Thursday, 31 March 2016

31/03/2016

TKM Noize:
I wanted a hit out today, and I was quite torn between the longer intensity of northy, or the higher intensity of noise. In the end the deciding factor was that noise scared me.

It wasn't the gullest of noizes (it lacked DK, Smax, and Sean Lake hammering turns), but Ty Chambers was rocking around, and pulling most of the way home with him made it a solid session.

The fact it wasn't full noize means i've still got lingering impostor syndrome/fear of the TKM bunch.

Strava link.

D: 61.8km
A: 213m

Commute:

D: 28.2km
A: 183m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

30/03/2016

Belgie:
We've had Dwars d'Vlaanderen, E3 Harelbeke, and Gent Wevelgem, then this weekend sees arguably the most exciting of the classics (Ronde van Vlaanderen), so it seemed right to get a bit of Belgie action this morning, especially given cobbles were guaranteed.

The other thing that seemed right, was attacking before the cobbles and jamming on the big ring until everyone else was pummelled into submission. Nah, that's giving myself credit for having awareness outside of my legs. It wasn't until we popped out onto tarmac again that I realised I'd made anyone hurt... so I went again, this time toe to toe with Alby in a race to the single track.

All in all it was a good morning, I was pretty happy with how the legs went, and the tyre pressure I'd settled on (~46psi)... that is until i laid it out on a dusty, slow speed corner, and ended up looking like I'd been in a fight in a bakery.

Strava link.

D: 58.3km
A: 602m

Commute:

D: 12.4km
A: 57m

PMPW: 86kg

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

29/03/2016

Commute:
Yesterday Straussy and I had a chat about good days on the bike, and how it's seemingly impossible to guarantee that race day is a good day. I've thought about this on and off since because the SKCC World Champs are on Sunday, and I'd very much like to maximise my day's goodness.

I don't have an answer, so I'll fall back on a few faithfuls like cramming excessive amounts of caffeine in my face before the race, and giving my legs a bit of a work over in the next few days. Other than that, I haven't developed any weird superstitions or anything. I put my underpants over my pants just like everyone else.

D: 26.9km
A: 149m

PMPW: 87kg

Monday, 28 March 2016

28/03/2016

St Kilda East - Humevale - St Kilda East:
I first rode up Humevale on good friday last year, and marked it as a beautiful bit of road that I needed to revisit. It seems ridiculous that it's been a year and I hadn't gone back, but I suppose that it takes a public holiday for it to make sense traffic/route wise. Anyway Straussy proposed it for today and I jumped at the idea, dropping semi made plans to ride my cx bike out to Hans' loop.

In the end it was just a trio of Dan, Grover and I, so I set my expectations to spending a decent chunk of time in the wind, what I didn't expect was my off the cuff joke about stopping for donuts to be taken seriously.



Anyway, with veins coursing with sugar we headed out of Whittlesea and onto a steadily narrowing road. Dan set about some SE work, and I turned and told Grover I was just going to tempo the climb... In hindsight what I meant was I was going to chase Strauss, ramp up the pace when I felt John starting to tire, then drive it hard through to the top. I swear I did intend to just enjoy the climb, I've got a few dozen photos in my camera roll to prove I was looking around at the scenery rather than at my GPS... but at some point it just felt right to drill it hard and see if I could beat the time from last year. For the record I could and did beat it.



The only issue with riding up Humevale is the long drag up and over Kinglake West to get to Kinglake proper. We rolled track turns on that blowy ridge line, then turned straight into the descent where I re-learned just how well Dan can go down a hill.

In other news, both Dan and John are dirty dirty school crossing sprint cheats, and the only ones that matter are the two that I won (i.e. the 15 or so they won between them don't count)!!

Strava link.

D: 147.9km
A: 1,924m

PMPW: 86kg

Sunday, 27 March 2016

27/03/2016

Rest:
I did a reasonable amount of stretching today. Obviously that meant leaning forward and trying to lengthen my hamstrings, it also meant putting an untold number of hotcross buns in my face and expanding my stomach. One of those things is going to make me a better rider... I'm hoping it's the latter, because there's a few more left in the packet.

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 26 March 2016

26/03/2016

St Kilda East, Wilson, Flatrock, St Kilda East:
I was feeling a little bit leggy last night, so I told Jim I'd go do the Bike Gallery hills ride instead of a longer ride with him like we'd planned. He figured that was a marvellous idea, and thus we gatecrashed like it was a Corey Worthington party.

