Archive for the Uncategorized Category
Our shop is closed this Saturday to commemorate Anzac Day. We will be open till 8pm on Friday for those who want to pick up there repairs or last minute items for the weekend.
Xterra World Off-road Triathlon Championships in Maui
What can I say, Maui is one of the most amazing places I have been and this is one of the most brutal events I have done!
The event is based around the Carlton Ritz in Kapalula, Maui which is a beautiful backdrop.
I arrived in Maui the weekend before the event in the midst of Hurricane Ana. By Monday morning the rain had cleared and everything looked so perfect I knew it would be a good trip. Out the front of our villa was surf beach and a short walk the other way was a beautiful sandy beach with coral, abundance of tropical fish and turtles.
Leading up to the even I went for a swim at the DT Flemmings Beach, the race swim location and there sizeable surf dumping on the beach. Xterra really like to make the whole event a challenge. I was actually quite excited about a surf swim. I did feel sorry for the couple who were also planning on doing a swim set but they looked seriously scared at the prospect of having to swim out through the surf break.
Run training was the same. Running along the coastal track and up into the pineapple fields is picturesque but tough! Melbourne winter does not prepare you for Maui heat and humidity.
Wednesday was the first day the mountain bike course opened. Everyone was keen to get out and see the course. It is mostly single track and most of that goes up! After about half an hour of climbing it started to cloud over and spit rain, a welcomed relief from the heat and sun. Within another half hour we were out on Razor Ridge in a tropical downpour! The decent back down had become a river. We were eventually diverted off the course as they were shutting it as it had just become too wet. It was even impossible to push your bike out as the fine dust turned to gluey mud and so much collected on your tires that the wheels wouldn’t even spin without hitting the frame. Yes it was an adventure even before the race begun!
Race day was a perfect Hawaiian day, the warmest and sunniest day the whole time I was there. There was some small swell at the beach which added a bit more fun. I even managed to catch a wave back into the beach.
The swim course is 1.6km ‘M’ shape which means you do two loops and come back into the beach for a short run in-between the two loops. All pros started together, followed by Age Group men 2 minutes after and Age Group females 2 minutes behind them. I had a solid swim coming out in the top 10 pro females. Then it’s straight up hill run to transition and then out onto the bike to start climbing! Amazingly the course had nearly totally dried out! It was a nice and unexpected surprise as two days before we couldn’t climb some of the steeper sections without the rear wheel just spinning in the mud. I was constantly getting passed by the Age Group men the whole way through the bike but one of the great things about off-road racing is how friendly people are even when you may be a bit slower through a single track section. I really struggled with the heat and humidity on the bike (and run), I just wasn’t used to it. Also I would change my training leading in if I did this event again to just do lots of hill repeats. The last few miles of the bike course was my favourite as it was fun flowing single track.
Then it was back to transition to start the run. The first 3 miles of the run course is the same as the bike course, up! Near the top I took a jell and combined with the downhill I found a second wind and managed to pass back a girl from the Netherlands who had passed me on the uphill. There were some fun, flowing sections through single track with some logs and other little obstacles. The end of the run is along the beach where we swam and I was spent and this hurt!
I was very happy to see the finishing chute and even got a ‘high five’ running up the chute from my training partner, Mack Clarkson. Massive congrats to him for being the fastest Australian age group male home and a podium in his Age Group.
Xterra Maui is one tough event but a great event and challenge! I recommend if you get the chance to go to take it!
Many of you know that I have taken to cycling in a pretty big way. I love the feeling of satisfaction after a big climb, the feeling of freedom on a long stretch of road, and challenging myself to achieve things that I once thought would not be possible. Most of all, I love going on long rides with my training mates – I just love to ride!
But every time I get on the bike, there is always a risk. A risk of being hit by a motor vehicle. I have witnessed a very close friend go down because of a motor vehicle, and personally I have had a few close calls – and whilst I have been lucky, a few close calls are a few too many. I am passionate about cycling and I am extremely passionate about safety on the bike – it is the responsibility of both cyclists and motorists. In November this year, I will be taking part in the Amy Gillett Foundation’s Share the Road Tour, a 7 day, 1200km journey from Brisbane to Airlie Beach. We will average 150km per day – passing through many towns as we spread the A Metre Matters message and the importance of safety on the road.
