Sunday, 31 January 2016

31/01/2016

Rest and Stretching:
I took the day to press my massage stick into my legs, and my legs into my foam roller. It was meant to rain, but mostly that's an aside. It was a rest day. It was a playstation day. It was a day to again watch a whole bike race and half a tennis match.

PMPW: 86kg

Saturday, 30 January 2016

30/01/2016

St Kilda East - Iron Bark - Mine - Hewitts - School - Christian - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
Jim has been clocking up some solid vertical this year, in the last 30 days he's amassed 21,833m of up compared to my 14,522m, and I'm pretty sure he invited me out to see how his fitness measures up to mine.

It was a beautiful and quiet autumnal morning, though really it was nothing like autumn. Sure it was foggy, but autumn features brown grass and green eucalypts, today was foggy, the grass was brown and the gum trees were their normal green... yeah I can't work out what season it is either.

Jim half wheeled me into the start of most of the climbs, trying to work out how much I had. I tried to find a rhythm, but generally just cracked the shits and hit him as soon as he sat down. It took until Christian Rd where he caught me in way too big of a gear that I cracked and swore at him. I've got a bunch of introspection about that moment that fits into the general category striving to be a better human, but facing an obvious failure.

No, lets go there for a second. Its easy, or at least easier, for me to give myself some slack when it comes to a bad day on the bike, I didn't dwell on Thursday. There's an expectation (of my own) that at 36 I'm the human I want to be, and any failure requires a complete review of character. Oh shit, is that a failure of character too?! Right time to stop before it becomes too meta and my Bike Jerks jersey feels less ironic.

Strava link.

D: 119.7km
A: 1,755m

PMPW: 85kg

Friday, 29 January 2016

29/01/2016

Commute:
Righteo, that was proper rain this morning, not cold or windy though, so with a solid rain shell, some booties, a little flap of plastic to keep my arse from the worst of the spray ,and it was all right.

D: 26.7km
A: 180m

PMPW: 86kg

Thursday, 28 January 2016

28/01/2016

6am NRR:
A pretty uneventful roll this morning, ennui was in full affect after a humid night of shitty sleep.

Anyway it's in the bank, I drank a coffee, lets all move forward.

Strava link.

D: 54.7km
A: 204m

Commute:
I didn't get rained on!!

Melbourne weather 3, Neil 1.

D: 12.3km
A: 58m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

27/01/2016

Commute:
In a classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don't, I checked the radar before heading home, and decided the massive angry orange/red blob was going to soak me. So, as sensible people do, I put the rain cover on my backpack, and my rain shell on me.

Instead of getting wet from rain (because it didn't start until I got home), I got soaked from sweating in my rain shell.

Melbourne weather 3, Neil 0.

D: 26.4km
A: 89m

PMPW: 85kg

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

26/01/2016

St Kilda East - Iron Bark - Mine - Church - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
Fewy's little Melbourne Uni crew were rolling their normal Nutfield loop, so Rick and I decided to attend for some Australia Day vert.

I've started rides with these guys before, and even met them out on the roads a few times, so I had a general idea of their modus operandi. A few punchy roads, but most importantly, they rode the full length of the roads at pace, not just the ramps. For instance, Mine rd efforts, for them, extends through to Cottles Bridge - Strathewen Rd (3.5km), for me, it's done after the left right combo (800m).

So on Mine Rd I let others set the pace to that left right combo, in some regards I had no choice because I was firmly boxed in, and then hit it hard on the final few metres of the kick. This partially a preventative measure, but mostly revenge, as in the past when I've finished up here, these same uni melb boys have come storming through, leaving me to a lonely solo ride. It was going sort of well until a few lumps in I pulled a foot clean out of my pedal. Brad Davies appeared to my left with a hand of god, Matt Keenan on my right with some deep words of encouragement. Once that was sorted it was Brad and I chopping off turns, Matt sitting at the back chewing on some stem, and everyone else chasing in ones and twos. Revenge is a dish best served with a nice garden salad and some roast potatoes.

Strava link.