Ok so not quite that raucous, we let others set the tempo until we hit flat rock road. About halfway up I rolled to the front to help out... you know the cycling equivalent of helping restock the eskies, or turns snags on the barbie. On the final ramp, I went a step further and outright hit it, laying my considerable leg muscles into the pedals to see what damage I could do to the other riders. This... well that's probably in line with Corey's partay.

After looking back to see that I'd even managed to distance Fergus, I felt a sense of pride. I was like a bogan wearing an australian flag as a cape on Australia Day. Moment's later I was like the same bogan the next day, waking up feeling a little bit sore, and realising he might have been a bit of a knob. So I sat up and rode two up with Ferg until the t-junction... then most of the way back to Eltham to make sure people understood that I was sorry for vomiting on their lawn and doing... um... yeah sorry about the garden gnomes too.

When we got to Pony Club the pace lifted a little. Like a noun that gets capitalised and treated as a proper noun, this change of pace stood out a bit. I enquired of young Fergus if there was to be fun and games, and it turns out there was. So, I pretended it was a Tuesday morning and smacked on the pedals again. That went kind of well, but mostly painfully until the final left hander, where I went to stand and kick out of the saddle, but instead hit the shifter and send my chain back to the small chainring and my legs into a flurry of activity. Thankfully it was only me and Ferg up front by that stage, so very few people will ever know of my shame.

If you're after a little hilly bunchy that's a touch less ego/fast than Peaks, this one could be an option. I don't actually know if it's open to all comers, so best be nice to Cam, Linc, James, and Ferg... possibly before fronting.

Strava link.

D: 86.1km
A: 1,251m

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 25 March 2016

25/03/2016

St Kilda East - HCC Crit - St Kilda East:
I could have sworn I raced the HCC Good Friday Crit last year, but it was two years ago. Maybe there wasn't one last year, all I know is I was off riding up Humevale for the first time with with Rick and Jase.

Anyway, I signed up sometime during the week, happy that I'd get another chance at racing around the teardrop, and a benchmark for my fitness before SKCC Crit Champs next weekend. I'll be honest that I rolled up hoping for another envelope, but the lack of an instagram post, showing such an envelope, embedded on this page should be a hint that it did come to pass.

What did come to pass were other riders and me... but mostly on the final lap, when I cracked under the pressure of the chasing bunch 100m from the final corner.

The two laps before that saw me hoping to use a few riders off the front to get near Alby and another who were well off the front.

The 10 or so minutes before that had me occasionally helping chase the two off the front, sometimes not.

The half an hour before that are a bit of a blur of attacks and counter attacks, but also a general feeling of being completely in control. No, obviously not in control enough to get in the winning move, or even pick that it was the winning move, but in control to cope with the mental and physical strains of a good solid race. So despite being the first thing that went on in the race, it's the thing I'm taking away.

All rright, so it wasn't just that feeling, I also took away 9 hot cross buns. But they were giving them away, and I have a condition that makes me overindulge in toasted spiced fruit buns slathered in salted butter.

Strava link.

D: 54.0km
A: 515m

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 24 March 2016

24/03/2016

Commute:
Dropping the car off for a service left me with a long commute, and time to spin out the legs and let the brain flow free.

Mostly I thought about taking a short break from "training", to get a solid block of stretching, rehab and "something else" done. I thought that it might be nice to do some strength work, and that instead of going to the local power lifting gym, I could go to the crossfit box the tiny canadian attends. I'm hoping it'll partially tick a strength box, but I know it's going to be far more social than the 2 guys with headphones in who squat at the same early hour I would (at the gym).

D: 46.5km
A: 144m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

23/03/2016

NRR:
I think that NRR equipment has officially jumped the shark. Today marked the day I witnessed a bloke rolling on a total of 10 spokes.

Alright, sure, that bloke imports bikes and wheels (I'm assuming the wheels are a new product), sure he's been a pro, and sure he won a green jersey at the tour... but it was still ~16 less spokes than even the raciest of wheels I normally see.

In all honesty, he can ride what he wants, anyone can, but it was mostly funny to see the looks people with no idea who the bloke on the white superbike with double 5 spokes were giving him as he rolled through.

Strava link.

D: 45.3km
A: 173m

Commute:

D: 20.5km
A: 87m

PMPW: 87kg

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

22/03/2016

Ricktastic Westside Tuesday:
I'm well into metal, Ricky and Wilko discussed Bieber over coffee, and I'm not really sure Warrack's taste in music... still NOFX's "Hit It" seems like the right tune for a short punchy ride in the west (gradient, not fists).

You tell me you don't like the taste
Drugs and alcohol are such a waste
You got better things to do
Like hang around,
Be straight and screw

Enjoy your day,
What to say
Hell of a friend
Why do they know
You don't know any compassion
You don't like the drink
You tell me I've ruined my life
Well I don't care what you think

Why do you say we're mad as hell
Why do you say we're mad as hell
I've got my own set of values
Why don't you go enjoy yourself?

