Sunday, December 19, 2010


" It is exceedingly difficult simply by the sheer volume of three weeks of 140mi days. It flaunts a 60% attrition rate."..... Self-supported, solo. Huh. That sounds tough.

Still, I guess you would have these guys for company.

And you'd need to learn about the local customs.....

Must read some more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Phase One:
I started out, like everyone, as a complete hack. I was only ever on a bike because the middle of a triathlon required it. Getting over 30km/hr was an effort.

Bike of the moment: a non-description steel cash converters bike, now I recognise it as a vintage peugeot! Should have kept it. Upgraded to a Giant TCR Aero roadie.

The TCR Aero, a lot faster than a steel crime converters find.

Phase Two:
Reasonable Triathlete by now. Off-season fun to keep us fit took us to old school (pre comm games clean up, trailmix and other things) lysterfield. My god, these days were serious fun. Team FB rools. First night ride in here somewhere. A plenty of dangerous advice like 'if in doubt, go faster' and 'just dont touch the brakes'.

Bike of the moment: 2003 Giant Yukon HT.

Phase Three:
Dropped triathlon, headed north and refocused on AR. The love for MTBs grew. The Gap Cycles gang were a great place to get amongst it and learn, and Darcy gave me a lot of his time and knowledge to start the process from total newb to half-a-clue. Had a crack at riding from Canberra to the top of Kosci and back too.

Bike of the moment: Trek Fuel ex9.

First Kooralbyn ride, loving it as part of Gap Cycles crew.

On the top of Australias Highest Point, accessible by a 42km climb.

Phase Four:
First 24 hour MTB. I'd done a 24 HR AR once or twice, so what was the difference? I can tell you now, there is a difference and it is called intensity. Maybe we 'race' AR like sloths with lots of 'OMG we are lost" breaks but to me 24 hr MTBing seemed harder. Notched up some great achievements in this phase like XPD, a medal at the national 24hr solo champs and another go at the road ride from Canberra to Kosci and back. This time I smashed the boys. Cool.

Bike of the moment: Lemond Victoire roadie.

XPD on the Trek Fuel - Day 6.
Return to Kosci, and this time I smashed the boys for the Grimper Award.

Phase Five:
Now fully hooked on 24hr solos. First real sponsorship with Ride Inn bought me a new bike and new pressures. Cranked out a few local wins on the new bike, and got serious with a trip to Victoria to try and qualify for the worlds. In there somewhere I also had a crack at my first 100km down in victoria's wombat state forest BMC marathon. I still haven't mastered peeing on the bike, and was happy to come second at 1min.49secs down with dry bibs.

Ridley's first race for Riders - 1st solo for the 8 hour.

Got my slot and headed over to Canada with no idea of what I was in for. Survived to 10th in Elite at the worlds and can definitely say I gave it all I had. I discovered the joys of a great support crew. I also tried my first real Downhill at Whistler on a borrowed bike and rented full face. Awesome!

Bike of the moment: Ridley Blaze 2.0.
Whistler DH on a borrowed Kona Stab Garbanzo. aka a TANK.

Phase Six:
Stepping up. Working hard on getting more skills and losing less skin. Less road kms, more MTB kms. New sponsorship with Koiled introduced me to Shannon. A whole new set of race bikes that included the move to big wheels and some time sessioning trails under his guidance; I had the recipe for a jump in performance. I am now riding stuff I used to walk. And another thing. I am approaching that elusive dream - I am approaching 'fast'.

Cracked my first stage race in Timor, and got a hard won silver medal at the 24 hour worlds and 11th overall in the world. Broke my first frame simply from riding it (RIP Lemond!)

The Tallboy smoothing out Stromlo bumps

Bike of the moment: Santa Cruz TallBoy, Blacksheep custom HT.

Phase Seven:
Begins with one.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the juice.

You know, there are just some products you get to love. They become part of your routine because they work so well, and there is never any consideration for another option. In fact, without them you feel like you are not prepared.