D: 102.9km
A: 1,514m

PMPW: 88kg

Monday, 25 January 2016

25/01/2016

Commute:
I've got a chemist mate who's been drinking a lot recently. When I confronted him about his problem he proudly announced that alcohol is a solution.

D: 30.1km
A: 146m

PMPW: 88kg

Sunday, 24 January 2016

24/01/2016

Intervals:
I set an alarm in case it wasn't raining, but it was, so I went back to sleep. It wasn't until I woke up to a still damp morning that I realised that that meant I'd committed myself to an ergo session.

1x 10min E1
1 x 5min @ 310W - 321W achieved
1 x 5min @ E1
1 x 10min @ 310W - 329W achieved
1 x 5min @ E1
1 x 20min @ 310W (mistaken did 15min) - 328W achieved
1 x 5min @ E1
1 x 10min @ 310W (did 15min to make up for the previous effort) - 344W achieved
1 x 5min @ E1

I set up all the thing's i'd need (except the ability to count to 20 obviously), including CX World Cup replay on the telly, a fan pointed straight at me, a bunch of towels, and a phone filled with the some angry music. At the end of the 10min effort I decided to forego the last item, to be more present in the task. It's not as if I get to listen to Machine Head when racing.

PMPW: 88kg

Saturday, 23 January 2016

23/01/2016

Rush Shop Ride:
Again with the rain! I thought there was a good chance I could get a shop ride in, maybe spin an extra 10-20km, drink a coffee or two... nup, instead we water sheeting off the road, and down our glasses. Melbourne 2, Neil 0.

That sounds a bit negative, in reality I had a blast. We had enough time to get humming along the road back towards St Kilda before the wet happened, and even then, it wasn't cold. By the time we hit Luna Park it was just DK, Sewelly, Jaako and I, chopping hard turns and hoping that there wasn't any new potholes on the road we could no longer see.

DK was obviously left on the front the most/longest, but we ran a semi track/paceline hybrid, so each of us had spells out front before someone would roll up with the rest in tow. I tried my best to match DK's number of turns, but in the end I had to be satisfied to roll a couple less than him, and a couple more than Sewelly.

Doing that delivered exactly what I felt I needed, a good threshold session. So good that it exceeded the best power I'd done in 2015 for 18-30min.

Strava link.

D: 72.5km
A: 279m

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 22 January 2016

22/01/2016

Commute:
I headed out early to get some trails in, but a quick glance at the radar while giving my bike a clean and my body a coffee suggested I should abandon that plan and hightail it to work.

I made it to within 200m, then the heavens opened and despite wearing a rain shell (that I didn't have time to do up), I got thoroughly wet. Melbourne weather 1, Neil 0.

On the way home there wasn't any rain, but there were puddles on the Canterbury rd single track, and sliding around them made it all worth while.

D: 29.0km
A: 103m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 21 January 2016

21/01/2016

Commute:
These quotes/comments from Tom Boonen come from a rouleur article. Reading them I nodded, and agreed that this was a good way to be, a good way to race, but the tiniest bit of self reflection showed they aren't what I do.

The easiest way to get beaten is to be predictable. Everybody’s predictable these days.”

He returns to the topic later in the same conversation.

“Sometimes you need to be able to lose the race to win it.”

“I think some people prefer to lose the race and not attack, than to attack and get dropped, and I don’t like it.”


Tom and I are obviously in different worlds, and I'm not actually talking about skill/fitness. His job is to race his bike, where as mine involves spreadsheets. His hobby is rumoured to involve white powder, mine is riding my bike. In other words it's very possible that these sentiments shouldn't apply to my racing.

D: 26.2km
A: 133m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

20/01/2016

Commute:

D: 26.8km
A: 121m

St Kilda East - HCC Crit:
I figured it'd be an easier night at HCC, a perfect chance to re-dip my toe into racing. Then Paul Van Der Ploeg turned up, then Adrian Jackson, then Jack Haig, and then Alby. While the following was somewhat put on (as I was always going to race), there's a grain of truth in there. A nubbin of fact. Un soupçon de réalité.




