Monday, December 31, 2012


As it is the last day of the year and it was pointed out to me that I haven't posted for months, I thought I should try and squeeze one last sagely script in.
This year has taught me that seldom do things go as planned. I struggled with depression again having thought I'd beaten it, I changed jobs, I all but stopped riding. None of these things was in my plan for 2012. So just like so many times before it's been a case of adapt and overcome.
The change in jobs has been refreshing if not a little scary at times. The project has been very rewarding and as it comes to a close there is a certain pride in what I have managed to achieve. Of course there have been many people involved but I can only comment on my part and my performance. With that I am very happy.
The depression thing is just a pain in the arse! It comes from nowhere and messes up an otherwise perfectly acceptable week. The coping strategies and management strategies work great though and with a little slap around the back of the head I can sort myself out and get back on an even keel. I have said it before and will say it again, I can not ever find words to thank my family and friends for being my "Jiminy Crickets" and telling me when I plunge down the slippery slope. Sometimes you just can't see the woods for the trees.
Riding. Ah my parachute, my reset button, my safety net. How is it I can walk away so easily from you? There is always a reason to not ride. Too busy, too tired, too hard. Too bad I can't turn it around to always finding that reason to ride. Slowly but surely though I am getting back into riding with a few short rides and plans to do some longer ones over the next week before I get back to work. I even grovelled up Camp Mountain yesterday and plan on pushing it up Nebo on the roadie for New Years day!
I hope to blog a lot more next year too. I hope to have something of note to post about and of a positive nature in then ear future. I am focused on a 24 hour race in March currently and although the preparation has started late and won't be particularly thorough I still love the lessons I learn every time I race and particularly in a 24. I also love the camaraderie on course and the fact that some of my crazy mates are willing to come out for a weekend and hand bottles and food to me. Crazy.
So that's it. 2012 goes out and 2013 comes in. I'm looking forward to it. New challenges, new possibilities. I hope you all stay safe and happy and look forward to sharing my upcoming adventures with you all.

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Epic way to spend a day.

Well that was interesting! I did my first Epic ever and now I know why it's called that. This race truly has an epic amount of single track and really does have some testing and mildly heartbreaking sections.
As far as my race report goes it was relatively dull. There was a seriously competitive field with lots of fast guys who actually train and prepare for events like this. My hope is that next year for this event I might be one of them. My goals were modest with a view to finish and if possible knock it over in less than 6 hours. I managed to achieve both with a provisional time of about 5 hours 50 minutes. I had a couple of little problems with a few cramps in the calves at about 70km and some stomach cramps around the 79km mark. Those were the worst because I was so close to finishing and it really took some effort to get up off the ground and pedal again. Otherwise I just ground it out. Every time I turned the pedals, I got closer to finishing.
There were a couple of high points along the way. I climbed razorback without getting off. There was a line of riders getting off or in various states of falling off as I hit the bottom of the climb. It was pretty loose and very steep but I toughed it out and made the crest with a heart rate similar to a race horse on meth. Red line much? I also had a strong pull at the front of a group of rather unhelpful riders along a tarmac section leading into Mulgowie. Thanks to the guys who did help out. I enjoyed the paceline heaps! Of course there was the social aspect too. Nick was very kind and offered to drive out and back and we had a great chat. I rode along for a while with Paul Burrows too until he left me on one of the longer climbs that I struggled up only by pedalling with my eyelids. Yep, that bad.
Strangely I am not in the least disappointed with my result. Results come from hard work and preparation and I have been sadly lacking in both for some time now. I've got the urge back to race now though and that was what pushed me on over the line yesterday and will keep me fired up to train and try and achieve some more note worthy results over the next year or so. I promised I would try my guts out and if the cramps weren't proof of that I don't know what is. Don't be expecting to see me on top of any podiums but hey, let's see what happens.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Boomerang.

