Monday, 31 March 2014

31/03/2014

Commute:
Did you hear about the amazing new broom that has just come out? It is sweeping the nation.

D: 10.0km
A: 32m

PMPW: 95kg

Sunday, 30 March 2014

30/03/2014

SKCC Crits:
E grade only had two riders, and after a little while, it becoming obvious that there was a difference in their fitness and abilities. I rode with the faster dude, and when the time came for 3 laps to go, I told him to grab my wheel and drove the pace to see how he'd fare around the course at speed. He'll do just fine in D grade.

Talking of D grade, to get my kms up, I started out with them, but when there was continued overlapping between them and B, I rode on the back of B to police anyone taking a sit. Still, even at the higher pace, I got a bit bored, and rolled off to go find some food and another coffee.

Then, after a ham and cheese croissant had been devoured, and a flat front tub had been discovered, it was time to race. The buttery French pastry required no thought, but the tyre worried me. I'd put in a bit of latex, and pumped it up, but I wasn't confident it would survive. After a few laps, tentatively going through corners on what I was convinced was softening rubber, I took a lap and borrowed a spare wheel.

Once back in the race I found my team mates, and ensured everyone was kosher. Bing and Lui were playing up and off the front, Ritchie was down the back contending with jet lag, and DK was somewhere in between. I watched it all happening for a while, and got the sense that this was a 3 team affair, Stay True, O2 and my own Rush. The other two teams looked to be trying to isolate DK, to force him to push air on the front, and I wasn't convinced he looked as dominating as normal, so I tried to help out as best I could. I went with a move early on, sat myself on the front tapping tempo around midway, and even offered a hand of god at one point.

Attacks kept coming, but they also kept coming back. The right combination was never really created, and it just felt like the sprinters of the bunch had decided that a break just wasn't going to win this week. Perhaps the recent spate of small group and solo wins had been too much to bear. With that in mind, at some point I switched to trying to keep Ritchie protected, and move him up to the front. I wanted to have us inside the top 20 for the last 10 minutes, and into the top 10 for the last 5 minutes. I figured if it was just he and I, that I didn't want to waste our legs by pulling him past a heap of riders when things started to heat up.

Then DK put himself at our service. He'd been marked hard all day, and figured he was never going to get up the road, so wanted to do the next best thing. Rip legs off on the front. I slotted in between him and Ritchie, and was happily lead towards the front. No wait, to the front! I paniced for a moment, we hadn't even seen the 3 lap sign. Then I relaxed, if anyone could hold on for some solid time on the front, it was DK. We caught Bing and I let him slot on DKs wheel for a couple of laps, but we still weren't being shown the lap sign. I started to hurt, then a quick glance said we were off the front. I was excited, but knew I'd need the sign pronto. We didn't get it that lap, and on the next one someone made it across to my wheel. My legs were threatening to cramp when finally we got the sign.

DK pulled off around the back, but I was well past my use by date, and the bunch quickly closed. Thankfully Ritchie wasn't on the front, he'd found a wheel to sit on, but I vowed to finish the job I'd meant to be doing. I fought to get onto one of the wheels whipping past. Then I somehow cajoled Ryan Cotrell to help get me up the bunch with the last of his energy. I made it to about 10th wheel, but that was the last of what I had to. Ritchie had to fend for himself.

I'm relatively happy with what occurred. We didn't time a sprint train, but we tried something, and can learn from it. My legs weren't fantastic, but I put myself out there and got some quality time in the box. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of the crit champs.

Strava link.

D: 112.3km
A: 136m

PMPW: 95kg

Saturday, 29 March 2014

29/03/2014

mornington return
Two sets of skinny legs, and two sets of big ones met for a roll, south, to somewhere.

We got to Mordi, and we knew that this wasn't far enough.

We got to Frankston, and it felt like a reasonable distance, but as a location, it lacked something. It didn't match the mood of the day. It wasn't still, like the minds and the bay.

We went to Mornington, where for something much more appropriate than a bakery stop. We stopped at a charcuterie.



Strava link.

D: 124.7km
A: 621m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 28 March 2014

28/03/2014

St Kilda East - Brighton - Port Melbourne - St Kilda East:
Bing, Lucas and I went for a roll in the early morning light, just ticking the legs over and chatting about whatever floated through our minds.

We went south to Brighton, turning because we wanted to avoid holding up traffic, but claiming it was because we wanted to avoid the "hills" just south of the Brighton Yacht Club.

After looping around through the back of Port Melbourne we stopped for a couple of coffees. A couple was good, because it turns out I was in danger of being late to work, and had to race with the power of caffeine to make it in time.

Strava link.

D: 32.2km
A: 84m

Commute:

D: 10.1km
A: 99m

PMPW: 94kg

Thursday, 27 March 2014

27/03/2014

Commute:
The other day I held the door open for a clown. I thought it was a nice jester.

