Wednesday, December 17, 2008

photos from geelong

James Downing

Geelong National Round

The brain and body are really tired and writing is a bit blurry. So this post is a bit dot pointy.
Flew down on Thursday. It was dry. Rode the course on Friday. It was dry. The pictures show the before and after. It then started to sprinkle, which turned into a deluge that lasted 36 hours. The wind was 160km\hr during the women's race.
The course held up pretty well for the XCO. The You Yangs are built on a granite foundation. Not much in the way of sticky mud, more of a bind of the sandy stuff. The organisers took a lap off all classes (except for Elite Women). This was a relly good idea - the women were out for a lot longer than usual.
I managed to get 2nd place in Vet men class. Andrew Wilcher just pinned it the whole way.
Fortunately though, I brought spare brake pads and was able to compete in the Sunday short track event. Here I was able to hold out the field to take the win.
On the flight home I sat next to the fattest guy on the planet, and he had the aisle seat, so If the plane went down, we weren't getting out.
We stayed in a really nice house in Geelong. Very comfortable and well appointed.
Kylie got 15th in the XCO and 4th in the XCC - pretty good results for a rookie!
The You Yangs are a sensational place to ride. The course was 8.25km long and was really technical. Rocky like nothing else.
The trophy I got was a slab of granite carved out of the local area, with a chainring on it. Thanks to Ed and Will for taking this home for me. It weighed about 10kgs.
There is sand everywhere, in the Geelong house, in the rental car, in all of our stuff, in the washing machine and the sink. This will take forever to get out of the bike gear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Off to Geelong

Currently, I am sitting in the Qantas Club lounge in Canberra waiting for my flight to Melbourne. The 3rd National round of the year is on this weekend at Geelong at the You Yangs. Home of the Yowie.

Last night I had a 90 minute massage to loosen up the legs in preparation for this weekend. My masseuse is a genius. My legs were so trashed after the training undertaken for this event. Now they feel great.

It is meant to rain all weekend down in Geelong. Therefore the mud tyres have been packed. Apparently I won't need them as the You Yangs are pretty well drained, but we shall see.

Amazingly this time we didn't get charged for excess baggage. We did howver, have the most cranky check in lady. I though that we would be done for sure.

On a totally different note, we have had a landscaper come in and totally rip up the backyard. Right now it is a dust pile, but add some sand, pavers and new plants and voila, it will be livable - with not a weed in sight!

Anyway, I have packed every combo of cycling clothes - you have to whenever travelling to Victoria, every lens combination for the glasses. As usual I am sure that one set (of everything) will always do the lot - but if I don't bring it, I'll be screwed!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dry Pines

After a pretty hefty week of training, in preparation for the Geelong National Round next weekend, the weekly dirt crit at Tuggeranong Pines, was begging for a smash. The course was different, this week went straight up another downhill run and then back down the bermy track. 6 laps was on the cards for A grade.
In practice warming up, I could tell that I was a bit overtrained and in need of a chiro. All the power work I had done in the last week had pointed my hips off by a degree or two to the left and the left leg felt as though it had nothing. With that in mind I did the best thing for it and smashed it from the gun. Again the holeshot was gained from the fireroad start into the funnel of singletrack. After watching the earlier grades, I knew that this course offered nothing in the way of overtaking - pretty standard for Tugg Pines - best tactic is to get in front.
So in going out from the start, I could dictate the pace. From the first lap in, I could feel that it was going to end in tears though. The heart rate was high, and I was cashing climbs I knew my legs could not pay back on lap 5 and 6. After 5 laps on the front I could not hold out a fast charging Brad Morton, who busted past, on the final lap and pinned it up the climb. I tried to stay on his wheel as long as I could, but I was toasted from about the 2nd lap in, so that wheel was a heavy one to follow. All in all, I was reasonably happy with 2nd place.
Kylie had her work xmas party today and was in a festive mood. She started a little slower and ensured she didn't go too deep on the climb on the first lap. She was able to keep the lead for the 5 laps and finish strong with a strong sprint across the line. 1st place women's class.
After the race, we sledged Brad for being a roadie. He does after all have 3 road bikes! Michael Baker still had his mud tyres on from Illinbah. They didn't work too badly in the sand of the pines - except on the 3rd lap. My tyres were like slicks - they probably have about 1000km on them - perfect for sandy descents. NOT.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

muppet of the week - part 2

Mark Cavendish was playing a snowboarding game on his Nintendo Wii console when he fell from the board and hurt his calf muscle. "It's a pain, but it's a minor injury in the off-season and not a huge problem," Cavendish told

The 23-year-old sprinter still plans to join his Team Columbia teammates at a training camp on the island of Mallorca this week, where he will no doubt be the subject of jokes and comments.

Stick to the bike tiger.

muppet of the week


"I'm committed to riding for the best guy," Armstrong said, reiterating statements he made earlier this year after he announced his return to the sport.

Knowing what sort of guy Lancey boy is, I can only assume that he is referring to himself here.

Sort of feel sorry for Alberto.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sweat box

Thank god I did not go to Illinbah for the 2nd National round. Rhino has described it as 'wet and cowpats'. That is pretty much what I remember from last year.

Today's ride was pretty good. It was a funny day with sun, cloud, humidity and puddles.

Therefore I sweated - and passed through a bit of body-salts!

I battled out into the headwind, saw Kylie, and chased her down. She was churning the big ring, and it took forever to catch her. We talked some crap before she hit the fireroads for home.
I went for an extra spin up the trunk trail at Stromlo and then a quick World Cup lap. It was pretty well drained out on the trails today after all the rain that has fallen in the last 3 days.
Out on the trail at various spots I saw about 4 other people on bikes. As usual I said g'day to them as we passed on the trail. No response from any of them. Must be 'mute muppets' day out.
After surfing the tailwind home..... highlights being a 80km/hr tailwind assisted descent at the arboretum after getting scoped by the security guard, 30km\hr up the bikeway at the end of the ride, and no flat tyres for a change.