Yep that's me. I went out into the blue, spinning furiously, and just when it looks like there is no chance I will ever return....... I curved, lurched upwards one last time and came rushing back. It was a hell of a flight and at times I had no control over it. Scary but a little liberating at the same time.
So what does all that lyrical clap trap mean? It has been a long, long time since I have shared anything here and an even longer time since I actually wanted to share something here. It was a chore. It was laboured. Why now? Well things have, as they invariably do, changed. A lot.
I left my job of five years. I went to a risky, casual employment scenario. It meant I left the stress, the uncertainty and the anguish behind too. So far it has invigorated me and made me feel motivated and valued. As for the financial part? That's working out OK. The weight has lifted off my shoulders and my vest is back. I want to go ride a bike.
My plans are grandiose as always when it comes to riding and competing. Next year there are some serious IOU's in terms of pain and suffering to be cashed in and a whole bunch of proving that I am willing to fail in the pursuit of success. I have sat on my arse this year and made excuses for not racing. I love racing. I love competing. Stay tuned for the gory details of my successes and failures. It will be fun to watch.
This weekend I will race the Flight Centre Epic. Eighty seven kilometres of trying my guts out. There won't be any miraculous good result here. There's no training behind me to see that happen but there is a desire to go out and empty the tank. I'll give it everything and feel shattered come the end. I'll finish, and that will do for this year.
How far can I go in one year? Stick around and find out.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Over the Easter long weekend the Menzies clan was lucky enough to be treated to a trip to Goomburra in the Main Range National Park. If at points this post sounds like a tourism commercial it is only because the place was that good. It's a beautiful place, the company was awesome and the weather perfect.
I spent most of the week before we left getting camping gear ready and stocking up on things that had not been replaced since our last trip. I put two extra bike mounts on the car roof so that the boys could have bikes with them. It really is the only downside of the family getting into biking. Everyone wants to have a bike with them camping! I packed the car on Friday so that we could leave nice and early Saturday morning for 3 days in a little piece of heaven. The load in the car was a marvel of modern logistics but at least all my hard work paid off with just enough room to fit everything with no need for a trailer. Well almost. I left the cutlery and plates behind......
I mentioned the awesome company. The trip had to Goomburra had been suggested by Nick after a conversation a few weeks before. I was really keen to get out of town for a few days and do some camping on my break. Nick offered up Goomburra and that was that. The Mills family, Nick, Annick and Emily were joined by Emily's friend Misty for the weekend. They had arrived on Friday and saved a spot for us right next door. There was plenty of space though around the site. I was quite amazed that for a long weekend there were so many spots still available. On the drive in though I was concerned we would be camped on top of each other as the couple of private camping areas were packed. No need for concern.
Rohan found a comfy spot.

Saturday afternoon brought the first adventure if the trip. Alison, Jack, Nick and Annick went of for a walk on the Cascades Circuit. All up it is a 6km round trip taking in a number of little creek crossings over Dalrymple Creek and up to a waterfall. Jack set off as the trail blazer and even decided to race Nick up a couple of the hills. He also learnt a hard lesson about the Gympie Stinging Tree. There were a few tears but he bravely marched on after the shock had passed. I think the walk and the adventure overcame the pain pretty quickly and he was off again. 
Jack was rapt to find the Bearded Dragon
The intrepid adventurers

The Cascades

Alison in Dalrymple Creek.

Everyone returned from the walk a little tired but well happy with the views along the way. Annick even backed it up with a night walk with the kids later that evening. We saw a couple of frogs and even the worlds sleepiest python. It was back to the camp for a few toasted marshmallows and cups of tea. Perfect end to a day.
Sunday was the day set down for a ride. Nick and I planned to head up to the top of Mount Castle and then on to The Winder. All up the trip is only 27km but there is over 1000m of climbing in a pretty short time. In fact most of the climb is in the first 8km. The ride through the rainforest to the clearing was beautiful. The canopy came over us letting dappled light filter in. The air was cool and damp until you passed into the sunshine where the day was warming up. 

The Winder was used to raise logs up one side of the mountain and lower them over the other side to be taken to the mills for processing. Logging stopped in the area in about 1968 but the machinery remains as a reminder of how much trouble people went to in order to satisfy the relentless need for timber during the 40's and 50's.

Crank it up!

The Giant 29er is still the business.

Nick. He took it easy on me this time.
Sylvesters Lookout. A little break on the way back.
The ride out to The Winder was fun and pretty easy. Coming back seemed a whole lot harder. The grass and soft surface made the climbs just a bit more challenging. The reward was certainly in bombing down the descent back to camp though. We passed a couple of four wheel drives to very perplexed looks. 
Parting shot.

There was no rush come Monday morning to pack up. A very leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs and coffee furnished by Nick made a great start to the day. Slowly but surely the camp came down and was packed in the truck. We were loaded and ready to go after a brilliant weekend. Gotta do that more.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Journey to "The Darkside".

