Sunday, 31 May 2015


Yesterday's road bike issues present me with a situation. I'm likely to be road bike less for 1-3 weeks, and thus need to re-plan my training. So, what do I do until I'm back aboard the blue beast?

Do I sub in a weights block?

Do I put skinny tyres on my CX wheels and use it as a road bike much like I did in 2012 when my Madone met an untimely end.

Do I leave the 32mm tyres on and ride a lot of dirt?

Do I dust off (literally) the track bike, and get it out on the boards again?

I'm leaning towards a combination of weights and getting dirty on the cross bike.

PMPW: 83kg

Saturday, 30 May 2015


Rush shop ride:
I had planned on heading North of town today, but my road bike had not one, but two catastrophic failures before I'd even got out the door. First my rear dérailleur cage fell off, that by itself was enough for me to change my plans to involve my CX bike. So while waiting for some more light, I took the time to true my rear wheel a little, which is when I discovered a complete failure of a hub flange.

Anyway those two issues took a lot of wind out of my sails, and I opted for a knobby tyred shop ride. Even with 9mm more tyre and 60psi less than everyone else, I was able to roll my fair share of turns in the fast group, thanks in part to the ripping northerly that kept our speeds within my gear range.

Strava link.

D: 54.0km
A: 269m

PMPW: 84kg

Friday, 29 May 2015


Wilko Special:
After the last week of feeling pretty good on the bike, I expected the same today. Instead I was kind of flat. Thankfully the pace wasn't too high, two up having a chat, or as bones would put it "plenty of banter".

Strava link.

D: 38.2km
A: 624m

PMPW: 85kg

Thursday, 28 May 2015


6am NRR:
There was some good schnell this morning, a ripping northerly had everyone feeling feisty on the way down the highway, then when we turned it made riding near the front hurt.

I rolled a couple of turns, mostly to stay out of trouble, and felt reasonable while doing so. Coming out of Mordi it was lined out in the gutter, but didn't feel too tough... so I rolled past the 30 odd single file riders to the front and in doing so discovered why everyone was hiding on a wheel. Le ouch!

By itself the ride wasn't much, nor did it tell me much. As another brick in the construction of my fitness, it feels like I'm starting to make some headway. I'm not fit/fast, but I have some control over my pain, and that of others.

Strava link.

D: 46.9km
A: 242m

PMPW: 85kg

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


St Kilda East - Burnley bouli - Ivanhoe bouli - Kew Bouli - St Kilda East:
I didn't have a firm plan for today until I was on the road. I wanted a couple of efforts today, maybe on some kind of hill, but not too far away. I thought the Kew boulevard might be good, but I didn't want to cut laps and increase the chances of a tacking. Instead, Chris and I agreed to link the three Yarra boulevards together, and I secretly planned a few steep side street excursions to get some vigoursness into the ride.

In the end there were a couple of double efforts, the first in Ivanhoe was the Wilsons reserve climb, followed by the pinchy laneway up to Scotts Pde. That felt alright, so when we came to the Yarra St / Studley Ave combo I gave it full noise, equalling my best ever 1 minute power and ripping a power/weight PB.

I've got to say, PBs feel nice. It's almost enough to get me to knuckle down and "train".

Strava link.

D: 40.7km
A: 466m

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Ricktastic Tuesday:
I left home with a couple of extra minutes up my arm warmers to get to this morning's ride, but 200m down the road realised that I needed knee warmers too. It doesn't sound like much, an extra couple of minutes faffing about, but it gave me more impetus to push myself when we got going again. Put another way, a better mental and physical warm up than recent Tuesdays.

Rolling out on the loop with the others, it was Rick and I on the front. Two up, we chatted away, caught up on who'd done what over the weekend, and discussed how cold it was today. Up the gradual climb of Doncaster road in the back of Kew/Balwyn, I realised I was half wheeling Rick, and was having difficulty stopping. That was the first sign I was feeling alright.

I tested Rick and that feeling up High st in Doncaster, and by the top both of us were panting hard, and the other two in the group were trailing behind. Honestly, I gave that climb everything I had, and was a little disappointed that I hadn't gapped Rick too. He claimed he was spent, but I figured he'd recover and it'd be on again for Rosehill and Pony club. I worried I'd poked a monster to life.

