Monday, 31 December 2012


Much like before the Warny, I wanted to move my legs, but not put any load in to them. So again it was out with the rollers and the track bike for 20 minutes or so minutes reading the internet on my phone while trying to keep my legs spinning a smooth pedal stroke. Once I had a little bit of a sweat up, the phone went away and I ripped out two cadence drills for as long as it took to make me feel guilty about the noise for my neighbours. How's that for scientific training?

PMPW: 91kg

Sunday, 30 December 2012


CX Shenanigans:
I wanted something not too stressful, what I organised was a short roll with Guirgs and his mate Hugh on the cross bikes. I feel I got what I wanted. Mark and I had things to do later in the day, so an hour or two on the Yarra trails suited just fine.

Knowing the trails best I lead the way, looping over the HCC Kew Crit course where a few firemen were cleaning up the remnants of a small fire, down past the boat shed, up to the lookout over Bellbird park, around near the Royal Talbot, before nipping over the pipe bridge, up past the golf course and on to a sneaky coffee at 3 Bags.

Strava link.

D: 31.0km
A: 307m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 29 December 2012


Hell Ride & Airlie st repeats:
Sneaking a few tiny extras before the Helly I bumped into Jez Hunt and got chatting as we rolled to a pre Hell Ride coffee in Black Rock. Mostly it was the standard stuff like Christmas and how good my legs look, but one comment stood out. He thinks likes NRR is a decent little hitout. I know I think it's a good way to get an hour of intensity in before work, but hearing an (ex) pro say it is kinda cool.

The legs felt good with the tailwind, so I tested them by rolling to the front of the big bunch and found even when hitting turns they were ok, so I kept doing that. It kept me out of trouble and got some good time in the box. Around Seaford, during one of the periods where I'd slipped back into the fold, I found myself next to Bing, and plotted to give launch him up Olivers so he could give some boys hell over the next few. I sat on wheels for as long as I could, staying out of the wind, but eventually it became excruciating to wait on the slow wheels and I hit out early and once on the service road, smacked it.  setting a new power PR for XX seconds through to XX seconds before letting him and King fly clear of the bunch. Blown, I still made it over the top in 3rd, and waited for the main bunch to catch me instead of trying to follow the guys in the gap.

After a little work on the way back I was too far back to lead out the sprint, or go for it myself, I had to content myself with the effort on Oliver's.

The next lot of extras came in the way of 6 repeats up a sneaky hill near punt road. A work mate had told me about, he used to do repeats of it back in his elite running days. The plan was only 5, but given I accidentally stopped my GPS instead of hitting lap, I did an extra to ensure I could prove 5 with logs. What the logs cant prove, but I assure you happened, was that the last rep was done seated in the big ring.

To make a loop back down to the start I had to climb a bit of the cobbled alley 20m over, cruel treatment for spent legs.

Strava link.

D: 112.6km
A: 616m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 28 December 2012


After three decent days in the saddle I wanted an easier one. I thought about getting on the rollers to move the legs and work on nice clean pedal strokes... but the rollers were in the car, and that meant going down stairs and well... it just felt like too much effort.

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 27 December 2012


NRR and Mt Dandenong:
With a gorgeous day beckoning, some bonus extras were in order. I messaged DK and a plan was set. NRR followed by Mt Dandenong.

Dave turned up to Northy on his TT bike, and to be honest, I fair poo'd myself at the thought of trying to hold on to him rampaging on the front in a super aero tuck. Early on that's exactly what happened, and I hid as best I could. Once his enthusiasm died down, the thought of the nongs with him and possibly Tom Leaper as well, well... that kept me hidden in the bunch to save what legs I could. There was an exception to that though, not surprisingly the sprint finish. I timed the red lights at Glen Huntly to hit the bunch perfectly with Lachy camped perfectly on my wheel. I poured myself into the pedals, holding on to the power for as long as possible, getting him and Ray up to 57km/h and setting some new power PBs for 17 to 35 seconds.

A quick coffee and we headed out to the back of Mt Dandenong, to climb up to The Patch and then over to the wall. The pace wasn't too hard, until we hit the wall where Dave put the power down  and I did my best to limit the time loss. Looking at the data I could have gone a lot harder, though at the time it felt like I was doing a good job.


Strava link.

D: 154.5km
A: 1,821m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


NRR Long:
I managed to cajole at least one extra rider for the long loop from those turning at Mordi, a point that will become pertinent in just a moment.

The pace was fairy easy, two up, with those on the front able to chat. There were no fireworks until Baden Powel Drive when DK rolled past yelling "Live action!". I swore and hoped that Paul and the young Giant rider I'd cajoled into coming could and would cover the gap. To their credit they did, meaning I got a (uncomfortable) sit until the turn off from the highway. DK and a few others continued on to Arthurs Seat, and I was left with about 12 riders who'd managed to hang onto the DK train.

Into Canadian Bay and I stood to stretch the legs, and soon found myself on the front, so I kept the effort going until the flat centre, where I wiggled my elbow for others to push some air. To my surprise there was only 5-6 riders left, but that fact was soon pushed from my mind as Danny Kah attacked. The move was soon covered, and the final kick fast upon us. My young Giant rider friend kicked hard and I went after him, not quite matching, but doing enough to give stay in contact and lose everyone else. So the pertinent thing. Well I felt obligated to this young bloke, so decided to work for him as best I could. Into the descent I told him to just sit on, and I went about getting us to the bottom of Two Bays with as few fellow riders as possible. From there I tried to repeat what I did for Heggers some weeks back; set solid tempo to the top and give him a sit. Around 2/3 of the way up a Spencers rider came over the top and I shut my legs down, only pushing again to ensure Paul didnt catch me before the finish.


The roll home was pleasant until someone (possibly me), started some shenanigans around Mentone. Leigh Schilling neigh on finished it all with a massive pull through Brighton Beach. Sitting on his wheel, as low and aero as I could make myself, it was still taking 600W.

Strava link.

D: 95.3km
A: 529m

PMPW: 94kg

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


6am NRR:
There were 15 or so riders ready to roll at 6am on Christmas morning. I wasn't quite sure to be pleased by how many people were there given it was Christmas day, or sad that there were so few.

The whole group worked turns down the highway, a bit choppy at times, but it got us down to Mordi without any major dramas. From there DK came flying up the outside to a cry of "Merry Christmas". If I didn't like the bloke, I'd hate him.

Once that little giggle was done, the group settled into working home. 15 workers soon became 7 as guys got tired and looked to sit on. Over the two hills at Rickets Point and Black Rock and we were down to 5 riders sharing the load into the wind. In the end those left working pulled with all they had and peeled off, meaning whomever was on the back (Skinny) won the sprint.

It wasn't until I rolled past BP and checked the time that I realised how fast we'd gone. We only had to stop once for a red light, and that was back on the highway somewhere. A Christmas miracle? I think so!

Thankfully in the heart of Balaclava, a sole coffee shop was serving up cups of steaming awesome. Another Christmas miracle!

Strava link.

D: 44.9km
A: 199

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 24 December 2012


I did precicely nadda today.

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 23 December 2012


SKCC Crits:
SKCC had put up a big purse and a range of grades for a xmas carnival of the road. Some of the guys who'd normally worry me, the guys who take cash week in week out, were racing in a special "elite" category, but they were replaced by more strong dudes I didn't know.

Sitting around pre-race with the rest of the Rush boys, we talked the ways we wanted to ride and how we could work to best advantage. I offered to sit up the back and hammer a sprinter into position for a final kick, everyone seemed happy with that, and so I turned my brain off to everything else. Come the race, I had a simple job, take cheap places until the final laps, then unload everything into the pedals.

There were over 100 starters in A grade, but thankfully no other grades on the course at the same time. A few nervous moments near turn 2, and searing heat from a ripping northerly kept me focussed on my cheap places plan. Despite the numerous primes on offer, nothing was surviving off the front of the bunch.

Into the final laps it became tough to hold or gain position, I know I know, it's a freaking sprint, everyone wants to be in it, but this was more than normal. Into the last lap I was around 20th or maybe 30th wheel. It was a shit position and given the chaos around me I wasn't confident to check on the status of our 2 sprinters. Entering the back straight space opened up on the right and I pushed out and laid into the cranks. Hands resting loosely on the hoods, and my torso low, I could see my task; a train of single file riders, desperately clinging to the wheel of Tom Leaper.

The first 5 riders I passed without thought, the next slid by my left with the barest of eye twitches, but the crank revolutions piled up, the pain built. I focused my mind on my promise to my (team)mates, I had done nothing all race while others hurt, now was my time to hurt, to deliver on what I'd said I would, to deliver a sprinter (or two) to the final corner and a charge to the line.

Rounding the sweeper there was only 3 riders in front of me, Tom still leading the way, my body contorted, the hot air rasping at my lungs, finally not quite at the corner it was too much and I had to make the pain stop. I sat up, and tried to hold myself steady through the corner, waiting for a flash of pink to fly around me to the finish, but it never came.

