Saturday, 28 February 2015

28/02/2015

St Kilda East -Exploration - St Kilda East:
Last week we turned down a stretch of tarmac out the back of Wattle Glen named Wilson's road. The main aim for this week was to find a way to include it in the uphill direction.

After dismissing routes that relied on major roads, we were left with a trip via Mt Pleasant, then cutting back across the top of Eltham to Reynolds Rd. I've ridden it before, but that was a few years ago, and I thought that perhaps my memory of how much of a poo it was was overblown. It wasn't, and I now firmly believe that any road named "Reynolds" is a horrible thing, and that this is likely the worst of the lot.

You access it via a couple of dirt roads, then before you plunge straight down a dip you can't see the bottom of, you become aware of a wall of bitumen in front of you. The strava segment for it is titled "The Monster", and it stretches around 300-400m, with gradients around 24%.



This seems like a lot of talk about a road that we chose as a way to get to another, but I'll give you some insight as to why. I have unfinished business with this stretch of tarmac. Today, faced with that evil bit of blacktop, I decided to see if I could get myself back up the Strava leader board. Instead, 30-40m from the top, already out of the saddle (and regretting it), I managed to pull my right foot from my pedal. I'll admit, I contemplated not recording this bit of info, but it's consuming me, I need to get it out, I need to go back and right the wrong that was done to my ego. I must erase the shame of having to walk my bike up the last part of a road.

For the record, Wilson's road was nice, we rolled up it at a civil pace while I went through the gamut of emotions.

Strava link.

D: 110.5km
A: 1,899m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 27 February 2015

27/02/2015

Commute:
Why does Michael J. Fox make the best milkshakes?

He uses the highest quality ingredients.

D: 10.2km
A: 24m

PMPW: 84kg

Thursday, 26 February 2015

26/02/2015

St Kilda East - Wilkins Special - St Kilda East:
I can't quite work out if this morning equated to a hard or easy ride. On one hand it hurt a bit. On the other hand, Wilko and I barely stopped talking the entire time.

In other news, i've come to believe my power meter (cranks) are creaky, and so they're currently in time out, while a non data enabled set is residing in the bottom of my road bike. Initially this annoyed me, I like data, I like looking at pretty graphs.

I now feel like it might be a good thing. With limited riding time, I've been riding more for the fun of it, seeking out new roads, or catching up with mates. That's precisely how this morning's soiree with Dan came about, a message to a mate I don't ride with nearly enough. It's easier to see the beauty of the sport and our city when you're not staring at your stem, wondering if you can manage the extra 200ish Watts (at threshold) you'd need to hit TdF winning power to weight numbers.*

Strava link.

D: 43.7km
A: 508m

Commute:

D: 9.0km
A: 35m

PMPW: 84kg

* Probably not.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

25/02/2015

Commute:
Did you hear about the two guys who stole a calendar?.

They both got 6 months.

D: 6.9km
A: 34m

PMPW: 84kg

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

24/02/2015

6am NRR:
Though there was a decent southerly blowing, the pace started off quite solidly. I was a bit far back for red light risk comfort, so figured I'd roll a turn, then ease back a few spots and have a lovely sit.

Instead, mere moments after I rolled over the front (which by the way took about 700W), 20 or so other fellows did the same to me, effectively pushing me further back than where I'd started. It didn't deter me though, I rolled forward again... and got swamped again, and again, and again.

By the time we hit Mordi, it was taking longer to find the motivation to go forward again. Turns were being ripped at 50-55km/h, so it still sucked to be out the side/front of the bunch.

We rolled into St Kilda at 6:55am, and I had the joyous revelation that I had plenty of time left before work to find myself a delicious coffee, and a hot shower.

Strava link.

D: 44.1km
A: 162m

Commute:

D: 9.5km
A: 53m

PMPW: 85kg

Monday, 23 February 2015

23/02/2015

Commute:
I was talking with a runner I know today, he used to race a lot, and from what i understand was fairly handy at it too.

He was lamenting a lack of elite Victorian talent at some racing over the weekend, and it lead to discussion about participation levels and youth drop off in running, that matched what I've seen in cycling.

