Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31/10/2012

CX Shenanigans:
Skinny and I rolled some of the Yarra Trails as the sun rose over the suburbs. It was a bunch of fun, though I was in constant fear of pinch flatting. Rightfully so too, I flatted on our way back to the edge of Studly Park.

It was odd being on familiar trails on a different bike. The cross bike wheelbase is pretty different from any of my hardtails, I pretty much couldn't pump it on the Kew pump track, it just seemed to take forever for the back wheel to get over the lip, and by that time the front was already going up again.

Strava link.

D: 38.0km
A: 515m

Commute:

D: 16.9km
A: 139m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

30/10/2012

6am NRR:
I tasted early success, and I don't mean the delicious vegemite, cheese and avocado muffins I scoffed before leaving the house. No just after that, I walked down the stairs without clutching the wall or the bannister. Despite this being an achievement matching the effort required to win c-grade at the Warny, I received no sash.

Anyway, I still took things cautiously on the way down, keeping clear of the front and the requirement to cover any surges that might come there. Instead, I sat 15 or so riders back, slightly out from the bunch, pushing a bit of air, and chatting to my mate Jamie. Jamie said to say hi. Hi.

After the turn I started rolling turns, not too many mind you, but enough to get a sense for the state of affairs. Yet another session with the aim to build confidence. It seems I'm having a lot of those. Anyway with fairly fresh legs I had a crack at the sprint from a bit back, topping out at 61km/h and pulling back all bar Ray Forbes before the line. I ended up sitting down towards the end of the sprint, losing a bit of momentum and prompting the thought that some speed endurance work wouldn't go astray after ToB.

Strava link.

D: 45.1km
A: 196m

Commute:

D: 19.6km
A: 159m

PMPW: 93kg

Monday, 29 October 2012

29/10/2012

Commute:
My legs feel much better today... as long as I either don't more or don't stop moving. The stairs down from and up to my apartment took on

Given the lovely afternoon we had, I threw in a few extras along the bay, hoping that maybe it'd help get my legs back to normal by tomorrow when training starts again.

D: 19.1km
A: 237m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 28 October 2012

28/10/2012

Rest:
One of the many things I've eaten today, has been icream. One of the other things I've eaten today is my pride.

I can barely bloody walk. Every time I sit down for a bit, the next time I stand up, I have to go through a process of loosening up so that I can challenge snails in a race.

I've had to realise that I cant just crack out a 17km walk in the hills with no ill effect like I thought I could.

I know from a lot of experience that DOMS shouldn't effect my on the bike performance... but I still have a voice in the back of my head that tells me that this time... this time I'm surely in too bad a state to be able to ride fast.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

27/10/2012

Kuranda - Glacier Rock - Kuranda:
Rather than just spend a weekend away sitting in the sun, it was decided to hike through the rainforest around Kuranda.

I'd had a look at the map, but hadn't had a calculator on me when I did. Still I backed my really quick estimation of distance and time, figuring if we got up there early we could do a full loop of the Douglas and Smith tracks.

I got it a bit wrong, the distances, especially the walk in and out of town to the trail head, was longer than I planned, and the terrain was either up or down.

We still got a solid day in, 17 odd km, but it was only to the Douglas track junction and around to Glacier rock.



My quick calculations (this time with a calculator) says on the out and back we the gradient averaged 5% up. If we take my comment of "either up and down" literally, then we are dealing with an average slope of 10% for both the ups and downs. If we say it couldn't have been purely up or down and there must have been some flat(ter) sections, then those numbers keep getting bigger.

No wonder I'm tired.

Strava link.

D: 17.5km
A: 883m

Friday, 26 October 2012

26/10/2012

Rest:
Nothing too energetic today, I'm off out of town for a long weekend in the sun.



PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 25 October 2012

25/10/2012

6am NRR:
As I rolled up to Luna Park, post sprinting, a man with a thick Scottish accent rode past and told me I was a machine. I think that's a good thing, though I didn't feel like I was deserving of it, to me a machine works turns all morning, down and back, never failing to come through. That wasn't me as it wasn't how I rode this morning.

I pulled a couple of turns early on the trip down, but the roaring northerly and two days of hard work in my legs combined to find me a little shy of the front and the high 50km/h speeds required to pull turns.

The way back was a little better, but I still wasn't rolling through religiously. I was more agnostic, I believed in turns, but I wasn't sure which turn was for me. Certainly not all of them.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment random Scottish dude.

D: 45.4 km

A: 197m

Commute:

D: 14.7km
A: 153m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

24/10/2012

NRR long:
It's amusing how much NRR long changes after the Warny is over and Sandown Crits start. There were half the riders of a few weeks ago and much of the top end was missing.