D: 8.0km
A: 34m

PMPW: 93kg

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

26/03/2014

Commute:
Before going to bed last night, I flicked DK an email to let him know I wasn't up for hill sprints. I found out tonight, that he wasn't either.

The only thing that explains both of our shit legs and general malaise was riding fixed on Sunday. We figure that we used back pressure on the pedals to ensure we stayed at Skinny's pace, rather than dragging brakes. The stress on our muscles was not good mojo.

D: 15.4km
A: 78m

HCC Crits:
I was nervous pretty much all day, sitting at work, constantly mentally assessing the state of my legs. At some point I came to the conclusion that I needed three things. A hard pre race effort, caffeine, and sugar. Even after ticking those three boxes, I was still nervous... or maybe it was just sugar and caffeine induced nervous energy.

After some housekeeping stuff, there race got started into the afternoon light. Smoke from a planned burn, and some low hanging clouds dimmed the light, and gave rise to warnings the race might be called short. That in turn gave rise to fast racing.

Even on the first lap, as Pat Drapac and Dunny skipped up the road, I knew I was going to be ok. The sheer relief of that was pretty good, but lets be realistic, I had flooded my system with stimulants, had a choice of gears (unlike last week), and thus I set myself to achieve the best I could.

I mostly just sat in the bunch, keeping my nose clear of the wind, aiming to be in the top 20, but realising that the ebb and flow of the nights racing meant that wasn't always possible.

Before I knew it, 20 minutes had gone, so I started to move forward, knowing that now was the time to start monitoring breaks, or potential ones. There were a few riders off the front, not quite out of sight, and I figured I could put in a hard lap or two and decimate their lead, leaving DK fresh for an attack of his own. As I rolled onto the front and prepared for the hairpin and surge up the climb, DK yelled out that Bing was in the move, so I instead set a tempo, hard enough to keep the bunch happily on my wheel, but not to close down the break. Once I'd done a lap or so there, I eased back into the bunch, and let others push the air. I was going to sprint.

The gap to the break wavered as the pace was driven in the bunch, on the last lap, flowing along the bottom of the track it looked like they might be playing games. I was in 3rd wheel, then a hard kick happened on the left of the track. The sprint was going to be to get to the final corner. I kicked and got myself back into a good spot, Pat Drapac and AJ in front of me, and Mitch on the front.... but I figured he was pushing too much wind and would die out of the corner. Into the corner my only thought was to make sure I got around upright. If I lost half a meter, that was ok, because I backed my legs to deliver me. Lucas saw it as a gap and pushed through, then I mistook a call from Dave Baker, he was asking me to lead him out, but I thought he was saying he was underneath me. So I had to back off even more than I needed through the corner, but holy shit, when I got to deliver the power time, it only served to make me more determined.

Up the hill I whipped through AJ who must have kicked too hard to cover the attack before the corner, but my main aim was Lucas. I wanted with every fibre of my being, to beat the hairy legged, skinny, bastard of a mate! Sadly I came up a wheel short.

As I crossed the line, I used my last bit of mental strength to count the riders in front of me. There were 6, 3 from the break, Pat Drapac, Dave Baker, and Lucas. I was 7th.

Not quite a podium, but I'm pretty bloody happy. Mostly prove that last night was an aberration. If I can repeat this performance at SKCC crit champs, I'll be able to put any number of my team mates where they need to be, or possibly have a crack myself.

Strava link.

D: 49.5km
A: 435m

PMPW: 94kg

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

25/03/2014

Commute:

D: 5.8km
A: 38m

St Kilda East - Sandown - St Kilda East:
I just wasn't in the race today.

There was either something mental or physical going on, but when it went straight into the gutter from the gun, I started questioning finishing the race. After a couple more laps of that, I decided that it was better to get myself home to a decent rest, rather than drill myself deeper into whatever hole I was in.

I'm a little disappointed by it all, but I think dwelling on it would be bad for my next few races, so... onwards and upwards!

Strava link.

D: 51.9km
A: 364m

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 24 March 2014

24/03/2014

Commute:
So sometime over the weekend, this blog ticked over 5 years of existence.Which means it's now as old in dog years as I am in human years.

The blog itself has had some minor changes, like the template and an increase in acronyms. I too have had some changes, I'm 6-7kg heavier, and am dirty dirty roadie... and basically just a crit racer at that!

I had a brief scan through the 186 odd posts I've got tagged as racing, and was pleased to see that I used to race b grade on road and track, and now am a fairly confident a grader. That said, it seems the first time I raced a grade was because I'd turned up to SKCC too late to enter B.

A couple of weeks before that first a grade experience, I took this photo. In it you'll see Ian, resplendent in yellow arm warmers. What I found funny was that riiiiight on the left, carrying a coffee, is Dunny. I had no idea who he was back then. It's probably for the best, as it looks like he's wearing Tri shoes.

