Monday, October 3, 2011

Tour de Timor Race Report

After deciding early this year to enter the Tour de Timor, I looked forward to the trip for a number of reasons. Riding was the 1st thing about the experience, but having Miriam fly post race for a holiday together was a nice thing to think about while spent a lot of time away form home training leading up to the race. The training was made a little easier with the help of Coach Cupcake and regular riding partners such as Al Cook and all the other Usual suspects…

This is a picture looking back toward Dili where we had dinner the first night in town.

Arriving in Dili the Wednesday before the race I was not really that sure what to expect… As this was my first overseas Holiday, there was a lot of sensory overload going on in the first few days!The one thing which scared life out of me and Miriam when she arrived though was the Traffic, (all I will say is I am not sure if there are any traffic rules) ! After having a few days to get use to the weather and fitting in a ride at least once a day I was feeling ready for the race!

Meg and Mark on a nice ride heading out towards West Timor a few days before the race


Arriving at the start line feeling nervous as I knew I would be but I was keen to get going…
The Start was Quick from the gun. I felt good and was able to stay with the main pack for the first 30k in to the race riding a few turns near the front and also trying to stay out of the wind when I could. The entire first day had us riding into a head wind which is not ideal but unavoidable!

I was dropped by a few early groups of riders until I found a good group to work with, and share a few laughs along the way also. We rode together until the base of the last climb of the day which worked out to be about 20k’s long, where I was able to climb a little easier. The night in Luclubar was good, and I liked the town with its strong Portuguese influence, though some catering issues occurred where about 50 riders, needed to stand around waiting for more food to be cooked not getting into bed to about 9.30pm.

The lesson for the day! – Turn up early for dinner!


The first part of today was like been at home riding up South Boundary Road, though riding through the villages lined with Children and Adults alike cheering you on was a great feeling and was something which we experienced the entire race. From the start I felt stronger than day 1 which was great! The result of this was I left the group I spent most of day one with and rode alone for the best part of the day two. I felt good climbing with the knowledge I was able to push myself harder and I enjoyed the day and terrain we passed through.

This was an amazing old building right on the beach in BEACU

The Camp site at the end of day Two


Today found us riding from the beach to the mountains again. The pace of the race increased in the first part of the day, as we followed the south coast line until we headed inland at the first KOM of the day. I had awesome day riding with Rhino until he needed to stop for, let’s just say a Nature call! The last climb of the day was amazing as we wound our way up, a loose but good climb into the village of Iliomar. The greeting by the locals was very impressive!

Lesson of the Day! - Putting a bit of hurt on the competition before the climb is good to split up the pack!

A church up on the hill in Iliomar, which had a very nice looking accommodation next door. (this meant not a tent and it had some sort of bed)


From the mountains to the beach!

The morning started with a short decent followed by a 4 k climb on cold legs. Well they were cold at the bottom but toasty warm by the time we reached the top. The rest of the day was rolling hills and good riding. I was by this stage feeling great and was able to continually ride away from the groups I found along the way, the strength of my day was rewarded by been the 43 ride over the line which was my best result for the 6 days of riding. The Stand out for the day on the bike was riding through Francelina ‘Anche’ Cabral's home town of Los Palos, there were Thousands of people lining the street, the feeling was amazing!

Lesson of the day! - People ride within your abilities! ( As I got to see one very spectacular crash in the last decent of the day.)

Looking back up the beach from the resort at Com.

The President decided to call down to see me while I was in town...


The start of the days racing was postponed and everyone was made aware an Australian Army soldier who was assisting the organizers of the Tour de Timor had been involved in road accident and was in a critical condition. Once we started we had a 143 k’s of good roads ahead of us to complete before we could relax. The flat early stages of the day were fast averaging high 30’s and low 40’s in big groups. The riding was like this until the 80 k mark where we experienced the first climb of the day. The climb took us into the town Baucau, which is the second largest in Timor Leste. The remainder of the day was good riding for me I spent time riding with a few different groups until getting dropped when I needed to stop for water. Reaching Manatuto we were again welcomed by hundreds of people , but also the news the soldier involved in the accident earlier in the day had died.

This is the site of our camp for the last night on the road. It was really hot as we were surrounded by building on all sides.



My legs felt a little cooked after a big day yesterday, but once warmed up I enjoyed the days riding. We followed parts of the same route from day one so we had knowledge of what to expect. Once we reached the top of the last climb of the day it was all downhill, well mostly!