The pace reflected this, for the whole trip south it was just Wade and I on the front, tapping an easy pace and chatting. I figured this would mean a few would bite when I set hard tempo up Karr St, but as I rolled over the crest I realised everyone else was a long way back. I sat up, soft pedalling while I waited for them to get back on.

There was a bit more life up Baden Powel, my hard tempo was matched by the bunch, but no one seemed to eager to do much more than sit on. Along the rolling road to the freeway I composed myself a few wheels back, surely the fireworks would start there. Nope, there was nice tempo along the highway, it was enough to make me a little complacent and forget about bunch positioning. As we rolled into the dip at the start of Canadian Bay I realised the error of my ways, I'd let too many shit wheels slot in front of me.

I whipped around a couple through the corner, but up front Andy Naylor was hitting it and I had to scrabble around the last few wheels that weren't up to the task. Andy was out of the saddle, stomping on the pedals, a CBD kitted rider on his wheel, then me, arse firmly planted in my seat. The pace had arrived, and it was hurting.

Across the flat the CBD rider did the work, I gave Andy a quick hand in the back as he started to shoot backwards down the left side of the road, then got back to trying to drop my HR back under threshold before the final kick to the crest. I left the CBD rider on the front for the descent, and he seemed happy to be there into the bottom of Two Bays, standing up to get some momentum going... once up to speed I watched mesmerised by the sway of his hips... he was still out of the saddle! The pace hurt, but I was within my abilities and convinced my arse in the seat, spinning style would triumph over his heavy muscle usage method. Soon he would tire, he'd sit down and we'd roll him like the chump he surely was.

Incorrect. The dude just kept smacking down into those pedals, all the way to the top... well I assume to the top, I popped coming out of the exit of the last corner. A stitch making breathing hard... seriously... a stitch?!

The strong headwind home hurt, I rolled turns for a bit, but as riders dropped out of rotation I found it a bit much and dropped back for a sit. When the CBD rider pulled off at black rock, there was a collective sigh, and we got back to nice steady turns that everyone could be involved in. It was nice to know it wasn't just me finding him too strong.

Time at work: 9:09am

Strava link.

D: 100.5km
A: 620m

Commute:

D: 13.3km
A: 125m

PMPW: 90kg

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

23/10/2012

6am NRR:
Ok, that made me happy. I rolled turns in both directions, not every turn, but enough to feel like I could ride a bike at decent speeds.

Rolling turns was the main thing to help me peg my current state, but the effort, solo on the front up the hill between Black Rock and Sandringham did a lot for my confidence too. Realising no one else was coming around me and finding a rhythm to settle into that kept everyone single file was nice. Eventually DK came over the top a little bit before the crest and eased over in front of me meaning I didn't have to search for a 50 extra watts to cover his extra speed.

The sprint was a bit of a giggle, strung out from the left onto Ormond Esplanade only to have a set of red lights at Glen Huntly slow the pace right off. I timed the lights and managed to roll through with a little momentum (20km/h?) and put everything into that last 900m of road, trying my best to either break those on my wheel or if no one was there, to keep them from getting across. Sadly there were two guys who rolled off my wheel at 100m to go.

Strava link.

D: 45.4 km
A: 197m

Commute:

D: 14.7km
A: 153m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 22 October 2012

22/10/2012

Commute:
This is going to sound a bit stupid, even I know it's stupid, but it's how I'm feeling at the moment.

I'm nervous about riding North Road tomorrow.

Part of my mind worries that in the week that I've barely touched the bike since the Warny, I've lost heaps of fitness and mental willingness to suffer, while everyone else has gotten faster/better/stronger. It's that dumb thing where I'm going to have to start off easy and build my confidence back up again. Relearn what my abilities and limits are.

Yeah, I know it's stupid.

D: 17.2km
A: 275m

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 21 October 2012

21/10/2012

St Kilda East - Dromana - St Kilda East:
I helped out chaperone some guys doing part of Round the Bay. There was no hand holding or kissing on my watch!

No, seriously, the group had some pretty varied abilities and fitness, which kept things interesting despite the slower pace. Add in the odd random rider getting caught up in our convoy and I found it to be more of a mental exercise (rather than a physical one) to get down to Dromana and back.

I'm not complaining, my legs and brain aren't still raring to go, so the pace suited my needs as well. Most of the hills I ensured guys kept in contact with the bunch(s), the rest of the time was spent chatting and fantasising about coffee.

It's odd, I've clocked up 200km this weekend and feel like I've slacked off the entire time. Next week, I think all excuses will have to be treated as such, just excuses. Rides will happen, the box will be sought, and I'll signal to myself through action that the season is not over and there are still fitness gains to be made.

ToB is coming.

Strava link.

D: 146.1km
A: 953m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 20 October 2012

20/10/2012

St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - St Kilda East:
It's odd how a ride with 1,200m vertical could feel like I wasted a day, but that's how it is. I rolled out to Mt Pleasant, turned around, did it in reverse and then rolled home.