PA040003

Enough of differences, as there are a few things haven't changed in the last 5 years. For a start, riding with mates is still about the best thing ever, and farts are still funny.

D: 7.4km
A: 32m

PMPW: 93kg

Sunday, 23 March 2014

23/03/2014

SKCC Marshalling:
What started as ninja precipitation (drizzling, but showing nothing on the radar) at the end of e grade, turned into actual rain during d grade, and settled in during womens a and b grades.

A few hardy souls turned up for a grade, but the consensus was even if racing was on, no one was particularly keen to do it.

Instead of donating $15 to someone, I spent it on a delicious Spanish omelette on Chapel St.

Strava link.

D: 54.6km
A: 129m

St Kilda East - Edithvale - St Kilda East:
After the delicious brunch, DK and I grabbed our fixies and rode south to find Skinny, who was making his way back to St Kilda on the last leg of the Melbourne Ironman.

I'm not a fan of triathlons, it doesnt appeal to me as a sport, what I will admit is that it is a hard event, especially the longest form, the Ironman. 3.9km swim, 180.25km ride, then 42.2km run.... yeah, that's a tough day in the office.

We eventually found Skinny at Edithvale, in a sea of compressed calves, crop tops, and knicks with pockets in them. We rode with him back to St Kilda, talking with him, near him, and at him, hoping that our inane chatter would help him through the mental and physical battles he faced.



Strava link.

D: 65.3km
A: 298m

PMPW: 93kg

Saturday, 22 March 2014

22/03/2014

Hell ride - Arthurs seat - St Kilda East:
With DK out of town, I inserted myself into Bensley's planed ride of catching the Hell Ride to Mt Eliza, then roll on to Arthurs Seat.

The Hell Ride was interesting, mostly because of the sheer police presence, if I recall correctly, it was 4 cars and 3 motorbikes. They chatted to the bunch before we rolled out of Black Rock, they stopped it around Mentone to do a helmet compliance check, and followed it not just to Patto, but to Mt Eliza, and I'm told all the way back round to Black Rock. After Mentone, we basically just rolled a steady paceline through to Frankston, where it got strung out a bit by the hills. It felt like racing a handicap, especially as Timmy McGrath kept asking how far it was to Ballarat. Cheeky bugger!

Anyway, 6 of us rolled on to Arthurs Seat, for what turned out to be a pretty nice day. I even set a new PB up the climb, which came as a fair surprise to me, as my legs felt a bit off. Aimz Bradley pointed out that it was likely just cafe legs, as we'd stopped in Dromana for a coffee before heading up the hill. 

It may have also been to do with Chris and Adz surging the whole way up. Chris seemed to take great pleasure in punching it out of the early hairpins, looking back to see if he'd dislodged either Adam or myself. I say took pleasure on the early hairpins, because he successfully dislodged me, and I have no idea what they did towards the top.

P3220001

P3220006

As an aside, if you lost a chicken near Mornington, you should call (+61) 3 5976 8318.

P3220011

Strava link.

D: 153.6km
A: 1,226m

PMPW: 93kg

Friday, 21 March 2014

21/03/2014

St Kilda East - Yarra Trails - St Kilda East:

I didn't have the mindset, or possibly skills, to push my hard tail to the edge of it's limits this morning, but it still left me happy, as riding on trails is plain old dirt therapy, regardless of the tyre size and brake type.

Strava link.

D: 31.4km
A: 345m

Commute:

D: 2.8km
A: 19m

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 20 March 2014

20/03/2014

Commute:
It was pointed out to me, by my good friend Jim, that I'm an idiot. The fact that I'm an idiot, and the fact that someone pointed it out, aren't of themselves interesting, the reason for the comment is though.

It turns out yesterday wasn't the last Wednesday night HCC crit. It was just the last one in the points series.

So, given I've already entered the Good Friday race, I have two more chances to redeem yesterday's (lack of) result.


D: 8.4km
A: 52m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

18/03/2014

St Kilda East - Anderson St Reps - St Kilda East:
It seems that race wheels make a difference up a hill, as I "won" around 2/3rds of the reps against DK. Obviously it's the effort that is important, but only to coaches and fitness gains. Me? I want the win in quotation marks.

Talking of the effort, I struggled when I sat down, my pedalling felt like chopping wood, very up and down, without much finesse through the bottom of the pedal stroke. Talking of struggling, I cracked completely on rep 11. It happened about the 2nd pedal stroke, which gave me enough time to have 3 full tries to get my head straight... but keeping on doing fuck all won out, and I'm shitty about that.

Strava link.

D: 21.4km
A: 339m

Commute:

D: 2.8km
A: 12m

HCC Crit:
On the start line for this one I had a nervous buzz, and on top of that buzz was a mild caffeine buzz. It was a good place to be. There was no attack on the first lap, which meant I had time to notice something odd going on with my drive train. A quick lap out didn't locate the issue, but after some quick testing I realised it was only happening when the chain was on the big ring. Not ideal, but I could deal with it, I was still part of the race, and still eager to put my stamp on it.

So I rolled around with the bunch for a while, thinking about how I'd manage to possition myself for the sprint without the aid of a gear I could sink my teeth into at speed. Hahaha punny. Anyway, a few attacks had flicked clear and come back, and around 15 minutes in, there were 6-7 guys dangling about 15-20 seconds off the front, and there was no concerted chase, and I feared it held enough fire power to stay away... in other words, I panicked and put myself in the wind.


photo filched from DK

After a lap of solid chase, I realised that not only was I was pushing air, but that I had dislodged the bunch and was now flying solo. This was a two edged realisation, on the plus side it meant I was riding strong, on the minus side it meant I had no one to share the work with. After 3 laps of hanging myself out there I was close to the break, but the bunch was close to me. The break seemed to sit up, and in my pain induced delirium I chose to take a half second break and let the bunch finish off the work. There was either a counter attack from the break itself, or some guys from the bunch went, or both... I don't really know, I was too busy trying to catch onto a wheel... but that move that happened while I was firmly in the box, was to be the one that stuck.

I hung out in the bunch for a while, but as we closed in on the end of our allotted race period it was obvious the break would hold off the haphazard chase efforts that were currently going on. I really, really, really wanted to win tonight, but soon realised that if no one was going to drag me into a winning position, there was no point saving myself. I went to the front, told a few boys I knew had no team mates represented in the break that I wanted to work, and set about getting my $12 worth.

To get some closure this year, I'm going to have to do the good Friday race.

Strava link.

D: 49.2km
A: 526m

PMPW: 95kg

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

18/03/2014

6am NRR:
Things did not go to plan today, and I'm left feeling like an opportunity went by without me touching it in a mildly inappropriate way.

I was expecting a whole slew of Rush riders, including DK on his venge with race wheels. This was going to amuse the shit out of me, as he would have torn the bunch asunder, and I would have opened gaps and told the person behind me that I wasn't chasing, then counter attacking when things came back together. But! It was just Tozer and I, and my motivation was bugger all.

I did roll to the front a few times, but given I still had race wheels in my bike, it felt like cheating, and I just sort of slunk back into the bunch. In fact the only real time I put myself into the wind with intent was when Jono Cantwell hit the sprint hard at Glen Huntly, dragging Sean Hanneberry clear. I stepped out from my happy spot in about 4th wheel and played the 50 second TT boogie. I hadn't caught Canti by the time he peeled off, but I still had some legs left, so continued to drag Paulie Adler across to Sean, before he kicked away to roll the line clear of any other contenders.

Ok, so it wasn't a complete write off, I did get one slightly satisfying effort in.

Strava link.

D: 44.0km
A: 163m

Commute:

D: 23.3km
A:181m

PMPW: 97kg

Monday, 17 March 2014

17/03/2014

Commute:
I used to have a fear of hurdles, but I got over it.

D: 7.6km
A: 56m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 16 March 2014

16/03/2014

SKCC Crits:
After a warmup in E grade, where I not only lost the sprint to the 3 participants, but also to DK, I sat around waiting for A grade, thinking about what I wanted to achieve. I feel like I'm in decent shape, I had caffeinated gel, I had deep wheels on my bike... it all added up to me trying my hand at the end of the race.

It didn't really pan out that way though, on the first lap or two a small break got up the road, it had some decent legs in it, but with small numbers, I felt it wasn't a threat to the combined might of the bunch. Then, slowly, riders from a range of teams pinged off from the bunch to (attempt to) bridge, and the danger of it being the winning move grew exponentially. It was when I saw Stu Hill from Stay True ready himself that I knew I had to act. When he launched, I launched, and we soon had ourselves out in the void between the pursuers and the quarry. My resolve increased when I saw the only Rush rider who'd made the original move, Skinny, lose contact with the front riders. So I worked with Stu to close down on the break. It hurt out there, but we were closing down on the leaders... the problem was, the bunch was doing the same to us. Stu called it, and eased off the pedals. I basically sat up, aiming to recover as best I could before the bunch came flying through.

It was about then that DK went flying past, a rider or two desperately clinging to his wheel, and the fate of the race was basically sealed. When he reached the break a lap or two later, there were enough strong riders from enough of the teams that I had no doubt the winner would come from their select number, and thus there was no need to pump myself full of coffee flavoured stimulant/

After the halfway point of the race, the break well out of sight, I started to roll myself forward to pull a few turns. Sometimes a single hard lap, at other times turns with the Stay True boys. If the race was already won, then I may as well get some training done. As we neared the end, Stu Hill and Hayden Bradbury from O2 were ripping monster efforts on the front, and suddenly we could see the break again. I stopped pulling turns instantly, and reached for the gel, and swore at myself. I'd done too much work to have great legs left, but Ritchie had been tucked away all race, so should be fresh. As I piled the sugary liquid into my cake hole I hoped that I'd be able to do something helpful for him.

