Saturday, 30 November 2013

30/11/2013

St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Morilla - Stony Creek - Pigeon Bank - Nicholas - Alma - School - Mine - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
Steve has got himself a spot on the next Chain Reaction Victoria ride... which ironically will be in Tasmania. Anyway it's a pretty big week with a bunch of climbing and it's putting the fear of John Claxton into him and is thus keen to clock up some decent rides both horizontally and vertically. Queue me. My job is to suggest routes that combine a lack of cars, gorgeous scenery, and gradients that mean all you see is your stem. Today I came along, quite literally, for the ride.

I didn't want to destroy my legs, and thus my race tomorrow, but there was also no point in me sitting in the saddle for 5-6 hours an not exerting myself. So I picked a couple of solid roads to go full noise on, and for the rest I ensured Steve and Craig Peacock (who'd obviously joined us) stayed honest.

The two roads I chose in advance were Alma and Flat Rock.

On Alma I took over a minute off my PB (7:01 vs 8:04), which I set on a ride with the Stay True guys, and a further 16 seconds off one I did against Mat Gray, which until I checked Strava, I had assumed was the fastest I'd been up it.

On Flat Rock I went a bit hard to begin with, which I think cost me at the end. I started the first ramp at 800W, looking to dispatch Craig early. I stopped the clock 1 second after / slower than my previous best, set in November last year when Will Geor and I went hammer and tongs against each other.

A few bonus efforts, on Morilla/Kreuss and the final hill of Mt Pleasant saw me set not only PBs but put all bar a few other riders time to the sword, that's bloody satisfying.



6 paragraphs ago, I claimed I was the one setting the route, but we took a deviation to try a road Dave Collins had suggested to Steve. I believe it's been recently paved, and it includes a brutal kick 2/3 of the way up. School Rd near St Andrews climbs idyllically through the landscape, but around a corner, hidden by some trees it has a ramp that peaks over 20% lying in wait. This one has got to be done again with a bit of fire in the legs, hitting it at ITT speeds might just be enough to break me and make me cry.

Strava link.

D: 123.7km
A: 2,178m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 29 November 2013

29/11/2013

Commute:
No one was up for CX this morning, so I took a sleep in and the chance to drink a coffee in a cafe rather than takeaway, and committed myself to riding with Steve tomorrow.

D: 24.3km
A: 205m

PMPW: 95kg

Thursday, 28 November 2013

28/11/2013

Commute:
Yesterday I had the day off work to run some errands north of town, today on my way home I ran into Brad Eastwick who's started working southside at knog on chapel.

I pulled up to say g'day, and my first reaction on finding he'd only been this side of the river since Tuesday, was to tell him where to get great coffee. He looked happy, and it took a moment to realise that not knowing a dozen good places to get a good cup around north Fitzroy yesterday was part of the slightly lost feeling I had.

For me this is sort of like racing. Wait... what?! Yeah, stick with me a moment, I'll see if I can justify that statement. In a new race or on new terrain, unless you are leagues ahead of everyone else, information is king. You need to be able to use your energy efficiently, and feel assured that you're doing so while you're doing it. In a race, knowing where you can get a good wheel, or even just when you're going to need one, can be the difference between being pack fodder and collecting a small white envelope.

The last couple of races I've panicked a little and gone early, either because I thought I had no chance, or because I didn't have a feeling for the timing of the end. Next week I'll be slightly better armed with knowledge. I know more about my competitors, I've reinforced how the courses and race styles play out.

D: 4.9km
A: 36m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

27/11/2013

NRR:
I don't know if I didnt sleep until 2am, but I know I rolled over at one point, stared at my clock glowing with a single digit hour number, and wasnt sure either way. 3 hours of sleep sounded like a horrendous way to get ready for the HCC crit tonight, so I changed my alarm for 7am and tried to find slumber.

I woke up at 5:10am without my alarm, and my mind was alert, and Northy seemed like a good idea, basically the complete opposite to how yesterday morning unfolded. So I got up, put on kit and rolled out the door to see what the legs had to offer.

The answer was not a huge amount, but they still worked. I sat in for the whole trip, chatting with Wilko and DK on the way down, and following wheels fairly easily on the way back. Well.... it was fairly easy until Brighton beach when DK rolled from somewhere off the back to the front of the bunch and wound up the pace on his TT rig. I knew it was coming, and I switched up both mental and physical gears... but it still hurt. I slowly worked my way forward, passing 1 rider at a time, sometimes to cover a small gap, sometimes pushing them off their wheel. Lights towards the end of Ormond Esplanade that split the bunch cleanly a couple of riders behind DK and couple of riders in front of me meant I could sit up and stop wondering if I should try and sprint.

Strava link.

D: 46.4km
A: 181m

HCC Crit:
Ah crits, my legs were tender, I was tired, and I predicted that none of that would matter once the race started. I was right.

A big and quality packed field started, Alby and Nathan Hass were the biggest names, but the Drapac brothers, Roh and Smax from Tarket Trek, Lew Rattray, Ty Chambers, a crew of Bike Gallery boys (hi Ricky), a squad of Malaysian, and the never to be underestimated Ned Powell were all there. Thankfully it wasn't all blokes to race against, I had one more than capable fella on my side. Bing.

