) we hit the summit. And promptly froze. That wind was howling over the top, not a good place to hang out, even with a bit of gear on.

It really did have that 'top of the world' feel. The granny ring grunt to get up here added to the sense of achievement, and also knowing that we had to keep pushing on was good incentive to keep going.

Corny, but it was a good little heart starter to get up there.

We really do appreciate the assistance of our sponsors, and with being the latest company to come on board and get behind Felt Epix, we thought that we should give some of their products a guided tour of our ride. These high density foam grips had a backpack ride from hell all day, but got to see some great countryside! As for grips that actually get used, with one of each on both our bikes, they came through with flying colors. No sore hands, no tears or rips on the grips (a concern of mine prior to using them) despite some accidental mistreatment - in one over the bars incident, my glove came off.....!!! Go figure?! We had some shots of the new Ascend bars that we're trialing as well, but the reflective silver wrapper photographed poorly, so just keep in mind - choc mint flavour!! Mmmm!!

Shameless, sure. Corny once again, perhaps. We're just happy if you remember the grips, and remember that you laughed when you saw them on the Felt Epix blog, and keep coming back for more silly and inane adventures :) Its a simple concept, we'll still be doing rides without you, but not on the scale that we currently do them, so keep coming back and we'll keep trying to provide a distraction from work for you! And what a view, just quietly!

And from there it pretty well all went to shit.....

Sure, the Grampians have some rock. Sure, its a big rock we're standing on, but we (I?) sure did underestimate the adventure we were about to have...

The first rocky cliff/descent was a heart starter. Sam Hill, more like Sam who?? The rocks were large, there was no line, and no, Randall would not have ridden it...

The track was defined by small ribbons of tape and yellow painted arrows. They were quite far apart....

We had plenty of cliffs to scale...

Lift, climb, lift, curse, lift, climb, scrape extremity, curse, lift climb,

Haha, yep, smiling, now how the #$^#& do I get up there??

To the right of the shot is many hundreds of metres straight down....

And this was about the closest we got to rideable trail for the entire plateau. Well that might be a bit of an overstatement..... Actually no, we specifically took a photo of it as that was the most dirt we found!

But by god the view was amazing!

It was a very very long way down. And what a perfect place for a photo. If it looks like I'm not comfortable and don't want to go any close to the edge, thats because for each of those rocky veins that point upwards that I'm standing on, I can see through the gaps all the way down... Creepy!

Play time.

'Yeehaa' (Can I get down now....!!)

Shishkabob! I don't think any tire sealant would have saved this one.. Check out the video to see what happened when I pulled it out!

Just another bit of glorious trail...

And one of our trail markers, loathed and loved in equal parts!

And pretty much from here, the photos dried up to nothing.... As time had ticked by all day, walking had taken its toll on our average speed, as you'd imagine. Scaling cliffs with our bikes, having to walk pretty well the entire 17km of the plateau in cycling shoes carrying a mountain bike was a tough gig. In fact it was bloody hard. I couldn't physically lift my bike any more towards the end, it was a brutal push, shove, hope kind of operation, but the sting in the tail was to come. We knew where we were pretty well the whole time, but our problem was the speed at which we were travelling. All day we were keeping an eye on the time, as the later it got, the faster we had to travel. Later in the day we were at 10/10ths, running as best we could with our bikes through boulder field after boulder field. Up, over, down and everything in between. We had patchy radio contact with the support people, but with no point of reference, and no way of assisting us, they were spectators. As 3.30pm went by, options were starting to look shaky. Still over 1100m up, we were forced onto a narrow ridgeline that continued along, so narrow we had to pass bikes to one another. If we'd had phone coverage, Jason would have called for a chopper to extract us. Thankfully, that wasn't possible, as I think it would have killed him to have the 000 operator tell him to find a hole to curl up in, have some water, and come down the next day... We considered leaving the bikes until the next day, and simply decided to push on as quick as possible. Taking as few a risks as possible, we descended (on foot mind you) down a super narrow, slippery, cliff top pass, where a fall meant life threatening injury at best. With time seriously working against us, we came to a management vehicle track, and thought we may have been home free. Right up to the point it went back into walking track, unrideable boulder fields...

With the clock passing 4.30pm, and the sun heading in and very unfavorable direction, we ran, jumped, rode, crashed and slide our way off that godforsaken rock and down, unbelievably to a great little flowing singletrack!

(its dirt, it was very welcome after all those rocks!!)

The last 3 kilometres were on a great, dirt singletrack and as we flew out the end of it onto the highway, we were some very relieved fellahs!

We rolled back along the highway for a few k's before pulling the pin, and loading up into the 'cruiser for a quick trip back to camp...

After a bit of decompression (it was shall we say, stressful up there) and a few laughs, we settled into a great roast lamb, and apple pie for desert, and told each other lies around the campfire. Our bodies were far more trashed that usual, our legs look like someone took a meat tenderizer to to them with the rocks and the pedals bashing them all day. The soles of our feel are totally smashed, we have at least 1 rolled ankle a piece, and our backs/abs/shoulders barely function even today. It was an Epix!

And in a final nail for our large box, both my inner aductors decided to offer up the worst cramp I can remember ever having. Screaming, locked in a chair, unable to do anything to help myself, my legs tried to tear themselves apart (and succeeded if today is anything to go by...) and Jason had the good sense to jump up and capture the moment for me :)

So the Grampians Epix was the bad one that we've been waiting to get out of the way. All's well that ends well, we handled it well in some trying conditions, but to look at what could have been, that makes me shudder.... I couldn't say we had fun, but there are some amazing memories and experiences that were had up on that bloody rock! Epix is all about the adventure for us, we love riding, and going an exploring, and we felt that we pushed the to the far end of the scale that we like. Bring it back a few notches (so we actually get to ride, not carry our bikes) and we'll be the happiest kids out there, so look out for the next one!!

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy all the photos and video's, and I know we'll see you back here soon.