As we got 3 to go, I was back to believing the break would just hold on, so the sprint was just going to be for giggles and pride. I came through early, to help out Lui who'd been left on the front for way too long. My effort got the bunch onto the last lap, sadly leaving Richie in a bit of a shit position, but it was mostly just to empty them out.

Strava link.

D: 93.5km
A: 174m

PMPW: 93kg

Saturday, 15 March 2014

15/03/2014

St Kilda East - Mt Dandenong - St Kilda East:
I suspected we were going to the Dandies today, but I didn't know for sure, until after I met up with DK and he told me we were off to meet some TKM boys.

It was a lovely two up roll out to Montrose, the pace occasionally stopping conversation on the rolling bergs, but not enough to trouble anyone too greatly. Then we hit the climb up to Mt Evelyn and it was all I could do to barely cling to the wheel in front. I've got to admit, I was pretty pleased when we reached the top, and I looked back to discover I was not the only one who'd felt the pain. 5 or 6 of us finished together, while the other 5 or so dudes had been gapped.

That was to be my last moment of happiness for a while. As we looped over to Silvan the pace was being driven hard on the front. I was on a wheel, which meant I was doing it easier than if it'd been me on the front, but my brain wasn't convinced. I worked hard to be smooth on the pedals, but I was slowly going cross eyed and the wheel in front was drifting away from me. DK slipped off my wheel and along side me. "Excellent!" I thought "he'll slot into the gap I've created, and I'll get a better sit". I was wrong, he was on his way to the front to drive the pace even harder. I cracked and let the wheel go completely. I drifted back through a couple of guys chasing, and after a while tapped the legs over while waiting for the last rider(s) to come through. For a while I was in no mans land, unable to see either those in front or behind, and no idea what route I was meant to take.

Thankfully we regrouped before the next hill exploded our bunch and my confidence. I regret this one the most, I should have been able to hold on to the initial pace up the Kallista-Emerald rd, and thus gotten a sit along the flat area. Instead I instantly let the bunch go, and lost even more time in the winds of the brief flat open area.

After another regroup, and yet more bottle refills (I was drinking water like a fish), we headed back around through Belgrave towards the Devils Elbow. Knowing it was the last climb helped me reassert some mental control. The bunch quickly splintered as we made the sweeping right past the 1,000 steps carpark, and instead of looking like uncatchable climbers, the guys in front started to look like rabbits, so I gave chase.

If we were to think of today as a race, then it's obvious that I lost both literally, and figuratively. As training though, I think there was a lot of upside for me, as I spent a lot of time well past my comfort levels, fighting the mental and physical battles that entails.

Strava link.

D: 133.7km
A: 2,095m

PMPW: 93kg

Friday, 14 March 2014

14/03/2014

Commute:
I did think about getting up and going for a ride, I truly did. Then I thought about not getting up and going for a ride, and that seemed like a much better idea, because it involved more sleeping, and the same amount of coffee after.



D: 19.7km
A: 124m

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 13 March 2014

13/03/2014

Commute:
Extras, and obviously by extras I mean extra coffee!



D: 32.9km
A: 180m

PMPW: 95kg

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

12/03/2014

St Kilda East - Anderson St reps - St Kilda East:
Slept like crap, nervous about this morning, I even forwent breakfast, and instead grabbed a caffeinated gel on my way out the door, though I didn't end up consuming it. I didn't know for sure what we'd be doing today, but I assumed it was the same as last week.

It was.

Anyway, we had good and bad intervals. A good run was generally paid for with a bad one on the next rep. I went well on #10, cracked pretty badly on 11, but rallied for 12, where as DK suffered a rare loss on #10, smacked me on 11, and died on 12.

It was competitive, it hurt, it was hopefully good for me. I'm going to assume it is good for me, and overlay a general sense that I went better than last week, though I haven't dug into the data to confirm if it's true or not.

With both of us pretty hammered, Airlie St was skipped in favour of rolling the legs down past the lake, and getting caught in the rain just as things were starting to feel ok with the world. Unlucky.

Strava link.

D: 23.2km
A: 329m

Commute:

D: 6.6km
A: 104m

HCC Crit:
A grade sold out tonight, and before we began, I sort of wished I'd arrived to late, because there were some scary dudes lining up to register. I hadn't though, I already had a number, so I was going to give it a go, and get some quality in the legs.

