Sunday, 30 September 2012


St Kilda East - Mornington - Two Bays - Port Melbourne - St Kilda East:
DK and I planned on rolling to Sorrento and home via Arthurs Seat, but when rain set in we decided to stop at re-evaluate and shove pancakes in our faces. With our hands and faces returned to normal states of sensation (ie more than none) we canned our early route and headed back towards town.

The conditions and route weren't conducive to one of my main aims for the day, the cadence competition that's been going on for the past week or two. The last attempt as I rolled back home barely equalled my first attempt, then later I was to see Ry Moody had smashed us all with 252rpm.

The day wasn't complete fail, we got in a good 130km, with something close to the mythical tail wind both ways conditions (at best it was cross/tail both ways), and some shenanigans that kept us amused.

My favourite moment was heading north just after Black Rock, we both had mouths stuffed full of fruit cake... so I attacked. Trying to get power to the road while doughy food and giggles are depriving your lungs and legs of oxygen takes me back to the shit Jimmy and I used to get up to on fat tyre rides.

Strava link.

D: 129.6km
A: 740m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 29 September 2012


Hell Ride:
There's only a few weeks until the Warny and though I had a reason wish a quick ride today, I had the time to get more done and that makes it (the reason) seem more like an excuse. That aside, the Hell Ride is what I did, and I had fun.

The wind was up, seriously up, so much so that when I hit the bunch early, it lead to turns at 55-60km/h. I soon stopped doing said turns and spent a bit of time wondering how much of a beast I had awoken.

Talking of beasts. Ash Thomas! He'll know what that's about. ;)

Like usual my giggles were the hills past Frankston. Nick was off the front as we rode along the wind blasted foreshore by the boat ramp, I rolled to the front and tried to get some drive in the bunch, Leigh came through and got us to the bottom of Hopes Rise, then swung leaving me with 1 rider to chase and many to drop. So I did.

Over the top, with legs a little less than pleased with me, and a gap to the bunch I set an easy tempo waiting for the bunch to roll over me. Instead what I got was Hendo whip past with waaay too much speed for me to grab his wheel, and in a moment, he had a 20m gap. I did my best to minimise the damage over the top and down the hill before others who'd arrived on my wheel came through and pulled me through to Mt Eliza. Greg was never much beyond that 20m gap, but then, we were never much closer either. The gap is half closed or half created, if you will.

The west nor westerly giving us enough headwind to halve our speed and force an echelon across the road. I limited my efforts to keeping out of trouble, and asking Hendo about his untaped bars. A set of Deda at a modern track sprinters width meant he had ~10cm less width than me, though it didn't seem to be slowing him down too much.
Strava link.

D: 100.6km
A: 502m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 28 September 2012


The #cadencechallenge continued, so much so I might have got out of bed a few minutes early so I could go the wrong way from work to get a decent descent. I cant confirm that though.

If I had done that, it's possibly that I failed to achieve a better result than yesterday. Possibly It was because it would have been way too early in the ride, such things are likely to mean my legs wouldn't to be loosened up. If it had happened, that failure to achieve over 230rpm would not indicate I've reached my current pedalling potential, because I'm going to win this bloody thing.

You know... when I decide to try again.

D: 16.4km
A: 157m

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 27 September 2012


St Kilda East - Devils Elbow - One Tree Hill - St Kilda East:
It's occurred to me a few times that if I want to race at the level of DK, it might  pay to train at DK's level. Last night I sent him an SMS about riding today, then committed myself to one of the sillier start times I've had this season. We met at 5am, then pointed our bikes along High St (Rd) towards Mt Dandenong.

I was enbackpacked (that's totally a word now), Dave was not. Dave has quads that could make a baby rhino cry, I do not.

We hit the bottom of Devils Elbow and Dave drew slightly up the road, where he got the crayons from I do not know. No, but seriously, he started off a fraction faster than me and I was instantly battling my brain.

"Ignore the backpack!"
"Ignore the fatigue!"
"Close the gap!"
"Ok, how about limit the damage?"
"Shut up legs!!"

I closed the gap a little into the elbow itself, but as we approached the sweeping right hander it was soon back out again. Then I saw him stand up. Dave isn't an out of the saddle kind of guy.... 

"He's tired.... GO!!!"

Then I made it to the right hander.... and hit the headwind. Dave hadn't cracked, but I almost did. It felt like my pace had halved in a matter of metres.

From there on up the climb I tried to get back into a tempo, ignore where Dave was and ride my own climb. Pegging the HR at 176 beats, my lactic threshold, I finished out the One Tree Hill extension with sweat dripping from my brow, past my open and flapping jersey and on to my stem.

The trip home was a giggle, Dave singing and me making my first attempt at the #cadencechallenge.

I'm a little off Dan Wilkins, and a fair way of Hendo, but it's a start and I've still got a few days to limber up and spiiiiiiiiin!

Strava link.