I covered the first move, then slid back and felt guilty in the bunch while Bing stayed active near the front. When something got given a bit of latitude and Bing was looking tired, I'd roll up and give chase for a lap to bring the bunch back within sniffing distance. I feel that you don't need to get on to the wheel, as merely the close presence of the bunch is enough to stop the motivation in most breaks. At one point I got away myself, I forget if I started the move or if I bridged up to one, but we rolled for a few laps in the oppressive heat and humidity before the bunch brought us back in.

Around 20 minutes into the 32+3lap race Bing got clear by himself. The bunch wasn't keen to let anyone get across to him, so we had a good 10 minute period of attack / lull / counter-attack racing. I moved myself up and covered moves. When I found myself on the front I pedalled in a way that ensured I was recovering for the next attack, all the while hoping that Bing would finally get completely out of sight. Sadly it never happened and the repeated attacks in the bunch ate into his lead. On the final 3 laps I went from being in 2nd or 3rd wheel of a select group in the gap between the bunch and Bing, to realising that he was going to be caught, and so would we.

On that final lap the bunch swarmed along the bottom. Bing was caught and I was facing a bunch sprint out of that bottom corner. All I knew is that I needed to be in the first few wheels, so I attacked. A couple of others went hard inside of me, and at the corner I was forced wide and saw my chances vanish. I knew it would have been a hard ask to sprint well, I was already at 210bpm before the corner, but I was going to have a go.

I feel like I deserve an envelope soon. I just have to get myself into the right position at the end of a race and the rest feels inevitable.

Strava link.

D: 46.0km
A: 454m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

26/11/2013

Commute:
I pushed my alarm back an hour so I could skip Northy, but still go for a coffee. CBFs and nerves about tonight are rife.

After a couple of coffees, which I now believe hit me harder if I dont ride, I took my excess energy to Airlie Bank Lane in Richmond and shaved another second off my PB up the cobbles. It's both bouyed my confidence and alerted De Luca to the fact, and it may now turn into a ridgy didge KOM off.

D: 18.0km
A: 134m

CCCC Crit - Sandown:
As I sat around trying to wind down post racing I made these audio notes. As I'm lazy I'm posting the mp3 rather than typing it out.


If you aren't seeing a little audio player above, you might need to refresh the browser.

Strava link.
D: 100.0km
A: 543m

PMPW: 95kg

*edit* lols, uploaded the wrong file before. fixed now.

Monday, 25 November 2013

25/11/2013

Commute:
Alright, this year I've raced two races that have scared me to think about, Glenvale and HCC Kew, now it's time to complete the trifecta and head to Sandown. The last time I was there was when I won B-grade a couple of years ago. JLS had had the bump to A earlier in the season and despite doing some serious training, was getting hooped.

D: 11.4km
A: 68m

PMPW: 95kg

Sunday, 24 November 2013

24/11/2013

Lazy:
The rain was already falling when I woke up, there was nothing on social media to say crits had been called off, but I knew they would, it was as obvious as the result of the Ashes first test.

So I hung out on the couch, watching Australia play Scotland in the rugby. If you're even partially aware of how much vegemite I eat, you'd know I'm a fairly proud aussie. What you might not know is I hold a Scotish... ok UK... ok EU passport as well as my blue Aussie one, so my loyalties were ever so slightly pulled in opposing directions.

This has nothing to with training though, mostly because there was none. I had the ever so slightest upper respiratory cough, and even when the rain cleared in the afternoon, I'd already decided to stay in tracky dacks and a big jumper.

PMPW: 95kg

Saturday, 23 November 2013

23/11/2013

St Kilda East - Slack Rock - St Kilda East:
Sometimes I dislike my way of labelling each day's activities, it beats any short story I type to the punch. Though to be fair today's activities involved no punch at all, so I guess the point is moot.

I rolled down early to Black Rock to get a pre Hell Ride coffee. The forecast was for showers and rain later in the morning, and the radar looked pretty good, so I left my rain jacket at home. By the time I got to Sandi I was concerned I'd made a poor choice, but figured hiding under the Sandi pub until the current rain passed would see me right for the rest of the day.

I was right until Blackrock, but sometime between ordering my 3/4 flat white  and finishing it, the rain settled in and the only think leaving the cafe at 7am was my motivation to ride. I ordered another coffee.

Strava link.

D: 39.4km
A: 87m

PMPW: 95kg

Friday, 22 November 2013

22/11/2013

CX Shenanigans:
I thought it was just going to be little Mick from Rush and I, which I suppose isn't all that bad, he laughs easily and carves corners, but just below the pump track we spied Courtenay and made a 3.

Feeling a little feisty I picked out some steep hills to send us up, and then out to the Bourke Rd footbridge before back into town and my 2nd and 3rd coffees for the morning. on

I've been rolling tubeless vitorria cx tyres for a bit, and though the side knobs of the XG pattern may not be perfect (they slide a bit earlier than they should), tubeless was a godsend today given how exposed a lot of rocks have gotten. When you could find space between them everything was amazingly fast, but if not care and consideration was required.

I'd like to try a few more true tubeless (or tubeless ready) tyres, so if you'd rolled anything that tickles your fancy, let me know. I think next up I might see if I can find some kenda slant six.

Strava link.

