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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oppy 2016

Graham and bits of Steve Nurse, heading into Cressy

Mick and Graham

With a group of seasoned Audax riders in our sights.  We passed this mob soon after.  Seeing other Audax riders out on the road was one of the highlights.

Team Laid back at the end, St. Mary's cricket club Geelong.  Mick, Graham, Steve

Ride Producer Simon Watt (left) with Dave Ellis and Simon's 1980's Dutch clunker.

This post is written a week after the 2016 Oppy and my legs have almost recovered.  

I used the Oppy as a riding weekend away.  I wanted to go into Uni on Friday morning but had the afternoon off, so headed off all packed for the weekend on the trike on Friday morning.  It was wet and by the time I got to Uni, I was wet too!  One nasty feature of this wetness was having soapy water with shampoo in it run into my eyes, not very nice I discovered.  After Uni in the morning I caught the train in to the city and then on to South Geelong.  There are new suburbs and station sprouting all over the vast plain to the West of Melbourne, and many of the roads that service the area are already choking at peak hour.

In the afternoon I visited my friend Damian, then pootled down to the caravan park cabin where I’d spend the next two nights.  Soon my ride partners Mick and Graham turned up.  Mick had grown up in Geelong and he drove us up to his Mum Joan’s house in Belmont for an enjoyable fish’n’chip carbohydrate loaded dinner.  This bought back memories,  (as did several other places on our ride) a Uni friend and I had rented a house in Belmont 35 years ago and worked at the now-closing Alcoa aluminium refinery.  Mick took us back to the cabin after dinner for a quiet night and a good sleep.

Up next morning early for an 8 o’clock start.  We headed long a riverside bike track with hundreds of runners on it for the first few k, then popped out onto a highway heading toward Rokewood.  There was only one decent hill on the way and we had reasonable winds so made good progress.  “Par” for this sort of riding on recumbents seems to be speeds of 28kph on good road with an  overall average of 20kph.  This gives you 6 hours sleep at night if you plan to do the 360k, 24 hour Oppy.

On the stretch between Rokewood and Camperdown, we slipped well behind par and battled headwinds for 80k, reaching Camperdown for a break at about 4pm.  My strength was flagging a bit by this stage but Mick and Graham and were riding pretty strong.  The going was a bit better from  Camperdown on, and there was great scenery riding into Colac.  Mick’s GPS got slightly confused by new roads at one stage, but in general Mick used it with great aplomb to navigate us safely through the course.  Thanks Mick! 
It was dark as we shipped out of Colac towards Beeac.  In Beeac we stopped and chatted and joked with a large party of Audax riders and their support crew.  How the other half live, they had snacks and cups of tea and coffee all made for them.   We plodded on and rested just out of Winchelsea, finally reaching Belmont at 2:20 in the morning.  This is not horrendous for an Oppy, the last one I went on we finished at 4 am.

The Oppy rules say you have to do 25k in the last 2 hours, so it was up early again the next day to polish things off.  We took a short ride down the Bellarine and the route took us on a pleasant detour through the Botanical Gardens to commune with bemused-by-recumbents early morning joggers, walkers and dog leaders.  I was in mild panic over whether we’d make the final checkpoint in time (24 hours riding for nothing, aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhh) but the botanic gardens were in fact not far from the finish and we got there “comfortably”, 2 or 3 minutes spare.

The finish was at the crowded St. Mary’s cricket club rooms where a breakfast for champions of baked beans, toast, eggs, muesli and juice was available.  Awards of various types were handed out and we caught up with our rider organiser Simon Watt who put the appropriate elephant stamps on our brevet cards. 

After packing up the cabin, Graham gave me a lift back to Melbourne.  Sitting in the warm car gave me a chance to doze off.  I was dropped about 10k from home and slowly rode back along the bike paths.  A bit more sleeping when I got home.

Thanks to Mick and Simon for the organisation and Graham and Mick for the assistance while riding.  The new jalopy made it, the old body made it, strange but true.  For now I am (a bit) over Audax but we’ll see.  I may still take on some more long rides.