D: 68.3km
A: 1,077m


D: 19.7km
A: 124m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


NRR Long:
A massive bunch without much impetus going south. That's about the best way to sum up the ride, and I could probably even leave it at that, but I wont, because I like the sound of my own keyboard.

Once the regular ride swung off at the Mordi roundabout 4 of us comprising 3 Bike Gallery boys (Cam McDonald, Dan Wilkins, the bloke i talked to one time but forgot his name, and of course, myself) rolled nice clean turns, waiting patiently for the bunch to start pulling through. Eventually it was decided that if the bunch got to sit and chat, we would too and dropped the speed back down and sat two up on the front.

There were a bunch of familiar faces in the (crap i'm going to have to use "bunch" again) bunch, though most weren't Long regulars. These familiar legs belonged to strong riders, giving us (on paper) the fastest bunch (shit I used it again) in recent memory. Everyone felt it too, as we rode up Kars St you could almost taste the nerves in the bunch. Everyone was super attentive, trying to keep near the front so much so that everything bunched up as we crested the top. No one wanted to be caught out by a strong move.


The real stuff happened at the base of Canadian Bay, AJ (as usual) hit it up the outside from the bottom, but there were plenty of legs willing and able to respond. I got myself tucked away on wheels and kept my eyes up to spot blown riders early. I kicked on the final pinch and scraped a 5-6 more seconds off my previous best time. Letting others roll through so I could rest on the descent I wasn't overly confident, my legs were still hurting from the weekend and I hadn't tested myself against many of the new comers.


Two Bays was a mixed bag, the mass of riders meant someone fresh was often looking to come over the top of a flagging lead rider. 2/3rds of the way up I sort of cracked, the pace had lifted half a poofteenth and I wasn't able to go with it. I struggled to keep tempo on my own, dangling 10ish metres in front of me was a small group including AJ. That was it to the end, they didn't pull away, and I didn't flag off either. The time says I rode solidly, but sadly no PB to back up the one on Canadians.

For once I felt ok on the return leg, the same sorts of riders were smacking turns on the front, but I concentrated on keeping smooth both in my positioning and also my pedalling.

Time at work: 8:50am

Strava link.

D: 99.1km


D: 12.2km
A: 134m

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


6am NRR:
It's only been 14 hours, but already the details of this morning are blending into the weeks and months of Beach Rd that proceed it.

I know I started the ride with hamstrings still tight from the weekend's CX race, and when I decided going around the bunch via the service road was a good idea, that they soon announced they weren't terribly pleased with the idea. I did make it past the bunch though, barely slotting myself ahead of everyone, before rapidly going backwards through the first 20 riders until finally (through what felt like herculean effort) I got on a wheel.

I took a short break then rolled turns until we rolled back through to Brighton Beach. At times we were flat out hooking along, with turns (on the flat) up to 55km/h and I felt decent coming through for my time in the wind.

A further boon to the confidence was the lead up to the sprint, I'd gone from feeling like my legs were anchors to feeling like I was flying, and had what I considered the perfect position. 3rd wheel at Glen Huntly Rd and a gap behind. Sadly lights and cars at the Elwood Canal put paid to my visions of ripping out a solid effort to the brown sign.

Special mention needs to go out to Nick Bensley who not only played the little ring for NRR game, but came through for at least one turn at over 50 clicks an hour.

Strava link.

D: 44.4km
A: 177m


D: 18km
A: 163m

PMPW: 90kg

Monday, 24 September 2012


CX Results are in and my sweat earned me 8th, I'm pretty chipper about that, and will be back to contest cross next year. Perhaps I might even learn to remount cleanly before then. Naaaaah, that smells like training.

Last week's suffer score: 449*

D: 13.1km
A: 158m

PMWP: 91kg

* I've added the suffer score from the last DDCX race to account for the lack of HR data yesterday.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Vic CX Champs:
I wanted to do well today, I went as far as bringing a set of rollers to warm up on, and stuffing a roast beef (with gravy) roll in my face an hour or two before the race. That said, I didn't want it badly enough to pre ride the course or to find some pre race caffeine. I hope the combination of the two gave me an air of "determined but relaxed/cool", I fear it painted me as "erratic and going to vomit".

I was proud to be seeded 13th, and annoyed when the call up seemed to get stuffed up, leaving me to try and slot myself into the 3rd row instead of the 2nd. I'd been told the course was "made for you" which means me, not you, I know it's confusing reading it now, but at the time when it was told to me, you definitely was me. Anyway the course was (allegedly) made for me, and I suspected drafting would play a significant part due to the open spaces and wind. In other words, for once I decided to play the start game, the one where you put in a little extra to secure a good spot, rather than my old favourite of Pepe Le Pew-ing my way up the field.

Across the top of the course, a long flat open section that begins with double barriers I was at the tail of a line of riders, at the front was Lewis Rattray, then maybe a dozen or so riders. A solid start that I was happy with, and due to forgetting my HR strap I didnt have a silly large number blinking at me from the screen of my garmin.