Stats for the ride
time: 4 hours 12 minutes
avg HR: 147
max HR: 177
metres climbed: 1225
max speed: 80km/hr
people seen: 5
bottles of cytomax consumed: 3
bottles of Nuun consumed: 1
bottles of water consumed: 3
Energy gels consumed: 4
Clif Shots consumed: 12
bowls of pasta eaten last night: 3
bowls of pasta eaten after ride: 2
overs of cricket watched for recovery: 7

My pedals need an overhaul, they were squeaking under my immense power! Couldn't tell if it was the cleat, the pedal or the disc for ages.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More time in the car

Thursday brought about the threat of a thunderstorm. It also coincided with the weekly dirt crit, which this week was held at Tuggeranong Pines. Tuggeranong Pines is nifty. That is about it. It is contained (ie small) and there are no flat trails anywhere.
Getting to this course at peak hour is just about the most painful thing in the world. For a 5-10 kilometre stretch, it took 30 minutes in the car. I do think that riding out would have been a better option. But the colour of the clouds took that thought away. Plus the Monaro Highway is a death trap!
When I arrived, the rain was falling. I got out the rain jackets, umbrellas. towels etc. Then the rain stopped. As good as bringing mud tyres I reckon.
The course was run up a downhill track through berms and jumps on a gradient that was doable in big ring, but just hard enough not to choose to do it every lap. It then went down another downhill track. It was a bit longer than the standard offerings which is a good thing to align them a bit with the National race offerings.
With the bad weather and the fact that the 2nd National round is on this weekend, the A grade turn out was only 4. They combined the A and B classes which was a good idea with the weather looming grey.
After last week's dodgy tactic, I was motivated to pin it from the start. When the gun went I clipped in quickly and got the holeshot into the singletrack to start the ascent. After the initial fireroad there was a couple of rollers which I was able to hit up as a double jump. This gave me a nice backside pump and propelled me into the next corner. I took it reasonably easy up the first couple of climbs, as it was a long one. This turned out to be a good idea as the fatigue of the week's training started to kick in about lap 4 of 7.
Here I assessed the situation. Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche) was the only rider still with me, it was hard to miss the full red outfit with the lenses I had on! He was having no problem on the climb, reeling back my advantage from each lap's prior descent. I decided to soft pedal the 6th lap as a recovery option (hard for others to pass in tight singletrack), then pin the descent before the last lap. This worked out well as I then had the last lap clear up the climb. Stuart took an alternative line 2/3 of the way up to try and entice me to start my attack early. It was a good move by him, but the 2 rollers he had to go over probably took his momentum away and I was able to attack at precisely the location that suited me.
This last attack took me to the top of the climb with exactly the amount of effort I could unload before recovery was begging, and I was able to ride the downhill smoothly, and hit all the double jumps on the final lap and take the win. I was impressed with Stuart's race as it was only his 4th ride on his new MTB and in his off season after 11 months of some serious road racing. I definitely would not be able to even keep with him in a road race. I think I was able to convince him that he would be able to race the National MTB Series event at Geelong in 2 weeks time.  After the race, we just talked crap about cycling in general.
Kylie was untroubled in the Women's class and was able to take the win. She was loving the downhill section. In practice I couldn't shake her at all, and she was busting air off all the doubles.
Hopefully the weather is good this weekend and I can get in some decent long rides. And I hope it doesn't snow like last weekend. Picture is Sven Nys from Belgium winning the last Cyclocross World Cup round. This was like me riding last weekend. NOT.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A big weekend of 'everything happens for a reason'...

The weekend just gone was really weird.  First off, it rained pretty much the whole time. I spent about an hour getting ready to go out. 3 layers, booties, arm warmers, heat cream on the legs. I checked the radar and the predicted temperature etc on the Internet. Really lagging here and this should have been the sign.
I went out on Saturday morning, not even 10 degrees. The first 4 minutes, I get snowed on for 30 seconds. Everything is cold, ears, hands, motivation. The bike was rolling really well. But the HR is way down due to a heavy week plus the cold. It just wasn't happening today.
I was so stoked when Kylie called me after an hour. She was laughing at me leaving the house, whilst she was spinning away warm and toasty on the wind trainer. I was done, and didn't feel bad at stopping, that's a good sign. Usually I would be itching at getting some riding in. So I had Sunday off also. I knew it was right because I felt like cleaning the house and garage. Funnily enough I spent more time tuning bikes this weekend than riding them!
Trev from Lonsdale Street Cyclery hooked me up with a bunch of Kenda Small Block 8 tyres for the next few months. These tyres rock for everything except mud.
I'll get a massage tonight and that should clean the legs up for the next 2 weeks of intensive training before the Geelong National Round.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why the mud tyres?

