What am i good at?

Everyone is born with a set of skills. At 28 years of age i am only beginning to figure out what i am particularly good at. When i need to use these skill sets, it always feels effortless. Kinda like cheating in a way. Looking at it my work does not utilise any of these “advantages” i possess and i sometimes wonder if my skills can be better used?

What about you guys? How many of you can say that your job/work fully utilises your skill sets? How many of us ever get to use our skill sets to make a living? I know some are and some are trying to but i am absolutely sure that many talents lie mostly dormant for their entire life.

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Contador

Why is contador still so fast? If you take the whole doping issue into consideration, shouldn’t he be slower now?

1. If his still taking epo even now it would be pretty damn risky. With all the attention his getting and you can be sure that he will be drug tested throughly during the giro and he knows that no other “meat” excuse will hold up.

2. His not doping atm and his still freaking fast?

Hmmmmm i am kinda leaning towards 2. since 1. seems so far fetched now.

Hands getting itchy

I want to tinker!

Have being thinking about wheels on the BMC. I used to run a set of dura-ace carbon laminates on my fuji and they were a good set of wheels. Looking at the reviews everyone harks on and on and on about how they are one of the best pair of clinchers you can possibly buy not to mention how much of a relative bargin it is. I didn’t really have enough experience back then to really make a’s and b’s over it but they were a very smooth riding pair of wheels. I think in many ways it made the fuji’s ride pretty good.

Before i chucked on the assaults i ran a test run around the block on the BMC with the dura-ace wheels and i was pretty blown away with how smooth riding it was. I pumped the pressure to be pretty high 100-110psi and even at that pressure the ride was super smooth. Once i chucked on the assaults i noticed straight away that it was stiffer riding. This was especially noticeable over crappy chunky tarmac. I dont know the specific terms for it but royal natio has a lot of sections like that and the end of the botany bay before the lookout has those type of roads and on those roads the riding feel is quite different between the assaults and the dura-ace. The dura-ace is superior in those conditions. So i have being thinking about a pair of dura-ace clinchers again……except 2 points

1. I am vain. There is no way to go around the point. I think the assaults looks awesome and it is an important point for me. I don’t really care that some people are laughing thinking “oh look at this poseur”. That’s fine. I am a poseur and i like to ride good looking bikes.

2. Aeroness. I know the Reynolds aren’t classified as true true aero wheels but my mind has trouble comprehending how it wont be more aero than the dura-ace. The rim surface is smoother, it is deeper and yeah, i don’t really want to lose aero advantage even if it is a small small amount. People say oh, its prolly not that much more aero than the dura-ace but i think the only way to put that to rest is to do repeated runs of kurnell or something similar on both sets of wheels and get an average feel for it with data/feeling.

The good points about the dura-ace clinchers are the rims will be 100g+ lighter on each wheel. The reynold assault carbon clincher rims weigh in at around 490-500gish and the dura-ace is around 380g so climbing wise the dura-ace should feel a lot better. This is good. The hubs are supposedly better on the dura-ace but i’ve never had a problem with the kt hubs on the reynolds as well. The braking will obviously be better too since it is a metal braking surface. Truth be told i find the braking on the reynolds fine. The only time i wish i had metal braking surface is when it is pouring in which case im doddling around anyways.

So….
Pros of the assault = aesthetics, aero?
Pros of dura-ace c24 = better braking, smoother ride, light rim for better climbing, better hubs

I think the only way to be sure is to try both back to back with data and test runs. If i can squash the aero rumours with actual experience i might be ready to drop the aesthetics factor of the assaults and stick with the superior ride that is the dura-ace.

Recovery

Next time you guys are getting off the bed, try this. Try getting up without your arms to start with. Secondly try and not use any stomach muscles at all. Thirdly and finally, imagine your whole upper body was battered with bruises. This was the first week for me in a nutshell. It was the single most annoying aspect about this whole experience apart from the catheter which i will not go into as it will bring pain to perfectly healthy males simply by reading it.

I was standing up and walking as soon as the dr’s cleared my hips as stable enough to stand on. The first few steps were met with incredible pain and a feeling that i was going to pass out. The first toilet trip resulted in nothing and i had to resort to sitting down to pee as the only way to relieve myself. I was plenty motivated though as the dr’s had told me that if i was still not able to pass urine within a short amount of time the catheter will make another visit. I remember the physio making me walk up a set of stairs to see if i was fit to be discharged. I remember hurting like nothing else but holding out on the pain so she would not be able to see it. I wonder if she guessed it?