Taken by Andy of Frame and Spear, the kid who bought my old track bike a while back.

I think that photo is the moment I stopped riding on the hoods. My bars twisted down a little as I hit the tiny creek crossing. At first I thought the sound was rock hitting rim and thus my race would be ended, like many in the B-Grade and Masters races that'd preceded us, with a flat tyre.

At some point the race split, the pointy end slipping away from a chase group, then I split off that, unable to hold the pace. Ahead Danny Kah also dropped the wheel and I desperately wanted to catch him, for 4, 5, maybe 6 laps I chased him, both of us working solo, but the gap slowly edged out. Just as I was giving up hope of catching him Hayden Kerr and another rider, Ed? or Ned?, bridged up to me and renewed the idea in my head. I left H on the front for a couple of laps, then rolled forward to lend a hand. A lap or so of that and our mate Ed attacked up the small rise down the bottom of the course, he had a small gap through the water crossing and right up until he got to the single barrier I felt it might stick. Then he clipped a foot and went down like a sack of shit, leaving H and I to roll past giggling like school girls.

Ed rejoined us, and H dropped off. There wasn't long left in the 45 minute race so I put him out of my mind, Ed was the one I'd have to race. I called him through to do some work in the wind, and as we passed the start / finish the comms said the harshest words I've ever heard. "13 minutes to go". The race wasn't 45 minutes... it was 60! In those final 15 minutes I considered vomiting just to get some moisture in my mouth.

From there I left Ed on the front, he was strong but had a woeful remount that I knew I could exploit. As we rolled the final few laps of the race I glued myself to his wheel, offering supportive words "dude, you're going so strong" all the while trying to judge where I was going to hit him on the last lap. I felt a little guilty about it all, but in the end it's racing, and I wanted that extra place. I don't know if I hit him on the line or just after, but when we hit the top (double) barriers I had half a bike and a near perfect clip in. I slammed the power into the pedals, he was only a bike or so behind, I had to be clean, I had to nail the corners through the trees and smash the lower hill. I don't know when he lost contact, probably the hill, the creek crossing or the final barrier, but as I rolled up past the Team iRide tent to the line I had enough gap to sit up and roll over the line.

Strava link.

D: 25.3km
A: 335m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Hell Ride:
With the Vic CX Champs tomorrow I was somewhat un-inclined to do much work in the wind, but the sheer number and sketchyness of riders meant I found myself rolling to the front just to keep position.

Into Frankston I found myself next to Joel Pearson, so I asked him "Are we going to have some shenanigans today?", he was coy, but having seen him ride the hills a few times, I know it's in his nature to smack it and smack it hard. With that in mind I followed his wheel when he emerged from the side of the bunch and marginally accelerated clear into the base of Hopes Rise, when he got out of the saddle, so did I, and from there it was a flat out sprint to the top, Joel holding a bike length on me the whole way. I wanted to go on with it but Joel sat up with a gasped "that fucking hurt", and I followed suit, we'd gapped everyone and I kind of felt better than he sounded. it felt awesome!

The next few hills I pretty much just kept position, making sure to move around anyone who looked to be struggling, and there were a few.


The trip home was a little like the trip down, I moved to the front as a way of keeping out of harms way, but ideally wanted to just sit in 15th wheel.

I didn't even sprint, content to make the move from half way up Ricketts, then to be sitting on the back of guys like Rico Rogers and Duncan Smith when the kick went. I was in a happy place, one that could be explained (later) by PBs on Hopes Rise and Ricketts Point.

Strava link.

D: 99.9km
A: 400m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 21 September 2012


I placed an entire chicken in my face at lunch time, it was delicious, and reminded me of why I used to do so far more frequently than I do now. Other than that, there's not much to note, it's Friday and I love not having a whole lot to do.

D: 15.4km
A: 246m

CE: 1

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 20 September 2012


6am NRR:
Like Tuesday I tried to work both down the highway and back along the beach. There weren't the same attacks on the hills either side of Black Rock, though I had the chance to hit Skinny who'd been left for a long time on the front as we rolled into the bottom of Ricketts Point.

The attacking shenanigans came late in the ride, or really early if you think of them as a lead up to the sprint. Anyway Leigh de Luca smacked it past the Brighton Yacht Club, I'd moments before finished a turn and had to dig deep into my suitcase of courage man purse of I don't care how it looks it's really handy. At some point, through a combination of riders missing wheels, riders blowing up and fairly yellow lights, Skinny and I were clear off the front with Luke doing all the work.

Lights spoilt that party, and holding possition meant that my turn at the front came from the lights half way along Ormond Esplanade round to the Glen Huntly rd at which point my right elbow developed a speed wobble and I peeled off, turned off and watched others get off.

Strava link.