Sitting around after the race, sucking back water, and laughing about the ridiculous heat and watching the elite race, I found out that I'd lost my sprinters in the confusion and possibly even cut one of them off when my minor nuclear meltdown occurred. These are things that can be worked on and solved, with planning and communication. What remains though is a confidence in my riding. That last effort was good.

Strava link.

D: 65.7km
A: 122m

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Hell Ride:
The bunch was silly big this morning, I stayed forwards to avoid drama and had a relatively good ride, but I'm told not everyone was on their best behaviour.

When we hit the hills, I got a little nervous given the three pros rolling in the bunch. The kick of Olivers/Hopes wasn't too bad, I made up a few places, but the false flat top had me on the tip of my saddle working hard to catch and hold a wheel. Someone, I don't know who, was hammering it 50m up the road and between them and I was just a single file line of riders making the pain face.

I hit the sprint early and gave the bunch a decent leadout, something to blow the cobwebs out of my legs and get a feel for what I would have to play with tomorrow. It felt good, hammering it out of the saddle, and had left me with confidence about racing.

Strava link.

D: 96.4km
A: 382m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 21 December 2012


My last day of work for 2012 was meant to be an easy one with some drinks in the arvo, but is oft the way, things did not go to plan.

I caught the train to ensure I could get a little loose, but everyone needed something and I ended up working a solid regular day, missing the drinks, and not even having a nice roll home on the bike.

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Yarra St Repeats:
I thought I was in for 20 repeats of Yarra st, a fine achievement, something to be proud of, then I found out the plan was 25-30. O_O

We rode 5 sets of 5, with the only rest being the time it took to roll back down via parallel roads. 4 "Short" efforts to the roundabout, the last being seated, then 1 "long" effort to the top before it all began anew.

I was feeling ok about it all, the legs weren't getting any fresher, and there was an intensity I had to ride at or risk bogging down and making the whole thing harder, but generally I felt in control. That was until lap 18, deep into the mentally hardest 1/4, Skinny smashed it and left me gasping in his wake. For the next two laps, including a seated and long effort I was riding solo, fighting demons on my own. We were re-united when Skinny waited, and began the final 5 reps together.

Just for laughs, Luke suggested we do the 24th rep, in the big ring. I was too deep into the "just get it done" mindset to realise he was taking the piss, so by the time he let me know he was joking it was too late. I had already dutifully shifted to the 53, and down the cassette a little to ease the strain on my chain, and was set to get to the roundabout with arse firmly planted. I wish there was a photographer as my straining legs must have looked awesome, possibly as good as when I cramped everything in the '11 Otway.

When the final rep was done, and we were headed to a cafe to put strong coffees into our face holes, I checked the stats. over 1,150m of climbing in 45 odd km. Oof, no wonder I felt wwrecked.

Strava link.

D: 61.5km
A: 1,259m

PMPW: 93kg

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


I'm not sure if this is improvement over yesterday. I made a plan, and (mostly) stuck to it. The plan was to do bugger all, and bugger all is what I did... well barring the bit at the end when 3 of us got a great sit behind a truck, but let's not talk about that because the first rule of truck club is "ow ow ow ow my legs!"

Strava link.

D: 47.4km


D: 15.6km
A: 176m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Ok, so I made a plan, the fact that nothing went to plan is not the point, making a plan is the first step... even if it was just for one ride.

I intended to treat northy like a crit with a sprint, sit on wheels, cover gaps if I needed to, and tear myself and others a new one at the end. What happened was the 6-8 riders who were willing to work got split off the front by some lights, then we caught 8 more sets on the highway. Heading home it was steady turns with Tommy Leaper and a few others. I still find how smooth ex pros like Tom are. Their turns are smooth and consistent. You know when they're behind you that you're not going to get left hanging or burnt as they roll through.

Strava link.

D: 49.9km
A: 192m


D: 19.7km
A: 137m

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 17 December 2012


Triangles, squares and pentagons were harmed in the making of my commute, despite the best efforts of my fixed commuter to pull the legs through in circles.

A: 87m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 16 December 2012


SKCC Crits:
Today was one of those days where I have to turn my brain off and get on with the issue in front of me, and worry about other stuff when the times comes for it.

I intended to roll around with E grade, but a few showers that left the course with wet spots put paid to that. Thankfully by the time D/B were up, the course was looking alright, so I whipped on a marshal's vest and rode with the D graders, doing my best to keep it locked in the little ring and out of the 11t.

For the A grade race, I had plenty of team mates, so I took camp towards the back of the bunch and saved every Watt I could. Heggers and DK deserve thanks for being in all the moves, I'd look over the heads of the bunch and every time a few riders were clear of the front, a pink jersey was with them. The start was somewhat frenetic, the big bunch stretching the length of the back straight, but after half an hour things calmed down and settled into more steady chase downs of the attacks.

Coming towards the end of the race Guirg asked me how long we had to go. I checked the time and told him 5ish minutes plus 3 laps... only to moments later cross the line and see the 2 laps to go sign. I grabbed places as best I could, getting myself to the front only to see new recruit Ritchie hanging out in the wind. He's got a good kick so I rounded the bunch and slotted myself in front of him with the instruction to sit tight. It was too early, a lap and a half to go, but I was at the front, and there were other Rush riders around, so I hit the pedals hard. With Jake behind me cajoling more effort, I made it through to just before corner two before the legs gave out and I had to roll clear. To my left I saw this unfold.

Strava link.

D: 95.5km
A: 154m

There was a stiff Southerly blowing as I drove up to Blackburn CC, I ran myself through a standard track warmup of some time on the rollers, a cadence effort and a power jump, before putting on 104" and some big wheels. 104" is a couple down on what I normally use, but the wind down the long back straight worried me enough to adjust... plus it meant I didn't have to change chain rings.

My flying 200 wasn't too bad (12.570sec), a few tenths off my record on a day not suited to super fast times. It wasn't the best of the day though, that honour went to a u19 kid from QLD who'd come down for Melbourne Cup on Wheels. Even though he couldn't hold the bike down in turn 4, and went up to the blue, he rode 12.520sec. Definitely the bloke to beat.

Race 1: (14:12)
I drew the lead and when Dino started playing games, forcing me to look around, then taking height, I worked up the pace to ensure I had track position to cover the lane if he dropped. I took a big look back as we came through turn 4, 275 odd metres to go, Dino was still a ways back... I decided it was time to go for a long TT style race. Partway down the back straight I took a full fight look, then another out of turn 4. I really feel it's a skill that will prove valuable (looking back while sprinting), after all... you can't race someone when you don't know what they're doing (you can only race yourself).

Race 2: (12:49)
I was a bit cocky going into my race against Stephen Ellul, a junior who'd ridden 12.786. I was in the lead, and pretty much decided to ride the top of the track, leaving a massive massive door open underneath me, thus backing my ability to notice and react to his jump. In the video you can hear James on the camera talking me through it (to himself) saying I should take it early as he's got a fair jump on him. It was spot on, when the jump came, though I was able to get into the lane first, I wasn't able to hold Stephen out. Suddenly I was faced with a wheel to get around and not much time to do it. I tried anyway putting in a monster throw, but the comms deemed the kid had won. Bugger.

Race 3: (12:10)
I did some quick maths on the standing results and I had no chance of a 1v2 final, but with a win I should get myself into the 3v4 final. This put me in a decisive mindset, one where I had to put myself on the line. Drawing the follow I tried to ride so as to leave myself room to go over the top. I stood coming out of turn 4, then tried to time a kick to gain a meter or two. Coming into one it was obvious I hadn't gained enough room to go over the top so I had to change tactics. I swang up towards the club house and them hammered back down into the gap with my back wheel scrabbling to handle both the acceleration and corning. Luke had seen me sweep up and was holding a little back for when I drew along side him, but I'd committed to riding the long way anyway, so had it would up. In the end I had a bike length, a place in the finals and a big grin from the break and run.

3v4 Finals: (9:34)
I was feeling mentally and physically wearing leading into this race. Knowing David Koroknai, my opponent, had beaten me last round and qualified only 0.002 seconds slower only compounded the issues. I went out without any plan and David nailed me with great tactics, cutting off my line with a long hook then a drop as we hit 250m to go,  I tried to get under him after our initial kick, but there was no room, by the time Dave kicked and I got back on the gas he had a gap. I chased and got most of the way round, but most is not enough.

Post race sausages: 9

PMPW: 93kg

Saturday, 15 December 2012


I'm continuing to learn what the moves are and how to do then/what they're trying to achieve, but it's frustrating process. At one point the helpful pointer the instructor gave was to be pushing on the outer edge of the back foot, but despite resetting a few times, I wasn't close to weighting the back foot let... alone the outer edge of it.

At a few points I found myself struggling with feelings of heat and breathing. time outs. During the times I was sitting at the back of my mat breathing deep, I noted that half the class were also taking moments out. I'll take solace that perhaps that either the humidity or the class was making it extraordinarily difficult.

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 14 December 2012


Last night was my work's christmas party, other than being nice to hang out with my collegues in a non work setting, it was a night of shit food and muchos booze. At one point the words "hey, we've still got a bunch of money on the tab..... Tequila shots!!!" were spoken. I don't remember too much beyond that, and it might help explain why I CBF today.

