Saturday, 27 December 2008

I ride a 2003 model Trek 2300. It is equipped with full ultegra componentry (9 speed), standard Bontragger Race Light wheels and the standard issue San Marco saddle. It is a US made unit and at the time of purchase, was at the bottom of the Trek elite range of bikes. (This was the pre Madone era)

The frame is aluminum, as is the seat post and handle bars. Folks are carbon.

I run Michelin Kylion tyres and basic Shimano pedals. Cranks are alloy (naturally)

It has lasted very well and shows little wear and tear despite being on “its side” a few times.

I have travelled a little over 35,000 k’s since purchasing the machine new in December 2004 (it was a bargain at a superseded price)

It has successfully seen me through 2 six day rides each of 850 plus kilometres in length, countless river rides, a couple of dozen goat track/Mt Nebo rides, who knows how many Coot-tha accents, far too many Nudgee Beach and Redcliffe trips, 20 or so races (one win, three places) and where ever else it has taken me.

I am basically pretty happy with it.

But why do many of my cycling colleagues continually ask me when I am getting a new bike?

Why am I constantly being badgered about upgrading to a carbon frame and durace?

Why is a friend living in Singapore calling a friend in Brisbane soliciting his support to put pressure on me to buy a new bike?

At the moment, I do not see that my relatively old and unsophisticated machine is preventing me from doing anything. I do not feel my cycling ability has outgrown the ability of my bike to deliver what I want it too. Maybe when I am fitter and stronger, it might become an issue.

A lighter bike might improve my climbing times. But, there is a lot I can do first to improve my climbing before I invest in a new bike.

Will a new bike improve chances in a bunch sprint? Not if I continue my practice of not really training for sprinting.

I am very aware of a comment I heard a few years ago. It was something like: “He has a $10,000 bikes and $10 legs.”
One of my motivations in holding out against buying a new bike is I rather like being able to match it with most of my cycling friends on most terrains, despite running what is so called far inferior equipment. And I think it secretly and significantly annoys them too.

Finally, in the current market, what do you buy? We have the likes of Trek, Specialised and Cannondale who make great bikes but arguably lack style or Euro Cred. There are many brands (I wont name them) that have Euro Cred but allegedly lack reliable warranty support and have dubious construction quality. Then there are beautifully designed options such as Time, Fondreist, Olmo and Cinelli.

I know I don’t like Cervelo, Giant, Pinarello and Colnago, but there is no logic to this at all.

And I love the look of the Brisbane made Llewellyn and the Victorian based Baum but really don’t know if either of these would suit me. Is light weight steel a good alternative?

At the end of the day, I cannot come up with a logical reason to upgrade.

But given the pressure I am under to do so, I ask the question. Is it more about the bike than the cycling?

Then again, in what is somewhat a contradiction, I am constantly searching for new and different jerseys and delight in receiving overseas offerings from several sources and being the envy of others for having them. It is all about the jersey.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Well last week was a bit of a mess.

Ended up having 2 rest days, one due to the Dentist and another due to tiredness, weather, motivation (take your pick).

And only one climbing session for the week as well. Must be getting to the end of the year, and I cannot even blame too much Christmas cheer.

This week started ok with a morning bunch ride around the river and a reasonable pace too. Funny how we are lingering longer at Garage this time of the year, second cup etc etc.

Coot-tha is always Tuesday now and Wednesday is the Christmas ride so the reindeer ears will be getting a run.

Keep pedalling


Sunday, 14 December 2008

New Post Surgery Best Time

With usual companions being unavailable, I headed of to Col de Cootha solo. Had an early start (for a Sunday) in expectation of heat and hit the ramp from Moggil Rd to Cootha at about 5.45 am. (I hate that ramp). Ended up doing 3 summits (anti clockwise) and a final hit out the other direction but only to the look out. (For me, that is a good work out)

The good news (for me anyway) is that on the 3rd accent, I managed a new post surgery best time and while it may not be a time most others would be excited about, getting into the 13's is a milestone for me.

After Cootha, I headed back through UQ, over the bridge up Gladstone Rd and down to West End and Southbank to catch up with whoever was at Garage. Spent a pleasant 45 minutes at Garage with Julie, Sarah, Francis, David and Julie solving a few of the worlds problems. mainly economic and political). They had ridden a Shorncliffe loop and battled some very tempermental winds for 97 k's.

Will do a flat recovery ride out to Nudgee Beach in the morning, Cootha again on Tuesday, maybe race the BoQ twilight series on Wednesday and probablly bunch river rides Thursday and Friday. Have to fit in at least one heart rehab session at the Wesley this week too plus a session or 2 on the rower and punching bag. Oh, and work.

Ride safe.

Nundah Race Day - 13 December

HPRW v University in an interclub challenge- and I was interested to see if there would be any team tactics discussed.

I signed on for D Grade (Cardiologist wont let me ride higher for the time being) and went for a 20 minute warm up on the bike path to get me going and to test the new gear shifter fitted yesterday.

All was good.

It was then time to watch the end of the A and B grade races – but the end was some way off. I don’t quite understand why C and D grade race start times continue to be advertised for 45 minutes after A and B grade start times as inevitably we run 15 – 20 minutes late.

Anyway, University won both races and I think took 3 of the other 4 places. On the warm up lap, a few of us tried to hatch some plans. I was to work the front, Geoff was to cover breakaways and Tony was to take it as easy as possible until the end of the race when, I was to give a lead out to Tony who we figured was our best sprint chance. Easy – why bother to race, just put us on the podium.

Everything went according to plan – in a way. We couldn’t quite get the Uni riders to do much work. I tried to break a couple of times to try and get them to lead a chase however it seemed that other HPRW riders did the work – Note to self, share the plan with a few more people next time.

When the 2 lap call was made, I managed to get to Tony – he took my wheel and asked me to go hard coming into the last corner which I did.

The only problem was. He was piped on the post by a hard sprinting under 15 finishing very strongly. Geoff took out 3rd and we also picked up first women past the post.

It was a well controlled race and for us, the average speed of just shy of 34 kph was quite quick.

And HPRW won the overall challenge – due mainly to superior rider numbers. You get a point for each participating cyclist.

A successful and incident free race meeting with over 110 riders taking part.

Off training at Col de Cootha in the morning. TD is at the golf in Sydney and Lachlan has hit the town tonight

Friday, 12 December 2008

Training this week was disrupted somewhat by a mechanical keeping me off the bike since Wednesday, or lets just call it a taper for the inter club challenge between HPRW and Queensland University in the morning.

The shifter problem has been repaired and I picked the Trek up from Planet this afternoon ($200 later)

This will be the first time I have raced any event other than a normal club race so it will be a new experience.

It will be interesting to see if team tactics are used or if it will be the usual free for all.

Looking forward to it.