D: 46.1km
A: 196m

In other bike related news, a few friends are having a max cadence challenge. The last time I checked DK had clocked over 220rpm.Challenge accepted.

D: 15.9km
A: 50m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


NRR Long:
The theme of taday's ride was sitting on wheels, including finally managing to hold AJs wheel up Two Bays Rd, taking a further 7 seconds off my previous best time.

By now you're likely aware that what I care about on this ride is the two "Bay" roads, "Canadian" and "Two". Fuck I didn't fully think that sentence through did I? Anyway, you get the idea, so lets just skip to that. Off the highway and into Canadian Bay, I planted myself near AJ, a few guys attacked and he set solid tempo, reeling them all in and continuing on the front until the final kicker where 2 dudes attacked. I chased, passing them both, as they'd obviously miss judged the effort, which put me on the front for the start of the descent.

I paused for a half a moment to give the next rider a chance to get on, then AJ bridged, then Joel Strachan got up to us. I swung wide on a tight left, allowing someone else through to do some work, there were more chasing us, but it would hurt them to get across and that suits me juuuuust fine.

AJ rounded the bottom corner into Two Bays first, I slotted myself on his wheel and shifted my hands to the tops of my bars. "Relax the arms and shoulders", "Pedal circles", "Breathe". I knew what I had to do, but kept reminding myself because the effort was making it hard to concentrate on anything other than... well... the effort.

A giant kitted rider attacked around house #45, Joel went with him and I waited. I was already well above threshold and I would pay for any extra effort to kick onto their wheels. I saw AJ go though the same mental process, he looked hard at the back of Joel's wheel, edged ever so slightly to the right to catch a whiff of draft from the faster bodies, then eased back to the left and relaxed the shoulders. A few moments (that felt like eternity) later, Joel came back to us, we passed house #30, the final left hander was just ahead. I was 3rd on the road and AJ looked to be in the box at least as deep as me. I pulled out as we rounded the corner, pulled along side, listening to the labour in his breath, "yep, he's hurting", as my wheel edged in front of his, he stood up, I stood up, he stared me in the eyes, I stared him in the sun glasses, he clicked a gear, I clicked a gear.... then I got weirded out by the staring. AJ: 1, Neil: 0.

Strava link.

D: 94.6km
A: 413m

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


6am NRR:
For giggles I put myself up front on the way south, rolling turns anywhere up to 50 km an hour. .Get in the box early, suffer, then try to hang on." That was the plan.

After the turn I continued to work, including pulling through for the majority of both the climb into Blackrock (Ricketts Point) and the one out. On the way out Golly and a few others hit me hard, creating an insta-gap that I had no chance of covering. The enthusiasm went out of my effort and I eased back into the bunch over the top, mentally preparing for the sprint.

The sprint got tangled along Ormond Esplanade with lights and traffic, I found myself clear with Lee and the young red haired hawthorn kid I talked about on the last Helly. There were gaps between each of us, so my first job was to get up to Lee, then get him up to the kid. The lights at Glen Huntly stopped us, giving me a moment to regain my composure, then take a short sit on the kid and finally to drive past him into the wind. From an eternity back Eddie "why do you keep making up nicknames for me?" Wilson had bridged and drew along side. I figured Lee would be on my wheel and have the move covered easy, so I giggled and sat up. Lee wasn't on my wheel, and I realised I'd let a solid chance to put Eddie away had gone begging.

Strava link.

D: 43.9km
A: 158m

A quick coffee and bike swap meant I was both excited by and equipped for some sneaky commuting single track on the cross bike. Hooking into corners on the damp earth then flicking cutties in the freshly graded sand of Birrarung Marr left my legs and a grin dirty, both were washed clean by the rain on the ride home.

D: 16.8km
A: 145m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 17 September 2012


Here's a bunch of names and times from the KOM yesterday, it looks like the major group of riders from the front bunch went up in 24 minutes a few off the front, then a group further back going up in 26 minutes. There was barely anyone in the 25 minute range.

Rhys Gillett (fastest male)         - 0:22:29.7
Dave Kelly                                     - 0:23:45.5
Pete English                                   - 0:23:47.1
Shane Miller                                  - 0:24:27.2
Dan Strauss                                    - 0:24:29.3
Joel Pearson                                   - 0:24:31.1
Mark Guirguis                               - 0:26:14.4
Leigh DeLuca                                - 0:26:17.2
Miranda Griffiths (fastest female) - 0:26:22.1
Jamie Nightingale                         - 0:26:36.0
Neil Robinson                                - 0:26:38.6
Leigh Schilling                              - 0:26:46.6
Tim McGrath                                - 0:27:09.4
Hayden Kerr                                 - 0:27:14.3
Lee Turner                                    - 0:30:34.6

My time time was 80th fastest male, 83rd overall. Those are some fast chickadees!