The first 15 minutes were ferocious. PVDP and Haig were the main instigators. Taking it in turns to hit the bunch and each other with attacks up the climb and over the top. I was failing to hold wheels through the bottom corner, which meant I had to not only hang on to their moves, but chase a small gap to them too.

After the sprint came and went, it settled somewhat, with a few extra moments between moves. I tried to keep myself towards the front, but it was a hot and humid washing machine all night. With a dozen or so laps to go my rear tyre expelled all it's air, and getting a spare off of Dunny gave me a chance to suck back some air of my own. I felt a bit guilty about that though, because when I got back in, it felt a lot easier, or I was a lot fresher. I reckon that played into my poor positioning in the last couple of laps, but even had I been 2nd wheel into the final corner, we'd given Warrack too much leash, and he took a win that if it was me, would be the highlight of my cycling life.

Strava link.

D: 39.0km
A: 446m

PMPW: 86kg

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

19/01/2016

Ricktastic Tuesday:
I wasn't feeling super super today, Rick lit up the final hill on Belmore rd and it gave me a moment to think about if I liked him or not. I do, but at the time I wasn't so sure.

Anyway rolling into Pony Club I figured I'd go the standard effort on the front. A few weeks back, chatting with my mate Strava, he told me I'd once held just over 600W the whole way, and repeating that became my goal. Round past Seymour rd I was surprised to see I was pushing over 700W, so that became my goal. I was never going to hold massive numbers on the flatter middle section, and I semi cracked on the drive to the line, but god damn it felt good. The final figure is 663W for 103 seconds blitzes anything else I've done for that time period.

Anyway, enough number nerdary. Warrack did a sneaky ride onto my back wheel and thus took a second out of my climb time. That just means next time I'm going to have to go another 2 seconds faster.

Strava link.

D: 54.8km
A: 658m

Commute:

D: 13.5km
A: 66m

PMPW: 88kg

Monday, 18 January 2016

18/01/2016

Commute:
To the gentleman this morning, who while coming around a blind corner thought it an opportune time to overtake another commuter at full noise, and was thus coming at me with no time to react... I hope you had a nice day.

D: 26.8km
A: 89m

PMPW: 88kg

Sunday, 17 January 2016

17/01/2016

Rest:
Instead of being woken to the sound of my alarm, I was awoken to the sound of my dog licking himself. While it wasn't the most glamorous of sounds (or sights), it was a lot later than I'm used to, and so I'm sort of pleased about it. No wait, I can't say that, that sounds terribly terribly wrong. Can we start over?

Right, so this morning I slept in and that was good. I then did some other things that weren't related to cycling, except for some stretching, but that's almost as off putting as talking about the dog's grooming habits.

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 16 January 2016

16/01/2016

St Kilda East - Mt Pleasant - Morilla - Pigeon Bank - Nichols - Ridge - Clintons - Christian - Flat Rock - St Kilda East:
That was a cracking ride! Dusty and Warrack were happy to let me set the route, so I took us out to Ridge and Clintons roads (via MtP and Morilla/Pigeon Bank) before dropping over to Christian and Flat Rock.

There was some solid half wheeling going on, and I'm currently claiming that my wheel was at best level, but generally behind... but the matter is still disputed so I wont name Dusty's name just yet. Anyway, the tyre misalignment as we shall call it, caused the pace to stay upward of fairly brisk, and left me feeling le tired by the time I got home. In fact I was feeling fairly tired after Clintons, where I decided to set a time. The short of that is it was a second off my PB, but more importantly, felt *horrible*. I've insinuated it was the tyre misalignment, but it might have been me spending time on the foam roller last night, or the mm I added to my saddle height last Sunday.

Anyway, I started off this little piece to camera about how great a ride it was, so lets head back there.



That's just about when we all defrosted from the early chill still in some of the valleys, and mere moments before we bombed down Simpson Rd.

A few minutes earlier we'd ridden along a ridge (Menzies rd) with the rising sun casting long rays through mist laden air. Then later as we turned for home we'd ridden the other direction along another ridge (Christian rd). In between those two ridges was a road named Ridge, and more kangaroos than you can poke a stick at. In fact, don't even try to poke a stick at a kangaroo. Sure they've got lovely soft eyelashes, but have you seen the claws on them?!