I am honoured to be taking part in this ride. Not only will I get to ride through spectacular countryside with an incredible group of people, but I will also be making a difference as I have committed to raising $8000 for the Amy Gillett Foundation. This will not only mean greater awareness of cycle safety but also potential changes to road infrastructure that will help keep me and every other cyclist on our roads safe. It is also a chance to remember and honor Amy Gillett, who was tragically killed by a motor vehicle while training in Germany in 2005.
I encourage you to support such a worthy cause – every little bit helps. A metre really does matter.
see this page to donate
2015 Specialized bike models launch
This week we headed to the Gold Coast to check out the new range of bicycles and products from Specialized. See below some of the new models that have been released and what has changed in the current range leading into the 2014/15 season. A big thank you to the crew from Specialized who did a great job entertaining us at the RACV resort Goldcoast.
Women’s Bikes and parts.
Specialized lead the way in bike development for the female rider. There isn’t a bike company on the planet that comes close to the range and quality of bikes and accessories for women. We are lucky enough to have met a lot of the girls who work at Specialied HQ over the years. Every year Specialized send out engineers and product managers to share with us what’s new and exciting in the bike world and just as exciting they ask us what we think could be improved. This is where you the customer comes into play as we are the shop front for this company and we hear loud and clear what is “Liked” and not liked by the female cyclist.So give us your feed back on what you like the look of. Whats new in the range this year I hear you ask? Read on
ERA Mountain bike “the ultimate race weapon”
This is Specialized dual suspension mountain bike. It features 29 inch wheels with the Brain Suspension in the rear which reads terrain you are riding to provide a consistent ride from uphill sprints to rough descents. As is in most of Specialized bikes it features custom tuned suspension and the new Myth saddle that will be a hit with the marathon rider.
Helmets. Specialized has a great range of women’s helmets again this year , and now all models including the Prevail has the “Hairport” Fit System to make it ponytail ready for more comfort and safety.
Myth Saddle : This saddle has been design for the female mountain biker, designed from research that mapped the actual female anatomy and features a new women’s cutout that is designed to reduce pressure and increase comfort. We look forward to some feed back from our Topgear Cycles female mountain bike riders on this saddle.
Jynx Mountain bike: New model for 2015 this bike is designed to be a go anywhere do anything bike. This bike has a dirt worthy spec that will give the rider great confidence in tackling the local trails with its 650b wheels. Prices start at $649 for this alloy MTB.
Ruby ; Endurance Road bike. The Ruby Pro Disc took out our BEST IN SHOW award. This bike not only looks HOT , it has an amazing spec. The new Hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano are going to be a hit for any cyclist that has had issues with long descents or lack of consistent braking. If you have small hands or not so strong fingers these brakes are going to give you confidence like never before. Not convinced read this NOW! http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/new-bike-gear-previews/best-road-group-ever?cid=socBG_20140811_29410146
Grail Glove : This is a new glove from Specialized and a new way of tackling the pressure that comes from gripping the bars. We got to try these gloves on the dirt and the road. The are designed for those riders who don’t want any “bulk” in their gloves so they can get that feel of control that only no gloves can give you. These gloves are great and will be on this cyclist hands this summer. New Equalizer Gel Pad in the centre of the hand is the key to this model, Instore soon!
Vita Flat Bar bike. This bike has been around for a while and is a winner at Topgear Cycles. We sell this to the commuter, the fitness rider or the rail trail adventurer . This year Specialized have updated the alloy and the carbon frames on this female specific bike. Disc brakes on some models and a tyre clearance of 32mm for these gravel paths. Light , fast and great looking , perfect bike for those who want one bike to do all sorts of riding. [ however we do encourage that one bike is never enough:]
Another new product from Specialized. This shoe replaces the Tahoe which we have sold for over 12 years. It is lighter and more comfortable than the Tahoe and they have some bright new colours. Great price too at $119. They are SPD compatible , which is a mountain bike term for clip less pedals. Recreation or spinning these shoes are a winner.
How good was the Le Course at the Tour this year. Womens racing is fast and exciting and we want more of it on the TV!