Riding Back into Dili, was the most awesome experience I have ever experienced on a bike. There were Thousands of local people lining the streets cheering us on, as I rode most of the streets of Dili with a Timorese’s rider the noise and support for him was amazing!

Back in Dili and Time to Catch up with Tinker for a photo

Meg up on the podium after taking out her category in awesome fashion once again!

Would I do it again? YES!

It was the best 6 days on a bike I have experienced.

Would I recommended it to others? YES!

Like any race there were a few issues alone the way which affected me and many others but over all I think the organisers did a fantastic job, in the environment they had to operate in.

So what’s next?

After completing my first ever stage race I liked the challenge and the concept of this type of racing!

So after talking to Miriam while enjoying a holiday in Timor following the race, October next year will see ride the Crocodile Trophy

Big thanks firstly need to go out to Shannon from Koiled Imports!

Shannon's assistance in keeping my bikes running smoothly is awesome, and meant I again had a race where not one mechanical issue occurred the entire duration of the race.

A big thank you also need to go out to Rach, Coach Cupcake, TR, Al Cook, Andrew and everyone else for the support along the way.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day Six - Manututo to Dili!

Today saw the Tour de Timor riders make their way back into Dili after 6 days of hard riding across the country.  The 85km stage will bring the riders along the coast line and back to Dili on a comparatively flat route, including a 30km lap around the capital where they will be welcomed and cheered on by the thousands of flag waving Timorese who line the streets.

Nick finished the day in 3.13.22 and described the ride in as amazing - and he has had his hard earned cold beer in Dili.

His Stage 6 ride cemented his overall place as 12th in the GC 40+ and 56th in Men's Overall.

Well Done!!!

Day Five - Com to Manututo

The smooth roads of stage five offered an easier ride, but organisers made up the challenge with distance.  143km including some serious KOMs it was to be a hard day out.

Nick rode well in the first stages, hanging with the bunch - which disintegrated as the first KOMs were encountered! He managed to hang in some smaller bunches until the last water stop at 112km, where he was forced to stop and fill up.   He called in tired, but very very happy with a 4.59.38 finish which still has him in 13th place for GC 40+.

One day to go!  Good Luck.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day Four - Iliomar to Com

Todays stage was another relatively easy stage, with riders needing to cover 79km between Iliomar and Com.
Once past the initial climbs, there is solid descending into Com.

Higlights included passing through Los Palos, home town to Anche Cabral, the leading Timorese rider.  Thousands of people packed the roadsides to cheer Anche, and all the TdT riders along creating a fantastic experience for riders and spectators alike.

A number of riders struggled with the descents, Nick himself reporting a bit of 'overcooking' on a few corners!  Com is apparently a primo beachside position, and with the water front views on an evening, it was very tough to turn down beers. 

Nick is still holding down 13th place in GC for 40+.

Only two days until Dili and you can have those beers Nick!

Day Three - Beacu to Iliomar

The 69km stage was a largely coastal route winding inland at time to pass by crops of rice and corn. Riders were treated to a near constant supply of villages and inhabitants cheering them on for the first 45km before the route took an inland turn onto a rough, loose road winding its way through forrest, over river and eventually up an ascent into Iliomar.

Nick felt great today and found the course comfortable with around 55km of flat, before the 15km climb into Iliomar, which he describes as an intensely green, beautiful place.  He managed to ride with Ryan 'Rhino' Hawson, before they parted company on the last climb as Nick stretched his legs and Rhino enjoyed his rest day.

Result - still holding 14th in GC 40+.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day Two - Laclubar to Beacu

Day Two saw the TdT riders tackle a 122km stage characterised by a huge downhill from the mountains to the South Coast. Rough roads out of the mountains would be difficult going for some of the riders. Once clear of the Viqueque river, those that had the legs found sections of flat, mostly sealed surface allowed some speed.

Race reports indicate that the pace started off a lot harder today, and despite the downhill there was quite a lot of climbing to do, and a bit of wind; it definitely wasn’t an easy stage!

For Nick, it was like being at home.  He described Day Two as being like 'south boundary' - alot of up then down - repeat.  All those midnight runs must of come in handy as Nick felt in the pocket for the day!

Result - 14th in GC for 40+.

Tomorrows ride of 69km will provide some relief for the 230km in those legs!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day One - Dili to Laclubar

Day One, 111km and 1880m ascent from the capital Dili to Laclubar.

