Avoid the rain, ride in the snow… a slow and snowy ascent of Mt Buffalo

I had borrowed a pair of demo race wheels, Roval CLX40’s from Total Rush, and was headed home to Eldorado for the weekend, excited to see what the wheels could do. The plan was to ride the Sam Miranda NRS courses over the weekend, but with the torrential rain and the Strade Nero more in a state more suited to a cyclocross bike, the plan was scrapped. I did not want to ruin the demo wheels by climbing the Strade Nero in 30cm of mud!

With the original plan scrapped, a less muddy alternative was sought. I have a tradition of climbing Mt Buffalo every time I head home, so this was going to be Plan B. The only problem, it was a bloody  miserable day, still raining, like it had done all night… who likes riding in the rain? No one! Well, really I have no excuses, I have all the gear to ride in the rain, so rain or no rain, we could do it, we could take on plan B and climb Mt Buffalo instead of the Strade Nero.

A quick check of the weather report for Mt Buffalo…snow… Hmmm…. was this going to be a good idea? I went to my wardrobe and got out my ski gloves, socks, and goggles, this was going to be an adventure. This is one of the many reasons why I ride my bike. I like to push and challenge myself and chase the adventure! So I packed the bikes, ski gear and my friend in the car, and we set off, into the rain to ride our bikes up Mt Buffalo.

We sat in the car at the bottom of the climb staring out the windows, it was still raining, probably heavier than before. Procrastination. We eventually mustered up the courage to get out of the car and quickly put every piece of cycling clothing we own on. Including the ski socks and goggles… Lets just say today was not going to be a day for PB’s, despite the fact I was rocking a pretty fast set of Roval’s!

Mt Buffalo climb starts at the toll gates, and takes you up 1,014m, over 18km of about 5% gradient (see the Climbing Cyclist’s guide here). It is a steady, yet challenging climb. Very picturesque scenery and probably the best climb in North East Victoria because of it. I never get tired of This climb…Hence why I’ve done it about one million times (not literally, more like 10).

So layered up in clothing like the Michelin Man, we began climbing with the far out hope that the rain would subside. After a while, we did not think about the rain at all. We just chatted away, soaking up the atmosphere, all the while I was whining that I needed a few more gears. (I’ve recently gone from a 50 BCR to a 52 BCR. Compact to mid-compact) My little legs were feeling the burn. Good burn.

 To our surprise, half way up the climb it did stop raining!

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It started snowing instead. The wind picked up too and snow flakes were floating through the air just like in the movies. It was absolutely spectacular. The thought crossed our minds, that maybe we should turn back? Nah, this was to exhilarating!

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We were more than half way up.  We were feeling relatively good, despite our hands and feet were feeling a little frost bitten (toes might have fallen off) and our gloves a little damp…at least the snow meant it was not raining anymore! There was no way we would turn around now, we were way too close. 

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Naturally as we climbed higher, the snow on the road got thicker. I tell you now that that I’m happy that there were cars driving up the mountain with chains on. They would cut tracks in the snow on the road that we could ride in. The tyres that were fitted to the demo wheels were, lets just say, slick and probably not the best for snow conditions. But they did the job fine!

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So we made it to the top, to a white wonderland and a chilly -1.6 degrees, but frozen smiles from ear to ear.  We made it, not do it in record time, but we enjoyed the scenery and enjoyed the company. 

Climbing Mt Buffalo into the snow has been one of the most rewarding cycling experiences of my life. The challenge of the climb in the snow, the adrenaline, and coupled with the beauty of the terrain was absolutely magical. Often in life we doubt our ability to do things, we often put challenging things off or just avoid them all together. This could have been one of those things that was put off. That miserable morning we could have very easily stayed at home, listening to the rain on the roof, sitting by the fire, or have been snuggled up in bed.  But instead, we dragged ourself out into the rain, and climbed a mountain, in the snow. We pushed ourselves, challenged ourselves and had an adventure of a lifetime. It is definitely something that I will do again. The ski socks were a life saver, I did not even use embro, shock horror!

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Get on your bike and ride it, push yourself, chase the adventure, ride in the rain, the snow and with your friends.

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Here is are some of my thoughts on the Roval CLX40’s…

I’m no expert on wheels, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on the demo wheels I borrowed over the weekend.

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Though no PB’s were achieved this time up Buffalo, the Roval’s were absolutely fantastic to ride! I’m sure that if there was no snow, I would have been able to give my PB a red hot crack because the wheels felt great during the climb, so light and smooth and bloody fast.  Even though they are only >200g lighter than my Roval Fusee’s they are much more aero, cutting through the wind and gliding over the road surface easily. The wheels handled extremely well when cornering, felt stiff and controlled, even at speed. They felt great under wheel when peddling out of the saddle too. The biggest difference I notices was the smoothness when climing, I felt like I glided up that mountain… even in the snow!

The next day I took them out on the flat to give them a bash, to see what they really could do. I was amazed at how smooth they felt on the country roads compared to my Fusee’s – they rolled like the wind, in fact they glided through the wind, making a satisfying mean  noise… I think I’m addicted to the sound. I definitely noticed a difference when accelerating compared to my Fusee’s. I was able to accelerate up to speed quickly and smoothly. They cut straight through the wind… I suspect that they will be great for racing crits!