The new bike on the block is the Diverge.This bike comes with the headline
“Adventure More” and replaces the Tricross and the Secture in the Australian range. With tyre clearance of up to 35c and the ability to fit mudguards and racks this bike will take you anywhere. Gravel road rides, commute, bike paths there is no limits here. It rides like the Specialized Roubaix with the same stack and reach of that iconic bike, but with a lower bottom bracket. Currently it will come in 3 Alloy frames and two carbon models. Bikes will start from $1299. All models have disc brakes for superior braking. Also 15mm thru axels on both carbon models and one of the alloy bikes. Check out tis video on what the Diverge can handle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5sJg05BJXw
Roubaix bikes pretty much stay unchanged, all models now feature Specialized CG-c seat post for even more comfort on those rough roads. Look out for the Roubaix Comp Disc model with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes @ $3599
Venge; same as the Roubaix not to many changes here in this race proven bike. All models now come standard with S-Works Aerofly handle bars for even more Aero! Check out the new Venge Lunch Race model inspired my Specialized HQ in California for their famous staff lunch time rides.
Tarmac : This bike was relaunched in July , for those who didn’t catch the Tour, Nabali kicked arse and blew every one away on his new Tarmac. Check out Specialized website for more details on the Rider First Engineered frameset. Check out the pic at bottom of page of the Tarmac disc model.
Allez : Check out the new frame with the D”Aluisio Smartweld. Models range from $899 to $1999. [Sworks models $9999 with Di2 Wow!]
Enduro : This bike has been pushing the boundaries the last few years with multiple wheel sizes. 155/165 mm of travel and a range of 650B and 29er wheel sizes will have you rock’in the trails.
Epic : Light weight and stiff is what this bike is all about. The Epic features the
Brain shock that know’s the difference between the rider and terrain. After riding the World Cup model at the Nerang MTB park I was blown away how those big 29er wheels handled the tight single track. Partner them up with the Roval Carbon wheels for a winning combination. If your racing mountain bikes look no further than this classic dual suspension bike.Check out the new RS-1 fork from Rockshox
Jynx and Pitch: These are two new models in Specialized mountain bike range. Both bikes feature 650b wheels for a range of rollover capability and a range of fit. Xtra small frames available for those young riders wanting a quality bike to shred the local trails.
Camber FSR :
No major changes in the linup here .110mm of travel[ EVO model has more travel] will have you charging along all your local single track trails. One of my favourite bikes is the Camber Grom 24” bike for the kids who like to carve up the trails. This bike can be upgraded to 26” wheels , giving parents a bike that is going to get worn out before they grow out of it.
Stumpjumper FSR : Again this bike has had some mid season changes last year with the introduction of the 650B wheel size. Most models will feature Shimano Brakes this year for quality braking. EVO models offer more travel and a slacker head tube angle for those riders that want a more downhill oriented ride and build spec.
Fatboy Bikes: This style of bikes has grown in popularity in Aus , not for every one but a whole lot of fun to ride. These bikes turn heads like no other bike. Snow , sand or local single track trails, nothing will stop this bike from rolling forward over any obstacles.
Sirrus Flat Bar: Sirrus is Specialized’s range of flat-bar-road-meets-commuter bikes. The big story here is the all-new FACT 9r carbon disc frame. The new carbon frame is claimed to weigh 1,200g, to be more compliant than the Roubaix range, and all models, including alloy, offer fender and rack mounts. Unlike previous generations, the Sirrus frames are developed from the ground-up with increased tyre clearance and a 2cm-longer reach to suit the flat bar position. The new carbon frames look the business and will be a hit with your mates at the post ride coffee shop.
The kids bike range stays relatively unchanged for 2015 , with a few new models. The Camber 24” Grom and the Allez 650B road bike , sure to put a smile on the kids faces.
S-Works TT helmet. Based on the Mclaren TT helmet this will be a winner in the Aero helmet war. No other helmet comes close to this helmet for looks, and it just happens to be the fastest as well. RRP $399.
The Evade gets a Triathlon helmet, main change here is the new magnetic buck for lightning quick transitions. You have to try this to believe how good it is. New colours in the range for this year.
