Shifting Focus


It has been a long time since my last post, but also since I last raced my MTB; this year I had grand plans of racing and being competitive in the Vic Enduro Series unfortunately injury (ref posts below) and life got in the way meaning the number of hours I’ve spent on the new bike build specifically for XC racing this year can almost be counted on a single hand having clocked up only 100kms or so of dirt riding… Having just moved to QLD’s hotbed of mountain bike action I am hoping to shift the focus back towards the MTB racing that I love, I’d be almost silly not to and here is why…

– I live at the base of Australia’s first MTB Park.
– We have a local Summer XC Series.
– Brisbane also has a Summer XC Series (alternating weeks).
– There is a MTBA National Round is in my front yard.
– I just happen to be going to Vic around the time of MTB National Championships.
– There are plenty of gun riders in town.
– Because 2 x summer series isn’t enough, we have a winter XC series too!!!

Whilst traditionally lot of my MTB Racing in the past has been long game endurance / XCM stuff I am hoping the last 2 years of road and criterium racing in the legs will help with the fast twitch & oxygen demands of the fast pace XCO, certainly the technical skills will take care of themselves as Jubilee is hardly “groomed” single-track, not all that dissimilar to my home turf and provide and ideal training ground for honing technical skills and line choices.

The end of the year is a great time for setting goals for the year to come… This coming year my goals will be rather modest but hopefully achievable as I aim to continue to improve and develop as a cyclist in an attempt to chase my 23 year-old self’s dreams; I hope to continue to improve to a level where I am competitive in A Grade (Road / Crit), Finish <10mins behind the Elite Mens winner at MTB National Championships in March, and also finish with the bunch the Grafton to Inverell and Melbourne to Warrnambool both more inline with my previous racing being long games…

The year was full of ups and downs; since there has been a distinct lack of updates this year here they are in summary form… I hope to update the website more frequently next season, updating with race results, training ideas and also general banter. Anyways that’s it for now, so I will leave you with my Shit List, and of course this Hits too!

The Shit List!
Being hit by a car at the end of summer put me pretty well of the bike for 2 months.
Trying to get back to a level I was at…
Feeling on form, and getting a flat just 3kms into the Geelong CC Road Championship Race (2nd DNF in 2 years)
Shoved into the gutter at Brisbane Kermesse

The Hits…
Doing well at MCL Kermesse and Geelong CC Criterium Championships.
Racing at SKCC Crits
Racing my first CV open Melbourne to Ballarat; getting dropped by the 13min bunch at Pentland Hills not so much of a hit.
Moving to A Grade; not quite “A” Grade yet but getting there!!!
My new bike(s) the Hettly MTB and BH roadie.
Picking up 3rd in my last race with Geelong CC.
Moving to QLD has been a good move.
Riding at Daisy Hill, the place that rebooted this journey 3 years ago!



Riding On…

It’s been a long time since I updated the page; certainly not though lack of enthusiasm but for lack of news – not a great deal has happened in the past few (winter) months to report on. As mentioned in the post below I managed to get back on the bike properly towards the end of April and since then I have been working on building and maintaining fitness into and through winter which all though sounds easy in principle is quite difficult. Whilst it hasn’t been without it’s setbacks I am happy to report the numbers and fitness are coming up to pre-injury levels.

That said winter in Australia certainly doesn’t throw the same challenges at us as our Northern Hemisphere cousins, but as you can see below it’s far from ideal riding conditions.

– Dark, yep it’s Dark until late in the morning and it gets dark early in the evening.
– Wind, in Geelong winds regularly in excess of 30kph it’s good for kite surfing.
– Rain, it’s wet more often than not.
– All of the above, make for perfect soul crushing riding weather really.

– Ohhh it’s cold too!

Sometimes the biggest challenge is keeping the motivation going which is the dilemma I faced last week, feeling well down and out I struggled to peel myself off the couch. Sitting on the couch watching cooking shows on TV is as boring as batshit and it made me think of something I spotted on the Ouroboros Training Facebook page earlier in the week “if you’re not having fun, why the hell would you do it”! Even though I took Jesse’s comment completely out of the context it was intended it provided the motivation to grab the MTB out of the shed and do what I love most… No numbers! No stats! No Goal! No care! Just focusing on nailing that rocky descent, hammering that steep pinch, just Riding On…

This week, I feel refreshed and recharged – motivated for the rest of the winter and lead upto summer!


