Saturday, May 31, 2008

The loneliness of the long distance cycling blogger

Curiously, its not that lonely, we're all just in different parts of the country and the internet brings us together. I would like to suggest a cycling blogger fleche or group ride. Between Adrian at CYBC, Dave at about the bike, Nancy at blogscrement, Lynne at CTA, Treadly at Treadly and anyone else who's up for it, lets do a ride!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weighty things to consider

Had a mental health day today and went for good ride in the southern parts of Wollongong around Albion Park and back home via the coastal cycleway. I made a conscious effort to push harder gears instead of spinning and found my legs coped pretty well. The effort also paid off in being a lot faster. The 70km ride saw an average of 27kph which is a lot better than my usual, and I don't feel any more fatigued than I do normally.

I think I might be guilty of taking things too easy in the saddle and I should HTFU. IN future I will define rides as training, so I'm actually trying to exert myself and improve my stength and fitness, as opposed to just enjoying the ride. Bit of a revelation.

In the last few days the randon email list has been discussing bike weights during brevets. I've always thought that I was a pretty heavy traveller, but this morning I weighed the bike with my standard 200km kit, including lights, camelback and assorted food and came in at 16kg. Bike and rider weight is 94kg. The new bike will shave about 4-5kg off that standing weight and I could probably drop another 5 kilos, so everything is relative.

Mileage in kilometers is 2043.39

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mileage in kilometers

Taking a leaf from Surly Daves blog , I'm going to put myself under some mileage pressure and quote my year to date mileage at every post. My mileage in kilometers as of today is 1972.7km.

That's a lot better than I though it was going to be.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I rolled up for the Coastal 200km brevet on Saturday feeling underdone but nonetheless looking forward to the ride.

It was a beautiful day and the first 60kms up to Bald Hill revealed a few surprises. A deer by the side of the road near Horsley and a whale sounding off the shore at Stanwell Park.

Furstratingly for me though I once again had painfull cramps in my thighs from the 80km mark which forced another withdrawal. For the last few weeks I have been taking a magnesium supplement, drinking lots of additional water and doing some gentle stretching. What I haven't had though was time on the bike.

One of the frequently cited reasons for cramping is not training to the ride intensity, which is challenging as to traing for a ten our ride, I need ten hours to train!

Somehow I'm going to have to build more cycling into my week, though with the compressed daylight hours at this time of the year its not easy to do and it will be difficult to get the requisite miles up.

In the meantime I'll carry on with the water and magnesium and vary the stretching regime a bit to focus on the things.

In other news, I've decided to by a newer fast(er) bike. I've settled on a carbon frame - a specialised Roubaix and will be built up with an Ultegra groupset and Mavic aksium race wheels. The geometry of this frame seems a pretty good compromise between stiff and comfortable and it is a good fit for me. Should weigh in sub 8kg. Not exactly featherlight but much lighter than what I am used to.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bald Hill and back

One of the rides I did this last weekend to trial the blackbird was the top half of next weekends coastal 200km brevet - the ride to Bald hill and back.

While this is a fairly short ride from my house in Wollongong, there are some nasty sharp climbs and the final longish and steep climb up the Lawrence Hargreave drive to Stanwell Tops and the Bald Hill lookout.

Once there it is worth the ride and the view back along the coast is really something.

And the descent is breathtaking.
I was happy with the performance of the blackbird but less satisfied with my own, I felt tire and weak for which I blamed the strong headwind on the northern leg and fatigue on the return. Not surprisingly, I have the sniffles now as I type which I hope will clear before the weekend.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Apollogy retires

Sad but true. My venerable Apollo 3 was becoming more of a flexi context than anything else and after 3000 km since I rebuilt her last year it has been kinder to hang the frame up and use her parts for a better, more inelastic frame.

Enter the blackbird. A bike modeled on the stealth aircraft of my youth, but a lot slower.

I came across this frame during one of my frame scrounges at the reccycle centre. The plan was to us the tubing for brazing practise but this frame seemed better than that.

Over the last two weekends I have managed to ride just over 120km and the "blackbird" is a big improvement over the Apollogy. It tracks straight no hands, bends like a reed into corners and planes. As well as the new frame the blackbird also sports some aero dia compe brake levers and side pulls. I plan to ride her in the Coastal 200km brevet next weekend.