Are we done yet?

Strava link.

D: 53.4km
A: 496m

Commute:

D: 13.8km
A: 49m

PMPW: 86kg

Monday, 21 March 2016

21/03/2016

Commute:
I think it's time to sell the vacuum cleaner. I've had it for a few years and all it's been doing is gathering dust.

D: 30.5km
A: 124m

PMPW: 87kg

Sunday, 20 March 2016

20/03/2016

St Kilda East - SKCC E Grade - Middle Park - SKCC A Grade - St Kilda East:
The highlight of the day wasn't at White St, or even on the bike, it was sitting in the early morning sun with a couple of coffees and a mate to chat to. If we're talking about on the bike things only, well there's not much that stands out.... I got some solid training in?

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing a break got up the road, and then some more people go over to the break, and I wasn't super keen on chasing them down because Lui was up there... but eventually it got to the point where we either chased and got some exercise, or exited the race and went for a training ride.

Strava link.

D: 106.4km
A: 76m

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 19 March 2016

19/03/2016

Lazy:
I went to bed last night with a headache and a forecast for rain this morning. If ever there was a time to not set an alarm, it was 10:04pm. Slightly off kilter jokes aside, I put the feet up, and enjoyed a day off from bicycling.

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 18 March 2016

18/03/2016

Lazy:
I was all set to ride to work, but a wind smelling distinctly of icebergs came ripping through from the south at a critical juncture, bringing with it fat drops of rain laced with particles of ice... and i caved. I doffed the bibs and donned the civvies. I shunned the bike and gunned the car.

I'm still conflicted about it though.

PMPW: 87kg

Thursday, 17 March 2016

17/03/2016

6am NRR:
There's been a lot of fad caffeine going around recently, but slowly scientists are coming back to a holistic strategy.

Drink coffee, mostly espresso, there's no such thing as too much.

Oh yeah, and I totally did northy for the first time in what feels like ages. It was fun, I played the role of party pooper cop, shutting down attacks that went off the front.

Strava link.

D: 56.2km
A: 188m

Commute:

D: 14.3km
A: 53m

PMPW: 88kg

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

16/03/2016

Belgie:
Most people weren't super keen to go flat out today, possibly a reaction to last week's pain train, but when we hit the single track climb up to Pony Club, I found that I was loving the hurt. I was on the front with Alby slotted on to my wheel, but I could tell the pace was causing him discomfort, so I kept the screws wound in, it was that glorious place where your pain is irrelevant because you know someone else is feeling it worse.

I'm sure come cross season Alby will be lapping me at races again, but that brief moment that I had his measure was glorious.

Strava link.

D: 59.1km
A: 597m

Commute:

D: 16.3km
A: 73m

PMPW: 88kg

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

15/03/2016

Commute:
I got sent an article today, it's a solid read about a bloke who took up boxing to help them define what kind of fella they are. Click here.

The description of the stages of mastery were on point, and though they talked about boxing being the only sport to do x, y, and z, it struck a chord.

There's more to it than that, but to me it was about sport, and being a man, and struggling to understand how to define who you are. The fact the fella was born a sheila is both irrelevant, and lends the weight of an outsider, a side of this that I haven't read before.

D: 30.4km
A: 173m

PMPW: 89kg

Monday, 14 March 2016

14/03/2016

St Kilda East - Patterson River - St Kilda East:
On the way south I didn't want to commit myself to Patto in case I turned at Mordi or Slackrock.

On the way north I didn't want to commit myself to a coffee from Turtle in Elwood in case they weren't open.

Not making Patto I could have dealt with, not getting a good brew in would have been devastating.

Strava link.

D: 72.0km
A: 189m

PMPW: 87kg

Sunday, 13 March 2016

13/03/2016

St Kilda East - CCCC Crit - St Kilda East:
It was warm enough to ride in just bibs and jersey, meaning that I have no hat to take off... but if I did, it'd be to Tommy Nankervis for not only going up the road in a small break, but winning the sprint after we finally brought him back with 5 minutes to go.

With DK rolling in the bunch I took a few solid turns on the front during the first 55 minutes. They weren't lap long affairs like I had at SKCC the other week, and I'm still not sure if it is the bike position or my condition. After each pull I'd sink back into the bunch, say g'day to a few people, comment on how nice the day is, then start moving back up.

On the last couple of laps moving up wasn't so easy, and the best I could manage was around 23rdish into the last corner with a set of legs that were squawking. Nothing a chocolate paddle pop couldn't fix though.

