Pro Cycling Season in Australia

koalaGet ready for an overload of pro cyclists awkwardly cuddling koalas and fondling baby kangaroos, because before the much loved European Classics Season gets underway, there’s a couple of sun soaked Aussie races for the pros to test their legs on. These season opening races provide the perfect outlet to blow away those off-season cobwebs and burn off any extra helpings of Christmas pudding they may have indulged in (here’s looking at you, Cav). It’s also an opportunity to sharpen the tan lines before they return north to duke it out through the freezing fields of Flanders!

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First off is the TdU, followed closely by Cadel Evans’ Great Ocean Road Race (now with full World Tour status) and lastly the Herald Sun Tour, won last year by Chris Froome who is returning to defend the title. We should be in for some fantastic early season racing! Make sure you note these dates in your diary:

Santos Tour Down Under

Jan 15th – People’s Choice Classic, 50.6km
Jan 17th – Hostworks Stage 1, 145km
Jan 18th – Staging Connections Stage 2, 148.5km
Jan 19th – Hansgrohe Stage 3, 144km
Jan 20th – BUPA Stage 4, 149.5km
Jan 21st – Bike Exchange Stage 5, 151.5km
Jan 22nd – MAC Stage 6, 90km

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Jan 31st – Women’s Elite Race
Feb 1st – Men’s Elite Race

Heral Sun Tour

Feb 3rd – Prologue Individual Time Trial, 2.1km
Feb 4th – Stage 1 Healesville, 126km
Feb 5th – Stage 2 Yarra Glen to Moe, 144km
Feb 6th – Stage 3 Traralgon to Inverloch, 146km
Feb 7th – Stage 4 Arthurs Seat to Mornington, 122km

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My 2016 in eight simple bullet points!

What an interesting year 2016 has been, one of many changes in my life. I started out in England with no intention of that changing and here I am now living at the opposite end of the world! There have been some curve balls I did not see coming. There were some sad times, but many happy moments too. All in all I think it was a positive twelve months of my life and a year I won’t forget.

1) I cycle commuted right through the British winter and out the other side into the start of Spring. There’s nothing quite like that first taste of Spring after all the frosty pre-dawn commutes.

2) I finished my time at Sigma Sport. Working in the cycling industry was a blast and a real eye opener. I learnt a lot and met so many great people (and some super strong cyclists). The hours were long, the workload high, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The staff discount afforded me some kit I never would have dreamed of buying otherwise too.

img_1489Farewell drinks with Elz (The Lonely Cyclist) after my last day at Sigma Sport

3) In fact in 2016 I cycled a lot. Well, not a lot, but a decent amount. Not as much as last year. As soon as I stopped commuting to Sigma I knew I would never surpass last year’s total mileage. That’s cool though. Plus there was my discovery of…

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4) Zwift! This has totally changed my outlook on indoor training, giving me so much more motivation to hop on the rollers. Never before have I thought “I can’t wait to get home and jump on the trainer!” But with Zwift, that’s what happens! Of course, it’s no match for a sun soaked outdoor ride in the fresh air!

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5) I said farewell to my parents, again. After Mum and Dad retired they moved across to join me in England (Dad is English) and bought a beautiful place down on the South Coast. It was great having them close by again and being able to spend more time with them both, so breaking the news that I was off to the far end of the earth was hard.

6) The big one. I moved to Tasmania! So after 11 fantastic years in England I find myself back in the Land of Oz. I absolutely love it here with its fantastic weather and laid back lifestyle, but I do miss England some of the time, the people I’d met, the places I’d experienced, the European travel. England had become my home and I very much get “homesick” when I think about it or see people’s travel photos.

img_2876Beach on my doorstep, Tassie does have it’s advantages!

KLR_0097) I also got back on motorised two wheels after a long break! Owning a motorbike in the UK wasn’t going to happen. The weather and road conditions just doesn’t make it an all year option. Back in the land of sunshine and blue skies, I didn’t waste any time getting back on board. This is my first dual sport style motorbike and it’s helped me explore parts of Tassie. Nothing like 650cc’s of Kawasaki engineered motor doping! I’m all about life on two wheels, pedal or piston powered!

8) I rounded out the year with old friends. The Christmas break was spent with two friends from Brisbane that my wife and I have known since we were teens. It was a great getaway for the four of us in the Blue Mountains just relaxing, catching up and shooting the breeze. I even got a few cheeky outdoor rides in. Aaaaand relax….

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So to sum up an eventful 2016, that’s a wrap! #thanksforreading #keepcycling

Aussie Christmas!

Just a quickie to wish  you all a wonderfully relaxing Christmas! :-) Extra kudos to anyone who is taking on the annual Rapha Festive 500 challenge. I am sitting that one out this year, instead I’ll be kicking back with old friends. I can tell you one thing though, the weather this Christmas is a fair whack different to last year! This is my first summer Christmas in over 10 years.

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Chasing the Pixel Peloton

I’ve put over 1000 virtual km’s on the digital roads of Zwift so far and it’s safe to say that I’m pretty addicted to the program. I’ve ridden the lusciously tropical Watopia, storm soaked streets of London and also the Richmond World Champs course. I still can’t believe I’m spending so many hours on the trainer and actually looking forward to getting home from work and jumping on the rollers – and it’s summer!!!

sweetspot-flierHard fought virtual miles …

An aspect of Zwift that I love are the organised group rides. Just like out on the road with your buddies, trying to stay with the bunch and keep the pace high is seriously good fun. It’s strangely social while cycling alone in a dark room. Even though it’s just a bunch of pixels on the screen, not being dropped by the pixel peloton is one hell of a motivator to keep the wattage high!

thirds… result in real world smiles! (and Strava bragging rights)

The time on the trainer is still flying by and I’m starting to see positive results from all that hard work when I get out on the road. Or maybe I’ll sell my other bikes, buy an expensive Tacx Neo smart trainer plus a big high definition TV, then not have to ever cycle outside again? Hmmmm! #virtualmiles

Dear Santa, PowerTap P1 Pedals

High on my Christmas list (yeah sure, I haven’t been that good this year) how I’d love a set of PowerTap P1 powermeter pedals. I love my G3 hub, but it does mean you’re limited to using it only in the one wheel. PowerTap P1’s give you the option of putting your powermeter on any bike simply by switching pedals. It is a very expensive way to basically tell yourself to pedal harder though!

img_2571_thumbImage: DC Rainmaker

There’s no need to a torque wrench when installing to ensure accuracy either unlike the Garmin Vector pedals, making the P1 pedals the most portable and transferable powermeter currently on the market.

The biggest downside I can see with these (and all pedal based powermeters) is that pedals are easily damaged in a crash,  drop your bike, scrape them on curbs, etc. Here’s a little video from the GCN boys showing how they’re made and tested: