Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Mount Hamilton Hillclimb

The last thing that I did in the US (well, except eat a yummy Thanksgiving feast) was take part in the Mount Hamilton Hill Climb. The climb is pretty formidable – 30km long with 1,310 meters of climb and two short descents. I had climbed the climb a couple of times before and even took part in this race one year earlier – in 2008 I punctured my loaned tubulars half way up so that ended that.

The Profile

Due to the puncture last year, I felt like I had a little unfinished business. While training over here, all the rides have been endurance type riding on the flats with tempo or sweet spot on the climbs. My legs should be more than capable of a good effort before I left for Ireland.

Off the front - picture from here

As I'm also competing in the third round of the Supercross Cup CX series in Ireland two days later I followed wheels for the first 25km of the climb. The lead group (of the 200+ racers) was still big (around 20 riders) at the half way point. My plan was to up my pace with around 5 km to go. (Final 5 km was at 6%). At around 5km to go, with 7 in the lead group, I went to the front and upped the pace – about a minute latter, on a steep switch back, I attacked – my companions quickly dropped off and I soloed to the top to win in a touch over 72 minutes. The time was not particularly fast as we cruised along for the first two thirds (I could have pushed the pace more earlier but with a transatlantic flight later the same day and a cross race two days later, I thought it prudent to hang back until the end).

Picture from here

Winning with a view - picture from here

With the win, my puncture demons from last year have been quashed. Full results and photos will be up here soon, As my brother pointed out on the way to the airport, it is also my first US win.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Best of 2009: Garmin Edge 705 + BikeRouteToaster

It is around a year since I got my Garmin 705 and I have realized that didn't blog about the devices best use case (outside of Powermeter integration) over the 305. I didn't think that mapping would be a huge thing for me, but a few weeks with the device and I was proved very wrong – not only did the mapping help Mel and I navigate our way around Europe, Africa and the United States like a normal car GPS when getting to the race, but it has been a great tool for training in new areas when used with a website I love –

An example toasted route from last week

Bikeroutetoaster basically allows you to trace out a road loop on a google maps style interface and easily upload the result to your Garmin for playback. Not only that, it will also give you an elevation breakdown of what you are about to do which can even be viewed on the Garmin. For instance, last January in Gran Canaria, in the morning over breakfast I would trace out our routes, check the profile (make sure there is the right about of climb for the day) and distance, upload to my Garmin and go. Not once did we ask for directions, get lost or need an external map – perfect.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pictures from today's ride

I few pictures from today's ride. A 155km point to point from Livermore over Mount Hamilton and back to Palo Alto. Nice weather throughout (but it was really cold) :)

On Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Low Key hill climb will be going up Mount Hamilton - I'll be giving it a go before I head back to Ireland later that day.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The secret to climbing well in the summer - lots of this in the winter:

There are no shortcuts.

In other news - the start to Saturdays CX race in Sierra Point:

That was the start of the cat A race - there was probably around 700 racers in total!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cyclocross Final Laps

The day after each of the World Cups (and other big CX races), TV coverage of the final lap pops up on youtube. I'm been watching them for the last few weeks - some amazing finishes. The video below is from last weekends race in Nommay.

Amazing to see the attacks and Sven almost bridging across to the lead pair. Niels Albert's riding style is also really interesting - out of the saddle a lot and a lot of upper body movement.

That course looks really amazing - fast wide corners and not too much mud.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2009 Supercross Cup Round 2

Sunday was the second round of this years Supercross Cup. IMBRC were holding it in Tymon Park and it was the first CX race down south this year.

On arriving I found a fast course with some really nice twisty sections – the recent rain meant that it would get pretty muddy but not turn into a mudbath.

At 1pm the race started and just a few hundred meters into the race I punctured the rear tire (running tubeless tubular). I was so annoyed – I nursed the bike around the 2km lap back to the start to get my spare wheels. Unfortunately, not only did I have the slowest wheel change in history (must practice that - and remember that I'm running cantis and not disc brakes!) but the tires were dry weather CX tires setup for the road (65psi rather than the usual 30 I would race). I started the chase from somewhere in the 30s or 40s but the game was over. I rode the remains of the race (trying to stay upright as my rear wheel tired to foil me at every cover) but the motivation wasn’t there to push it, this is, after all my ‘off-season’ and the racing just a bit of fun on the side. Needless to say though, I was frustrated as I missed the opertunity for a great battle at the front of the race. I think I would have had a great fight with Robin, Lewis, Joey and Roger at the front instead of tooling around for an hour - C'est la vie. Better this race than a big important one...

Now I’m off to the US for some work and training – I have a few days scheduled for holidays so I should get a few long rides in too.

News and results can be found here and Ollie's great pictures are available here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

2009 MAD Club Championships

My club had its club championships yesterday on a beautiful (but windy) day. I took up photo duty for the day and snapped these shots. It has been a while since I have been taking pictures with my nice camera and I'm totally out of practise, but I still captured a few good ones.

2009 MAD Champs

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

2009 Epic Blast Video

I have talked about the Epic Blast before, but this year a few folks captured the event (in all its glorious weather) with some high def cameras. Have a look at the video, espeically the action a couple of minutes in. I unfortunately skipped it as I was still recovering from the broken collerbone - it is an event that is hard not to go full out in :)

Epic MTB - The Blast - Wicklow - 13th September 2009 from Dylan Murphy on Vimeo.

Looking forward to 2010 already.

2009 Ballyhoura Screamer MTB Stage Race

This may have been my 'off-season' but I have still ended up racing some sort of event every weekend. My training between events (more exercise actually) was just the Tuesday night cross training sessions and maybe another 1 or 2 MTB rides - nothing that resembled a structured plan.

Anyway, I heard about the Ballyhoura Screamer a few weeks back. It is basically a two stage MTB race held on Ireland's largest trail center (Ballyhoura) on Halloween night. They promised a carnival atmosphere and that is exactly what we got.

The first stage was a 32km cross country loop utilizing many of the purpose built trails (mostly the brown loop). Things were going well until about 10km to go when I had a slight crash, my first racing in a long while, and punctured my front tire. Luckily, despite a lot of stopping to re-pump the wheel and the use of a few CO2 (thanks Mick Jordon) cans I was able to scrape around to take the race lead.

After a chicken curry with rice (well, more like a veg curry – they were stingy on the chicken) with the other MAD racers and we were back for the night time-trial. All the kids that were present for the family events congregated around the start ramp creating a great atmosphere. As I was in the lead, I started last (to a smaller crowd) but had great fun bombing around the 9.2km singletrack loop setting the quickest time and claiming the overall.

The racing etc... was great, but the main thing about this event was that it was a relatively low key introduction to racing. I had not seen 90% of the people down there before at races – baggie shorts, flat pedals and lots of nerves where the order of the day. I hope that this event has snagged a few more riders with the racers bug I caught a few years ago.

Thanks to everyone for putting on such an inclusive event – there was something for everyone there from the people who raced the event in a little over two hours to the folks that took over four.

Results are up here, and a selection of photos here.