We had a bucket load of rain here in Canberra in the last 24 hours - probably about 15mm. Therefore, before the Stromlo Short track on Thursday afternoon, I was wondering whether the mud tyres would be a viable solution. As we were driving out, it tried to sprinkle a little bit on the car. I even had the bikes in the back so as to keep them dry. When I got out there, Stromlo was perfect. It was as if it hadn't rained, there were 3 puddles about the size of a plate. This place is so well drained, it never fails to amaze me.
To put things into a tyre perspective, I used a Kenda small block 8 (1.95) on the front, and a Stan's Crow on the rear (2.0) -'
These thing roll fast - grip is brought to the party by low pressure and rider skill - read into that what you will!
Anyway, the racing was pretty fast today in A grade. I tried a different tactic today, and it pretty much backfired - pretty funny. I led for the first lap, then swung off to let through  Brad Morton. It was a windy afternoon so I was just going to sit on his wheel and conserve some energy. Michael Baker attacked hard and was suddenly driving the pace. He rode a strong race and was able to hold on until the end. Brad responded and got on to his wheel. I was then left yo-yoing on and off Brad's wheel - sort of in No man's land - I defintiely wasn't getting back on and around the 2 riders in front. I was left in 3rd and at Stromlo it is really difficult to overtake as the speed is really high and the power output required is massive also. Oh well, that tactic sucked - I'll shelve that one and go back to the tried and true next week for Tuggeranong Pines.
Kylie had a great race and won the women's class. As the women are grouped within B grade there is some pretty full on racing at times. On occassion, some blokes don't like it too much when they are getting pushed by a chick. One guy on a singlespeed was sort of holding up a bunch of riders. Kylie tried a low line pass through one of the berms and he went right off at her swearing his head off. This definitely wasn't a cool thing to do on his part, apart from being against MTBA racing regulations, it is just disrespectful to other racers. After her race Kylie brought this to the attention of the race organiser and also to the small person who had the loud mouth.
After racing the dirt crit I rode around talking crap with other people and even checked out the road crit that was happening down below at Stromlo.
Race Stats
laps: 7
Time: 11m:30s
Avg speed: 27km\hr
Avg HR: a bit lower today - 183
Laps led: 1
Mud tyres brought out in the car: 3
Mud tyres used for racing: 0
Bottles of NUUN drunk: 2
Two and a half men epsiodes watched whilst drinking protein drink: 3

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


After a flat out thursday, and a pretty hot saturday and a sunday spent climbing pretty much the whole day, I am pretty roasted. The legs were just empty shells today on the dog hills. No power and the HR was down about 15 beats. This is a sure sign I am tired and need some rest. So I get to sleep in tomorrow morning. This should do the trick and I'll be firing again on Thursday for the crit.
Just hope it doesn't rain. But it is ok as it probably won't because on Chris Jongewaard's advice I got some Specialized Storm Pro tyres. If I take these to every race, I can be assured that each event will not suffer from waterlogging - good in theory anyway.
I am throwing the Stan's Crow on for the Crit. We'll see if it holds the corners well. I used the most worn small block eights last week and they were ok, but the corners were a little lame - like cornering on eggshells.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crit report plus other randoms

The fourth round of the CORC Summer Dirt Crit series was held at Stromlo yesterday. In addition, there was the Road Super Crits plus some junior coaching going on, so the vibe was pretty good.
The Stromlo dirt crit track is a standard. In that regard it does not change. It is the same every time. And it requires a ton of power and staying power as there are no recovery sections. After doing a tyre cull from the garage, I mounted up 2 reasonably worn SB8s - it was going to be a bit sketchy in the corners for sure. The A grade riders started off reasonably slow I thought. Gareth wasn't there for the first lap honours, so being the fastest to clip in and start pedalling I put the hammer down and got the holeshot into the first bit of singletrack. Stromlo is an easy course to ride in terms of technical difficulty. In that regard it took about 3-4 laps to break the first 5 riders up. After that time Brad Morton (who had placed 2nd in the Wednesday Road Crit A Grade race) was the only one who was with me. We had managed to just get a 5 second gap over 3rd-5th.
My tactics in this race were to go out and try and lead from start to finish, but I could feel on the 6th lap that there wasn't much left. On the 'recovery' descent on the 6th lap my HR had gone to 191bpm. Seeing that I could see Brad's Crossmark front tyre under my arm for the entire lap, I knew that I would be well pushed to keep the lead. Brad made a move after the start finish line and put in a burst of speed that I could not hold. I hammered the last lap as well as I could but Brad had it by a comfortable margin. 2nd place though - not too bad. I have used the same tactics against Brad in the past - they are pretty effective! Kylie raced well to claim 3rd in the women's class - probably still recovering from the week's training.
Laps 7
Average Speed 25.7km\hr
Distance: 5 km
Average HR: 180bpm
Laps on the front: 6.25
New tyres needed: 2
On other random cycling news......
Oscar Pereiro will never forget his crash during the Tour de France this year, when he fell off the side of the road on a switchback in the mountains. And to make sure he remembers, he has had the date of the crash tattooed above the scar on his arm. (Better not do this everytime he gets a scar)
Alexander Vinokourov is hoping to ride the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège with his Team Astana this coming spring, according to reports in the Dutch media. The Kazakhstani rider is negotiating with the UCI to allow him to start as of the beginning of next year, but the world governing body of the sport is firmly against it. (Astana will be the loaded team this year)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stats for the last year of racing - the year in review

My racing season pretty much goes from November to November - this is mainly due to the Local Dirt Crit season starting in November - that is as good a reason as any.
During this time I raced 40 races, Short track, Cross Country, 3 hour and 24 hour.
The stats below outline some of the achievements.
Short track
22 - short track races contested
11 - podium positions
17 - top 5 position
Cross Country
16 - cross country races contested
10 - podium positions
13 - top five positions
3 - enduros contested
1 - podium position
2 - top five positions
All events
1ST Placings: 5
2nd Placings: 12
3rd Placings: 5
All in all I was happy with all the races and pretty much only had one or two race weekend where it did not go to plan and I felt like crap - this was Mount Beauty - last round of the national series. I think I just got the timing of the peak wrong here on a really hot and humid day. I was flying at the following weekend's race which was pretty funny - really needed for a club race!. Also I had an asthma attack on the 3rd lap at Thredbo - like sucking air through a straw. Alpine weeds the culprit here - rectified.
The 08/09 season will probably see the same sort of volume with regard to racing. As long as the races are under 3 hours, the recovery is pretty easy. Only taking a day or 2 before normal training loads can resume. I am toying with the idea of a couple of 100km races, but these have to be sorted in training first to ensure I know what is going to happen in the last hour of pain.
Another objective is to turn some of those 2nd placings into 1st placings - this will be no easy task as the competition is always full on. The great this is that I never stop learning through all of the experiences thrown up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