Not only do I think that these wheels are fast, but they make my bike look fast too. Looks. That’s all that matters right? So, I’m thinking that I will need to find myself a set in time for Tour of Bright at the end of the year… and for the summer crit season!

Hmmm, I better get a part time job…or sell a kidney…?

Roval Rapide CLX 40

Full Carbon
Aero Clincher
Moulded Carbon Rims
Sealed Cartridge Hubs
DT Revolution Spokes
Hand built
CLX40 – 1,425g
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Ceramic bearings

You too can demo a set from Total Rush, click here for more info.

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Strava segment can be found here
You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @lowercasev
#pinkismycolour
#getonyourbikeandrideit

What I’ve been obsessing about in June

I have been obsessed with a heap of things this month. Mostly weather orientated. Undersandable, because it is freaking cold and I’m a woos. I can’t handle it. On the quest to keep warm… These made the top 10.

Piccalo coffee from Rush Cafe
Like a latte, but miniature – like me. The miniature part, not the latte.

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iPhone
I love my phone. It is an extension of my hand. So you will understand my horror when I smashed it. It still works thank god, the screen is somewhat shattered. Whoops.
Note to self, secure phone properly in pocket before TT-ing at 36km/hr down High Street.

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The weather
I’m obsessed with the weather, mostly with the temperature. I look up the Bureau of Meteorology observations every day. I even graph the observations. I’m really obsessed with the temperature drop that happens from about 6am -7am. Everyday, between 5am and 8am the temperature drops about 1-2 degrees (coldest when the sun rises between 6-7am and we’re out training) . By 8am the temperature starts to rise again, I’m already on my way to work, with no feeling in fingers and toes!

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The Spin Room – Watt Bikes
It is good to know that when the weather is terrible (raining) there is a dry place to go to train.

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Sesame Snaps
I’m in love. Snappy goodness of sesame seeds, sugar and yoghurt. Try some, they’ll change your life!

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Tiamo’s – Lygon Street, Carlton
My friends and I go to Tiamo once a week together. We all order the same thing. I order eggplant parmigana. The best eggplant parma in Melbourne. No kidding. Try it. You’ll go back every week, like I do!

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My team car
This pink car follows me around everywhere. I’ve seen it all around Melbourne, from Beach Rd to Preston, even as far away as Kyneton. Pink is my colour. Total Rush need one! Just say’n Simon.

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These ladies
Introducing the glamorous ladies in my life, that are like family to me. I spend all my non-bike time with them. Sometimes even my bike time (they like to spectate crits). They keep me sane. I love them more than words can describe.

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Specialized wool socks
My feet are ALWAYS cold. These have helped improve the warmth of my toes . They are amazing. So much so, I wear them to work sometimes. They’re not itchy, not too thick…but are toasty as.

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Fresh sheets
There is nothing better than getting into bed on a cold night with fresh sheets. Something very satisfying and really only lasts once. If only  I could be bothered putting fresh sheets on every day!

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These are some of the things that have kept me occupied for the month of June. Lets see what July has to bring.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @lowercasev. Do it, or don’t.

Gee I love riding my bike, and not riding my bike too….

I have had the best 4 day weekend in a very long time…The question is what the hell did or didn’t I do?

Well, I didn’t buy those Karen Walker sunglasses I’ve been eyeing off. I did roll down beach road with N, and have lunch at Two Birds. I didn’t get a parking permit, but did get a parking fine. I did do some hotdog training in 40 degree heat, did eat burgers, go to a fashion show, smuggle vodka into the Carlton Club, and did flail all night.

Day 1

So I didn’t get enough sleep, but did the Total Rush Shop Ride with one eye open, Skinny didn’t, his alarm was ‘faulty’. You’ll be pleased that I didn’t get a tattoo (don’t ask), I do want one though. I did get new Speedplays, and some new flavoured gels. I did swim at the beach…I never do and I did drink 1.25L of diet coke the only hangover cure. I did go down Brunswick Street and didn’t buy one thing! I did eat my fave DOC pizza for dinner with EJ, and did see Great Expectations, it was just okay.
Day 2

I did race the SKCC crits and did come 2nd in C grade! I didn’t enjoy the post-race roll along Kew Boulevard, though I did enjoy brunch. I did get my nails done in pink, white and black and did see a cat who bit my foot. I didn’t like the Moomba crowd, or the heat for that matter, but I did enjoy the company, and post crowd Vegge Bar with Meg. I did love the a/c in my apartment and didn’t have an early night.

Day 3

I did get up at the crack of sparrows, and was sweaty at 7:30am. I did ride to the Dandy’s with a bunch of fast ladies, got a PB up the 1:20, and rode sky high. I didn’t enjoy the heat, sweat or the hills on the way home. I did go dress shopping, though didn’t fine one – the wedding is on the weekend!  I did buy some bananas and beetroots too, and did have a little nanna nap. I didn’t clean my flat, or do my life admin, but I did wash my work clothes at 12:00pm at night, though I definitely I didn’t iron them.

Day 4

I did ride my bike a lot this weekend, but did a heap of other things as well. Gee I love riding my bike, and gee, I love not riding my bike too!

Phew. I need a weekend for my weekend.