You can just about smell it – Sunday 12th March.
The guys I have been riding and training with over the last 4 months are pretty well set and have positioned themselves well to complete the course in a quicker time than previous years, although poor old JK, who broke his leg a few minutes before last years Peaks Falls Creek ride, ripped his hammy a few weeks back which has severely hampered his preparation.
Good luck to all who are heading over and doing the loop.
Me, I’ll just do some riding at my leisure on the Saturday and Sunday and support the lads with their preparation and drinking.
Oh, that little hill at the 170km mark is the 4km 5% grind out of Omeo. Don’t be afraid of it, just be aware it’s there – the first time i did this ride i had forgotten about this and was expecting a nice coast before wtf – no siree. Ah, and the road to Omeo gets a little knarly toward sthe end, no dramas, just be prepared.
Bike Review – Titanium Astir GT
I’ve been riding for over 10 years now, have had two alloy and 3 carbon bikes in my time, but I’ve been hankering for a titanium bike for quite some time. We’ve all seen them, the raw Ti bike finish just looks great, seeing the welds, the deep lustre of the metal finish, the clean lines, sweet.
So, given the chance to try out a locally made Titanium bike that I first saw at the Tour Village back in 2016 was a no brainer. James, the brain behind the Astir brand, is a mechanical engineer with a previous life working with Titanium, decided some time back to branch out into mixing his expertise working with Titanium and his engineering skills with his cycling passion to make titanium frames and build bikes.
He’s been plugging away for a while and slowly but surely building up the brand and expanding his range.
After first meeting James at the Village, I’ve been sporadically nagging away at him to let me give a Ti bike a try, and just after Christmas he relented, and lent me the try GT bike, a gravel tourer.
There appears to be a leaning back toward metal bikes, with newer Aluminium and Steel technologies combined with improved design and geometries matched with decent wheels, seat posts and forks improving the comfort over the older metal framed bikes. However there are still few Titanium bikes on the market, and those that you do are priced quite high, and for good reason, so it is a delight to see James persevere with his passion.
James kindly brought the bike up to Norton Summit and gave me a few hours to give it a go over some of the delightful gravel roads around Norton and Marble Hill.
The GT, with some good 40mm rubber on the front is designed to eat up bumps on the road, making for a relatively smooth ride and robust handling.
Weighing a bit less than 8kgs, its definitely no carbon bike, but the weight didn’t matter when riding up the loose gravel roads. Heck, when the rider I just a tad over 80kg, an extra ½ kilo or so on the frame is really going to matter much.
The stiff frame allowed efficient transfer of what power my chicken legs through to the rubber, and with the decent rubber, it was mostly transferred to the gravel base.
Without much effort, I put the bike through its paces on a wide variety of road, gravel, bitumen, Roubaix style pavers (yes, the exist, although not as bone shaking as the real thing, Old Cherryville Road, keep an eye out for it next time your riding around Marble Hill) and even a fire trails which disappeared over the edge of a ridge somewhere just east of Corkscrew. This titanium bike shined through on all road surfaces.
I didn’t tell James this, but heading down Narrow Ridge Road I was almost cleaned up by a commodore coming out of a driveway. That section of road was a short steep and descent with very loose gravel, which wasn’t too bad until this commodore came flying out of a driveway and came flying up the road. With the loose gravel on the crown of the road and deep gashes on thesides, I was unable to turn as such without the front wheel digging in, so it got a little scary, but the bike held it’s line and we both came out unscathed.
The bike felt significantly more rigid than my carbon bike, but it had that good solid feel without losing that feeling of responsiveness and comfort. The GT soaked up the holes and gravel just nicely thank you. It was a fun bike to ride. With some good road tyres thrown on I can see it being a good multi-purpose bike, taking me around whatever gravel I could throw at it as well being the touring bike for the longer sportive rides.
If you’re thinking about looking at a Ti bike, give James a call and give Astir a try.
The following taken from their website homepage gives you a bit more of feel for what Astir is about.