Riders will leave Dili with thousands cheering them on and ride around 65km of hot, arid coastline.  There will be strong headwinds which will make the flats a challenge.  Then in the heat of the day, the riders will turn inland from the coast at Manatuto and begin the gruelling climb up to Laclubar.

Nick had a huge ride today to complete in 5hrs 50min, with 17th place.
Considering Paul Van Der Ploeg, AJ, Ben Mather, Tinker Juarez, Chris Jongewaard and the like are riding - it is a mammoth effort!  He is feeling "a-ok" and ready to tackle tomorrow's stage 121.9km into Beacu.

Go Nick!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Rach reporting in for Nick, while he is away tackling the brutal Tour de Timor....

Nick arrived in one piece in Timor, and despite having never been to any other country has adapted just fine to the chaos that is Dili!!! The flight from Brisbane to Darwin was well and truly a red-eye so by the time he got to Timor he's only managed a couple of hours sleep over nearly two days. 

A combination of tiredness and the HEAT meant first ride in Timor hurt.  Since then things have steadily improved.  Nick says he is "feeling fast" and can't wait for the race to start. Staying at race HQ, Timor Lodge is making it easy to roll out, ride and relax as the rest of the competitors roll into town.  Nick will be looking to team up with 3 others riders, to enable him to compete in the teams overall.  Between his contacts of Meg Carrigan and Katherine O'Shea, I think he'll find one or two people!

 I'll be updating with news as Nick arrives at points with telecommunications.  Good Luck Nick!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

OHV 8 hour Enduro

After starting all the races in the Tailwind super series to miss out on the 8 hour would for been a crime.

Since the 24 hour, about 6 weeks ago I have taken a new direction in my training, and found the difference in my everyday riding and racing. Weekly night rides up Nebo and back on the SS along with some more structure has been great, and coming to realisation to get better I need to race against my own results and not those of OTHERS!

The weekend started out with the regular Uni Cycling Club Crit on Saturday morning at the Nundadome. I said to myself and few others I was just going to roll around and hide out the back.

Somewhere between the start and the second lap of the 45 minute race I forgot this and proceeded to smash myself, ending up with me starting my sprint off the front from the top of the straight, Coach Cupcake says leave it a little later to sprint next time!

The thoughts entering my mind once my brain received a bit more oxygen and blood, THAT was fun but maybe not a great idea to smash myself since I have to race the 8 hour Sunday morning?

Saturday came and went and Sunday morning was really, really, really cold!

Arriving at OHV I was greeted with a bit of frost on the ground, but lots of friendly faces all doing the same thing, getting ready to RACE and trying to stay just a little bit warm!

The race started as per normal, but unlike the last few races I started a little further back in the pack this is a mistake I will not do again, backing myself and starting up the front makes that first lap and the race just a little easier!

3rd lap in and my legs were yelling at me a little so the plan was to give my legs a little rest after the day before and see how I go for a lap at a slightly slower pace, knowing I was not going to win the race in the first 3 hours of an 8 hour race.

Rolling back into the pits, feeling good and knowing my legs were AOK it was game on!

The next few hours were a bit of a blur but one thing I can remember, I felt great on the bike with a strong sense of enjoyment present whether pushing it hard up a hill or smashing a decent!

A slight mechanical with a twisted link forced a lap to be ridden on the ridged SS which made me appreciate the benefit of a suspension fork.

Feeling the benefit of the training and the regular rides up and down Nebo with Alistair Cook, I was able to ride strongly for the remainder of the race, finishing 4th which is the best result I have reached thus far. Missing out on 3rd by 36 seconds hurt but, RACING MYSELF will lead me in one direction this I know.

A big congratulations needs to go out to Rach,for an outstanding ride to take 1st place in the event and series along with Shannon and Steve(TR) who both rode well throughout the day to finish the super series strongly Koiled racing had a great day out!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bikes and Holidays

Well as usual it has been a while since I have posted an up-date.

But I have been BUSY!

There has been lots and lots of riding and a few races too. Over the last few months tailwind promotions have held 3 races in a 4 race series.

The first race a 4 hour at OHV was fun if not just a little muddy

The second the 6 hour was just as muddy but, somewhere new. This race was a great, a little tough but, I discovered a few things about myself allowing me to finish higher on the result sheet than at race beforehand.

Race 3 the 24hour saw a return to OHV, I felt good early on and rode well.

But finishing this race was not to be, though some good lessons have been learned as a result

I had the best holiday with the one most special to me in a new place

The Holiday was spent with friends new to the is old but new place too.

