Friday, 30 November 2012

30/11/2012

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

29/11/2012

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
A:172m

Commute:

D: 17.9km
A: 154m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

28/11/2012

NRR:
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

Commute:

D: 16.2
A: 109m

PMPW: 90kg

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

27/11/2012

Yoga:
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

26/11/2012

Commute:
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

25/11/2012

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

24/11/2012

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

23/11/2012

Commute:
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

22/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 15.3km
A: 167m

PMPW: 91kg

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

21/11/2012

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

20/11/2012

NRR:
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

19/11/2012

Commute:
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

18/11/2012

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

17/11/2012

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

16/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 8.7km
A: 94m

CE: 1

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 15 November 2012

15/11/2012

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

14/11/2012

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*

D:100.4km
A: 558m

Commute:

D: 8.8km
A:158m

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

13/11/2012

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

Commute:


D: 16.7km
A: 207m

PMPW: 92kg

Monday, 12 November 2012

12/11/2012

Commute:
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

11/11/2012

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

ABOC SSS:
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

10/11/2012

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

9/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 14.3km
A: 229m

PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 8 November 2012

8/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 17.0km
A: 112m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

7/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 17.7km
A: 211m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

6/11/2012

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

5/11/2012

Commute:
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

4/11/2012

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

3/11/2012

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

2/11/2012

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

Commute:

D: 15.9km
A: 139m

PMPW: 90kg

Thursday, 1 November 2012

1/11/2012

Commute:
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