Thursday, 31 July 2008

July 2008 - Killingworth and Yellowmundee (Whisperer)

Hi Guys

Thought I’d send through a ride report for the last month. It’s been a busy time with lots of riding and racing with the NobMob bunch. Three of us put together a ‘masters’ team to contest the BMC working week 8hr series. Steve Knight who has ridden with us a few times on the ONR and local rides, and John Evans from Woodford, another keen distance rider and regular on the mtb race circuit. Both are part of NobMob

The last races have been at Killingworth, up near Newcastle, and the Yellowmundee Course at Yarramundi, out near Richmond.

The format is an 8hr race, and you can go solo, pairs, threes and fours. We put together a three man team and entered mixed masters (mixed team with one or more over 40s).

Both courses were about 9km, fast flowing single track, not too much climbing, but enough to have some good descents, and a bit of testing technical stuff thrown in for good measure. We worked with the strategy of go-hard for one lap and hand over to the next rider, and repeat! We peeled off ~32 minute laps, had an hour in between and did it again for the 8 hours. We got a bit of a surprise in the first race when 4 hours had passed and we were in second place (out of about 16 mixed masters 3’s teams). This gave us some real incentive and we really pushed for the remainder of the race, but a record-keeping glitch by the organisers had us in third place at the end. Another team ‘magically’ appeared in the results and displaced us.

Given we were one of the only teams with a genuine masters makeup (all over 40’s) we were still very happy. Both the teams that beat us had two riders in their early thirties and a single master (hence the mixed master format). For our efforts we ‘won’ a set of grips and a gear cable in the prize giving presentation. No one is going to get rich in Australian MTB racing!

Second race was out at Yellomundee. We were pumped and out for a better result this time. The course was fantastic, technical, dry, lots of flowing corners, some nicely bermed from years of use, and open ones where you could drift with confidence (is there such a thing?), anyway we had ear to ear grins in between a bit of ‘hurt’ in the legs, riding pretty loose and getting more confidence and familiarity with each lap. We were pretty much within a minute of each other in our lap times, and at the end of it we had made second place!

The team format is really fun. There were a number of other NobMob teams racing too, and we set up a huge tarp for out pit area and much friendly banter was had by all. Looking ahead, the next 8hr round is at Canberra on the Mt Stromlo course, 24th August. Both John and I are going to do it solo as a prep for the Scott 24 hr on October the 12/13. For that we are both going to do an attempt at 24hrs solo. John has done a couple before and done quite well, and for me it’s my first time, but I thought I should give one a go and see if I can keep it all together and finish!

Will keep you posted, and look forward to an ONR ride sometime!


Fairly average Google earth view of the Yellowmundee track with my GPS plot:

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Sunday 27 July 2008 - Mooney (short)

Whisperer was competing, Johnbo was studying, Rees is missing in action, Richard is injured, Brian is injured, and others have just disappeared. It was cold, but not as cold as it has been. It was wet, but not pouring down - indeed, most of the ride was in sunshine. It was muddy, but not as muddy as it has been. And, all in all, it was good - but nothing like the Mooney we have come to know and love.

Not real sure what failed us - but Doug, Daniel and Stephe went out to Mooney on a good day, and only just came back happy enough... which is not like the usual feeling at the end of a Mooney ride, of tired bliss. Hmmmm.

After a standard 6.32am start, Doug and Stephe met with Daniel at the closed road signs on the Old Pacific Highway, and drove down to start under the Mooney Mooney bridge. We saddled up and kicked off, stopping at Smartarse Creek along the way to show respect, and slipping and sliding on the wet rocks and muddy trail. The creek crossing was extraordinarily slippery (even Brian wouldn't have made it(!) - although we were upright for at least some of it), and we also quickly paused at the dam for the standard team shot and scenic appreciation...

The climb from the dam turned out to be very challenging indeed, with absolutely no chance of a zero dab climb today (a combination of looser than usual rock, deeper than usual gutters, general dampness, and the fact that at least two of us were tragically unfit for climbing!). But, there was fun to be had on the way down (and some poor attempts as well...), as well as some new flora to check out.