Standing on the side of the road after taking that photo, a group of cyclists rode up. I looked up from my phone and said "The snake is dead.". They kind of looked at me funny and kept rolling, a few moments later I heard one exclaim. "hahaha, he said 'the snake is dead.". Obviously they hadn't heard me. ;)

Strava link.

D: 71.6km
A: 1,235m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 19 October 2012

19/10/2012

Commute:
 Ok, I'm bored of this not doing much malarky, though that's not to say I'm raring to get my teeth back into some serious training.

It's simply a case that I don't like lacking things to talk about, and if I have to destroy my body simply so I can describe the process and the sensations... then so be it.

D: 20.1km
A: 171m

CE: 1

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 18 October 2012

18/12/2012

Commute:
It's not the weekend yet, so there's nothing interesting going on here.

Unless you want to hear about my tanlines. They're pretty awesome right about now, and they're only get better. That said I think they're set now, so I can't go changing to different length jerseys or bibs, it'd be like in January when all the GreenEdge boys got fresh kit that was 1-2 inches shorter than last years. Yeah... not a good look.

D: 15.6km
A: 128m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

17/10/2012

Commute:
I decided to take it easy on my body for a couple of days, 300km of racing over the weekend is enough training stress to hold me over until next weekend.

It's an odd feeling though, as Tour of Bright isn't too far off (6 or so weeks), leaving me torn between the desire to recover and the desire to get on with getting faster. I just have to convince myself that recovery is making me faster.

D: 30.1km
A: 327m

PMPW: 91kg

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

16/10/2012

6am NRR:
There were times down the highway when I wasn't sure if I'd make it through the ride today, and I wasn't even rolling turns. The data tells me I wasn't reaching threshold so I'm either not fully recovered physically or just nor there mentally, either way the solution was simple. Shove more coffee in my face.

D: 44.6km
A: 147m

Commute:


D: 16.5km
A: 117m

PMPW: 93kg

Monday, 15 October 2012

15/10/2012

Commute:
Instead of talking about the state of my body (pretty achey), I figure now's a good time to jot down some little things about the Warny.

The first one, the one that sticks most in my mind was watching the NRS boys bike handling. Sliding up through the pack, between riders where no gap appeared to exist. At one point, on the bit of road that heads south from Lismore... you know, the one with the cross winds... anyway the race was pretty much single file in the gutter, occasionally someone would drop a wheel or someone would pop out to move up, but mostly, yeah, in the gutter. In those rare moments where someone needed to be got around or there was a free tow, I took it. One of those moments was behind Will Walker, I could barely follow him as he rode mere millimetres from the bikes and bodies of those in the gutter, despite the cross winds, while I, growing increasing disillusioned at my own bike handling abilities hovered a further 6-8 inches out into the wind. Hrm... a pretty long winded way of saying "those guys ride good".

I didn't get a 3rd feed, the team of ridiculously kind people helping out didn't make it in time, but anyway that bit's not important, just the fact I didn't get my own bag of goodness. So in a small bunch with a heap of mates I asked around for donations of drinks and food, specifically gels. Soon enough I was laden with extras others didn't need (thanks especially to the Artisan Cycles boys). One of the gels I got was "Banoffee", a flavour that reminded me of well overripe banana and instant coffee... and once the first waft of flavour reached my mouth from the tiny hole I'd ripped in the top of the packet... well I gagged. So I had a conundrum, in my hand was something packed with sugar, caffeine and guarana... which lets be honest is just super caffeine... anyway I had something indubitably good for me, but that conjured a reaction akin to Brussel sprouts. Pop quiz hot shot... what do you do?! Me? I shot the hostage (ate it and then complained like a 6 year old boy).

D: 17.3km
A: 155m

PMPW: 93kg

Sunday, 14 October 2012

14/10/2012

SKCC Crits:
The forecast was for a beautiful day, a day that one should be on the bike, in the sun, with a coffee, talking crap with mates. So that's what I planned to do. I planned to roll down to the SKCC crit (wearing my sash), grab a coffee or 7, and talk crap while others drilled themselves around the closed circuit.

At some point the plan was hijacked, I'm blaming it on Skinny, and instead of watching others tear around the bitumen, I was putting down $20 and picking up a number so that I could. Moments after I had #20 pinned on my back I was asked if I could help marshal D-grade, so I did that too.

The D-Grade duties was a good move, it loosened up my legs and made me feel like I had the ability to push on the pedals. When finally I rolled out with A-Grade I was confident I could not only finish the race, but I could influence it as well.

For me the race was mostly covering moves, I had mates up the road at most points, so all I had to do was sit back and wait to see if it came to a sprint. When it didn't, I wound up the bunch to the last corner and let them go, pretty much a straight copy of last week.

