Author Archives: Marv

About Marv

I'm an avid amateur cyclist who regularly commutes to work, rides for exercise and completes the occasional long distance event. I have 3 bikes. My first ever mountain bike a 1996 Giant Sedona, which I use for for commuting, a 7 year old Canondale F3 with headshock and a 3 year old Wilier Lavaredo.

Ode to the Strade Bianche not being streamed by SBS…grumble

Dear Rouleurs,

As a cycling tragic, its MMT’s favourite time of year, the brief lull in UCI calendar before all the spring time Monuments and one classics start.  MMT figures that these races are most like the sportive and charity rides he does, so there’s a bit to simpatico.  Also the riders tend to win these races are of the bigger variety, as opposed to the 50-55Kg jockeys that tend to dominate the mountain and general classifications.MMT is particularly enarmoured with the  Strade Bianche due to start on the 3rd March 2018.  Unfortunately SBS aren’t covering this modern day gem (…or for that matter the Giro..WTF!!!)

The Eroica Strade Bianche (“Heroic race of the gravel roads”) was created in 1997 as a granfondo, a recreational bike race for vintage bikes only, on the white gravel roads around Siena, an event that is still held annually the day after the professional race. In 2007, a professional race was spun off the event, inaugurally called Monte Paschi Eroica, won by Russian Alexandr Kolobnev. The race was held on 9 October; it started in Gaiole in Chianti and finished in Siena. Organizer RCS asked local cycling icons Fiorenzo Magni and Paolo Bettini to promote the maiden event.[8] Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest still-existing bank with its headquarters in Siena, served as the race’s title sponsor for the first four years. In 2008, the race was moved to early March on the calendar, closer to the heart of the spring classics season. At this point, professional cycling teams started competing more seriously.

There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course). For the men that’s approximately 1/3 of the course.

Strade Bianche course for 2018

There are some nasty, nasty hills in this race ranging from 6% to 18%. But what makes it really special is the final 4 kilometres approaching the city centre of Siena.

Up, down, up down…looks like hard work.

Here’s a description pilfered from event’s web site.

“The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%. 900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.”

So this what the final 4km route through Siena, ending at Piazza del Campo.

WTF, that’s a really nasty finish.

Man that’s seriously leg burning and after 180km or so…ouch The other thing about the race, is that professional’s seem to take it very seriously.

  • The Palmares of the last ten years include:
  • Fabian Cancellara (3 wins),
  • Michał Kwiatkowski (2 wins), and
  • Philippe Gilbert, Zdeněk Štybar (1 win each)

and then a raft of minor placings to stars of the sport like:

  • Peter Sagan,
  • Greg Van Avermaet, and
  • Alejandro Valverde.

Australia’s own Michael Rogers finished 3rd in 2010 and is to this day the only Australian to make the podium. Luke Durbridge of Orica Greenedge/Scott/Bike Exchange/Mitchelton, finished 6th last year (2017). Cancellara has the most difficult section of strade named after him, following his third win in 2016. The 11.4km, 5 star section is 54km from the finish line and was previously known as ‘Monte Sante Marie Settore’

So speaking of the great man and Siena here’s a few pilfered happy snaps.

Whoa…how beautiful is this piazza?

The piazza from above. Spectacular!!!

Proof that the organisers named a strade section after Cancellara.

Cancellara winning the Strade Bianche for the first time.

OK that’s enough skiving off at work. Hopefully I can shake off this damn throat virus and go for a ride tomorrow morning. The weather outside looks awesome.

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Death of an OBike…Apologies to Arthur Miller

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT has devoted a number of blogs to sad fate of dockless hire bikes here in Melbourne.  MMT is still seeing greatly abused bikes either mangled or with various pieces missing.   Although there have been some pretty creative uses of OBikes most notably:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-24/obike-rainbow-sculpture-to-be-removed-from-melbourne-street/9080394

and, this homage to ET

The vast majority of locals aren’t too impressed by them.  In last Thursday’s age MMT reckons Peter Wells absolutely nailed the average Melburnian’s…hmm… ambivalence to the OBike Scheme.

MMT wonders how long these will continue to be allowed on the streets of Melbourne.  In some ways its a bit sad, that OBike can’t figure out how position these bikes in better locations and that Melburnians can’t show the bikes a little more respect.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

Marv’s bike log…January 2018…where did 2017 go??

Dear Rouleurs,

As MMT’s age creeps towards the big….5…0….  sigh, he’s noticed that days just keeping slipping by at an increasing rate…boo.  There is so much to do and so many places to ride.  However, summer 2018 style has been a particularly pleasant and January was an excellent month for cycling, with lots of sun, some rain and strangely, quite a bit of humidity. The humidity came care of some heat trough that lodged itself over SE-Australia for a few weeks.  Some mornings, MMT could close his eyes and feel the warm warm moist air and think that he was in Thailand.  Ah…that’s proof that MMT is in desperate need of a holiday 😉

January was significant for a couple of other events.  First, MMT completed the ridiculous flaming, dog poo covered, jumping hoop, obstacle course that was re-applying to work with his current employer.  More on that in March, MMT hopes.  Second, MMT returned back to  the RCC crew and completed a number of speedy south side rides. Finally, MMT completed the 65km course of Cadel Evan’s Peoples Ride on a very muggy Saturday morning down in Geelong.  The last two points contributed to a bumper result for January.   Here’s my monthly graph for Janaury 2018.  Already, MMT is up on monthly target, achieving a very productive 800km even. That’s a pretty good start.

On the back of that work, MMT’s Strava graph is also very consistent.  As stated before the weather has been very good so, riding 21 out of possible 31 days, means really solid workouts on the bike.  This makes MMT very, very happy :-).  MMT’s ride log can be found here.

Before signing off, a digression about this log.  One of the things that MMT was ruminating over during the Christmas holidays was what kind of target, he should set for 2018.  Afterall, whilst MMT was YAFFed many times in 2017, he still managed nearly 8,000km.  Which is not bad for a 48 year old “Clydesdale” with a bad back, who is desperately trying to keep his weight down to something that starts with a ‘9’.  So what to do??  Well, part of the answer lies in doing a few Strava challenges to keep motivated and continuing to ride with RCC.  The final annual MMT decided on was 7500km, or approximately 145km a week.

Whole point of this effort, was three fold:

  1. Cycling is fun and MMT wants to get better at it.
  2. MMT would like to loose about 10 kg this year.
  3. MMT is aiming to complete an “l’eroica” style event in Italy or Spain, to celebrate his 50th Birthday.

So really, the 145Km target is meant to be way of getting to those goals, rather just counting kms. So there it is, why MMT keeps churning Kms and blogs.

Until next blog, ride safe.

Marv

A better use for triathelete time trial handlebars….

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve fallen out of love with Mr Zuckerberg’s social behemoth, Facebook.  It’s big brother use of my activity data just leaves me cold and wondering when Skynet will arrive.  Nevertheless, the occasional post from cycling magazines turns up a gem and this is one of them.  Can’t help but wonder if Aussie didn’t ‘invent’ this.

Not that I’ve advocating drink-riding or any other similar foolishness.

Until next time, ride safe and sober,

Marv