Friday, January 28, 2011

The Natural Habitat of the $10,000.00 Bicycle. Discuss.

I was recently asked to discuss the $10,000.00 bicycle. Here are my thoughts.

There's bikes and then there are bikes... seriously, not all bikes are are made equally. Owners experience envy and upgradities after at least 3 months of purchasing a new bike this common amongst both genders throughout cycling, primarily men though.

Some bikes are used and put to work, Giant and Malvern Star are good examples of bikes that can be put to work and ridden hard for hours after hours, perhaps even years. Depends on your wife really, how long do you think you could ride her before you got bored? Yes I really did just write that and you read it. Same situation with bikes really.

The natural habitat of the $10,000.00 bicycle is a fickle one to say the least, often purchased by a middle aged man in lycra (MAMIL) in the process of a mid-life-crisis, some are found to be younger of course, for example, early-twenties-crisis, late-thirties-crisis-and-I-just-got-divorced-and-sold-my-house-crisis or the classics 40's and scientists are begining to see it in the over 50's. 

Waiting for the kids to leave home are we? Its called a boot up the arse, does it matter that they're not 18... Nooooo (Oh he knows who I'm talking about, Mr Shogun of Steel!).

The MAMIL will often purchase a $10,000.00 bicycles as it is now considered the 'new golf', however, it is agreed that cycling is much more exciting than its forefather. In the interest of healthy lives and healthy relationships, the MAMIL concedes that the beer gut ,diabetes, heart disease and liver damage must go, he turns to cycling as it is relatively easy on the knees and you just have to sit there (at the coffee shop).

Any of the MAMILS who are still married to their wives, soon discover that their wives are happy that they have found something to amuse themselves with, the constant questions about where you left your keys was getting on her nerves. Didn't you notice the amont of money being charged to Dan Murphy's each week. Even if it means that the kitchen renovations get put of again, the wife of a cyclist is happy that he is out of the house, as he has no DIY ability what-so-ever... admittedly, however far of topic this is, the consistency of the Wiggle orders is impressive.

Pictured below is the BMC-something-something, with its beautiful carbon fibre frame, perfect lines and Zipp 404's. 

As you can see, this is clearly better than the average bicycle and to prove itself so worthwhile, the MAMIL who owns the bicycle will ride no more than 1500m in the morning. Weather of course must be clear with no chance of showers, cloud cover or wind, as the bicycles must be portrayed in perfect light, to distract from the species would be unforgiving and possibly detrimental to future mating options. 

The MAMIL will then proceed to sit at the cafe with other MAMILS and their $10,000.00 bicycles and discuss the epic journey that they had. Epic generally consists of Melboure to Black Rock, which is approxiamtely 25km, each rider rides slow enough to ensure that the decals on their bicycles can be seen and as per the Euro Rules; one shall not be seen in any sort of pain.

If the MAMIL riding the $10,000.00 bicycle is a proper man, he will concede that this is a once in the life time opportunity for him to own such a lovely piece of carbon and will allow on certain occasions other bicycles to ride with him, Giants are of course the exception, along with Trek and Specialized (no particular reason, I just didn't like the decals this season).

On the other hand, the poseur on the $10,000.00 bicycles could surprise you and be a winner, he could be fast, strong and a good friend. Best not judge a bike by the carbon fibre and the decals, do, however, judge based on calves and sense of style.

Matching kit is paramount. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hard Men of Cycling - Cpical, Hannos, Madgan and Russell!

Playing domestique to a group of men is a little nerving, especially when you hear the words, "Your gonna make someone a really good wife one day." That hadn't been the aim...

We rode out of Bright with 6:20am group, the sun was barely up and we had taken our bikes back to the end of the peloton. Hannos was excited; his shiny red BMC-something-something gleamed in the early morning light. Picture below is of Hannos with his BMC-something-something that needed a new crankset... the night before. Who knows SRAM Red?

Fitting a SRAM Red Crankset... minor-last-minute-mechanical-detail

Cpical... I know, I know, its blurry.
Cpical, as always was calm, it was just a ride, it would be fine... pace yourself and you will be okay.

Another of my favorite sayings from Cpical, "no, it will be fine."


"It is okay." or "Yes, it was hard."

Magdan (below) was looking forward to the ride, sure, his daughters think he was riding in the tour down under, I don't think we'll tell them that it was with a bunch of hacks, professional hacks are even worse.

