To The end of February 2014
A few things have happened:
- Day 1 of the Cervo Rosso Grand Brevett
- BUPA Challenge 2014
- Another New Bike
- A Small Crash
I am intentionally going to keep this brief but before I start I would like to say that my blog posts have dropped off as I feel what I have to contribute becomes less and less useful to others. My original blog posts were intended for those new riders who were following a similar path to myself to give them an insight into what experiences they may be heading towards and to provide food for thought to consider to improve the quality or experience in cycling. It was never meant to be a guide or training plan but purely exposed my experiences and understanding, right or wrong, up to that point in time. After a little more than 2 1/2 years, with lots more to learn, I feel what I have to offer is marginal and of very little value to others and as such have reduced my posts significantly.
Day 1 of the Cervo Rosso Grand Brevett
What is Cervo Rosso? Primarily a premium cycling clothing brand who are branching out to general cycling equipment as well. I have a pair of their Bib Knicks and they are indeed fantastic providing equal to the best comfort of any I have tried. More information can be aquired on their “Cervo Rosso Switzerland” Facebook page or their website at www.cervorosso.com. Now the Grand Brevett was setup with support from Curvo Rosso who also provided prizes for those completing each of the 5 rides as long as you were in full CR kit. The 5 Brevett’s were one for each day of the Tour Down Under and involved riding to each of the 5 stages with the group covering at least 120 km’s each day. The CEO and founder of CR actually flew out from Switzerland, with his bike, to join all the rides, just to make it more interesting. There is a Cervo Rosso Test Team here in Adelaide who have claimed La Musette Siphon Coffee Bar and Gallery‘s as their head quarters. All that aside, I had been invited and had decided to ride with them on day 1 from the Tour Village, in Victoria Square, from the centre of Adelaide to Angaston in the Barossa Valley. It was going to be a busy week so this was the only day that I had open and in fact I was able to incorporate it into other plans I had. On the Wednesday I was going to meet Ben, as he rode from Nuriootpa to Aldinga, part way to give him some company on his ride but with the CR ride I was able to ride to the Barossa and stay with friends overnight so that I was available to ride all the way from the Barossa to down South. On the morning I rode to Adelaide, about 20 km’s, to meet the group for a ride to Angaston. I am not sure but I think there were about 25 riders at the start and this group was broken into 3 different speed groups. The slowest of the 3 groups leaving about 10 mins before the next group. It was intended that all the groups reach Gawler for breakfast at about the same time. The route created took us up Main North East road to Modbury then turning North West towards One Tree Hill. Taking several climbs and the infamous Snake Gully climb used in the 2013 BUPA Tour Down Under Community Challenge. Incorporating some long downhill quick runs and several climbs certainly gave us a challenging route. After a nice coffee at Gawler we headed off once again heading out via Lyndoch and Tanunda before joining the TDU route through Greenock and Nuriootpa before finalising in Angaston.
The group I was with were well paced and looked after each other making the ride reasonably enjoyable. There is an interesting mix of riders in the CR Test team who are very closely knit but on this ride there were enough “outsiders” to make it comfortable to ride with them. In short, great cycling gear and a great event both of which are worth considering for any serious cyclist.
On the Wednesday I meet up with Ben for our ride back South. Taking and easy route directly down Main North road we ran into the Pro’s in the TDU as they were heading North at Gepps Cross. After a short stop to watch them closely as they headed North we then continued on to Adelaide for lunch at the “Veggie Velo – Adelaide, South Australia – Restaurant | Facebook“, a mobile veggie Restaurant.
No, I am not a vegetarian but Ben is a Vegan. I eat veggies so that’s not a problem. It was here I was accosted by Jason, a person I have been following on Strava and a Facebook friend with for some time but have never met! He saw my post of a picture of Ben at the cart when he was near by so walked past to say hello!
Leaving Adelaide, after Ben fixed a puncture, we headed to Glenelg so I could have a coffee at ” La Musette Siphon Coffee Bar and Gallery‘s” only to arrive as they locked the door! No coffee today! Ben had decided to get picked up from my place in Woodcroft rather than riding all the way to Aldinga. We had an easy enough ride when we finished so he was all primed for our 150 km + BUPA ride on Friday.
BUPA Challenge 2014
With the BUPA Challenge for 2014 heading South for the first time I had to enter and Ben, in his first year of cycling was also very keen to ride the full route. In reality, the route had nothing we hadn’t manged before so there were no technical reasons to do this but as part of the Tour Down Under and a throng of thousands of other cyclists as well as the chance to ride up the Freeway through the Haysen Tunnel were definitely point that made the ride attractive.