Steve Nurse

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Oppy Trial Run

Mick and Graham in Frankston

Last Minute Tweaking, helmet light, Busch and Muller dynamo and a Tupperware container bolted to the frame.  The bolt holding the container was there anyway, part of the mechanism holding the aluminium frame halves together. 

I organised a ride a week out from the Oppy and team Laid-Back met for the first time.  Me, Graham and Mick met at St Kilda and rode the 35 or so km to Frankston.  Mick is a very experienced Audax rider having finished PBP and the Sydney to Melbourne 1200.

This was good as a first hit out, with a much bigger ride coming up.


Steve Nurse

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Robbie at Hawthorn Biketrack

Robbie @ Hawthorn bike track....
the trike always attracts attention.


After about a year of supervising my master's degree trike design work, my friend Robbie Napper came down to the Hawthorn bike track to actually try one out.  He got the hang of it fairly quickly on the grass, and after some fairly gung-ho riders had vacated the track proper did a few successful laps.

This was nominally a "supervision meeting", but who was supervising whom?  Anyway, I will let Robbie know about this post and maybe he can write some guest blogger material.

It was actually very lucky that these photos made it to the blogoshere or cyberspace or wherever we are.  I took the photos on Monday afternoon and accidentally left the camera at the bike track.  I missed it the next day and by Friday morning when I returned to Uni hadn't found it, so swung by the bike track, and lo, there was the camera under the tree where I'd left it 3 days earlier.  It had been rained and shined on but still worked fine.


Steve Nurse

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oppy Prelude

Trike as ridden in Great Ocean Road 200.

Bike Light Hacked.  There is a small bit of drilled plastic below the screw which reinforced the case....

so a screw could be added to attch it to the back of the trike.

There are some big rides coming up on the Audax calendar - The 1200k Great Southern Randonnee comes at the end of the but for this yaer at least I will confine myself to a couple of shorter (but not short) rides.  An email from Simon Watt led to me joining an "Oppy" recumbent team which aims to travel  360k in 24 hours in a loop out of Geelong.  I'll be riding with Mick Creati and Graham Signiorini.

This sort of distance can't be covered without a well-fettled vehicle and training.  A week ago the trike didn't have lights, a lid for the boot, wide ranging gears or any padding on the seat and it now has  all of those things including an extra 202 km travelled courtesy of Peter Donnan's Audax midweek great ocean road ride.

Before I'd even started fettling, the trike had achieved "The holy grail of recumbent cycling", that is, going to the grog shop and returning with a slab of beer and some wine in the back.

I didn't have my camera with me on the 200k ride so a description will have to do, and in this case the ride is not the main event, so lets just get on with it.  We set out of Anglesea about 8am into drizzling rain which persisted all day - it was all absolutely welcome as the countryside looked dry as a dead dingo's donger with some cattle craning necks over fences in the paddocks to reach the grass on the roadside verges.

The first bit of the ride was all hills and everyone else on the ride was ahead of me pretty soon but I managed to catch up with one rider for a short while.  The chain got clogged up in the chainring a few times and this is something I'll need to fix for future rides.  Other than that everything went fine.  I was a bit slow over the hills to Lorne (84k) and it was headwind into Apollo Bay from there, but with rolling surf on the left there was plenty to see.

A quick stop, refuel and change into dry clothes at Apollo Bay and then it was back along the coast to Anglesea.  This included going through the recently fire-ravaged town of Wye River, seeing the new growth starting to appear.  There were roadblocks for roadworks but that didn't worry me much, you just wait a bit and get to wave to the workers who are very friendly.  I was back at Anglesea in plenty of time for the Audax 200k time limit and chatted with Peter at the end of the ride over a cup of tea.  He's in an Oppy team too, so I'll see him in a week or two.

That's it for now.  More fettling is due.  For the Oppy I'll need lights that are reasonably bright and will last for six or seven hours so that is one of the next things to fix.

All for now!


Steve Nurse

During Construction.  An existing plywood seat was extended with a curved ply base and a side-frame to support the coreflute.
Once finished, this made for a very stable, beer and wine-carrying tailbox.