Sunday, October 30, 2011


Also, you should download this, and only keep the Tight Bros From Way Back side. Apparently the guy who organized these records ripped a whole bunch of people off, so you shouldn't feel too bad about downloading it instead of buying it. The song is a contender for best cover ever, and also best song to play when you're leaving the house on your way to a party.

The Big Time, Baby.

I've had my ranty pants on quite a bit lately, but for some reason I've woken up in a decent mood, and as such will spare you the vein-popping details. Instead I'll write about my new track bike. I've only ridden it up and down my street so far, so this won't be a particularly well informed review. Mostly it'll be about my new bike angst.

My former bike - a Teschner Track Pro - didn't ever fit me quite right. It was a 57cm square, and I really need a 58 or even a 59. It also, like most modern track bikes, had a really short head tube, which meant that I needed a stack of spacers and a stem with a heap of rise. This in turn meant more flex through the stem. So I went looking for a bigger track bike with a bit more head tube. Eventually I settled on one of these and started saving.

I'm a notoriously bad saver, however, and it took a fair bit of time. In that time Sean the Man got in my ear, suggesting that the Pinarello wasn't so great, and that instead I should think outside the square. Better to get a bike that fits you, rather than get you to fit a bike, he reckoned.
"Plus," he continued, "Pete Bundy has just got in some Columbus Max."
"Steel?" I replied, "I'm sorry, did I fall asleep and wake up in the 90s?"
"Nah, listen. When BT first started making their bikes, their #1 specification was that they be as stiff as a bike made with Max. And Max isn't that heavy. Besides, weight doesn't matter so much on the track. You ever lifted a BT? They're fucking heavy."

I knew he was right. So I spoke to Pete, who told me he could make a bike a stiff as my Teschner, if not stiffer, and as a bonus it would fit me better. I was convinced, and put some money down.

A good two months later the bike arrived at the office. Carrying over to my car I was surprised by how light the box felt. Arriving home and unpacking the frame this surprise didn't fade - it was a lot lighter than I expected. The colour, which Dan Shifter later referred to as "Australian Flag" blue, fairly popped out of the box. It looked hot, and it felt hot.

Dan built it up for me, made it work. I was supposed to have track training at Coburg yesterday, and thus have a chance to ride around on it before racing, but the rolled in and cancelled the session. I haven't taken it out yet, and so my concerns about having a steel frame are yet to be put to rest. It is stiff, sure - true to his word, Pete probably has made it stiffer than the Teschner. But is it going to be as fast? Surely a fast track bike is stiff, light and aerodynamic - the Bundy scores a 5/5 for stiff, but what about light and aerodynamic? Furthermore, I'm not as fit right now as I was this time last season - am I going to blame my shitty performances on the bike? How will I know if it's the bike or me?

Of course, I can only really answer these questions by getting out and riding on the bloody thing, which I'll do on Tuesday night. Until then it'll just sit in the end room, asking questions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Facebook has just informed me that racing in Bendigo has started early this year, in the light of coming repairs to their track. This is most excellent news indeed. I'm a big fan of racing in Bendigo, for a number of reasons. First of all, the track is really big - 412 metres, I'm unreliably informed. This lends itself to harder racing, a leaning that is pushed further by the locals, who are reliably strong and capable cyclists. With little banking and some resistance in the track surface, it's a track suited to endurance track riders, especially when the wind is up.

Furthermore, there's the crowd. That's right, a crowd. At Bendigo on a Thursday night people go to watch track racing - people who don't even know the racers! That's unheard of down here, where entertainment options are plentiful. Throw in a coffee cart and occasionally a baked potato van and you're sorted for atmosphere.

But there's something more to it. I don't know if it's because I'm a bit country myself, but it's pretty satisfying to be out there in the open, the coolness of the evening coming in after a long day's heat, riding your bike and talking shit with the other blokes, sticking around for the presentations afterwards, then that long drive home, the car stinking of sweat and bikes and tired. Yep. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We Can Live Much Better Than This.

My former coach used to say that when you took some time off the bike, it takes about twice as much time to come back to your former fitness. This sets me up to be in some good form at around the time I'm aiming for, but that knowledge doesn't make the journey any easier. Man, bike racing is hard! I reckon last night at DISC I DNFed my first club race. It wasn't pretty, but it was exactly the fast, constant racing that I need in order to get fit again. I was stoked, but I was broken, which is kind of a weird combination, if you think about it too much. Fortunately I don't.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No, You Can't Have It Back, Silly Rabbit!

Since I quit the cyclocross it has been sunny. While part of me is certain the two are not related, part of me is convinced that my decisions have the ability to change the weather, the turning of the globe, and the universe in general. I've also been training my ass off, and I gotta say, it's feeling pretty damn good. This afternoon the schedule was kinda fun - 2 hours at easy pace, but including two sets of five 150 meter sprints. James and I went out through Epping, but quickly got bored, and ended up sprinting on gravel roads, up and down ridiculously steep hills, in the midst of dubious traffic. Getting fitter again after so long off the bike is generally pretty hard work, but tonight it was pretty damn fun to boot.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Quitters Never Win.

Like I said here, I needed to make a decision about how I was going to spend my time next year. So I did. I quit the DDCX organizing committee. And it felt damn good. Immediately I felt more relaxed, less burdened, and like I had more time. And, while we're being honest, I gotta say, lately I've felt about as emotionally attached to cyclocross as I do to Kunstradfahren, so the decision to leave hasn't been too painful.

Nath said to me a while back, as I progressed through the cycling ranks, that at some point it's going to get a whole lot less fun. This hasn't exactly happened - I had more fun racing last Tuesday night than I've ever had before, I reckon - but I am definitely doing less other fun stuff outside cycling. If there is a balance there, if less non-cycling fun means more cycling fun, I'm not sure. But I got about three more years of this in me, and I'm itching to see how much further I can go.

Get Behind The Mule In The Morning And Plow.

I'll probably have to train next Saturday morning, or maybe even race. I'm still waiting on my program for next month, and I'm not exactly sure of what I'll be doing. But afterwards I'll definitely be heading down to this. I'm no fan of protests, but sometimes you adding your voice to the choir is more important than the choice of song. The important thing is that people are singing. Follow me? Good. I'll see you down there.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rise Above! Rise Above!

"Rest," they say, but fucking hell, it ain't easy. It's the last day of the holidays and I'm bored bored bored. I know it's important to rest the legs and all that, but I can think of nothing more I want to do right now than go for a long, easy bike ride. I suppose this is a good sign, but right now, it's driving me crazy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moral ABCs.

In light of the sunny weather and marked increase in bicycle traffic, perhaps now is a good time to re-direct your attention to this post. Just sayin', folks.