Monday, February 26, 2007
On Saturday morning, Sergio and I started the ride at 6:50am. We were a bit late and missed the first three bunches. The morning was dark and foggy. Unfortunately I left my sunglasses in my back pocket and they fell out somewhere over the first 20km. Expecting that they’d probably been turned into roadkill, I pressed on and did not go back to look for them. At the beginning of the ride there were many rolling hills that made it hard to work together. Sergio was setting a cracking pace and I suggested we slow down (at least) until after the climb. At 70km we were at the base of the Gibraltar Ranges National Park. From this point, there was a 1000m climb straight up onto the tablelands. Thankfully, the gradient was just right and my 42/25T granny gear managed to make it up without forcing me to stand out of the saddle (very often!). We hit the summit in around 1hour 15mins (maybe less?) and we passed a lot of riders on the way up. From there, we passed along some nice downhills and flats out to the Mt Michell feed station. At 120km we had our first feed, but I didn’t feel that hungry.
On the road to Glenn Innes we joined up with two cyclists from Sydney (the brothers Davin and Joel) and established a little bunch that would ride together for the next 100km. It was nice riding in a group as our chatting was a distraction from all the effort we were making. As we passed over the tablelands it was amazing how quickly the scenery had changed from lefty rainforests into dry open cattle country. There was one cowboy herding cattle along the road. This was the first time I’d even signalled to the bunch to watch out for a cow on the road. At approximately 170km we passed through the town of Glen Innes. Our bunch had grown to around 6-7 riders and we did some really nice group riding over the last 50km. I was feeling stronger as ride continued and so I was keen to set the pace at the front. Although there was one rider (nicknamed “Sponge”) who didn’t make even the slightest effort to share the work. The only thing that was bothering me over the last 20km was a cramp in my left foot. I tried to move it around as well as off the pedal but I was in agony over the last 10km. As we came towards Inverell I passed the 200km mark for the first time. There were only two minor hills that we climbed over from there. Sergio and I ended up riding ahead over the last 5km, however, I had to stop 1km from the finish when the sensor from my bike computer fell off the fork. I’d already lost my sunglasses so I wasn’t going to loose this as well. We finished the race in 8 hours and 30mins. The distance was 228km with an average speed of 27.1km/h. After the ride we jumped in the Inverell pool to cool off and do some stretching. Despite a few hiccups at the beginning it was a great day and I’d easily do it again. We were very lucky to have perfect riding conditions on the day. My only regret was carrying copious amounts of weight on my bike, however I was prepared for anything that day and the only prize was finishing.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
On Saturday I sawed through the stem to get the rusted fork out. Hacksaws are fun especially when you don't know what you’re sawing into. I striped the bike back to the frame and sprayed inside with WD-40. I also cleaned up the wheels with WD-40, metal polish and some fine steel wool.
On Sunday I headed over the Bicycle Recycle, where Karen was able to give me all the bits and pieces I needed – a Malvern star fork, stem, axles and a bottom bracket. She also gave me a new frame for a fixie. Fixing up bike is a lot of fun when you can get the right parts. It helps if you can make contact with the right people. A lot of bike enthusiasts are only too happy to help share their knowledge. On Sunday afternoon I got back to putting it all together. I picked up some industrial grease for the bottom bracket. It was a little bit like playing that boardgame 'Operation' as you push the ball bearings around the cup with a pen and aim to keep them all in place. The grease makes it easy and I got it to work on the second attempt. This time when I put the chainring and crankarms back on there was no wobble. I then cleaned and regreased the ball bearings in the fork and headset and put it all back together with the new fork. The bike is basically ready to go, I just need to put the chain back on and do a few tightening adjustments. Will head over to the Nunnery this afternoon to finish it off.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
With some encouragement from Karen at Bicycle Recycling, I've got back to work on the Malvern Star. The odds are that it is older than I thought and could be from the 1960s or earlier. While I’m still looking for a new/old axle, I’ve realised that I shouldn’t waste time and use this opportunity to do other things such as clean up the chainring.
This week is the one year anniversary of my ‘conversion’ to cycling. Its easy to remember because I started riding the first week I started a PhD at Macquarie Uni. A bit of a 'lifestyle change' as they say. I’ve gone from being a ‘haven’t cycled since I was a teenager’, to a ‘200-300km a week commuter/leisure/sporting cyclist’ and some would say ‘cycling evangelist’. I’ve gone from just one bike to four (but only two or three ever work at the same time). Yes, it’s a bit of an addiction but I’m trying hard not to become a 'cycling fetishist’. I used to drive everyday but now only once a fortnight. I’ll get rid of my car soon. What prompted me into cycling was a simple mixture of factors; 1) time it was quicker than driving and less stressful; 2) costs: when petrol went over 1.40 a litre I knew I was wasting too much money, and; 3) fitness: I hated gyms, got bored with swimming and was not into team sports. Getting into cycling has completely changed the way I see the city, in fact I like
Saturday, February 10, 2007
So here i am in silver making my big exit into the world of body art at the Sydney Body Art Ride. All for a deserving charity... well yes... that and the $5o bet I made with Therese. The day was heaps of fun although I did sense some irony in that we were standing out in the sun for three hours in an event that was to raise money for a cancer charity. As a ride marshall, I only dealt with one irate car driver (4WD of course). Everyone else loved the spectacle. Going for a swim at Maroubra was just the best. Felt like I was in some strange religious festival as 200+ coloured cyclists ran into the water to wash off their painted bodies.
If your reading this T, the check can be made out to:
Children's Cancer Institute Australia
PO Box 81
Randwick NSW 2031