I feel like this about eLoad - the electrolyte developed by Dr. Doug Stoddard of Medion.
Nutrition is inherently personal because, well, in part it is based on what you like the taste of - and that is undoubtedly individual. But it is also undeniably scientific, and there is a wealth of research and rules to be considered and balanced when making the ultimate sports drink.
I have successfully drunk in eload in many a 24 and I swear by it. I am sure my issues in Timor were in some part contributed to by my lack of eload. BTW - I am not sponsored in any way if that is what you are thinking. I wish.

You can imagine how devastated I am to learn Trek have discontinued the distribution of it in Aus. IMO Trek has never done much for eLoad down under - there is no promotion and half their dealers claim to have never heard of it. I have only ever seen it actually on a shelf in two Trek shops out of the many I have been to.

While Trek was doing the distro my standard sourcing went like this - ring around dealers (it is never in stock, naturally, since they don't know what it is) and ask until I could find someone who was willing to ring Trek and order it in for me. Trek often didn't have it, and I have waited long periods for it to arrive. I used to buy it in 6kg (4 tubs) batches at a time, because this process was so difficult and touch or go as to whether I could even get someone to play - I hoped that buying several hundred bucks of the stuff might make it more attractive for the dealer. True it was at the expensive end of the scale - but this never bothered me as I felt it was worth it.

The fact that I was willing to go through this, should speak for itself in terms of just how good I think this stuff is. And now - nothing. Can't get it. Found one e-tailer that will ship to Australia, but I have to be prepared to pay $150 USD per tub (it's $115 for the shipping).

Arrrrrrghhhh summer is coming - what to do!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Race Report - Worlds

I went into this year with a simple mission - ride to the best of my ability and get on the podium.

Silver medal for my Category, and 12th woman overall in the biggest women's field ever for any 24 hour, anywhere in the world. 320km is a record for me. 8000mtrs of ascent is another kick ass milestone.

I was part of the top rider call up at the start, which saw me intro'd to the audience with a line up in the first row, on the line. No more hiding up the back! Little did I know, the first test was just around the corner. For some reason organisers decided to move a section of bikes AFTER riders had racked them and been corralled. Yes, they moved my bike. And not a little bit. It was moved to the opposite side, and about 100mtrs up - effectively making it impossible to find at the end of the Le Mans start. Thank you to which ever marshall thought that was a fair and appropriate thing to do. Needless to say, despite being the first woman through, I quickly ended up about 3/4s of the way back through the field as I ran up and down trying to find where my bike had been moved to. It also meant my first lap was a painfully slow, traffic blocked affair. I focused on keeping my head straight and got on with it.

It was not an uneventful race, and the course was tough enough that I think most riders would have been truely tested. Some big names certainly cracked. I had some nausea issues - who didn't! While my race this year did contain a crash or two - damage was contained to me and not my machines (Xrays are clear!!) I think the main difference is that there was nothing that was going to stop me riding on. Not pain, not fatigue, not the feeling of not riding fast enough or being good enough to bother.

It was not so long ago I would have found myself walking a lot of that course. This year I was riding. I may not be the technically fastest yet, but for now I am enjoying the improvements I have worked hard for and know I will continue to improve.

The hardest thing in this race was chasing. I don't mean not being in first place, I mean aggressively getting up yourself to hit the pedals and try and catch someone. It is one thing to do a 24hr and hang in there for the allotted time and see what happens. It is quite another thing to have your crew tell you every lap that you need to ride faster when mentally you are wondering where you are going to even pull the energy to complete another lap, period! That is a step up in the head case games, let me tell you. Still, I had all these people who had travelled to help me, and my family at home who have put up with my training so I didn't have to look far for motivation to push on.

Well done to Jacqui K who held out for a 14min lead. I never managed to lock on to a visual of you on the course, with you always just a couple of minutes up the road. Apparently I need to drink more red bull, though really I think it is as simple as you were faster on the day!

Thank you to all the people that stayed up shouting at their computers! Thanks to my awesome crew, Prof, Shan, Alex and Christa for giving up your time, energy and sleep and keeping me rolling! Even Ty Powell got in there holding my food for me, thanks kiddo!

Thanks to Steve at u-turn fitness for keeping my strength and fitness on the up and up.
Also - how good are my bikes?!?!? Thanks Shannon at Koiled.

Shannon, you need to teach me to ride around a corner. You've got a month. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's coming.....

the highs...

the lows...

the suspense...

the sense of achievement !!?!

the World Solo 24 Champs. Mt Stromlo 9th and 10th of October.
The biggest female field EVER recorded at any 24 hour race anywhere in the world. And I am part of it. Go Girls!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tour De Timor

*now with photos!

Stage racing is hard.
Heading into the event, I was not concerned about backing up day after day. With my background I know I can do that. I also know I recover quickly. What I was blissfully unaware of was the blinding pace at which these things go. That ignorance was rapidly resolved when the gun went off for day one.

Things I learnt:

- Stage racing is not mountain biking. It is road racing on mountain bikes.

- Don't rely on the organisers for anything even if they say it will be given. Especially in Timor. We got not bars, no gels and often no electrolyte. I got caught out and paid badly on day one.

- You can drink too much (especially of the wrong fluid) and it is a very, very bad thing.

- Girls aren't good at saying they are awesome. My team mates were awesome, and slightly more awesome than me (understatement!) any time the road turned smooth and flat.

Day one was like a sledgehammer. I have ridden in peletons but never raced. The crashes, the mad timorese and the constant surging by front runners to try and split the front bunch had me scared and on the rivet from the word go. I don't mean pushing, I mean turning myself inside out to stay on and in touch with my team mates. We would go from a comfortable 25km to 45+ ... up, down, up down. It was brutal. My other 3 team mates all race road and were great at pushing that pace. I was in the locker. I managed to hold to the 30km mark and the first KOM before being blown off the back. I was shattered and still had 95km to go - including the 15km climb into balibo. Tried to find some people to work in with, and managed it till I needed to stop at the 46km station for fluid. No powerade as I expected so I took on water. It was pretty lonely from here to the next 70km station - there was no-one I could see in front and no-one behind so I worked for myself into the wind on two broken legs and an increasing nauseous stomach. Kept eating and drinking knowing I would usually come good. The next KOM was a steep savage climb in about 38' heat. I knew something was wrong when I had to get off and walk the last pinch. I might suck on the flats, but I can usually climb. At least I knew my 3 team mates were up the road with the times that would count for us that day so I sat back and tried to conserve. It was impossible in the heat. I found Paul, husband of one of my teamies, and rode with him to the next aid station at the bottom of the climb. They'd run out of electrolye so again - water. He was shattered after having done lots of work to keep Claire and Sue up in the bunch - relentlessly towing them back every time they fell off. I left him and started the climb - wanting to get it over with and out of the heat. I felt pretty sick at this point but knew I could climb. I stopped halfway up the climb to go to the toilet, so I guessed I wasn't dehydrated. At this point I was feeling a bit dizzy and definitely sick. Someone later said their polar registered 43' on the climb. It felt like it. I made it in - helped along by the hundreds and hundreds of cheering children. I found Paul in the med tent and sat down with him. Another team mate bought me food. I tried to eat, and it was then I realised something was really wrong. In hindsight I am convinced I had Hyponatremia.

Long story short I spent the next 5 to 6 hours vomiting. Maxolon did not help. The med team was telling me about being dehydrated, and had no means (or idea) to test electrolytes. I knew I wasn't because I had gone to the toilet twice, clear - once while riding and once while I was back. They didn't IV (probably because I was willing to force myself to walk to the toliet) and in the end they gave me an awesome chemotherapy drug that finally stopped the vomitting. I still felt ill, with a bad headache and general weakness but it was time to sort this out - I had to eat. At about 730pm I checked myself out to go to and force food in. I ate some rice and went to bed. It was a frightening night. I got up constantly for the toilet, more clues that dehydration perhaps was not the culprit! I heard the midnight black hawk medivac that came in fully stealth, no lights and certainly reflected on my situation.

My team mates and I reviewed the rule book we had been handed out. It said if you were swept or didnt start you would not be a DNF. You would be given the last riders time plus one hour, and could continue on. Everyone felt strongly that I should not ride. I knew I was unwell so I agreed to go in the convoy for the day. My team mates suffered, but rode well and held 2nd. I still felt nauseous but all day I ate ate ate knowing it was my only ticket back to the bike.