D: 16.6km
A: 212m

PMPW: 91kg

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Amy Gillett Gran Fondo:
If I have one piece of advice for those considering doing the AG GF, it's get accommodation closer to Lorne than Melbourne, for doing what Dave Kelly and I did, which is to drive down for the 6am briefing, makes for a wake up time closer that's to 3am than it is to 4am. That's not cool.

My stated plan for the day was to ride ride with the guys from Baum, including Darren, Dave, Ryan, Jim and Steve, hit the Skenes Creek climb at full pace, then ride with the guys again. I kind of wanted to be up the pointy end playing with the guys I normally train with, but this was too good an opportunity to ride with mates to pass up. So I set about rolling back down the 4,000 odd riders to find them. At the last moment, everyone appeared and we rolled off, 1,000 or so riders back in a sea of lycra bodies and carbon bikes (present company an obvious exception).

We bunch hopped along the GOR, giggling and attacking each other with abandon. It was fun, though occasionally required floating back to ensure everyone stayed roughly together.

Then the signs for the Skenes Creek township started and I got weirdly nervous. I'd done a great job of telling everyone my plan, which left me very open to someone trying to beat me and brining the whole house of cards tumbling down. I'll admit I was a little relieved to hear Dave back out of playing (he pleaded fitness) and also when I head Ryan had mechanical'ed (though I was simultaneously sad for Ryan missing out on the ride). Anyway as we hit the climb I tried to set a tempo, initially it was tough due to gutter to gutter riders blocking my way, but eventually I found a rhythm at around 85rpm. I had to stand a few times to ease give my muscles and arse a quick respite, but mostly I sat with my hands relaxed on the tops of my bars and worked on keeping the legs fluid. I feel there might have been a few more seconds in it, but all in all I was relatively happy given I had to pace myself up the whole way without the benefit of a sit or fast wheels. Oh, that might be worth mentioning, my race wheels need some love, so I had to make do today with my box section training wheels.

I'll compile a list of mates and my times for comparison at some point. The short version is after viewing the official results I'm reasonably pleased with my time given the lack of sit and lack of fast wheels.

Stolen from Steve's instagram (@pinstripes).

From the top of that climb through Deans Mash, the bottom of Benwerrin climb was relatively uneventful. We lost a rider or two (Darren attacked, Todd had to set his own pace due to cramps) and in Forrest I gained a sausage with onions in bread.

I rolled through Deans Marsh, telling the others I was going to set my own pace to ensure I didnt keep DK waiting too long, and set a tempo marginally under threshold. My legs were tired and I could feel the distant threat of mutiny, like thunder from a storm on the far horizon, and so I scoffed a gel. I haven't bothered to find my time up this final climb, I doubt it set anyone's world alight, unlike the descent from the finish line back to town. That thing is magical. I pushed hard into my legs to hold good speeds and cranked my bike over hard into every corner, loving the fact that it was closed to traffic till almost the very bottom.

So yeah, that's my day, I did exactly what I stated I would do, though I should have told people I was going to take photos, I didn't get the camera out once the whole day.

Strava link.

D: 123.7km
A: 1,808m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Hell Ride:
Look, don't tell anyone but I experimented with the legs out thing today. You see, I want to ride without them tomorrow, so today was a trial run. That's not really something you need to keep secret, the part I don't want you talking about publicly is that I used embrocation for a training ride. While I imagine for many that's not news worthy, it's a first for me, and I feel kind of silly about it, though it worked like a bloody charm!

The roll south along the beach was dead set relaxing. I don't know what was going on up the front, and even now after the fact, I don't want to know for fear of jinxing it as I was juuuust dandy with the whole affair.

Closing in on the hills I was excited to play games again, the bunch had three guys worth noting, Pat Lane, Calvin Watson and Joel Pearson. And true to my call, they were the ones that lit up the rollers between Frankston and Mt Eliza.

Olivers Hill/Hopes Rise was a repeat of the past few editions, I felt good and went around all bar the leading couple of riders who'd secured themselves a small gap, then rode myself on to their wheels as we crossed the false flat top. Patty Lane then took up duties on the front and kept the pace high until he eventually blew on the approach to Canadian Bay Rd, where Calvin took over before Joel Pearson finally attacked. Somewhere along the way I found myself on Joel's wheel and I followed him when he covered gaps and eventually stood up to attack. I didn't quite make the full crest past Canadian Bay, but Strava tells me I covered the lot faster than ever before.

Rolling home wasn't too tough, so I started moved myself up from Mordi on the off chance my legs would feel good for the sprint. I say "off chance" because I haven't feel the Hell Ride sprint for quite some time. I assume it's the hill then false flat that deceives me. Anyway as we rounded the bottom corner before the sprint I was in around 8th wheel. There was a young guy on the front, a red haired Hawthorn kid who's often found in Drapac kit, he's strong, but no sprinter. I took that as an opportunity to smack it up the right, hoping Lee would be on my wheel and be able to take advantage what I hoped was the havoc I'd caused. I eased off the pedals when riders started coming around me, happy that I'd finally felt good enough to influence the outcome of the sprint, sadly Lee wasn't with me and Joel Pearson grunted out a win over a small group of others.

