Friday, August 15, 2014

The Stromlo Grin

These days, it's kind of rare to get a bunch of guys and gals together and just go riding.  There always seems to be some race or training ride that must be done, so it was with a sense of wonder that our little crew first raised the question of taking a day off from work, JUST TO RIDE

No racing, no rushing, no stress, no strava (well OK we didnt quite go that far) just ride.

The date was set and equipped with a new elbow and a shiny new set of Curve Cycling Carbon hoops we set off down the Hume highway for what would prove to be a very valuable Mental Health Day.

After loading up the bikes just before dawn we all met up at the Trappers Bakery Goulburn for coffee.  Imagine sitting in an enclosed sun drenched verandah sipping a great coffee and pulling apart a hot date scone lashed with butter and just enjoying the idea of a day's riding ahead and no race briefing deadline to obey.  Pure bliss!

Onwards to Stromlo, and at the very civilised time of 10am we rolled out of the carpark on a perfect late Winter's morning, sun blazing and just the wisp of a cool breeze, perfect riding conditions.  After an hour or so of riding, Finchy had a grin from ear to ear, having come off a 26" Fuel 9.9, to a 29" BH Lynx, he just couldn't believe MTBing could be so enjoyable, so we quickly diverted up Bloodrock just to prove how rocky and technical MTB can get!  Rob claimed the closest rider to the "no dab" award, well done mate, and Jason, being a Stromlo virgin, could scarcely believe how good this trail network could be and rapidly began searching domain for properties located within riding distance!

The crew summitting Mt Stromlo for the first time that day
We pretty much covered every cm of trail at Stromlo, putting together our accumulated knowledge from many a race day, from the challenge of Heartbreaker and Bloodrock to the sheer "yeooowwww" factor of Skyline/Luge or Pork Barrel and Double Disillusion.  The Briony had a very off day, by not even drawing blood from one of her knees, but the smiles never stopped and Watty couldnt resist towards the end of the day and gave the pedals a bit of a burst down Breakout and into Muckraker just to remind everyone what it feels like to ride on the limit.

Watty enjoying the very popular Chicken Avocado Focacia for lunch
We'd thought about packing up and heading over to Sparrow, but everyone was just enjoying the ambience of Stromlo so much we decided there were further trails to be explored so it was back onto the bikes and out again.  On the final descent down Skyline, Matty was clearly having "too much fun" and bit the dust pressing into a berm just a fraction too hard, but he was OK, if not a little dazed and dusty.  By 4pm we all reckoned we call it a day and even finished it off with a hot shower before the trip home.  #sheerluxury
We had a few laughs when the call came from the Mazda 3 that the trip computer was saying 3km to go on fuel still 30km south of Goulburn and could we slow down and give them a tow!!  thankfully Jason put his drafting skills to good use and the Mazda 3 pulled into the servo with nothing but fumes left in the tank.

Jason enjoying some post ride nutrition on the way home

Who was that masked man?  Yep, a real true blue living legend, humble as apple pie, owner of the bakery Keith aka "The Trapper"
On the way home, it just had to be done, another relaxing stop at the bakery and we were thrilled to meet the owner Keith, who had noticed us in the morning and wanted to know all about our cycling adventures.

As for me, the elbow never complained and whilst my descending was a little more conservative than usual, it was clear "he's back" ;) and as for those Carbon rims, what can I say, simply the best hoops I've ever ridden and that includes that other very expensive and fancy brand.  Why? the profile gives you an awesome tyre profile for cornering and precise steering especially over the rocky stuff, and there was a clear advantage in the way the rims picked up speed after a slow switchback.  Take for example some of the 'A' line switchbacks on the trunk climb;  Corners I would normally struggle to make without unclipping were suddenly a breeze, as the slightest pressure on the pedals propelled the wheels forward again.  Finally Strava doesnt lie, and I set a number of PR's up a climb that I've ridden probably a hundred times and in peak fitness.  After 6 weeks off the mountain bike to set a PR without really trying says something with the wheels being the only difference.  Well you might say I am an ambassador, and I received a discount, so of course I'm obliged to say something positive.  But those who know me, now I'm pretty transparent when it comes to speaking my mind so there you go.  Give the guys at Curve a call and see what they can do for you.

Keep riding
Mighty Mike

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