Day three I got back on the bike. It was a rougher dirt road stage, followed by another big climb into the mountains. As always, when the gun went off I was redlined immediately. I couldn't believe it was happening again!! I knew I was in the three whose times would count so I had to stay in and did my best to try and relax. Relax!! The pace at these things really blew my mind. Soon the road turned to a rough as guts rocky dirt track and it was much easier for me to keep up. A pig took some dude out and then ricocheted into my back wheel. I stayed up and thanked god it was not my front. Hundreds of cheering kids made you feel great. Plenty of idiots enjoyed the occasional overlap with your rear wheel, and I copped a red baron. Claire laughed at me. I overcooked a tar descent corner and still have no idea HOW I kept the bike up and stopped but again I did. Later I learned that Libby, had crashed on that very corner. Once we hit the climb I was much more comfortable as the pace drops, and I am much more accustomed to climbing. With Libby up the road, Claire and I worked in together with me being able to do some work for her after her massive effort on Day two to pull Sue along. We made it and held second. It poured rain, there was no shelter and all our bags got wet. I am not sure how there were not more cases of hypothermia, the organisers seemed unprepared. I only drank electrolyte this day, and about half the volume of day one - much, much better. I continued this for the rest of the race. They can jam their 10litres a day. It is dangerous in my opinion.

Day four was another day of tough climbs. Again Libby was up the road fighting her GC battle, and I was to work in with Claire while we rested Sue. It was a mix of tar and rough dirt sections. This stage had incredible scenery and took us up and over 1900 mtrs. The start smashed me as per usual, but was more sedate than the others with people knowing the hills to come. I was starting to feel good again, over the effects of day one. Claire and I worked in - I tried to stick with her on descents and she worked in with me on the climbs. soon Sue caught us and we decided to rest Claire with Sue and I taking it up the road to try and make better times. I think we climbed well, but on the very last part of the descent we caught a rain shower which made the road slick. Sue had a near miss and displayed some ridiculous skills to keep a sideways bike up on the road. After that she suggested we back off on the descents - wise I am sure. Unfortunately this day we lost aound 7 mins to the Trailmix girls and dropped to third. I think we lost a lot of it on the descent.

Day five had the only thing that came close to mountain biking in it. A 6 km rough rocky cliff ridden jeep track, followed by a whole 600 mtrs of single. It was decided that I needed to be in the three whose times counted, as Sue is more of a roadie. The general consensus was that there was no way we could make 7 mins on a stage with a some climbing, but lots of descending. I said 'let's do it anyway', knowing full well with the flat into town I was the one who was going to be on the complete rivet and have to hurt like I have never hurt before for a long long time. It was not a happy feeling, but I was prepared to do it. Claire was a machine this day. She attacked EVERY climb and I had to give 100% to stay with her. Descents were the same. In the first few kms the unbelievable happened - we saw two Torq riders with flats by the side of the road - we were not only up on Trailmix, we were up on Torq. We reached the rough stuff and I quickly forgot my worries of staying with her in the pure pleasure of hardcore MTB descents. Paul screamed at me "heels down" and you know what - I think it worked! We absolutely smoked it, I cannot remember how many people we overtook. The timor kids yelled "Malai FAST FAST" which was cool. Then came the road flats - with 3 big climbs. I hurt. I was clawing to stay on the wheels - but we were still in front of two torq riders, and no sign of trailmix. Paul was there to help and kept me on the bunch. Coming into to town I didn't think I could do it. The torq rider pulled us back and asked me 'what we were trying to do, just relax'. I told her we were 'just having fun' (in between being sick in my mouth). She tried to push me off Claires wheel but a slight adjustment of elbows fixed that and she backed off. It strung the group slightly and Claire went off the front to get one of us up the road on torq. I held with Paul and it was a red haze. At some point she dropped off the back to let us have it. We crossed the line, and I was very, very happy.