Command Post XCP dropper seatpost.
Just 35mm of travel makes this one for the cross country , gravel or cyclocross races
Flux Lights: This is a new product for Specialized this year. Some great innovation for the rider. Designed for both day and night time riding these lights will keep you safe on the road and trails. Also a super bright Flux rear light coming this year. Two models in front , Expert and Elite. The proprietary reflector creates an ultra wide beam pattern. All lights are USB rechargeable.
2FO shoes. [FO stand for Flat Out or Foot Out]New shoe for 2015, as ridden by the Troy Brosnan on the Downhill world cup scene. These shoes are a great look and will be a hit with shop staff and the gravity feed rider.
Grail Glove : [mens and womens glove]This is a new glove from Specialized and a new way of tackling the pressure that comes from gripping the bars. We got to try these gloves on the dirt and the road. The are designed for those riders who don’t want any “bulk” in their gloves so they can get that feel of control that only no gloves can give you. These gloves are great and will be on this cyclist hands this summer. New Equalizer Gel Pad in the centre of the hand is the key to this model, Instore soon!
Cadet mtb Shoe [womens model called the Cadette] .Another new product from Specialized. This shoe replaces the Tahoe which we have sold for over 12 years. It is lighter and more comfortable than the Tahoe and they have some bright new colours. Great for the commute or the ride with the kids. Great price too at $119. They are SPD compatible , which is a mountain bike term for clip less pedals. Recreation or spinning these shoes are a winner..
Some more random pics from the 2015 Launch
The latest craze at the moment is Cyclocross racing or CX as it is known. All of us at the shop have been taking part in the Dirty Deeds CX race series this winter and it has been an absolute blast. One of our shop ambassadors Penny Hosken , gives her insight into what this CX stuff is all about.
whether you want a change from the road or the Mtb bike or you dont want to sit on an indoor trainer , the CX bike is a great alternative for you to keep riding this winter. Melbourne has plenty of great bike tracks and dirt roads so you dont have to battle the roads in this gloomy weather
Cyclocross Time! by Penny Hosken
When summer comes to an end so does triathlon season. After some R&R at the end of a busy season of triathlon training and racing I was ready to get back out there are start my training for Xterra World Champs in Maui in October this year. Xterra is off-road triathlon (swim, mountain bike and trail run). So this presented me with a new challenge to keep me busy over winter, off-road riding!
Thanks to a mild start to winter I have been having a great time on the mountain bike. It has been a refreshing change to worrying about intervals, heart rate or cadence as much as the sharp corner, tree, rock, sharp climb or drop ahead. The Tuesday night Topgear mountain bike shop ride has been a great way for me to learn some off-road skills with great group of people who are happy to offer advice (and banter).
So now to improve my off-road racing skills. I wanted some short and intense races and found the answer in cyclocoss (or CX) racing!
Cyclcross bikes are like road bikes with wider forks and fatter, treaded tyres. The races consist on many short laps of a marked out, grass course that includes obstacles such a short hills, stairs or barriers requiring you to dismount and remount. The races are around 30 – 60 minutes long; short and intense!
Over the weekend I raced in the first two rounds of the National CX Series.
The first race was in Cranwell Park on Saturday. This course was on the side of a grassy hill and was a great lactic work out. In each 2.8km lap there were two sets of stairs, 2 small barriers, and a 100 hill at 12% to finish the lap. Coming from a short course triathlon/road riding background this suited me as I was able to make up time being strong in short climbs and fit enough to race the 50 minutes going all out. The course winds around a lot so is great to work on your bike handling skills and being on the side off the hill meant is was mostly dry so mud was not really an issue. The mass bike start is like a triathlon swim start, you need to go all out to avoid being stuck behind people through the corners (a skill I am yet to master).
The second race on Sunday was at Darebin Park and part of the Dirty Deads CX series. The atmosphere here was a lot of fun! There are various grades of racing and even kids’ races. This course was not as physically demanding but tested my offroads skills more with some slippery corners and nice little rocky climb. But the best part by far is the crowd cheering and heckling.
So if you are looking for something to do over winter and want to build some skills and strength on bike while having a lot of fun I highly recommend giving cyclocross racing a go!
