Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mass conversions

Brethren and sistren of the pedal:

No doubt you’ve heard restless stirrings from backyard sheds, whispered mutterings at the back of the peloton, or perhaps even the shriek of grinder upon metal (and every now and then the odd bloody bit of thumb, but the less said about that the better.) You’ve heard Horatio’s glorious tales of Old Gold. You’ve heard brothers Jamie and Tony hint at the furtive turning of spanners in the night. We all heard brother Clunt’s forking cry for help.

Well, brothers and sisters, it’s time to step out of the shadows and into the squinty light of dangly fluorescent tubes, the ones illuminating Sacred Quests and dingey man- (and woman) caves alike.

Indeed, the hour is upon us. It’s time to heed the call, the shrill ring of mallet upon steel (and don’t ask what that was for.)

It is time to build our steely singlesteeds.

Be tempted not by false idols or — Comet: — fancy aluminium baubles  for The Man speaketh the Word and the Word is “Steel” because Steel, baby, is Real.

As the long darkness descends upon us, let us search garage and garden shed; let us scour the dusty corners of the interwebs for ancient relics. Bring the lost and forsaken unto the Holy Workbench where we will stand back on our heels, fingers stroking our beardy chins, and contemplate The Work.

We will furrow our brows and grease our fingers — wiping them not on the trousers our spouses will wash, but on the rags put aside for this purpose — and scrape away the flakey paint and rusty bits. Their silvery bones laid bare, with good grace and divine guidance [1], we will resurrect these old souls; dress them in triple coats of supergloss enamel, with gleaming cranks and freshly oiled chains, and shiney cable housings. Yea verily, brothers and sisters of the wrench, we will pimp our rides.

(#1: — Eternal thanks in advance to the Thornleigh Speed Shop and Bucky’s Bike Shed for correcting all our f*ckups; sponsorship terms, conditions and contracts are in the post.)

And when at last the long, cold winter is behind us — long after the last drops of Belgian ale and single malt whiskies are wrung from their barrels — we shall don the Robes of the Chafed, the glorious Egg and Tomato, and emerge triumphant in the warm and golden sunrise, singlespeeding as one upon our Quest, the Springy Steel Fluffer™ (TBA) to spread The Word amongst the Bitter & the Twisted.

— The Disciple

It’s all about the bike…

I often wondered what it would be like to do a TT, just you and the bike ….the most ’honest’ form of measurement.

So after 18 months of procrastinating I finally did my first 25km ATTA event at Calga last month.

The day before the event, I raced around after Saturday sport to find a TT bar to put on my colnago, and found one at Thornleigh bikes, with a nice narrow clamp so I wouldn’t need to remove bar tap to fit it.

Really a 15 minute job.

So on the day , and in fact days leading up to it, I woke early and tried to picture how it would go.

So on the day…

I also thought about warming up, its no good going flat chat and not being warm when you do it, so I rode about 10 km before the start. It was also the first time I had aero bars on the bike, took a while to venture out on to them, bringing your chin closer to the road….

I thought about diet, so had a coffee and breakfast before driving up there.

I also had a ‘mother’ soft drink about 15 min before the start, thinking glycogen and caffeine over 25km might help.

Brownie was in the TT start ramp, which was a great help for someone not used to the start procedure.

They let you go on the minute ( just like the tour TT ) and roll down a ramp and away you go….

This might seem weird but I felt comfortable in the pain that came next, the trick is to push yourself right to the edge of the lactate cliff, and stay there.

It was remarkably like rowing in a single scull, being in a whole world of hurt ..but remain totally relaxed, particularly in the top half of your body.

The 25km ATTA course at Calga is undulating and net 150m vertical on the way out and 150m down on the way back. There is a hill called ‘blood hill’ which knocks the wind out of you on the way back…about 700m of 5-10% ouch!

So after the event , I noticed everyone ahead of me was on a TT specific bike…..and so the questions flowed over the following hours and days.

One such conversation happened down in Bowral, and a cyclist lady said’ hang on a moment’ when I asked ‘ how much time will a TT bike and helmet mean to the TT course at Calga’ , and she speed dialled her coach at the NSWIS….

Back came the news ‘Frame and wheels 90-120 sec, aero helmet 30 sec…..’


So the research for a new stead began.

I started with ‘what frame’ and looked at the Colnago first… wow very aggressive and expensive, I’d have to do yoga for a year just to get down onto the bars! I then looked at a few ‘out of the box solutions’ but they all run Shimano which is good but I have all my bikes on Campag, which would mean I would have an ‘orphan’ in the house.