Madgan was under strict instructions, "no jokes whilst riding uphill..."

Russell (bellow) had been positive from the get-go and new the time he had to qualify in for some-really-really-long-arsed-Audax-ride-in-Pars-that-would-probably-give-you-saddle-sores thing. As we rolled out to climb Tawonga Gap there was mentions of this mystical metal called steel that almost no longer exists and is only found in places like Brunswick, Fitzroy and St Kilda... its NOT real.

I decided on the way up Tawonga Gap that my day would end at the hotel in Mt Beauty, my mind couldn't see the finish line, I couldn't imagine it and I wasn't ready to push myself through that much pain. I decided that rest was on the cards and I would also be able to organise things for dinner and not be rushed. A much nicer experience for everyone this time around.

I met Steve (below) as I was going up Tawonga Gap, I was in the big ring... um, I didn't look and I couldn't figure out why it hurt so much, my bad. Steve had started his 10th Alpine Classics that day, he's done pretty much every Audax ride you can imagine. Today wasn't going to be the 10th for him, he wasn't well so I went up with him to the top of Tawonga and suggested that he come back to Mt Beauty with me and I would make some toast and tea.

Steve... the ring in and newest member!
Meanwhile the boys (men) had probably been working their arses of up Falls Creek, their enthusiasm has been outstanding, their personalities had been eye opening and a pleasure to experience.

EVENTUALLY... okay, it wasn't that long, they all arrived back at the hotel.

Madgan's rule had been not to sit down or else he wouldn't get up again, Cpical finally found his competition (if he was in to competition.. which he isn't), in the way of Hannos and that BMC-something-something, Russell's consistency is something that I haven't been able to master yet, perhaps its my youth which holds me back?

I went about refuelling water bottles and making sure everyone was okay, Russell was first out the door knowing all well and good about the time limits that faced him and if he cooled down before the climb over Tawonga Gap he'd suffer even more up Mt Buffallo, I sent Steve off with Russell in the hopes that he would have some company going up the hill.

I was told stories about the impressive wobble in that BMC-something-something as it descended from the top of Falls Creek; only to hear later that Hannos hadn't taken his wind vest with him for the descent thinking he'd be fine. He froze most of the way down and only heated up about 5km from the bottom of Falls Creek.

I considered climbing Falls Creek once the boys left but decided that I deserved the break, I filled the bath and spent an hour looking at the mountain before enjoy an hours sleep.

Princess Missy....

Cpical updated me on their progress once they had reached Mt Buffalo, its the last climb of the day and its the hottest time of the day. I was happy to receive the text messages telling me that each of the boys had made it to the top. They had all done such a good job and it was only a matter of time before they where home.

Hannos was the first in, followed by Cpical and Madgan, and last but not least Russell... who'd stopped for coke.

Special thanks to Steve for taking the photo of all the current members who could make it, obviously you can see the core team who did the 200km. POMA is also featured in the picture, he completed the raid this time, having proven himself capable the year before.

Russell, Hannos, Cpical, Missy, POMA, and Madgan
Drinks where had, stories where told of seeing those magical steel demons, 404's battled sticks and survived, whilst the fly that followed Hannos up Mt Buffalo meet its demise as we departed from a little place called Dreamers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Note from Mum.

Right, here's the deal. Its TOO late. Don't think you can train for it now, its all over. Its 3 days away. On Saturday we will be driving approximately 5 hours from Melbourne to Mt Beauty with the anticipation of starting and finishing the Alpine Classics on Sunday 23rd of January 2011.... now this is EPIC.

I've changed my mind over and over again; I was in tears when I spoke to my mum about it. I've been tired for weeks (4 of them), I don't function well on 6 hours sleep let alone sleep that's interrupted by noise every two hours (or a muffin cat).

Mum is really supportive, she's actually amazing and she said I don't have to do it if I don't want to. She said I can go to relax to get away from her and not cycle and that it was totally up to me. She also said that I should ignore the peer pressure from the others that it wouldn't do me any good, she also reminded me that I've had two major crashes in one year and there was probably a third around the corner (thanks mum...).

She also said, "do you want me to write a note," and then she added, "just tell them to f--- off if there annoying you."

She keeps it real.

Last night I finally got some sleep, I woke up fresh and I felt good... I got my required 8 hours, I don't know how parents do it. I'm looking after my mum at the moment by cooking dinner and picking her up from work and driving her to work because she can't, and I think taxi's are a waste of money.