back to reality

After spending the last 10 days not working and pretty much just eating, sleeping and riding the bike, I am back at work and really tired. I did a pretty solid set of 3 days working on the basic abilities after the first race block of the season. Stats below.....
Days: 3
Time on bike: 13 hours
Calories expended: 5324, 2456, 6000 each day
HR: 150bpm avg, 180 max
Climbing: 1200m, 560m, 1000m
Energy Gels eaten: 16
Nutbars eaten: 4
Flat tyres: 1
Thorns removed from tyres after showing off: 32
Holes that latex sealed: 32
Saturday was pretty ordinary, it had rained all night and the trails were soggy and slow, plus it was windy, so we just went over to Bruce Ridge to try and figure out some good combos of trails. No luck there, I need to get a GPS to sort these trails. No big deal though. They are just there on the way on my big rides.
After the Adelaide National Round I had a bit of a break (in intensity) as it took a good while to fully recover from the weekend. The week now leading up will pretty much entail getting back on my program and sorting the things I need to sort. There is a dirt crit out at Stromlo this Thursday so that should be good. I'll see what's left in the legs for that one.
Yesterday Kylie raced her annual road race. The Tour de Femme. She achieved her objective which was to finish roughly in the bunch and gain some good training ks for the day. The Tour de Femme was a quick little affair with the average speed being about 40km\hr for the 22 km of non-flat roads. After the race she kept riding and logged some kays with me cruising around Canberra.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Adelaidean adventure

Adelaide is a great place - stating the obvious.......

The last week has come and gone and it was sensational. I travelled to Adelaide for the first National round of the season. A good turn out was had and the weather and the venue did not disappoint. The organisers had erected the biggest marquee ever. It was about the size of a football field (well maybe not that large, but it was pretty big) - it thus allowed for shade or shelter from rain. Great idea.

We flew in on Thursday and made our way to the Eastwood cottage that we stay in on an annual basis. This is relatively close to all things that are needed and is only about 15 minutes up the road to the race venue.

Friday was the obligatory registration and practice. 2 and a half laps was plenty in order to scope the track and check a few things. The course was pretty identical to last year, but a small section at the top was removed, no big deal. However luckily this year, it was dry, Thank god for this.

On Saturday Kylie raced first. This was her 3rd Elite race. She had a major crash the weekend before and was still sporting massive bruising to her legs and was still tending to scrapes on her arm and hip. She put in a pretty good race and finished 10th in Elite for the XC. The heat affected the women's field and Kylie suffered a bit from dehydration in this event. The main issue being that the course being almost entirely singletrack offered very little chances for drinking.

I raced later that afternoon. I noticed early in the day that Andrew Wilcher and Warren Burgess had showed up. This was going to be a hard race. From the gun, Andrew went out hard. I got on his wheel and followed him up to the top of the climb, then Warren raced past, so I swapped wheels, and andrew held onto mine. Warren always starts fast, and lead us by 12 seconds on the first lap. From here Andrew just motored and put in another 2 fast laps that sealed the race winning comfortably by a minute and a half from Warren. I finished 50 seconds back from Warren to secure the 3rd place on the podium. Ulitmately I was pretty happy with my race. I have pulled back time on Warren and Andrew. My training and taper were pretty spot on so that is good. Also, I didn't have any more to give when Andrew attacked on the 2nd lap. Things are going in the right direction so that is good.

On Sunday the short track was up. This is a cool little track that hurts you so much. The short climb requires a ton of power to overcome, then there is very little in the way of a recovery.

Due to a fast start lap in the cross country I was seeded on the front row - definitely an advantage. When the start got under way, Michael Baker and I pinned it. From the first climb though, it was apparent that Michael had some good power. His new hardtail was defintely working in his favor, and I pretty much could only just hold his pace from afar. One guy did a massive attack on the 2nd lap, which was not too wise. He blew up a lap later. After 15 minutes of flat biscuit racing, it was 3 laps to go. These were reeled off without too much drama and 2nd place was secured.

All in all, results wise the weekend went well. 2 races, 2 podiums. The training is paying off. The hardtail has been a good choice. And the desire is still very strong.

After my race, Kylie began her own short track pain session in the Elite class. She raced exceptionally smartly and finished in 5th position. Again, she did a great job, holding the intensity while still injured. And an improvement from last year, which is always pleasing.

The photos attached are a mix of personal ones plus some from Russ Baker.

We stayed on in Adelaide until Thursday. In that time we did some pretty awesome training and relaxing and recovering. We rode the rest of the trails at Eagle on the Hill. There are some pretty cool trails around here, and a million koalas everywhere.
We also spent $80 on sushi at the Sushi Train Restaurant in Chinatown. It was very good sushi. And I could have eaten more.
I ran the small block eights at this race (like I use any other tyre really) The course is exceptionally rocky - they got shredded up a bit on the back.
Kylie told Ben Henderson her hardtail weighed 6 kilos. He didn't believe her so he asked me.
Kylie rode with Ben, Trekkie and Joel down into town. Joel and Kylie missed the motorpacing that John Henderson provided to Ben and Trekkie courtesy of the Budget van 100 km/hr down the freeway.
People in Adelaide are friendly, but they drive really slowly - a shock coming from Canberra.
More tomorrow...