The overdue holiday allowed us to see some awesome sights

Now it is time to get serious and ready for a race and an adventure in a new place never seen before

Monday, February 28, 2011

On the Road with a Training Partner

Since the beginning of the year I have spent most mornings riding with Mick a good friend and local surgeon in Ipswich. Mick’s key goal at the moment, well I think some days, is to hurt me as much as possible before we get home.

Riding regularly in the morning with Mick has been a lot of good fun and the intensity of the riding we have been doing has been great from my legs after a break off the bike. Mick has an interesting story to tell and at the moment he is training for the ‘Tour De Cure’ which will see him ride from Sydney to Melbourne. The key focus of the ‘Tour De Cure’ is to raise money for cancer research and hopefully a cure one day.

I have attached a short story which drives Mick to prepare and train for the adventure he has ahead of him with the ‘Tour De Cure’. The Ride will cover 1379km in 10 days with the longest day on the bike totalling 239km.

As many of you know our family has been tragically affected by cancer. In 2005 when we were living in New Zealand our 2nd child Conor, then aged 2, complained of a sore tummy. When I felt his tummy I could feel an enlarged liver. The next morning we took him to the GP and then on to the hospital. I can still clearly remember the day I heard the words I thought I would never hear “I’m sorry, your son has cancer”. Our world stopped and we quickly realised that one day your life can be perfect and the next far from it. We immediately returned to Brisbane and Conor had 15 months of treatment involving chemotherapy, many procedures and tests and an operation to remove 70% of his liver and so much more. The side effects of chemo are not pleasant. Conor would not eat enough normal food so he had a tube in his nose and had regular pump feeds. He had permanent IV lines placed in his chest that hung out so he could have his many blood test taken and medications delivered with less trauma for him. Every night for his bath we had to stop his lines getting wet so we would wrap his stomach up in glad wrap “like a present” he would say. We had many bowls dotted around the house for when he vomited which was regularly. He would be riding his bike, jump off, vomit, and then in true Conor style he would jump back on and keep riding. This became so normal for him. One day in the car Phoebe (our daughter) was sick and vomited and Conor looked at her and said “When I vomit I ask for a bowl”! And in amongst all this our third child Isaac was born, they were busy times.

During his time in treatment we spent weeks at the hospital and met so many amazing children and their families. It is a world that you never think you will be part of, but as we found out it can happen in an instance. In July 2006 we heard the news we had hoped we would never hear, that despite all the treatment Conor’s cancer was not responding and he would not be a survivor. We took our little boy home to die. 10 days later in his Mummy’s arms Conor took his last breath, he was so brave. Our family was broken and the pain set in. To this day Phoebe, now 9, draws a broken heart to symbolise our family. We have since had two more girls, but our family will never be one.

Ever since first reading this story I have gone back to it a number of times and re-read it
again, always resulting in a sense loss and feeling helplessness.

One thing we know about cancer is that you don’t get to choice!

How you respond to and accept it, defines you and those around you!

We do not have to look very far to find some we know that has been affected by this disease, If you can afford to spare even a small amount money to support Mick on his journey I know it would be greatly appreciated.

I have included a link to which you can donate money to Mick’s Tour De Cure below.

I am asking you to please support me in this venture. A donation from you big or small will make a huge difference. It may be too late for Conor, but we would like to turn our pain and Conor’s death into something positive.

Please visit

to make a donation. You will automatically receive a tax deductible receipt for all donations over $2. Alternatively you can send me a cheque payable to Tour de Cure Limited and I will forward it for you, address: 35 Macquarie St, Silkstone, Qld 4304.

Race Report LunarC 8 hour

After having a great year of racing last year I was keen to see the start racing calendar for the 2011 begin with the LunarC 8 hour.

Although I planned to ride this event earlier in the year the start of the race was postponed due to the wet weather experienced in SE Queensland. Having an extra few weeks for the trails to dry out was smart and meant the damage to the bikes and environment was minimised.
After hearing about this event last year, from close friends I decided to enter and enjoy the fun. A little different from most races enter into the LunarC starts at 12 midnight the witching hour.

After the midnight start and a few very dusty laps, it was soon discovered the track put together for the event was tough but fun. With a course which was just over 8 k’s and some tough pinch climbs the riders on course soon spread out, with plant of room to move though the obstacles and more technical sections of the course.

