Monday, 31 December 2012

31/12/2012

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

PMPW: 91kg

Sunday, 30 December 2012

30/12/2012

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

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

Strava link.

D: 31.0km
A: 307m

PMPW: 92kg

Saturday, 29 December 2012

29/12/2012

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

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

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

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



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

Strava link.

D: 112.6km
A: 616m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 28 December 2012

28/12/2012

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

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 27 December 2012

27/12/2012

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

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

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

PC270002

Strava link.

D: 154.5km
A: 1,821m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

26/12/2012

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

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

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

PC260001

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

Strava link.

D: 95.3km
A: 529m

PMPW: 94kg

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

25/12/2012

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

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 44.9km
A: 199

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 24 December 2012

24/12/2012

Rest:
I did precicely nadda today.

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 23 December 2012

23/12/2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 65.7km
A: 122m

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 22 December 2012

22/12/2012

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 96.4km
A: 382m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 21 December 2012

21/12/2012

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

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

PMPW: 92kg

Thursday, 20 December 2012

20/12/2012

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

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 61.5km
A: 1,259m

PMPW: 93kg

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

19/12/2012

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

Strava link.

D: 47.4km
A:226m

Commute:

D: 15.6km
A: 176m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

18/12/2012

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

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

Strava link.

D: 49.9km
A: 192m

Commute:

D: 19.7km
A: 137m

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 17 December 2012

17/12/2012

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

D:16.5km
A: 87m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 16 December 2012

16/12/2012

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

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

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

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



Strava link.

D: 95.5km
A: 154m

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

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

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



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



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



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



Post race sausages: 9

PMPW: 93kg

Saturday, 15 December 2012

15/12/2012

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

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

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 14 December 2012

14/12/2012

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

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 13 December 2012

13/12/2012

6am NRR:

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 51.1km
A: 267m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12/12/2012

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

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

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


D: 15.6km
A: 91m

PMPW: 90kg

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

11/12/2012

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 46.1km
A: 212m

Commute:

D: 18.3km
A: 162m

PMPW: 91kg

Monday, 10 December 2012

10/12/2012

Commute:

D: 17.3km
A: 172m

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

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

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 9 December 2012

9/12/2012

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

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

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

PC090001

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

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

Strava link.

D: 87.3km
A: 152m

PMPW: 91kg

Saturday, 8 December 2012

8/12/2012

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 72.3km
A: 331m

PMPW: 92kg

Friday, 7 December 2012

7/12/2012

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


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

Strava link.

D: 43.1km
A: 350m

PMPW: 91kg

Thursday, 6 December 2012

6/12/2012

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

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

Strava link.

D: 45.1km
A: 252m

Commute:

D: 19.5km
A: 327m

PMPW: 92kg

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

5/12/2012

Commute:

D: 14.8km
A: 128m

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

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

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

Strava link.

PMPW: 92kg

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

4/12/2012

Commute:

D: 9.6km
A: 159m

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

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

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

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

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



Strava link.

D: 29.7km
A: 834m

PMPW: 90kg

Monday, 3 December 2012

3/12/2012

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

D: 16.4km
A: 102m

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

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

PMPW: 92kg

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2/12/2012

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 124.5km
A: 1,984m

Saturday, 1 December 2012

1/12/2012

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

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 93.0km
A: 1,229m

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strava link.

D: 15.8km
A: 130m