Take a bow Alberto, you just won the Ronde

Dear Rouleurs,

This week MMT is very,very sleep deprived. A good portion of that sleep debt accrued last Sunday night. SBS, broadcast live, the last 170km of the Ronde van Vlaanderen 2019. MMT made to the 43 km mark before his need for sleep became greater than his need to see who won.

MMT had a quick scan of Eurosports on Monday morning to discover that, a 25 year old Italian Alberto Bettiol from Education First had won. Bettiol executed a perfectly timed attack with 17 km to go, on the Oude Kwaremont and then held off, a bunch containing most of the pre-race favourites.

Bettiol completed the brutual 270km course in Six hours 18 minutes and 49 seconds after setting off from Antwerp. Bettiol dropped down into time trial mode to the finish alone as his rivals hesitated and attacked each other rather chasing him down.

Bettiol claimed his first ever UCI win, whilst the likes of Sagan, Valvarde, Naesen, Pollit, Kristoff, Benoot and a very frustrated Van Avermaet could not work together. Silly boys…..

There were 3 other really notable rides in the race, beside Bettiol. MMT raises his cap and offers a respectful ‘chapeau!’ to:

Dane Kasper Asgreen of Deceuninck-QuickStep, who spent most of the day in the breakaway and still managed a late a late chase to finish 14 seconds down on Bettiol, as a worthy second place. Pity he didn’t receive earlier support form his team. He clearly had the best legs of the star-studded Belgian team.

Mathieu van der Poel of the small Dutch team, Corendon-Circus, who crashed at speed after hitting some street furniture. The Dutchman rode like a demon to catch and pass the peloton and then contest the finish to nab fourth. The irony being that he can’t compete in this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.

Australia’s own Michael Matthews of Team Sun Web, who finished 6th. Matthews was dropped on the final bergs and had to fight his way back to contest the bunch spirit. This follows on from his 12th in Milano-San Remo. Matthews is developing into a very capable classics rider.

So speaking of the Ronde, MMT is reading an excellent book on the race by Edward Pickering and had intended to finish it before the race started.

https://www.amazon.com/Ronde-Inside-Worlds-Toughest-Bike-ebook/dp/B072N15JFW

There’s one paragraph that MMT, just had to ‘liberate’ and include in this blog, which describes how fluid bike races can be:

This is the story of a bike race. Bike races are simple. Mostly, riders start in one place, finish in another and the first to cross the line wins. Bike races are also complex: tree diagrams of events leading to outcomes leading to more outcomes and so on. They are possibly the best example of chaos theory in sport. Compare the constrictive dimensions of a football field and the prescriptive tactical shape of the teams with the infinite possibilities of 200 riders on a road, out in the real world of weather, landscape and human culture.

Alas the other major factor in his sleep debt, his 3 year old daughter, the ginger ninja, is causing MMT to fall asleep after 3 pages of reading. After reading about some of these famous bergs, MMT is determined to visit Belgium and try riding up some of less ridiculously steep one.

Speaking of ridiculously difficult rides, MMT will add to his sleep debt this weekend with the SBS coverage of the Paris-Roubiax. MMT can’t wait for that race hopefully it will be just as exciting as the Ronde.

Until next time, ride safe,

MMT

Anonymous steel frame single speed in Docklands

Dear Rouleurs,

When MMT isn’t living life on 2 wheels, he’s pretty keen on checking out what other cyclists are riding around on.  The other day, MMT was in Docklands waiting for his wife/doing evening childcare collection. MMT noticed a very unusual single speed locked up against a parking sign.  On first glance it looks like a ‘bog-standard’ polished steel frame beast, the kind ridden by someone who has beard and like craft beer. Looking at you Gen-Y hipster dude.

Closer inspection, made MMT wonder whether this was rare beast, a vintage hand-built racing frame.  MMT couldn’t see any discernible maker’s marks or logos.  Whilst the bike had modern Shimano brakes and rims, the frame had some peculiar features. 

The most immediate striking feature being the one-piece curved seat stays, that became top tubes that connected all the way to the head tube. The two top tubes where connected by a number of braces. 

The rear brake cable was threaded through the braces to the rear brake caliper.

What’s noticeable is the quality of welding on the frame joints, bottom bracket and on the lugs. MMT just wishes the owner would take better care of this beast and polish off the superficial rust on the welding. There’s no excuse, dude!!!

The primary reason that MMT thinks that this is vintage frame, is the very old school, short, stem that has a bolt to secure the steam to the head set. 

So the question is:  Is this recently restored vintage bike or a hand built project with seriously old components?

Until next time, ride safe

MMT

Cermanic Speed is the future of road bike drive trains….WTF??

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT is still grappling with time poverty and sleep deprivation. With Bubba Mark 2, only 3 months away, MMT is beginning to think this will be a tough year. As harbinger of things to come, MMT watched Richmond’s AFL premiership hopes for 2019 nose dive last week. Alex Rance hobbled off the MCG with a season ending ACL injury. So AFL may not be a source of solace for the coming winter either. MMT digresses.

When MMT feels this out of sorts, thinking about buying a new bike always cheers MMT up. In the deep contemplation of road vs commuter vs gravel bikes as alternate replacements for MMT’s Venerable Wilier Laverdo, He re-discovered last years announcement from Ceramic Speed, a Danish bike components company.

Sometime in September 2017, ceramic Speed released a prototype road bike that contained a radical new drive train. This drive train based on a drive shaft rather than a chain meant that its power efficiency could reach 99%. That’s damn impressive and could give a rider a very significant speed advantage over his chain equipped competitors.  According to Ceramic Speed, a standard chain based drive train, like Shimano Durace has a maximum efficiency of 97%.

All of this is achieved by a pinion style drive shaft system. A total of 21 bearings play a crucial role in the functionality and efficiency of Driven. The bearings transfer torque from the front ring through the drive shaft, then onto the 13-speed rear cog.

Engineering aside, it looks amazing, like something out of a science fiction movie. MMT …sooooo… wants a bike that has this. No doubt this will cost big bucks when its eventually productionised and available to mug punters like MMT.

MMT could imagine Dave Brailsford, Manager of the team formerly known as Sky, signing up for this. One wonders how Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM will respond to this incredible looking piece of engineering. All of this speculation cheered up MMT no end.

Until Next time, Ride safe

MARV

Agile work practices are killing my blog…sob

<whinge mode>

Dear Rouleurs,

It’s been a while, since my last blog. Unfortunately the day to day drama of working in an agile workforce has become a sinkhole of wasted time. Oh well they pay me I turn up. C’est la vie…

Unfortunately, this has meant much less time to work on this blog. It’s also not helping that my adorable half pint daughter is not sleeping through the night…. Sigh. So this means much less available time and energy to do blogs and generally reflect on MMT’s experience of cycling. Happily, MMT’s weekly kilometres ridden has stayed fairly consistent since Christmas.

With the exception of a couple of minor colds and a deeply peculiar skin virus, MMT’s health has been very good. A quick glance at MMT’s Strava account reveals a steady average of 170 Kilometres a week. Hooray, MMT supposes, that for a near 50 year old man this should be cause for celebration.

</Whinge Mode>

Anyhow, enough wingeing and onto the subject of this blog. MMT spied this awesome piece of…. Street art or philosophy on the Gill’s Diner sign last week and thought it was worth putting pen to paper to publicize it.

MMT doesn’t know who chalked this memorable quote but they clearly have a strong grasp of theology. Hopefully MMT will be feeling more chipper and write a less self indulgent blog next time.

Until next time ride safe

MARV