At ASTIR we make custom made bicycles to order. Our bikes have a blend of classic and contemporary design by using traditional lines with an “Astir” touch of finesse. ASTIR is a small boutique company and our designs concentrate exclusively on unique road bicycles that can be used in Cyclosportive events, as your local café racer a daily commuter or a fast Tourer. Our frames have been fine tuned for riders that are strong and like to ride on comfortable frames that have a clean look and that will last over the years. All the frames are custom made to fit we do not have off the shelf frames.
Our primary material is Titanium. We use Titanium 3AL/2.5V (known as Grade 9) straight gauge tubing and double butted to build our frames. This material has been used over the years with great success in the cycling industry. It is lightweight, strong, durable and gives a very good surface finish. Tubes are selected with an emphasis on giving a comfortable yet confident sporty ride. Model variations are the (Road) Classic, Sportive, Brevet, Titan, (touring and commuting) Touring and our eBikes. (designed and engineered in Adelaide South Australia). The models are a guide and can be changed to suite your requirements and riding style.
Rider of the Week – James Raison
- You have registered for the Indian Pacific, a ride starting in Fremantle and finishing at Bondi Beach. I’ve got to ask it – why?
- I understand yo have a pact with a fellow competitor, something about crossing the line hand in hand at the end – is this true, and how deep is the man love running between the 2 of you?
- How are you feeling with the race just just around the corner?
- Can you give an overview of the training you been doing of late?
- OK, enough abut the Indy Pac, lets learn a little about who James is. How long have you been cycling?
- What got you started?
- How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?
- What bike do you covet?
I’d say my Curve with a few mods to weenie it up. It’s currently in endurance spec and I can’t wait to shed some weight off it when I get back from Indy Pac. If money were no object I’d throw Dura Ace 9170 on, a Tune Schwarzes Stuck seatpost, and some Tune Airways wheels. Maybe get some ultralight tyres as well. Get that sucker as light as possible. That’s all the bike I’ll ever need.
- How do you store your bikes?
- Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?
- What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?
- What is your favourite piece of cycling kit or accessory?
- What do you love about cycling?
- Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?
- If you could have dinner with 3 people in the cycling world, who would they be and why?
- Where would you take them to eat?
- What are your craziest/fondest cycling memories?
- Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what was the consequence?
- What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy as a treat?
- Do you have a favourite overseas country in mind you’d love to take your bike to?
- What is your favourite local training route?
- What is the biggest cycling lie you have told a partner?
- What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?
- Is there a cycling outfit/company/cycling club/cycling group/person that you would like to plug?
- From a non-cycling perspective, what do you love about Adelaide?
- What is your go to place when interstaters come to Adelaide?
- Is there anything else you feel like talking about?
Cafe – Aristology
The Spring Classics and Monuments
What a great time of the year – the classics / monuments are back
1st up – Strade Bianchi
Arguably the best race of the year.
Olympic Champion and new 2017 Strade Bianchi champion, Greg Van Avermaet gets his first Monument.
Oh, and if your i any doubt about the Strade Biancha being one of the best spring classic rides on the calendar, have a look here. Some stunning photos from Gruber Images, partciularly with the behind the scenes access the photographer is goven.
A few of the photos from this site to whet your appetite.
And the Paris Nice – still a few more days to go, but a few snaps so far. Its looking bloody cold over there.
Wine and Ale Trail of the Week – Norwood
Located only minutes east of Adelaide’s CBD, in the heart of the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters are three boutique cellar doors and a micro-brewery. Four relaxed environments so close to home, the Eastside Wine & Ale Trail is designed to let you hear the history and stories behind the operators as you sip and sample your way along the Trail.
- Amadio Wines
- Tidswell Wines
- Signature Wines
- Little Bang Brewing Co.
Little Bang is a place that is only a few minutes ride away from where I live, but for one reason or another I haven’t been able to get to yet despite following their facebook site and watching the great Sunday afternoons they schedule in with all sorts of foodie heaven treats. Keep an eye out for them
Further detail on the Food and Wine Trail can be found here Eastside Wine and Ale Trail
A big weekend coming up, so enjoy