Friday, March 25, 2011

Silverback Surplus 2 Review

As you know I am on a different bike for the 2011 season. As hubcap has told me in the past you never even change your toothpaste before a race, but how about a whole new bike and on top of that going from a dual suspension back to a hardtail before a race that's in another state. Well that exactly what happened the day before I flew out for Mountains to Beach.

Da Bike: My Surplus 2 is a full carbon frame that is designed in Germany. It has a set of Rebe Rlt up front with Xt wheelset. Drivetrain is XTR 20 speed [this stuff is so nice to use], XTR brakes and after some tweaking to my own liking I am running a set of monkey light bar with Esi grips and my to finish my favorite tyre, Onza Canis. As with most top end race bikes they all look the goods so what sets Silverback apart from the rest? At first glance they look racey and the graphics a pretty appealing, you can still see the intricate weave of the carbon as you look over the frame and unlike some carbon bikes it doesn't have that real boxy balky look.

Stay tuned for the ride report.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Race Face

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I'm stuffed and Andy is ready to go again. LOL

Best race ever, book yourself in for next year

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Stay tuned reviews to follow

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MTB Day 4 and 5

Sorry been super busy this whole last week.

Day 4 90km race stage with a 40km cruise/ hill stage. It started nice and fresh at Cooma I was a little worried about how my ribs would hold up but what the hell. The race started with a lap of the Cooma race course and the first man and women across the line would get a prize. So once the race got underway there was some foxing going on amongst the bunch, basically I was going to hug Andy wheel then just before the line go for it. Great plan hey. I got three quarters around the track and when it was time to punch it I had nothing the legs weren't keen to play at all.

After we left the race course the next 30km were all fire road, everyone knew that the best place to be was up the front and try and break away before the wall at the 30km mark. The pace was on from the start well for me it was LOL but, after the 10km mark everyone was kinda strung out over the country side. For me this was good I was sitting up the front with Andy, Garry and David thanks to Andy helping me out, after that we hit the wall, it was this fire road type climb that just seem to go on for ever with water bars dotted all the way down. Until this day no one had ever climbed the whole thing without stepping off there bike. Andy was the first out off all before him to master the climb. Congrats mate.

After the climb we crossed down through paddocks and into another farm where the one and only feed station was set up. 40km mark. Bart Hickson came sailing past me at this point and although I was keeping him insight for a while but I couldn't drag him back. I did the rest of the stage on my own. The country side we were riding in was amazing, so super long climbs backed up with some super descents. I came over the line 5th and super happy with my ride. Once again Andy dominated the field and won the stage.

The cruise stage started at Yowie [ where thats right in the middle of nowhere] from here we cruised for 40km into bermigui, we got sorted on our accommodation and then straight to the fish and chip shop. Best fish and chips ever.

Day 5:

Last stage and with 1 minute and a bit between me and Scott from GSC it was going to be 50km with the throttle wide open. The stage started under police escort and Hews car until we hit the paddock. From here it was a dash across leg zapping grass until we hit the Bermigui dirt surfers trails. This was great single track, the track had everything at this stage Scott was right behind me and even though I was trying hard on the single track my ribs were not happy. Scott waited for the perfect spot to attack and I had nothing to respond, a couple of corners later I was once again off the bike. This stage was split into 2 because of the tide and beach access or lack of it, there was an time unraced section, basically you had 30 min to get to the start of the last 30km. By this stage Scott had put another 1 minute into me. 2.5 minutes down.

Andy had a quick chat with me and like he said have a crack at every hill and I might just drag it all back. The paddock we were riding through here were freshly cut and after about 500m my rear derailleur was choking with grass. Richard from anytime fitness had the right idea and was busting out this stage on his SS. No problems with grass for him, a couple hundred meters again and then once again I had to stop and rip out grass. Ok so by this stage of the race all I could think was I have had quite abit of bad luck. Then over the next hill and round the corner I saw about 3 or 4 people that ripped the derailleur's clean off the frame due to the grass. To my surprise one of them was Scott, hey was in the process of putting a new derailleurs hanger on his bike. This was my only chance to gain some time back, then next 30 km consisted of grass paddocks, on and off beachs and running up stairs. I smashed about 4 gels into me on this stage and didn't look back. By the time I got onto the last beach to the finish I was stuffed., at this stage Richard handed me a soft drink best thing ever. Scott came over the line only minutes behind me.

