Friday, August 29, 2008

The World cup show visits downunder

After a long absence from Australia, the World Cup show will roll back in for the next round of the Cup, visiting sunny Canberra. By all reports the course is going to be awesome, but the rumour mill is apparently grinding up some goodness and spitting it out in the shape of faux fact, so the 'wait and see card' is in play.

Riders that I know that will be circulating in the XCO racer are Fenner, Rohin, Maebus, and Lockie, and perhaps you may see some post race reports on Felt Racing, and there will be a strong showing of course in the DH and 4x with names like Kovaric, Rennie, Hill, Graves, Buchannan and the rest of the gang getting amongst it!

And in a fact I just remembered, the World Cup will in fact be live on FreeCaster on sunday afternoon, so there is NO excuse not to be able to cheer on the Aussies, even if you can't make it there! This 'should' be the correct link, but do your own research if I'm wrong...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lab Rats

We were fortunate enough to have a meeting with Ascend last night, and a good chat about some of the work they do behind the scenes. Ascend is an Australian owned product, produced by the Murray Valley co-op, who are the people behind Devondale so you start to get the idea about the scope with which we are dealing. Funnily enough, for once size is working in our favour!

Ascend are determined to release the highest quality product into the market place, and as such are doing testing far beyond what I have heard of before! An example we spoke about last night referred to the Protein Catalyst and its reaction at a genetic level in the body. They managed to conclusively and scientifically prove that the Protein Catalyst actually 'switches on' the growth function in muscles cells, through using DNA testing on muscle biopsies taken from athletes! Testing was carried out by Deakin Uni, and the Uni of SA.

To quote their words:

"To provide you with an assurance of the benefits of ASCEND Elite proteins, their efficacy has been proven in scientifically robust human clinical trials by independent internationally recognised sports physiologists and biochemists at Deakin University, Melbourne, and University of South Australia, Adelaide.

ASCEND Elite proteins were identified during the discovery phase of our research program where more than 600 highly specialised milk fractions were prepared and analysed. Screening for biological activity using living, mammalian cells focussed on muscle development and recovery."

Now to clarify also, all this talk about muscle gain etc, is actually extremely relevant to cyclists, as we use up so much energy that we are actually losing muscle mass at the same time, something that I'm sure a lot of us can't spare. So by using a high quality supplement, we can provide out bodies with the proteins it needs to continue building on all the good riding we do, rather than slowly going backwards.

In terms of a high quality product, I don't see how you'd go any better, but the things that excite me even more, as we really like shiny new stuff, was the single serve products (drinks, bars, protein packs). We looked at a new single serve pack for both muscle and recovery, which is resealable yet crushable so you can use it on the go. The new sports drinks are also in prototype stage which we tested on the weekend, with really great results. No salty taste, yet not too sweet nor do they leave your mouth feeling dry. And with the Muscle and Recovery bars due for an official release later in the year, its all going very well! So there is a full range coming along, but in the meantime, we have plenty of samples that we would love you to try, so if you see us around, please have a chat to us and we can hook you up.

We've got a few other little stories about Ascend, so there will be plenty of material to come! Think ultimate cage fighters, boxers, WA beaches, bikes, and massages, and thats somewhere near where we'll be taking you...! We're excited to be a part of a new range of products that is being produced, researched, developed and improved right here in Victoria, lock stock and barrel! Its the real deal, folks.

Finally, talk is that there will be some kind of Felt Epix/ Ascend discount scheme getting put in place for a limited time, so if you would like to try Ascend products at a discounted price, we'll post up details soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Castlemaine wrap up.

Now, where were we?

Ahh yes, Jason getting to the 1.5m high drop, hitting a rock slightly off balance, un-clipping and doing the entire drop with one foot in much to the delight of the crowd!Whilst they wanted more, Jason was more interested in getting one of the doctors to remove the seat which had lodged itself somewhere unpleasant. Soldiering on, because thats what the solo riders do apparently, Jason continued racing, fighting doggedly all day for a podium position.