In the end, after a little bit of shenanigans on Rosehill, I knew there wouldn't be a challenge forthcoming on Pony club, but I still wanted the effort, so hit it solo style. Now the data says it's easier/slower to go by myself, but mentally I reckon it's as hard, if not harder to push the pace with no human competition. I know this isn't news to me, but this morning, in that horrendously crisp air, that re-relisation felt profound.

Strava link.

D: 51.8km
A: 690m

PMPW: 85kg

Monday, 25 May 2015


St Kilda East - Beaumaris - St Kilda East:
I wanted to spin the legs out today, and give myself the best set of legs for tomorrow morning. I'm still thinking about the malaise I showed last week, and Rick's request to make it hurt.

So with a desire to head further than Slackrock, but not as far as Mordi, Chris and I did a Reserve Rd loop. Spinning and chatting, though the data suggests the spinning wasn't terribly spinny.

Strava link.

D: 45.1km
A: 158m

PMPW: 85kg

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Vegemite chocolate review:
So Cadbury, the chocolate company, seems be be experimenting with new flavours and/or cross market malarky at the moment. Don't know what I'm talking about? Chocolate with Vegemite. Yep, sounds odd... but oddly appealing... but really odd.

See, this is where I'm here to help you, to buy a 200g block and eat it. Not only that, eat it as race food, and evaluate it's performance in a performance setting. This blog is about riding bikes after all!

I've never reviewed chocolate or yeast extract spread before, but I've eaten more than my fair share, so I'm going to go ahead and give myself the nod to carry on with a review of a combined product.

The first thing you should know is that it's not just chocolate and vegemite, no, it's chocolate, caramel and vegemite. Put another way, it's choclate with a salted caramel centre. Sounds a lot more appealing now doesn't it?

I'd go so far as to say it tastes good. I gave a try to quite a few people, and even the tiny Canadian (who is staunchly anti-vemegite) agreed it's not bad, and at best/worst it only has a hint of vegemite at the end of the palate.

So how's it go as race food?

Well sadly I didn't get to finish off yesterday's race, but even by the time my front tyre ceased to love me, I was feeling like the sugar high was waning. I was feeling pretty happy though, so it's possible that the extra (added) B vitamins of the vegemite were bouying my mood more than normal. So I reckon that's an advantage over cramming a regular chocolate block in your face before a VO2 smash fest.

PMPW: 84kg

Saturday, 23 May 2015


Rush shop ride:
I wanted to get a few kms this morning, but not destroy myself. I figured I'm racing today, but that the race isn't the be all and end all, so some extras would be good.

Anyway, the easiest option was ye olde shoppe, with some turns in the faster group on the way back.

DK was out, and making sure everyone got an extra workout each timed they rolled through. He was taking great pleasure from holding the pace high each turn, to ensure everyone had to really work to get over the top of him.

Strava link.

D: 61.2km
A: 229m

Dirty Deeds CX:
I rode across town to the Brunswick velodrome, and pinned on a number for a grade. Other than a general Pepe Lepew strategy, it was all I'd planned and hoped for the arvo.

I let most people through at the start, and then after a couple of laps to settle in, I started to work my way through the field. With so many hairpin turns bunted into the grass inside and outside the velodrome it wasn't always easy.

By about 3/4 of the way in, I'd finally got myself past big Al from My Mountain, I knew Russ Collette was ahead somewhere and had begun to review where on the course I could make up time, and how best to manage the first signs of cramps in my quads.

Sadly that's as far as my racing went. Over the back towards the club house I suddenly found myself on the deck, my front tyre burped of all it's air.

The results say I was in 10th at the time, around 4 minutes off the pace. I think I miiight have been able to push on for 9th, and that's kind of cool. That's me not only riding semi competetively, but also my brain thinking about competing. It gives me confidence to hurt a little more and to race a little more.

Strava link.

D: 51.9km
A: 256m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 22 May 2015


Reverse Burbs:
I simultaneously remember this ride as 100% having a chat, and 100% half wheeling shenanigans. Obviously they're mutually exclusive, and they're equally probable given I was riding with Ricky... so I'm really not sure what the story is here. The best I can come up with is there was some kind of compromise, but that doesn't sound like Rick and I riding together at all!

The route for the morning was ye olde burbs loop in reverse. Maybe trying to remember all the descents from years ago when I last rode the bunch was what's causing the uncertainty of how we rode.

After some eggs and a couple of coffees I rolled home. I got myself over to the boulevard, I figured it would make a nice quiet route, but it was only when I was on it that I remembered if you pass Yarra St, you go up Yarra St.

Strava link.