I managed to finish 4th over the line for the last stage, my best result of the whole week.

I just want to say this race is amazing, super well organised event, great country side and a heaps of fun. Thanks to Garry and Richard, great meeting you and already looking forward to the next race you guys are at. [ Thanks for the lift to Canberra to Richard]

As always thanks to the people that made it all happen for me

Ben from Osprey hydraulics: everyone that used one of these packs at the race Loved it, including me.

Ay Up: for the best lights ever, bright and reliable

Onza: heaps of grip and I had no flats the whole time

Silverback bikes: considering I have never ridden this bike before the race I am super stoked with how it performed.

Infinate for keeping me going.

Aussie butt cream for the obvious reasons.

Compressports: I rode in this gear on the long stages and for recovery. It really helped with the muscle fatigue.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 3 MTB

So day 3 starts with the Ay Up dawn raid at 5:15am, the loop was about 14km long around a dam, the loop had some big ruts and afew hills to keep you honest, no real single track and couple of sandy corners.

So the plan, because these little pegs of mine are not made for sprinting I thought the best plan of attack was to hang in the top 5 for the first lap then hopefully wind up and take a podium position, being a Ay Up rider this would have been great. The coffee van at the start of the race was under the pump it was freezing. I got into a good position for the start and after a couple of minutes it was on. I found myself in the top ten to the first corner, afew early attacks by people didn't faze me to much, just kept the legs turning and stick to my plan.

lap 1 complete sitting in 5th sweet, I knew the guys in front weren't to far away so on the first little climb I upped the pace and got away from the guys I was with and kept the pressure on. All was going great until a slip in concentration or plain bad luck washed the front wheel out from under me. I had put my hand out to break my fall but managed to land over a rutted section and instead of my hand breaking my fall it was my ribs that took the blow. For what seemed like ages but was probably only a minute I had winded myself and as you could imagine my ribs and hip was killing me. Lloyd road past just as I got my breath back and asked if I was OK, I responded yes let them ride past and then HTFU got back on the bike and pushed as hard as I could to finish. Along the way I noticed my back break felt really weird. I got over the line in 10th. Pretty stoked all thing considering.

I thought I had buckled the back wheel but upon closer inspection, I had actually moved the whole rear brake caliper hard up against the disk when I crashed. I must have hit the ground hard. Now post race I had damage to my ribs and trying to get to a doctor to confirm it is a joke, from what people are telling me they are fractured.

After breaky it was time to do the 40km cruise stage. The cruise stages are compulsory stages that must be completed by every rider, if you pull out of any stage or don't make it by the cut off time then you DNF, so for me there was nothing left to do but get on with the job. Pretty uneventful really road 40km across paddock, road and fire road all the way to Cooma. Bring on with day 4.

One of the highlights of the morning stage was seeing the amount of people that had never tried night riding before, come and borrow some lights off Ay Up and give it ago. By the time they came over the line they were completely converted into night riding.

Pretty satisfying really.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 2

I was rather concerned about day 2 starting at the top of Perisher because we woke up to the wind punishing our accommodation at 3am. Anyway had breaky and headed up the ski tube once at the top we were greeted with 5 degree temp and a wind chill factor of cold. Andy said it would be cold for a bit then warm up after we got down the mountain but, on the start line with rain threatening this QLD mtb rider donned the jacket.