I was discharged on Tuesday night and from that day onwards i was under the 24hr care of my parents. Being an only child, my parents know how to spoil me when i am perfectly healthy let alone half broken. For the rest of the week i was brought fresh platters of fruit and my face was wiped every so often and meals were cooked with an emphasis on nutrients and generally all possible methods were taken to ensure i recover as quickly as possible. I know i have some of the best parents in the world and i know that i am lucky. Ley also sacrificed unmeasurable amounts of time/effort and generally proved to be an excellent nurse (although i am sure she’s glad i managed to wipe my own poo).

Little by little i could stand up and sit up for longer and little by little i was eating to my full appetite once again. I am feeling less and less pain from my hips that i can lie on my sides now and my stomach is no longer as swelled and the three individual incisions on my tummy doesn’t feel like anything. I do believe that i generally recover pretty quickly. I know this to be the case from my constant falls and run-ins with cold/flus but even I am amazed at the progress that i am showing. Right now, as i type this, i feel all but normal.

Throughout all this i was peppered with visit’s from friends and well wishes and i want to thank all my friends for really coming through. A simple sms is all it takes when a guy is down in the gutter and it really did hold me together a little more. It made me realise that there are good friends out there that do care about you genuinely.

How am i holding it up mentally? Well, my brain has made peace. So to speak. I have realised that there is nothing i could do to avoid the crash in any possible way. It was an act of insanely bad luck and that is it. I can’t do anything about it and thinking about it non-stop will not help so i will not waste any more time there. How will i get over it mentally in terms of a riding perspective? Well, how can i not? If i can’t then i wont be able to ride in a straight line and coast any more. You get the idea. Still i have taken to heart some of the points that came out of this accident. Listen to my sixth sense, minimise risks at all possible moments and pay absolutely 100% attention to what i am doing if i can help it. Sure, this will not stop bad luck but it is the best i can do after some late night talks with Ley and i will do everything possible to stop something like this from ever happening again.

BMC status

Came out way better than me would be the summary here.

Damages are

  • Derailleur hanger which sheared off clean – new one on it’s way
  • Hood grips are knackered, luckily no damage/scratches to lever itself – trying to find replacements. Its so cheap @ $10 but so rare to find because of di2 specific hoods. Found thanks to eddie.
  • Bartape is knackered – easy replacement. 3T team instead of 3T pro this time.
  • Saddle is cutup – easy replacement + some resin/glue to patch up old one to use as spare. Going to give SLR kit carbonio a go.
  • 10 cent piece size scrape near derailleur hanger as the only visible frame scratch
  • Bead on rear tyre seems a little popped out potentially from too much sideways force. Will re-pump tyres and see if it makes any difference. Might change tyres just in case. New tyres purchased
  • Wheels are straight and not even a flat

Morphine and surgery

Immediately after I stopped sliding on the barrier I heard faint voices coming from far away, and then closer. In some ways I was glad that there was traffic behind me. I knew help would be quick and swift (as swift as possible when ur in the middle of a national park at least). I received help lying down and then had some rags/blankets cover me which was super nice as I was getting uncontrollably cold. The guys/girls (I hardly remember their faces) assured me help was coming and to hang in there. For a few minutes they were my angels.

One of the older guys there managed to eek out the names of Felix and Trieu from me and soon drove down to pick them up. After a little while Trieu (or was it Felix??? Damn u matching Rapha whores) came into my view looking pretty sad. He asked me to do one thing. “Jing, can u wriggle ur toes?) I didn’t quite understand the implication to that question until well later on into the day but I wriggled my toes all the same.

The ambulance arrived soon after that along with the morphine shots and before I knew it I was at the ermegency department on a morphine high. The dr’s poked me here and there and after some pretty embarrassing tests I was given the ok for some pre-lim scans. They told me the arms are broken for sure but they wanted to check over the rest of my body. A couple of hours later a dr walked through and told me that my hip was also fractured and they are trying to figure out why I had some air in my rear hip muscles.

Surgery was scheduled for the mornings and luckily for me it held true. I was wheeled off around 9:25am for surgery for what was apparently a 2-3hr procedure that turned out to take until 7pm to finish. Luckily I would be spared of all the scary details that the dr had prepped for ley. Apparently the biggest cause of gases near ur rear hip that isn’t natural is from torn bowels. Had my bowels sustained injury enough to tear them, they would enter full stomach operation straightaway and patch up the hole and prolly give me a poo bag to hold onto for the next 3 months. Because of this severity the dr’s took no chances and cut my stomach in 3 places and sent cameras in to check everything out. Justin was there the next day as the dr finally worked out why I had leakeded gases and where it came from. Apparently at the point of impact I was holding my breath and because the hit was so hard, it forced the gas to exit through the back internal side of my Lungs. A place which obviously has no exits intended by god for passage of air.