Want to watch a super cool video about cyclo-cross racing , check this out http://vimeo.com/98972981
Topgear Cycles customer Fiona Macmillan recently took up road racing. Fiona has really embraced the local club racing scene since taking up cycling. See below her race reports of events from earlier this year. There is so many opportunities to get involved in all forms of cycling for women , here is a great place to start…. you never know where it might lead you
Tour of the South West Report
Fiona “FiMac” Macmillan
The Anchor Point Tour of the South West is an official fixture on the Cycling Victoria Winter Calendar and is one of 10 events making up the Victorian Road Series. The tour is open to all grades – Men/Women A-C and Masters A-C. Being relatively new to the world of racing (2013 Tour of Bright was my first race), I decided to race the 2014 Vic Road Series, with the main aim being to learn: racing is so very different to riding in a bunch!
In the lead up to the Tour, I raced Mt Buller Road Race and also Mt Baw Baw Classic. If I had one word to describe me as a cyclist, it would probably be climber. I love to climb! So these 2 races suited me given that both finished with solid climbs….err…..in the case of Baw Baw, it would be an EPIC climb 😉 So the Tour of the South West was always going to test me in different ways…..being relatively flat, perhaps more of a sprinters race, and windy!
The ToSW is made up of 3 stages – an opening road race, which for Women’s C Grade, consists of 3 laps of a 17km circuit. Stage 2 is an Individual Time Trial (12.7km) and Stage 3 is a Criterium. We woke to pouring rain and howling wind (I guess it is Warrnambool we are talking about!), not necessarily the most inviting conditions for a road race. Fortunately the rain eased to more of a drizzle and before I knew it, racing was underway, but the road conditions were pretty wet. The first lap remained fairly consistent, everyone getting a feel for the loop, and also settling into the bunch. There were no big moves, with the Intermediate Sprints and QOM points coming on laps 2 and 3. The biggest challenge was the wind on the back section of the course. No one wanted to spend time at front, and in this section, paced dropped dramatically. The peloton worked through laps 1 and 2, with a breakaway forming mid race. Fortunately I was able to stay in this group and before we knew it, we were about 5km from the finish, and on the windiest part of the course. It was going to come down to a sprint, and sprint finish it was. 400m to go, girls started to go….I went, pushed as hard as I could but just didn’t have the legs – I think I had been on the front too much earlier in the race. It was a close finish though – after stage 1, I was sitting in 11th place on GC, but only 5 seconds from the leader. Key learnings from stage 1: Stay off the front, or don’t be on the front for too long! Let the more powerful girls do the work. More power training required for sprint finishes!
Stage 2 was due to get underway early afternoon. Enough time to go back to our accommodation, eat/stretch/recover and hopefully be fresh for the time trial. Back out to Wangoom, and although the rain had stopped, the wind had really picked up. I learnt a lot from the TT at the Tour of Bright, where I went out far too hard and faded in the latter part of the course. So whilst I wanted to go out strong, I was also mindful of keeping a lid on it. So up on the platform I went and was staring down the ramp at the road in front of me, as officials held my bike and the countdown was on. 3, 2, 1…Go! And off I went. The first few km’s felt amazing thanks to a tail wind, but turning a corner the wind really hit. I kept my head down and worked through each km, slowly getting closer to the girls in front. I finished the ITT in 10th place, which moved me up to 10th place in GC. I was really happy with the Time Trial – I felt I rode it more consistently and definitely finished stronger that I did in the ITT at Bright. Key learnings/thoughts from stage 2: is it time to try a TT bike or at least TT bars now that I have ridden a couple of TTs?
