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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Worth getting out of bed for.

I haven’t had a sleep in for a long time and last Saturday was to be the day, I woke only because of the sound of an incoming text message, it was from Jacqui, “What size bike do you ride ? there is a 54cm Rubaix at our bike shop”.
It was 9.45am, a win/win situation. I got out of bed and headed to the PC to check it out.

I don’t need a new bike, we’ve had to stop wrapping the kids lunches in $100 bills, in fact it was almost impossible to justify, almost, I just really, really wanted it.
It’s got a blah, blah, blah group set and the frame is yu3gfvag7frnn, the top tube angle is twentyfourtensixtythreeeleven and was hand made in Taizealandstan.
I just f#*(ing love it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leigh, on the "Melburn Rubaix"

Hi guys,
The 6th Annual ' Hell of the Northcote' is the quintessential event for fyxomatosis aptly named the "Melburn Rubaix", which has been held annually since 2006. This is a cycling event based on the grueling Queen of the Classics, the Paris-Roubaix. Unlike the Paris Roubaix, the fyxomatosis twist is a ride, not a race. There are no prizes for finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or last. The course tackles Melbourne's nastiest cobbled alleys and laneways, across railways, along dirt tracks and incorporates much of the cycling networks before ending at the Brunswick Velodrome. The route was about 40kms with a healthy 5 hours to get to Brunswick allowing ample time for coffee, repair mechanical failures, get lost and find yourself again.
I entered this event with the intention of riding with Ewan, Adrian and a couple of others. Unfortunately Ewan came down with a fairly bad dose of the flu and couldn't ride. Ernest, who is a regular on the Great Vics and recently did the GWABR with us, took Ewan's spot . He's the guy in red with the Hasa MTB. Adrian's in white (Melb. Share Bike) and Martin who has been on at least one Lair's ride was riding a Masi.
I parked my car in Royal Pde just near Tin Pan Alley (Melbourne Uni.) and rode my SS to Fed. Square to meet the other guys, some of who were using the Melbourne Share Bikes which were free for the day. My SS was suitably enhanced with Spokey Dokeys (took 90 minutes to put the buggers on) and I managed to find my son's stack hat under the house and dusted it off to use on the event. We rode the 8 kms along the Main Yarra Trail to the start at the Hawthorn velodrome. Nearly 1,000 riders had signed up for the event at $36 a pop.
We registered and received our rider pack with a map (12 sectors of cobblestones), card with 12 questions and various other goodies all in a colourful musette. After we did a couple of laps of the velodrome we headed off at 10.20am to the first bone shattering laneway with hundreds of other riders on all sorts of bikes and dressed in all manner of fine clothing. Each of the sectors had a name the most memorable of which was the Koppenberg which a very steep laneway in Ascot Vale. Just made it on the SS. Some of the other sector names were Rue de la Faucon, Madmanenmuur and Chemin des Geants just to name a few.
We stopped for coffee and a bite to eat after Sector 7 in Lygon St , Brunswick before tackling some of the steeper laneways. We got a bit lost looking for the start of Sector 11, as did a lot of other riders as we passed people going in all directions. Finally got going in the right direction only to get a flat. Was a bit worried as the SS doesn't have quick release. Fortunately it was the front tyre and with my trusty spanner managed to get the job done with my riding buddies looking on. Not like the Lairs where everyone pitches in. Arrived at the finish at 3.10pm after the mandatory lap of the velodrome and proceeded to grab a coffee before washing that down with a stubbie.
Some great prizes on offer which were drawn from the card you answered the questions on at the end of each sector and placed in a box. Prizes included 2 Masi SSs and a trip to the the real Paris-Roubaix. The weather was great, sunny for most of the day with a bit of a northerly. Peter A was dressed as a 6'5" Catwoman with 6 inch heels (and he rode in these). He didn't win the best dressed prize which went to the 2 girls dressed as the Power Rangers and rode a tandem.
An absolutely fantastic event and loads of fun. Can't recommend it more highly. Maybe the Lairs can enter a team next year. Now to try and get those bloody spokey dokeys off. Anyone know any simple way to do this?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


You can all imagine how much I, like many of you am looking forward to Le Tour, and we don't have long to wait, just over two weeks in fact (16 days).
Between now and the tour something very special is going on, it's the Race Across America. 3000 miles or 4800 kilometres, it starts in Oceanside, California and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland. The race goes strait through the fat bit of North America. Over the Rocky and Appalachian mountains, through desert and pretty much everything in between. The riders have about 12 days in which to finish it, the fastest solo time was in 1986' 8 days, 9 hours and47 minutes, over 3100 miles at an average speed of 24.8 kph, no team, no peleton.

Tough people do this race, sadly, competitors have died participating in it and physical strength is very much in my opinion, on par with mental strength in this beast. The thing that surprises me most about this race though is that very few people have heard about it. Even the best riders struggle to find significant sponsorship and many of them have to raise money just to get themselves and support teams over there and pay the entry fee. I doubt if you will see much of the Nike tick here, I can't imagine the wind blowing up the skirts of the podium girls, which may be just as well, things could get a bit scary if a couple of California "girls" headed across to kiss the winner.
The film Bicycle Dreams is a great account of it.
Check the race website and riders progress here.
There is a ride planned for Sunday in the usual spot at 9am, let us know if you can make it.

Speaking of podium girls, below is one of my favourite cycling photos. Good onya Francesco.