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 13 December 2012


6am NRR:

In hindsight my brain is trying to shape my experience this morning to make it more palatable, and to paint it in a light that suggests I achieved my aims. I didn't.

I didn't have an aim per se, but wanted to get some moderate training in. Instead I sat in the bunch and only pulled one significant effort, a lead up to the sprint.

My brain it telling me that I'm taking an easy week, but I know that wasn't the plan for today.

Strava link.

D: 51.1km
A: 267m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


I'd planned on going long this morning, I set an alarm and everything. When the afore mentioned alarm went off, I got up, squeezed out yesterday's lunch and contemplated my motivation to do said NRR long. It wasn't particularly high, in fact, I felt overcome with meh.

I considered having to write these very words, admit to the world I'd softed out. I thought about Ray on Tuesday when he asked me if I'd won SKCC Crits and I told him I hadn't even finished. Disappointment (in others) is a highly motivating force for me, it elicits shame, and I'll put myself through hell to avoid shame. Yet, even with the knowledge I would feel shame in the future, I went back to bed post poo.

I think I'm going to take a short mental break from "training" and work out some goals for racing.

D: 15.6km
A: 91m

PMPW: 90kg

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


6am NRR:
I didn't know how my legs would fare today, it's over a week since ToB, but well... I dunno it's still there mentally if not physically.

I mostly sat in going South, rolling to the front a few times to get better position, I may have even rolled an extra turn or two, but let's not pretend it was anything more than me trying to stay out of the path of the riff raff. Heh, riff raff, using that suggests I'm above "them". Separate, but equal.

The way back I got myself to the front and pulled turns. By Brighton I was feeling stretched, the hard turns others pulled along the beach took me to a snot running, face grimacing, tongue biting place, a place where you can feel sprint power being eaten away savaged by the second.

I've sent a message to Carl about working on taking my peak power and trying to make it available at the end of a race/ride. Kicking at 1,300W when I know my body can produce 1,900W is disappointing.

Strava link.

D: 46.1km
A: 212m


D: 18.3km
A: 162m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 10 December 2012



D: 17.3km
A: 172m

There was some guest instructor (Pradeep Teotia) which meant the room had way more people in it than previously. Surprisingly, to me, the increased numbers didn't maintain the previously observed gender ratio, it seems guys are a sucker for guest instructors.

The actual session was a bit of a blur, mostly due to the fast pace, partially due to the numerous downward dogs making sweat run into my eyes to screw with my vision. The only moments where I had to stop and regroup were due to confusion/balance rather than heat/exhaustion.

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 9 December 2012


SKCC Crit:
I want to cover what I didn't do today, rather than what I did, though the latter deserves at least some mention.

I rolled in early enough see the end of the Women's racing and organise to marshal D grade, something I did in the little ring, about 2/3 of the way down the bunch. In the final laps when it was clear that the break would stay clear I kicked across to watch their lines in the sprint. It was only when I got to their wheels I realised I could have just sat up and waited for them to come around to me.

I didn't finish the A grade race. Some drizzle partway through the race resulted in a crash in front of me. The plan Skinny and I had to try and get Nicole Whitburn up in the sprint to "chick" the bunch was put aside, none of us wanted to restart with the bunch, especially given the handsome advantage the break was given.


So, what didn't I do today? I didn't ride Arthurs Seat a couple of times with the guys seeking selection for Herald Sun Tour. I struggled to balance my desire to be that level of cyclist with the reality of how I performed at the Tour of Bright. To balance off trying in the face of adversity and cutting my losses and moving forward in something more suited. There's elements of Tuckman's 5 stages of group development, with some ideas pointing to a move from forming to storming.

Declaring myself a non option for HST felt like the right assesment of my abilities and the time available to me to change them... but still felt like admitting defeat.

Strava link.

D: 87.3km
A: 152m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 8 December 2012


Total Rush Ride:
Waking to the strong flavour of last nights souvlaki, I was glad that the shop ride rolls south fairly slow, you know... a chance for excess beer to seep out of the folds of my brain before the "fun times" began.

What fun times they were! The shop's looking to fill a team at the Herald Sun Tour, so a few irregulars were in attendance. I was one of the 10 left standing in Mordi, waiting in an air that smelt a lot like a handicap. Everyone else was already rolling for home like the rabbits they were.

We set off, getting up to speed and organising ourselves into a couple of pace lines. The turns were as solid as the legs that surrounded me, a few who were feeling the hurt left the gas open a little longer than necessary, but mostly it was smooth into the strengthening northerly. Each little bunch we caught and released was a challenge, you had to quickly identify how much of a risk they were. Low risk groups could be passed close, keeping our wheels cleanly in the left lane. Riders with flapping jerseys or those who got pushed around by the gusts of wind were given a wider berth, singling out our multihued bunch.

I recall a few years back commenting here about the pride I had at rolling hard turns with Tom Leaper, it was a Hell Ride that got shattered in the wind and all that was left was Hayden Kerr, Tommy, myself and one other. It was a tough day in the saddle, but riding with a guy like Tom made me feel like a true racer. That feeling still stands, Tom was in our group again today and slotting between him and NRS riders left me feeling proud.

Strava link.

D: 72.3km
A: 331m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 7 December 2012


CX Shenanigans:
Sandwich a ride with some mates between two coffees, stir in a few trails I hadn't seen before and finish with a liberal sprinkling of claret running down my leg. (Serves 5)

Image provided by Skinny, blood provided by my bone marrow.

Strava link.

D: 43.1km
A: 350m

PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 6 December 2012


6am NRR:
I so didn't feel this one, my legs weren't even going in squares, it was more like triangles.

I did zero work, and was perched right on the wheel of Jez Hunt going up my favourite hill, yet when he kicked to attack the bunch there was no way in hell I could go with him. That may just be saying a lot about the difference between a (very recently retired) pro and a club racer, but I felt it was a testament to how shagged I was.

Strava link.

D: 45.1km
A: 252m


D: 19.5km
A: 327m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 5 December 2012



D: 14.8km
A: 128m

I wanted to try something, a pyramid of pain to simulate a hard lead up to a sprint finish. I failed to finish what I set out to, but that may be ToB fatigue, or possibly just a poor warm up. Either way i'll give it another crack, this time with some cadence efforts and jumps to kickstart the legs.

1 x 10min E1
1 x 5min @ 350W
1 x 2min @ 450W
1 x 1min @ 550W
1 x 0:30min @ 600W
1 x 0:20min @ Sprint

I didn't get through the full 550W effort, bailed on the 600W entirely, and only pulled 1,000W when I kicked at the end.

Strava link.

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 4 December 2012



D: 9.6km
A: 159m

Mario's Xmas Ride:
I joked with others in the carpark that the last time I rode my MTB was last year at this very same ride. I noticed that 26" hardtails were now very much in the minority, and even 26" dualies were becoming rare, something I tried hard not to think too much about as I rolled out sans spare tube.

What followed was a a bit over 2 hours of single track shenanigans. I use the term shenanigans a lot, but it just feels right. 24 odd blokes and 2 even girls, ripping trails close to our hearts, in fact many on the ride were responsible for their existence. I soon found I still had a reasonable bunny hop rhythm, and legs strong enough to compensate for poor climbing technique... but what I lacked was the flow.I oft found myself corning like a roadie on his first fat tyres. Bike leant over, but body upright and stiff.

As the light dwindled, the shit talk got louder, and my confidence grew. By the end I was 4th wheel behind Benny, Sam Chancellor and Rohin. I tried to think about the old addage "slow is smooth, smooth is fast", in reality it was more like "ok ok ok, turn..... NOW.... shitshitshitshit too wideshutuupandPEDAL!!!!!".

The grin I had on my face as we rolled back to the cars was for a multitude of reasons. I'd just won the sprint, and burgers were immanent... but more so that I'd hung out with a group of guys I barely see any more, and had a ripping time. Moments like when Rohin brake checked me mid trail, sending me into a one footed endo reminded me why I hate and love these people. Buncha jerks!

Over burgers, Craig Peacock pulled out his Leadville 100 mile belt buckle... the big one you get for finishing sub 9 hours. It's ridiculously oversized. It's obscene! I think I want one of my own.

Strava link.

D: 29.7km
A: 834m

PMPW: 90kg

Monday, 3 December 2012


I chased a few roadies on my commuter up and down St Kilda Rd, mostly because it got me to work and home quicker, partially to force my legs around in hexagons.

D: 16.4km
A: 102m

Though it seemed impossible last week, it felt like I sweated more tonight. I got lost a bunch more times, trying to remember what downward warrior 17 (or whatever it is) is, and once took the simplest options of each move.

I look forward to getting over the learning hump, where I know what each thing is, and what it's trying to achieve. Hopefully then I wont feel like such a bumbling buffoon.

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Tour of Bright - Stage 3 (Mt Hotham):
There's a point in a stage race when you wake up, get on the bike and are greeted with a wooden feeling from your legs. You work through some drills, cadence predominately, just stuff to get things moving, all the while hoping either you'll come good or everyone else is in the box just as deep if not deeper than you.