The concept of elite performance requirements carried on later with the tiny Canadian, and the CrossFit games. How mental fortitude was a determining factor at the top.

I suppose what I'm getting at is a question. If elite performances is the goal of a sport, what is reasonable for the sport to do to deliver those? Is it reasonable to break more eggs to gain a higher level of performance? What if those eggs are the young? What if I somehow didn't break the metaphor just then?

The AIS and state ISs have a reputation for chewing up and spitting out talented kids. I kind of get why though, there are limited budgets, and very strong performance based incentives for the programs. If they don't deliver championship medals, they don't get funded. I have issues with that methodology, especially knowing several athletes that have been on the ugly side of those systems.

Some private teams such as Drapac strive to provide a more supportive environment, and nurture more multifaceted athletes/humans. I like this ideal, but there are some questions over the efficacy of their program (see here), which leaves me wondering if it's just possible white washing.

So, what's the answer? I don't think there can ever be a right answer, just one that is right for an individual, or at best, one that is right for a time/society. For me, I think there can/should be some broken eggs, but that those eggs need some post failure support. Shown how they can still participate, or how to find a new activity. If those additional costs mean less depth, or lower levels of elite performance, that is ok.

D: 8.4km
A: 34m

PMPW: 85kg

Sunday, 22 February 2015

22/02/2015

Rest:
What did the fish say when it swam into the wall?

"Dam"

PMPW: 85kg

Saturday, 21 February 2015

21/02/2015

St Kilda East - Rolling with mates - St Kilda East:
The plan was to ride some pretty roads, and to not attack each other. Jim and I even went as far as saying if one of us attacked, we'd owe the other one a coffee. I think the finally tally is, Jim owes me 2, and I owe him 1. That's surprisingly low given our history.

Anyway, we were joined by Steve and Jason, for a roll out the back of Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge. We turned down a couple of random roads to see where they went, and went the "wrong way" along others we've known for a while, all the while chatting about life, and how nice it is to be on the bike.



Wilson Rd from the Wattle Glen direction looks like it'd make a solid training climb, though it might take me a while to work out how to fit it into a route that doesn't use too much of Hurstbridge Rd.

Strava link.

D: 124.7km
A: 1,884m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 20 February 2015

20/02/2015

Stretching
I've had trouble sleeping a few nights recently, because my leg feels tight / twitchy. That's usually a sign that I need to spend some more time abusing my left ITB with the foam roller.

So I spent some time on the living room floor, balanced on a blue foam cylinder. The addition of the pooch attacking my feet is an advanced technique that I'm sure will get things back on track quicker.

PMPW: 85kg

Thursday, 19 February 2015

19/02/2015

CX Shenanigans:
Wilko and I planned a ride. We ensured there was enough time to get it done, and get to work (and maybe even sneak in a coffee). We even planned to risk ugly looking weather, and an uncertain forecast.

In all that planning, it didn't occur to either of us that it'd be dark until 6:45am, and that riding trails with lights only designed for visibility would thus be difficult.

Even with this oversight, we found some things to do, instead of riding continues trails, we continuously rode specific bits of trail. That gave us a chance to learn the surface conditions, and build up our speed.

Next time we should remember to bring lights to see with.

Strava link.

D: 30.2km
A: 330m

Commute:

D: 17.1km
A: 90m

PMPW: 85kg

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

18/02/2015

Commute:
I've continued to think about about my current, and potential for form since yesterday's musings.

I'm confident I could get to the end of most A grade crits, but I'm feeling more and more like that doing so would be a paid social activity / donation to others. In some situations that's alright, but in the context of cycling goals, it feels counter productive.

So, what could I do? I'd suggest it will be at least a few months before I have any form of form. That sort rules out crits, and puts me squarely in road racing/road handicaps, and cx season.

After missing last year, I'd definitely like to race cross again. I think that at my current weight, I should do a little better. I wont sink into sand and mud so bad. I can run lower tyre pressures before bottoming out on a rim becomes an issue, and thus have more traction. Its probable that I'll be more efficient too, so able to sustain a higher intensity, or the same intensity for longer. To be clear, I dont think that will all add up to an ability to challenge Alan Iacuone, Adrian Jackson, Lewis Rattray, or Chris Jongeward. What I'm hopeful of, is that it might possibly, if I get really fit, be able to get through a race without getting lapped by them.