Form, Crashing Down!

It seems to be an all too familiar tale for a cyclist, you spend all summer building, finding form, peaking… Then BAM! It all comes crashing down – in quite a literal sense in this case.

Summer racing was going fantastically, and culminating with racing Master’s A the MCL Kermmese, and the GCC Criterium Champs before starting to focus on my MTB endurance season, which I was hoping to kick off at Wombat 100. Unfortunately fate wasn’t on my side! At the end of my recovery week I hit the road during an altercation with a car, the end result was 5 stitches in my knee and some ligament damage just for good measure. This has resulted in a long, painful and rather slow return to riding. Almost 4 weeks later and I am finally starting to feel like I am pedalling circles again rather than the squares I was last week.

The most frustrating thing is that all of this is the result of circumstances out of my control, placed firmly in the hands of someone in their aluminium box (read Car) obviously too distracted to notice they were 30cm into the shoulder, or even that that nearly driven over the top of me!…

Riding the Form Train, GCC Criterium Champs!

The Good Bits?
With all this bad though, does come some good!.. I somehow managed to convince the wife I needed a 29er Hardtail to race on, so I have spent the last few weeks building up this. Again a bit of a slow process, but building bikes is a process that I enjoy.

…and finally, I am pretty chuffed to announce that Pro4mance – Endurance Sports Nutrition will be supporting my racing endeavours this year with the supply of Hydration and Nutrition products. Check out their website and products at: .

Summer Done!

One would be forgiven for thinking I had forgotten about the website – reality is I’ve just been busy, busy with work, busy with life, and of course busy riding my bike while the weather is nice! I’ve managed to clock some 3800km’s over the summer months (Dec-Feb) which includes taking it easy for a few weeks after separating my AC Joint in a racing accident – fortunately the injury although still hurts was relatively minor and didn’t keep me off the bike for long.

So what I have I been up to you ask? Racing of course, summer is Criterium season after all – so the weekends have been full of racing be it with my local Geelong Cycling Club, or with SKCC on alternate weeks. On the Criterium front the racing is going well with each race providing an opportunity to learn new things and push oneself to new limits. The results have been mixed with a number of podiums at local races, strong finishes at St Kilda; but also a number of headshakes as the realization sets in that I’d missed the break, or burnt my box of matches too early in the piece. But with that comes learning!

As does a move to A Grade – this weekend saw my first race in Masters “A” Grade at the much hyped MCL Kermesse at Caribbean Park; I won’t go into too much detail but will say it hurt but the pain soon disappeared on finishing in the front half of the field. I was chuffed, but not chuffed enough to race Elite B Grade as well as I had planned to!!!

Some pictures from summer’s fun!
MCL Kermesse 15.03.2015

GCC Twilight Crit 10.03.2015

GCC Eastern Gardens Crit 22.02.2015

With the end of Summer comes the end of Criterium season, Geelong Cycling Clubs Criterium Championships and a shift in focus back to MTB XCM /Endurance Racing – so best I get out to the shed, dust off the mountain bike and pump up those tires because there is already a healthy season planned with 7 Rounds of Vic Enduro Series pencilled in, and the hope of getting to the XCM Nationals in Tasmania in May.

2014 in review!

2014 was a year of ups and downs, in terms of “life events” it was probably the biggest year to date; a change of career and working much closer to home meant more time for family, and of course the bike; not to mention being much happier with life! March saw the birth of our second child, a strong boy whom I am convinced will be riding any day now (he is already walking at 9 ½ months). The year also saw my wife rushed to hospital for emergency surgery and all my riding / MTB racing goals put on hold!..

So let’s look at the goals, what went right and what went wrong!

Goal 1) This year I want to ride 12,500km. – Done, 12,697km ridden by Dec 31st 2014… I thought it would be touch and go, but I made it 😉

Goal 2) I want to ride down the coast, for something different! Done, but as I reported in July only as far as Anglesea, hopefully over the warmer summer months I can get down to Lorne and beyond.

