hairy leg brigade

A bunch of bike riders who worship the journey and the coffee at the end more then their cycling image, some of them even have beards!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stack of failures

Rode out to safety beach with the guys on Saturday. It was the beginning of trying to get some extra K's under the belt. The theory is that a good base is important. For me it ended up being only a 130km day. I had a flat on the way out, one more at the turn around. A group of us stopped off at "Boyz 4 Breakie" café in Mornington. The restaurant lacked in "serving with flair and passion". Rex (the ride boss) told us to move out after our order was not served within 5 minutes, so we did.

Rex was in no way wanting to wait for anybody or anything. By the time we were at our bikes outside our group was already split and we had a head wind. We got back together by Frankston. As no one was willing to sit out the front, even though we had favorable tail wind, Team REA (Andy, Alex and yours truly) took the lead. Rotating with 3 people is about as much fun as being juggled, just as you fall gracefully you get thrust back out to do the work out front. Our pace slid quickly from 43, 40, 38, ... . That is so weak! but when the guys from African Safari (will get a link next time I see them) came through, it was like getting reinforcements. They pulled us along at over 43+ km/h and we just glided along in the slip stream I was even thinking that if my legs recover I may have something for the sprint. Only Alex had anything to hold in contention up the last hills into Black Rock.

We had breakfast, it was hard to move, it was hard to believe that next week this would be barely past the half way point. The tail wind pushed me all the way home.

I thought I was dizzy when I started bouncing around out front but it was just my front tyre loosing pressure. I kept my weight over the back as much as I could and the cushion of air in the front allowed me to ride the next 3km all the way home. That was flat number 3 for the day.

I jumped in the bath, had a glass of wine and was so happy that the kids and wife were out. When they came home we all went for a nap.

Sunday was the season opener at Glenvale but as I still had
  1. flat tire to attend to,
  2. 2 kids to entertain and
  3. Sarah had an extra coffee which meant she was running late for her race so she took the car.
3 "fails" in a row, no ride for me. I went roller blading with the kids instead.

On Tuesday the morning ride was looming. I hear rain in the middle of the night and something that sounded like a leak. It was no leak it was the dog weeing on the fridge.

It was so hard to get up from sleep, this feeling of the legs aching, warm under the doona, stretching in bed just reinforces that you want to keep on sleeping. The sound of an SMS from Alex did manage to drag me out of bed just to stand in the puddle. I did check the rain radar and there were a few intense but small patches across Melbourne. After cleaning the floor I got on with fixing my puncture. In this case it was a small leak through an existing patch, that is what let me ride on it so long the other day when it was flat. I picked up the floor pump and the handle sheared off at the head.

It started raining again. Alex called to say that he was the only one at the group start, that it was cold and wet and he was going back to work. I tried to give a strong sense of support but inside I felt relief, no wet riding for me. Again a stack of failures stopped me riding.


posted by MichaelM @ 10:00 AM  0 comments

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

lunchtime laps of crazy hill, out for 10

Time to take my cycling a little more seriously and what better way but to resurrect this blog. It has been a long while of reading that has missed being documented. As the CCCC criterium season is about to kick off, I thought some extra strength training would be worth while. My best option near work is Yarra St in Kew off Yarra Boulevard (the boulevard a popular training circuit for lots of Melbourne cyclists). Yarra St is a hidden gem of intense climbing, over 16% average gradient for a short sharp 320m distance

check it out here

this is how the expectations of how many laps I would do where voted on at the proof is in the pudding with photos up on flickr, all 10 of them for the 10 climbs

and 10


posted by MichaelM @ 4:58 PM  1 comments

Thursday, December 06, 2007

fleeing gazelles

I once heard that the reason that ladies wear high heels is to expose their calf muscles, and the reason that they expose their calf muscles is to show you what it would look like if they were fleeing from you, and the only reason for them to give the perception that they are fleeing from you is to make you want to chase them. I suppose like some kind of animal, a cheetah or a lion, in a bestial way, as if chasing down a gazelle, only to tear at the flesh and eat it up.

Now what better example of a calf muscle then that of a cyclist. Of course there can be 2 sides of the story, one is that you are chasing a cyclist down and you look at their calves as you pass them, and the other is that as you get passed and in a last effort to hold on you look down to see their glistening calves, the vision of which are a final blow to your moral and you get dropped.

So these thoughts were going through my head this morning, as we were riding our hill route in a larger then usual bunch of 6. There were my variations on a theme like imagining that the cluster of the bike in front of me was the escargot I would be enjoying with my coffee before the hour of riding was up. As the rider in front changed gear into a smaller diameter cog, so I bit around my imaginary escargot spiraling until nothing was left but a full tummy. The weight of my tummy pulling me towards the bike, my back arching inwards, my head slowly lifting and my gaze moving up from the cluster up to the seat stays.

Suddenly, what the!!!

I rub my eyes but the image is still there, it is not the common shine of white MOOTS writing on a titanium frame, nor the familiar TREK, nor the OCLV over a woven carbon fiber. On three coloured blocks I read "Precision" "Passion" "Style". Style is an understatement, This is col d' Elgar that I am riding up and struggling to hold on. I have never, ever seen the back of this rider before and if I don't keep pushing and puffing I don't think I will see him for all that much longer. The hill flattens out and I know I am safe, I make a surge for the line just to try and prove the point that I am not out yet. I give a friendly node in the direction of Ash as an acknowledgment, well done mate, I will be watching you.

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posted by MichaelM @ 8:24 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

3 reasons not to finish north road ride

  1. I set my alarm to 5:30 rather then 4:30 - Ash
  2. I have a sore throat - Andy (probably from a lack pain numbing scotch - Michael)
  3. Flat tire just after the Mordialloc round about - Michael. That makes it the 7th north road ride in a row where I have not managed to finish in the bunch.