Strava link.

D: 98.4km
A: 446m

PMPW: 87kg

Saturday, 12 March 2016

12/03/2016

St Kilda East - Doncaster - Park Orchard - North Ringwood - Warrandyte - St Kilda East:
Those hills are tough little blighters. 2 hours and "only" 50km covered, I was simultaneously feeling like that was barely any riding, and that I was shagged from all the riding I'd done.

I've got to admit, I spent a lot of time thinking about pedalling, and if my legs felt different, and if that was better or worse. I felt like I lacked a little bit of grunt, that I couldn't quite generate the same Watts, and that my quads (especially the VMOs) hurt more. It could just be a set of shit legs, so I'll leave everything as is, and race Glenvale tomorrow.

Strava link.

D: 108.0km
A: 1,890m

PMPW: 87kg

Friday, 11 March 2016

11/03/2016

Commute:
I've got a friend with a bladder infection, it's gotten quite bad, so I said "mate, urine trouble".

D: 28.9km
A: 96m

PMPW: 87kg.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

10/03/2016

Bike Fit:
It's been a while since Steve Hogg waved some magnets at me in his shop in Sydney, and while I'm still inflexible in the hamstrings, I've changed my body composition and power profile a bit, so I figured it was time for a review.

Anyway, instead of flights and magnets I hung out with my mate Jay as SBR and the funky Guru jig he's got going on in there. It's pretty rad that the position can be changed via computer and motors, meaning you dont need to get up, let alone unclip. We started with the arse, moving it up, and down, and up more, then down a bit, then up and fuck... um... yeah down a couple of mm, nah back... nah give me those 2mm back. Then bar drop and reach, then finally a quick review of cleats.

After talking about the purpose of my old fit (all day power), and my current cycling (some hills, some helly, some crits), I was unsurprised that in the end my saddle went forward a bit, and up a bit. What did surprise me was that I was happiest with my bars around 10mm closer than I currently have them. A quick job to push the cleats in (to push my feet out), and it was time to towel off and fuck off.

Like last fit, I'm ok with the concept, the proof of the effectiveness of these changes will come over the next few weeks and months. Oh, and the guru system is pretty rad "this is your old fit..... ok and this is your new fit.... ok and this is your old fit", all while pedalling away. If it was somehow upgraded to direct drive rather than a tyre/drum setup, it'd be perfect (tyres slip on drums when dropping watts).

Commute:

D: 28.4km
A: 109m

PMPW: 87kg

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

9/03/2016

Belgie:
I feel a bit unsophisticated admitting that a motivator for riding the Belgie today was to help take (back?) a Strava segment from a certain ex-u23 road champ. For a start it should be about the ride, the people and the training, but it'd be a lie to suggest I don't enjoy a bit of computer based comparison.

So the call went out yesterday for willing bodies to run a train through Banyule flats, and given my experiences yesterday and how long it had been since I last Belgie'd, I figured I'd lend a leg or two and have a few giggles along the way. After all, a handfull of blokes giving it everything on gravel paths means that there's going to be some sideways action, and what's more deserving of a giggle than a loss of control?

We achieved our goal, but i think there's further refinement to be had. I think rider composition and order is possibly more crucial than in a team pursuit. Shuffling road bikes with roadies, with CX bikes with MTBers together means there's going to be some differences in straight line and cornering speeds. I myself found I had to hit it out of pretty much every corner, as either the roadie in front of me had to brake slightly (gravel), or I did (road).

After a coffee and a chat I rolled to work, for once hopeful that it would rain. A bit of precipitation would have taken the heat out of the day, but also (more importantly) cleaned me and my bike up en route to work.

Strava link.

D: 58.4km
A: 517m

Commute:

D: 14.8km
A: 51m

PMPW: 87kg

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

8/03/2016

Ricktastic Tuesday:
Mates, seriously, there's a reason we like them, and it's because they're mates. Take for instance young Warrack Leach, even after we turned his name into a semi joking verb, he put himself on the front and dumped out his legs for me this morning so I could have a crack at the Pony Club Strava KOM. The pair of us were dead set cross eyed until well past the top of the next climb, and it was done just because mates.

Now all this could be some post segment PB glow, because I'm very willing to admit shaving 2 more seconds off what I thought was a stonking time makes me pretty happy. Seeing the same time next to Brendan Canty and my name is pretty cool too. I do quickly start wondering about how much faster, and how many more blokes drilling it i'd need to get the last 5 seconds required for the KOM though.

That's all for another day though, right now, I'm happy to bask in the post mate glow.

Strava link.