Ben stayed the night at our place so Lynn could drive us together down to Unley for the start.
Arriving at the start in pitch black conditions to see the glow of red and white bike lights from thousands of bikes felt a little surreal! We made our way to the front of the 25 kph and back of the 30 kph groups where we believe we should be seeded. Its interesting just how tightly packed both riders and bikes can be!
Even this far up the crowd, at least 2 thirds of the way to the front, it still took almost 10 mins before we could move after the first riders were on their way. There was no point being impatient as it was too crowded to go any quicker than the general flow.
Once we were onto Cross Road the pace managed to pick up a little as we headed towards the South Eastern freeway. The police control seemed good at this point. As we turned into the freeway we were provided 3 lanes for cycling while only 1 lane, the left lane, was left for motor vehicle traffic! I think this has since been considered a poor choice as this was a normal workday and the vehicles were a plenty causing substantial congestion on the freeway. In fact, after we climbed to within 1 km from the top at Craffers the cyclists came to an abrupt stop. The police struggled to manage the crossing of traffic at this point, a disappointment to say the least! This debarkle was to weigh heavily on future cycling events as freeway options were removed from the options!
It was nice as Ben and I reached Craffers and headed on to Aldgate with the nice downhill rides towards Echunga. I was not surprised at the huge number of riders we were passing while we rode at a moderate to quick pace. People whom I presume had intentionally seeded themselves higher so as not to be stuck behind slower riders! I had seen this in the 2013 BUPA Challenge, my first one! By the time we reached Echunga it seemed like most riders were now in groups of half a dozen or more with some pairs. Ben and I made Meadows our first refreshment stop where I saw quite a few people I knew. Most of the roads on this ride I have ridden before and Ben has seen much of it too so we were well aware that once we left Meadows we had a short climb then a very long quick decline all the way to Ashbourne, an exhilarating section to say the least. I think we had a couple of riders pass us here but in the most part I pushed Ben for a long quick descent only to have him return the favor along the Mt Compass road through Nankita. We stopped her again for Ben to refuel. Access to the refuel station was via what could only be described as a gravel trap! Not favored by most of the cyclists. You couldn’t ride through it and it got stones stuck in cleats to walk through it!
Leaving here it was only a short distance to the Pages Flat road where we headed West towards the KOM to Myponga Reservoir. As we approached the Pages Flat road there was a crazy women waving and yelling on the other side of the road. Above the noise of all the traffic it was Lynn I could hear! It was a nice quick paced ride along the Pages Flat road which is basically a gradual downhill although undulating along the way.
As we reached the end of the Pages Flat road, when there was an opportunity to bypass the KOM, several young people chanted and shouted encouragement to attempt the KOM rather than take the bypass. We were doing the KOM anyway so it made little difference to us. Turning the corner we had a group yelling at us, oh, it was Kelly, Jane and the kids, Ben’s wife, mom and children cheering us on. We made a brief stop for a quick chat and then headed for the KOM. We had previously checked out the KOM and knew it was no real problem for us and in fact less of a problem for Ben who on a couple of occasions decided to pull a mono! We only passed a couple of walkers and a few zig zagging to keep going but plenty just plodding up at a consistent pace.
We stopped at the next refuel station at the lookout over the Reservoir where Ben could reload his bidons. Following this with a nice little descent to cross the dam and another climb that I had not done before. Nothing too difficult and followed by a few more short climbs incorporated in the undulations across a wide open area overlooking the sea. I am always partial to a quick downhill and was not disappointed by the descent into Carrickalinga. Ben seems partial too as he stayed with me to the bottom.
Cruising round to Yankalilla, we stopped for our final refuel station where I decided it was time to take some of what was on offer. A banana, Cliff bar and a refuel of one of my bidons with Powerade. I probably should have eaten something earlier but had not felt hungry since leaving Unley and the 2 bidons of Powerade seemed to have been enough. To truthful, we had ridden faster than I had intended and so had used more of my reserves than expected.
I had left my refueling just a little late as I started to run out between here and Victor Harbor. We still managed a reasonable pace but I was starting to suffer. Best layed plans and all! Ben was on his second wind and was now pushing me in retaliation for me pushing him in the early part of the ride. Definitely my own fault !
We entered Victor Harbor at a steady pace and about 100 meters out from the finish I mustered all the energy I could find to try and beat Ben to the line. Making a little headway I was going well and then ran out of steam letting Ben steam across the line ahead of me.