So with racing complete for day 1, it was time to rest/eat/sleep in readiness for stage 3. This was going to be a test for me. Crit racing was totally new for me – ideally I should have jumped into the HCC crits over summer. I had intended to race the Good Friday Crit on the boulevard, just to have at least one behind me before the Tour of the South West. But this didn’t happen due to heavy rain on Good Friday. So I went into stage 3 with the attitude of “what will be will be”. I had received a lot of advice from friends about how to race the crit, and probably the biggest piece of advice was stay at the front but not on the front. So that was what I was going to try and do. Our crit started, it was 30mins + 2 laps. It was a course that suited me, as one part of the circuit included a good hill. The first 2 laps came and went and before I knew it, I was in a breakaway group. I kept saying to myself “just stay on it FiMac”! Round and round we went, extending the lead on the rest of the bunch and before we knew it, got the bell for the final 2 laps. The pace stayed pretty constant until about 200m from the finish and the sprint was on. I couldn’t believe that I was finishing in the lead group of the crit. I finished 5th in the crit, which moved me up to 4th overall on GC. What an awesome experience! It has definitely left me wanting to race more crits. Key learnings/thoughts from stage 3: I have now raced a crit!! More power training will help me with sprint finishes. Stay off the front even when the bell goes signaling 2 laps to go.
So the Tour of the South West was an amazing experience and I learnt so much over 2 days of racing. For anyone thinking about getting into racing, give it a go – you have nothing to lose and will have a blast. I am so glad that I have given it a go, and the most rewarding thing is knowing that I have learnt from each of the VRS races, and am getting stronger because of them.
Here is some great advice from Marianne Vos [ multiple world cycling champion.]
Advice to beginner racers
My advice is to make sure that you are always prepared before your race. Make sure that you have planned everything and that there is nothing more you could have done, you never want to be able to blame yourself for not preparing properly! Think about logistics, training, nutrition, equipment and tick everything off. As soon as you are standing on the start line try and relax and don’t worry about things that you can’t control, a good cyclist is a relaxed cyclist. Feel confident and trust yourself, but most importantly just enjoy yourself!
Check out here blog here for some more great advice http://www.mariannevosofficial.com/blog
“I’ve just been looking through the entry list… I see Damien Jones is in. There’s a dark horse; he’s been going pretty well, racing hard in his prep for the Cape Epic.” said Pete during a ‘phone call with me a few days before the National Champs in Bright. This was after plenty of in-store chats at Topgear getting my Stumpjumper ready for the event. The bike was in perfect condition and I was ready to race the trails.
Crossing the line to begin the last lap it was broadcast that Damien Jones (Hampton Cycles) and myself had moved up through the field and were now in a wheel-to-wheel battle for 2nd place. We were 40 minutes in, at the lowest part of the course, facing the series of climbs that picked their way up the first 3 to 4 km of the 6km loop.
I had caught Damien at the highest point of the course on the previous lap and he had let me pass at the top of the fast descent, so I thought my best chance to gain any advantage was to push some of the sections of climbing. The underlying flaw with this thinking was that Damien was right there when it was announced that we were both vying for 2nd and had become a permanent fixture on my back wheel. This became more and more clear as we climbed, dropped and climbed again on the undulating trails toward the race summit. Any effort I was putting in was being matched. With a clear image of the track in my mind I calculated the sections that would be my greatest advantage and the sections which I would be under the most threat. I backed off the intensity through the last couple of climbs with no sign of a move from behind, confirming I had better keep some energy available for those ensuing sections of threat.
Cresting the last of the climbing it was time to put some faith into the trails, my setup and my ability to take on the fast, winding descent back to the finish line. Tipping down the hill, crossing roots, weaving between trees and dropping into dusty corners the pace was on. At the midpoint of the descent the course popped out onto a slightly rising, dirt road, using about 150 metres of this before veering off onto the next single track. This was one of the open areas I would need to feed in some power. Holding position and driving hard up the road made for a rapid entry into the single track, resuming the descent with some long, fast approaches to tight switchbacks. At the first switchback I got a chance to notice that, at best, I had a lead of five bike lengths. Continuing from corner to corner we launched across another road crossing before becoming close to over-cooking the entry into the last section of the narrow stuff. Passing under the bridge I hooked left and began my charge up the open grass verge, it was clear to me that this was where the attack would come so I opened the throttle. I passed the feed and tech zones and lined up the final 180 degree bend to the finish line. Damien drew level with me around the bend as we booted it for the last 25 metres. 5 metres, and out of the corner of my eye I could see his front wheel alongside mine but with more acceleration than I could develop. He got me… by a wheel, at the finish line. Congratulations to Russell Collett on taking the win.