The last four weeks have been trying my patience (not that I have any), I didn't get my place at RMIT University for Journalism on Monday which bought everything crashing down by Tuesday. I am now happy with my place at the Australian Catholic University and will stay enrolled there and start on the 21st of February.

Points for the next 3 days -
  • Stay hydrated - your muscles will thank you.
  • Scared? Print out the profiles of the ride and stick them to a spare wall at your desk.

  • Don't read the crap on the designated facebook group and avoid all communication with members of the team.. discuss anything but the Alpine Classics.
  • In case of boredom sell Zipp 404's Clinchers to partially fund trip to the Baltimore in 2012.
  • Decide on which kit to wear - I suggest your favorite kit, no I don't look as good in it as Tiffany Cromwell does and I don't plan on looking that good in it.
  • Do NOT forget your cap - as seen here once again thanks to Susan for making such a PRO product for such a PRO Team.
  • Don't talk strategy - there's only one strategy and that's FINISH
  • Do read this post on Cycling Tips - it'll make you laugh.
  • Russell should read this post.
In the meanwhile....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mt Donna Buang; I dream of her often.

I think Mt Donna Buang was the first mountain I'd climb, it was either that or the 1:20, I'm not sure... but you know the storey behind it. We discussed it in the previous post.

Madgan and I where there on Sunday, we hadn't left early which was fine, I understand that other people have commitments, that sometimes I'm lucky to be able to just do what I want. 

You go to a mountain to climb and its what we did, I'd never ridden it with a Garmin before, so to know the first 6km - 7km was full of climbing that involved 8% to 15% gave me a shock.

First time back to Mt Donna Buang in 1 year and 16 days, the climb had never hurt so much, the heat was horrid and my calves where cramping and my feet where hot... new shoes, new saddle; makes an interesting mix for the first day back up a mountain.

The first time I climbed Mt Donna Buang the time was 2hours and 1minute, it sticks in my head because Gunlock beat me by a minute... no more and no less.

Mt Donna Buang for the uninitiated is 16km and an average of 6.2%.

Madgan climbed well, he was worried, he's gonna kick it at the Alpine Classics... it'll be good training for the cycle leg of all those Tri's he does... right?

I must count him as one of the best I've ever climbed with, Madgan and Pical take the cake, they are gentleman and my friends. We are so lucky to have them on this team, I'm so lucky to have the both of them...

Just in case you thought I was lying... there's no proof, I was there and so was Madgan, my calves still hurt and the summit is burnt into my eyes, I know where it is ,I know where I crashed... I know that Mountain and I will get my 1 hours 15 minute time back this year.

I'll train all winter. Thanks Assos.

Friday, January 14, 2011

French, Swiss... who cares! Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

Cpical is by far one of my favorite people to go riding with and we've had a lot of cool rides together, mostly to Kinglake and then there was that inaugural trip to Mt Donna Buang.

I think the trip to Mt Donna Buang was one of the first trips we ever did with Cpical, we met him because of and we've pretty much been friends ever since. Wait. We first met Cpical at a forum ride that I had organised, he was waiting for his bike to arrive from Europe and was riding an old steel frame (and he was still better).

The trip to Mt Donnna Buang was interesting, me, Elmo, Gunlock and Pical... I think that was it, 3 bikes on the rack and one in the boot, Pical spent a lot of time borrowing one of Elmo's Specialized bikes.

That's Pical there on the right, web cam... very cool, way to go with the techno bro.

Poor Gunlock, lets just call him Gun, he rides an Oppy, and we really took the piss out of him, it isn't unusual for us to take the piss out of people. Sure, it may feel hurtful but do keep in mind that when we also take the piss out of ourselves as though it where an Olympic Sport... and yes, we are the best.

Pical doesn't seem to care how fast he rides or where he rides, the important thing for him is that he rides his bike. On almost all of our adventures he's always come back down the hill to pick the last of us (me) up and climb with the last person to the top at that persons speed.

He's also a silent achiever, I've seen Andrew try and beat PIcal many times on our Kinglake rides... its a recipe for failure, I'm considering putting cement in Pical's water bottles... he's the strong silent type and he will be joining us next weekend at the Alpine Classics aka oh-my-god-Pical-is-the-only-one-who-trained-and-the-rest-of-us-will-suck-not-that-that-any-different-to-usual.