From the gun Pat Drapac hit it, still being a little pissed that he kicked off the winning move a few weeks ago I chased him down. We were clear as a pair for the lap, but round into the bottom corner it was obvious the bunch was having none of it, so I got myself onto the hill and eased my effort slightly to give 20 or so guys a chance to get past me, then tucked in to the line.

Up until nearly the end of the race that was my lot. Stay in the top 20 or so, and keep my nose out of the wind. Guys would sometimes swarm along the bottom of the course and I'd drop a few places, an OCBC rider was diving up the inside into the hairpin, but in all situations I felt I could take back the positions on the uphill.

Towards the end there were 5-6 riders up the road. I was a little worried about it, as they had some solid legs, and reasonable team representation. They dangled out front for a few laps, never achieving the critical out of sight gap that pretty much seals a victory. Cam Clamp drove into the gap, and that was a road too far for me. Cam has been bloody strong in breaks at HCC this year, and in my mind, his presence guaranteed there would be no sprint finish. So, I went after him and the dude he was towing. I didn't really care if the bunch was with me, so I just drove a hard pace up the kicker, closing on them over the top of the course, just as they were doing the same to the break. Then they sat up, and I decided not to cover the break as well. A counter attack came, so I repeated my effort on the next time up the hill.

Finally after a couple of months of training I felt like I was racing again. I had the fitness to make choices that effected the race, and it felt good!

I decided to let others finish off the break's advantage, and get myself mentally and physically ready for the sprint. As I slowly moved myself from around 20th back up towards the top 10 by taking a place here or there, we were shown 3 to go. It was too soon, I wasn't in place yet, I wanted more time for others to wear out their legs.

I did what I could, coming through the bottom corner around 10th, and thus not a chance at an envelope, but I finished off my race with one last effort and got myself up to around 8th.

Next week is the last Wednesday night HCC crit for the season and I cant wait.

Strava link.

D: 51.2km
A: 488m

PMPW: 93kg

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

11/03/2014

6am NRR:
I'll admit that I spent a fair chunk of time in witness the fitness protection program (in the bunch). I feel it was necessary though, as DK, Jeremy Cameron, Boomtime, and Jono Cantwell were doing bad things to the bunch.

The first time I rolled to the front, figuring I'd chop out DK who'd been doing a grip of work, Jeremy came over the top of me hot, and had me barely clinging to his wheel. Lesson learnt!

I did play on the Black Rock - Sandi hill, and for the first time in a few weeks I split the bunch. There was one guy clinging desperately to my wheel, then a gap, then DK making an unhappy face with one or two on his wheel, then a gap, and then finally what was left of the bunch. Even with all those gaps, I barely managed to get onto the last wheel.

I felt good through the golden mile, but the wind up for the sprint started early, and it was full noise. holding high 50s along Ormond Esplanade, and stretching my legs. I think part of my issue there was I wasn't holding wheels cleanly, and thus wasting a few Watts. Whatever it was, the coffee afterwards was bloody delicious!

Strava link.

D: 45.9km
A: 176m

Commute:

D: 7.7km
A: 83m

PMPW: 93kg

Monday, 10 March 2014

10/03/2014

St Kilda East - Mornington - St Kilda East:
I was meant to go to the back of the nongs with DK, but a combination of CBFs, post meat gorging regret, and a gentle coax from Wilko and we decided to go to Mornington instead.

The final group was DK, Wilko, Mal, Bensley, and myself, but Ferg joined us until Canadian Bay rd, while Bing and Lucas come to Slack Rock. Anyway, mostly it was a lovely two up affair, with a bunch of chatting in the warm sun.


this image was stolen from wilko, without permission, consent, or even consideration of his feelings. It's probable he doesn't have feelings though.

After an espresso and some finely sliced cured meat, we turned for what was possibly a rare event. Tail wind, or at the very least, lack of head wind, both directions! That didn't stop DK ever so slowly pulling me apart when we sat on the front together.

Strava link.

D: 113.1km
A: 562m

PMPW: 95kg

Sunday, 9 March 2014

9/03/2014

St Kilda East - Brighton - St Kilda East:
It's been a while since I just went for a roll in the sun with a few mates. After we'd downed a couple of coffees we headed to the beach via the now closed to traffic Albert Park lake GP circuit. It was pretty rad to ride the course and get a sense for what it would be like in a car. Yes, we were going backwards, yes we were going a 10th of the speed, and yes the only people that watched us were some bored swans and workers putting the finishing touches on the set up... but it was cool none the less.



Strava link.

D: 32.3km
A: 89m

PMPW: 94kg

Saturday, 8 March 2014

8/03/2014

 St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Stony Creek - Kruses - Pidgeon Bank - Dawson - Reserve - Clintons - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
I was nervous about how I'd manage today, my riding partners were DK and Ash Hutchinson. DK is DK, and Ash earned world champ rainbow stripes in 04 on the boards. Yeah, it's not often I have the smallest legs on the bike.