D: 53.5km
A: 947m

PMPW: 85kg

Thursday, 21 May 2015


St Kilda East - Mordialloc - St Kilda East:
I feel like I'm struggling to hold decent cadence at the moment, maybe it's that I wasn't pushing hard on the pedals today, maybe its that I've been doing more riding and am tired. Whatever the reason, 80rpm was my happy place.

Strava link.

D: 51.6km
A: 230m

PMPW: 85kg

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Today was the a day for CX bikes on the Belgie, as the birthday boy Pikey demonstrated best when he fishtailed his road bike up the single track climb up to Pony club.

The CX protagonist was Bing, he was hard up the cobbled Ivanhoe alleys, and again up the afoer mentioned single track climb. I did what I could to stay near him, but always had a sense that at any second he could choose to ride away.

*this is totes Dusty's photo*

The high heart rate bits aren't what stick most with me from today though. What sticks was the tiny, greasy, singletrack descent after they alleys. Bing hit it first and though I was on his wheel at the start, he had comprehensively gapped me by the bottom. Adding this question about line choice/over braking/cornering ability to concerns about my fitness, it paints a painful picture of what is to come at DDCX this Saturday.

Strava link.

D: 55.9km
A: 504m

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


Intervals - Sufferfest There is no try:
Strava premium comes with a few Sufferfest vids (thank's Leigh for the reminder), and I've heard good things, so instead of another 5x5, or ladder, I decided to give "There is no try" a shot.

I've gotta say, I struggled with it.

The issue was what power/intensity to be going at at any given moment. Sure, there were instructions stating stuff like 7/10 (on a perceived effort scale), but I was never sure if it meant go at 70% of what I could do for the duration, or 70% of my max TT effort, or 70% of my sprint. In other words, I longed for power figures to go on.

I may pre-calculate some power numbers in the future, but that takes away from the simplicity of just looking at one place (the screen). Maybe with time I'll learn the required levels, in the mean time, I need another coffee.

Strava link.

PMPW: 87kg

Monday, 18 May 2015


Recovery roll:
This is going to sound crazy, but hear me out.

Riding at lunchtime is actually pretty good, especially when the sun is out.

Crazy right? Yeah, well today I rode sans arm warmers, sans gillet, sans gloves, sans leg warmers, and sans hat. Yep, just bibs and a jersey, and it was amazing.

Strava link.

D: 50.7km
A: 198m

PMPW: 86kg

Sunday, 17 May 2015


St Kilda East - Patterson river - St Kilda East:
I did a quick survey last night, seeing who was riding and where. Given the ongoing soreness in my legs I thought it best not to go to the Nongs with DK and Smax, so instead opted for Patto with Leigh Aitken.

Speed records were not broken, and Strava KOMs were not threatened, but it feels like the right choice. The pain will come on Tuesday, Ricky will ensure I'm hurting, and I'll ensure he is. It's a mutually benef-owch-al relationship.

Strava link.

D: 65.7km
A: 198m


D: 4.6km
A: 33m

PMPW: 85kg

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Hell Ride:
I'm feeling a lack of motivation to suffer on the bike. I'd like to be faster, but it's not a desire akin to a raging fire inside. That relates to today, because I would have been solo north of town, and suspected I wouldn't have the will to push myself.

So instead, I rolled the helly figuring having people around would keep me honest.

The hills were a success, Alistair Donahue rode the bunch off his wheel, then Bensley broke me by riding past and casually commenting that I seemed to be in reasonable form. It should be noted that when Nick rode past, my heart rate was so frantic I'm surprised he wasn't knocked from his bike by a vein jutting out of my temple.

The return leg did have some interest, with riders firing off attacks almost the entire way, but my part in it was purely reactive, so I don't think it deserves much comment.

Strava link.

D: 100.0km
A: 396m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 15 May 2015


Running drills:
The tiny Canadian is doing a bit of running, and is working on the pose method of doing so. Anyway, today was a skills/drills day for her, and when she asked if I'd like to come along, I decided to give it a go.

We did some stuff that didn't involve a bike, I felt like (more of) a spaz, and I pulled the pin early because I was starting to tighten up in the baby cows, adductors and hamstrings. Given the nice forecast, I wanted to be able to ride tomorrow.

PMPW: 84kg

Thursday, 14 May 2015


6am NRR:
It wasn't raining when I rolled out the door. I don't think it rained during the ride either, but man was I wet when I got home.

