Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Just Sit And Watch The Boxcars.

This ain't no pro cycling blog, but I am going to to briefly mention some results from the US Pro Cycling Championships. Well, one in particular. Men's Time Trial - 1st Place - Dave Zabriskie.

Why is this a big deal? Well, partially just because Zabriskie is kind of an oddball, and in the world of pro cycling any kind of personality doing well should be celebrated.

But Zabriskie is also known for being a tad, well, mercurial. On the Tour of California coverage the other day Phil Liggett suggested that on any given day you never quite know which DZ is going to turn up - the one who destroys all comers, or the one whose head isn't quite in the game.

Lately it's been the former of these two options turning up, and I can't help but speculate about it having something to do with his decision to follow a plant based diet. Sure, a correlation doesn't always mean causation, but the timing is about right, and there is some evidence out there to support the claim that a diet high in plant based carbohydrates does boost endurance (link coming when Casey finds it for me...). And in a superstitious bunch like the pro pelaton, it only takes a couple of vastly improved results for everyone else to wonder about the new training methods / new bike / new diet. With DZ, it's the latter they should be paying atttention to - especially now that everyone is a bit more wary of steak.

Another article on DZ going vegan here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

If The Rabble Heard The Truth.

I'm pretty over photo blogs - and tumblr in general - for the most part, but this rules.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Telling Everyone.

Outside of my personal life, I really only do three things. Firstly, I have a job that I go to each weekday, that I don't hate and that I'm ok at. Secondly, I race my bike, train for racing, go to the gym for racing and write about racing. And thirdly, I organize races, advertise races, and write about races. This year past I've scaled back on the third, due mostly to the impact it has on the second, and have only really had a hand in organizing the cyclocross series through winter. I was a bit worried about how I'd juggle all three things as June approached, but by accident that has been both fortunate and totally devastating, I've fallen ill just as the CX season is kicking off. Time off work, time off bike, time for CX. I should probably stop everything at some point, and finally give my body some time to recover properly, but that's really not how I roll. And besides, I can do most of the things I need to do for CX from my bed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

C'est Pour.

Another brilliantly analytical meandering from Cycling Inquisition. Maybe I'm overstating this, but when punks turn to cycling, this is what you get.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Free Of The Postures Of Politics.

I was at the gym the other day, and must've said something about it being hard. "It's not hard, Brendan," started my trainer, "This is fun! You do this for recreation!"

It was a nice reminder. It's easy to get caught up in the macho bullshit of cycling - suffering will lead us to glory, HTFU, shut up legs, blah blah blah - and forget that we're doing this because we like it. Even when we're trying to get up that hill faster than our friends, the lactic burning in our legs and our lungs fit to burst, we're doing it because we like it. Even when we're racing in the rain, dirt and shit and road grime spraying up into our faces, the cold freezing our toes and fingers and other, more important appendages, we're doing it because we like it. And even when our commitment to cycling stops us from attending to our relationships, our jobs, our household chores, we're doing it because we like it. It's fun. If it stops being fun, we should stop doing it.

I've been sick for a while now, which has meant that I've had to stop doing it. I've found it difficult to stay off the bike, and have made numerous aborted attempts to get back into training, but in the end I hid the bike in the end room and didn't open the door. I went and got some blood tests done and waited for the diagnosis. Eventually it came, and I'm feeling a lot better now, so I'm consequently tempted to go out and tell myself those macho lies again today. But the thing about those lies is that they're not just untrue, but that for punters like us they're dangerous. If I went out today and did the two hours at 85% that was on my original program, I'd end up back where I was two weeks ago, lying in bed, unable to get up. So I'll do the less intense session that's on my revised program, and I'll do it inside, in front of the TV and out of the rain.

Sometimes you just have to ignore the bullshit, and wait until all your ducks are in a row.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


These days popular music and I tend to live in entirely different worlds, but every now and then something pierces the atmosphere.

Stolen from the ever awesome but totally NSFW FC.

To Get Up In The Morning And To Bear Away.

My friends are smartarses.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It Makes Me Feel Good.

It pains me to admit this, but I'm mechanically inept. Sure, I can do basic things, like changing tyres, tightening brakes or removing cranks, but anything more difficult than that is beyond me. So when it comes to mechanical advice, I really depend on others. Over time I've narrowed down my pool of advisers to four people: DC and Drew from the Revolution, Dan Shifter and Sean "The Man" Hurley (of no fixed internet address). So when three out of these four people all told me that it was time for a new chain and cassette, well, I knew I had to act.