D: 42.0km
A: 466m

Commute:

D: 8.4km
A: 44m

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 21 November 2013

21/11/2013

6am NRR:
Last Sunday, as I rolled out from SKCC crits, Rick Horvat said he wanted to do Northy on Thursday (today) and get a coffee/breakfast after. At the time I knew it'd be tough to back up the planned HCC crit on Wednesday night, but I like the bloke so agreed in what is the trademark of past me.

So yeah, last night I got home after drilling myself into a hole on Yarra St and set my alarm for 5:10. I rolled out from home at 5:45, and from the corner of North Rd and Napean Hwy at at 6:00. It wasn't until we got back to St Kilda that I got a chance to chat to Rick. He was feeling peppy and rolled turns all day, I was in mental and physical fog and just followed wheels, thanking my lucky stars that it wasn't too fast.

All said and done though, it was good to get out, the weather held out for us, the bit of water on the road was only enough to add a slight layer of filth to my shiny bike. DK met us at Luna Park and the three of us rolled back up to Chapel st to smash a couple of coffees and some grub. 

Strava link.

D: 46.5km
A: 193m

Commute:

D: 10.7km
A: 67m

PMPW: 95kg

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

20/11/2013

Commute:

D: 5.7km
A: 46m

St Kilda East - Yarra St x 15 - St Kilda East:
When I rolled out of home on my way to the HCC crits there were a few spots of rain, and a forecast for increasing precipitation density as the evening progressed. I wasn't confident that racing would be on. As I rolled up Chapel st I considered my options, I'd queued up the boys for an ergo session as a backup, but I figured there might be another option. Yarra St repeats.

I was surprised when D and B grades were sent off to start racing, but sure enough a few minutes later they were pulled and all racing was called off. I told rounded up a small posse of riders to come round the boulevard for some hard training, waited while a few offloaded bags at the bottom, then set off hard for 15 trips up and around.

I crested the turn into Studley Ave first, eased off the legs to let others catch up so we could form a bit of a group, and then swore when DK rolled past hard. At the time I thought he was a jerk for attacking, but in hindsight it was a counter attack to my own move. I picked him up next lap as we hit Yarra st again, but soon realised that I couldn't continue to play at his average pace. I dropped back, letting Richie from Artisan to play with him, and instead started playing with another rider who may or may not have been a Braunstein (seriously I'm not sure).

Around lap 6-8 I hit a bit of an emotional black hole. My body was telling me stories, my speed had dropped enough that I was struggling with traction in my lowest gear, and DK was well out of sight. By this point pretty much every other rider had pulled the pin, so I was riding solo in a world of hurt. I was there to train though, so quitting or shortcutting was never an option, I'd been prepared to do this circuit solo, so who cared if I was alone? It was around that point I realised I'd been dropping my head up the climb. I'd taken my eye off the goal, so the next few laps I made a point of keeping my head up high, staring down first the the corner, then the roundabout, and finally the crest.

My moods lifted, suddenly I was two thirds of the way through, then I caught sight of a pink clad rider. I struggled to work out who it was. All I knew for sure was it couldn't be DK, I figured he was a danger to lap me. I was wrong though. Wrong in a good way. It was DK, and I quickly closed to his wheel and found a him entering a bonk that got deeper as we closed out the last couple of laps. I left him on the final ascent, emptying my legs, pushing power that 6 laps ago had seemed impossible.

The data tells me I hit previous, or set new power PBs for 31 through to 65 seconds and I couldnt be happier. Well, maybe after a nap I'll be even happier, because right now I'm fair jiggered.

Strava link.

D: 49.1km
A: 1,080m

PMPW: 94kg

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

19/11/2013

6am NRR:
Last night I called that I'd be hitting Blackrock-Sandi hill on Northy this morning. I did so hoping my legs would be a bit fresher after another nights sleep, but they still felt stiff and underpowered.

I hoped that a bit of an effort would loosen things up, so I rolled up the bunch just after we rolled out, flicking Youngie clear for his favourite time of the day, when he can get some time off the front and force others to chase. After that I sat in and tried to spin, when we rolled into Blackrock I still wasn't confident, but I'd opened my fat mouth yesterday and comitted myself to what was about to occur. I rolled onto the back of the working group, getting to the front just as the gradient eased upwards, I apologised to CJ as instead of rolling nicely over him I ramped up the pace. Soon life sucked and I was fighting my inner daemons to get through the headwind and onto the second ramp. I ungraciously exploded shortly after making the second ramp, dropping all the way to the back of the bunch to feel sorry for myself.

As we got towards Brighton and my mind turned to the sprint I found Nicky Whitburn and told her in no uncertain terms that she was to hold my wheel. This committed me to another effort, and ensured she did too. Youngie, with a bit of cajoling, got me past Glen Huntly, then I rolled into the headwind and worked to increase the pace all the way to 150m to go. Nicky kicked, one guy came over her, and everyone else got chicked.

I should thank DK, Youngie, Tozer, Leaper and Dan Moore for dragging the bunch around all morning while I sat in gold class a dozen or two riders back.

Strava link.

D: 46.5km
A: 200m

Commute:
It was such a gorgeous morning that even with shitty legs I wanted to just roll past work and keep riding in the warm morning sun. I didn't though, I went to work though, because if I rode any more I was likely to drink more coffee, and if I drank any more coffee I would probably not be able to feel my face (again). I haven't researched that symptom on google, but I'm sure it's either a sign of just a scootch too much caffeine, or that I have lupus and cancer.

