Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ready for the Tour Aotearoa

A week tomorrow I’m starting on the 3000 km self-supported ‘Tour Aotearoa’ which goes the length of NZ from Cape Reinga to Bluff. In spite of my crazy travel schedule I’ve managed to keep to a good training program and according to Xertonline I’m right where I need to be fitness wise which is great.  This is the best time—starting to taper. With a few rides this week, then driving north on Friday.


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Epic Ride Weather: The One App All Endurance Cyclists Need

When doing long distance endurance races the one question I wonder when tired is whether or not it is worth pushing on. Some years ago in the Tour Divide I passed a group of racers who were setting up camp as the sun was setting just east of Lima Reservoir. It was a perfect evening so I decided to ride a few more hours towards the Idaho border.  The next morning the weather changed and they had miserable headwinds and rain compared to my idyllic ride. This would have been avoided had ‘Epic Ride Weather’ been around at the time. I used it to plan my rests around wind when racing across Australia earlier in 2017, and will be using again in the Tour Aotearoa and the North Cape-Tarifa in 2018.

What makes it so useful? It loads your route where you are riding, you input your expected speed, and it then gives you the weather and wind forecasts over your ride.  In other words, you know exactly what to expect!

Here is how it works.


You first link the app to where you want get your routes from. Here I have connected it to Strava and Ride with GPS.

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It will then list the available routes. The above are the routes I have in Ride with GPS.


Here are my Strava rides. I’m going to do a ride up the Cobb Valley.


You indicate when you plan on starting (now in this example), and what you expect your average speed to be. It uses the average from Strada. The red slider bar allows you to shorten the route.


The app then gives you the expected temperature over your ride and the precipitation. It was very correct here—it rained after 11:00.


This is the expected wind map, showing both the intensity and direction. I can expect a 6 km/h tail wind on the way out; and up to 12 km/h on the way home.

You have to pay a modest amount for weather predictions—$8.99 for 20,000 ‘units’, but it is well worth the investment. Give it a try. Late one day in a ride you will be grateful when it tells you to keep pedalling because of what tomorrow will bring!

Reflections on my IPWR Race Kit

Time to share some reflections on the racePIC_20170311_154126 kit that I used for the Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR) in Australia. As this was not my first race, I’ve got my gear pretty well dialled in. Here are 12 areas of success … my failures? A footnote on those as well …


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Indian Pacific Wheel Race

My ‘A’ race for 2017 was the inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR). This self-supported 5,471 km race across Australia from Freemantle to Sydney was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the 13+ day ride by Sir Hubert Opperman. As a twist, the route would take us through Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra before finishing at the Sydney Opera House.

Unfortunately, the race was cancelled on day 13 when Mike Hall was hit and killed by a car outside of Canberra. I had done just over 3,600 km at the time so my race ended outside Apollo Bay Victoria, about 240 km west of Melbourne. It was a tragic end to a great adventure, and the loss of an incredible man and cyclist. So I write this race report with a sense of sadness and loss …


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2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race–Gear List

On March 18th at 06:00 I will be starting the ‘Indian Pacific Wheel Race’ (IPWR) across Australia. The 5,471 km route takes us from Freemantle in Western Australia across the desert, then down through Adelaide and Melbourne before heading up into the Snowy Mountains to Canberra and eventually finishing at the Sydney Opera House. As with all endurance races, a big chunk of time is spent planning the logistics and the equipment to take.  Here’s what I’m taking.


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Music While Cycling–The OT Buckshot Pro

One of the things I enjoy about riding my bicycle is being in beautiful scenery with nice music to accompany my ride. Now I’m not keen on being recommended for a Darwin Award so I don’t use headphones, instead preferring to use a Bluetooth speaker connected to my phone’s play list. I’ve used the Outdoor Technology (OT) Buckshot for a few years and have been really pleased with it. Great sound and waterproof. When I saw that they had released a new version—the Buckshot Pro—with a torch and integrated power bank, I figured it was a must try.

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The Great Torque Tool Runoff

For those of us with carbon fibre bicycles or components, we are always worried about over tightening the bolts as this will damage the carbon fibre. An expensive mistake as I learned a few years back with a carbon seat post which was trashed when I misread the reading on my torque wrench.  I recently received my new Silca torque took from a Kickstarter campaign that I supported so I thought it was a good time to do a comparison of a few tools. Clockwise from top left: Topeak Torque 5Birzman M-Torque, Silca T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque, and then my ‘standard’ which is a precision dial adjustment torque wrench.

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Hacking My Di2 For Endurance Racing

In 2015 I did the 4,200 km Transcontinental Race from near Brussels to Istanbul. Since that wasn’t quite long enough I also did a warm up by riding 2,800 km from Istanbul to the start line. Great holiday, but there was one unintended consequence: by the time I got to Greece (6,000+ km) my hands had stopped working. When I had to pay for something I’d hold out the money in my palm and apologetically ask people to take the money. I recovered quickly after the race, but decided that I’d upgrade my bike to Di2 with electronic shifting.

It was a great idea, but as anyone who is a reader of this blog knows, I’m never satisfied and I decided that I needed to modify the Di2 to put in shifting buttons both on my aero bars but also under the handlebars. This would give me three different options for shifting depending on where my hands were. This is a geeky post to show how it is done. Not only is it a lot less expensive than the $200+ for Shimano’s offering of bar end shifters, or $100 for a bulky ‘climbing’ shifter (parts cost me $40), but it’s a much tidier solution as well (especially compared to the climbing switch).

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Grenzsteintrophy 2016

“If you do well you should plan average about 12 km/h for the ride”. Marcus said just before we cycled to the Czech border with Germany to start line for the 1,240 km 2016 Grenzsteintrophy ride. He also told me that to date no woman had to date completed the Grenzsteintrophy (GST). This was going to be an adventure!

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The Great Dynamo-USB Power Run Off

Following on from my earlier post on powering your gadgets for endurance racing, I decided to do a series of parallel tests with the dynamos and USB power units that I had accumulated. This included three dynamos (SON, Shutter Precision and Velogical) and six different USB power units (B&M Luxos U, Biologic Reecharge, Cycle2Charge, PedalPower Universal Cable, Supernova Plug III, and the ZZing). Interesting results …

Updated 19/4 to include Sinewave equipment

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