Unfortunately during the event the judges updated the written rules verbally, and apparently on a whiteboard at Timor Lodge. Somehow everyone in the team missed it. And while I can provide opinions on the organisation and changing of rules at the last minute to something different to what was handed out that very day - rules are rules. I know for a fact there were other riders awarded that missed days so there were inconsistencies and it feels unfair. It also didn't effect us on day 3 or 4 which set a precedent in my mind - and might have changed the way we had ridden.

Trailmix protested that I had not ridden day two and we were relegated to third. Despite my personal disappointment at riding the way we did on the last day and then losing it, I respect their right to protest and the commissaries decision. If I am in that situation I have learned to speak with commissaires rather than a race director.

I'd like to go back again and do it for pleasure, with photo stops! I didn't see much more than my bar tape and tears for the whole week. Bring on the tour legs!!

Next stop - World Solo 24s.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Race Report - Merida 24

I used the routine of race morning to try and calm pre-race nerves. Having looked at the entry list the night before, I knew there was strong competition and to get on any of the steps at the end of the race, I would have ride to my absolute best, and probably a bit past that!

Race morning, the koiled gang came together and set up camp. I felt surprisingly calm. The week leading up my head tried to go to bad places, knowing that there were girls who had better results than me turning up. The voice always popped up in my head saying 'just ride'. It's funny how words said so casually and forgotten by one person might stay with another forever. Those words struck a chord with me, and they work every time my brain starts to think too much about what is ahead. Just ride.

As always I seeded myself up the back of the start pack, and immediately regretted it.
I will not do this anymore. I don't need to. I am faster now than ever before. Someone please remind me when I try and saunter to the back of the pack at the next start line that I have learned enough to move up.

I have been working hard on trying to improve technically and I think my improvement took some by surprise, not least myself. Shannon got a first hand view of the 'race switch' being flipped, and I suspect next time we head out for some technical work he will not be accepting my usual tentative approach. Time to push some boundaries.

Highlights for the race:
* being part of team Koiled.
* watching Nick bury himself to qualify AGAIN for the worlds.
* seeing TR get it together and just ride his way to 3rd AG.
* watching the WRB gang set goals and work to them - they have the BUG!!!

* cracking the secret of gooch management - no missing SKIN!!! hahahaha!
* breaking my race goal in 20 hours. Note to self: Set harder goals.
* actually recording some laps faster than the national champ.
* having no crashes.
* being the dropper rather than the droppee on technical sections - that is fun
* having a brake mech fixed and rolling again in under 15mins (thanks Shannon)!
* being well safe in second, and knowing I couldn't catch 1st - putting my feet up to kick start the recovery.
* being able to get on a wind trainer on MONDAY and feel ok!!! Note to self: Go harder.
* taking out second overall

Big thanks to Jimmy, Shannon and Mick for supporting all of the Koiled riders.

The tallboy was flawless. I hope there aren't anymore in the country because I think it might just be my secret weapon. Given the rocky rough course, the sheep stayed in the barn. I will take it for a run out to GC tomorrow to make up for it.

up next Tour de Timor.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Race Week!

The Merida 24 hour is just around the corner and isn't it going to be a smashfest! Plenty of solo buddies out riding - Nick, TR, Bekkers, Omo, Alistair, Mick, Sean, Scott, Russ, Ky, Tim and young Josh giving his first solo hit out a crack. Should make for good company in the dead of night....

There are a great number of girls entered and most are top shelf riders. There are a few names that mountain bikers might not recognise, but are familiar around the AR circuit. And let me tell you, the AR girls have some form under their belts. I think this will pack a few surprises as MTBers are pushed by people they have never heard of. I am looking forward to getting in there and being part of it all. Half the girls field has already qualified and entered the worlds, and with three riders who have elite worlds experience under their belt it is bound to be an exciting race. For those that are hunting a worlds slot, while there will be enough to go around, the lap requirement is bound to be up there with Jess our current National champion heading up to race. Bring your A game legs!!!!

In typical form, work has ramped up to be very demanding this week and I haven't had the opportunity to sort much out yet. Like most things when you have a stupid amount of stuff to do, do one thing at a time till it is done and move on. Come Thursday afternoon the phone and laptop are going to be switched off and my focus will shift to race prep.

This year I am riding with the new Koiled team. If nothing else I will look great, which as we all know is the most important thing!