Then there's road racing, I'm not into the idea of handicaps, and northern combine can bit a bit of a hike to get to... but the Warny calls to me, like sirens call to sailors. I know it, I know it's story, I know it leads to wreck and ruin... yet I find myself steering towards it.

Finally, DK aiming for the state pursuit team/title, and all the riders playing with the hour record, has my mind back to the track. I have no aspirations to ride 160, or even 16 laps... but trying to knock a second or two off my 4 lap time best.

D: 8.5km
A: 71m

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

17/02/2015

St Kilda East - High St - Pony Club - St Kilda East:
Given how infrequently Rick and my riding schedules line up (and the debacle of a few weeks back), getting up at 5am was a small price to get a roll together.

Ricky had to go hard up High St in Doncaster, and then again up Pony club. I sniveled on his wheel for the first one, then stomped a big gear to give him a flick up the second. Both sort of felt good too, they were chances to get into the box and stay there for a while.

Despite a week off training, and a reduced load in recent months, I felt ok pedaling away. I certainly don't have A grade winning form, and I doubt I'll have enough time to get it this crit season. That leaves me to think about what racing I can aim for.

Strava link.

D: 49.7km
A: 624m

Commute:

D: 4.9km
A: 49m

PMPW: 86kg

Monday, 16 February 2015

16/02/2015

Commute:
When I was checking into hospital the other week, the nurse tried to sign my paperwork with a thermometer. She looks flabbergasted for a moment, patted her pockets, then announced "Well, that's really really great, some asshole's got my pen."

D: 9.3km
A: 34m

PMPW: 86kg

Sunday, 15 February 2015

15/02/2015

St Kilda East - SKCC Marshaling - St Kilda East:
I rolled down to White St in the back of Port Melbourne to help run SKCC E grade, then stuck around to help marshal women's B and D grades.

I probably got the best workout from E grade, as there were only 3 starters, meaning I spent a lot of time in the wind during the 35 odd minutes we rolled turns before the final laps where it was officially a race.

It was nice to be out on the bike, clocking up coffees, and kms, all while helping out both SKCC and Rush. I'm not sure I'll have time to regain enough form to win A grade there this season, but it's something that sits high on my to do list.

Strava link.

D: 96.6km
A: 88m

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 14 February 2015

14/02/2015

Rest:
I saw a petting zoo on the way to the cafe this morning, the pony looked like he had a sore throat.

I could tell because he was a little horse.

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 13 February 2015

13/02/2015

Commute:
The pillow factory near me has make and experimental corduroy pillow case.

It's making headlines.

D: 7.0km
A: 51m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 12 February 2015

12/02/2015

Commute:
My knee ached a bunch last night, and to be honest, I dont really understand why. Maybe I had been sitting with it weird... but regardless of the reason, by the time I got home, it was late enough that I decided to just go to bed.

So, this morning, after an additional 8 hours of having it tight, I got time on the foam roller. It was quality time. In the middle of the living room floor. In just undies. Sweating. Groaning. Hating life.

Whatever it was I did to myself, I did a bloody good job of it.

D: 20.6km
A: 120m

PMPW: 86kg

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

11/02/2015

Commute:
I had to stop on my way to work while a duck and it's ducklings crossed the road. It was such a beautiful thing... really, it was poultry in motion.

D: 5.7km
A: 39m

PMPW: 84kg

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

10/02/2015

Commute:
While checking the what day it was, I realised that my calendar is depressed.

I reckon it realised its days are numbered.

D: 6.3km
A: 22m

PMPW: 85kg

Monday, 9 February 2015

9/02/2015

Commute:
I was trying to come up with an evocative description of being back on the bike, but struggled to get past technical shortfalls in the standard "wind through your hair". For a start, my hair is bloody short right now, and secondly, helmets block some of the flow.What I ended up with was something only an engineer would love.

It seems Chloe Hosking has had no issue elaborating, as she penned this little gem one some time during the last few days in Qatar.

