Tuesday, 28 February 2017


Ricktastic Tuesday:
So this blog was started to keep me honest, but there is value for others. A path for others to follow, a record of pitfalls and learning, an exploration of ideas that open new avenues of thought and action.

Today a single question, a single choice gave a simple window into what I feel is a deeper... fundamental idea about getting better at bikes, and possibly even at life.

Do we go up the steep short route, or the flatter longer road?

To me it's about how you get training/anything done. Do you chose short term intense pain or a more drawn out affair? Regardless of which you choose, do you embrace that pain?

For me the answer is easy. Give me the steep road. Lets get fucking stupid and get it over with, drawing anything out is just longer unhappiness. As for embracing it... right now, not so much, but that embrace, that willingness to get deep into that hole of pain, to extend the length of depth of it is where "it" happens.

So you can do ergos or hills repeats. You can do long slow miles or sweet spot. You can super-set or super-compensate. What I think matters... is how you approach that pain. Pain is going to happen... but is it happening to you, or because of you?

Strava link.

D: 47.0km
A: 594m


D:  47.0km
A: 594m

PMPW: 90kg

Monday, 27 February 2017


I've got very real concerns about the new bike position. Riding more toe down may lead to calf growth, and any calf growth might lead to them rubbing on my bike frame(s).

D: 19.7km
A: 104m

PMPW: 90kg

Sunday, 26 February 2017


St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Nathans - St Kilda East:
Nathan Rd is a monster. The Strava segment for it is even called "Nathan's Rd Monster". On a good day it's 40 odd seconds of 1,000W, but today wasn't a good day, gravity was especially strong and my arms especially weak in their attempts to provide leverage to my legs.

It seems simple in hindsight, obvious even... but the best way to get to Nathan Rd, is to turn left at Nathan Rd. We however went straight, meaning there was no momentum to carry in, instead we came at it from the side and carried precisely zero momentum. Ahead of us was a wall that seemed to curl to an over vert steepness at the top.

Bad words were said. Mail was delivered.

Strava link.

D: 78.9km
A: 1,271m

PMPW: 90kg

Saturday, 25 February 2017


The tiny Canadian thinks I'm a procrastinator... but really... it's more of a hobby.

PMPW: 90kg

Friday, 24 February 2017


All of a sudden it's very dark in the morning. Even on a normal work day, there's a moment after my alarm goes off where I am convinced I somehow set it wrong and it's 3am.

Soon enough it will be the norm, soon enough I'll savour watching the sun rise over the horizon. Not yet though, I'm too tired for that now because I feel like I woke up at 3am.

D: 16.4km
A: 230m

PMPW: 89kg

Thursday, 23 February 2017


St Kilda East - Yarra trails - Carlton:
When CyclingTips started it was about tips for cyclists to make them better cyclists. I like that idea, and often wonder what I could contribute along that vein.

I consider frivolous things like "rules" for sock lengths, I've even typed out a few words on products that I think are worth their purchase price. What I think would have the most value, is also the hardest to achieve, and even harder to communicate. It's mindsets, and how to achieve them. The main mindset I think about is the willingness to hurt. The place you go to where pain is an inconsequential by product of being awesome.

Today I wondered about flow. About that place where you and your bike are one, and turns, berms and bumps are delights of centripetal force... today I wondered about the mindset of flow because I completely and utterly lacked it.

Strava link.

D: 20.9km
A: 224m


D: 8.4km
A: 29m

PMPW: 88kg

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


I've had a few moments where I get caught up in thoughts of what I do should I not be able to get comfortable on the bike again. The scope of which is pretty broad given how riding bikes has intertwined with and become the backbone of my life and identity.

There are totally times when it seems like to big a concept to consider, and too hard a prospect to face, so I was drawn to an article on The Age about sports people and depression post retirement.

The point I took from it... the comment that stood out most as important was "You need something to retire to, not something to retire from."

This is not a cry for help, it's thoughts written out. It's thinking about those thoughts and other thoughts which will be thought through thubsequently.

D: 16.6km
A: 90m

PMPW: 89kg

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


Ricktastic Tuesdays:

A post shared by Neil Robinson (@entyr) on

Strava link.

