Cross Season….

Is here!

Yesterday has officially kicked off my 2013 Cyclocross Season with Bay Area Super Prestige #1 at Candle Stick Point. I have raced this course only once before. Then it was even hotter, dustier, I even somehow managed to have a heavier bike.

Down to the race. I was in Mens Bs which races last of the day when it was nice and warm. Since its the first race of the series they did call-ups in registration order. As I registered only a couple hours before the start I was 60 of 75. Putting me in the eighth row. So the race tactic was: I have no hole shot, so I have to kill myself to get to the front on the first lap. This worked pretty well, I was probably around 20-25th when I crossed the start/finish line and I can only recall a single racer passing me after we dooked it out for a couple of laps. Then I progressively reeled in around 10 other races. I felt good through most of the race with relatively few mistakes. Next race I will have a better rear brake that will hopefully help with my cornering at speed. Biggest mistake was not pushing hard/soon enough on the final lap, I finished with 2 racers within about 10 meters. Overall I finished 13th.

Highlights.
Heckle Hill as usual. Here is a shot from the bottom. In the past I have manged to ride this. This year it actually (I’m not joking) looks like someone took a shovel to it.

Heckle Hill

Heckle Hill usually brings out my suffer face.

Booty shaking is to cross racer what hand clapping is to dying pixies.
Booty shaking is to cross racers as hand clapping is to dying pixies.

Shake Jortz, Shake.

And sometimes you get a fan offer up snacks.

Failure to Snack

That’s about a wrap. Big ol’ ups to Jortz for taking 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th places. Kell WOB for killing our field. Started one position in front of me and charged up to 4th place. Nice work. Got some great Team Moustache, Spoke Cyclery and Rev Weezy support, thanks for the hand ups. (and everyone I stole pictures from ūüėČ

Screenshot BASP1 Results

Morgan Allen: Hedge Hog Whisperer

In my journey through New Zealand I saw my fair share of hedge hogs. Cute little guys they are. Sadly the bulk of them resembled the bulk of… err… disassembled kangaroos I saw in Australia. So when I saw one if these lil’ fuckers rootin’ around the side of the road my protective instinct kicked right in. Right after a squee of joy!

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Be seen, be safe my little hedge hog.

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Now there is a happy and safe hedge hog.

Followup: Newcastle Overnight

The Newcastle Overnight was an amazing success. The toughest in recent memory would have been Day 13 of Perth to Sydney. I did 186km in a savage head wind. Over night I think this ride was just as hot.

The day started off hot. Ruining my plan to beat one of the challenges of this ride. The plan was simple. Stay up really late as I tend to do and have a nice sleep in. Problem here was that it was so hot, despite the fact I was up well past 4:00am I could not manage to fall back asleep past 9:00am. I prepared a couple of things for the ride and decided to get out of the house for the afternoon and went around for some beers with a friend. About 6 beers and a heap of Indian food later I was back home getting everything together. As is typical for me, I packed too much.

I wish I had had a handle bar bag. Since I was riding my road bike there isn’t much storage space. I decided then to use my Camelbak to hold the bulk of my water as I’d need at least 1 water bottle cage for the light battery. My packing included, rain gear, food (couple sandwiches, nuts, cheese, forgot the crackers), extra battery (not needed), arm/leg warmers, couple other small things. All tools and spares where in a saddle bag.

Once ready I went around to a friends to pick up a loaner light. This is one of the early generation LED lights made in New Zealand. It is a really nice light, very high power but…. it used old NiCad batteries each of which is the size (and shape) of a water bottle. There was concern that the batteries had degraded from there original 8 hours to about half. Fortunately this was not the case and I got a solid 8 with mostly using the medium setting and turning off while riding in lit areas. Unfortunately this meant I had a water bottle shaped (and sized) spare battery in my backpack I didn’t need.

Turned up to Observatory Hill about 8:30, chatted with a couple of folks I knew from Bike Polo and met some new folks, made some really bad jokes and prepared to depart.

The ride started off nicely with a couple of people jamming right off the front. I took my time but was still near the front of the main group. I held in this group for the first hour or so but as the climbing started getting more intense I dropped of a little more each time. Apparently I don’t have climbing legs since leaving San Francisco. This group had been pulling a fairly intense pace so I was probably for the best to back off and join the next group back.