Strava link.

D: 102.1km
A: 403m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 14 September 2012


I got to increment my age today but as it wasn't enough to jump a masters category I don't think it's worth noting other than to point out I used it as a reason to take the day off work and the bike and simply veg out.

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 13 September 2012


The weather has started to get a little milder, and I'm considering making a bold call that I seem to make each and every year. That call is to end my use of knee warmers and start getting my legs out and about. I've put a fair bit of time in to them this year, mostly covered, and I think that's unfair on the public. Like Phar Lap and returning Olympians they should be out and about, doing the public circuit, a way of making the masses feel like they're part of something great.

Talking about things I'm excited about, I have decided to whip out the race wheels for the Gran Fondo. 16h/20h aero section wheels vs 32/32h box section wheels, oh god then when you consider they'll shave 700 - 800grams off my bike weight, I'm almost giddy!
D: 18.7km
A: 201m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


After rolling down the highway two up and chatting to AJ it was hard to watch almost everyone I knew in the bunch continue on for the long (Two Bays) loop. I so wanted to go attack those hills and see how many blokes I could tear apart!

Anyway, kicking out of the right hander at the roundabout I found myself riding along side Jamie Nightingale with about 15 riders in front doing a good job of giving me a gold class quality sit into the headwind. I laughed and exclaimed I was in danger of changing into the big ring. Less than two seconds later I knew what was going to entertain me for the rest of the ride given I had no plan of rolling turns. I was going to complete the ride back from Mordi in the little ring and I wasn't going to cheat and cross chain to the bottom of the cassette.*

I was right in that it was a giggle, ripping my legs through; at times up to 140rpm. That is until we hit the left hander at Ormond Esplanade then that chain went straight across into the big ring and my eyes went from wide "omg this cadence is ridiculous" status to wide "oh man I'm totally going to rock and roll in the sprint" status. It's a subtle difference, but one that even from the inside I could feel.

My fun was denied by lights at the canal, this is not the first time they've ruined my fun this year. I may find myself a spray can and paint "party poopers" on them.

Strava link.

D: 45.0km
A: 181m


D: 15.0km
A: 111m

PMPW: 92kg

* I think that wheel has an 11-28 cassette, which would mean the biggest gear I ran was a 39x13 (81").

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


6am NRR:
With the aim to roll a few kms before work without doing much work, I hoped to just have a sit for the whole loop. Somewhere along the line I forgot to just sit, or I got scared by the mid bunch gaps and chopping and rolled through some turns "for giggles".

The giggles stopped around Mentone when rolling forward on Wade's wheel, I found myself suddenly face with wind and a decent gap to the wheel in front. He'd pulled the pin and slotted himself into a handy gap on the slower left lane, leaving me with more work than I'd signed up for to get to the front and across the ever present Spencer's rider. Le ouch (that's French for "the ouch").

The BP sprint was all kind of muddled due to traffic, and a cop car pulled up in the left lane, so it was sit up and roll along to Wall 280 for a 3/4 flat white and some random dogs to talk to.

Strava link.

D: 45.6km
A: 183m

Shit, I totally forgot about the extra mental capacity available on easier weeks and how it can lead to unexpected results.

Today, while eating my deliciously healthy lunch, I logged on to the CSV website and entered the Warny (c-grade) and Vic CX Champs (elite). It was not something I planned to do today, and frankly despite talking about both races for a while I'm surprised to have now committed 100% to them.

I had the boxes for Stratford to Dargo and Melbourne Cup on Wheels/Vic Keirin Champs ticked too, but removed those as there's they're pretty disparate races and I've still got plenty of time to assess what I want to do that time of year.

D: 15.0km
A: 206m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 10 September 2012


It's an easy week, a week where I recharge the fun times, reacquaint myself with sleeping past 5am and allegedly when I get faster. I'm excited about that last bit, I said it some time last week, but it bears repeating. The Warny is scaring the piss out of me at the moment; a bit of extra speed might help allay said fears.

Last week's suffer score: 361

D: 17.7km
A: 101m

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 9 September 2012


St Kilda East - Mordialloc - St Kilda East:
I wanted something relatively easy today, so joined a bunch heading out from Total Rush.The ride turned out to be for novice riders, so the return trip to Mordi was the longest ride many had done.

I mostly got the easy ride I wanted, chatting to Skinny, DK, Jay and Heggers on the way down, occasionally finding myself witless as fear gripped me as hard as the riders in front gripped their brake levers.

The return leg was far more sane, I stuck with a poor bloke who'd done his lot just to get south. I searched for topics to discuss and stories to tell to keep his mind off his legs and the firm hand I had planted in his back to ensure we kept rolling forward.