Anyway whilst Pical is in Australia, I have declared that he is Australian!

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ultra marathon running... running?

Ultra marathon running for most cyclists is running for a tram, train or bus and in most cases its because your bikes out of commission due to a vehicle of some sort; or possibly your soft like marsh mellow.

POMA and I took on the challenge, we were peer pressured into a challenge (by me), I never actually expected POMA to say... "Okay." About ten minutes later I received an email from Ultra Marathon buddy Justin Scholz (Wangaratta local) to say that POMA has entered. Oh my god.. I actually had to follow through and enter, bugger.

Now, I had said that POMA could do the 5km cause he's like... way older than me and I'd do the 10km cause I'm young and more awesome.. right? Um, wrong, in so many different ways.

*Sook Alert*

POMA hadn't trained and I had made a lame attempt at training. Spent more time sooking over not having a bike actually, don't forget before Christmas I'd been hit buy a car and then got a cold.
More importantly we started our incredibly long car trip to Wangaratta at 5:30am, we arrived tired and stiff, and craving coffee, as our only choices seemed to be McDonalds and Subway, we by-passed the caffeine and chose juice instead.

Saw Justin at the start line and his face lit up and yelled, "10km Missy?" I frowned and shook my head, "nah, just 5km today."

Little did I know how much trouble I'd cause...

Before we new it the 10km runners where at the start line, without me, and ready to go. Sharon Scholz, ultra marathon runner/awesome/inspiring/champion, got them started yelling, "Ready, Set, Go."

Her website is, in 2010 Sharon went all out and broke a heap of records and I've listed them below, just in case you weren't sure what ultra marathon running was... just in case you thought riding 200km was impressive... here's a reality check.
  • 6th outright 24 hour World Championships (224.885km)
  • Winner Australian Championships 48 hour race + new record (333.026km)
  • Winner Coburg 6 hour Track event (71.927km)
  • Winner 50km Mansfield to Mount Buller race
  • Winner 240km Coast to Kosciuszko race + new record (32:14:28)
POMA and I've ridden a lot of mountains together and always agree to go at our own pace and thats what we did, with the agreement to meet at the finish line.

To keep it simple and to save myself any embarasment I'm just going to state the facts, POMA was across the line before I'd even made it to the 3.5km mark, I found some other girls to talk to on the way and that was okay with me.

I made sure I ran passed all the photographers, because I couldn't possibly let Justin see me walking the course.

Sharon's goal had been to get us off the couch that morning and about 200+ people had come to join the party, most of the online entries had been from out of town. Even though I don't really like running and I prefer my bike, I'll be continuing the commitment to fit in a run at least twice a week this year, I'd like to improve on my 5km time... which although awesome, could use some improvement.

I think POMA could totally get a prize in the veteran category, I have no chance in the elite women's, a girl had won it in 21:43, I think I could have a go at getting a prize in the veterans category... even then... its hard work this running business.

I'll probably never run further than a marathon (bucket list... dumb idea), its nice to know that riding 200km isn't the dumbest idea someone has ever come up with... ultra marathon certainly takes the cake when it comes to extreme-personal-oh-my-god-you-did-what moments?

Alpine Classics, what mountain....

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Excuses don't get you up a hill." - Russell Noble (Psike)

I was totally hiding his name but realised, hey, what's the point? He's got twitter... the WHOLE world knows who he is. Anyway dropping the cloak and dagger conversation. I've got a major problem.

I need a whole lot of HTFU and positive thinking to get through the next two weeks (16 days, but, whose counting?) to make it to the Alpine Classics; actually start it and finish it. Normally for a little bit of motivation I would put my Britney Spears sound track and listen to Stronger (she sung that.. right?).

Today its going to take more than Britney to get me up those hills I'll be taking Lady GaGa though, thats for sure.

Motivation play is now in place, points to remember are.
  • I've told everyone I will do it - Failure is not an option
  • Its ONLY 200km
  • I'll be doing the Murray to Moyne to raise funds for a medically based charity and this is good training
Shit that Russell said that actually makes sense...
  • "It'll hurt and you're gonna love it." Russell Noble (Psike)
He's got a point, no matter how many times I say I'm gonna stop climbing mountains and work on the flat stuff, I keep climbing mountains, I do enjoy the pain of climbing, its not something I dislike.