Monday, October 27, 2008

disjointed.... in a good way

The weekend's riding was pretty long and intense. I was trying to back up the Thursday dirt crit, Friday LT work with a back to back long set over the weekend. Saturday was a great day out. Just the right temperature and with a solid block of pasta in the belly was always going to be a full ride. I hooked up with Kylie at Stromlo and we wandered around greenhills where they were conducting a rally. The cars were flying around the forest so it was fortunate that we had a back up route sourced. Only a short detour was required, didn't need to get squashed by a rally car.
We did a couple of Stromlo climbs to test the strength and endurance and then just chased each other down the berm track a few times. I then left Kylie and did a lap of the World Cup course, this was a tester up the steep climb with the 32x32 gearing, but it did alright. I pretty much somehow got my alloy stans rotor worn out as it was not really working all that well. Scared me a bit leading down to the grate. That afternoon I replaced it with the Avid G2. After that loop I then went home. The long way.
After being attacked by the pyscho Black Mountain magpie for the millionth time, I went all the way up the bikeway, and cut in on the backside of the mountain near Cook. There is a hill here that I did when I was racing as a junior. I would do this hill 10 times in training. I learnt the secret of the "top end" workout. Not surprisingly the next races brought my best results. Anyway I looked at the hill and it brought back non-fond memories of doing these VO2max intervals in winter riding a fully rigid MTB with slicks. That is definitely one way to get used to the 2 wheel drift. I pinned it back through the front of Black Mountain then rode the Bruce Ridge singletrack in reverse before finally running out of water and deciding to call it a day.
The sunday was spent doing a non-stop double block of rock. 3 hours split into 2 with a 2 hour break in the middle. I was trying to get a feel for the 3pm riding time. This is when I will be racing in Adelaide - starts at 3:30pm - very different than riding in the morning.
The first block included a TT around stromlo at race pace. The second block involved riding from Majura to Stromlo, then up and around the red lap at Stromlo. I got this one sorted in just under 90 minutes. This was not a bad time, so I was reasonable happy. So happy that I had half a glass of wine with dinner and then proceeded to get all sleepy.
The bikes and all the gear now need to be packed up for the flight down to Adelaide for the National Series opener. Time to dust off the bike boxes and fit as much stuff into them and 2 bags for a week of living.
As long as it doesn't rain I will be happy. The photo is of Adelaide last year where it did rain. Photo 1 During racing. Photo 2 bath tub after racing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

First dirt crit of the summer

Thursday afternoon brought the first dirt crit of the summer to the confines of Majura Pines. The course was pretty good for an opener. A longish fireroad for the start, sinuous singetrack that was very fast. The course was dead flat, so the power was really required. Due to the huge amount of riders that turned up, the fine dust started forming which made the conditions perfect for dry racing.

From the front door to the start line at Majura took about 13 minutes at a truly leisurely pace, about 10 laps were done for practice / keeping warm

To say that I was awaiting the arrival of the dirt crist was an understatement. I really enjoy the flat biscuit style of racing. The fact that it is a short event and racing is in close confines with other riders ensures that tactics are called in as well. Truly the best test for the higher abilities in the cardiovascular game. I also was buoyed by the fact that I was wearing my new Lonsdale St Cyclery team kit. This gear is really fast!

Kylie raced in B grade with a bunch of the regulars, but there seemed to be some new faces also. The secret training I have her doing seems to working well, as she managed to take the win in the Women's class with a comfortable lead over second place. She also finished just outside the top 10 of B grade racing against the blokes so she was happy with the overall outcome there.

In the A grade ranks it was good to see that a lot of the B graders had moved up and there were some new faces also. A few fast dudes were missing also, either racign the road super crits or doing secret training for the National Rounds. Gareth Paton got the holeshot into the first corner and I ensured that I was on his wheel. Ben Cory, Michael Baker and Nick Menager were all going flat out behind me as well. After the first lap, I made a break up the fireroad to get past Gareth and took over the lead. I manged to hold the lead until the 6th lap at which stage I let Michael Baker take the front after the fireroad. I sat on his wheel through the singletrack and at the next roo-line fireroad Nick made a good inside move up the inside to take 2nd, which left me in 3rd place.

The start of the last lap was at the bottom of the fireroad, where I put the power down and passed Nick. I ran out of room before the corner so was not able to lead into the singletrack. I followed Michael as I knew there was one last passing spot on the roo-line fireroad. Luckily for me, I took the inside line here and braked later than Michael and was able to get into the singletrack first. I was then able to hold this lead for the last 400m and take the win. I was fortunate that this move stuck as the finish line was a bit too close to the exit of the singletrack and there would not have been enough room for the sprint.

The race course was about 1km long and 7 laps were raced, which took about 13 minutes. This should be a good little step up for the longer national round short track events which will be 15 minutes plus 3 laps - which ends up being 20 minutes minimum.

Max heart rate in the race was 191bpm, average for the race was 175bpm. Sunlight had gone, luckily I had the persimmon lenses on. And it was freezing, with a cold front having come over in the last couple of days. Kylie and I wanted to ride a bit further after the race but ran out of sunlight on the way home, so just took an 'exit' trail and bailed home.

Thanks to Lonsdale St Cyclery for the new kit made by Sugoi and for sorting me with a short track weapon in the form of a Scott Scale. The fact that you don't notice anything while racing is a major plus and a testament to the comfort of the knicks and jersey. Bring on the weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This week in cycling

Alberto Contador, a winner of all three Grand Tours, envisions problems with the possible return of Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov. The Spaniard, 25, is worried about the addition of Vinokourov in a team that already includes himself and Lance Armstrong.
Understatement of the week.

