How many kms have you done in the last 3 days? How does 1,200 kms and 10,000 Vertical metres compare?
On Monday 6th of October, Curve Co-founder Jesse Carlsson, left Perth with a bunch of other crazed cyclists, on a fully-loaded prototype Ti Grovel as part of an Audax event. The event entailed a 1,200km round trip from Perth traveling through Albany and back, which Jesse knocked off in just 63 hours. Battling headwinds, dead roads, triathletes and even ‘going too fast for the event’; here is what Jesse had to say about his ‘little’ adventure in the saddle.
“Last month I rode in the 1,200km Perth-Albany-Perth Audax event. All on bitumen; something a bit different for me! These events aren't races, rather they're participation rides where everyone who finishes within the 90 hour time cutoff is a winner. There are all shapes and sizes in these events. The most impressive thing for me is the larger, older folks who scrape through the checkpoints just before the time cut-offs, get little sleep and somehow finish just within the 90 hour limit.
People sometimes have personal goals of trying to finish within a certain time. I broke my ride up into three days. 440km on the first, 400km on the second and about 390km on the third. I finished the ride in just over 63 hours, stopping for about 4 hours on the first night and 5 hours on the second night. Pretty leisurely compared to some rides over the last few years, but with all the Audax hospitality there to be enjoyed it seems wrong to push the pace too much!
The ride was fully supported with checkpoints along the way where riders could refuel on food and fluids, staffed by volunteers who are super-psyched on endurance cycling. They're up at 2am cooking dinner for those arriving and then making toast for those leaving at 2:30am…. Always with a beaming smile! Amazing stuff!
After 24 hours, I was ahead of all the other riders and the staffing checkpoint schedule - where checkpoints often not yet set up. This got a little dangerous by lunchtime on day two when, assuming there would be staff everywhere, I hadn’t bothered to fill up my water bottles.
It was very remote, and I ended up down to 500ml while riding 110km into a nice stiff, warm headwind. In search of fluid, I altered my route, headed beyond the picturesque Stirling Ranges and embarked on a 7km homestead hunt, mostly off road. While worrying about destroying my tyres on rocky farm tracks, I got to meet a great character in Farmer John. He filled my bottles with rainwater and wanted to feed me dinner too after hearing what I'd been up to. I had to be on my way though. It was a euphoric ride back to route… one of those moments you get when doing these rides, but served as a great reminder not to get complacent.
On the last leg, I had a clear view of the lunar eclipse in the east on the ride back into Perth. The last stages of the route followed about 70km of bike path, which was more like a bike freeway - tunnels under roads, nice and wide, no stopping required. I passed the time by racing groups of triathletes who seemed to be doing 20 minute efforts along the path. Eventually the little pink link on my Garmin came to an end and it was over. I was welcomed back by yet another Audax volunteer who bought me some sports drink (beer) while the hops window was open (20 mins post ride).
Jesse looking a little tired, but happy in the "hops window"
After that I was planning to ride inland to Alice Springs, but with a bit of a fever, I instead listened to my body and enjoyed the Indian-Pacific train to Adelaide. I felt a bit better by the time the train rolled in, so thought I’d do some more product testing and rode a more leisurely 800km to Warrnambool.”
For most of us it’s crazy to fathom these sort of numbers, so large they can become arbitrary… but these kms really mean something when it comes to testing a product, especially in situations where failure isn't option. It doesn’t get much better than handing something over to Jesse to test the crap out of it.. here is his matter of fact word on the bike
"The event was as great test for the prototype Ti Grovel and it performed really well, I was running a mix of parts that I could rely on, Ultegra Group, SRAM mechanical disk brakes, Curve Carbon 24mm wheels. I carried a fair bit of weight at the front end of the bike (rain gear, tools and food) to boost the load on the frame and fork, and the dead chipseal road surfaces definitely tested the fabrication quality.
It proved to be such a great all-rounder. Light enough to charge up climbs, strong enough to handle some serious load and compliant enough to wash out the rough chipseal surfaces. The wheels are super versatile too. Over the last few rides I've used some rando 32s off-road tyres and fast road 25s for the Audax ride. Both options felt great."
The Ti Grovel will be available in a Made to Order fashion in the 2015. It shares the same geometry as the steel Grovel which is landing soon.