Like most mornings of (potentially) inclement weather, there weren't many people up for the bunch ride. Those who were there, were mostly happy to get the ride done, and go home. The way down was track turns, but on the way back I cajoled until a chain gang formed. After the pace pushed me past my limits, I dropped out of the turns and started calling from the gate keeper position. I could see a couple of guys were doing it tough, so tried out something knew. I started calling for the occasional softer turn, to slow the pace slightly so that everyone would keep going around.

Even with that management, one or two riders excused themselves, and I realised it was time for me to share the load again. From inside the chain gang, I could see the precise issues, the blokes burning others, an could thus offer quiet words. "A little easier next time buddy", "Careful when you pull through, you're burning Tim". Through the golden mile we hit a perfect rythym. Every bloke was pushing on the pedals, but it was smooth. For a couple of turns it was the best chain gang I've been in.

Even with a full kit and a bike to wash, I'm glad I got up and rode.

Strava link.

D: 43.7km
A: 92m

PMPW: 84kg

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Intervals: (5x5)
I don't understand why an effort on an ergo is mentally tougher than one on the road, especially one on a hill. I assume it's a case of distraction, and maybe a little bit to do with the lack of bike movement. Whatever it is, I really don't like trainer sessions, and thus it takes some foul weather to get me one one, weather like we had today.

To ease myself in, I went for a simple 5 x 5 minute structure, at a mere 80% of my max 5 minute power number. Normally I set efforts at 85% of my best effort at that time, but even with a sense of a poor reference number, I wanted to ease in, to get a session under the belt, to push a bit, but have a finish recorded to help motivate the next session.

1 x 5min E1
1 x 5min @ 345W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 5min @ 345W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 5min @ 345W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 5min @ 345W
1 x 5min E1
1 x 5min @ 345W
1 x 5min E1

I ticked off the first couple of efforts, stage 4 of the Giro running full screen on the computer in front of me, and the Racket filling my ears. The third one took more concentration, and the fourth one I struggled to bring the same concentration. I knew I hadn't hit the 345W I'd set myself, and it pissed me off. I turned up the music, and clicked into a heavier gear for the last effort. I tried to imagine myself as the Tinkoff-Saxo riders on the screen in front of me, chasing the break, leading the bunch... but the image changed I was on Pony club, Ricky, Cam, Jim, maybe more were behind me. It was much more motivating.

Results: 351W, 356W, 349W, 330W, and 389W

I still don't like ergo sessions.

Strava link.

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Ricktastic Tuesday:
On my way home from the ride north of town, I ran into Youngie coming home from Northy. I did a quick u-bolt to say g'day and found that we'd had very different experiences.

From what he said Northy started off fast, then once it turned for home everyone played nice and worked together.

Our ride on the other hand featured Ricky half wheeling me on the front until Rosehill Rd, then him playing witness the fitness while the rest of us scrabbled to even hold his wheel. It's made me consider my stance on pre-ride caffeination, perhaps it's necessary to throw one back at 5:30am on Tuesdays.

Strava link.

D: 52.8km
A: 683m

PMPW: 85kg

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Not many know this, but my first career was in corporate banking.

But then I lost interest.

PMPW: 85kg


Have I told the joke about the mule yet?

I think you'll get a kick out of it.

PMPW: 86kg

Saturday, 9 May 2015


St Kilda East - Lumpy legs - St Kilda East:
I was really hoping Jim would call off today's ride, because my legs ached, and the route he'd planned was out via Park Orchards and Warrandyte. The rain check never came, so I rolled out of home, resigned to practising what I preach, and to the pain that entailed.

With no idea of the roads, I did my best to keep pace with Jim, but my legs were heavy and only suited to a low cadence. I tried to spin them through a few times, but each time I hit something as pedestrian as 90rpm, there was a threat of cramp in my adductors and hamstrings.

It's now a couple of coffees and a nap later, which means I'm starting to feel some perspective on what at the time felt like trudging through the motions. I still think it was mechanical, but now I see that's still a lot better than not getting on the bike. It's time to bank it and move on... possibly to another nap.

Strava link.

D: 92.0km
A: 1,586m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 8 May 2015


CX Shenanigans:
I did a few things yesterday, but surprisingly it wasn't the weight session that affected today's ride the most. No, it was the act of washing my bike after the easy roll that made the biggest difference... it made contort myself to avoid hitting any wet patches on the trail.