Recent rumours in Italy have indicated that Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere tried to lure Alessandro Ballan to his squad but the world champion declined the offer.
Lose one, try to gain another. After Schumacher tested positive and can no longer play, Quick Step try to get hold of the current World Champion. Maybe they have a thing for rainbow stripes.

After the retirement of Bettini following this year's world championships, Cunego told La Gazzetta dello Sport that, "I am not going to be called the new Bettini"
Good idea. Being known as the "new somebody" is a sure jynx to ruin a career. The new Miguel Indurain, the new Armstrong, the new Merckx - just doesn't happen.

In more important news, the Melbourne to Warrnambool is on this weekend. This the world's longest one day bike race, at a shade under 300km. Joel Stewart, who was on the victorious Lonsdale St Cyclery 6 man team at the 24 hour race at Stromlo, is heading off this weekend to rack up some serious racing miles. Pin it you muppet!

Got my new team kit on the weekend. All I can say, it is fast. I have already clocked faster times up the "Dog Hill" repeats than this time last year whilst wearing this clothing. The "Dog Hill" is a painful 3 minute session that starts easy then gets harder as you go. It must be done in the 'big dog' (large chainring). The slope approaches about 16% in places. It is a full on 95+% MHR climb that produces sensational results. But it hurts like hell. Swearing and cursing is compulsory on this hill.

The new gear will get its first race showing on Thursday at the CORC dirt crits at Majura. Just look out for the blur of orange, black and white.

Monday, October 20, 2008

snakes, pies, dust

A big weekend has just passed through. The training objectives were met with some pretty cool riding undertaken.

Stats for the weekend:
Hours ridden off road: 7 hours 15 minutes
Vertical metres climbed: 2400m
Number of times the black mountain magpie snapped me: 8
Heart rate while being snapped: 168bpm
Heart rate after being snapped: 178bpm
Snakes seen: 1 - size of a pencil - but the parents were probably not too far away.
Calories burnt: 9135
White gloves worn: yep
White knicks worn: no way
Sunburn: none
Slices of Janie's cake eaten: 2 (big slices)
Bee stings: 1
Energy gels eaten: 12
Bottles of Cytomax and Nuun drunk: 10
Chains worn out: 1

The temperatures were nice at about 20 - 25 degrees. However out at Stromlo, you tend to bake a bit due to there being no trees and the white reflectivity of the trail. Good to work on the underside of the arms and legs with regard to tanning.

On Saturday night Janie and Trev put on a bbq. Joel, Rachael, Will, Kylie and I ate a feast of fine food. After the food we checked out some pictures from the Scott 24 hour race, and then the night degenerated into watching dodgy clips on you tube!!. As we all know, there are some shockers out there. The guy who bought the farm while racing the moto TT on the Isle of Man surely takes the cake. He clipped the inside of the tunnel with his shoulder then exploded into about 100 pieces after hitting the barricades on the exit. Just a bruised lung at 200+ km\hr.

2 weeks now until the Adelaide National round. Sweet, can not wait. Great town, great trails, great shopping, great sushi.

On a local note, the Thursday afternoon dirt crits start this Thursday. The first race kicking off in my back yard at Majura. I have been racing and riding these trails since I moved to Canberra in 1991. Back then they hadn't invented singletrack, but it was still good. Some of the singletrack is a bit tired now, but when you are racing you don't see the flaws in the trail, only the sensations of pain through the body.

Monday, October 13, 2008

but wait, there's more

you can smell the serenity
something in my hands
I tell you guys, there was a rusted car on the blue lap
Results - instant
Top step - Team Lonsdale St Cyclery
Setting up some atmosphere
Chilling in transition
What channel are you tuned into?
Hot chicks
Johnny B getting some late night action

more photos of the campsite

A clean bike is a happy bike
Eating and airing
Trev brings stuff in
Joel just after the fastest lap
Check out Trev's gear

Scott 24 hour - Canberra

This year, I finally attended and competed in my first 24 hour race. The Scott 24 hour event in Canberra was the chosen event. Trev Rix from Lonsdale St Cyclery organised a team. So there were Joel Stewart, Allan Sieper, Jon Harris, Will Buron Trev Rix and myself. We obviously raced the 6 man team. And we did pretty well taking out the top honours in that category. As an added bonus we also took out 4th place overall with 33 laps - 456km at an average of 19.56km\hr.

This event is massive. There were over 2300 people who entered in the various categories. The red and blue laps in the hourglass format made for 2 totally different tracks to ride on ensuring that there was something for everyone.

The photos pretty much document the time spent in the Team Lonsdale St Cyclery village.....

I was (un)fortunate to do the run before the first lap. What a shocker - we were supposed to go 2 minutes after the solos, to give a bit of a buffer - but everybody just ran. It was a nightmare as we got caught up not moving behind 100 odd solo riders. Oh well - I managed to pretty

much haul everyone back, then I got a flat tyre. A quick stop and I had it back running - a bit light though - to get us in 5th place for the first lap. My Heart rate had gone mental and maxed out at 195bpm - and I thought my max was 187!!

Anyway after that we all pretty much dialled what we needed to do and punched out consistent laps.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back on Deck

Finally off the vomitron.

After losing 3 kilograms - not sure if fat or muscle - but I am going with a nice 50:50! I got back training this week - and apart from being a smidgen under hydrated for the first part of the week, the riding has gone extremely well.

I had a massage tonight and the pain of VO2 max intervals got flushed away from the quads. Kylie kept me really honest on the Wednesday Power VO2 max rollers - she was only 10 seconds slower than me over the 3 minutes. Got to work on that! I did get a flat in the first 3 minutes of the ride which took about 3 minutes to fix then it took some big effort to catch up to her as she had gone off a couple of minutes earlier than me.