For me that was this morning, though to be fair, there was only one morning to wake less than fresh to, but lets not let trivial logic get in the way of a fairly mundane story.

The race rolled off up the Ovens Valley, a few attacks came and went (went and came?), before one with 5-6 riders were allowed clear off the front. In fact they were given a massive leash... or the leash wasnt being held, it was ridiculous, it was.... buggerit I'm going too!

So I was off the front (middle?) of the race, solo, with a mere 50km to go. I gave a few quick looks over my shoulder, the bunch wasn't responding, so after a few minutes I stopped looking and got about setting a tempo for myself. My heart rate wasn't rising up to threshold levels, but the pedals were turning, so that would have to do. I was mindful of any small rises, preferring to keep a steady power rather than a steady speed. After a 5, maybe 10 minutes, I really don't know, I was joined by 3 others, we worked some smooth turns, and we worked some ugly ones, there were no sprint points left for us, but getting to the mountain with a head start on the bunch suited us all.

It was not to be, on the approach into Harrietville a glance back showed that Lach and Dan were mowing us down, I sat up and waited to get swallowed. Then as we approached the first kick of the mountain I went backwards through the bunch. Thankfully so was Lachlan, he was the bloke I'd decided must be beaten today, and for the 20 odd kilometres before manure started to hit oscillating objects, it's be great to have a mate about to talk manure to. Well... that was the plan anyway. As we set about climbing the mountain it was obvious that Lach's legs were in better shape than mine, he'd surge off ahead, leaving my tired body for dead, only to come back a few minutes later when he was bored. We picked up a few other riders to cries of "GRUPPETTO!!!
". It's nice to finally know that language the mountains in Australia evoke is Italian rather than French, for if it was the latter we would have been the Autobus. In hindsight it seems ridiculous that I even considered we might have been an Autobus... seriously... just look at us!
Anyway, when we finally got to the toll booths, Lach hit again, I sighed and went hunting for my "happy" climbing place. 90rpm, hands loosely on the tops of my bars, pulling through the bottom of each pedal stroke with purpose. Over the course of the 3 steep ramps that serve only as a cruel form of torture I pegged him back, passed him, was repassed, repegged him back, passed him again, then was repassed, before a final bout of repeggig, repassing and finally dropping the little bastard in the surge to the line.

The tour was over, I'd finished 41st out of 55 finishers, the very definition of pack fodder and far from my aspirations of overall nudge giver. My best "result" was 22nd in the TT, but I still dropped 1 minute there and 15 overall.

I'm not sure if I'll be back for this one, if I do, I'm going to need to be 82kg with my same power. I'm not meaning to sound negative, I loved the weekend, from my perspective it was a bloody well run event, each of the road stages leaving a stupidly fun descent to get home. There is one thing I'd change though. The bloody magpie that swooped me as I descended past the Hotham toll booths. I wish it would bugger right off.

A quick thanks to Dawnski who put up with my petulance, Rush for the support and Lachy for letting me win.

Strava link.

D: 124.5km
A: 1,984m

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Tour of Bright - Stage 1 (Gap Loop):
There were a few riders that rolled up to the start line that made me question my hopes of finishing well on GC, for starters there were guys like Ash Hyatt, and then there were dudes like Murray Spink and Vaughn Bowman. So I sat in the bunch as we rolled down the Ovens Valley, I thought about the first sprint, but found myself poorly placed, so let others take out some pep from their legs.

Over Rosewhite Gap I was in the top 30, riding a good solid tempo in the muggy mountain air, the last km to the summit hurt as riders surged to take the last KOM point remaining after the break had been through. Still I got through that and considered myself in decent nick.

Up the Kiewa Valley, I was sitting pretty in the bunch, the Artisan Boys were doing the work to bring the break back and set up their man Sam for the 2nd sprint. I missed the start of the sprint, but it felt like everyone had gone way to early. I went after them, closing massive amounts of ground, but it was going to be too late, so I aborted and waited for the bunch. Now closing on the base of Tawonga Gap I tried to ignore the misspent energy, and concentrate on the climb.

Turning up the climb I was towards the back, the pace already starting to be driven at the front, hurting riders and creating gaps. I covered a few, but a few bunches had already formed and I was on the wrong side of all of gaps to both the lead and chase groups. I hoped to set a tempo that would bring me back to the chase group, it looked like they were going too hard to sustain, especially in the seriously humid air, it was like riding through soup, and not the nice refreshing gazpacho type of air either.

The gaps never lessened, all I caught were ones and twos, spat off the back of the charging packs. I finished the climb with my heart having averaged 181bpm, a good 5 above threshold. The results tell me I'd dropped just under 4 minutes in a touch over 7km. All I knew was I was putting back water like it was beer, hoping that I'd recover for the TT in the arvo and Hotham tomorrow.

Strava link.

D: 93.0km
A: 1,229m

Tour of Bright - Stage 2 (ITT):
With a TT bike, disc wheel, bootie covers and sperm shaped helmet, I felt slightly silly. I was off the pace of the grade, but it was too late to un-borrow Ian's bike, so why not see what I could do on it?

Out of the gate, this time without a crash, I tried to set a solid, but steady tempo. I had my Garmin mounted with gaffa tape between the TT bars, giving me heart rate, distance and speed. I tried to pay aattention to them in that order of importance. The heart rate seemed low for the perceived effort, I wished for a power meter to judge my pain against. Instead I used the rider ahead. Picking markers he passed and counting the time it took me to reach them.

I wasn't losing time, but my forearms burnt, the position though (mostly) aero, was foreign to my tired body, the strain of holding it together finally grew too much about 1km from the turn around. I had to break the tuck and give my grip a rest in a different position (the bull horns).

Around the turning point, the rider behind me caught and then passed me, but didn't get out of sight. It was last year's B grade runner up, Nick Bien, and he wasn't extending his lead. In fact setting the steady tempo homeward, I was regaining ground. I caught, re-passed him and then set about taking back my 20 seconds.

My body ached, but sooner than expected I could see the finish line, and I had energy left in the tank. I swore at myself, I'd not kept track and paced poorly. I poured what I had into the pedals, stopping the clock at 22:50.34, 22nd in the grade and whole 1.04 seconds faster than Mr Bien.

The race for good GC was over, but there was still some sprint points and the challenge of Hotham tomorrow. I shovelled food and water into my tired body and hit the sack early as rain hammered into the tin of the hotel roof.

Strava link.

D: 15.8km
A: 130m

Friday, 30 November 2012


Sprint Eliminator:
Sprints, against a bunch of roadies, predominately climbers. It sounded tailor made for me, so much so that I was confident of success. I went as far as using my track pedals, the ones with leather straps to ensure the powerful and oft violent efforts to get bike and body up to speed didn't result in a pulled foot and a blown chance.

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't even make it through the first round. I not only lost, but due to a combination of my holder's technique and my strapped in feet, I ended up on the ground of the start line. Dave came over and helped me out, giving me a side hold and getting me off the line. When the timer went off the fall didnt matter. I mono'd off the line, my small gear giving me a quick lead, but I was soon brought back, I couldn't click gears quick enough and my opponent drew away.

Despite clocking up a new power PB (1,894W @ 79rpm). I tried to laugh with everyone at the arms crossed, pouting countenance I took on as I crossed the line, but it would be a lie to say I felt anything other than shame and disappointment.

Link to the power data on Strava.

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 29 November 2012


6am NRR:
I wouldn't class this weeks lead into ToB as ideal, today being a good example of doing too much too close, but hanging out with mates sometimes take precedence. I was cajoled into rocking up today, to take a sit and then pour fresh coffee down my gullet post ride.

I rolled up on big wheels, my bike already prepared for the weekend's racing, the legs felt ok, not great, but good enough. I sat in, like the good little rest week rider I am, occasionally hitting the wind on the outside of the bunch as I made up cheap positions and kept myself clear of any haggard riders.

A group got clear as we flicked through Brighton as the bunch got muddled with other road users and many gawked at some cops breaking up an early morning party. Round into Ormond Esplanade H looked back, saw me and patted his arse to indicate I should stick like glue to his back wheel. He whipped up the outside of the strung out bunch, hauling us to the lights half way along. I pulled around as I felt him starting to flag, hitting the wind and opening up the legs, trying to increase the pace through to and over the bump before Glen Huntly, pulling off as the numbers scraped in to the 60's. I sat up, the strung out bunch whipping by, only to see the lights go red and spoil the party. I took a few deep breaths and got myself back around everyone to the front... one final effort, see if I could drop everyone off the line. I couldn't, and it was a little silly to do it to my legs, but the whole thing was fun, so I don't regret anything.

Strava link.

D: 43.6km


D: 17.9km
A: 154m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


I've stolen my mate Ian's TT bike for the ToB, and while the concept of riding on TT bars is not foreign to me, it's been a while... and I've only done 1km at a time... not 14km. So today I did 45 odd km on the bike. There's a few minor tweaks to my position, a silly looking helmet and some massive wheels to slot into it, which will make it feel (and be) a touch faster, but mostly it felt good. It's a bike, you pedal it and it goes forwards.