"The stage was somewhat similar to what I imagine giving five shots of espresso each to a group of four years olds and then letting them loose in a china store. The nervous energy in the bunch created so much tension that it was like everyone was riding with straight arms and even the slightest movement sent a tidal wave through the bunch. The amount of front wheels I heard go to pedals, frames, and back wheels was unnerving."

D: 11.1km
A: 70m

PMPW: 85kg

Sunday, 8 February 2015

8/02/2015

Rest:
Tiny canadian, pooch, and I rocked into crits at SKCC this morning to drink coffee, shout encouragement / time gaps, and generally just chill out.

Lappers was always going to be at short odds against club racers, but I didn't expect him to start the break, attack it towards the end, and still have enough to stop Hayden Bradbury from coming over the top of him for the win.

I believe there was also a race going on somewhere in Victoria... but when the headline sponsor doesn't carry stories in their newspaper, it's no surprise that there is no live footage, and only a minute highlights pack elsewhere.

PMPW: 85kg

Saturday, 7 February 2015

7/02/2015

Rest:
What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches? 

A Nervous Wreck.

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 6 February 2015

6/02/2015

Rest:
I had a minor procedure yesterday, nothing terribly important, but it means a few days of rest.

I apologise in advance for any jokes that occur during this time.

PMPW: 85kg

Thursday, 5 February 2015

5/02/2015

Rest:
I was trying to work out the difference between a poorly dressed man on a tricycle and a well dressed man on a bicycle. It's attire.

PMPW: 85kg

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

4/02/2015

Commute:

D: 5.5km
A: 40m

HCC Crit:
After the race briefing, where instructions on how the end of c-grade might pan out depending on if we had a break, there was joking discussion that we should just agree not to have a break today.

Obviously this meant the racing that followed was ferocious, as people tried to establish a break.

I had planned to hide all race, so that I could see the very end for a change, but ended up off the front a few times. It was a matter of letting race instinct take over, and it dictated that you go with the rider in front when they attack, especially if they give countless signs they're about to.

Even when the break got out of sight, the pace continued in the bunch. It made me surprised the break stayed up the road, because to match, or even exceed our pace would have taken a lot of effort.

As for me, I dumped my legs on the last lap to put Luke Aggat into the final corner at the front, and then peeled off to hyper-ventilate.

Strava link.

D: 53.0km
A: 498m

PMPW: 86kg

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

3/02/2015

6am NRR:
Was it a full moon? I've never seen so many people eager to get to the front into a headwind. Added to that, most seemed to lack the etiquette to match the front rider's pace. It seemed to be either riders trying to push in at 10th wheel, or coming through hot, and burning the few people who knew how to roll a steady turn.

Annoyance aside, it wasn't too bad, it kept me a little more mentally engaged. Having to think about positioning and energy use kept me from getting too complacent in the bunch. As for efforts I did the standard hill and lead out, both aided by the southerly that helped propel us home.

Strava link.

D: 46.2km
A: 167m

Commute:

D: 7.2km
A: 40m

PMPW: 85kg

Monday, 2 February 2015

2/02/2015

Commute:
I reckon I've had more conversations on the bike with Steve than anyone else. Mostly they've been the usual chats about trivial topics, but often enough they've been times when life issues are solved, or at the very least shared. They're times when nods are used to show understanding, and to keep the flow of words coming. They're times that sometimes leave you wondering what you can do to help.

If you were to take one of those serious conversations, and made it into a post on medium, it would be this. Go on, click it and read. Here's the link again, just in case your mouse wont go back / up.

If you haven't clicked it yet, I'll tell you why you should. It's a man putting context behind a request. It's a man sharing something deeply personal to give insight to a call to action. It's Steve telling a story about a lost child, so that you, and I can understand why he wants our support for Chain Reaction, and thus Very Specials Kids and the Starlight Foundation.

I've put a few hungy in, but even if you don't, you should take the time to read it, and glimpse why it's important. It can only serve to make us all a bit more human.

If you're already convinced or missed the link on Steve's medium post, then here's a direct link to the Chain Reaction donation page.

D: 5.4km
A: 0m

PMPW: 86kg

Sunday, 1 February 2015

1/02/2015

Rest:
Some time last night the toilets at the local police station were stolen.

The cops are investigating, but for the moment they have nothing to go on.

PMPW: 87kg