D: 5.6km
A: 36m

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 18 November 2013

18/11/2013

NRR:
Its possible, that riding standing up for 10km through trails yesterday, was not good for me. I'm not 100% certain, but I'm fairly sure that the ache in my legs is from that. The ache in my arms and hands are from picking the crummiest lines for myself when I didnt have anyone else's to follow.

Anyway, the weather was nice, so I rolled the Monday northy bunch with a few dozen others. Content to let a couple of blokes tow us the whole way round back to St Kilda and now opened cafes.


Strava link.

D: 44.1km
A: 150m

Commute:
I got some extras after work too, partially because my legs hurt, partially because it was still a gorgeous day, and mostly because with 10km total I knew I'd clock up 17,000km for the year.

D: 12.3km
A: 66m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 17 November 2013

17/11/2013

SKCC Crits:
I rolled in early to marshal e grade. I was kitted with big wheels and white socks, stuff that speaks of intention, and yet I was rolled convincingly by half a dozen blokes in the sprint.

Not disheartened I lined up straight after for d grade. I was feeling good, able to follow attacks when they went, but worried I was going to be DQ'd for jumping on b grade every time they went past I pulled the pin before the sprint and hit up Mick for a ristretto.

A grade was the final chance I had to get myself an envelope. There were 3 sprints on offer, but I wanted to feature at the end, so let others dampen their legs going for the early cash. Lui and Jake were up front working the breaks, which left me able to sit in and wait for a possible sprint finish.

Pre race we talked about setting up a train for the last half lap to go toe to toe with O2, but for the 2nd week in a row 3 laps was called at 55 minutes with no 5+3 forewarning. I made the decision to freelance the sprint and found myself in a great spot coming round for the last lap. I was on Andy Naylor and he was behind Duncan Smith. I though it odd, Andy usually leads out Dunc, but whatever, I was in about 6th wheel coming round the back, no one was coming up the outside, I was thinking about how to hit the last corner. Then, as we started into the long bend, Andy eased off Dunc's wheel. The gap was easy enough to close, but I still called him a jerk as I went past. Post race he claimed it wasn't the move of a sweeper, but I'll make sure he pays for it none the less.

Anyway, I hit the sprint with the best legs and best position I've had in a couple of years. Shannon punched it just before the corner with someone on his wheel. I took a widish line and went up the right, passing a couple of riders, fighting to hold onto 4th, fighting to hold off a rider edging up on my right. I threw for the line, but knew he'd got it, and as blood returned to my brain I realised it was Richie, my team mate.

Sadly, I assume due to the primes, they only paid to 3rd. I'm still happy about 5th though, my actual kick was a measly 1,390W. The power for the 10 seconds from the corner to the line wasn't too bad (1,261W) but I'd like to hit it harder for those first 2 or 3 pedal strokes from the corner, to close some gaps in front or open some behind.

Strava link.

D: 111.4km
A: 115m

Lysterfield:
Bing wanted some dirt, and in my tired state post racing I was unable to come up with a reason not to join him. 3 hours, where I was shown how poor my line choice and feel for my tyres has become. Rode so much better when I followed him, though some modifications to allow for my 26" hardtail vs his 29" duallie were made.

Bing's mate Andy snapped a bolt in his seatpost at the point furthest from the cars as possible. We laughed, then we searched our bikes for a sacrificial m4 bolt to fix it, before finally turning for home. After some initial joking it was decided that Bing and I would ride standing to keep things fair. By the time we climbed back up to the car I had a visceral need to use my saddle for it's intended purpose. I'd even avoided too much hopping as I feared the slight touch of the seat before the launch might be too much temptation to resist.

Andy safely back at his Subaru, Bing and I refilled bottles and went out for a few extra trails in the late afternoon light. The snap had certainly been beaten out of my legs, but outrageously loose cornering by kept us both smiling and laughing.

Strava link.

D: 40.7km
A: 710m

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 16 November 2013

16/11/2013

Hell Ride:
I was surprised how easy the pace was on the way down. It was probably the southerly we were heading into, but I never stuck my nose out far enough to find out for sure. I hit the front once to close a split caused by a red light, but otherwise I followed wheels and enjoyed a gorgeous morning after a week of rain. As we approached Frankston I started to worry that I'd been to passive, and that my legs would refuse to cooperate when we hit Olivers and I chased riders.

Worry melted as we hit the incline, I slipped past everyone and made my way over to the two individuals who'd scooted clear. Making contact on the false flat, I rolled straight through and kept the power on, intent on making the bunch chase for as long as possible. One of the guys took a quick sit then came through to get us down the other side, but it was not to be, we got caught near the bottom of the second roller. Duggan says he did the job, but I'm not convinced a northsider could achieve such a feat, and so assume he was relaying a story from someone else.

The pace home was pretty solid, a tail wind and a group of enthusiastic blokes meant we averaged over 47km/h from Frankston back to Mordi. Will Walker hit it hard just before Rickets creating a gap on and a panic in the bunch. I trusted that others would control the gap, and searched for a good wheel, eventually finding myself behind a couple of the Croydon trackies. Sadly I let myself be distracted by some shenanigans as we came round the corner and out of the dip. I was jolted out of my complacence by Jez Hunt blitzing past with Rico in tow, that spelt the end for my chances, so I rolled it in with soft pedals.