I stuck with this next couple for a couple of hours. At least until the tea stop. This group also had the toughest/craziest guy on the ride. Sporting an old Shogun funny bike converted to fixed gear with a not so sensible gear ratio. He did manage to throw down a¬†Herculean¬†effort but the climbs of Mt. White left him walking. As there was a large gap to the next group back, he’d not much of a light and there was the¬†occasional¬†speeding car, I walked with him until the crest. A small group caught us just after the top and we jumped in with them until the tea stop. The last group I was with was still there and I jump in with about half of them a few minutes later.

Some people rest on descents. I think if you are resting on a descent you are not going fast enough. Sadly this attitude, fun as it is, didn’t leave a lot for the next climb, which I did very slowly. I spent the next hour or so on my own until I¬†decided¬†it was time for a rest. I had a lay down on the lawn outside a gas station until the next group was coming up. Got my shit together and hoped on. We arrived in Swansea together and continued on to the straight flat marsh lands to the North. I was working with one other in the group taking turns on the front. This is when the lack of sleep was really starting to hit me bad. I wasn’t hungry but should have been, my stomach was hurting and I was starting to see spots.. okay I gotta throw up. I jumped out of the group and relieved myself. There was a small parking lot which I used to rest up, took a power nap, ate some food and was feeling largely much better. That is until the next group past.

I didn’t see them until they where just passing, I packed my stuff up quickly and tried to catch them. Bad idea, basically wasted the little rest I just taken. I’d given up on trying to catch when I noticed one (of the three) pulling off to the other side of the road. Water stop or rest maybe, said it he was okay. I then ended up catching the other 2 while they where stopped. I managed 2 big efforts with them but I just wasn’t on the same pace. Turns out heavy weight touring and light weight hammer aren’t really transferable skills, who’d of thought.

On my own again I decided some motivational music was in order. Riding with no hands selecting some music I didn’t see the giant pile of glass until I’d riden through it twice. Before I was even done wiping the front tire down the rear went flat. And turn out matching Mavic tires and rims are impossible to remove without tire levers… which I didn’t have.

About 15 minutes later a lone riding pulled up. I’d recognized him and turns out we’d met through a mutual friend a couple of weeks earlier. He was happy to stop at this point and take a break. We then departed together and were on very similar pace. The company was very welcome at this point. We’d both been having similar nights. We had about 60km to go about this point.

It was still very hot at this point in the night and there was a thunderstorm cracking away on the horizon. Interestingly this is the same place I was absolutely hammered on during the first night on my Sydney to Brisbane tour.

The rest of the ride was fairly routine. Will and I stopped occasionally for rest and food (I was thankfully hungry at this point) and chatted while knocking down the distance. The last 15km where great. We left the main highway and took a Rails to Trails route that was extremely beautiful with natural Australian coastal growth.

We arrived at the rock pools right around 7:00am to a cheering crowd and a croissant. Getting off the bike knowing I was done was an amazing feeling. Everyone around the table looked shattered but with the most amazing smiles of haggard satisfaction on their faces. Through the sharp feeling of pain and exhaustion I felt that look on my face too. We sat around for the next hour sharing our story of the journey, most of the people there I’d riding with at least once through the night. A great bunch of people whom I am very glad I was able to meet and ride with.

I cannot thank the people who organized this enough. Ollie and Garth are super nice guess and did an amazing job bringing us together. If you are in or around Sydney this time next year you must do this ride. It was a truly amazing experience.

No Newcastle Overnight, Thank You.

Going for a little ride

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I found out about it just a couple of days ago and decided to jump on. Tonight is Sydney to Newcastle Overnight. 160km starting at 900pm. We are about 30 minutes off and everyone is quite excited. Should be a great ride, its hot as and quite humid. The dip in the pacific at sun up will be very rewarding. Hopefully I manage to record the entire route.

The Pigeon has Landed

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This is some progress right here. I am happy to see more bike stations at airports. This one is at Auckland International. The first one I had seen was at PDX. Hopefully I will continue to see more. I am back in Auckland and headed down to Taupo this weekend for Taupo Tapout II. I placed second in this tourny last year with two noobies. Since then one of them has been training non-stop and I have the pleasure of having him on my team again. Taking up the third spot is Sydneys own V. Looking forward to a weekend of shinanigans with good friends.

Team Moustache Goes to SSNATS.

This weekend is the Australian Single Speed Mountain Bike Nationals put on by Australian Recreational
….
………

Yeah this post got delayed.

Race was awesome!
Did an honourable one and a half laps considering I
was on the heaviest bike, platform pedals* and on two or so hours of sleep.
Tomorrow should be tops. Will get some proper pedals and release the gears for a rager of a hangover ride tomorrow.

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