Strava link.

D: 118.0km
A: 2,183m

PMPW: 86kg

Friday, 15 January 2016

15/01/2016

NRR TTT:
I like to have 15 minutes to get from home to the bunch, if there's a 2nd poo required or I need extra time to get my socks perfectly straight, 12 will do. 9, well 9 minutes is way less than I've left myself before, and I'm worried that given I made it in time, I might dilly dally more in the future.

Anyway, I thought the trip down would be the hardest part of today, there weren't many boys on TT bikes, and though I hadn't turned myself inside out, I felt it was not for lack of trying and that perhaps the phrase is not meant literally. Like many times before, I was wrong about that (no not the phrase, it's really not meant literally), the ride.

The headwind down the highway kept our pace in the mid 40s, but when we turned at Mordi, and picked up a few boys rocking extensions, it got hard. It got proper hard. Rocking along Brighton beach, I glanced down at my gps. I wasn't sure if the number was right, so I wiped the drool off the screen, and checked again. 63km/h. I'm pretty sure it was Adam Verstege doing the damage, but whomever it was, it was only the fact I had a sit on Tom Leaper that kept me in the group. If there had been anyone else, any calves less that 20", I think I would dropped the biggest skiddy Beach Rd had ever seen.

Strava link.

D: 43.9km
A: 153m

Commute:

D: 27.1km
A: 133m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 14 January 2016

14/01/2016

Commute:
I've got a thing about whiteboards. I don't know what it is, but I find them quite remarkable.

D: 26.9km
A: 212m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

13/01/2016

Commute:
Ungh, I had too much food last night (again!), so skipped park orchards with Dusty and Jase, and instead got some extra sleep and a slightly extended roll before the day heated up.

I planned to just cruise home slowly, but almost at the last minute I took advantage to take a strava segment KOM back. Though it looks like someone flagged the ride/rider I was chasing, so I just ended up taking my own crown.

D: 39.2km
A: 149m

PMPW: 87kg

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

12/01/2016

6am NRR:
I was going to take a sleep in this morning, but late last night Skinny said he'd do Northy, I threw some lycra and matching socks on my chair and went to bed.

Skinny asked that I not attack, it felt implied that I shouldn't even contribute to the pace making but was never outright said, so I went straight to the front to contribute to the pace making. To assuage any form of guilt I had over that, I did the first turn in the little ring.

After Mordi I was less inclined to work, I slipped back into the bunch and let others drive us between the red lights, before eventually I went right to the back to find Skinny. It was around Sandi, and things got progressively uglier, and eventually I had to conclude that he'd been shelled (turns out literally just then).

Strava link.

D: 59.3m
A: 217m

Commute:

D: 16.4km
A: 51m

PMPW: 88kg

Monday, 11 January 2016

11/01/2016

Commute:
I obviously need to do more potato cake training, as after a solid fish and chip feed last night, I feel terrible.

D: 26.4km
A: 96m

PMPW: 88kg

Sunday, 10 January 2016

10/01/2016

St Kilda East, Devils Elbow, The Wall, Sassafrass Creek, St Kilda East:
As late as 8pm last night (which isn't far shy of bed time), I didn't have any plans for riding today. Sure, getting out on the bike would be nice, but there wasn't anything in particular I wanted to do. So I took the option to ride with mates. Lee was heading to the Nongs for a roll, and yeah, sure, let's do that.



That same lack of any specific desire continued until a few hundred metres into Devils Elbow. I had rolled up next to Andy Doorman, I figured we'd make our way to the top, maybe even have a little sprint as we neared the end of Churchill Drive, maybe play a bit of half wheeling. I should go back a way and explain I know Andy, a decade ago he was a young bloke driven to go bloody fast up hills. I met him at ABOC climbing camps at Mt Hotham, and there was little chance I could match his climbing speed. So back to today, after a few moments I realised he was having difficulty with the pace, after I scooted forward to let a car pass easily, he didn't come back up to two abreast, so I did what any normal person would, I drove the pace hard.