Strava link.

D: 101.2km
A: 430m

Commute:
Vareel needed some people to stand around so he could test some new camera kit (I assume either a new strobe or umbrella). So I rolled myself up to rush and flexed the latter part of my rider slash model job title.

I hope he's good with photoshop.

D: 10.7km
A: 60m

PMPW: 95kg

Friday, 15 November 2013

15/11/2013

NRR (TTT pacing):
I rolled outside the bunch chatting to Leigh until around Southland, then a little while later, when the TT boys decided it was time to make happy happy leg times, I jumped on their tail and settled in for a solid TTT pacing session.

Other than the tradie that veered from the right lane into our path around Brighton, there isn't much about the riding to note. What is of note is that I hit similar heart rates at similar points to both the recent Bak Pocket, and TKM rides... both of which popped me. This begs the question, was the issue then just mental?

There's an old saying "it never get's easier, you just go faster". I think i fall into the trap this aims to avoid. As I start finding some form, I expect it to be easy. For me it might be a simpler process,  and lets face it, when you're hurting simple mental things are best, to think of it as "it never get's easier, you just get more reward for your pain".

Strava link.

D: 43.8km
A: 163m

Commute:

D: 7.6km
A: 43m

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 14 November 2013

14/11/2013

Commute:
I hit the lake after work, today was slated as an easy day, but the mere 5-6km round trip of my commute isn't enough to spin out the damage of previous hard sessions.

As I rolled along easy a cross bike with a Stay True kit clad rider whipped past. I couldn't just let Stewy ride clear, so I chased him down and halfwheeled him until we were back down to talking pace. It seems you can take the boy out of a crit, but you can't take the crit out of the boy.

D: 12.1km
A: 67m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

13/11/2013

Commute:

D: 6.9km
A: 37m

Intervals:
I convinced Bones to do an ergo session given that HCC Crits were cancelled. He was set for a bunch of 4 minute efforts, I did a modified version of what I did last time. I set all my target power numbers at 85% of my 6 week max instead of the 80% of last time. I also dropped the 2min and 30sec efforts in favour of multiple 10sec efforts with minimal recovery.

1 x 5 min E1
1 x 7 sec BGSS : 2min
1 x 7 sec HCLR : 3min
1 x 5min E1
1 x 10 min @ 362W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 5 min @ 377W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 1 min @ 626W
1 x 4min E1
1 x 10 sec @ 1,094W
1 x 50sec E1
1 x 10 sec @ 1,094W
1 x 50sec E1
1 x 10 sec @ 1,094W
1 x 5min E1

I hit all my numbers bar the 362W I had for the 10 minute interval. I achieved 355W, a case of my mind wandering a bit and thus not keeping the legs on task.

As predicted, the sprint efforts left me a bit nauseous, but I'm happy I was able to hit 1,182W, 1,101W, and 1,159W average respectively, with the first effort maxing out at 1,488W.

Strava link.

D:
A:

PMPW: 95kg

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

12/11/2013

TKM Full Noize:
I had heard that the TKM boys roll south easy, and north hard. I underestimated both levels of intensity. Well, maybe not the way south. Sitting in was a piece of pie, but hitting the front and pushing the southerly out of the way for everyone else took some going.

There was a little speech at Mordi, and a decision that the right hand line of riders would do 58.6km/h. The latter sounded like a joke, but it wasn't, we totally rolled up to 58-59 klicks then held that steady until we hit the hills.

Me? I pulled the first few rounds of turns, then sat in, then drifted back slightly, then lost the wheel, then got back on due to lights, then drifted back again, then covered a gap, then created my own gap, then created a blog post written like a 4th grader's "what did you do on the holidays" homework.

Thought wasn't really an option for me after those first few turns. Any mental energy I had was put towards trying to be smooth and efficient to help holding the wheel. Eventually though, it was just all too much and through the golden mile I blew off the back of the still storming bunch.

Two rides along beach road, and two DNFs. It makes me want to slink back to North road so I can feel strong again, but really the behaviour should be to ride more with these two groups to get some really high speed work, and improve rather than stagnate.

Strava link.

D: 51.6km
A: 213m

Commute:

D: 24.9km
A: 179m

Brunswick Tuesday Track:
Tomorrow doesn't look promising for racing, the forecast rain will likely wash out the crit, and leave me down a session this week. So a plan was hatched to do track tonight as a just in case. I think that was half the problem I had mentally, I was just there to get some riding done, not to punish myself and it showed.

I got boxed in at the end of the scratch race, meaning I had no chance of the sprint and thus just sat up with 200m to go.

I had on a big gear for the Win and out / Elimination race, because I thought we were getting a keirin. So I went to the front and wound up the pace for everyone else, trying to see if I could do the full 8 laps on the front... only to realise that I had needlessly held back, due to it being 4 laps to the Win and out sprint.

In the motorpace I felt alright, ending up in 3rd wheel when the bike pulled off, but I didn't have any legs left to go with DK to the sprint. In a sense, though I had the least chance of making a mark on this race, it was the one I did best in, because it's the one I reached a physical limit. It would have been better if I beat my head against that limit, tried to push it out a bit, but it was late and I was tired.