It took me a couple of weeks, but eventually I hit up Hurley, asking him what parts I should purchase. Now, I've got SRAM Red on my bike, and I'm kinda a snob with that stuff, so I just gave him two options: more Red, or Dura-ace. His reply: a Record 10-speed chain and a Shimano 105 cassette.

Once he'd convinced me that the chain would work just fine (3.9, 3.9, that's my number...) I was sold on the Record, but the cassette took a bit more explaining. Like I said, I'm a snob. I've told others that 105 is the lowest Shimano they should stoop to, but really, before now, I wouldn't look at anything that wasn't Dura-ace. Hell, Casey has 105 on her bike - as if I want the same parts on my racing thoroughbred.

But the facts added up - for a 200 gram weight addition you get cogs that are made of steel, and therefore last a whole lot longer than those made of titanium. When I'm not sick I train and race through the winter - sometimes even when it's raining - and so a cassette that promises to last is vital. And 200 grams isn't much - I could simply go to the toilet before a race, and be at least 200 grams lighter immediately after doing so.

So I bit the bullet today. New chain and cassette, Record and 105. I got Drew to put it on for me. Sure, it's turning into a bitzer bike, with mismatched parts and accessories, but I'm starting to like that idea. A bike that's not too perfect, that has a bit of mongrel bred into it. That's not too heavy, but won't fall apart at the appearance of some road grime.

I'll let you know how it works out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Rainy Day.

Hey! 400th post! What's that? You're not particularly impressed? Oh yeah? How's your blog going? Oh, you mean you started it, kept it going for a couple of months, then forgot all about it? Yeah, thought so. Happy blogday to me, jerks.

The Cheap Tawdry Thrills.

Not the best clip, but I highly recommend downloading the entire record here.

I ain't going to get all soppy on you, but every time I hear Springvale Girl I feel pretty good about that former suburban girl who I now live with.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It Keeps Us In Line.

I'm sick at the moment, and have been ordered by the doctor to take three days off work and one whole week off the bike. This has led to me being pretty freaking bored. So I go for a little wander around the internet. Now, there's a pretty good chance that if you're reading this blog, you're a bike nerd of some description. So you will understand what wandering around on the internet means: looking at bike parts and deciding you desperately need to upgrade. This is pretty much where I'm at right now. Unfortunately, at my house we have a "one in, one out" policy (for bikes of like design ie. road bike in = road bike out. If I were buying a CX bike I wouldn't have to sell anything.), which in turn means that I'm selling my track frame. I don't really like to advertise on this blog, but hey, I want this exchange sorted ASAP. So here's the low down:

Item: 2008 Carbon Teschner Track Pro
Item Condition: Very good
Location: Thornbury
Price and price conditions: Special blog price of $1400
Contact Details:
Size: 57cm x 57cm
Reason for selling: Upgrade-itis

Selling my 2008 Carbon Teschner Track Pro. Comes with Teschner forks and Campy Record headset.

This bike is super stiff, and would suit someone either looking to take that next step on the track - or someone who wants to out-bling their friends at the next alleycat.

No the forks are not drilled for a brake. And no, i wouldn't recommend it.

Bike has one small scratch on the top tube from transportation. It is also missing one of the dropout screws, which is a bit weird. I've been riding without it since November last year.

The bike has only ever been ridden on the street once, and that was down to the track. A distance of three blocks. It wasn't raining at the time.

Currently still built up, so you can have a test ride if you like. This means there are no pictures of the frame alone, but here's some shots of me riding it:

Just think. That could be you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just Roaming For The Moment.

Today HMC sent me the following text:

"I dunno how you do it. Every time i do an ergo, the mere thought of doing one later in the week, makes me wanna puke."


I resist the initial temptation to tell him that it sounds less like an ergo problem and more like a thinking problem, and pause to give it some more thought. What drives me to get back on the bike for hour after hour of suffering? Probably mostly farts. But it's also a weird quirk of my personality. I want to succeed, like everyone else, and always really try to kill myself on the ergo. I use bigger gears, hit higher numbers, sprint at the end of efforts, give everything I have in the tiny little end room that occasionally stinks of sweat and exertion. But approximately 30 seconds after I get off the bike I think that I could've done better. Absolutely beyond a doubt convinced that I could've found something more. So I start to tell myself that next time it'll be different: next time I'll aim for a higher cadence, stay in the higher end of my heart rate zone longer, be even more wrecked by the time I get off the bike. By the time the next session comes around I'm positively looking forward to it.

I guess, in a way, you always need to think you can do better. You always need to think you have enormous amounts of unfulfilled potential that you can tap into with smart and hard training. This may be a delusion. But, on the other hand, it may not be.