It's certainly not a silver bullet for killing bunches, but it hummed along pretty nicely on the few times I opened up the legs (first turn out of Mordi, the Black Rock/Sandi hill).

Ideally I'd have the SRAM/Quark cranks on it for the TT, but axles and BBs mean (if I can jerry rig a TT garmin mount) I'll just have HR and speed to pace with.

Strava link.

D: 45.3km
A: 229m


D: 16.2
A: 109m

PMPW: 90kg

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


So yeah, yoga. I've heard recommendations by a many cyclists saying it's been great for them, and if it helps me achieve my threshold power while in a more / fully aerodynamic position, then I'm willing to give it a go. It doesn't hurt that it is also an activity that can be done with Dawnski.

So it was some kind of hot yoga, the kind where I end up being that guy in the corner. You know the one. The sweaty, panting, shaking... well basically the one that looks like an out of shape rapist.

The instructor seemed nice enough, but i had a heap of "huh... what goes where?!" moments, so spent most of the time looking to the dude in front/right of me to know what to do. Even with his visual queues, I think I did most things "wrong". Also, when the instructor said "it's ok if you need to bend a knee (or something) " I was always doing that thing... and sometimes that wasn't enough

I felt light and limber after the session was over, part of which might be explained by the litres of sweat that had poured from my body. It also seems to have made me taller, as I was mere millimetres from smashing my head on the support beams in the car park below my apartment. I ducked for safety.

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 26 November 2012


I forgot the most important thing that happened on Saturday night. I help Josiah Ng's for the start of the sprint invitational... and I touched his bum!

I'll be signing autographs later.

D: 16.6km
A: 120m

PMPW: 91kg

Sunday, 25 November 2012


SKCC Crits:
I took a sleep in rather than marshal E and D grades today, recovery seemed more important than an extra 60km of spinning out my legs.

After the wall of text that ensued about yesterday I'm keen to keep this short and sweet.

I sat at the back of the bunch for most of the race, doing my best to minimise energy usage. The Total Rush team plan had a couple of guys getting into breaks and a few of us left to wind out a bunch kick, so I didnt have to be anywhere else.

At some point I completely failed to get a bottle back in it's cage and effectively just dropped it onto the road mid pack. Guilt ensued, though thankfully no one hit it.

In the closing moments of the race I got into the top 15-20 riders, there was a mass of Rush riders, but we weren't organised into a train. Through for the bell lap and it was chaos, the first proper bunch sprint I've seen at St Kilda for some time. I fought for position, leaning my bike harder through the corners than I had all day and then smacking the pedals through the exit. I was on the outside and round the big sweeper two riders in front of me launched. I followed, working hard to hold the frenetic pace, out of the corner I stayed seated, it's a long way to the line. The two in front stood and gapped me. FUCK! I kept pushing into the pedals, hoping Ray was somewhere behind, getting benefit from my effort, an effort that soon came to an end as riders went flying up the road to my left.

I believe I rolled the line in around 6th to 10th. Probably my best result in an A grade crit, but like my legs, it felt a little hollow. I'm hoping that after next weekend, when I start working on speed and come in to a race with slightly fresher legs, that I'll be able to deliver a final punch that effects the race and either nets me or one of my boys a little envelope with some freddo frog money.

Strava link.

D: 67.1km
A: 121m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Hell Ride:
Over 100 guys (and possibly a few girls, but not many) rolled out of Black Rock at 7am, a mess of talent and lack there of, occupying far more road than is polite. I was there, probably like many, to sneak in a quick 100km before activities later in the day.

I was eager to hit the rollers past Frankston, to unload my legs on Hopes Rise and see who I could shell, who I could break and plain old, what I could do. So I sat in until then, working my way to the front for a single turn and the right to hold good position, then moments later finding myself back where I had started after being swamped by 50 riders. For most of the ride I had the Metro "dumb ways to die" song stuck in my head, it seemed appropriate.

At the foot of Olivers/Hopes I tried to position myself without catching to much wind, then when the kick happened I leapt from the saddle, striking down on my pedals, catching many riders... but not as many as I hoped. I suppose that sums up my morning, it was ok, but not quite there. For me, at this time of year, if a ride isn't t inspiring confidence, then it's casting doubts.

Strava link.

D: 96.6km
A: 410m

'ABS' & 'Bell Helmets' Track Open:
I signed up to race this after reading about it on Carl's blog, money, keirins, sprints... awesome!

Walking through the underpass to the infield, bike over the shoulder, rollers in hand, the first cyclist I see is none other than Josiah Ng. My already tired legs suddenly seemed wooden, I was hoping to be one of the stronger riders, with olympians walking around, I suddenly felt very "club level".

In a moment that gave me mixed emotions I found I'd been graded as B grade. I'd get no sprints, just a keirin or two, but I wouldn't have to race Josiah and find out just how far off world class I really am.

After a massive delay (due to a crash that required a stretcher), I lined up for an 8 lap scratch race, I knew a few riders from Thursday night racing, and they were faster than me. Off the line someone dove from on high and took a gap on the field, the guy on the front kicked drilled 1/4 of a lap then swung an elbow and himself up the track leaving me on the front. I pulled for half a lap, concentrating on smooth and powerful pedal strokes, I flicked my elbow, glanced over my shoulder and swung high, waiting for the 14 odd riders to rip along the bottom of the track. As I spied the 3rd last rider I eased myself down the boards, aiming to roll cleanly onto the back. I nailed it, a study of perfection. Sitting on that wheel, in a nice draft, feeling fairly chuffed with myself I realised the wheel I was on had dropped the one in front of him, as I rounded him to get on to the next guy the race was going to pieces with attacks off the front. The next half dozen laps are a blur of pain, I kept turning the pedals only because I didn't want to fail in front of all my friends in the stands and infield. Into the final lap, the commissaire's bell clanging from the line, I realised I was in the top 6 riders. I pushed out, and attacked the rider in front of me. I'd clear him easy and roll in for 3rd. Only through the last corner, I wasn't getting around him easy. Disappointment swelled from my gut, rising up my gullet... and then I realised Lou Pascuzzi was fading. I rolled him in the final straight, getting the 3rd I'd expected, my entry fees back.

In my keirin heat I went after the bike, but left a gap. It was filled by the biggest guy in the race and I was happy. I got a good sit and a chance to practice looking back while rolling at pace. When the bike peeled off the lead rider lifted the pace to the bell, I hit him, slamming the door as soon as I was clear past him and powering my way around the track low and fast. Through turn 3 and 4 I figured I had the race made, I risked a glance, backed off the pedals and got myself rolled. Still 2 riders went through, so all I'd missed out on was $10.

The scratch result got me a start in the handicap, I was odd 110m and knew a few riders near by. If colluding was allowed I would have told them I'd drill a few hot laps for them and then pull off, it's not though. The gun went and it took me a bit to get wound up. I was worried about those behind me so I constantly looked back for them. I was chased down quickly and I found myself with a lot more in my legs, so I drilled it... but I didnt care about the race, the keirin was where I wanted to spend my energy, so I pulled off the front and rolled out of the race.

In the keirin final, I found myself fighting for 3rd wheel. I had the lane but a Malaysian team rider arrived at the wheel the same time as me. For a few laps we traded elbows and hips, before finally he went away. I figured the time in the wind had softened his legs, so I got back to thinking about the race, pedalling smoothly and all that jazz. When the bike peeled off the first rider attacked. I must have hesitated because the Malay was back and slammed himself (cleanly) into the hole in front of me. Suddenly I was on the inside, boxed completely. I tried to jostle myself a path out, but eventually, as we rounded for the bell, I realised my only way out was backwards. I soft pedalled, going under every rider, then set my legs to kill and put the power down but it wasn't enough, and I died coming 4 wide around the final turns.

I piled my gear into the car, opting to skip the points race. It was late, I was tired and there was racing in the morning to consider.

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 23 November 2012


I was accused of being a big kid by a fellow commuter. I'd been riding along St Kilda Rd on the back wheel of my hardtail, hopping up and down the pedestrian crossings that jutted out past parked cars.

It's what fat tyres are for.

D: 15.5km
A: 169m

PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 22 November 2012


6am NRR:
Last Thursday I felt like I didn't train very well, despite getting 1,100m vertical before work. I didn't want to repeat that, I wanted to hurt, to suffer, to spend time at or above threshold. I decided to opt for NRR, where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same.

I got my time in the box, turns down to Mordi, turns back to Mentone, pulling up Ricketts, overtaking the bunch up the Black Rock/Sandi hill, covering a break formed when Jez Hunt attacked. By this point I was close to breaking, I had to slide back to the end of the bunch, barely kicking in time to catch the last wheel.

I moved myself up through the golden mile, trying to find a good position and just ride smoothly, hoping my legs would recover enough to sprint. I'm not sure if it was that I was on the edge of the bunch (in the wind) for a lot of that set up, or if it was simply the smacking I'd (been) given all morning, but I had nadda for the final kick. As we rounded the small lump before Glen Huntly, Jez was on the front, Andy Naylor on his wheel, and I on Andy's. Andy pulled out leaving me a gap and when I pushed on the pedals, there was nothing extra. In fact, the tank felt empty. I took the sight of lights, cars and other riders as an opportunity to sit up, but I'll be honest, if I had the legs, I would have hit whatever gap was necessary.