We will be going past our hotel on the way back down Falls Creek as we head towards Tawonga Gap, so it is an opportunity to change anything that I'm not comfortable with and by then we'll have two climbs down with only two remaining (Tawonga Gap and Buffalo).

Goal setting is really important, but its even harder when the goal starts to scare you, what if I don't feel my best on the day, am I allowed to cry?

Russell did say that he was looking forward to a ride that wasn't going to be to fueled with testosterone, I'm happy about that and I owe it to Hannos, Psike, Cpical and Madgan to follow through. I pushed them into doing it, so to pull out now wouldn't be cool.

So I'm in, I'll cut all fat (as much as possible) in my diet for the next 9 days, I'll carb load in the final five days and taper in the final 5 days... this is going to be a sufferfest, but, we'll have some good times on the way.

I've been discussing with Champ all morning about my choices for this ride, he's said, don't do it. But I do sort of like doing things when he's told me not to, his reasons are...
  • neck and shoulder aren't 100%
  • its a REALLY long way
So in true Missy style, I'm going to ignore Champ and do what Russell has said to do, so to start with I'll be quitting with the negative jibber jabber and keeping it positive.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Psike - Steel is real... *insert rolling eyes smilie*

In recent days there has been a lot of trash talk on my facebook page regarding the choices of new bikes and what to buy; especially in the lead up to the Alpine Classics. There's a lot of bling on the market and no doubt we all have different tastes, I just wanted to start out by saying, "Steel isn't real."

Due to the large amounts of trash talk, I thought it about time that I introduce Psike, he's from Canberra, the nations capital, so its fair to say in all honesty that he knows... nothing, right?

Not entirely, he does know something about HTFU though, it would take a while to mention all the Audax rides that he has done, and there has been a few, so I'm not gonna bother, it would probably also make me feel slow and sucky (not far from the truth). 

Psike has thoroughly suggested that I HTFU a little bit and stop sooking that I haven't be able to ride because I got hit by a car and wrote of my bike and therefor haven't been able to train and did I mention that my mother broke her ankle and I'm looking after her?


However, Hannos, just got a new bike, a 2010 BMC SLC01  and to top it off, he had some beautiful Zipp 404 Clinchers to make it hotter and sexier. Which lets face it, 404's are hot; sure those who don't have them say they're too heavy and not to mention the word that they're over priced... I don't need a man, I just need a new bike every six months and some 404's, perhaps an upgrade to Di2 when I graduate from University in a million years and a pink helmet.

I'm about to take possession of a 2011 Felt AR4, its got full Ultegra, which is what I'm happy with, I was tossing up between the Felt and the 2011 Cannondale SuperSix, but I didn't want the Tecktro breaks and the FSA Cranks that came on the 'Dale. I've heard the 2011 Felt AR3 (SRAM) is stiff and fast; looking forward to having carbon between my legs again. I've been off the bike since the 14th of December. My new 404 clincher shouldn't be far away, and I'll be the proud owner of a very nice looking bike, lickable even... don't ask.

As you can see there's a lot of hormones and carbon floating through facebook, twitter and the odd internet forum (helmets rule), I think ultimately we're living out our fantasy's on our bikes and this seems to include lots and lots of riding (take it as you choose). Psike has decided to take the piss out of our carbon bling and sexy wheels, jealous is a green eyed monster.

I really can't take the piss out of him too much cause I have a feeling that he'll be providing a lot of the motivation to get me and Hannos through the Alpine Classics, even with our carbon and 404's we're actuall riding at the speed of snails. 

Psike's position in this team was thoroughly discussed amongst the team and it went something like this.

I said, "this dude Psike from the forums is gonna come to and he's done lots of Audax rides and is awesome!"

Hannos said, "who?"

Cpical said, "okay."

Madgan said, "sure... what are the sleeping arrangements?"

That's how careful our consideration is when it comes to choosing team members, ultimately I seem to have the final say, I'm not sure why, could be because of my amazing influence on others or my hard work and determination.

Psike has said that he doesn't care how long it takes as long as he's in within the time limit, so that puts us at a maximum of about 13 hours, worst case scenario.

As long as there is a bottle of Patricia (Brown Brothers) at the Penthouse at the end of the day, I'm easy. I'll find a picture of Psike later in his hat, I'll steal something from facebook and deface it as much as possible.

Only about two weeks until we all attempt to kill ourselves and I just read recently that that Bling kid does about 1000km a week...