With the course just getting better and better, new lines slowly forming and the older lines getting smoother and smoother, Jase's choice of an RXC team was still a valid one. Grunty climbs suited him well, and with newfound suicidal down hilling tendencies, the race was afoot. Orbea's Cam Winn (brother of the world famous Chris) proved to be the spoiler for Jason's maiden podium, with the boys being just 42 seconds apart on entering the last lap. With Cam too good on the day, Jason rolled in a smashed 4th place, happy to have finished after a tough few hours.

My race was never really a race, more content to enjoy the day for reasons other than turning myself inside out. With a good start, I was really really looking forward to handing over the reins to my teammate as per usual, but sadly I must have ticked the wrong box on entry... Soloing on, so to speak, I backed the pace off a tad and simply rolled around with whoever I could find to keep me company. The climbs were certainly not helping my cause, but the downhills still had me grinning like a loon every lap. So much fun is railing Castlemaine singletrack, 2 weekends in a row. Up the front of the race, Evan Franske was working over the leaders in the race, with World Solo Champ Troy Bailey (a Nightlightning rider also) coming a cropper on a quick corner and doing some more damage to an already injured wrist. Evan continued on (after checking Troy was ok) for the win, with Scott Chancellor chasing him all day long.

So we must say thanks once again to the Rocky Riders mtb club, for yet another great event. Christian and Fi on the timing did great work, Nick and Jake for making it all happen with the other club members and for everyone who turned up and made it the fun event that it was. Hopefully we'll get even more to come next year!!

Sculpting some art...

Perfection, inside and outside lines!

Well, I guess it ain't a Felt...? Bike and bars part ways...

Jack, blurring on by..

Some biceps pushing a body up the hill. How old are we to be playing on these things?

Ahh yes, bike and bars must be attached to function normally...

And a parting shot of Jack railing berm number something. Funny times!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Castlemaine Rocky Riders 6 hour

***Big thanks to Stephen Rowe for shooting the pictorials***

The Castlemaine 6 hour promised, on the back of previous years races, to be a great event. What would make it so good? I guess the feeling of being back at one of the original MTB races, far removed from the pressures and needs of city life. A genuine bonfire, built bigger and better than last year (thanks Marty!) and with promises of even more eyebrow singing heat next year. A 16" 4x track, which we all assisted in building last year, and improved on this year with mattocks, rakehoes and a few beers. Yep, beers, weird huh! The 4x always seems to be a highlight, with nobody really having any advantage over anyone else, yet everyone having a great night. And lets not forget I stick by the mantra of 'it never rains in Castlemaine', so by mid winter I think many people are ready for some sunshine action!

Which leads us to our own weekend which you must be interested in as you are reading the Felt Epix blog after all!

We loaded up the new camper trailer to the back of the truck for a bit of a shakedown, and hell why not? If we have comfort, why not bring it along!? A full compliment of bikes, a complete kitchen and protection from the elements all rolls along in one convienient package, and away we go. At 60kmh. On a freewhy... Memo: Urgent, flux capacity failing, please send turbo at earliest convienience...

We popped in an offer on our new Epix vehicle, we're waiting to hear back from them....

An enduro in deepest darkest winter still draws a great crowd, and with a bar and cafe from Thearte Royal in Castlemaine, we're always well looked after.

Its been a long time since either of us have strapped a number to our bars and it even kinda looks like it here. I actually had to cut a number off my carbon plate, so much have I not dealt with this stuff! But a race like Castlemaine draws us back every time!

Tim Sheedy did an amazing job on the mike again, keeping everyone in stitches all day and night- I don't know how he does it, and even took the first prize in the 16" race doubling with commentary duties!

Ready set bang, and I can actually see the front! Well, more like I saw Jack disappear around the corner and up the road... And you know that smile genuinely lasted the first 2 hours, such was the entertainment value of the course!! There was a lot of beeping and reversing after that point however, but that fine as I was just having fun riding around!