I had a few mental farts between there and the top, but mostly it was a good solid climb that I didn't think about much until I got home and had a chat with my mate Strava. The first comment it made was that I'd PB'd the climb. Nice! Then it went on to show me that I'd taken 33 seconds off my previous PB. Shit yeah! I was a 90 seconds faster than my best from when DK and I were training pre 2012 Warny. Fuck yeah! I was a few seconds faster than DK's best from the same time.... wait.... what?!

That last one is hard for me to process. DK is a mate, but he's also an unstoppable cybernetic quadriceps sent back from the future to destroy bunchies. I'm sure he's faster now (he's and Strava aren't talking any more), but that 2012 DK still stands in my mind as another level of fast. Untouchablely fast.... and I just shaved a few seconds off of him.

Strava link.

D: 100.7km
A: 1,691m

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 9 January 2016

9/01/2016

Hell Ride:
I thought all the hitters would be tapering for the nationals, and on that I was pretty right, but what I got wrong, was assuming that'd translate to a slow Hell Ride. It wasn't quite last week where we were clocking 54km/h into the headwind, but I certainly wasn't jumping to put my nose into the wind.

I tried (again) to set up a KOM win by going clear from Olivers, but despite Sam Pickering coming with me, and a couple more making contact over the top, it was not to be. The lights at Humphries rd (again) spoilt the party.

I reckon that's the game I'm going to play for the rest of the summer though. Gap everyone up the steep kick, and see if it can be held through to the turn off the highway. For the moment, at least, it's going to take a few solid legs as company, as I'm no where near good enough at TT efforts to make it solo, but I think it's doable. Alistair essentially did it last week, but I'm talking about me doing it.

Strava link.

D: 104.7km
A: 397m

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 8 January 2016

8/01/2016

Commute:
Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love, get married. The ceremony was rubbish, but the reception was brilliant.

D: 29.6km
A: 198m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 7 January 2016

7/01/2016

6am NRR:
Do you remember that moment in The Fifth Element, when all the planets align and then Bruce Willis has to pash Milla Jovovich, well this morning there was no Bruce and pashing, but due to interstellar alignment, there was a solid crew of Rush riders on Northy. It felt like 2012 all over again with the likes of DK, Skinny, Youngie, Sewell, Needam, and Bradley out for a roll around.

To celebrate the occasion the god of traffic lights smiled upon the bunch, leaving us with a pretty much uninterrupted run down the highway and back along the beach. That in turn kept a big group of fellas, and the occasional sheila, pulling through. That in turn kept the pace high and steady. That in turn gave more time for coffees and a chat after.

It all just felt right, including my legs which span through nicely after a few weeks of feeling a little bit sluggish. Then, to put a delicious maraschino cherry* on top of it all, Josiah Ng was rocking out in the bunch. God I've got a man crush on that bloke.

Strava link.

D: 57.3km
A: 224m

Commute:

D: 13.4km
A: 88m

PMPW: 87kg

* Actually I'm not convicned they're that delicious, but they serve as a standard metaphor for additional goodness. Do you know what is a good type of cherry though? Rainier!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

6/01/2015

Commute:
My mate recently broke his arm in three places, I've advised him to stop going to those places.

D: 28.6km
A: 140m

PMPW: 86kg

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

5/01/2016

Ricktastic Tuesday:
There was no Rick today, but Rohin Adams made an appearance, and that made me nervous. As long as I've known (of) him, Rohin has been properly fast on a bike. I remember years ago, I may have even been on my old aluminium Lemond roadie which sort of gives you an idea of how far back this was, we were coming back through Eltham/Banyule, and I felt half decent. Sure I'd sucked for most of the ride, but I backed myself on final efforts and thus had a dig up pony club. Rohin not only matched my vicious attack, but promptly skipped up the road, in a display that read louder than a neon billboard. "LOLs!"

Anyway, it's possible that incident played through my head a few times today. It's possible that even when I was on the front, my awareness was behind me, trying to work out how hard he was going, and what he had left.