It wasn't all roses, I noted that for much of the race I lost a wheel or two coming through turn. This meant I had to work a little harder at the start of the start/finish straight, and wasted energy. I'll watch out for it in future races and see if I can correct the speed discrepancy, maybe it's an extra pedal stroke before the corner, maybe s a marginally different line is needed.

Oh yeah, 300km of racing in a weekend. Booooyah!

Strava link.

D: 85.3km
A: 168m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 13 October 2012

13/10/2012

Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic:
I want to keep this one brief, but given how I write, it might turn into an epic wall of text. Apologies if that's the case.

Without doubt, this is the most prepared I've been for a race. Ever. So when less than 10kms in, while going around the bunch on the gravel shoulder, I slid out on the grass trying to avoid a crash and thus ended up off the back of the bunch.... Well..... I was a little annoyed to say the least. To put months of time in the saddle, sacrificing time with friends and family for this sport, only to see the race go away less than 3% of the way in.... well that's frustrating.

I'd done no damage to myself, my shifter was at near right angles, my bars were 5-10 degrees off centre and there was a lot of grass attached to the buckle of my shoe, but none of this was going to stop me rolling through. A group formed and after an initial balls out chase, I pretty much resigned myself to riding along with the same blokes for the full 262. The race was gone and there was no way we'd see it again.

PA130002

Leading in to feed #1 we got a time update, there was around 4 minutes to the main bunch, it obviously seemed like an achievable gap as guys started rolling turns harder, into the feed I heard calls from the sideline of "one minute", and then not far up the road we could see them. A day that had seemed over, was suddenly wide open again. Despair had turned to hope. We looked at each other in disbelief and grinned. It was game on again!

So back in the fold, I had to get myself into the groove of riding for position and avoiding the numerous crashes. I still worried about the cross winds I knew would come after feed #2 at Lismore, enough to start pumping caffeine through my system. It kind of didn't eventuate though. Enough of the teams were represented in the break to temper the pace. There was a lot or riding in the gutter action, but for me it wasn't life or death. I was able to cover the gaps left by blown riders and move up (occasionally).

This meant that I rolled into Camperdown, the place I'd set as my goal to arrive at with the bunch, feeling better than... well... better than expected. I've got to admit, at this point, I was pretty stoked. If you've had the misfortune of being near me when the topic of the Warny comes up (or I bring it up), I've likely used the phrase "I just want to be there, on those hills, to watch the fireworks go off", so actually being there left me with this hollow place where my goals once resided. Meanwhile, while I was off re-assessing my place in life, the race went on. The front of the bunch hitting the first, longer, climb with some decent pace, enough to string blokes out and break a few legs. Some of those dropping wheels were in front of me, and more importantly, in front of DK. My day, the thing I was around for, was to help DK. I pulled through and put myself half a dozen beats over threshold, which merely stemmed the flow of time. In less floral language, I could match the bunch's pace, but not close down the gap and help my mate get where he needed to be. Even rolling terror turns on the descent didn't get us back on, and as we crested the 2nd hill and found our way back out the Princess Hwy, I was once again faced with the depressing thought that the day was over.

So to recap where things stand at this point. We had a bunch, and by we I mean DK, Ray, Jake and a bunch of other guys I know from NRR etc, but most specifically DK, Ray and Jake. I had a grading of C-grade, which was the lowest of anyone, so the best shot at a category win. DK and Jake worked turns on the front so I didn't have to (though I came through a few times to ensure I stayed towards the front), leaving me time to shovel food and scientifically formulated food like substances into my face hole. Then, as we rolled into Warrnambool proper, the most humbling experience I've had to date (on a bike) occurred. DK, Jake, Ray and Luigi lined themselves out on the front of the bunch, for me. 4 blokes, whom I respect immensely set me up to launch at the line, and despite a massive twinge in my adductor there was no way in hell I wanted to let these blokes down. I'm serious, I clearly remember the thought "Ok Neil, if you have to sprint through a full cramp, then you will fucking sprint through a cramp!".

In the end I probably went a few metres too soon, and had one guy push a wheel in front of mine on the line, I'd say it doesn't matter because he was in A-grade, but it does. I don't like to lose sprints. Still, that aside, I was elated. 260km of racing and I'd ripped out a sprint. Despite some disorganisation in the bunch after Camperdown we'd rolled in only 17 minutes down on the leaders. To top it off I had achieved the win in C-grade, and if I'd been in B where I possibly should have been, it would have been enough for 6th.



Photo completely and utterly stolen from Leigh Schilling's Instagram.

So beyond the sash (which I wore to the bars on Chapel St), I am stoked. I'm stoked because I finished the Warny after racing at a level I've aimed for. The last two times I've cramped out in the last 40kms and missed significant selections before the midway point. That didn't happen this time... well I (the guys I was with deserve all the credit) managed to rectify the issues post the early crash.





Strava link.