Despite it not quite being the ride I had imagined in my mind, nor the quality of riders I've grown accustomed to riding with, sitting here now, I cant help but smile at the experience. It was a good reminder about how far my own personal bike journey has been. Some time a decade or so ago I was the same shy short and anklet sock wearing, hairy leg and baggy shirt sporting rider that I saw around me.

Anyway, as Steve is fond of saying "More people, on more bikes, is more better."

Strava link.

D: 71.8km
A: 286m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 8 September 2012


Hell Ride:
I had to get to the airport earlyish for a pickup, so I resorted to the old faithful Hell Ride to get some fast kms in the legs. I pulled a few turns on the way down to stay forwards and because it seemed like a fun thing to do.

In to the hills, I nervously looked around for Johnny Walker, he'd been lurking in the bunch and I didn't want to be caught by his attacks again. He never came, so I cruised up the side of the pack and set about chasing down the couple of guys who'd managed to gap the bunch. For the next two rollers I let the bunch swell around me before pushing out and heading up the side.

The return leg was a bit like the way down, I rolled a few turns while it was fun, and sat in when it stopped being so. I didn't see too any NRS sprinters in the bunch so liked my chances into the ripping northerly. I just needed to keep calm and wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, GOOOOO!

Cresting the top of Rickets Point, Eddie "I still know how to kick like a bull" Wilson went all out. It was way too bloody early, but the wheel I wanted, an Omara rider who'd looked the goods all day, was straight on it. The moment of indecision, while I weighed my desire to wait with judgement of the Omara rider's ability, was enough to open a tiny gap that I never fully closed. I just couldn't match Eddie's hit. That's twice in as many rides the "little" shit has taken me to the cleaners. I'm going to have to convince him to come to the nongs with me so I can enact some revenge.

Strava link.

D: 96.2km
A: 434m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 7 September 2012


We're getting to the end of the road season, heck crits are just weeks away and my inbox just chimed with an email from Carl reminding me that his track sprint series kicks off on the 7th of October.

So I've done a grand total of bugger all road racing, in fact if it wasn't for CX I'd have pretty much a clear ledger since summer. I haven't dropped money on the Warny yet, despite it being what has fuelled my training (well that, muffins and flat whites) through this winter. I'm nervous about my form on the flat, and it has, give or take, two hundred and sixty one kilometres of it. Then there's the issue of needing to organise support for it. I already owe Ian and Dave for their help in my previous two attempts. Asking someone to dedicate a day to you so you can race is no small thing.

On the other hand despite for years swearing I wouldn't ever do it, I've gone and entered myself into Tour of Bright (B-Grade). I am brimming with confidence about my ability to go up hills at the moment, I'm 10kg down on last summer..... 90kg of bloke, yeah positively light weight!

D: 14.7km
A: 77m

PMPW: 90kg

Thursday, 6 September 2012


6am NRR:
I didn't do much today, I was feeling the legs and the pace at times had me (and the rest of the bunch) single file in the gutter. I came through maaaaybe three times, to ensure I kept myself at the pointy end of the bunch and to get some relief from roost when the rain rolled through at Black Rock.

Having sat in, I thought I'd have a little sneaky go at the sprint. Slowing down as we rolled towards the red lights at Glen Huntly Rd I though I might even have a chance. I was positioned reasonably and spotted a wheel that I knew would hit it hard early. Right on cue, Lach attacked from a roll as the lights changed to green, I worked to get his wheel, willing him onward, a few metres more to minimise the work remaining for me.

Just as I was looking to ease back and charge through the gap I'd created, Eddie Wilson hit like the train from Back to the Future 3 when the red log, the one after the orange and the green ones.... I think this analogy might be a bit long, so let's just say he went past quickly. A move that by it's mere existence ruled out any further participation by me, so I sat up and started to think about flat whites and heated cafes.

Strava link.

D: 46.0km
A: 188m

PMPW: 90kg

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


When I got back in bed at 4:05am after waking to pee, I had a little voice in my head, it asked "did you set your alarm?". I told the voice to piss off, it's the same one that asks if you've left the oven on, despite not having used it all week. Sadly this time the voice had a point, I hadnt set an alarm and I missed NRR entirely.

I grabbed the cross bike, hoping to brighten my day slightly with some single track shenanigans on my commute, and while it did, the could of an opportunity missed hung overhead like the ones in cartoons. It only effected me, and shadowed my every pedal stroke, putting a damper on my day.

D: 6.3km
A: 216m

1 x 10min E1
1 x 20min E3 (A&S)
1 x 10min E1
1 x 20min E3 (A&S, R/U)
1 x 5min E1

I took a leaf out of Steve's book and when writing this one on my leg had two types of instructions. "Easy" and "GO!"

Out on the balcony, with only a play list entitled "make it hurt" to keep me company, time stretched out and compressed in a way that seems unique to being in the box. 10 minutes felt like 5, 20 minutes felt like 40, and all the while I sweated like a MAMIL trying to climb the 1 in 20.