Maybe my reason is lack of kilometers ridden per week. Looking back a year for the Month of August, there has been a 28% decrease in the 2006 810km August distance to the 2007 580km distance.


posted by MichaelM @ 8:38 AM  0 comments

Thursday, August 16, 2007

red flashing lights clearly fading away

Flashing tail lights of the lead group disappearing up the road. The image comes to my head more clearly then the face of my first born child. Again I was dropped today, the 5th time in a row on the North road ride. Today it was traffic lights that broke up the pack but it is my fault that I was not at the pointy end of the bunch.

Even now as I sit at my desk I can close my eyes, lift my chin up slightly, my legs start to feel heavy and my hands start to get grip on imaginary handle bars. The red flashing tail lights of cyclists up the road syncopate together in a blob, tick, tick, tick-tick, t-t-t-tick, tick. The image is as clear as if it was burnt on the back of my retina.


posted by MichaelM @ 8:32 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Triathletes, one third cylcists . . .

Triathletes may be one third cyclists but they are two thirds machine. In Melbourne, anyone who rides a time trial bike, or a bike with aero bars along beach road is more then likely a triathlete. The majority of these riders are the gear freaks that you can leave for dead in the smallest of inclines, or by drafting behind other riders. They are not renowned for tactics, just good bikes and a constant pace. Every so often one comes along with a constant pace that is more akin to a motor bike or a steam train.

I had just 2 such occasions in the last few days. On Saturday I needed to get back to Port Melbourne from Black rock to get the car in a hurry. I was alone and time was of the essence. There was also a strong head wind. I started off and looked out for any riders or groups to give me some respite in their slip stream. Up ahead was a lonely rider on huddled over his tri bars. He was all in kit. Matching arm warmers, top, knick's, booties, all in black on a black carbon time trial bike. I was closing in on him rather quickly so I decided that I will just power past him and get on with finding someone my own speed.

I came in along side him moving a couple kilometers faster them him. As I rode on, I saw that I was not passing him. I pushed harder on the pedals, still no go. I got out of the saddle and tried to accelerate but still he hung on alongside of me like a dark shadow. By now I was outside my comfort zone so I dropped my speed. I let him take the lead and snuck in behind him. A short recovery for me and again I noticed his speed a bit slow for my rush, so I went out along side of him. Again he clung to me as a shadow and I could not get my wheel past his. As before I hit my limit and swung in behind him.

Now I started to think, what is the game? is he having me on? why doesn't he just put the gas on and leave me for dead? I looked at his relaxed body just turning the pedals, not an ounce of weight out of place. I could almost smell the EPO oozing out of his pores, actually it was probably some strong soap smell. I was happy to sit in his slip stream but his pace always dropped a bit when I was behind him. I got my breath back and saw a nice straight stretch of road on a slight downhill. This will be my next attack, I dropped back a bit, already in the right gear not to give it away with a messy gear change. I went out and started to sprint. The surprise and acceleration I put in ripped me free of the shadow effect I was getting previously. I now moved across in front of him and I had a gap. I quickly looked back and the gap was still there. His posture was unchanged, he was still on the aero bars just ticking his legs over. I put my head down and kept working. I was starting to tire, I hope I have enough of a break. I look to my side and there he is, next to me smiling with a thumbs up. I sit up and slide in behind him again.

Now I knew this was a game. Enjoyable in a way because I can attack all I want and then still get in behind him for some respite from the wind. I know the road pretty well having ridden it twice weekly for the last year. I started to plan where my next attacks were going to be, and spots for recovery. The next uphill, again I wound up my speed and rode past my nemesis. I rode as hard as I could and was happy to feel completely spent at the top of the hill for I knew I would have my trustworthy companion there to sit in behind for another recovery. 3 more attacks before I could do no more but yell out a "thanks for the draft" as I peeled off for my car.

Today was North road ride, the ride that I have failed to finish for the last 3 rides straight. I was the only one from our group to turn up to the start and the 3 degree centigrade temperatures seemed to keep the pack small at around 35 riders. I was determined not to get dropped but again I was finding it hard to keep up with the group from the beginning. In the first 10 minutes a set of lights split the bunch and I was now in the chasing group of around 15. And chasing we wanted to do as soon as this long red light turns to green. The main group was almost out of sight down Nepean highway by the time we got moving. Our pace was good but not fast enough to catch the main group. I sat in the slip stream not wanting to waste any energy. We caught some more badly timed lights and the lead group was all but out of site.

After Warrigal road a bloke with a backpack and time trial bars took the lead. We all kept our pace line behind him and were impressed with the speed. No one even thought of helping the bloke out. We took the turn around for the home run and still the bloke with the time trial bars was out in front. Around Mentone pub I took a stint out the front but only lasted 30 seconds before others took the lead. Again within a minute it was the same bloke on the time trial bars, a small backpack and pushing a large steady gear that took the front. By this time the rest of us gave up and just tried to hold on. We started to catch riders that had presumably dropped off the front pack and most of them could not jump onto our group. With ten minutes to go we started to loose riders who could just not hold onto the pace of our triathlete out the front. Five minutes from the end I think we got a glimmer of the flashing lights from the front group. I sat up and could not hold it any longer. My fourth north road ride in a row that I got dropped.


posted by MichaelM @ 9:25 AM  0 comments

Friday, August 10, 2007

delivering that letter

We decided to give "Gmail: a behind the scenes video" a go last weekend. For 10 seconds of submission video and the object of the video, a gmail like envelope, which at times is hard to see, I must say that the effort required was a little too much. Anyway we will see how it goes.


posted by MichaelM @ 5:23 AM  0 comments