I rolled to coffee pretty happy that I'd achieved the suffering I had failed to get last week. My choice felt as justified as my legs felt flayed. Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day.

Strava link.

D: 45.8km
A: 176m


D: 15.3km
A: 167m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


NRR long:
I wanted to do one thing today, smack the hills behind Frankston. I sat and chatted on the way down, I sat and hid on the way back, and on the hills... well I went to my happy unhappy place and my times have left me happy.

To me the crux of the ride was Two Bays Rd, I'd gotten over Canadian Bay a few metres off the guys who'd attacked at halfway. I'd chased them down on the first part of the descent and I'd hit that bottom left hander into Two Bays on the front. There were 6 or so blokes behind,the first and foremost of which was Benito Hegertini.He'd been one of the riders to attack on Canadian, so I figured he was feeling ok and took it upon myself to set a tempo for as long as possible, shielding him from the wind and giving him a shot at the "win".

There was no one close to our little group, so I eased into the effort, holding around 350W until the road ramps around 400m in. I built from there to around 450W, settled my cadence around 90rpm and then stopped looking at my computer. Eyes up the road, eventually I couldn't hear anything over the sound of my own breathing. A rider in TKM kit came around me with a bit of extra pace at house #30, I screwed my face up and dug into already hurting legs. A very quick glance told me I was pushing over 500W and my HR was already at 185bpm, I regretted looking, so to take my mind off it I took a glance back, there was no one left on my wheel, it was me and Mr TKM. I kept pushing on the pedals, standing out of the final left hander, his lead wavered, then slowly, slowly, slowly it started coming back, but not enough for the "win". So why am I happy with that? My time was 6 seconds off my best, but it was all me.

Strava link.

D: 109.4km
A: 642m

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


My legs felt like arse. There's not much else to say about it but I'm going to anyway.

I tried to open them up with a couple of early turns and some high cadence drills, but they never fired. I sat in for neigh on the whole ride, just popping out to rip up the Blackrock/Sandi hill.

In some ways that felt great (I strung out the bunch and caused a few gaps), in others it just highlighted that my legs could work, but weren't.

My normal commute was substituted for the tram so I could heat to Ian's place after work and steal his TT bike for ToB. I'm actually quite nervous about the TT. What if I accidentally hit 88mph and go back in time?!!

Strava link.

D: 44.4km
A: 157m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 19 November 2012


So I've whacked my name down for a few fun things, a track night featuring Kierins and Sprints this Saturday (entries close Tuesday) and the road sprints on the Friday before the Tour of Bright.

Two hard, strength/power race sessions on a pure enduro base. This can only go well.

D: 17.7km
A: 232m

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 18 November 2012


SKCC Crits (Marshalling):
I had other plans today that prevented me from racing Crits, but I was still able to duck down to Port Melbourne and help in bunch Marshall E and D grades. I feel ok about it, my legs were tired and it gave me a chance to try and help others. To put myself back in the shoes of someone new to the sport and navigate a path forward for them.

E grade was wet, like properly wet, corner marshals were sweeping water off the road as we got underway wet. I set an easy pace on the front, slowly building it through the 20 minutes. I tried to impart good cornering technique, smooth lines, pedals up, torso dipping down to lower the centre of gravity and increase the contact patch at the apex. I wished I could have given these guys a higher pace all day, but I really feared for our skin over the white lines and through the corners. Thankfully by the end of the "race" there were dry patches appearing, we had passed both women's C and B grades cleanly and I could increase the pace for the last 3 laps, finally letting them go from the last corner at so they could run hard at the line.

I think the race commissionaire  was happy enough with how they rode as a couple of them were back with me in the D grade bunch a few minutes later. Once again it was a small bunch, perhaps 20-25 riders, once again I was the only marshal. I took a fairly relaxed approach to my duties, at one point, just after B grade had passed us I told the guys "I'm not going to stop you racing, if you want to attack b-grade, go for it, just don't sit on them." To their credit, at one point they did. Coming through to the end of the race it was obvious it was coming to a sprint. I dumped some theory on a couple of juniors who were camped at the the back near me. I tried to get them thinking about who was strong in the race, about what wheel they wanted to be on and how much energy to spend and when to get up the bunch to that wheel. They managed it too, crossing the line 1st and 2nd. Sadly they didn't chop me into their winnings.

D: 31.8km
A: 49m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 17 November 2012


St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Stony Creek - Pigeon Bank - Dawson - Clintons - Cottles Bridge - Flat Rock - Christmas Hills - Mt Pleasant - St Kilda East:
I was kind of nervous about this one. I planned on the same loop as last week, but this time accompanied by Will Geor. I raced with Will in cross over winter... well we wore the same kit, I'm not sure how much else you can race together in Cross. He trounced me in one race early on, coming in ahead of DeLuca who continued to smash me all season. I got a couple of wins over Will in later races but there was usually a mechanical issue to take away any joy I could get from it. Anyway, back to the nerves, simply put, I was worried young Will would put me squarely in the box. He sort of did.

I can laugh about the start of this ride now, but at the time it was doing my head, legs and lungs in. As we rolled through Ivanhoe and Banyule Flats, things were fast. I constantly felt like I was holding Will up, his wheel permanently a bunch of inches in front of mine. It was one of those things were you're not going above what you can do, it's just that you're just going well above what you expected to do at that point.

Finally we reached some of the hills I expected to hurt on, Dawsons, Clintons, Flat Rock. There was no hiding, the hills as always sucked, but this time there was a witness to any slacking off. I worked on my pedalling technique, trying to eke out those extra few Watts while maintaining some level of composure. I worked on listening to Will's breathing, rather than my own. I worked on holding enough back so that I could finish every effort over in a smaller, darker, more painful box.

On these longer efforts I was able to get my wheel in front, to break Will off my wheel and to set some stonking times. Take for instance Clintons Rd, in the haze of pain flooding my body, I forgot where the Strava segment finished and turned off the legs with ~120m to the end, yet still managed to take 12 seconds off my previous best effort. To the top of the 3rd ramp on on Flat Rock I was 35 seconds ahead of my record.

So in hindsight, I'm bloody happy with the progress this ride showed, but bugger me it was tough.

Strava link.

D: 143.3km
A: 2,715m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 16 November 2012


Yarra Trails:
I had a few too many beers last night to do face Friday CX shenanigans with Pikey and co. Instead I slept until 7 and then grabbed by hardtail.

You see, the other day someone suggested I'd turned my back on MTBing, and it rankled me. I felt it untrue, but there was enough truth to it that I dusted off my bike and took it for a spin, a short spin, but a spin none the less, on the inner Yarra trails. By the time I was done the bike had a different fine coat of dust, the kind it should have.

Strava link.

D: 18.4km
A: 213m


D: 8.7km
A: 94m

CE: 1

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 15 November 2012


St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Melbourne - St Kilda East:
There was no impetus this morning, my brain was whirring but my legs were not. A few times I felt like it was a waste, and that doing NRR would have forced me into the box, and thus have more benefit.

Just after taking this photo a rider caught up to me and I used him as a rabbit to push a bit harder. I found them again climbing up from the golf course in the back of Banyule Flats and finally on Burgundy st. I'm thankful he was around, it gave me my best efforts for the morning, I still felt a bit flat, usually I think I'd put him away without too much worry.

Strava link.

D: 71.9km
A: 1,251m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


NRR Long:
I got a decent chat with Ross as the bunch rolled to Mordi, then he turned for home and I found myself shooting shit with Brendan Rowbotham. Not too bad a way to start the morning, but not ideal in terms of training stresses.

I let others set the pace up Karr St before rolling over them to set the pace through to the top of Baden Powel Drive. I once again let others set the pace to and up the Highway before we turned into Canadian Bay and the "fun" started.

Miranda Griffiths kicked things off into the pinch at the bottom, gaping everyone in the process. I'd been moving up as it occurred and managed to latch myself onto the wheel of a dude in Giant kit, slowly, little by little he dragged her back, finally making the catch just as we hit the flat middle section. I continued to sit on, working to catch my breath, then as we hit the last pinch of the road I went up the outside.

Over the top I found myself clear, and given the lack of strength in the bunch, I decided to chance going alone from there. I set a tempo to the descent proper, then worked to hold good speed through corners and to avoid the car that started to back out onto the road. The quick look back as I turned into Two Bays didn't spot anyone, so I did my best to find and settle into a solid tempo. 90rpm and 450W. Those were my magic numbers, the only time I saw my HR was near the top and I quickly tried to forget it again (6 beats over threshold).

I stayed clear, and even had enough time to pull out some food and wonder about my time (not great), before the next rider rolled in.

I (with a few others) pulled long track style turns on the front to get us home. They weren't earth shattering speed, but still nice to get long consistent efforts on the flat.

Strava link.