Jason worked his way up into the mix from a good start, passing me one lap and then standing by the road playing with his bike whilst waiting for me to catch up, like a good team mate. He even managed to fix the lack of air problem in his tire in the mean time, but I tell you I was a bit miffed to find him not waiting for me at transition for a rider change. This solo thing, I'm not sure...

From the get-go, I rode my Virtue 1 in full travel mode (130mm), pro pedal off. And what a wicked way to ride! The course didn't really have any sustained climbing (contrary to what my legs tell me), so I didn't really pay that much of a price, but when it turned downhill, oh the fun! Those forks really seem to work through their travel too eh?!

There was a drop in the course (awesome A and B lines!!) that was a good surprise for anyone who didn't do a practice lap!! I think Randall may have gotten a shock, but knowing him, he probably just gapped it and landed 40ft away!

Actually Jason had quite a moment on the top of this as well, but I've run out of time, so I'll attend to this tonight...

***********GPS plot***************

More to come......

Friday, August 22, 2008

Castlemaine and the Rocky Riders gettin it on!

This weekend sees a few events compile into one extravaganza. First Felt Epix finds itself with a number strapped to its bars, as we both head out onto an always great track for the Castlemaine 6 hour. This will be pretty much the first race I've done since hanging up the plates, and one of few that Jason has done, and it takes a special race to draw us back at maximum attack.

The Rocky Riders 6 hour, like I said a few post ago, is a really cool race. For me personally, it takes me back to the fun races that I attended when I started out. They may have always been fun in the interim, but I was trying to win them , so fun was overtaken a little by focus. With the 16 inch racing, the MTB on the big screen, the communal catered BBQ and the always lovingly created course, how could you not want to make it there!! Hell, I just hit my hand with an angle grinder, but I still want to ride it more than get some bandages out! Although my keyboard seems to think otherwise...

If you ask really really nicely on the day, I'm sure that the Rocky Riders can accommodate you for the race, so its no excuse not to ditch your home town and come down to a great event at Castlemaine.

In Epix news, we've got some exciting news too!! Its twofold, with a sensational deal that Ascend is offering the general public. We've been given an amount of cards that have a special code on them that offers the holder 15% off Ascend products purchased through the web! 15% off is a good deal whichever way you turn it, with a huge range of products on offer. In actual fact, we will have plenty of those products in a convenient sample size on offer at the race this coming weekend, as well as plenty of nutritional information on each of them. Secondly, I've been informed just today that Ascend are releasing an electrolyte drink, which we shall be trialling this weekend, which adds to their already extensive range of products. I've no pictures sadly to pretty this up, but there will be the whole 9 yards on Monday morning for you to have a look at.

So to sum up - come to Castlemaine this weekend, try out some new products for free that you wouldn't ordinarily have a look at, and get a great deal on anything that you like there!

Finally, the video I posted this morning - rubbish quality.. So I'll redo it in a higher resolution and get it up for you soonest.


Castlemaine in Motion

As promised, a small video wrapping up the Castlemaine Epix.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Castlemaine Epix

If you'll excuse my tardiness, lets get this going!

Castlemaine Epix came about as a long ago made idea to go and visit some friends in Castlemaine and get them to show us what some real trails are like. We held off on doing the ride until it got quite deep into winter because as we all know, Castlemaine doesn't really do mud, thankfully for us, and thankfully for the preservation of their trails. So early one sunday morning we made the trek northwards.

Joining Jason and myself, was Ben Randall( Yeti Australia), Joel Read (FTF/SRAM/Total Rush) Matt Tait, Nick Lewis, Jason (Castlemaine Cycles), and Kyle. The day dawned pretty bloody early for the Melbourne crew, after a larger night for some of us at a Charity cocktail party, where some may have gotten a little more charitable than others! ;)

The plan was to get a shuttle out to the drop off point, ride awesome singletrack to another meeting point to pick up the shuttlers, and continue more local trail back into Castlemaine. With great thanks, the Rocky Riders club trailer was dragged into service, bikes loaded and thundering off down the highway!