Koiled will offer a range of dream bikes in custom and rack models from people like Form, Quiring, BlackSheep, Santa Cruz and Vulture Cycles. In addition there will be a Koiled range offering more affordable Ti options.

I'll be taking the new Tallboy out for the OHV rocks and I can't wait. In combination with the BlackSheep HT I really do have the dream quiver of race bikes!

Stay tuned for more info as Koiled is launched ->

Friday, June 11, 2010

it's going to be hotter than hell

.... when I get to Timor.

Like many riders headed to a race in a different part of the world, I am concerned about the heat and how to adequately prepare for it. Unfortunately I don't have the time to head over early - and let's face it not much changes in less than a week - and for full adaption I'd need atleast 2 weeks in that climate. Add that time to race days, and the worlds on only 3 weeks later - not possible to hit Darwin early and ride. So is there anything I can do?

I thought I would start by understanding what happens in that 2 weeks .....
Well this stuff is the guts of what you are trying to do when you acclimatise.

from Bill Henderson -

And all that stuff adds up to something everyone can understand. If you acclimatise you can push the pedals easier when you get there. That's right, same amount of output for less work.

Ok, sold? So the question then becomes how to acclimatise if you live in another country without the heat and can't get to your race location weeks in advance?

I think my office, my windtrainer and my heater have a date come September.
The important thing is to mirror conditions as best you can, and temperature and humidity are key. I think that might mean turning on the humidifier too. And a fan. I see a large electricity bill in my future..... should hook the trainer up to the grid!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

staying healthy....

So around this time of year (winter) I usually write a piece on managing immunity and staying well as an athlete - usually because I am sick and can't (won't) train. Not exactly a confidence inspiring admission - but here we go.... Last year apart from focusing on vitamins and minerals, I talked a bit about the importance of carbohydrate while training - even on short rides. Today let's look at the broader picture and general diet and unfolding role of probiotics for endurance junkies.

First of all, what's the problem for athletes and immunity anyway. Well it is now a generally accepted fact that athletes immune systems are disrupted by intense and/or heavy training for particular periods of time - specifically for a few hours straight after training (though this can extend in some cases for days). A whole bunch of important immune cells and regulators have been shown to be disturbed. I cannot even begin to imagine what a 24 hour race does! In fact, there is so much going on in this area that a new school of science, 'sports immunology', is gathering momentum.

The upshot is we as athletes are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) than your average couch sitter, particularly during and after training. So that then begs the question - what can you do?? Most serious athletes will know the general behavioural guidelines for key pre-competition periods - wash your hands, avoid public places like shopping centres or public transport, and keep away from those you know are ill. That is all well and good, but how many of us can avoid our sick kids, or not go to work? I guess that leaves us with wash your hands.

Ok, so your hands are clean, you ate during training and you took your vitamins.... is there anything else you can do.... ??

Well research is indicating that probiotics may be useful to our athletic population in staving off the lurgy. Aussie researchers have shown that specifically for endurance athletes, probiotics can have a marked effect in preventing URTI, and if you do still manage to get it, they seem to shorten the duration and lessen the intensity.

So what is a probiotic? It's a good gut bacteria that is believed to stimulate the right immune responses (like fighting a URTI virus) and down regulate over excited immune activity (like allergies and inflammation). They also are thought to take up the 'prime real estate' and prevent others from moving in hence promoting health. There are a bunch of different strains - most people know about the acidophilus from yoghurt - but lactobacillius fermentum was the one used in study with the endurance runners and shown to have the effect we are interested in. Based on this it would seem a probiotic containing L. fermentum for endurance athletes in build/intense training cycles is probably not a bad idea.

So what is a prebiotic? A prebiotic is a food that selectively feeds probiotics once you have them onboard and encourages them to out compete any of the nasties that might also be around. They are a particular type of carbohydrate (oligosaccharides), though some fibres are included. Good sources are soybeans, onions, garlic, asparagus, bananas, legumes and leeks. If you fork out the $$ for a probiotic, you should feed the seamonkeys. Most of us get 2 to 3gms per day - you need more. Pay attention to your diet and ensure you include prebiotics by bumping these guys up or by taking one (about 5gm/day). Bumping them up shouldnt matter too much to your average endurance athlete in terms of calories - but if you are on a restricted diet, maybe look to the fibres as a source without so many calories.