Time at work: 9:28am*

A: 558m


D: 8.8km

PMPW: 92kg

* This number is a touch deceptive. I stopped for a coffee at soulkitchen, so in reality I could have been in at 5 past.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


6am NRR:
There was a good sized bunch today, and it seemed everyone wanted to be near the front but not on it for the way south. Several times I'd get myself to the front, pull a turn, and as I went back the slower line found myself stuck behind/beside dozens of blokes just blocking up the right of the road, giving me no way to get back out and to the front.

After the turn, with a little more pace some of these problems disappeared. I got some solid turns early then bided my time over Rickett's before hitting the front hard on the next one. Cresting the top it was just Wade, another rider and I, so we swapped off turns until the bunch caught up heading out of Sandringham.

From there my attention turned to the sprint, and when we crested the small rise in the Golden Mile and there were a bunch of Rush riders near the front, it became natural to form a train. My turn was from the turn into Ormond Esplanade up past the lights to just before the rise/corner before Glen Huntly Rd.

Rolling around the corner, after the whole bunch had streamed past me, it was devastating to see it had all been cut short by the Glen Huntly lights. Oh well, the effort was still good for me, even if it didn't result in a "result"

Strava link.

D: 45.7km
A: 194m


D: 16.7km
A: 207m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 12 November 2012


A hot northerly (headwind) on the way to work and a cold southerly (headwind) on the way home from work gave me a bit of time to think. It wasn't like I was going anywhere fast.

I'd been watching the race videos from yesterday again and noted that while I didn't mind volume for other races, I found myself turning it right down for my own. I think it's emulating what it's like to race. You're so focussed on your plan, the other rider, the wind, your legs, your grip on the bars, even an amplified voice fades into the background.

D: 15.9km
A: 205m

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 11 November 2012


SKCC Crits (and Extras):
I want to ask a simple question of my racing, "What did I learn?". I thought about this after all the racing for today was done, and let my tired body tell you, there was a lot of racing today, anyway I thought about this after racing, so don't have to rely on memory.

After a late night seeing a mate's gig in a pub, I got up early and rolled to SKCC (via a convoluted route to get around City to the Sea), put down a coffee and dropped myself into E-Grade to help out some newbies and to get my legs rolling.

When the time for A-grade racing arrived, I'd had another coffee pass my lips, but still was nervous about the race and track in the arvo. I told Ray that I was going to sit in the bunch and rip out a leadout for him at the end of the race. This left me close to an hour where I didn't have to think, the occasional neuron fired to signal my legs to get be off the back of the pack and into a cleaner bunch position.

Around half way in a break got out of sight. The bunch has been playing chicken of late, letting breaks go and then slowing while everyone looks at each other daring them to pull everyone back across. There were regular time updates from the sidelines, and the gap got out to around 35 seconds a few times, but back down to 15 a few times as well.

For a few laps I was in the gap, swapping off half lap turns with Loakesy, eventually we were brought back to the fold. At 5+3 to go, I was asked if I'd pull some big turns to bring them back. I shook my head, I was playing chicken too. We had a few riders in the bunch, and as the race progressed I felt better and better about the state of my legs. 15 seconds with 3 laps to go, I knew it was going to take some monster turns to bring back the break, but timed right, the sprint would engulf them in the final straight. I believed that I could make, or at least help make that happen. Craig Johnson hit the front as I rolled into 2nd wheel. I coaxed and coached him from behind, urging him on for longer, but just after turn one on the 2nd last lap it was obvious his legs were done. I rolled through, dropping low on my bars and buried my legs into a pit of pain. Round the back the riders were in sight. My own legs gave way coming in to the start/finish straight for the bell, I rolled in, hoping that our efforts had been enough to catch the break and that Ray had found a good wheel in my absence.

We hadn't done enough, and Ray had copped a pedal to the derailleur, forcing him to abort his efforts. I was a little disappointed in the result, or lack there of, but happy with how the body had felt. What I now feel I've learnt is how much can or can't be brought back in a final mad dash for the line, and just how much my legs can give for that dash.

Strava link.

D:  93.1km
A: 144m

I rode straight home, shoved some food in my face, a skinsuit in a bag and my track bike in the car, what was done or not done at the crits was history, I had to turn my mind to match sprinting.

The conditions were ideal for a fast flying 200. a warm day with a N/NE wind urging riders down the back straight. I whacked on 106" and wound it up around the club house, dropping it in so that I met the 200m line on the black. With the hot wind pushing me down the straight I stayed out of the saddle longer than normal, my arse only finding my seat just before entering turn 3. I think this was a mistake. I never felt settled in the corner, and my rear wheel scrubbed some speed as I tipped it in. I feel like there was an extra 10th or two left to squeeze out of it, still... my efforts were enough for fastest time, 12.433, which is only 5 hundredths off my Blackburn PB.

R1 - Luke Daly (3:54)

I didn't know how Luke raced, but it was obvious from his time and composure that he could.I drew the follow and tried to force the pace up a little then fake him into hitting it. Out of turn 4 I got him going for it, then used the bank under the club house to get some room to manoeuvre before running him down by the line. What did I learn? Hrm I'm not sure I learnt a lot, I know I'm growing to love the break and run move.

R2 - Nic Marc (3:57)

I was pretty confident I had the speed over Nic, but also didn't want to have to spend excess energy achieving a win. This opened up a chance for him to sneak a win.We had a little bump and grind on the first lap, mostly his hip and my elbow, before we opened up a drag race down the home straight. I got in front, closed the door and tried to create a gap he couldn't chase into. I was able to hold on to the line, though he came back a lot. What did I learn? I learnt I need to practice looking back while in full or near full flight. I threw a little hook trying to do so out of turn 2.

R3 - Dino Apolito (2:36)

In yet another race where I was following, Dino had me in an awkward no man's land. I was above him, with still a long way to go around, but no way of chopping under. I tried to do what I'd done to Luke, but he held me well and threw his own hook that resulted in a fair bump. For a moment I was shocked, but I could tell Dino was too, he almost stopped pedalling. So I went for the run down the outside and drop in around the club house. Dino had that covered on the inside, so I had to quickly change tactics or face a long drag race. I swung hard up the bank at the club house, the pressure still on the pedals, making a bunch of space to work with before running back at his wheel and over the top for a win. What did I learn? I got another chance to learn to ride with contact, it's making me more comfortable and confident.

1v2 - David Koroknai (8:00)

David's a junior, and from the start of the day I was pretty sure it would be he vs I in the finals. It was obvious he was nervous, so I tried to treat myself as a 3rd party and coach him through and calm the nerves. I told him to take control by thinking about his tactics rather than mine, I even went so far as to tell him what gear I was on (98"). The race itself was my 4th follow in a row. I was confident of a break and run tactic, but it relied on getting David to hit it down the home straight, or at the very least be in near full flight under the club house. I tried to work the speed up, I threw feints to try and get him to kick, but the kid was rock solid. We got it wound up, but side by side down the straight, I took height at the club house, possibly too much though at the time it felt good, then ran hard. I think David had kept a tiny amount in reserve because I didn't make it up around his hip until late in the final bends, running out of 4 half a wheel behind and possibly a touch wide, then charged to the line. I knew I was a smidgeon behind but I was closing and I had longer arms. We threw for the line and between hard breaths gave each other the look that translates to "who got it?!"

David got the decision, and while I would have loved a win, there's no point getting to worked up over a lack of one. I don't know what I learnt from the last race, but hopefully I taught.

I'm not unhappy with 2nd, it was a tough day of training, but it's banked now.

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 10 November 2012


St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Stony Creek - Pidgeon Bank - Dawson - Clintons - Cottles Bridge - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
I had some major CBFs today, I got up earlyish, I shaved my legs, I even rolled out the door in time to meet Dean and some others at Rush for a ride. When I got there with a mildly damn arse and found the ride was off, I went home. This is where the CBFs set in. It was almost as if I'd spent all my motivation/getting out the door energy already.

Eventually, around 10am, I finally left home again, by 10:20 I'd finished my takeaway coffee and by around 12:30 - 1:00 I had some motivation to push on the pedals. That last bit happened when I was well past Eltham, though there was a small effort off of Mt Pleasant Rd to try and snag a low hanging Strava KOM on Reynolds Road.

It want until I got to Dawson's road that I settled into decent tempo, though it wasn't for the whole length. Then once back down Alma and refuelled from the Jam/Pickes guy on the Eltham - Yarraglen road it was on to my an honest to FSM attempt to set a time up Clintons Rd.

The next time in the box proper was Flat Rock road, my effort on Cottles Bridge was a little lackluster so I'll ignore it. Flat Rock Rd, that evil little number that is neither flat nor rocky, for me what matters is the 3 ramps up to the right angled left turn. It's only a few kms but it hurts like a bastard if you miss time your efforts. I made my final push a bit too early, resulting in me having to get out of the saddle and labour the last few dozen metres.

The final item that I wanted to check off is a little number called Bolton St. It's about 100m long and around 14% gradient. For quite some time I've tried to take the top ranked Strava spot, and a little while ago Cam McDonald put 4 seconds into my best effort. I came at it straight on, straight down the hill rather than hucking a left. I did my best to time the lights and hit it with speed, then everything went into the pedals. 100m later I rounded the corner, shut down the legs and gasped for air.