That's not to say my legs weren't sore, or that that didn't affect the ride. It did, things weren't too feisty, and I ended up taking us near enough on a reverse of Wednesday morning's Belgie.

Strava link.

D: 54.8km
A: 496m

PMPW: 85kg

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Recovery roll:
If I'd been trying to do it, I would have failed, but somehow... I missed every drop of rain to get a sneaky roll around the back of Port Melbourne today.

Strava link.

D: 23.5km
A: 59m

2 x 5 @ 20kg Low bar squat
1 x 5 @ 35kg Low bar squat
1 x 5 @ 50kg Low bar squat
1 x 2 @ 70kg Low bar squat
3 x 5 @ 82.5kg Low bar squat

1 x 5 @ 20kg Press
3 x 5 @ 40kg Press

3 x 5 @ 13kg DB ES Bro curl

I whacked a heel wedge under my feet for the last two sets of squats. I've never used one before, and given it was just in front of me, it seemed like a simpler and far less expensive test than buying weight lifting shoes. Given I was barely touching on body weight, I'm going to withhold judgement.

PMPW: 85kg

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


St Kilda East - Belgie - St Kilda East:
I'm not sure if it was Pikey, or Adam from Curve that started this ride, but whomever it was deserves some praise because I had a blast.

A bunch of different riders, on a bunch of different bike styles, on a bunch of different surfaces, attacking each other. Surely that's the flourless chocolate cake of grail of bike riding recipes. Delicious, gluten free, and quick!

I swear that Adam was paying off riders though, several times, he'd attack off the front, and the rider behind him would block the race line. Eventually there'd be a pass, and the rabbit chasing would begin.

Strava link.

D: 55.2km
A: 620m

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


Past, present, and future walk into a bar. It was tense.

PMPW: 85kg

Monday, 4 May 2015


St Kilda East - Slack Rock - St Kilda East:
It feels like so long since Skinny and I got a roll together, in daylight, I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me Julia Gillard was in power at the time.

Anyway, if there was ever a perfect route for such an occasion, it was a return trip to "Slack Rock", followed by a coffee.

Strava link.

D: 39.4km
A: 151m

PMPW: 84kg

Sunday, 3 May 2015


CX Shenanigans:
With a few hours before Dawn to ride, I was torn between the divergent desires of exercise and sleeping.

I knew that I wanted to pump something, but given the gym wasn't going to open until 8am, iron was out of the question.

Instead I settled on pumping some track under the Westgate bridge. Some crafty people built a pump track a few years back, and I was keen to give it a while. Once in the rhythm of it, pedalling became unnecessary, and brakes were neglected.

Soon enough though, it was time to roll out, along trails and paths that I hadn't seen since racing close to a decade, back when Snozza was running the show. Past the spot where Caddy and I had tangled ourselves before a race, ending up on the ground in a confused pile of boys and bikes. Up and over the hill that Tristan Bennet and I went shoulder to shoulder at the end of a b grade crit, digging deep into legs already aching from 40 minutes of racing. I went into the last corner first, but lost traction on some gravel, and watched Tristan rail his singlespeed underneath me for the win.

Strava link.

D: 26.2km
A: 64m

PMPW: 85kg

Saturday, 2 May 2015


St Kilda East - Lumpy pockets - St Kilda East:
When the tiny Canadian complains about all the poisonous things in Aus, I generally point out that most of them don't care about you, where as In Canada things will actively hunt you as a tasty snack. Today's ride changed my views a little because two of our native and one introduced fauna made it seem like they wished us to fall heavily from our bikes, and were willing to sacrifice themselves to achieve it.

It was not long after the sun began to cast a beautiful pink, orange and red glow over the Eastern sky (#nofilter), that a dusky coloured fox went careening in front of Jimmy and I.

As we wound our way deeper into the country side, small roos took their turn to burst from the trees and ensure our heart rates peaked.

Finally, after we'd met, rode with, then waved goodbye to Fewy, a Black Tailed Wallaby gave us a fright on the normally quiet Christian Rd.

Strava link.

D: 115.1km
A: 1,954m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 1 May 2015


Recovery roll:
I'm sure the German's have a term for when you take an action based on an assumption, but the assumption and thus action end up being in error... yet you still feel no regret.

Anyway, that's what happened today with the decision to wear a gilet. It wasn't needed, in fact it caused a minor sweat to occur, but it didn't cause regret, because who can be upset about bibs and jersey riding weather?

Strava link.

D: 14.6km
A: 46m

PMPW: 86kg