Third place in Masters category at the National Championships! The vibe was indescribable, I was grinning from the excitement of the sprint finish for 2nd, charged with adrenalin and emotion as I congratulated Damien on the result. From the call-up to the start line all that was left to do was put the training into action. My full focus was on the race tactics formulated from a combination of my own race plan, confidence in the foundations and open advice from Jen and her excellent Pedallab programs, and also of Ed’s invaluable wealth of knowledge on so many MTB and race specifics tuned to my strengths and weaknesses.
On course Nick Morgan and Tillie played the perfect feed zone support roles, keeping the bottles coming as I’d pass through. A big cheers to them, not only for the on-track support but also for the great company whilst we shared accommodation for the weekend, Nick and I had discussed all aspects of the course as well as our own outlooks for our individual races whilst Tillie patiently wondered when the bike talk might take a rest…
Good Friday Friday 18 April Friday CLOSED
Easter Saturday Saturday 19 April Saturday OPEN 10AM TO 4PM
Easter Monday Monday 21 April Monday CLOSED
Tuesday 22nd OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Wednesday 23rd OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Thursday 24th OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Anzac Day Friday 25 April CLOSED
Saturday 26th April OPEN 10am to 4 pm
It was a clean, explosive start as I sprinted with the bunch up the village road. As we rode across the stoney entry to the single track it became a little erratic, more so as any rhythm was sapped while the bikes got bounced across the tops of the rocks scattered along the trail. I was sitting in 6th position as we filed into the wheel-to-wheel charge down Gang-Gangs and into Split-Rock. Things began to stretch out once the climbing started with positions three and four slowly pulling away from Michael Brill (at fifth) and me (sixth). The course levelled once on the Village Family Trail and the speed rose as the gears made their way down the cassette. Passing through the village, the opening lap of just over 15 minutes seemed about 10 minutes quicker than that as the road climb to Gang-Gangs was back on the cards.
The field had spread just enough to make a clear run of the dusty descent. Behind me I could hear Michael’s chain slap, not gaining but not getting any less faint either. We had swapped places midway through the first lap and were enjoying the speed of the approach to the cork-screw style left-right bermed descent of Split-Rock. Back at the base of the single track climb to the Village Family Trail I worked a smooth pace across the rock strewn trail, accelerating through the switch back climbs. I opened a slight gap but Michael had that closed again as we crested the steepest of the course’s climbs.
Climbing through the third lap I caught some more of the veteran field that had started a couple of minutes before us, driving hard from the exit of the last switch back climb up to the Family Trail to get onto the rear wheel of Adrian Scott for the open road traverse of the alpine village.
Becs and Adrian U were on deck at the feed zone offering bottles as I passed through. Adrian handed me a fresh bottle as I headed off for the last lap and that last climb of the paved village road. Thanks team, it worked seamlessly. Keeping focus on the 5 minute descent of Gang-Gangs I let the bike drift where there was room and centred it through the minor rock gardens of the trail. The Split-Rock descent section that followed was more technically demanding, it was about committing to the best banked lines as the track showed inevitable signs of wear. Once reaching the lowest part of the course the hairpin signified the start of the climb back to the village which featured several switchback climbing corners.
Popping out onto the Village Family Trail I pushed hard to where the course veered left down an over-grown four-wheel-drive track. This provided a fast approach to a mild pinch where I picked up another place as I pedalled over the crest. I figured that I had best give everything I had left into the last effort up the steepest climb that loomed ahead so as not to lose the place I had just gained, so I kept feeding the power in as the climb steepened, drilling it out of the saddle to the gravel road above. The gravel road was a fast, open descent running into a sketchy esses which led into the second last of two short gravel pinches, the last one tipping back to the finish line. I held position, crossing the line with 3 seconds clear of third, creating a double take moment for me as it was announced I had come through in second place.
The consistent effort over the multi-lap race was my best result to date. Mechanically I stayed out of trouble, although the lead-up week had thrown a few challenges my way with the forks needing repair. However, cheers to Peter and Zeke of Topgear Cycles who were 100% supportive as always, and had me ready for the weekend. Physically it was up to me to deliver from the training that Pedallab is so good at prescribing. Thanks Jen!