What is for sure is that pre and probiotics is a very interesting area.
It is potentially part of the mechanism for the 'hygenie hypothesis', one of the reasons why breast feeding is thought to be so good, and certainly the focus of much interesting science to understand the complex nature of these good bacteria.

What do I make of it?? I guess it is time to learn to love yoghurt. Banana smoothie anyone?

Monday, June 7, 2010

that time of year

So not a lot of updates from SPR of late.
Work, family and no racing hasn't left much time or content for an entry. Base training is boring but necessary I suppose. Still the kilometres have (mostly) been going into the legs and now it is time to start thinking about testing the engine.

So first up - I am heading to ride the Tour de Timor in September as part of Team AQR. Claire Aubrey (Haugh), Sue Kleven and Libby Adamson make up the fabulous four for our female team. Claire is well-known from the great dirt roads to london squad and has pulled together the team. I am looking forward to riding with girls that have such great experience, seeing as though it will be my first stage racing experience.

I must say, looking at some of the images from last year it looks like I am in for some hard yards. Updates from those that went last year is that heat is really rough and lots of people had issues with the food and water, if you know what I mean. The course is a mix of roads and high altitude singletrack. A road in timor, is not the same as a road at home though... I'd still call that dirt :)
Five days of hard riding sounds like a perfect hit out before worlds. As long as I don't get malaria. Or crash. What's the worst that could happen?? Can't wait!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Rogue 24 hour multigaine.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doers of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiam, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

I love adventure racing. I love it because no matter how strong you are, navigation and strategy can bring you undone. I love a great team where all energy is team energy. And I guess I must love pushing my bike up 40% gradients at 3am.

The west side of Mt Glorious, and over towards Wivenhoe is a beautiful area with hills that are considerably more brutal than our usual haunt on the Nebo side. We majored in finding the hardest possible route to do just about every checkpoint - made all the more obvious by great google earth technology now employed by the Queensland Rogaine Association which plots and compares each teams route. Thanks Liam for such a great race.

Blacksheep HCs finished 12th, not a bad days effort given we had done nothing to prepare. :)
Blacksheep Old Coots also fared well, with Adam finishing his very first adventure race. I think that is a great example of the deep end! Prof also held up well given a month of heavy OS travel and fat cat luncheons. Must be in the genes.

Anticipated side effects - very sore legs this week to train through.
Unanticipated side effect - a hankering to get back out amongst it with the AR gang. Three dreaded letters were even mentioned.... x.....p.....d.....
Am I seriously willing to be that pushed/exhausted/broken again?
Can I perfect sleeping while walking if I give it another try?

Can I take the cold of tasmania for 10 days?
Maybe sometimes you just have to jump in first and figure the rest out later...

Monday, April 19, 2010

triple 000 noosa 12 hour - 1st solo female.

Well, that was a master class in mud riding. Unfortunately mother nature was not up for co-operating and she really gave us some tough conditions. Bike eating conditions. I went through a set of pads around every 2 laps and even managed to grind down a spider.... and I swear I was only using my brakes at about 3 places around the course! Inspection of the rotors revealed gritty clay jammed in all the holes, which would have been grinding pads away even without braking.... Gears were not into it much either! I ended up putting it in middle ring, and somewhere in the middle-ish of the cassette and just riding there. I was definitely considering the merits of owning my own SS. I even managed a jersey malfunction with the zipper dying from the mud!!!

Things I learned:
a) Tyres really do make a difference.
Last time I raced in these conditions I was on monorails and crossmarks. It didn't end well.
This time I had an ignitor on the front and crossmark on the back, and a bag full of spare mud tyres. No need to to change though as I was getting around reasonably well on that combination.

b) The right pressures help.
Coming from AR I have a tendency to way over-inflate my tyres. Less was more.

c) Big Wheels Rock!
I am convinced that the handling of my new bike really helped. It just seemed to go where I wanted, and even when I was rolling some horror narrow ruts that would usually grab a wheel and spit me off the bike it just seemed to keep on trucking.

