In Pursuit of Italy - Prepping the bikes for a 24hr SOLO MTB race



Many dont understand what makes an athlete be an “exceptional athlete.”

It is not just about results...

...or a body that functions above standard for the sports requirements...

...or about the equipment that the athlete uses...

...or about the nurturing of the body with the right fuel, recovery, massage etc...

...or about the desire to win or do your best...

...or about how much you are willing to put on the line to make it happen...

...or about mental toughness.

An exceptional athlete is...

THE ONE that makes things happen...

THE ONE that people look to for inspiration...

THE ONE that is willing to bear all suffering to show the world it can be done...

THE ONE that seems to make anything possible...

THE ONE that will accept responsibility for this job in the good times and the bad...

With great success comes great responsibility. The higher you go, the greater your fall.

That EXCEPTIONAL Athlete knows this and is willing to risk it all...for the love of it...for the love of life.

This athlete no matter how gifted cant do it without support, often family or an amazing coach or just a mix of good people who believe in them.

So I guess its no accident that my ongoing relationship with Giant bikes Australia just keeps growing.

If you were to ride your bike for a job, wear your heart on your sleeve, you would want someone to back you like your family would, like your mum would.

Its about life.

Ride Life. Ride Giant.

If you are already a cyclist you can probably already think of a million metaphors & quotes to do with cycling and life.

My fave from Albert Einstein is, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Back in 2010 when I won the World Solo 24hr MTB championships in Canberra, I did lose my balance for a bit.
I did however keep riding my bike, but my goals and focus became hazy, I did know I had to keep moving literally forward, keep the wheels turning.
I had a lot of good things to do for the world of cycling, for women on bikes, for the great good of cycling.

Its not until more than 18 months later, today, that I write this as I am in my final 4 weeks preparation for the return of Jess Douglas, 24hr SOLO mountain biker, that I have found my bike is back in balance.

I am off to Italy to race a 24hr – solo. This is another world championship that has always been touted as one, as is the 24hr hrs of Adrenaline that was held in Canberra in 2010.

Here I am now, keen to make amends with my past and move forward with my future.

I am going to share with you over the next few weeks some insights, some pics, some daily “words of wisdom ;) “ and just keeping you up to date with the whole Giant & Liv/giant community.

So my first share with you today is my race bikes.

You want to know the secret to bomb proof 24hr SOLO race bikes?

The BIKES I ride:

Since winning the Scott 24hr SOLO in 2008 on a Giant Anthem, I have not ridden anything else to succeed at these tough events.

From a non technical view point, the Anthem is plush enough to give your body some comfort for 24hrs of racing yet racey enough to hit it hard on a fire road, punch up a climb and flick it around a corner or three if you still have the energy!

My Anthem's and I have since been to the following 24hr races:

2008 Scott 24hr – Canberra

2009 Australian 24hr SOLO championships – Canberra

2009 World Solo 24hr Championships – Canmore, Canada

2009 Scott 24hr – Canberra

2009 Kona 24hr – Forrest

2010 Australian 24hr SOLO Championships – Canberra

2010 Merida 24hr – Old Hidden Vale, Qld

2010 World Solo 24hr Championships – Canberra

2011 Australian 24hr SOLO Championships – Canberra

...and now we travel to Finale Ligure in Italy for May 2012 to race another World Championship

My current bikes are:

2012 Anthem Advanced SL 0

2011 Anthem Advanced SL 0

They both run 2012 Shimano XTR 'race' group set and wheel sets & pedals.

They both run FOX front forks and rear shocks. The 2012 model has kashima coating.

Jet Black lock on foam grips.

Selle Italia “lady” saddles.

Schwalbe 2.1 UST Rocket Rons tyres with Stans No Tubes sealant.

The bars and seat posts are the Giant range, and are carbon. I run my bars at 635mm wide.

How much do the bikes weigh you ask? About 10.25kg as you see them in the pics, thats everything except my Garmin, my bottle and spare tube etc...

When doing a 24hr we (being Norm and I) have always chosen reliability over weight saving.

I can honestly say that everything on my list is used because it works and I like using it.

Not only that but its reliable! I have not only used this equipment in 24 hr racing but also in multi day “hard core” stage races such as Croc Trophy, Wildside, Bike Buller, Alice Springs enduro & Terra Australis as well as a multitude of 6hr enduros, 100 k'ers etc...

What do I wear?

Liv / giant cycling kit – Giant issue. Love the black and purple!

Shimano M310 MTB shoes – the most comfiest shoes I have ever owned 3 years running.

SixSixOne XC race gloves. The less padding the better, firm fitting “like a glove” gloves.

Oakley Radars. Simple effective timeless and so easy to look after and replace lenses etc...

Giro Helmet. Light weight, easy to adjust and make fit to your head & have saved me at least once a year. Thanks Giant & Giro for these exxy replacements, I guess you cant really replace a head though.

Giant Issue black socks. I do not wear white socks thank you very much.

Thankfully for me, Norm loves looking after bikes.

He washes them, services them, replaces bits, fixes bits, puts up with my anal, “I think the seat could go up 1mm” requests and sooooo much more. Everyone needs a Norm, I can highly recommend one.

Thank you to my sponsorship fan club contributors:

  • Giant Bikes Australia for sorting me out on all my bikes every year for every occasion

  • Shimano Australia & Japan for the XTR race gear, wheels, shoes and bits and pieces.

  • Jet Black Products (indoor trainers, grips, gloves, stans, lights – pics to come of these...etc)

  • Fox Australia for the forks and shocks & Tekin Suspension for the servicing

  • Bike Box for the Schwalbe tyres on ALL my bikes

  • Bicycles Inc. in South Yarra. The problem solver, lets call Jano my Bicycle father.

  • Thanks to Oakley & Giro for sunnies and helmets

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