D: 258.7km
A: 1,546m

PMPW: 91kg

Friday, 12 October 2012

12/10/2012

Rollers:
With the tubular wheels on the road bike in preparation for tomorrow I grabbed my track bike and threw it on the rollers. A session before work and one after. Half an hour working on a smooth pedal stroke and a couple of cadence drills.



It may have no physical effect on my performance, but it sure as heck helped settle the nerves a bit. Something to concentrate on rather than the fear of the crossy after Lismore

Commute:

D: 16.8km
A: 315m

PMPW: 90kg

Thursday, 11 October 2012

11/10/2012

Commute:
There is such an odd mix of inevitability, trepidation and excitement coursing through me right now. And by odd mix I mean 1/3 of each. 33.3 is an odd number.

I intended to get on the rollers and spin the legs through, but bits and pieces got in the way. Not the end of the world, but a pity none the less.

D: 15.1km
A: 111m

PMPW: 90kg

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

10/10/2012

NRR:
This morning was easy, like suuuper easy. Rolling two up down the highway, we either hit some lights or guys on the front were holding the pace a little high and half the bunch let the other half go. I was in the second bit, one that rolled back up the beach with guys chatting on the front. I know they were chatting, because I was one of them for most of the journey.

I'm going to go right out on a limb here and suggest that most of the people we had along for the ride were coming down to Warrnambool on Saturday, well all bar Danny Cohen who's doing a half marathon on Sunday. The conversation I had with him where he told me lead to one of the toughest questions of my day.

"Would you prefer to do a half marathon or the Warny?"

If it was a full marathon the answer would be simple, Warny, 100% the Warny. Even at half the distance I'm still leaning away from the run.

Strava link.

D: 45.8km
A: 189m

Commute:

D: 18.9km
A: 261m

PMPW: 91kg

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

9/10/2012

6am NRR:
The big wheels are still on my roadie from the weekend, I reckon they'll stay on all week, because it's more effort to take them off and put them on again than it's worth. Even with this horribly unfair advantage the ride hurt a bit this morning. Possibly because I'm still wearing the effects of double racing Sunday, possibly because the tyres were at 80psi.

Still, there were a few moments that felt "right", moments where my legs delivered the sort of performance I wish for.

I hit Rickets Point pretty hard, Golly was on the front and given he's attacked a clean, hard turn riding working group here a bunch of times I took great pleasure in ripping past him with a few extra clicks an hour and holding the throttle wiiiide open. The AXS/Spencers rider reached my wheel after the crest, I'd had time to sit up, turn around and grin at him... all the while soft pedalling to get through the fire in my legs.

The next happy point was the Golden Mile. I found myself way too far back, so scooted up the outside of the bunch. As I approached the lead 10 or so riders, I realised there were no easy holes for me to slot into and Ray Forbes was on the front. I decided to give him a chop out, rolling to the fore and getting down low to boogey. Round into Ormond Esplanade eventually Skinny decided to relieve me and I eased up, searching for a place to get back into the lineout. It took a while; riders were whipping through tight on each other's wheels.

The final moment wasn't long after my long turn. I was a ways back as we approached Glen Huntly, legs still smarting from the last effort, but I was moving up. If I could pull one last turn to help others get some giggles out of a sprint, well.... that'd probably help me too. I rolled off a wheel about 15-20 back as we got to the canal. Guys were winding up their sprints... but they didn't seem to be going terribly fast. I was out of the saddle, in the drops, sprinting like a roadie. It was a foreign thing, but it felt good. I kept hammering away and hauled in rider after rider, rolling my wheels in front of Lachy just moments before the line to take "the win".

Strava link.

D: 44.4km
A: 184m

Commute:
A few sneaky sections of dirt on the CX bike. I know CX season is basically done and mudded, but I'm starting to feel better about the rhythm of the cross bike. I'm not Stybar, but finally it feels alright to get the skinny knobbies airborne.

D: 23.6km
A: 273m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 8 October 2012

8/10/2012

Commute:
The legs heavy felt heavy today, even on the leisurely pace I asked of them along St Kilda Rd. Thankfully Mick was waiting out the front of the art centre and Carl uploaded videos from yesterday. Combined enough to perk me from the doldrums.

1st Round: (5:31)


2nd Round: (4:56)


3rd Round: (6:12)


A Grade 1v2 Final


D: 16.5km
A: 117m

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 7 October 2012

7/10/2012

SKCC Crit:
My plan for the day wasn't really formed when the race started. To put it another way, I had no cohesive thoughts on what I wanted to achieve. I knew I wasn't terribly confident of the wet (but slowly drying) course, and I wanted to take a little time to get used to the race wheels again. These two things meant I sat in for the first 15-20 minutes of the the race, sometimes right on the back of the bunch.