Goal 3) I would like to tackle the climbs of south side of Mt Macedon, Donna Buang, Lake Mountain and Falls Creek. Partially done, managed to get up the south side of Mount Macedon, and also Mount Buller, again hopefully with the warmer weather I can get another climb or two in.

Goal 4) I would like to do well in Age Group at the 2014 XCO Nationals. No good in this instance, with the son due just after the event in Bright, Vic getting a leave pass was not going to happen, this one is on the back burner until 2015!

Goal 5) This year I want to finish strong at the Wombat 100. As above!

Goal 6) This year I want to chase the podium, and hopefully make one of the steps in the 2014 Victorian Enduro Series. Flop on this one, 2014 saw a very strong solo field in the VES add to that my limited time for training and that I only managed to get to 3 of the rounds my chances weren’t good! I am considering the 2015 season if it goes ahead.

Goal 7) Start racing road more actively. Well and truly done, I’ve raced some 13 criteriums since October, looking forward to getting in more over the remainder of summer.

Crit II

Riding highlights of the year!..
Riding in the Gold Coast hinterland, just recently returned to Qld for Christmas, I managed to get in quite a few rides around the northern end of the Gold Coast hinterland while I was there for some fantastic riding, great climbs and courteous drivers. I still can’t believe I took a hiatus from riding the years we lived on the base of Mount Tamborine…

Riding in Coffs Harbour, a fantastic place to holiday, ride and hopefully soon live! I have my eyes on the Rainbow Cycles sprinters, and Phar Lap jerseys!

Racing the Shimano Supercrit support race, feeling “pro” without being “pro”… Even the “B” Grade support race had a decent crowd and atmosphere!

Riding / Racing with power, the data is mind boggling but extremely useful!

Goals for 2015 and beyond…
So as the sun sets on 2014, it rises on in 2015… What my goals will be for the year is still undecided, so stay posted to see what the year brings!


What Happened!

Unfortunately sometimes life gets in the way; I had every intention on racing the whole Vic Enduro Series, however after suffering though a very muddy round at Officer, and then having the wife rushed to hospital in an ambulance the weekend after I was forced to take a step back from racing, the bike, work and just about everything else in life to support the family that support me though my endeavours. Everything is ok now, the wife is well and truly on the mend and the time off the bike probably did me good!

A Muddy Mess!

Early August saw Round 4 of the Vic Enduro Series take place at Officer, the weather leading up to the event was pretty good, reasonably sunny and for the most part dry however the day of the race, it rained so much so I was concerned my Fiesta wouldn’t make it up the fast flowing river that once was a road. Soon the car was in position, feed zone set up and race number zip-tied on. At the start the small number of riders that turned up were raring to go, the race would be a battle against conditions rather than an actual race against other riders.

Soon enough the race started, with a solid climb up though the feed zone, and into the single track, it soon became apparent this would be a real mud bath. The first few laps were uneventful, I found a rhythm and although not really quick was consistent lapping within seconds of the last. After 4 laps the track had deteriorated quite badly so much so pinch climbs were unclimbable, and trying to navigate the off camber corners usually resulted in ending up in the bushes. By now I was having zero fun, and it became more about trudging on than anything else – coming though the start finish area, I heard one of the marshal’s advise just over an 1hr to go, a little bemused I was unaware prior to this a decision had been made to shorten the race… I managed another two laps, although there was more running than riding happening as the course had become pretty well unpassable.

Final results, I ended up 11th in Solo (mid pack). I wasn’t particularly happy with the result given the small field and the fact I’d given it my all but come up well short of my own expectations! In addition to torture that was riding around in the mud for 4hrs made me question WTF I am doing, and why – I didn’t have fun, the amount of effort put in certainly wasn’t worth the outcome! But hey, you have good days and bad days and that’s racing I guess!

Four washes, and I am still cleaning the thing.. This is why!

Moving forward!

As I said above there were a number of life factors that severely limited my getting on the bike during late August and early September; while naturally I did lose a fair bit of fitness it was probably a good few week break that was needed. It offered the chance to gain some perspective and also just go riding for the sake of riding. My goals initially set for VES are now all but a pipedream having missed Rounds and 2, 5 and very likely to miss Round 6 as well due to family commitments; I am not overly disappointed though, Crit Season is now here, and GMBC’s Gazebo series is set to kick off again in December.