Well the mountain traverse stage from Perisher to Buckenderra lived up to it's name. By then end we completed a bit under 90km with about 1800m of vertical ascent. For all you Qld folk that like doing Mt Nebo it was Nebo twice at race pace. I really don't know how to describe it, you start in alpine forest and end up down on farmland. From the get go there were about ten guys that were out to make a statement, after 5km I was dropped by the lead bunch, I didn't let this bother me knowing that there was going to be alot of climbing ahead of us. The first feed station was about 20km into the stage and Ben from Osprey told me the guys were about 5min ahead of me. By the time I got to the bottom of the gully the bunch was insight and then the climbing begun. Over the climbing part of the course I manged to get past afew guys, knowing that towards the end of the course was going to be fire roads and wide open space I wanted to put some time into the guys rolling on 29 ers. I got to ride with Lloyd and Scott from GSC for a while and after a bit I got myself in a really good rhythm and rode out by myself once again. The picture above shows one of the sheep stations we rode through for the last feed station. No we didn't eat the dogs.
For the last 20km I managed to hold my position and drag abit of time back that I had lost from stage one. Once I rolled over the line Darryl from shotz was kept busy trying to keep everyone hydrated and from what I saw all the competitors were thankful. It wasn't until this time I actually realize how hot it was either, pretty interesting starting in almost frozen conditions to finish in the baking hot sun.
I manged 6th over the line for the Osprey mountain traverse stage.
Day 3 soon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mountains to Beach 2011Day 1

I had never done a stage race before and Mountain to Beanch 2011 was going to be my first, the event is organized by Wildhorizons the same group of poeple that bring you the Highland fling and the 3 Ring circus.

Before I get started a big shout out to Ben from Osprey for sorting me with an entry for this race. Big thanks mate

I met up with Andy machine Fellows at Canberra airport on Saturday before the race, on my arrival to Canberra I realized that I had left my riding shoes at home. Time for an upgrade anyway. Got out to Thredbo assembled my new Silverback HT [doing a review soon] and we hit the trails, so much fun up there but I knew that come race day I would have to be on it and hopefully get a good position to set me up for the rest of the week.

So race day: Stage 1:

I had everything ready to go the night before I got up and had breakfast and for me, if I could get on the chair lift without dropping my bike or making an arse out of myself I was happy. I had made it to the top of thredobo in one piece. First sucess of the day. We were sent down the hill in a time trial set up instead of a mass start. Obvious reasonsing.

Andy took off a couple of position ahead of me, then before I knew it, it was on. Surprisingly riding my hardtail down the side of Tredbo was pretty good my Canis tyres stuck like glue and I was getting past some guys on soft tails. All was great until I came through a shaded area didn't see a rock and smashed my pedal in. So for the next 9km or so I couldn't get my right leg into the pedal. This was the first problem. All good if keep going I shouldn't loose to much time.

We had been told in the brief before that we would be going on the 4X track. Remembered that as I went sailing past the end of the 4x track, didn't see the arrow onto the track. So I slammed the brakes on went back up the hill and tried not to muck anything else up. By the end of the stage 12km I smashed a pedal, went the wrong way and managed 3 mechanical. WOW nothing like pressure.

I recon I probably lost close to ten minutes over the stage. I rolled 22 over the line. Not my best start. The first stage was great and I really did enjoy the course.

Stage: 2 was a cruise stage from Thredbo village to Lake Crackenback resort about 20km. Once a there we check our bags in set up Denis the Ay Up truck and basically chilled out. I wish, in my head all I could think about is how much time I had lost from stuffing up the first stage.

Stage: 3 was going to be 2 x 15km loops around the resort utilising single track and new multi use track around the resort, some of the single track went right alongside the Thredbo river and you had the occasional wombat whole to negotiate. I was abit nervous on the start line knowing that short track racing is not my thing. Finally the gun went off and I took off up the hill, I settled in the first bit of single track in about 5th or 6th once I got half way around the first lap I tried to make a small break and I didn't pay off. The guys from Gordon St. cycles and Torque Anytime fitness got away from me and my legs did not want to play. After the 2 laps were done my heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest and I crossed the line in 7th. This pushed me into about 14th overall.

With day 1 over and smiles all round it was time for a beverage and some dinner. Day 2 involved a trip up the ski tube to Perisher to start the Osprey mountain traverse. A 90km stage.

Stay tuned for day 2

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mountains to Beach

Stay tuned for a full Mountains to Beach report as well as reviews on Osprey bags and silverback bikes

Daves shop

Daves shop
Big thanks to Pedal Pwr for their support