I found a few sections of the single track super tight early on but after working out to slow down just a little bit and finding some good lines linking the fun bits together became easy. Enjoying these sections and riding harder through the other areas of the course resulted in my lap times and position improving quicker than it may normally have.

With a lot of good friends riding/racing there was no shortage of people to chase, or just to follow a wheel and share a laugh with during the 8 hours. A fantastic effort by Rach, Matt and Alistair sore them all end up on the podium at the end of the day and it is always great to see friends do well.

My race plan was simple!
Get out there and ride
Be consistent and Don’t sit down!

I had a great night on the bike and was easy to achieve these goals with encouragement and support from friends around me. Although the race was hot and tough at times I came out of it with a smile and a feel good attitude, and as this was the first race back since the WSC24 in October it felt good to be back on the bike racing and having fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Racing Plans for the Year Ahead

2011 is here and I needed to look at what racing I wanted to do this year and to start thinking about what training will need to be done for the year ahead.

The first thing I have decided is to diversify!

What does this mean you ask?

Well for the last few years I have heard all this talk of how great road racing is, well I am about to find out. I have made a decision ride criteriums and race in the open road races local to where I live.

So the Road Calender looks like this:

Sizzling Summer Series - Round 1
27 Feb 2011 – Crestmead
Sizzling Summer Series - Round 3
13 Mar 2011 Crestmead
25 Apr 2011 - Lakeside
Battle on the Border
29 Apr 2011 - 2 May 2011
Ipswich Open
7 May 2011 - 8 May 2011 - Rosewood & Mt Marrow
Metropolitan Championships
28 May 2011 - 29 May 2011 - Murarrie and Mt Alford
Avanti Classic
26 Jun 2011 - Lowood
Tour of the Scenic Rim
23 Jul 2011 - 24 Jul 2011- Boonah

I am looking forward to the new challenge of racing my beloved ‘FREZONI’ in anger for the
first time.

Don’t worry I am still planning on racing MTB!

In the last few years the races I have entered have generally been 12 or 24 races, this year I am planning on racing some shorter races planned for the local area including a 4 hour event in March.

With plans for some longer racing in the next few years, I need to extend the type of events I am entering so a few loose plans are in place to travel to South Australia for the Mawson Marathon in June and the Tour de Timor in September. Travelling to Timor-Leste will give Miriam (the wife) and me a chance to holiday post race in Atauro, which is located north of Timor-Leste.

So the MTB Calender is shaping up to look something like this:

14th to 15th January LunarC - 8 hours (Brisbane)
6th March 4 hour- Old Hidden Vale
10th April 6 hour -Murrenbong
17th April Australian Marathon Championship Mt Joyce
14th and 15th May 24 hour - Old Hidden Vale
June, 2011 Kona Mawson MTB Marathon (Dates still to be released)
367 kilometre event in flinders ranges S.A.
19th June 8 hour - Old Hidden Vale
24 - 25 September - Angry Doctor MTB Enduro
12th to 13th November - Highland fling (Maybe the 100mile)

See you out on the trails soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An over due up Date!

After putting this up-date off for about 4 months here is quick report on how the remainder of 2010 turned out.

I think looking back at the end of it all, everything turned out pretty well!

A goal identified late 2009 early 2010 was, to qualify for the World Solo 24 hour championship in Canberra during October this year. I was able to achieve this in Tasmania where I raced the Kellevie 24hr race during March 2010, finishing 10th overall my best result achieved up to the this point in a 24hour solo race. My racing over the past 12 months has moved from casual enjoyment to a more competitive nature. Other results over the past 12 months included 24th overall in the Merida 24hr in July at Hidden Vale.

With my qualification out of the way and a ticket for the start of the Adrenalin World 24 hour Solo championship in Canberra booked training took up most spare time to make sure I was ready. With a lot of fantastic support from Shannon from Koiled Imports I purchased a new 29er FORM ‘prevail’

The road trip and the experience of reaching the start line of the Adrenalin World 24 hour Solo championship in Canberra would not have been achievable without the support of family, my wife and great friends.

We spotted a few interesting things along the way including a condemned prawn and big mossie

The race was tough!

But through the help of Garry, Shannon and others I made it to the end in one piece and in an awesome position in my age group and overall standings. The final results were 20th in age group (35-39) and 175th overall from 411 starters.

A big congratulation goes out to Rach who was able to finish 2nd in age group which is an awesome result...

The remainder of the 2010 did not involve much riding but spending time with friends and relaxing just a little bit before I identify my next goal...

Stay tuned for what 2011 is going to bring...