Strava link.

D: 34.7km
A: 51m

PMPW: 95kg

Monday, 11 November 2013

11/11/2013

Commute:
I could have done with an extra coffee today, but otherwise it was just a regulation Monday.

No hard training, a complete misjudge of the weather, and a chance to plan out the week's activities.

D: 6.4km
A: 26m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 10 November 2013

10/11/2013

SKCC Crits:
I got up when my body decided to wake up and put on kit with marginally more energy than yesterday. I didn't bother putting big wheels into my bike, it was probably going to rain and I was pretty sure I'd have zero legs. I was wrong on both counts.

I got to the crits in time to watch the last half of C-grade, and then B-grade racing. I had half a plan to marshal, but instead sat around drinking coffee chatting to mates. A strong flat white later, I hired myself a race number and pinned it to my hot pink Rush jersey. I wasn't convinced, but you'll never never know, if you never never go.

As B-grade sprinted for the line I got myself a short macchiato, slammed it down. The extra caffeine and getting on to the course changed my mental attitude. I was going to get aggressive early!

As I was winding up the mind and legs into the start of the first live lap, 3 or 4 others hit it up the right side of the road. They'd stolen my game! Never mind, I might not get credit for starting the shenanigans, but I could sure as hell play along. We got a small gap, then we baulked, then Wilko got to the front and ripped out a hard lap. The guy on his wheel wasn't looking too keen, so I prepared to repeat Wilko's effort, part of which was checking where the bunch was. The bunch was now right on our wheels. Shit.

The counter attack came pretty much instantly, and I was engulfed. I sat in for a bit, watching attack after attack go off the front only to be closed down.

That's pretty much how it went until the last few laps, when a sprint became assured. Unfortunately there was no 5 min + 3 laps sign, and I didn't see the 3 laps sign, so was caught out of place when guys started swarming to the front. I tried to move myself into a good position to freelance the sprint, but it got really messy and coming around the back straight on the final lap I decided to sit up. I was at best in 15th wheel, so well out of contention, and thus saw no point to risk injury for nothing.

This has left me with mixed emotions.

I'm pretty pleased I had legs given the no show of yesterday. I was able to move up and cover gaps reasonably easily all day, even on 32 spoke box section wheels.

I'm a little bit dark that I felt able to have an influence on the race, or even to contest it... and I achieved absolutely nothing, it wasn't even great from a training perspective. I basically donated $15.

Strava link.

D: 65.0km
A: 107m

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 9 November 2013

9/11/2013

St Kilda East - Brighton - St Kilda East:
I did not feel the love this morning, but I followed the tried and true process to get myself out the door. Do each small task required, and don't think about the the next one until you've finish... and never think about what it's all leading to, until it's too late.

Anyway, I rolled out the door into the early morning gloom, made even gloomier by some patches of cold drizzle. The legs felt dead, so I worked on another tried and true system, cadence. I clicked up my cassette and tried to get them spinning through freely, instead I just rode slower. Cadence higher than 80rpm eluded me, and a quick check revealed that power was eluding me to. I was barely getting over 200W.

I was intending to do the Hell Ride, but at mirror mountain in Brighton, I pulled a big U-turn and called it a day. Thanfully the roads were quiet and I only ran into two people I knew, Lee and Alison.

Strava link.

D: 14.9km
A: 71m

PMPW: 95kg

Friday, 8 November 2013

8/11/2013

Bak Pocket Express:
I asked Youngie if I could hook up with his Friday morning crew for some beach road shenanigans. Of course the answer was yes, I'm pretty awesome after all, and who wouldn't want me along for a roll?

I co-opted DK to come along, his first semi serious ride after a bit of a pasting by an infection. We were running late so had to haul arse to make it to Port Melbourne at the ungodly hour the ride started. I distinctly remember thinking that I was glad that pain was done, and glad that it was likely the worst pain I'd feel today. Oh how wrong I was.

The ride rolled hard, two up, down to Mentone. Dave and I were together and pulled between Brighton and Blackrock. I was concerned at how eager Youngie looked, but I've played with him enough to know if you weather the initial enthusiasm it's not too bad.

Into Reserve Road, a place I knew the boys would be having a crack, I jumped onto Dave's wheel as he made a point to Youngie. I got a free tow to the win and a renewed confidence that I was one of the fitter boys in the bunch. We rolled back to Blackrock, then the pain started.

The group is pretty much 100% rowers and ex rowers, and they were smacking off some brutal track turns. I looked down at one point and saw 181bpm, and all I was trying to do was hold a wheel, not push my own air. I pulled the chute after one turn along Ormond Esplanade, waiting for the few guys that had pinged off the back, to ensure I went to the right cafe.

Strava link.

D: 60.8km
A: 204m

Commute:

D: 4.9km
A: 40m

Massage:
The pain of this massage surpassed what I endured this morning on the bike. Nervous laughter, sympathetic sweats, biting my tongue to feel some sense of control over the pain in my body... it was all there.

Trying not to tense tired and sore muscles as thumbs, forearms and elbows were raked through them was particularly difficult. In the end I tried to push the muscle(s) back into the pressure, ensuring it was the opposing muscle that was working.