Happy Days! Thanks Black Sheep -1st solo female.
Next Up... a bit of fun and some base Kms in the 24 hour multigaine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Big Double coming up.

2010 is flying by... April!!!!
Things have been pretty quiet on the race front up here in SE Qld. March was mad with work, and some the rides went by the by. Still coot-tha time trial tells me no fitness lost so happy days.

Program has me swinging into Base 3, the last of the miles before hurt bags build starts. Having my program from uturnfitness made it easy to get back on two wheels after the distraction of two major tenders at work, and singapore travel interrupting training. Instead of stressing about how to start up again having someone tell you what to do and when made it pretty seamless to get back on the horsey.

So back to riding it is.
Coming up - the noosa Triple 000 12 hour mountain bike challenge.
Keen to help out Royal Childrens Foundation ? Sponsor me here .... - > Triple 000

Once that is under the belt, plan is to see it backed up with The Rogue 24 hour multigaine !!! Blacksheep HC's FTW!!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Big Wheels Big Season - BlackSheepImports

2010 is off and running. The first of my new steeds has arrived and it is a pinch me I am dreaming moment. Need a hint? Ok......
work of art eye candy.
no?? ok, how about this....

It can only be a BlackSheep.
With the fantastic support of Shannon and Pete from I have a new hardtail weapon, firmly sitting in the slot of bike one my my planned race duo for 2010.

The entire process has been so enjoyable. The time spent to understand what I needed from a bike and how I planned to use it was both awesome and educational. Watching something made specifically for me from the drawing design stages through to receiving and riding the end product is an experience I would highly recommend. The knowledge of these guys is incredible and I learned a massive amount about geometries and design. Very cool indeed.

The quality speaks for itself.

The ride is superb. Fully built with training wheels - it is just a touch over 22lb. I am middle ringing my way up every climb. I see sub 10kg 29er in my future!!!

Now, to name her.....

Monday, January 18, 2010

LunarC - a win for 2010.

Rolling in for the win.

The weekend kicked off my 2010 season at an 8 hour with a difference. LunarC, run by in2adventure, kicked off at midnight on Friday and ran through to 8am Saturday. Another night time race, perfect for the Queensland summer.

Slickers is a fun place to race. It is not technically challenging, but has been home to some really enjoyable races and good results for me, like insomnia and a bunch of ARQ/Geocentric adventure races. It was great to see so many riders racing - 250+. Even better there were plenty of girls racing all categories... even a number of SS nutters, and no kayak leg :)

Solos were off 2 minutes ahead of the teams, so I knew I needed to get moving lap one to stay clear of log jams. The course was a surprise, with a lot more pinch climbing than I expected - a change from most of the other race routes used previously. Still, on balance I am better up a hill than most, so I'll take it. A quick change from bottles to a camelbak on lap 3 sorted out the lack of easy spots to eat and drink.

My old Gap Cycles teamie Kylie Maduna (ForTheRiders), of national 4X fame, has shifted focus and stepped up the to solo plate. With plenty of going long experience in ARs and marathons and despite the casual pre-race chat, it was clear she was there with a plan and had been training specifically for the race.
Race Face!

She gave me some work to do! I lapped pretty consistently, and despite not having a support crew - drop ins from Trickle, and support from those whose races didnt work out (better luck next time Prof and TR) meant there were a few people around most times to help out.

Local boys, taking rests from racing, did the next best thing - drank Rum and cheered on the riders in style. Who couldn't smash up the hill with that encouragement!! Nice one TK and Dec.

Thanks to my lap buddy, Shannon who rolled around the last lap. And then the lap after that. (remember, there is always 'just one more').

Time to get the kms in. It is going to be a massive year. I am convinced my uturnfitness programs are the best I've ever had and look forward to getting faster and stronger for when it counts.

Bekkers and Fellows were flying. Matt Dog hot on their heels. It was great to see Jeff Toohey back hammering around the course. There are a lot of eyes on October that is for sure. Including mine.

Next up, Dusk to Dawn.

*thanks to PHOTOEVENTS for the images.