All of these information mattered nothing to me though as the only question I had in mind was how I was going to look after my fiancée in a position like this. The short answer was I couldn’t and later on during the night I had a little cry about that. To me one of the most basic tasks for a man is to look after their partners and I realised I was in no position to look after anyone in a state like this.

To be continued …. Tired again

How it happened

It was a pretty darn cool morning on this particular day. I remember putting on the arm warmers and leg warmers that in a few hrs the rescue crews would cut from my limping body. I’d come up with a slightly sore throat too but decided to brave the ride as it wasn’t meant to be a hard ride. Eating breakfast I had a very fleeting thought for no apparent reason that this was my last meal (I kid u not, not in a kidding mood ATM as u might be able to tell). Of course the thought was a fleeting one of the most minuscule importance so it was relegated to be forgotten as soon as it entered my head. Let me tell u now that if I ever experience this ‘sixth sense’ kinda thing again, I intend to take it 110% seriously.

I met up with Felix and Trieu at loftus oval carpark and together we bitched and moaned about how cold it was before starting the roll down into audley. The pace was mellow and none of us were gunning it. We chose instead to enjoy the scenery and revel in all the right reasons as to why we do this, why we ride.

We had fun laughing at our poseurish Rapha gear and nodded heads with oncoming roadies in ackownledgement and before the climb out to waterfall it all went downhills in more than one way. The last descent is ultra smooth so it makes for some good fast descending. Picking up speed is effortless and carving the gradual gradient corners are a joy as it isn’t too challenging. The section starts with a descent followed by a short short inclination before dropping u down into the valley that is the waterfall junction.

The way I ride on the road is like this. When I climb I let cars cautiously pass me and when I ride downhills at 50km/hr I hold my lane. You need to be considerate with traffic as well as holding ur own rights to safe guard yourself. The tricky thing is the descent in question has some fast ups and downs and knowing I had traffic behind me I wanted to check for their approximate position. I dropped into the descent fine holding my own lane and then coming up hills a little I noticed a bit of gap before the next dh section. At this moment I motioned to look back and check for traffic. The thought was the only part that was successful.

My brain told me to look back so the next obvious thing to do is to let go of my right hand and look back. I got as far as lifting my right hand off the handlebar when a sudden jolt came through my bike. The effect along with maybe me motioning to turn back basically steered the bike suddenly to the left violently. I’d missed spotting a bump on the road and along with bad timing meant I had absolutely no chance at trying to recover. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how u want to interpret it there was a metal barrier right to the left of my lane. Steering the bike violently to the left meant that I pretty much rode into it at full speed. What happened afterwards was much more of a blur. I remember screaming a lot (I don’t usually scream at all unless it’s spiders). The kind of screams that was like a plea much more than anything else. I remembered a part of my mind bemused thinking why am I screaming so much? Only to realise the screams were coming out of me with no conscious decision. I was screaming for my life.

The damage report says I must have subconsciously blocked most of the impact with both my forarms (I shiver in the thought of what would have broken if my arms didn’t protect me) and then I landed on top of the barrier with my tummy and slid on it until gravity showed me some mercy. When I stopped I remembered forcing myself to breath deeply and saw that my right arm from the elbow to the wrist was In a s shape. I knew that this wouldn’t be the type of accident u would get up from and have a shaky laugh before pedaling onwards. I knew I was fucked. I didn’t even bother trying to standup and just lied down feeling the most surreal feeling come over me.

I’m tired and typing on iPad sucks so I will continue when I have some more energy….

Kurnell morning ride

Beautiful weather like this morning is a rarity these few weeks so i did not hesitate at all to grab my bike and go for a spin. Wanted to get some flat work done so i choose Kurnell TT as the destination.

The night before Tim told me to aim for 9 minutes. To be honest, i doubted i could. The previous 10:32 or something was like absolute death. So 9 minutes left my thoughts and a few seconds were more realistic targets. The day was pretty windy as i found out as soon as i rolled out of my home but it was absolutely stunning. All those raining days were soon forgiven and i was glad to be riding.