Finally, it was back to the original 'lake' rock garden, and some further playing (with mixed success - Doug looking good, Danny demonstrating how it was done, Stephe not!), and an exit via Smartarse Creek (again with mixed success):

Unfortunately, the profile shows that the whole thing was just a wee bit short, but at least it was a taste of what we need to start working back towards!

Full set of photos (there are quite a few) are up here...

Friday, 18 July 2008

Saturday 19 July 2008 - Manly Dam - AMBC Clinic

On a beautiful winter's day (9am to 3pm, with glorious blue sky all day), Stephe attended a Trailbreakers Clinic run by AMBC.

The course was run by Matt de Belin who was an exceptionally nice chap, and was attended by seven keen 'students of the bike', including Hans (of recent NobMob and potential ShutupandRide fame...).

We spent the morning setting up the bikes at Manly Vale school, practising pedal position and track stands, popping the front wheel, some bunny hops (and my biggest challenge for the day, trying to perfect (heck, even just achieve) the front wheel, then back wheel bunny hop) then attacking the first hill on the Manly Dam loop, just past the school. After a bit of lunch, we then tried some small and then slightly larger roll offs, and then went back and did some technique for climbing those sort of obstructions rather than rolling down them.

The course certainly moved some folk from a clear avoidance of those challenges, to a realisation that they were comfortable with them, which helped in the later part of the session, when we did a lap of the Dam.

Along the way, we stopped at opportune moments to discuss style and technique.

All in all, a good day out- although I think few of our crew will really benefit from this level of course. That said, given the skill of Matt and what we know of the other instructors, I reckon there would be great benefit in getting them along on a ride for some 'dynamic instruction' sessions at one of our more technical efforts one day, assuming a deal could be struck...?

Matt took some video, which I will link to in due course (if ever he posts it).

And, finally, Matt is leading a ride out at Newnes (probably around the places we nearly killed our children last time) in early September - which might be worth thinking about (the benefit of having skilled riders along with us, that we could ask questions of along the way, and all food supplied - the disadvantage of paying for something we've done bits of ourselves, without a guide (but we all know how *that* turned out, eh!), and having to deal with other people (!)).

And, just testing out the options, here is the map for the location of the course:

Use mouse to pan/zoom or click to view Larger Map

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Sunday 6 July 2008 - Two Creeks / Manly Dam

Quick change of pace from the planned Hunters Hill ride, and we managed to have Whisperer join T-Bone and Stephe for a quick jaunt from Middle Cove, to Tryon Road, Lindfield, to Roseville Bridge, along the track to Cook Street (with a bit of a road diversion), through Bantry Bay to Manly Dam... Around 35kms all up - not too bad for a Sunday morning.

The sun was shining and the tracks were great.

We also managed to quickly swap out the old and battered Race Face crank for a new Shimano one on Stephe's bike at 6.45am before the ride (the Bike Whisperer again lives up to his reputation) - which made the ride all the more enjoyable.

T-Bone was feeling strong (lots of fancy sounding exercises and 'supplements' keeping him in peak condition), and Whisperer was - as always - in perfect condition. Indeed, only let down by Stephe being sad, fat and slow...

Two Creeks was relatively uneventful - the rocky climb is no longer a challenge, given that it's blocked off, and there's a bit of a hike-a-bike, but it was a good cruise to warm up along. The ride along beside Middle Harbour / Roseville Bridge area was great - no trees down, and a good constant pace, with much enjoyment. Rather than hiking up behind the houses, we ducked out on to the road for a brief section, coming back in at Cook Street, Forestville and heading over to the Dam. All good, and ready for a good lap of the Dam.

Whisperer was kidnapped to repair various bike debacles along the way (giving Stephe necessary breathing time), but all in all a good solid run. There were about 12 million people out at the dam, and every one of them having fun...

With time ticking away, and fitness levels (for some!) being tested, we wussed the return leg along the roads to Forestville, and then back down the bridge to home.

Ah, it's all coming back (albeit slowly!).

Whisperer's trail motionbased plot is here.

[this link has the album collection (which is nothing more than those above!)]