About the time the course was drying out and my legs warming up, a few breaks were forming, going off the front and getting chased down. Despite my memory being slightly hazy of the minutiae I do have one distinct memory. Looking past the 15-20 riders in front of me and thinking "That move has all the teams of the day in it. I'm too far back to get up to it, and it's going to be let go."

I was right, of course. Of course because I wouldn't be telling you the story if I was wrong, not that I'm always right... just most of the time. Anyway the break of 6ish riders picked up a lead as the impetus went out of the bunch, a couple of individuals threw themselves at the front, but no single bloke was going to be able to bring them back. 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 45 seconds. Eventually my brain clicked, there was no point me sitting in a bunch rolling moderately, I was there to train, a win, while nice was not the point, so I got myself forward.

Soon enough I was at the front, someone ripped a hard turn, peeling off on the home straight. Perched on their wheel it felt like the bunch was strung out and starting to have gaps in it behind me, so I smacked it hard. The initial joy of being able to ride clear of the bunch was soon replaced by pain. I tried to get into a rhythm, but the place I go to when climbing and during ergos eluded me.

After a couple laps I was still dangling 20-30m off the front, the bunch strung out single file, I was hurting, but by god so were they. Suddenly I had company, someone had jumped across. I eased to let them through and found myself scrabbling to get their wheel. By the time I had reached their wheel, they were feeling spent and rolling off to pull me through again. I was toast and we were soon back in the folds of the bunch.

Not long after a couple of teams lost riders from the break and the choppy turns that were happening were slowly bringing the break back. I was pretty shocked, they must be getting tired, so kept myself towards the front and pulling hard when the legs allowed it. Bike Gallery's man coming back brought out Cam McDonald and a few mates, a solo DRAPAC rider was still looking to make things happen, same with a SKCC kitted rider. The issue was, none of us had the energy to get organised. With 4-5 of us rolling hard turns on the front we could have decimated the brakeaway, instead we pulled single turns only to have one of the teams represented in the break on our wheels soft pedal straight after. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing the teams of negative riding, to me they were ensuring any move was covered, a smart thing given their race position. Not once did I see them interfere with riders honestly looking to roll hard, it was simply that people were too tired to organise better.

So at the end we got the break back to 20 seconds, not enough to close on the last lap, so as we rolled through for the bell everyone was looking at everyone else to make the move and kick the bunch sprint off. It was getting laughably slow as we crossed the line, 1.2km to go... so I hit it, ripping it up to speed then getting low and driving through to the last corner. One last pedal stroke out of the corner was all I had for the sprinters, so I rolled wide and grinned at just how strung out everyone was.

Post race sausages: 1

D: 65km (ish)*
A:150m (ish)*

ABOC SSS:
There's now a 2pm start for the SSS, meaning with some food shoved in my mouth as I drove, I could make it a twofer day. I realised when I arrived that I'd packed my road shoes, the ones with cleats slammed back, rather than my track shoes with more of a ball cleat position. I was sad I'd be giving up a few hard earned watts, but knew it should play to my endurance base anyway.

The flying 200 qualifiers were in varied conditions, a south easterly rose and fell, pushing you hard in the face as you rounded the club house and kicked hard for the back straight and 200m line. I pushed fractionally harder down the home straight with 1 lap to go, other than that it was a text book Neil Robinson flying 200. I had 104" on my deep wheels and I hauled it hard in an arc down the bank to meet the 200m line on the black. I stayed as low as I could to cheat the wind and forced my legs to carry me to a 12.688 sec time. Not earth shattering, but in the ball park for me, and enough for fastest qualifier.

1st round:
I raced James Dann first, he had the lead and I had a tactic. Take height, force the speed up to remove the damage from his kick, make him jump, and then run him down. It pretty much went exactly like that too, though through the final turns I wasn't 100% sure I had him. It was only as I rolled off the slight bank at the exit to turn 4 that I felt I had a real good sniff and only a couple of metres from the line that I felt I had it won.

2nd Round:
David Koroknai, on paper my easiest race of the day and that fact might have caused me to race a little less efficiently and waste some valuable energy to take the win. Once again I had the follow, once again I took height and tried to keep the speed up. This time though I wasn't given a lot of track, David had me pinned towards the top, a few feints on my behalf barely got me any extra inches, one of them got some solid shoulder to shoulder contact, something that to his credit David (a junior) didn't flinch from. In the end I was forced to race the long way around the track in a drag race to achieve my 2nd win of the day.

3rd Round:
My last round robin race worried me a little, Ryan Worn had qualified 0.2 of a second slower than me, but had lost a ton of time when he failed to keep his bike in the lane during his f200, swinging up almost all the way to the blue. I was drawn to lead, but almost straight out of the gate Ryan pushed past and took the lead. I was ok with it, confident in my ability to chase down and through a rider. Taking height I soon found I had even less room than my race against David. I was never worried about the fence, but I never felt like I had room to attack. I pushed the pace up and up, but at some stage I forgot about initiating the kick and Ryan was soon taking the initiative himself. I ran hard at him, but I was too late, failing to overhaul him on the dash to the line. Thankfully James took care of HsinTi Liao in his race, meaning I was through to the 1v2 final on f200 time.