If nothing else, this session will serve as a reminder to set my bloody alarm in the future, for fear of having to repeat it.

Strava link.

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - CBD:
On one hand I loved the riding I did on the weekend, on the other I hated that it meant to keep my "ITT of MtP, first week of the month" vow, I had to do it mid week.

Like last time, I had an almost overwhelming sense of dread, so I resorted to the age old tactic of completing small manageable tasks. Putting on my socks and ensuring they were lined up. On the roll out my legs still felt crappy, I coughed up several things that would have done H.R. Giger proud, not things that helped dispel the fear, so I continued ticking off the small things. Princess St, Heidelberg/Heidelberg, Banyule Flats, and soon enough I was rolling across the bridge on Main Rd, metres away from what I'd done my best not to think about.

The plan was to hold a steady effort, just like last time, but with the added benefit of being able to corner hard. A few times I found myself out of the saddle trying to hold momentum, burning up precious strength and hating myself for it. In the middle somewhere I forgot the route and went too hard too early on a hill that keeps going around the corner I was not yet at. Still, you have to push on past failures and deal with what you can this instant and plan for the future. I finished with a diaphragm spasming and legs on fire.

It wasn't until I got home, 12 hours later that I found how went. I nervously scrolled down through the segments, hoping to see the little gold cup that tells me a PB has been achieved. Finally I spotted "All of Mount Pleasant with Antoinette Bvard" and I was filled with joy to see 7 seconds shaved off my past best effort. As I thought more about it, I was left with a slight bitter taste, last time I'd lost time to traffic and cornering ability.

Benchmark time:16:51

Strava link.

D: 72.8km
A: 1,087m

Ii had two epiphanies on the bike this morning, but after getting back to my desk I couldn't remember either of them. It's sort of like dreaming, life makes sense on the bike, but as time passes after you dismount and wake into the walking world, the more that feeling disappears.

D: 7.4km
A:  69m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 3 September 2012


You couldn't have paid me to pedal any harder this morning... well you could, a bit of extra cash is always nice... but it wouldn't have tempted me to do so. Most likely the issue was the kms travelled the days past, but I cant help but think the 5 pizzas I ate and the many beers I drank helped in any way.

Last week's suffer score: 615

D: 16.4 km
A: 217m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 2 September 2012


St Kilda East - Sorrento - Arthurs Seat - St Kilda East:
Dave had to get to Geelong today, rather than ride down the Princess, a horrible ride at the best of times, he decided to go down the eastern shore of the bay then ferry across from Sorrento. I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and accompany him to Sorrento,  ensuring my biggest weekend on the bike since the 2009 Warny where I clocked up 400km (of racing).

Killing a bit of time to the next ferry, while stuffing sausage rolls from Bakers Delight into our faces, I had a minimum of 80km to get home...  solo. It's a little daunting, in fact it was a lot daunting. We'd had a tail wind down and I'd done my very best to just keep rolling along, chatting with DK and not thinking about how every pedal stroke was one I'd have to do in the reverse direction. So, when three boys in Wynn's kit rolled in and answered "St Kilda" to the age old "G'day, where've you come from?" question, I was bloody stoked. I had company for the return leg

N: "Sweet, I'm your new best friend."
W: "We're going via Arthurs Seat."
N: "Excellent."

Despite my legs still felling rather flogged out from yesterday, I was more than happy to do Arthurs Seat, firstly it meant I was guaranteed company, the second and almost equally important, it was a few bonus extras that would get me close to the 200km mark. Something I brought up at the end of the ride with a quick detour round the bay to Middle Park.

Strava link.

D: 200.7km
A: 1,363m

CE: 1/2

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 1 September 2012


St Kilda East - Yarra Glen - Healesville - Chum Creek - Yarraglen - Eltham - St Kilda East:

I was told the ride wouldn't be a smashfest, but it most certainly was. 165km, with 2,500m of climbing at just over 28km/h average.

Lee, Leigh, Bolts, and I tagged onto a ride with DK and Kingy, for "Kinglake long".


For all the climbs, my place was glued to DK's wheel while he set tempo and tried to reel in Kingy each time he attacked off the front. Despite the rush of accomplishment I felt at the top of each climb, it was not a happy place for me. The pace Dave held kept me over threshold, and I constantly had to fight against the voices in my head and the feedback from my legs that wanted me to just drop the wheel.


We never did make it to Kinglake, Ray had to be back to town by 11:30, with 60km of hills between us and our goal, and only 150 minutes up our sleeves, we swapped off the front, with only the briefest of stops in Kangaroo Ground to refill bottles and put the only food I consumed during the ride in my face. A solitary picnic bar. God it was delicious, but still not enough to stave off the hollow and broken feeling by the end of the ride.

Strava link.

D: 165.8km

A: 2,532m

PMPW: 91kg