D: 48.1km
A: 611m


D: 8.5km
A: 23m

PMPW: 89kg

Monday, 20 February 2017


I'm currently planning on trying to get in 2-4 rides this week, to allow for some time on the new saddle and to respect the fit process, then go lift weights or crossfit or golf or something that lets my gooch rest.

Even the noseless Adamo isn't riding bliss, so I figured I need to reduce the saddle hours for a while, and find some other exercise fun. I've gone as far as turning off my Strava weekly and yearly cycling goals, as seeing them just reminds me I'm not riding as much as I used to.

D: 16.8km
A: 158m

PMPW: 89kg

Sunday, 19 February 2017


St Kilda East - Warrandyte - Nichols - Alma - Plenty Gorge - St Kilda East:
The difference between today's 100km in the hills, and yesterday's malaise was a group text. "Is anyone available for a bike ride tomorrow morning?"

We chatted our way out through the suburbs, deciding on roads to ride as we got to them, routed by the most authoritative voice of the moment.

I climbed hills with a low cadence, working through SE efforts prescribed by Ken to reinforce a toe down pedalling style. I even apologised to the others when those aims resulted in me driving the climb out of Diamond Creek, making the others push hard on a ride that wasn't about that. No the ride was for sprinting to empty school crossings, for arguments about the appropriate clothing choices, and about laughing when Matt's bike failed to let him into the little ring at the start of several sharp pinches.

Strava link.

D: 93.8km
A: 1,366m

PMPW: 89kg

Saturday, 18 February 2017


My alarm went off at 5:45am, a veritable sleep in compared to most weekends, yet the prospect of getting up had zero appeal.

I hadn't arranged anything or to meet anyone, and I think it's the latter that lead me to staying under the covers until well past 8am. Without any desire to race, there felt like no reason to ride my bike by myself.

PMPW: 89kg

Friday, 17 February 2017


Lower Plenty Loop:
I'm glad Warrack was tired, because I made the same mistake I always make,  drilling it up Bolton St because I'd completely forgetten that the Old Eltham road climb begins immediately afterwards.

Strava link.

D: 51.4km
A: 664m


D: 9.1km
A: 21m

PMPW: 89kg

Thursday, 16 February 2017


I use to have a fear of speed bumps, but I'm slowly getting over it.

D: 16.4km
A: 92m

PMPW: 88kg


I'm thinking about doing a tour of volcanic islands. I'll be just tops.

D: 15.9km
A: 126m

PMPW: 87kg

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


As part of the fit, Ken asked me to lift my chest/flatten my back (more like this, less like this), and ride more toe down... and it's tough, especially on the fixed wheel commuter. I've gotten so used to switching the brain off, and just getting on, but that obviously means falling into the well versed position of rounded back and heels down.

D: 16.6km
A: 217m

PMPW: 87kg

Monday, 13 February 2017


Bike Fit:
Righteo, so bike fit. I worked with Ken of Adaptive Human Performance, which involved analysis of my body's current state, some discussion about remedial work to correct some issues, and then finally changes to bike/position. There was a strong conversational focus on the spine and spinal position, and the verdict for me wasn't amazing.

Ken and his little cameras that recorded reflective dots placed in all around my body agreed with my assessment of leg length differences. So we've got a whack more spacers under my right cleat (4ish mm, compared to the 1-2mm I was previously running). He's also got them (the cleats) further forward; the middle of the cleat is now almost directly under the ball of my foot when the foot is neutral/level. That forward push relates to some other changes he made, so I'm kosher with that.

I slouch, not just when standing around talking to shorter people, not just at my desk or on the couch, but on the bike. This has lead to some poor spine health, in particular the lumbar and cervical regions, but the thoracic area is by no means not perfect. So, I've got some stretches to do, and instructions to be try to hold a more neutral (upright) position on the bike. Position wise, Ken said that the answer is not a saddle well behind the BB, but rather one much closer to the centre line of the bike. A desired increase in knee extension, and foot plantar flexion (toe down) both meant an increase in saddle distance from the BB. To compensate for the change these make to reach, my stem has gotten longer, and Ken adjusted bar rotation. The rotation I feel is less of a "this is the 100% best way for you" and more of a "this is a different way of doing things which has this different list of advantages", so I'll try it out and can/may go back (towards) my previous configuration.