Nope, not the Force and no Darth Vader is not my father. It's a review about riding the Giant TCR Advanced 0 road bike. I was fortunate enough to be handed a big cardboard box with the shiny new bike in it a little over a month ago. I was excited to be able to finally be on a Giant road bike and even more so one with the new Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset. Setting up the bike was a snap. I watched a youtube video, read through the brief instructions and had the whole thing up and going in about 40 minutes. The automatic indexing of the Di2 made the job so simple even I could do it.
Anyway, I get the thing out on the road and take it for a spin. The first thing I noticed was how well it shifts under load. My chosen loop for the day was Winn Road and it has a couple of pinchy little climbs after long descents. You hit the paddle and it just does what it's supposed to. You can be cranking it up a hill and need to drop a gear or two and away you go. Punch it, bang, there's the gear. Very snappy.
Any comment I make about geometry probably won't mean that much. I am not an experienced road racer and really only a masher at best. The bike feels very comfortable on the 70km rides I have done so far and I really like the way it climbs. The acceleration when you stomp the pedals seems good with the power core bottom bracket nice and stiff and the massive down tube allowing you to grab the bars hard and give them a good wrench for leverage.
In an interesting move Giant is using an in house wheel system and tyres. Again any comment I could make on this is probably not really all that informed except that the wheels feel stiff and responsive and the tyres roll quite nicely. My only negative comment in fact is levelled at the tyres. We have had a lot of rain here lately and they are  quite slippery with moisture on the road. The wheels are branded all over with Giant but the literature that is cable tied to the the skewers is DT Swiss. Read into that what you like.
All in all the bike is a really tidy looking unit with the internal cable routing and the reduced amount of control cables from the cockpit. The battery for the Di2 sits under the non drive side chainstay and there is even the neat "Ride Sense" unit built into the chainstay too. Ride Sense is an ANT+ sensor unit that talks to any device that is enable with the technology. In my case it is my Garmin 705 and it sends cadence and speed data to the GPS unit. Very neat.
I have to give a big shout out to Matt and Brent from Giant for hooking me up with the Advanced 0. I'm a very lucky chap. I can't say my foray into the darkside is complete because I still love my mountain bike. Riding around on the TCR Advanced 0 has certainly made the choice of what bike I will ride as a matter of choice much more difficult now though.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Insert cricket noises here.....

Yep, it's been pretty quiet around the old bloggosphere. It might lead you to think I haven't had much going on but the truth is the exact opposite.
January is a month of birthdays for our family. My son Jack turned 9 and received his first full sized 26 inch mountain bike. I think I was more excited than he was. It took nearly a fortnight for him to want to get out and ride the bike though. Finally we took off for a run along the rail trail near home. There is a walkway we normally use to get back to the bike path for the trip home but some construction work had it closed. It made this part of the journey pretty hazardous as it took us onto a busy road and Jack was less than keen. I offered the option of a bit of single track instead to get there. While Jack was a bit sceptical about the single track he was really not keen on the road. We did it. Before I knew it he was flying along down the trail and climbing like a champ! I reckon he needs a little more practice with the shifters and he will have it nailed.
A couple of red frogs later, away we went.
For the last couple of years January has also been crazy busy with work. We delivered a news set for a local TV bulletin in the last week of the month. It looked pretty cool and all went really smoothly. I know it isn't about bikes or family but it did keep me away from both. The video is a time lapse of the removal of the old set and install of the new one.
I got an early birthday present too. Matt and Brent from Giant handed me a spanking new TCR Advanced 0 road bike. Yep, a road bike. There will be a detailed review soon but suffice to say it is great to ride. It has the new Shimano Di2 electronic groupset and boy does it make changing gears easy. The weather here has been pretty wet and so I haven't put any really serious miles in on it yet but it's great to have a bike that fits with nice kit hanging from it. I look totally pro in the new Ronde kit too. Here's the goods....
And right now. Well I made a promise to myself that every day this month I would ride. So far so good. I also have stopped drinking alcohol completely for an extended period. Feels pretty darn good so far. I am really looking forward to the end of the month to plug all the numbers in to the Garmin Connect and see how my totals come up. I know it won't be huge but after the amount of time I have spent doing everything but ride it should still bring a smile.
Anyway, stay tuned for the review on the roadie and as the race season heats up for more of my ramblings about riding bikes. I reckon this year will have a bunch more stories about riding with the kids given the look on Jacks face after the his first ride on the big bike. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

There are probably a lot of words I could say to sum up 2011. In the end if you watch the images, you'll get the point. We made it, we survived and hopefully in 2012 we will thrive.


2011 is gone..... from Graham Menzies on Vimeo.