On the Sunday I was still recovering so I took Kylie out for a spin around Stromlo and gave her lifted runs all day.

On the way down I saw an echidna walking the centre white line. The little fella was happy though and just cruised to the gutter and let me take his picture.

Just entered for the Adelaide National round. First weekend of November - can not wait. I also booked the flights to Melbourne for the Geelong National Round also. Got to get some accomodation for that one. Thank god for the Internet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On the VOM-i-tron

Spew City here we come - after a pretty standard weekend, I had my normal(ish) rest day monday. Then 11:30 at night, the stomach bug bit. I lost 2 kilos in 24 hours - all food and water, and along with all my energy and strength.

This morning, I thought it was all ok, but it seems that milk was not ready for the mostly empty stomach. Back out an hour later - and through my nose as well - that was disgusting.

I can not wait to get better - even surfing the web hurts. My doctor sledged me for looking yellow. I felt yellow, green and crap all at once.

Oh well, that's life.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stat time now

Been busy working, training, recovering and doing a bit of everything. The weekly training objectives were met this week. I worked on the specific requirements I had set out based on some racing weaknesses I wanted ironed out. A couple more weeks of this and this should help that particular attribute. Don't need to highlight it to the world though! My lap times highlight it enough.

Just some stats for the last week.
Distance ridden this weekend - 156km
Total flat tyres - 3
Jelly snakes on the road - 2
Ice creams on the road - 9
Number of times I thought about eating the snakes - 2
Kilometres ridden in the rain this weekend - 55km
Hours Slept over weekend - 18 (a bit under-done)
Bowls of pasta - 5
Calories expended on Saturday - 3500
Magpies who used me for swooping practice - 3

I also took the opportunity to rebuild my rear wheel - I got a new ZTR rim, DT revolution spokes and laced it to my Chris King rear hub. If I can find another Chris King rear hub, I might build it up as a spare - I have a few spokes, nipples and a one year old ZTR rim lying around now.

I think I need to clean out the garage as well. I have just finished selling a few items, but the garage is full and it is getting hard to move around. I think I might have a 'life on the lawn' moment next weekend or so and just clear it out and start from scracth - we'll see how that works for me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

2008 World Cup in Canberra - Mt Stromlo

The best course. This gets bandied around a fair bit depending on what has been ridden lately. I personally loved the 2008 World Cup XCO Course in Canberra at Mount Stromlo. I raced on Friday in the Vets Support race.

There were some pretty quick guys there, Warren Burgess, Jason Chalker, Brad Morton to name a few. Brad hadn't actually ridden the course, and we took great delight in telling him how awesomely tech the uphill was. To his credit he placed fourth. I managed a second sandwiched between Warren and Jason. It was only the last lap where I was able to shake off Chalker. But he had a busted hand and had raced the 8 hour race the weekend before.

Huge thanks to Kylie for feeding myself , Jason and Brad, and Angus in one of the other races. Made all the more impressive by the fact that she has the worst flu in history! I know because I have it now - I was extremely fortunate to have 2 hours of good riding in me on Friday and that was it.

Kylie raced the Elite Women's XC on Saturday. Not bad for her 3rd Elite race. She finished a credible 19th place and was very happy to get a full finish and not get pulled by the UCI 80% rule. She was as sick as a dog and had no power - I can vouch for that currently as the fingers even hurt to type - there is nothing in the tank. Kylie and Zoe King were the only 2 riders in the Elite race to actually ride the technical section.

The men's XC race was a full on sprint from the gun. We took the opportunity to ride around the place at Stromlo and see parts of the course. Very impressive. You could pretty much see 3/4 of the course at one point. It definitely made for a pretty cool viewing experience.
The amount of people that made it out to watch was also very impressive. There were cars everywhere and the amount of people lining the course made for some awesome times.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Riding forever

The week gone has been a great one for training. Four solid days of doing high intensity off road hill work. Then 2 back to back 4 hour rides at a pretty good tempo off road.
I cruised from my house (at the base of Mount Majura) out to Bruce Ridge which was a total of 12 minutes on the road, then it was all off road out to Stromlo via Bruce Ridge, Aranda Ridge, Black Mountain, Cork Plantation, Zoo, RSPCA. All off road - so sweet. These used to be my training rides as a junior back in the day. So nice now with more fitness and better bikes and gear.
I rode the Scott Scale as it is what I will be using at the World Cup support race on Friday this week. I took it out to Stromlo for the first time last week. I did have worn tyres on and it felt so sketchy. The next day the tyres arrived and on the bike they went. Control again - which is a good thing out at Stromlo. The ball bearings on the singletrack are pretty sketch at the best of times.
Sunday was great, I recovered really well from the previous day and checked out a few things including the A lines at the Stromlo tech ascent - this was pleasing, defintiely worth taking the lines - we're talking about a 5-7 second advantage. Over 4-5 laps that will be pleasing.
I saw an echidna out the back in the secret valley after the bridge crossing - he was pretty cool about me taking a picture - I think he even smiled at me.
Kylie has got a really bad cold which is not the best thing to have in the lead up week to a bigish race. Hopefully she can ride, let alone breathe on Saturday. Hopefully I don't catch it either - it blows big time.
This week will also involve the all-important practice:) Lucky I have done all I want with regard to practice - it is a hard technical course and can blow you up easily - better to be a bit fresher for this one I reckon - we'll see how that goes anyway!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