Whilst the winter season was a bit of a write off, it wasn’t a complete wreck, there are a few learnings to be had particularly around the effort required to manage cycling / racing with a newborn, and what works and doesn’t – I’ve tried a lot of new things this year both on the bike and trainer, some have worked some haven’t, but most importantly I am stronger now than when I was when I set out these endeavours.

SKCC Crit 05.10.2014

… and action!

Finally after weeks of preparation on the eve of the race at Blores Hill the wife and I packed the kids in the car, hooked up the trailer and off we went – of course this was not only for the race, but an opportunity to get away for the weekend and also the first chance we’ve had to use the camper trailer since we got it a few months ago. After arriving at the venue, and farting around with setting the thing up it would soon be time for dinner and bed. Granted it took a little longer than planned, but what does go as planned when you have a 4 month old in tow!

Race Day
The morning of race day was full of nerves as usual; fortunately there was little to do the morning of the race besides eat breakfast, and get dressed. None of the usual waking up early, packing cars, driving for miles, getting ready etc… After a short warm up we had the race briefing and then line up for the self-seeded start – Determined not to get bogged down in traffic I put myself on the second row directly behind the eventual race winner. Soon enough the bell went and we were off, about 15sec in I ran up someone’s arse; great start I thought in a mad panic I shoved the bloke out of the way and put the hammer down for the remainder of the prologue lap which would see me enter the single track in a reasonable position. I kept the pace up for the first lap with a few changes in position both up and down. After lap one I settled into a rhythm of pedalling, keeping the fluids and food up.

The next few laps were fairly uneventful; just cruising along stringing together corner after corner of fantastic single track. Blores Hill is a great place to ride, fast flowing trails nothing overly technical with the exception to the run up to, and from Trigg Point which is loose, rocky and steep in sections… It’s also in a bit of a rain shadow, so despite the recent rain in Melbourne / Geelong the place was near on bone dry.

After the 4th lap I stopped to take on more food and bottles before heading back out; unfortunately my timing couldn’t have been worse the 3hr riders had started only a few minutes earlier, their race joined the course a few kms into the lap right before the technical climb up to Trigg point and minefield of rock gardens on the descent. I must have caught every slow 3hr rider there was, none of which would heed to my constant (but polite) calls for “track” on the climb. I was stoked when I got to the fire road section of the climb and managed to pass a few, only to come across more on the descent!

After a few spills, including running straight over the top of one of the slower 3hr guys when he fell in front of me I was finally in some clear track, and ready to power back on! I was still feeling good but I was struggling on the climb up to Trigg Point which seemed to get harder and harder every lap. I started really feeling it on Lap 6, the effort was still the same but the speed just wasn’t; I couldn’t find a happy gear and I was getting slower! On the last lap I dug deep hoping to get to the line before cut off enabling me to do another lap but it soon become apparent that I would need to pull out my fastest lap of the race to get there – No hope! In the end I crossed the line 6hr 16mins having done 8laps (113kms) and finishing 17th of 40 or so in Solo open.

At the time I was a little disappointed with the result, I really thought I would be closer to the top 10 but then the realisation that this was the biggest week on the bike since Aidan was born! I felt good on the bike, I ate well and kept the fluids up in all I had ridden a pretty good race despite the mishap with the falling 3hr rider. I had fun and it’s great to be back racing.

A few things to take away from the race!
1) Go hard at the start to avoid the pile up once the single track starts.
2) Do some more work on climbing on the MTB.
3) Admit your 26” is old tech, and buy a 650b / 29er dually already! (the 29er riders made the techy Trigg Point look easy)
4) Try as you might, there probably isn’t a real substitute for volume when it comes to endurance racing.
5) Als you can do is all you can do!

Hell, sure was on a 26’er!

Rocky Descent:

Special thanks to the wife and little ones for their support at Blores Hill their cheers every lap made the race that much easier! Next race is at Officer on the 10th of August; another race to look forward to!