Unloaded and good to roll, the obligatory photo call was conducted, Joel again served to remind us that pink and red will never be complimentary, Ben gives us his best angle apparently, and we're good to go.

(I think I had already started eating... Pity, instead of filling my face I could have remembered the things that I had forgotten, like gloves... and my medication... and my Garmin... And it wasn't even me getting charitable the night before!)

The 6 speed (yep!!?) Rover with club trailer, with Nick giving us some last minute directions, which literally in about 3 minutes we forgot, and took the only wrong turn available to us, and proceeded to find 30 kilometres of singletrack which whilst taking us south instead of north, was some of the best trail we've ever ridden. Maybe he was hiding it from us!? :) It was quite a comedy when we realised 3 hours later that we'd gone the wrong way, having done the old left instead of right trick about 3 minutes after this photo, but nobody cared at all. Even with the bitumen shuttle we had to do to try and correct our error, we could care less as the trail we'd done was that good!!

But back to the story, is it any wonder we kept going the wrong way??

Amusingly, we even took a bit of a bobble on our incorrect route, but that was only so we could go and visit the Cricket bat factory!

Trail trail trail, its what we come out and do these rides for!!

This hole had hidden ditch in it, which if Jason had cut *any* tighter, he would have been swallowed. So I set up for a photo!!

It kinda looks like someones backyard I think, but its very definitely not! It a pretty long way from anywhere, yet is a perfectly formed singletrack!

Snacky snacky time. Joel wraps his laughing gear around the latest from AscendSport and reports back to to positive. In fact there was a lot of positive comments about the bars later in the day, to the effect of 'they really kept me going'. Which is good, as its far easier to criticize than it is to offer praise, especially when you're tired, so Ascend is onto a good thing!

Preeeety... As in preeety good trails maaaaate!!

Whilst the lack of gloves wasn't helped in the cooler climes, I must say the grips performed remarkably well, and remained clean as well which is a bonus. Right up until I dunked it in the dirt trying to follow Randall up a cliff. But the red is looking very nice with the kit and bike, isn't it!

I have no idea what I was trying to achieve here...

Joel gettin 'er done.

And it just wouldn't be an Epix without stairs, walking or adventurous navigation.

Check out these switchbacks! There was 4 switchbacks to get you down to a creek with a bridge missing a few planks, very very cool.

The blowhole was a cliff face that the gold miners of yesteryear blew a hole in to divert the water. It was pretty amazing to think what and how they did this, as its a scary place with all the brittle shale rock around. I certainly didn't feel comfortable knowing how brittle and unstable the rock is, so we hit up some more singletrack instead!

Joel took the opportunity to rid himself of some claret, spilt after a bobble mid conversation with Randall.

Oops... It was very funny to come around the corner, and see Joel killing himself laughing down in the prickles.

And with a bit of a jump, we take you to later in the ride...

The uh, local advice I guess you'd call it, suggested that perhaps a seat post lowering might be in order. Straight away, on those words, Randall clipped in and rocked it. Dropping out of sight, we had no idea what was down there, and neither did he, but he had a crack! Jason blindly followed quick as a flash, and took what looked like the elevator drop from hell. Thankfully it wasn't that bad, and we all smashed it down, but it was damn steep I can tell you!

As usual, pics don't do it justice...

And heading along some more singletrack. You'd never get sick of it, regardless of what the cliches say!

Woo, still more!!

And so ends today's installment as I have to go to work...! There's a bit more to come, and I've even got a video I'll throw together over the next few days, so c'mon back, we'll have something for you!

Thanks for dropping by,

Felt Epix.

Oh and can I suggest that this weekend's JubbaLand 6 hour would be a damn good race to get along to - buffed course, little to no mud (imagine that!! Your drive train would thank you!) and some great extra curricular fun and games on Saturday! Check the website, and come along to my favorite enduro event of years gone by.