I had a feeling that i was letting myself go a little too early *stop giggling* with my previous attempts so today’s aim of the game was to start slow and finish fast. I guess the easiest way to explain that is pouring water out of your cup slowly and in a calculated fashion instead of dumping it into the sink in one go.

I started slow and held my speed at around 38-39km/h. I felt like i was holding back and i stuck by this feeling even though i wanted to hammer it. On the dh sections i didn’t hammer it and lightly let the gradient keep my average up whilst i tried to prevent the lactate acid from overwhelming my legs. On the dips i purposely slowed down and was fine with it. Once i passed the dips i knew the sections coming up were pretty much completely flat and taking an estimate from signs on the road i applied a little more effort as i neared the finish. I finished the run feeling completely different to my previous two runs. I knew on my garmin split that i was faster than my previous PB but i wasn’t sure how much faster it was. The one thing that was more important to me was how i was feeling at the end of that section. It was a complete contrast to the “i am about to die” kinda feeling. If anything i felt like i didn’t time my efforts near the end and that i still had some to give.

I won’t say it was easy but i was far from the way i felt on the previous two runs. One thing which confirms this is how much faster the whole run felt. I don’t mean a time wise thing but more just the perception of how slowly time has past. On my previous two runs the last sections dragged on for agessssssssssssssss whilst today it came so much quicker.

Checking strava at home i was pretty damn surprised with a 9:59. That is an improvement of around 30+ seconds with less perceived effort? Win….. Very happy with the way it went and it just further emphasises to me that roadie riding is strategic even by yourself. You can’t just open the taps and be done with it. We only have so much energy contained within us and you have to make the most of it at every little section. I am actually interested to see how much better it could be on a more still day.

PS :: Kurnell is pretty interesting in it’s own way. 10 minutes of 180bpm average isn’t really super super hard. I have obviously completed races at 180bpm average for 1hr so the heart rate isn’t an issue. The issue is the fact that you are always pedalling and that there is no chance for your legs to flush out the lactate acid. Once the lactate is in your legs it will stick with you for the whole run unlike say a mtb race where you stop pedalling for periods of time or for felix’s loop where you stop pedalling too.

PPS :: Wore rapha classic jersey with the arm warmers today and it was pretty good. I think the biggest difference with the wool is that its a little softer and it doesn’t tend to crease when you are bending over the bike liek some of the more artifical materials. The arm warmers are the best though as they are quite warm and they are the right fit for my arm. The assos ones i have keep on slipping down on my left arm (need bigger muscles on my left arm lol).

PPPS :: Loving the BMC. The fit is pretty dialled in now and its pretty comfy which also enhances my cornering on the bike. Honestly lucky to ride a high-end bike like this. I think the overall feeling i get with this bike is how well rounded it is. That and the smoothness of the ride quality. It just feels soooo smoothhhhhhhhh, kinda like it’s floating?. Worst review ever i know.

smaller details

Smaller details for sure but still important details.

The standard clamp is like 40-50g or something stupid so a 10g clamp was enlisted. Need to use carbon assembly compound with this so it bites properly. Pretty cheap.

BB92 press-fit means no bb mounted guides. XCX-ST guide saves the day. I don’t think it is worth double the price of the 1.x guide but at least it will be easier to fix chainsucks if it does happen.

Bar ends on handlebars are best with reinforced bar end plugs to support the clamping pressures.

Lastly, i spent a good deal of the time trying to figure out what race tyres to go for. There was 4 tyres in particular that stood out to me. Race king 2.2, X-king 2.2, Racing Ralph 2.25/2.1, Rocket ron 2.25/2.1. After a lot of researching i decided to stick with 2x race king 2.2’s front and back. Should be plenty fast. I wanted to give the Racing Ralph’s a good go again but the influx of tyres blowing off ztr rims has me a little worried. Maybe next time. I am hoping race sport will be a little tougher and since the race bike wont see a lot of sharp rock action it might last a little better too.

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WW again? sigh

Reasonable ww. Not the spend $400 extra to save 30g type of ww mind you.

First up what looks like the standard cookie cutter carbon/titanium skewers going round atm. Copies of tune obviously and weighs a decent 43 or 47g or something not too important. Basically very light plus easy to remove without the need for a special hex which i always tend to forget. Bargain too compared to the tune. I have a pair on the bmc and it seems to work alright so i am willing to try it on the ht. The negative of this skewer is the lack of feel or as more techy ww’s would say the cam ratio. You don’t really feel the difference between very tight or not so tight so you need to muck around to find the right level.