I then looked at the Ridley Dean RS, which was not as aggressive as the Colnago, meaning the head tube was a little higher, but still TT, and came with brakes, seat post and headset, and was comparatively good value.

After trying to ‘beat’ that frame I couldn’t , so for my needs I started the build there.

As I mentioned it came with seatpost and headset, so all I had to buy was crankset, stem, TT bars, derailleurs, TT gear shifters/brake levers , pedals, seat and cables.

I already had the wheels.

I chose Campag chorus because, that’s what I have on my other bike, so all ‘bits’ can be swapped across the bikes. I also stuck with Speedplay pedals , so I only need one pair of shoes! I had no idea what seat to get, so I got a TT specific prologo which had several palmares..

I also bought the extra 30 seconds with an ‘alien’ helmet…really weird. I hope that was a good purchase with a melon like mine…

Finally Mr TSS was commissioned to put everything together, and I provided the measurements off my road bike so the ‘fit’ was a snip !

This weekend I am planning to ‘ride’ at Calga, hope to see some of you give it a go!

The name of the bike is “Death Star”



Van Diemen

Fursday Fluffer Report


12 on the pedals at St Ives. Difficult to mention everyone but great to see Micheal, Sam and Big Phil back. Alex put in another excellent ride. Well done.

SatNav actually managed to make it today after getting his ‘Onesy’ zip got stuck on Tuesday. Apparently Mrs SatNav has now swapped it for velcro so he should be able to make every other Fluffers in the future. No excuses after the pathetic Tuesday excuses!

We will hold judgement on whether SatNav is really turning into a ‘Soft Man of the North’ (SMOTN) albeit Graham was competing for this title at Manly today with his claimed mechanical! Unfortunately his Chain was stuck in his Big Chain ring so SatNav managed to get it swapped for the little chain ring so he could belt up Pirrawi.

Talking about the Big Chain Ring; Newby Sean joined us from Dee Why again and had the ride of the year so far. Told me at the end that he had managed to stay in his Big Chain Ring all the way into Sydney and found it less tiring than he has before. Well done Sean. Great ride.

We also picked up Robert and Matt on the way through the ride. 15 is an impressive number for a winter ride – well done to all the Flufferers who managed to get out of their beds at ‘ridiculous O’clock’. Big Phil apparently only just made it after pressing sleep a number of times but felt the Fluffer commitment. Robert started off about 3 mins behind us and managed to chase us down by Pittwater. Well done Robert. It was Norman on Tuesday and she managed to catch us by Manly. One tip to all the Flufferers. Just try setting your alarm 3 mins earlier and you will be on time otherwise you could be breathless!

Talking about breathless after all of her climbing all over the place at the weekend. Laura managed a Fluffer First – She was the first person to complete the Fluffer from her bed. This must be classed as the ‘cycle of shame’. Thankfully she kept in regular contact with the peloton by text.


‘Big Goaders – see you at Church Point’
‘BG – running late see you at Mona Vale’
‘Perhaps Dee Why’
‘Don’t wait at Dee Why – I will catch you up’
‘Perhaps Manly’
‘Missed it – still in bed!!!!’

Congratulations to Laura – she must be absolutely knackered after all that exertion.

This brings me to the ‘Fluffer Motto’. We need to develop one – somebody suggested ‘Once a week is great, twice a week is out of this world’. Please submit the suggestions by carrier pigeon.

The Fluffer runs officially every Tuesday and Thursday from St Ives at 5.15am. Runs like clockwork now. If you want to do it on another day put a ride in the calendar and see if anyone else can do it. For safety reasons I don’t recommend doing it on your own. I think Nick plans to put in a ride on one Wednesday so keep your eyes open for this one.

A few apologies rolling in for ‘sleep ins’. The question has to be wouldn’t you prefer to wake up with Big Goaders rather than lazing in your beds………. Fluffettes please don’t be offended.

Safe pedalling

Big Goaders

Manly Dam – ride report

The last time I did this run, I got thoroughly wrecked – participants were Clutters, Contador and me.
I rolled up to the start, and saw this time it was Clutters, Bam Bam, and me.
Hmm – different, yet somehow familiar. 2 great riders and…..

But it was a fine day for a MTB ride.
Down the cascades, I know it well, then a steep climb up the other side, hard work but no issues.
The run along by the pipeline, heavy dew on the grass sprays up into my glasses.
That happened last time too – but this time, fog too.