These changes result in more pelvic anterior rotation, the exact thing giving me taint grief, so I'm now trialling a saddle that I find aesthetically displeasing... an ITM Adamo P1.1. He felt that how far I was pushing back on my existing/previous saddle (Specialized Power 143mm) was an indication that I was hunting for more width in it, so even if the model was right, it was the wrong size of it.

In summary I've got a fit that could be described as dramatically different to what I rolled in with. My last fit with Jay shared similar ideas (higher and further forward), that I abandoned in the intervening months in the search for comfort. I've got remedial work to address poor posture, and a different saddle to hopefully let my taint recover. I'm hopeful that the Adamo is a temporary thing, as though I'll often claim function trumps form every time.... it's pretty hideous to my eye right now. PRO's new Stealth saddles may offer both relief physically and aesthetically, though I may even need some time away from bike saddles entirely to allow my body to recover from the chronic stress it has experienced.

Assuming everything becomes love on the road bike again, I'm left with questions about how to take the setup to CX. MTB shoes/pedals are supported through the shoe tread, meaning I can't shim a cleat in the same way, and 4ish millimetres of adjustment are going to be hard to achieve inside a shoe designed to hug the foot. I may need to delay crossing that bridge, which is disappointing, as riding on dirt gives me a lot of joy.


D: 23.4km
A: 301m

PMPW: 88kg


Lazy probably isn't the right header here, I'm not resting, but the reason I'm not riding isn't that I wont, it's closer to can't.

I've got a bike fit tomorrow, so this is just me recording where I'm at before it. It's to document the reason I'm spending several hundred dollars and half a day of time. So, let's bear in mind that action is/will be taken, and this is just exploring specific thoughts, rather than where my entire brain/life is at.

Right, so I have not been comfortable on the bike in a while. I've mentioned it, alluded to it, and talked around it, so lets now talk about it. My taint, that little bit of flesh between the two exit routes of my body, the bit that contains the perineum nerve is being compressed, impinged, or hindered in some way, leaving me with various levels of pain or numbness on even some short rides.

My last bike fit was in part about addressing this, but back then, it wasn't at the point where I didn't want to ride. Regardless it's been almost a year since it, so you should have a sense of how long I've been trying to work through this.

I've had my saddle up, down, forward, back, flat, and tilted both directions. In that year I think I've put 8 different saddles on my road and cx bikes. Flat ones, curved ones, ones with heaps of padding and little, ones that are more hole than perch, rails made from steel, ti and carbon. My handle bars have gone up and down, out further and back towards. Most changes feel great for the first few moments of a ride, I roll out feeling like "ok, great, this is it, I've solved the problem"... but come home with a totally different opinion.

To sum it up, it's been frustrating and de-motivating.

I think the root of the issue is a difference in my leg lengths, leading to a lateral pelvic tilt. I think that's now made me super sensitive to any pressure, so I'm protecting myself by trying to hold an anterior tilt, which is having weird affect on my reach, and causing some secondary issues. I've tried to address this through a slight forward movement of one cleat, adding spacers under the same cleat, and finally a shim under my heel. Either I've not done enough,  or the damage is already done, because the discomfort is ongoing.

So, tomorrow I go have a chat, and some analysis done to see if we can come to a solution that returns a sense of eagerness to be on a bike, rather than a faint sense of dread.

PMPW: 89kg

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Hell Ride:
At the start of Olivers Hill I was stuck behind riders, by the top I was struggling in the chase of a few who'd gone clear.... in short I was more boxed than the 1893 fight between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke.

Things weren't just tough in the hills... as not only had fellas had their weetbix, they'd made them with espresso rather than milk.

Strava link.

D: 105.1km
A: 393m

PMPW: 88kg

Friday, 10 February 2017


Ricktastic Friday:
Today I remembered another reason why white socks are best left for race day(s).