Syntace duraflite bars. I am still a little weary of narrow handlebars so this should prove to be a good transition. Problem i have with a lot of flat bars are the lack of sweep at 4-5 degrees. The syntace has a riserish 8-9 degrees and it is slightly wider at 630mm. Once the barends go on *i am contemplating bar ends* it should prolly make the useable cockpit size around 600mm or so. I have tried narrow bars before and its crappy in some ways but better in other ways. My build and my physique definitely suit the narrow bars more. When i was trying them out on the xtc previously i found it super super comfy. I felt like it was just ergonomically right for me. When i was climbing i was able to drop my elbows and it just felt right. 680mm bars isn’t ergonomically right for me but they are my go to size though as i find them great to ride with and also provides me with greater leverage on the bike. There are pros and cons to each setup. Another pro to narrower bars is easier passing of people on the tracks. Not that light but i wanted the extra width and the sweep and imo cockpit choice is super important so i am  not willing to compromise.

Some esi racers edge “wont be white for long” grips to suit my hand size. So fragile though so it is good that truckersco sells em cheap at 18 aud a pop delivered. That is ok to swallow. Light=yes. Pain to put on=yes. Can’t really use lockons with barends though?

Seatpost is pretty interesting. The frame takes 34.9mm seatposts so its pretty darn rare to find a decent seatpost. Stock seatpost is like 280g or something so that’s gotta go. Carbon exoticas like axlightness and mcfk or mcfook as kev likes to call it is out of the question. That is definitely unreasonable wwisim. So kcnc came to the rescue. The clamps are fiddly and id only ever use it with an alloy railed saddle but that is ok. at 170 or so it shaves off a decent amount of weight whilst still staying very reasonably priced. Cheaper than Thomson actually. On top of it all kcnc seatposts ride pretty nice for a non carbon fiber seatpost and that is quite important on a hardtail. Must be the ultra paper thin scandium walls.

Stem is going to be the sunline xc-1 stem i have lying around. At 120g it is pretty much the lightest it can be without going stupid ww. I really really really really like the extralite stem based on the aesthetics alone but it violates my reasonable ww rule. The xc-1 stem seems like a cookie cutter stem derived from the rotor stems. Far and near is another brand of stem which looks exactly the same.

Saddle is a custom selle italia. It looks like a mix between the slr/flite shape. Again weight weenie saddles did appeal to me but i dont really wanna get ass jacked and plus i have to use an alloy railed saddle with the kcnc post anyways. Unless the saddle is like 300g or something i probably won’t be changing it. It looks something like this.

Drivetrain wise i have a few choices. X9 10spd, XTR 10spd or X0 9spd. I am leaning towards the X0 9spd though. It should be a little more tolerent to adjustment issues and the parts are cheaper to replace. One of the biggest advantages of the 10spd group is the 36t ring. I don’t think i will be needing it on this bike for most of the races though. In-fact i don’t think the 32t front ring on a 1×9 setup is going to cut it, maybe 34-36t is in order. I don’t baby the drivetrain when i try to ride hard so it’s nice to be able to just stand up and shift and not cringe. I have to be honest though, i did perve on the sram xg-999 cassette.

Front is my old and trusty xtr crankset along with an e13 XCX seat-tube mount guide. Only trouble is finding the right ring to use. Considering 32-36t. Only trouble i see is when i do races like dirtworks or firetrail races and id want more range. I might just chuck the triple setup back on for those events. Only Jarod’s legs is mighty enough for 100km of dirt on a 1x setup.

Brakes is going to be the elixir mag’s running standard g3 rotors or if i am experimental, some aishima rotors. Will see.

Forks is the standard reba rl tapered with remote lockout for now. Apparently reba is more plush than sids. Don’t know about that but i am looking forward to using the remote lockout more. I wan’t to stand up more on climbs and i hark back to the period of ss on the rigid wanga. Felt so good to just stand up and stomp the pedals. Not super light though.

Wheelset is going to  be my ztr alpines. BEST WHEELSET EVER. Always useful. Tyre choices is quite confusing. I am tossing up 3 tyres prominently. Rocket ron’s, racing ralphs or race kings. All of them are mighty fast and mighty light. I will have the standard wheelset mounted with commuting tyres or maybe heavier training tyres as i will be commuting on the ht as well. My commutes are ultra short so a mtb should be fine. Surly’s gone to Timmy who now finally has a roadie bike to join us on our rides.

Weight of it all is stupendously light. Reckon i will be trying to add weight if anything.

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