D: 53.8km
A: 615m

Commute:

D: 15.1km
A: 50m

PMPW:

Monday, 7 March 2016

7/03/2016

Commute:
A man tried to sell me a coffin today, I told him that's the last thing I need.

D: 27.3km
A: 140m

PMPW: 88kg

Sunday, 6 March 2016

6/03/2016

Lazy:
In my early 20s, I led a very different life. I drank a lot, I even occasionally danced, but most important to this story, I operated at very different hours. Quite often, I wouldn't even leave for the pub/club until 10 or 11pm.

I've become tougher since then, mentally and physically. There's no way early 20s Neil would be able to drop 10W per Kg for a minute... hahaha what a hubbard! Yeah, well he probably wouldn't feel like crap because he stayed up for Strade Bianche though. Even with a brief pre-race nap, I struggled to keep my eyes open for the whole race. Pride got me through at least an hour (the tiny Canadian laughed when I said I'd stay up), a block of chocolate got me through another, but the idea of just resting my head on the arm of the couch was too hard to resist at one point, and I missed seeing Sagan attack.

Thankfully I woke up shortly after, and the thrill of the final 15km kept me alert... but not today. Today I have a headache and can't even bring myself to stretch, let alone go for a ride.

Past Neil probably wouldn't have ridden today either, it's just the reasons why that differ.

PMPW: 88kg

Saturday, 5 March 2016

5/03/2016

Hell Ride:
Neither of the blokes who were ripping huge turns a couple of weeks ago (Smax and Tommy Leaper) were in the bunch this morning, so I got to spend a lot more time on/at the front of the bunch. Mostly I just wanted to stay forward, but when Drew Ginn and a few othersgot clear at the Mordi roundabout (going south) I felt like I should contribute to chasing.

We never did see Drew again, but there was enough schnell going on in the bunch to ensure I got home in need of a nap. I got a gap up Olivers, but the bunch soon caught us over the top, then Dylan Newell gave it some stick on the middle roller in what at the time felt like someone flying, but no seems like a bloke with something to prove. I reckon that change of perspective came after he pulled off/cracked, because up until that moment, there was a very real fear he was going to hold that effort all the way through to Canadian Bay Rd.

I wasn't the fastest up past Canadain Bay, but I felt closer than recent weeks. Maybe it was that I was cheating with some deep race wheels on, maybe it was because I haven't ridden much this week, either way, I'm still a long way from matching Pat Lane's kick. The little shit can/did distance the bunch at the start of the final rise, going clear with ease.

Strava link.

D: 100.8km
A: 363m

PMPW: 88kg

Friday, 4 March 2016

4/03/2016

St Kilda East - Yarra trails - St Kilda East:
I only had time for a quick dirt adventure, so I basically hit the pump track until hamstrings threatened to snap from the strain, then headed to the nearest coffee, and to work or whatever.

Strava link.

D: 30.2km
A: 228m

Commute:

D: 14.8km
A: 48m

PMPW: 88kg

Thursday, 3 March 2016

3/03/2016

Commute:
I wanted a roll this morning, but when I woke and heard rain on the roof the only roll that happened was me rolling over and going back to sleep.

D: 12.1km
A: 57m

PMPW: 88kg

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

2/03/2016

Commute:
If you're into the odd podcast, I reckon Mitch Docker's little number "Life in the peleton", is work a look in. Actually, lets be slightly bolder here... get on it!

The latest one put me on to OGE's recent recruit, Chris Juul Jenson, and the dude is hilarious. If like me you wanted more of his slapstick style, he writes pieces for Rouleur.

D: 32.1km
A: 103m

PMPW: 88kg

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

1/03/2016

Ricktastic Tuesday:

I had another epic explosion today, but in review, I think most of them are mental rather than physical.

I hit pony club on the front and tried to hold 650(ish) Watts, the lessening of sounds behind me suggested others were hurting or plain old gone, but no sooner had I taken confidence from that, then Warrack rolling past declaring he'd "lend a hand". I tried to lift to get on his wheel, but but instead imploded... and moments later he did too. The HR and power numbers weren't super extreme, i think it was just the shock of him looking super on control, but a couple of kms faster that cracked my poor, pain riddled brain.

Surprisingly, that wasn't the most pain of the day though, those (two!) moments both came courtesy of Ricky driving the pace. We rolled out to Elgar today, and on the last couple of rollers on Belmore I found myself side by side with Rick, or rather I found myself side by hip with Rick as he ramped the pace higher and higher until all conversation stopped behind us (shocking given Ryan was on board).

Strava link.

D: 53.7km
A: 663m

Commute:

D: 14.2km
A: 77m

PMPW: 88kg