Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gippsland 3day Tour

The Queen's Birthday Weekend means one thing in the cycling world, club 3day tour time. Apollo has fairly deep roots in Gippsland with four riders and our team manager hailing from the area. Three of these riders were joined by a couple of the city slickers to form a five man squad at the Gippsland 3day Tour for some quality racing k's.

Stage 1 was a 6km, predominantly uphill, time trial. For those with GC (general classification) hopes these were a very painful 6kms. For those not hunting GC honours these can be a bit of fun. John fell into the 'bit of fun' category sporting a ridiculously 'aero' body suit. He could barely breath through it but at least he felt fast. Kane and Sam were Apollo's GC men for the weekend and didn't do these hopes any harm.
John getting 'aero' in the warm up

Stage 2 was four laps of a 25km circuit that basically went up for 17km then down for 8km. After a few attempts Chris was joined by two others to form the days breakaway. He won all the intermediate sprints before losing contact with the other two riders the last time up the climb. He was eventually swallowed up by the peleton, scoring third in the bunch kick to take fifth on the stage and some more sprint points. Kane and Sam finished safely in the peleton doing their GC positions no harm.
Chris winning one of the intermediate sprints

Stage 3 was five laps of a 17km circuit. Only a handful of seconds separated the top riders and they took turns attacking each other. The surges of pace by these guys had the bunch scampering to hold the wheel in front and swallowed up any breakaway attempts on the undulating circuit. With one lap to go Sam attacked and only two riders could go with him to form a break of three. Fittingly these three would go on to form the final GC top three. Unfortunately Sam suffered a puncture, lost contact, and had to be content with third on the stage.
Sam finishes third after puncturing out of the winning breakaway

Stage 4 was slightly confusing for all. Rolling through the first few kilometres no one was sure how many laps of what distance we were doing. The closest we came to a verdict was that it was to total somewhere between 72-77km's. One thing was certain, it wasn't going to be a formality. First Trent, then Chris, then John took turns attacking while Sam marked his GC rivals determined to protect or improve his GC ranking of third. Finally John got away in a group of two and was joined by Trent not long after.
John and Trent on the attack

Another two riders bridged and the group of five worked well to stay away through multiple KOMs before being caught at the 50km mark. It was deja vu as Chris and John took turns attacking again in search of the stage win. John got away again, this time solo, and spent another 15km's off the front scoring some more KOM points. The flat 10km stretch to the finish proved too much by himself though and he was caught with 5km to go. Chris was quick to counter though and opened a small gap with another rider in tow. This held to the finish and Chris was able to out kick his breakaway buddy for the final stage glory.
Chris wins Stage 4 (and with it secures the sprint jersey)

A solid weekend of racing in the legs...along with a stage win, the sprint jersey and 3rd, 6th and 10th on GC. Sidenote: Kane realised he had a university exam on the Monday and didn't start Stage 4 (he may have had the flu as well). Hope you passed Kane!

Chase The Sun Round 1

Full Gas Promotions ran Round 1 of their 'Chase The Sun' enduro series on May 30. Both wanting to get some saddle time on the mountain bikes Pete and John both decided on soloing the 5 hours. They also had some great support with Murray and Scott from head office coaxing Chris off his road bike to form a three man team.
Pete sights his exit

John had had a cold all week and hadn't touched a bike. Five hours of fun trails wasn't to be missed though so he rugged up with every intention of taking it easy. However, white line fever got the better of him and he found himself riding around in third. Cramps ensued though along with some knee pain so he pulled the plug four hours in. You can read more about that on his personal blog (he doesn't actually recommend the diet tips).
Too many clothes for John

Pete on the other hand had a much better day. Starting fast and barely slowing down on the drying track his ArctecM didn't miss a beat and clocked over 110kms for the five hours. Only one man did it faster and so Pete got the second spot on the box at the end of the day.
Pete pinned it!

In the three man category the guys that run the show at Apollo showed they knew how to ride bikes, not just produce them. Scott took first lap honours and had them in a very strong position. The secret training Murray was suspected of was confirmed with a couple of flying laps laid down. Then Chris flashed back to his offroad roots to record the fastest laps of all of them.
Scott launches one of the log rollovers

Their combined effort was good enough to match Pete's and they scored second in their category as well. Funnily winning some Knog products, which they'd provided as event sponsors. My suspicion is that their could be some Knog product up for grabs at the next round on July 18. See you there...six hours this time.
Chris lit it up for the hottest Apollo lap of the day

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dirtriders Twilight 6 Hour

With monster balls of ice bombarding Melbourne the 2010 Labour Day weekend was quite memorable for most cyclists. Tales of desperate dives for cover to avoid being battered and bruised by these giants were heard from all areas...well except Upper Beaconsfield. No hail and barely a drop of rain was seen at the Dirtriders MTB Twilight 6hour Enduro. The club decided to put the Monday Public Holiday to good use and start this 6 hour at 3pm, allowing a bit of night riding to shake up the racing.

Pete and I fronted up with mud tyres already mounted expecting the worst. One look at the track surface and it was obvious there was no need. The Michelin XCR DryII treads were quickly wrapped back around our wheels and we were ready to harness the crazy speed and deceptive grip they provide.

Unfortunately the nasty weather in surrounding suburbs had left many wrapped up on their couches as home and after lap one it was obvious the race was between two teams and a solo rider for overall honours. A few hours later we were all still within a couple of minutes of each other, the sun was setting and the most solid shower of the day came through. That was too much for our solo friend and he decided to call it a day. As the sun dimmed further the other team reallised their light setup wasn't quite up to scratch and racing at night wasn't an option. That left us unchallenged to ride out the remaining time in the lead. Eventually finishing more than two laps clear of the rest of the field on 14 laps. Not the most satisfying way to win a race, but a win's a win... preparation is crucial people.

Pete even got to do a double lap as I missed transition thinking it more important to pimp my ride glow stick style.

Special mention to ex-Apollo roadie James Mowatt. The Rollin Cycles junior team were down a rider after one of the Matt's put his teeth through his jaw by crashing in practice and was rushed to hospital. James didn't take much convincing to fill the spot on short notice and was an instrumental part in the junior team beating home the more experience senior team led by shop owner Dale on his new Apollo ArctecM. Moral of the story? Even on a rocket ship like the ArctecM the legs are what decides the winner and the juniors had that department covered. Get that training done!

Finally if you want to see what the trails were like I wore the helmet cam on my dusk lap. The lap was slightly shortened as it was just after the heaviest downpour so it also happens to be the fastest lap recorded at the event. Only the first half in this video though.