Come the Manly dam section.
The first descent is fun, rock shelves with small drops, I’m doing it better than last time, though not with quite the same flow as the others.
They are taking care of me, showing the line and keeping the pace manageable.

Lots of ups and downs follow, then we approach the step I fell on last time – I’m a bit nervous.
Clutters says follow Bam Bam, so I grit my teeth and do so, nailed his line perfectly, but alas he doesn’t use the slightly easier line Clutters had in mind.
I go off the drop he’d used on his 29er, my 26” front wheel pops into a familiar looking scoop in the rock, stops, and I gently topple over the handlebars.
That’s odd, I crashed exactly here last time….but no harm done, a minor knee scrape.
I walk down a few bits, then hop back on again. Will this be Groundhog day?

My glasses are steamy, not easy to see the details – wet tree roots are tricky, but the pace is fine, I’m going OK.
I flail down a droppy section OK, decent pace, just in control, confidence coming back up.
Clutters and Bam Bam were alternately leading ahead giving me a good line to follow.
I punctured here last time – not this time, I sail through cleanly – not Groundhog day after all.

Out of the dam section, there’s another technical bit, I wave the others on so they can have fun hooning down it.
Vision starting to blur, fog droplets building up on the glasses again, then I lose it picking my way down a wet rocky bit.
Down I go again – damn, and I rode this bit OK last time.
Ah yes, it would have to be the same knee that I scrape. Good job I bounce.

Climbing up the weaving singletrack. – left, right, flick over that one, bank up there, feeling good.
I ride over a steep rock in the middle of the path, rather than going round, following Clutters’ suggestion – that was fun.

Quick stop to wipe off the glasses again- my hanky is now soaked, the others pull away
Glasses don’t go so well in fog, note to self, use contacts next time.
Then out onto the open field at the end of the MTB section.

The fog is thicker here. We have a water stop. I fiddle with my lights, one had come adrift in one of the falls.
Clutters pours water over his bike to clean it a bit.
Water stop and we are off on the road. Lock up the suspension and away we go.

Zig-zagging through the back streets, I feel there is still some energy in the tank.
Over the Spit, and I’m steadily going up the Parriwi climb.
Clutters and Bam Bam pull away from me steadily, but I’m not far back, can see them most of the way, and feel good.
A far cry from last time when I cramped up and had to walk up – what a difference 6 months makes.
And then we are punching up the ups and downs of Mosman and Cremorne, getting to the B&T at about 7:45.


Another great day out, with a healthy adrenalin dose added, yet all before work. Thanks guys.

Blue Stratos

OTP in the foggy foggy dew

Awakening to the sounds of an English dawn chorus as one does, YHC opened the shutters on the garret tower to survey the landscape in the valley and assess what kind of ride to enjoy…alas even when rubbing the sleep out of the eyes there was no view to peruse. Blanket of fog..or in aviation parlance “Socked in”.

The Subi transfer to Fox Valley was uneventful, however it was still weaving through the B-doubles, ( where do they come from and why do they insist on rumbling through Dural at 6am ??? ) nice though that in the fog they still maintain a crazy 70kph although YHC was controversially maintaining the speedlimit through the dips and enjoyed hearing heated application of exhaust brakes and squeaking discs as they decelerate to tailgate me until the bottom of the dip then are left chugging up the other side..( win ) …

There was a small but perfectly formed peloton on the traps at Rowland St , Saint Nav unfluffed, YHC and “Onya” wove to the front of the traffic turning onto the Pacific parkway, and then wove through the gridlock to Pymble which was clear and onto the OTP..

Pea Soup served with ham this morning, Ham being a descriptive of Chippo’s attire..Teddy and open toed heels with cherry pillbox hat..looked ready to attend a day at the races. A few fewer ERs on the OTP this morning, flashing away on time without setting eyes on Barry, where is he when the weather turns..probably took a wrong turn at Chatswood..nothing like that would happen if he took the second best way.

Moisture in microcosm, much more amenable that sturm und drang, boasts of those who braved the 6pm commute, they described this clammy ride as luxury, “dreamed” of conditions as pleasant as these on that hell of the north return. Well apart from the fog it was perfect conditions for a commute into town..all quickly realised that eyewear was optional, mine went back in the backpack at Roseville. Visibility was variable, but better without accumulating moisture on the glasses. One phenomenon which YHC has noticed is that ER bus timetables are remarkably consistent..hell and high water seem to make zero impression on arrival times at the B&T..even punctures do not seem to interrupt Andy Schleck’s sprint to the forecourt for 7:30. This morning all went swimmingly up to Crow’s Nest, then with a block of flats it appeared the peloton would be delayed..until Drastic called for a “safety “ split, and therefore released a pressure valve through which most escaped ( Saint Nav of course changed two wheels and repumped in a record 10 minutes, ensuring he was left without a chair over good deed remains unpunished as they say .)

Superlative commute though as ERs started accumulating over coffee, Fluffers, Epping and assorted latecomers..stories got taller as volume got louder, although duration was curtailed due to temperature.

Return bouts booked, the usual suspects on the usual lineout..

Have a good one all.


Fluffer Report

6 out of the traps at St Ives. The last time I saw mist like that was in some dubious night club where you couldn’t see arms length in front of you. Fortunately the visibility was better on todays Fluffer, but not much.

As we waited to see the Fluffettes enter through the mist we were left with an air of dissapointment. Flash’s comment put as sensitively as ever ‘where’s the Fluffettes!!’. The implication of this was that he doesn’t actually like riding with a bunch of blokes. After promises of don’t worry Laura will join us later, Bernadette in Manly he seemed to calm.

2 mins late starting as we were waiting for Greg to adjust himself and SatNav to turn up. Checking the phone SatNav said he couldn’t get the zip off his ‘Onesy’ undone so he was staying in bed and waiting for Mrs Satnav to wake up to help – poor excuse. Don’t let me start any malicious rumours but one of the hardest men of the North has changed into one of the softest…………

Into the mist, like Gorilla’s dissappearing into the trees (Flash that one is for you). We had Scott (Matt’s Dad – where were you Matt!), B2, Greg, Falsh and Mark. What we didn’t know was Norman was 3 mins late – remember we left 2 mins late so that means she ended up chasing us in the mist all the way to Manly where she eventually caught up. Definitely a HWOTN. Impressive.

No Laura – high levels of precipitation meant alternative arrangements had to be made for her. No Cristina either – after an impressive climbing show on Sunday she is busy resting but has become an Honary Fluffette.

Hit B&T at 7.40. Another on time arrival. Special mention for Gregg – he had an outstanding cycle this morning and was really pushing it with no calling for any ease ups. He will regret this later as he is slumped on his desk by mid morning but I am expecting a bagful of Strava records from Greg. Well done. I was concerned he didn’t make it to the B&T but assumed he was working in North Sydney. This was confirmed. He is safe if not tired.

Thanks for a great ride – no colours means no Mavis

Big Goaders

Holiday Bike Stories

I’ve just returned from two weeks travelling around with the kids. We did a flying visit to the Gammon Ranges (North Flinders) and then the Oodnadatta Track. ’bout 5000 Ks.  No cycling involved myself, but we did see some cyclists out there. There were couple doing the Mawson Trail that goes up through the Flinders.  My brother did that as a five day race last year.  Would be an interesting ride.
Further along, on the Oodnadatta Track we encountered a Cycling Safari doing the Track. There were 20 in the group accompanied by a bus.  The bus had a 20 stacker bike rack on the roof. With bikes on the roof, the bus looked like a giant toast rack.  (Bikes mounted transverse.  No photo, sorry.)  Anyway the folks on this safari would set off about 7am and the bus would chase at 9am, picking up stragglers as it went.  On the leg from Coward Springs to William Ck, we passed them all except for one dude who was waiting in William Ck when we arrived at 10:30 – beat the others by an hour over a distance of 90k.  Said he was averaging 32 kph. See the first attachment.  The road surface is good and flat.  No hills.  But the scenery???  Salt bush, spinifex and red gibber that goes on and on…
The safari guys were supported.  The next lot were not.  This pair was getting along with T-bars and a Tag-a-long trailer arrangement.  The trailer had the tent, sleeping mats and a cute folding chair.  Given they would have to be going through at least 5 litres of water a day just to ride and road houses with water supplied are 200 Km apart, I do not know how they kept themselves watered.
Food for thought for those keen on long distance endurance rides.

Tour of New Zealand 2013 – United States Poostal Service

As there were seven stages and a criterium race on the 8th day, there were a lot of fantastic memories. Not possessing the cunning wit of Danny Boy or the deluded ramblings of le Bullet, I felt I wouldn’t do the memories justice by compiling a ride report.

However our magnificent driver/soigneur/mechanic Martin (Matt’s dad – one of the riders) got a lot of the footage on camera. I’ve included a link to some of our memories of the tour below.

The next edition is in 2015 due to the fact that this year was only its second year and funds are currently lacking to maintain a yearly race. I would love to see a few ER teams (of 4 to 5 riders) head across the ditch in 2015 and take on the kiwis at snatching away their own title. It’s an amateur race but one that is run at quite a quick pace (see some of my Strava rides). It takes in sometime breath-taking kiwi scenery (I’ll give it to them – they do have some incredible scenery… and a better rugby team for that matter) and two groups run simultaneously (one beginning at the northmost point of the north island and the other – which we did – beginning in the southern most point of the south island – meeting in Wellington for a criterium on the 8th day).

I haven’t really gone into the key facts of the tour in this email (distance, experiences outside of the stages each day, etc) so if you are interested/want to hear more please feel free to send me an email, call me or shoot me a text (0439418447).

It was hands down the greatest cycling experience of my life (and yes unfortunately it tops 2013 3Peaks due to the incredible amount of fun I had being involved in an 8-day stage race). I’m definitely returning in 2015 (as apart of the United States Poostal Service) and would love to enjoy the experience with as many ER’s as possible. I honestly believe.

I will mention one quick story if you are still with me this far through the email:

Before we got to New Zealand we were being hailed as a very strong team that will most likely challenge the GC standings. I’m not sure where they got this from as two of our riders had not ridden for more than 4 months and our “racebook page” on the Tour of NZ website stated that we were just “four big powercats trying to cause some trouble” and “we’ve got the skillz to pay the billz” (spelling included). Due to the fact that we thought we might get disqualified for having a team name – the United States Poostal Service – we initially raced under the alias – Australian Postal Service. So when we got to the tour it was hilarious that they had mistakenly assumed we were apart of the actual Australia Post and that we were chosen from 1000’s of employees to make up an incredible race team that would bring a somewhat Sky-esque dominance to the 7 stages and crit of the Tour of New Zealand. After two of our riders placed second last and last out of 120 in the peloton on the first stage, they had to reassess their understanding of us (Matt and I actually placed quite well over the race – Matt even nearly taking out a stage win but coming off the bike on the second last corner). After an interview with all of the Poostal boys at the end of stage wrap up at the local pub, the peloton finally understood that we were actually just a rag-tag bunch of misfits looking to have an awesome time while taking the proverbial out of Lance.

Anyway apologies for the essay but I hope I’ve at least caused one or two sparks to ignite that will result in an ER force crossing the ditch in 2015 to take the overall win in the 2015 Tour of New Zealand.


Phantom Photographer on the Fluffer

A short while ago, Mrs B2 found a post on a friends FaceBook page with a photo of “us”.  Mrs B2, who was hitherto unaware on my ride on the Fluffer this morn, rings to ask “What were you doing on MVR at 5:30 this morning?”.  (This goes a long way to explain the phantom photographer hiding in the bushes outside Flower Power this morning.)
Mrs B2’s friend wants to claim Private Eye fees!



Wilsons – Party Crasher – Vol1 Sun 05 May 2013

Recheduled to this Sunday 05 May 2013.   I’ve just got wind that my niece is having a brithday party (one year old) in New Lambton, Newcastle.  if we all wear the away kit (black and red) then I recon we can dust the fairy bread before we are rumbled !

Leaving Turramurra Cycles 04:30 North via Ettalong, The Entrance, Fernleigh Track and into Newcastle. ETA 10:30

Returning . 11:30  via Fernleigh Track, Wyong, Bumble Hill, Peats Ridge, Home. ETA Wahroonga 17:30.  I reasearched the cafes last Sunday and theres a corker at Yarramalong  at base of Bumble Hill (I am working my way through the smoothies). Plenty of refuelling/re-watering opportunities along the way.

300km roundtrip , but plenty of opportunity to join the Barry if (when) legs give out.

Expected pace around 26-27kph

P.S. Ended up being 320km, pace was 26.3, I now know that the Garmin can last for 14:30 . Got dark as I came over Peats Ridge, all the way through mt White and Brooklyn was like peering down a small tunnel of ligh cast by my light on lowest bean possible to conserver power. Great relief to join civilisation and the neon glow of Hornsby. Roast lamb and Red wine went down VERY well.