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 7 November 2013

7/11/2013

Commute:
I spent some time with my massage stick and foam roller this morning, because my appointment with Andy makes me as nervous as HCC's Crit does.

I like the less shock and gore tone of this new TAC ad. It's aimed at our motorised two wheel bretheren, but given the stacks a few mates have had recently, it's been hitting fairly close to home for me.



D: 6.4km
A: 37m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

6/11/2013

Commute:

D: 5.2km
A: 62m

HCC Crit:
My legs were still tender from yesterday as I lined up to register, this worried me. The standard stuff, this crit is hard enough when fresh, will me legs be able to go? Will my heart and lungs be able to deliver oxygen? Can I hang on to the end? Can I be of use to Bing?

Oh yeah, then there was the fear about the fitness of the bunch. Having Bing turn up was both awesone, and scary. On one hands he's a mate and team mate, on the other the boy is a freak on a bike with a penchant for making things painful on hills.

I dont remember when I stopped worrying, probably on the first lap, because I'd promised Bing I'd be aggressive early to give him a sit and let him assess who he was racing against. The first few laps I sat in, others were pinging off the front, and yet more dudes were chasing them down. I ended up covering 2 reasonable moves, kicking hard enough to make those on my wheel hurt, but not drop them.

I like the way that riders up the road stop pedalling when they see the bunch coming hard at their wheels. My job wasn't to get clear, it was to ensure no one else did. That said, I would like to get to the fitness point where I can attack hard enough to get clear, and still have something left to settle into a tempo, rather than attack and explode.

Some time after the sprint Bing skipped clear with Alby and I got to sit in the bunch and watch as dudes killed themselves trying to get across in ones and twos only to be chased down or explode in limbo. I set myself for the bunch kick for 6th, coming into the bottom corner in 2nd... only to have my chain derail off the big ring as I kicked hard out of the corner. Oh well, the sprint was for giggles, they pay first 4, so it's not like I had a chance at anything other than a final statement of where my fitness is.

Strava link.

D: 54.5km
A: 535m

PMPW: 96kg

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

5/11/2013

6am NRR - Devils Elbow - St Kilda East:
I had several plans for today, all of which revolved around the central concept of riding with mates. When the extravagant plans fell through, I took myself to North Road for the 6am bunch, then had a loose plan to have a coffee and do some hills (possibly repeats) somewhere.

I spent the trip down and part of the trip back having a chat to Lach. Eventually I found myself in a position where it was impossibly not to pull a turn, which soon lead to Lach and I trying to destroy the bunch up the Blackrock/Sandi hill. Lach got me to halfway, I rolled off his wheel and turned the legs from stun to kill. Up my outside, out of the saddle, Jez Hunt slowly progressed. I was exceedingly pleased with myself that I was able to catch his wheel, already grinning at the idea that I was going to get a quick break before pipping him for the top. Then I realised he had backed into me, taking the pace out of my move. I had been too stuck in my winning fantasy to realise, and when I finally did, it was too late.

The other thing that happened was I found myself a hilly post NRR ride. Lach was heading to Mt Dandenong with a few of the Artisan boys, and I asked to tag along.

We took North Rd to get ourselves east. It was a pleasant change from High st as it's far far flatter. As we rolled it was decided we'd begin with Devils Elbow, then some of us would head for home while the rest continued elsewhere to enjoy the gorgeous weather that Melbourne was putting on for Pony Day.

Even without DK, I had the same nervousness as we rolled towards the turn off of Burwood Hwy. Lach hit it from the entrance to the 1,000 steps car park. The pace being set by the others seemed a bit slow to minimise the damage, so I rolled off the wheel in front of me and started to set my own tempo. I caught his wheel on the ramp to the elbow, only to have the other boys who'd hitched a ride on my wheel rolled over the pair of us, leaving me last wheel.

Around the elbow Dan Pickering attacked, and the bunch started to splinter. I lost a little bit of ground as everyone scrambled to respond, I was now behind a gap behind a few riders I'd expected to beat. I checked all my numbers (Cadence, HR, Power) and realised that it was unlikely I could do more, so I just tried to hold the best cadence I could, and keep pedalling smooth.

I slowly pegged back riders, chasing down all bar Dan, Noffy and Ritchy. It took a final surge to dislodge Lach, and that surge left no doubt that I'd done all I could. As we descended the 1 in 20 and rode back along North Rd, I began to wonder how fast I'd ridden in. There'd been no wind to slow us down, and I'd slowly lifted my intensity all the way to the top. Finding out I'd slashed almost a minute off my previous PB and set some new peak power numbers for 14:30 - 17:30 had to wait until after coffee and 2nd breakfast.

Strava link.

D: 131.8km
A: 1,100m

PMPW: 95kg

Monday, 4 November 2013

4/11/2013

Commute:
I popped down to the bay for a few extras before work, the tail wind along the beach let the legs come through easier and gave a reassuring sense of speed.

D: 14.6km
A: 81m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 3 November 2013

3/11/2013

SKCC Crits:
I rolled in early to help out with e-grade, thankfully it was a relatively small bunch, and I assume they were mostly well behaved, but I can't be sure as I sat on the front being a pacer for all bar the final 200m. At that point the 5-6 guys who'd managed to hang on when I wound it out, went for the line.