In some ways the ride was more challenging than it should have been but in all ways we enjoyed it. In general it was extremely well organised except for the traffic control on the South Eastern Freeway but no matter what WE HAD A GREAT TIME RIDING IT!
Another New Bike
Another story! Lynn and I went to AMart (Gold Cross Cycles) to look for some Santini knicks that were on sale for 50% off. Unfortunately Lynn could not find any for her but while there we saw the Podium 1 Flight bike which priced at $2,898 had a 50% off tag next to it. Mmmm, never herd of them! Full carbon, internal cable routing, full Ultegra groupset and MAVIC KSYRIUM ELITE wheels. Lets see, $1,449, that’s cheaper than online discount prices for the groupset and wheels making the rest disposable! With a birthday coming up and Lynn concerned that the Verite could brake after several small accidents she saw an opportunity to protect her own bike from being repossessed if mine broke.
Further investigation told me that they only came with a standard crank. Still, 12:30 cassettes are available so I should be able to manage that. Oh, the large frame comes with 175mm crank arm length while the medium has 172.5 mm crank arms! I chose to go with the large frame to get the longer crank arms. It turns out the sale had ended the week before but the store manager agreed to supply it at the price shown on the floor. Even better, he agreed to bring the large frame one from a NSW store.
I have some conflicting information on why they were selling off the the Flight Bikes as this is their own brand I believe. One story said they were trying to get them better known in the market while another said they were discontinuing the range in favor of the Boardman Bikes soon to arrive after sealing the deal for a sole Australian distributorship recently. The first seemed to make more sense to me as they were to take them down to the Big Red Ride the next day to provide test rides on! That made the second option hard to believe.
I don’t really care what the reason was as 2 week later my bike arrived and I paid the discount price and took it home. After ordering it I had ordered peddles, cages, bike pump and cadence & speed sensor on-line. This all arrived almost a week before the bike so I was ready to go when I received the bike.
It didn’t take me long to give myself a rudimentary bike fit. I haven’t change the head stem yet which is about 15 mm to long but is about right for riding on the drops.
My very first impression was that it was very stable. Riding with some cation I took it for a short spin and found that although it was very stable it turned a little quicker than the Verite, in fact was a little more like the EMC which I liked! The standard cranks felt strange when it came to climbing as I have run 34/28 as my lowest gear in the past and now could only go as low as 39/25 (= 34/21 ). I am still persevering with the standard crank and have managed several local climbs. It is harder but I am using it as strength training. Unfortunately I have also put 10 kg’s back on since the same time last year so this is going to put a double impost on climbing. Still, I must say, I find the transmission of power feels better somehow, the bike feels better for climbing and even though it is not much different in weight to the Verite, in fact 500g at most lighter, it has won my favor very quickly.
For a bike I purchased for its components I am lucky to find is a very good ride. In fact, it is my preferred ride now although I will continue to ride my Verite on solo training rides. I have changed the Verite to standard cranks too, so that they have a comparable drivetrain.
Would I pay full price? NO, but then, I am frugle on my bike spending and feel there are plenty of options under $2,000 in full carbon. Is it worth the full price? I don’t know, I suspect it is but only a person buying a bike can decide that, its a very individual choice!
A Fall on the New Bike
OK, 350 km’s ridden and while heading down to an SSRC group ride, one Saturday morning I slid on some gravel whilst turning into River road at Old Noarlunga. I was able to straighten the bike up before hitting the ground but with more loose surface in front of me was unable to complete the turn or fully stop before hitting the crash barrier. I was not going very quickly at impact but it did make me roll onto the top of it causing a big cut up my jersey, ribbs and across my heart rate monitor. With the sharp edge on the top of the barrier I managed to slice the flesh off the top of my left hand index finger and cut my left arm requiring 4 stitches across my knuckle and 2 stitches in my arm. The bike received scratches on the right side peddle and left bar end stop of the handle bars. Like I said, low speed impact. Maybe you could call it more of a whoopsie than a fall LOL. The fact I was able to stand it back up in the initial instance pleased me as I think this is part of the bike balance.
The doctor splinted my finger as he thought I was a stupid cyclist that would just go out riding the next day! Well, I guess he was right because I went on a 45 km’s Outer Harbour ride with Lynn the very next morning because she had missed out on her group ride when I came off. I don’t see the problem, it was my left hand, I didn’t need to change out of the small chain ring for the entire ride and besides, it was just a little more aero 😉 OK, a few pictures and I am done for this post. Its been a long time coming and has taken several revisits to complete but it will just have to do now.
Happy Cycling everyone and keep safe!
OK, a few