I wasnt feeling the groove early, with decent cadence eluding me well up until Mt Pleasant when DK started to turn the screws and drive the pace a little. Around halfway through I stopped trying to sit beside him, and drifted back, figuring it'd be best to hold some legs for later.

Ash cracked shortly after, and from that point on the ride was at his hamstrung speed. I obviously still made him do a decent loop, because I'm a jerk like that, but I never felt super stressed, and I think that's a bad thing. I was there to train after all.



Strava link.

D: 122.4km
A: 2,214m

PMPW: 94kg

Friday, 7 March 2014

7/03/2014

NRR:
Just a lazy Friday northy chatting to Bones. To 100% make sure it was lazy, I rode us to the front at the start, and ensured it was slow. No point doing back of the pack fartlek efforts... heh heh heh... fart.

Strava link.

D: 47.6km
A: 172m

Commute:

D: 6.8km
A: 113m

PMPW: 93kg

Thursday, 6 March 2014

6/03/2013

Commute:
I made short work of a couple of long coffees, then hit Albert park lake for a lazy lap sitting on a triathlete. The sun was up, I was chock full of speciality blend coffee, and he was pushing the air for me. The world felt like a good place.



D: 11.9km
A: 118m

PMPW: 94kg

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

5/03/2014

St Kilda East - Anderson St Reps - Airlie St - St Kilda East:
Yesterday DK said he had intervals to do on Anderson st, and without knowing more I said I'd join him. 3 sets of 4 x 45 second efforts, with 75 seconds rest between reps and 3 minutes between sets. They were not happy times. Especially when I lost count in the middle set, thought we'd done the full count, and was given the signal to go "Yep!". I had enough time for an incredulous echo before I had to just shut up and hit the pedals.

I tried standing on the first few, but felt I was digging a very very deep hole, and wouldn't last out the session. So I switched to seated efforts, and reduced the initial kick. I was still destroyed at the end of each effort, jelly legged and gasping for air, but it wasn't life threatening.

On the last effort I managed to hold onto DK and come up beside, maybe even get a quarter of a tyre in front, just as we finished the effort. Then instead of taking us home, we went to Airlie St for a standing start sprint, which I monstered.

45 seconds is plain old evil, and I hope the benefits are in line with the pain. 22 seconds to smash through anaerobic limits, then the same again with zero oxygen and thus no way to go into the aerobic pathways.

Strava link.

D: 21.0km
A: 367m

Commute:

D: 5.1km
A: 95m

HCC Crits:
I spent most of the day toying with the idea of racing. I secretly hoped that rain would force it to be cancelled, so the decision would be taken out of my hands. It didn't rain, and so I went home, got my bike and rolled across town. You know what, I actually felt half decent, but that only dulled the worried voices in my head, they were still there.

So, I just got a number and pinned it. Then I just got on my bike and rolled a practice lap. Then I just started the race. Then I just did each lap as they came.

I spent a bit of time taking tickets at the back with Grover, and learnt a fun tactic that works in D grade at SKCC also works in A grade here. Drop wheels before a tight corner, and roll through / out of it with better speed, thus avoiding the full tilt sprint that oft occurs.

I felt pretty good sitting in, half the race was gone before I realised it, but being so far back it was hard to tell if a break had gone with it. Feeling ok or not, every time I half stuck my nose out in the wind, I found it hard to achieve much more than 1 or 2 places. There was certainly no chance I was going to get myself up the road. I hung out, followed a rider who single-handedly made the bridge to a strong break that was dangling slightly up the road, and generally thought about what I'd do at the end of the race. Then suddenly we were given 3 laps to go. I was too far back, I wasn't sure about my legs, I was making excuses! I took a couple of places here, and a couple there. Round the top of the course for the bell and I got onto a move going up the outside, if everyone drilled it, I'd get to the last corner in about 5th. Great! Then, down the hill, it went around a slowing rider in the middle of the road, my momentum carried me ever so slightly outside his wheel. I started to go around him, but he kept drifting out, pushing me wider and wider. The race flew down the shorter inside line, by the time I was past the guy I was well back and outside of any chance of doing anything.

Frustrating, but in a good way. I not only backed up my morning session, I felt like I had a right to contest a race. These are good feelings, and I'm going to get more aggressive next week. To see what I can make happen.

Strava link.

D: 49.3km
A: 523m

PMPW: 94kg

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

4/03/2014

6am NRR:
Mostly I had fun today, I watched DK play playing witness the fitness, from Southland back to St Kilda. I reckon he spent more time off the front of the bunch, than he did in it during that time. Smack it away from lights to shake the bunch off his wheel, then solid tempo. Meanwhile I contributed a little to chasing him down, but mostly saved myself for a hill and a sprint effort.