The main reason is that they're white and thus get dirty, so putting them in high rotation is a sure fire recipe for riding in socks that are cream, bone, white, off-white, ivory or beige.

Anyway, what struck me today was how much a white sock stands out under a pant in the work place... and not in a "whoa i wear zany socks" way.

So yeah, white socks may look schmicko with white cycling kicks, both on the bike and in the cafe... but not so much with a tan Oxford.

Strava link.

D: 48.2km
A: 663m


D: 10.1km
A: 38m


Thursday, 9 February 2017


A plateau is the highest form of flattery.

D: 17.6km
A: 98m

PMPW: 88kg

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


Some local folk talking about sporting success and bicycles.

D: 23.4km
A: 150m

PMPW: 87kg

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Ricktastic Tuesday:
There's conjecture about who first post the question about the sound of a tree falling in a forest, though none about it's importance in illustrating the idea of unperceived existence. It (the idea, not the tree) reeks of narcissism, extending the idea that I exist because I think, to everything exists because I do. Obviously this has all been covered many times since it was first addressed in writing (1710 by the philosopher Berkeley), dissected, extended, reposed and re-purposed.

Without digging through the mountain of commentary, it's hard to know if anyone has ever asked a specific related question, but I'm claiming it's and un-reviewed  quadrant of logic.

If a Ricktastic Tuesday happens without Rick to witness it, is it really Ricktastic at all?

Strava link.

D: 49.9km
A: 622m


D: 8.1km
A: 21m

PMPW: 88kg

Monday, 6 February 2017


I've booked my next fit (next Monday), I decided to go with someone who uses some 3D analysis, because I don't trust my proprioception in a fit situation. In other words, I want something external and objective.

D: 18.4km
A: 94m

PMPW: 87kg

Sunday, 5 February 2017


I talked about heading up to Kinglake to watch the last stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour... but bailed due to the forecasted rain.

The telly showed some wetness up there, but it was dry pretty much everywhere else, highlighting that I'd somehow adopted an all or nothing approach, instead of heading out and doing something else.

PMPW: 88kg

Saturday, 4 February 2017


Hell Ride:
I decided early that I should just hang out in the bunch until we got to Frankston. It was halfway around some R33 dude, cranking out 700W, staring sideways at him with my best "what the actual fuck" face that it became clear to me that I didn't have the legs to play. I'm still a little bit shocked that anyone did though... who in god's name is strong enough to chop off at 600W?

That feeling of not belonging up front changed pretty quickly once we hit Olivers. One moment I was worried about having enough fitness to get to the front, the next I'd emerged from the bunch and into clear road. A rider burst past just at that moment, and just gave me something live to chase. We crested the top clear of everyone, and started to chop off, my confidence wavering on that razor thin line between impostor syndrome and destroyer of worlds. Lights put spoil to that adventure along the tight rope of emotions, riders engulfing us back into the fold as we rolled to a stop.

There was no joy in the final sprint, I was out of legs and position, but the roll around the bay to Port Melbourne made up for it. Blue skies, a flat bay, and mates to talk absolute shit with filling the reserves back up... well... not enough that a post lunch nap wasn't welcomed, but pretty well.

Strava link.

D: 108.4km
A: 390m

PMPW: 89kg

Friday, 3 February 2017


Not to be pedantic.... but there's a fine line between a numerator and a denominator.

D: 23.5km
A: 146m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 2 February 2017


6am NRR:
The trip down was a tail wind assisted smash fest, made more painful by the constant stop/start for lights. The way back was painful because I couldn't pedal my way out of a peleton of balance bikes.

That's northy though, some days you're the hammer, same days you're the Neil.

Strava link.

D: 52.9km
A: 240m


D: 8.0km
A: 27m

PMPW: 88kg

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


I had the car in for a service, which meant commuting from/to Camberwell via Walmer St.

Sure, it didn't have to mean Walmer St, but while helping a mate plan the commute to his new work place in Burwood, I stated if it was me, I'd take it (Walmer). So I put my quads where my mouth is, realised that's quite uncomfortable, then returned them back to their normal location.

D: 23.1km
A: 258m

PMPW: 88kg