A Grade 1v2 Final:
With 2 wins and a bye to his name, I was back up against Ryan for the last race of the day. We both jumped on the rollers for the 10 minute break in racing, headphones in, hoodies pulled up, trying to get the legs warm and the mind on task. Ryan drew the lead, and immediately I was on the fence again. I tried to slow and get under him, but he matched my speed. I abandoned that idea and built the pace again, one thought prime in my mind.

"Do not repeat last race's mistake. Make the move!"

I picked the pace up down the back straight, a lap and half still to go, kicking as we rounded into turn 3 and managed to get my bike in front and down into the lane out of turn 4. There was no thought of going for a double kick move, I got down low and go go go (let's ignore the issues with tense there). The back straight hurt, and through the final two turns I could feel Ryan behind and above me. I was slowing fast and almost abandoned hope of a win... then I realised. Ryan wasn't steaming through me. He was tired too! I put it all out on the track, crossing the line with a long, loud, guttural cry. My wheel in front, possibly by a wheel length, maybe more or less, the details burnt away in the flood of relief and joy.




Post race sausages: 4

PMPW: 91kg

* My garmin had no file on it when I went to upload, so these are by best recollection of the numbers.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

6/10/2012

Hell Ride:
St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - St Kilda East
Lazy:
Being the first week of the month, I should have been out doing an ITT today. I'd even put on the big wheels yesterday to make it fun/exciting/fast, but a combination of being Lazy (80%), the Rain (15%) and being hungover (5%) kept me indoors all day and my bike sparkly clean.

To be honest, I'm quite ashamed.

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 5 October 2012

5/10/2012

Commute:
I had a breakfast date with Caddy near the Yarra trails, a chance I thought to get some sneaky dirt in on the skinny knobbies. It was lucky I left early to get to breakfast, enabling me to find some sneaky trail that Skinny and Ratray had discovered near Como Park. Lucky because as usual, Steve and I talked way too much, and by the time an omelette, two coffees and way to much chatting was done, I was late for work and chances of ripping trail were none existent.

I did throw in the bits between the CBD and Chapel St on the way home, but with a backpack on, it's just not quite as fun.

D: 37.3km
A: 450m

PMPW: 90kg

Thursday, 4 October 2012

4/10/2012

St Kilda East - Devils Elbow - One Tree Hill - St Kilda East:
I hoped this week, with no backpack, I'd be able to hold on to DK a little better, and in many ways I did well, but I failed on actually holding his wheel for the climb.

When we hit the straight after the sweeping right, my calculations put him 30 seconds up the road and I never saw him once I was turned into Churchill Drive. It was pretty much just me and the climb up tarmac angled at around 8%.

I'm sure the freshness of his legs and the tiredness of mine were contributing factors, but fuck it, despite the solid PB I still have a feeling that I failed a test.

Strava link.

D: 72.8km
A: 1,093m

Commute:
Seemingly unrelated to cycling, unless you love some heavy music during intervals, is this article by the lead singer/guitarist of US metal band Baroness.*

I draw your attention to it, because it's a dude, who experienced trauma that you wouldn't wish on anyone, yet has come out the other side with an attitude that's freaking remarkable.

I seriously recommend you read it through, but here is some exerts that will give you the gist.

They were in a bus crash.

"While we were airborne my eyes met with our driver’s. I knew then that we each shared the same look on our face; and I won’t soon forget it. We had spent enough time in the air to appreciate, make peace with and accept a fate we thought inevitable, and we looked at one another with a horribly silent “goodbye” in our eyes."

Suffered some serious bodily damage.

"My left arm was crushed beyond belief, broken in the middle of the bone in my upper arm (humerus), and hanging 90 degrees backwards, with many spurs of bone poking through muscles and sinew at the surface of my skin. The bone was shattered into seven free-floating pieces, and my wrist and hand were swinging behind my back, spasming freely. Instinctively, I reached behind my back, grabbed my wrist and re-broke my arm forwards, hugging it to my chest, where it remained for the next three hours until it was cast in plaster."

The moist poignant thing for me was this.

"For one heartbeat and one tiny sliver of time, I became disconnected entirely. It was, specifically, the moment I impacted with the glass. In that barest heartbeat of a moment, I came face to face with the infinite. I didn’t see a light, or the tunnel or hear any music. Nor did I get a “best-of” montage of my life. Instead, I felt the tip of my nose brush up against the very same fate I had accepted moments before. I looked into a cold, unreflective mirror. It was the dark, silent, dispassionate logic of the end. I realized in that moment that life can be seen as a light switch: “on” or “off”. When the moment passed and I heard the screaming, felt the pain, and tasted my own blood, I was overcome with joy. I was ecstatic to be back amidst all that chaos and horror because it was alive and real."