It was nice to have a small group, because the quick debrief at the end about what the club is trying to achieve with e-grade and how to move up to proper racing was easy to handle.

That was all just helping new riders, SKCC, and Total Rush, which while good, wasn't the reason I had 68mm tubular wheels on my bike. Racing a-grade was, and after a brief period of rain before the race, 30-40 guys and a few girls rolled out to see who had brought good legs, and who hadn't.

I continued with the theme of recent races, where by I ride aggressively early on to flush out riders who're feeling feisty, and to take the pressure of my team mates. Like the Coburg crit of a few weeks ago I hit it as soon as the neutral section was over, because it seemed like fun.

I had another crack or two soon after, only settling back a bit when I spotted DK's pink arse up the road. Bing took up camp in the first half dozen wheels, making sure nothing was going anywhere without him, so I slid back for a short breather, before starting to be cheeky with the bunch. I chased a couple of moves, and opened a lot of gaps, all with the aim of taking the sting out of other's legs.

The time gaps called by Bones from the sidelines hovered between 30 and 40 seconds, fluctuating as riders tried to get across the gap in ones or twos, only to fail in the southerly wind and come back to a bunch that never organised itself into a concerted chase.

As we came through for the bell, the gap was 12 seconds, so I put myself near the front in case it came together and a sprint for the win was needed. Coming into turn 2, I heard a "Neil, yep!" from behind, someone wanted the best leadout in the bunch, but it was too early for me to commit to anything. I had to know that DK was clear to the line. The riders in front of me tired and swung leaving me on the front out of turn 3, so while my eyes scanned up the road, assessing if the two riders were coming backwards fast, I eased off the pedals slightly and backed into the bunch. As soon as I was sure they were free to fight each other without us coming into play I went hard up the right of the road. I hoped to shake as many riders as I could, roll into the final corner clear and have a chance at the 3rd place spot myself. 5-10 seconds into the effort I could tell there were riders on my wheel, so I paced the effort to finish just after the final corner, to launch whomever was feeling feisty at the line. Inside pedal up, ready to turn in SJ gave me a "swing wide" instruction, so I did, leaving him a clear line to take out 3rd.



Dave ended up with the win, Will Walker didn't put up a fight for it, after what would have been a tough day in the saddle for both. Finally being of use to SJ was also pretty cool, as I've been promising him a good wheel into a sprint since May.

Strava link.

D: 89.1km
A: 184m

PMPW: 95kg

Saturday, 2 November 2013

2/11/2013

Hell Ride:
It was a fairly decent sized bunch, I dunno, maybe 60-70 riders, so I endeavoured to keep myself forward. I rolled a few turns, I sat in for a bit, and I helped chase down a break of 6-8 guys that was getting some slack off the front. Granted a set of lights did most of the work there, but my legs still hurt for a bit, so it's going on my list.

The main aim was to hit the hills, see what the Kew crits and more rest has done to my legs. The short of it is good things. I was well back hitting the bottom, and despite being fairly vocal about what I wanted other riders to do (get out of my way), I had to stall my pedalling a couple of times before I finally got a clear run to chase down everyone. I do mean everyone. Over the top, the false flat bit I caught the two that had scarpered, rolling over them to draw out the bunch for as long as possible. I felt it was important to ensure everyone got some quality training in. I'm a giver you see.

From there through to Mt Eliza I sat pretty a dozen or so riders back, covering dropped wheels and getting ready to hit out to the final crest past Canadian Bay. I doubted I was going to take the win, I wasn't cruising easy, but I was excited to be having a crack rather than being unceremoniously spat like a few times ago.

On the way home, I once again kept forward before trying to set up some mates for the bunch kick. I had to cover a move a bit earlier than I'd hoped, and during the moment where I caught them and hesitated to decide what next to do, Gerro unleashed and showed me the true difference between a club a grader and an elite athlete.

Strava link.

D: 108.1km
A: 398m

DDCX - Spooky Cross:
I finished with a bunch of 3rds and a 1st, in what is fundamentally racing where results don't matter. I suppose the fact that I know these places says a lot about me.

The course was contained completely within the Brunswick velodrome,  but due to more tight turns than you could poke bunting at, each lap still took around 3 minutes.

Leading into the 3rd race of the day, I'd just got a burger and some chips from a food van, when someone asked if the race about to start was mine. It was, so I rolled down with most of a hamburger left to be scoffed on the start line. I got it in in time to take the holeshot, then have 3 laps of fun racing against Brett Kellett. I think it took about 4 corners before concern over winning overtook the concern about vomiting. Thankfully I succeeded on both counts, unleashing the legs out of the last grass corner and onto the velo for the dash to the line.

Strava link.

D: 38.4km
A: 244m

PMPW: 93kg

Friday, 1 November 2013

1/11/2013

CX Shenanigans:
Ah CX friday, now with tubeless goodness to combat the Yarra Trail rock induced pinch flat. It's good.

Pikey, Dusty and Steve were up for a roll, and given I was concerned I was boderline underdressed, I took it upon myself to attack them on every climb until the morning sun started to warm the day. At one point I even utilised the old point and exclaim "hey whats that over there?" while attacking the opposite side of the road into the bottom of the rehab sandy climb.

Strava link.

D: 33.8km
A: 328m

Commute:

D: 9.6km
A: 59m

PMPW: 94kg