Up the hill, I was set to start from the bottom, interested to see if I could manage to pace myself all the way to the top. A rider come up beside me, so I upped the pace to let them know I wanted to be on the front, but they kept coming. A quick glance showed it was De Luca, so I let him roll over and take me to when the first ramp starts, then it was out into the air and deep into the pain. I've had a few people tell me since that it was destroying the bunch, but when I finally made it to the top, body shaking for the effort of keeping it steady, and let the bunch roll past, I didnt see any obvious gaps, and that left me a tiny bit disappointed.

The sprint was odd, we copped the lights halfway along Ormond Esplanade, but a single rider slipped through on the very deep orange. De Luca, Tommy Leaper and myself vowed we'd chase him down. So basically it was a 2km team sprint with Leigh doing first honours, then Tommy, and finally me. Despite the monster efforts they put in, I wasn't within cooee of the lone rider by the time I'd emptied my tank to BP. I don't mind though, the effort was the reward.

Strava link.

D: 48.5km
A: 200m

Commute:

D: 7.1km
A: 73m

PMPW: 94kg

Monday, 3 March 2014

3/03/2014

Commute:
Yesterday, Nick Squillari gave me a solution to the noise lemond trainers make, take the cover off the fan. This pleases me, as the noise of doing efforts in an apartment with a non cycling flatmate has been one of the factors keeping me off it (another is the horrible pain!).

I'm yet to test it, so we'll see how much quieter it is, but it should be acknowledged that the process increases the risk. Small, inquisitive hands would be sliced and diced, but as the Dawns is in Canada at the moment, that risk is pretty low.

D: 48.5km
A: 200m

PMPW: 94kg

Sunday, 2 March 2014

2/03/2014

SKCC Crits:
In E grade, there were more A graders than there were E graders, 4v3, still the boys in pink failed to get up for the win!

A few coffees later and it was time for A grade and time for me to head out on the first attack. We had a plan to try and get DK up for a win in the last of the Total Rush points series, mostly it was to help save his legs for the end of the race, when a powerful long range attack had a chance to stick. While the race was won by DK from a powerful long range attack, I'm saddened to say I at least had very little to contribute to it, and didn't really help save his legs.

After the first move of the day was brought back, I drifted back into the bunch a little way, before heading back to the head of affairs to drill out a hard lap to limit a small break's lead. After that I drifted right back in the bunch, putting the responsibility to cover moves on others. At some point the bunch splintered, and I found myself in the 4th group on the road. So I smacked it to the 3rd, dragging quite a few guys, and DK, along with my. Shortly after DK headed towards the 2nd group. I eased off his wheel ensuring anyone who wanted to go with him would have to burn a match. That was it for me. I sat in the bunch until the last few laps when just for giggles we lined things out.

At some point during the race, my breakfast and coffees started repeating on me with a whole bunch of bile along for the ride. It wasn't lovely, and left me feeling a little bit nauseous for the rest of the day. Not even a mid afternoon nap fixed it, and historically speaking, they fix everything bar a sore neck. Generally they cause those.

Strava link.

D: 94.1km
A: 151m

PMPW: 93kg

1/03/2014

Total Rush Shop Ride & Pre-loop:
I rocked up to Rush at 6am, expecting to find a few people ready to roll the pre-loop. Instead, when it came time to roll out, I was still the only one there. Thankfully a few metres down the road, I found DK running a smidgeon late. The pace was a conversational speed, which was lucky because I had a lot to say about the fact that DK was obviously cheating in our down hill roll off competitions. For a start, he was beating me.

When we reached the Kew boulevard, the conversational pace ceased. The pace went up from the freeway overpass, I thought it was just to drop the riders we'd just passed who had bright lights that were distracting. DK seemed to feel otherwise as he kept the hammer down and I soon found myself riding behind rather than beside him.

Back at the shop, I had enough time to realise I didn't have enough time for a coffee, then it was off down to Mordi. As we rolled up Anderson st some local constabulary rolled up past us in the liveried vehicle. I've heard from a few sources that there's a bit of a blitz on at the moment, and was one of the reasons I wasn't doing the Hell Ride. Anyway, as we drew up to a red light at Domain Rd, the fellow in the passenger seat politely asked me to keep one hand on the handlebars in the future.

It turns out, there's actually a law about it, something I had to go look up.

#245. ride with at least 1 hand on the handlebars

Anyway, on the way back from Mordi that wasn't an issue. 4 or 5 of us left first and formed the fast group, a couple more bridged up, but basically we only had 5 or so people rolling turns back to St Kilda. How does this relate to hands on the bars? I was working hard to just come through again and again and again, I didn't have the will, let alone the energy to take both hands off the bars.

Strava link.

D: 101.4km
A: 594m

PMPW: 95kg