If that doesn't take your brain, and force it to assess where you're going with life and audit how well you use your time, then frankly I question if you're alive.

Carpe Diem. YOLO. Just Do It. HTFU Kid.

D: 15.4km
A: 246m

PMWP: 91kg * Credit to my buddy Liam White for pointing me to the article.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

3/10/2012

NRR Long:
Down the highway to Mordi was a relaxed pace back where I was in the bunch, and though I dont think we added too much pace when the regular loop peeled right at the roundabout the fact I started rolling turns meant it took a bit more effort from me. Given my priority was once again the hills, I considered dropping out of the working group, to sit in and conserve until "the bays", but when I had done that on the highway I'd been swamped and lost 40 places in moments. So I kept coming through until we rolled into Frankston.

I took a sit up Kars and Baden Powel, keeping my arse firmly planted in the saddle and my legs flicking through at 90rpm. I sat in along the freeway too, in fact I stayed with my fat arse hidden from the wind right up until the bottom corner of Canadian Bay, where I rolled up the inside? outside? I dunno, the right side (of the left lane), everyone was off to the left following wheels leaving a big fat path for me to make up easy positions and get onto the moves that start right into the face of the first kick. I suppose that means I sat on up Canadian Bay too, pushing over threshold to hold wheels before the false flat, recovering for a little bit, then up out of the saddle to crest the top. I was in 8th, and feeling ok, but you know, nervous, because Two Bays and I aren't really best friends or anything.

Two bays hurt, I'm sure due to someone pedalling in front of me, but that was outside my scope of attention and care. My scope and attention was pretty much my legs, sometimes the rider in front of me, and on very rare occasions the rider in front of them. I figured you'd ask about the scope and attention thing, so I've pre-empted you a bit here.... sorry if you weren't, but you know what they say about pre-empting, "it'll make an em and a pting out of pr and e.". At house #40 I was a rider or so closer to the front, good, that meant it hurt whoever it was to hurt me. Joel Pearson pushed out from the wheel he was on and and upped the pace, by the time I was around the tired rider in front of me, he and Ferg Sully had a 3-4m gap, and I was in the wind chasing. At some point a rider came around me and filled most of the hole... then exploded and whacked it in reverse. I kept my effort steady and the gap stayed constant meaning I rolled home in 3rd. Look, I know it's silly to give so many words to what is a training ride, but I'm fucking stoaked. I'm pretty sure everyone else cares as much as I do, and so it's a fair guide to form. Oh, I also shaved 11 seconds off previous two bays PB.

I sat in for the trip home. I'd achieved what I'd come to do, and was happy to just cover wheels when needed. That is up until we got to the golden mile and hit the traffic chaos caused by the tunnel outage.

Time at work: 8:55am

Strava link.

D: 100.7km
A: 554m

Commute:

Not a bad morning to be on the bike eh? I swear, I was happy, no... really!

D: 8.1km
A: 10m

PMPW: 91kg

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2/10/2012

6am NRR:
The finish of this one has left me buzzing (though that could be the coffee), a day of hard that ended with a quick sprint, all of which I took part in.

I didn't work 100% of the time, I started the ride chatting with Lachy and had the sit of my life on Eddie Wilson and Rob Crowe up Rickets Point. It was such a good sit I called Skinny over and we shared a Rob Crowe leg each. They're big enough that you almost don't need to pedal.

The turns I did pull were tough, strong boys riding big wheels were having fun and I was just proud (of myself) to be coming through consistently. I almost cracked along Brighton Beach, but for a set of lights that went red as I was struggling to come over Craig Johnson. Once that moment was past I could smell the sprint and became revitalised.

The crowning moment was chasing down DK on the run towards BP, releasing the sprint that had strung out behind me with 250-300m to go at 60km/h. I even felt like I had more in me, both the speed and that feeling were firsts for me since last summer when I was training for the Kilo.

Strava link.

D: 44.9km
A: 183m

Commute:

D: 20.6km
A: 313m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 1 October 2012

1/10/2012

Commute:
Slowly slowly the nerves are starting to creep in, or rather build up for the Warny. As DK and I discussed yesterday, there's not really any gains to be made now*. It's mostly a case of ensuring you eat right, recover well and most of all, don't. get. sick.

So that's me right now, taking my easy days easy, aiming to be in bed by 9:30 (at the latest) and cleaning up my diet to ensure I hit the race with the least weight (healthily) possible.

D: 17.3 km
A: 259m

Last week's suffer score: 492

PMPW: 92kg

* excluding, of course, the glorious day when I bolt in my race wheels, losing 28 spokes and 700g while gaining 36mm of extra braaaaaaap!