It wasn't until halfway up the steep kick of Parker st that there was enough pain in my legs to distract me. Warrack half a wheel in front, just enough of a rabbit to bring me back to me.

Maybe 2016 is the year I ride with all the guys I know from the old fatties Wednesday and xc racing. Eddie and Sean on Sunday, Rohin and Warrack today, Jimmy and Steve sometime soon.

Strava link.

D: 54.1km
A: 663m

Commute:

D: 13.2km
A: 50m

PMPW: 87kg

Monday, 4 January 2016

4/01/2015

Commute:
In Feb of 2015 I tapped out some thoughts on racing bicycles, specifically my hopes about what I could achieve.

I ticked off racing CX, on the odd occasion I raced the elite boys, I still got lapped, but some solid results in masters made me happy and my medals box a bit heavier. States. Nationals.

I didn't race the Warny like I thought I would, but I did race crits when I thought I might not, and I've done all right too. I'd still have a dream of winning both HCC and SKCC, but getting on the podium at either (let alone both) has been a dream for a few years now. It's safe to say that's left me very stoked. HCC. SKCC Champs.

Even with those solid results, the best bit of riding bikes in 2015 was doing it with mates. Putting them into the tape at a cross race, half wheeling them until one of us blew on a training ride, or just sitting on the tops chatting about work/life/bikes... more of that is my goal for 2016.

D: 23.0km
A: 120m

PMPW: 87kg

Sunday, 3 January 2016

3/01/2016

St Kilda East - Slack Rock - St Kilda East:
I'm pooped, it's turned out to be a solid week, and sleep hasn't been terribly great, so I just wanted a gentle roll.

Queue sms to mates just getting back into cycling asking for an easy one sandwiched by coffee. Due to the late start, and thus busy cafes, we skipped the pre-brew and headed south into the teeth of a gale... or maybe it was two gales, it certainly wasn't Megan Gale.

A big u-ey at the clock, and suddenly conversation could occur without permanent damage to the vocal cords. A couple of flat whites at the end of a brisk roll home, and the rest of the day could occur without risk of a nap. Naaah, who am I kidding, there's always risk of a nap, especially when a test match is on telly.

Strava link.

D: 35.6km
A: 129m

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 2 January 2016

2/01/2016

Hell ride:
I saw very little of the front today, it seems Santa brought everyone strong legs and a feisty spirit for christmas, as the pace, despite being a headwind both ways, was capital ON.

The time I did spend off the front was obviously beyond Frankston, because that's where my honey hole of power lines up nicely.

This isn't so much about me though, but I've got to start with a little ego patting to set the scene. A few boys went early on Olivers, so I chased them down, and put them in their place. It's my hill, and no one skips clear without me. Anyway I crest the top and find myself in the company of a big American. Seriously, the dude had the quads of DK, and a body that matched proportions. Before we even got to Humphries, Alistair Donohue and another young bloke made contact, and the 4 of us pulled track turns.

I expected to stay away, what I didn't expect was someone being able to ride away up to Canadian Bay Rd while I was glue'd to their wheel. Al Donohue did that. So, if there's a bookie hanging out next weekend at Buninyong, and they're offering odds on the u23 race... whack a $5 on the kid with the wonky arm, he's flying.

Strava link.

D: 112.9km
A: 393m

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 1 January 2016

1/01/2016

St Kilda East - Eltham - Nutfield - Eltham - St Kilda East:
I pretty much had to turn up to this one, Eddie mentioned Sean Hurley was coming, and I needed to see if it was the same long haired, sninny legged, deep chested, pain loving bloke from many (many) moons ago. It was, though the hair is no longer past his shoulder blades. Anyway, once that was confirmed, I figured I might as well roll around with the pair of ex trackies/mtbers.

The loop wasn't too long, I was tired from my neighbours celebrating last night, and I think Sean had been celebrating for a few years.



Much like in 2015, I was firmly wholloped in rolling competitions, I was getting so badly trounced by Eddie I resorted to drafting to stay even close. I don't like it Sam I am.

Strava link.

D: 100.9km
A: 1,394m

PMPW: 87kg