So, here we are, towards the end, most of which was spent describing when I went hard, but no actual metrics on those efforts. That's how it was during the ride, you put yourself in the box and stay there, on the next hill, you go back into the box. Only when you get home and can review, do results come to light.

The data has been crunched by a computer somewhere and I'm fairly happy that a day that started with such malaise resulted in some nice little indications of fitness improvement.

I took that sneaky Reynolds Road KOM, but honestly, that was a given. Dawsons Rd I was 8 seconds off my previous best, an effort that I remember hurting like a bastard. Clintons Rd I PB'd by a further 15 seconds. Flat Rock Rd I shaved an extra 2 seconds off my past best. Finally Bolton St. I cut 2 seconds off my past best, halving the distance to Cam. I'm not sure how much more I've got on this one, I averaged 1,272W, I struggle to imagine what the extra 2 seconds will take.

Strava link.

D:  142.9km
A:  2,605m

PMPW: 91kg

Friday, 9 November 2012


CX Shenanigans:
A change of physical and mental pace, or put another way some giggles with skinny on CX bikes on the yarra trails before work. Rolling around the streets it feels right to roll cross bikes easy, then on the trails where too much vigor can (and did) result in a pinch flat, it pays to hold back from the limit.

I've introduced Skinny to the Erin Baxter Memorial Stair Climb Challenge (EBMSCC) under the Chandler Hwy Bridge. It's been a while since this has been a regular feature of my riding an it was nice to make the middle, it makes me believe that one day I might make the top... one day.

D: 27.8km
A: 334m


D: 14.3km
A: 229m

PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 8 November 2012


6am NRR:
It was probably for the best that I didn't look at the radar this morning, many had and thus didn't turn up, but the small amounts of drizzle we got, and the wet roads weren't enough to take the fun out of life.

Just like yesterday my main "fun" came on the second of the hills, the one between Black Rock and Sandringham. I rolled up the side and into the top 10 as we rode up Rickets, then on the small flat spot between the roundabout and the start of the hill, I moved to the front.

I made a small gesture by easing slightly so as not to burn the guy on the front, Nugga, then ramped up the legs as the road did the same. Once again my aim was to ride clear or tear the bunch apart trying. I tried to moderate the effort ever so slightly to leave a bit more over the top than yesterday, but mostly it was a big ol' pile of pain. It's one of those good pains though. One that you relish in because you know it's making others suffer more than they want. I found out later that it had split the bunch, and that only made it more worth while.

Strava link.

D: 45.9km
A: 200m


D: 17.0km
A: 112m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


6am NRR:
The roll south was long and drawn out, an easy pace and reds at every set of lights let me linger in the lack of organisation that doomed me to the short loop.

Once around the roundabout I did my best to make up for the lack of hills by smacking turns. I probably rolled through too hot on most of them, but the fire in my legs felt good. Someone else assumed responsibility for Ricketts, so I made sure I was on the front for the climb out of Black Rock.

My aim was to ride everyone off my wheel or to at least keep everyone at bay, a feat I achieved to the first of the two crests. Sweat flowing off my in rivulets, snot streaming out of my nose, I grinned as someone riding past muttered about no one knowing how to roll turns any more.

The sprint was a bit lacking in those willing to drill it, so I ended up having to spend my tickets to get everyone over the tiny mound before Glen Huntly Rd. 3rd last leadout duties are far less fun/glamorous than last man duties.

Strava link.

D: 42.9km
A: 147m


D: 17.7km
A: 211m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


St Kilda East - Park Orchards - Mt Dandenong - St Kilda East:
My first taste of hills in a while and the taste was partly digested breakfast.

We had a diverse group for a roll out through Park Orchards, over Mt Dandenong and home, and it soon became obvious just how diverse it was. The climb up Doncaster Road left our slowest rider gasping, so for the rollers between it and Park Orchards I dropped back to ensure I'd be close in case he needed a hand in the back. He did.

The Park Orchards climb started easy, DK flitting around the front, throwing in little attacks that we ignored for a while, but eventually I bit and it was full noise to the top. I reckon it could be a good one to learn as an extended route to get out to the nongs.

Due to time restrictions we only did one climb up the mountain itself. Due to being a bunch of jerks, the only climb we did was the one Skinny begged for us not to do. Inverness Rd. Early on DK set the pace, and just looked so much stronger than the rest of us. When he started to open a gap the catch and release of random rabbits kept me entertained and my mind off the signals my legs were furiously sending to it. A heaving mess, I crested the top to the main road junction and turned around to get our last rider. Extras on hills are always worth it. Once regrouped we continued up to Sky High then over to Sass and down the 1:20.

I would have liked a bit more riding, but given how much of the afternoon I napped through, it probably wasn't a bad use of a holiday Tuesday.

Strava link.

D: 78.8km
A: 1,305m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 5 November 2012


I'm starting to feel lazy about the training I've been doing. I feel I'm resting on my sash and believing I've reached a good enough level. I suppose at this point it becomes a definitional debate, one about what enough means.

I've come a ling way this year, but there is still a road in front of me, stretching away into the distance. It's time to get back on that road.

D: 16.9km
A: 89m

PMPW: 91kg

Sunday, 4 November 2012


SKCC Crits:
I felt somewhat less than ordinary when my alarm went off. I knew the process to feel better after an evening of excess, a coffee and some effort on the bike, so I whacked in my race wheels and rolled across town to see Mike at the SKCC Crits.

A flat white imbibed, I jumped onto the tail end of e-grade, had a quick chat to some others doing the same. The 7 or so minutes wasn't enough effort, so I grabbed a marshals gillet and lined up with the d-graders. They did a pretty decent job, 40km/h average and the couple of times I scooted up the side to create a buffer between them and a-grade was pretty much spot on what I needed to finally feel human again.

The team plan for the day suited my mood, I only had to be in the bunch until the end, where if things were together, I'd get to string it out for 1-3 laps. When Dean went in a break, I smiled and sat back. When DK went off the front with a few others, I smiled and sat back. When Skinny and Ray went off the front of the massively depleted bunch, I paused and then kicked over to them. I should highlight that despite the laid back attitude that statement may infer, it hurt. I sucked air on Rays wheel until he pulled off after his turn, leaving me on the front. I tried to hold the pace steady round into the headwind down the back, my legs and lungs screaming at me. Then when I pulled off to put Skinny in the wind I decided to call it quits. I didnt think I would be able to get back on the wheel and doubted that we'd get across to the one or two breaks up the road and frankly, my heart wasn't in it.

I'm disappointed in that attitude. That was not the race, it was a training opportunity that went asking.

Strava link.

D:  86.2km
A: 152m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Rush Shop Ride:
I wanted to get a few kms in without drilling a hole too deep to race my way out of tonight, the Rush Ride filled that need pretty much spot on.

Two up down, solid turns back... well until DK left the throttle open and no one could come round him.

Strava link.

D: 71.8km
A: 306m

DDCX - Spooky Cross:
This one was a bunch of fun, the racing was all short and fun, a time trial, a scratch race and a handicap... oh and I was dressed as a french maid.

I had a beer before the TT, and managed a time good enough for A-grade, though I felt like I'd gone slow. My feet in their stockings slid around in my shoes and the tight corners didnt let me open the legs up.

I had another beer then raced the I scratch race, coming in 3rd behind Mat Gray and Benny Randall.

Then I had some more beer and rocked up for the handicap. The traffic was hard going, and I jsut couldn't hold on to De Luca, who'd mechanicalled in the scratch and started ahead. It was an odd feeling... being beaten by (another) dude in a french maid's outfit.

The whole thing was a blast, and I swear I'm not just saying that because I got a little bit pissy. Most people were dressed up, most people had a laugh while racing, there were jumps beside the barriers, a smoke tent (though it lacked the lazers i swear they promised me). I think a good way to sum it all up was watching Grover... that's him in the photo above... who was dressed as Super Grover, backed into a few people so that he could go over the 1m wide jump side by side with them.

Strava link.

D: 41.4km
A: 360m

PMPW: 90kg

Friday, 2 November 2012


CX Shenanigans:
I don't actually know who organised this ride, but it was a giggle. Amazingly (given the early start) it even began with a coffee.

There were, like Wednesday, a few prayers of "no punny, no punny" uttered as we carved 32mm wide trails through the damp loam and dusty trail. For me the biggest laugh was hooking into the old crit track under the Bourke St bridge, everything became very very sideways as micro knobs struggled to find traction on the wet clay based soil.

Strava link.

D: 47.2km
A: 398m


D: 15.9km
A: 139m

PMPW: 90kg

Thursday, 1 November 2012


I was a little exited to ride today, last night I installed my very own, brand new, sparking clean, very pretty, power meter. Like all new toys, all I wanted to do was play with it.

So fast forward back to this morning, my alarm went off at 5:10am, regular time for NRR, and as I stumbled groggily to the toilet to organise the MP part of PMPW, I heard some wind. It sounded strong. The tree outside my balcony had some serious sway going on... it's not a small tree. I went back to bed.

I think it was the right descision, here's some data from BOM.

St Kilda RMYS, 05:18am, 78km/h

D: 15.6km
A: 175m

PMPW: 90kg