another week gone

On the weekend we raced the NSW State Titles up at Appin in Sydney. This is a truly tech course - The titus racer-x got a huge workout at this track.
It is super rocky with some cool little drop ins, with A and B line options. No mega hills which is pretty cool but still pretty tough. I had a win in expert men and Kylie got 2nd in Elite women. Not bad for her first Elite race with just base miles in the legs.
The last couple of days I have been out at Stromlo riding the World Cup course. Did 3 laps today focussing primarily on the tech climb, and the berm track section. All good flow and a pretty good workout as well. The tech climb section is about 5 and a half minutes long but the heart rate is deep into the 170s the whole way due to the technical nature of the course.
I love it!!!!
I'll go back out tomorrow if it doesn't rain and pin a few full laps together to see how the race lap pain measures up.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

a road trip this weekend

This weekend we are heading up to Appin for the NSW State XC Titles. I haven't raced here before, but have heard that it is a little like Arcadia - sort of.
I'll take both bikes and then see the day before which one is the better one to race.
Checked out Stromlo World Cup XC course yesterday with Kylie. Pretty much played on the technical ascent section. I managed to get through just using middle ring on the Titus.
This did have the benefit of being fresh and not having just smashed it up the fireroad that precedes it. It is such a cool bit of singeltrack. It is extremely technical and you have to be so precise with the lines that you choose. I am really looking forward to racing here.
Kylie had a blast riding this trail, she loved the technical features - lots of rocks, drops, step ups, off cambered bits etc. Saw a few people out there doing secret training. That is always the case with these types of events - everyone is crawling out of the woodwork just aching to give it a go. Pretty cool actually having a World Cup round in your own city, let alone at one of your favorite places to ride and race. Schweet.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

feeling good again

My legs were happy on Wednesday night - got a massage finally. A lot of miles have gone in between massages and they were pretty hammered.
Not to mention the unco off in the race on the weekend - the bruise is finally coming through on the hip and it is about the size of my hand.
Got the back up chiropractic crunch this morning and everything is feeling how it should.
I fitted some Enduro Zero Ceramic bearing to the bottom bracket yesterday on the Scale.
Duncan from hooked me up with some of these sweet gems.
They spin forever as well. Expensive but having felt the difference with the normal ceramics over stainless steel stockers, for my purpose and mind they are worth it.
It's not like I have a doctor with performance enhancing drugs to help me go faster, so I might as well dope\pimp my bikes.
This weekend it is set to be cold and crappy - fantastic. 7 degrees on Sunday with rain forecasted. We'll see how that goes.....
As long as I don't have to ride through clay, like at the Adelaide National Series round number 1 in the short track I will be happy.
The bike amazingly gained about 5 kilos of mud that day - the look on the face is of relief that it was over.
The Adelaide round was the best though. I have already booked my accomodation for this year's first National Series round at the same place as last year. A nice modern cottage in the heart of Adelaide. The owners are into bikes which makes it really good. Plus I will stay on for an extra week for some sushi, shopping and training.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

lost in cyber space

The last 2 weeks have flown. I went back to work, got the outside training thing happening again. Got my Scale built sort of how I want it, and had a race.

The race was at Kowen old homestead. Nice spot to start the race, but there have been truckloads of motorbikes in and around, not to mention that this was the site also for a few years worth of muddy 24 hour races.

Needless to say that taking the hardtail out to this course was not a great idea. I saw Bec, Trekkie and John and we went for a practice lap. This was so bad. The course started out by going up some pine needles with some logs to guide the way. It had rained a bit during the week also which made it not roll very well. The course was 8km and not very inspiring. Usually on most courses there is at least 1 spot that you look forward to. Not here unfortunately.

Most people seemed not to like it much either - there was a really high DNF count.

So I had the Scale all sorted, with the Stan's Crow tyre on the back as these work well at the Kowen East course. It was ok which was good. I copped a pounding on the hardtail, and was using the fireroads as recovery. Following a rider on a full suspension bike - it was all I could do to keep close to him through the rough stuff. Then on the fireroads I would try to get past him but he was too powerful and also blocked a couple of my efforts. I stayed in touch for the 40kms and then put all of my eggs in the sprint basket. The finale was a nice 2% grade up a fireroad. Perfect to unleash the fury of a pounded ass, in a 20 second all out sprint for the line. I got it by 2 seconds.

Pretty lame stats for the race:
1hour57 minutes,
avg BPM: 157,
avg speed 20.5km/hr.

I just couldn't get the heartrate up today, plus it was cold. I had three layers up top, knee warmers, arm warmers, plus neoprene booties. I am a cold weather wuss.

Brett Bellchambers on his singlespeed caught us and sat with us for a while. To keep things interesting we just talked shit whilst going around.

On the first lap, I hit the last wooden bridge at a nasty angle for the slick rear tyre and ate it reasonably big. What was even worse was that I had just styled it up doubling over a bunch of roots for Marky Mark and Darren who were wisely not racing and just taking photos.

They just thoguht I was some punter who had stacked - fair enough - it was lame.
Right now I am pretty bruised all over, but I have a massage tonight and that should get rid of all the crap.

Kylie did her training then came out to feed me and hand bottles up. Sensational work as always - the feed zone was probably the fastest part of the course- but she had the turbo bottles going great.

2 weeks time - NSW state titles down in Appin and 4 weeks time - World Cup in Canberra. I love Stromlo.

Kylie and I went out there on Monday after the race. First I took her to the BMX track and she did some jumping for an hour then she rode with me around the trunk trail. She hammered me up the climb riding it all in the big ring. I was trying to just do a recovery ride (yeah right). The berm track which will be a feature in the World Cup is in fantastic shape - the berms are super high and the trail builders have almost made them idiot proof and built so that you can't skid through them. Some mongers will undoubtedly prove me wrong though.

I can't wait......

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a new toy

This last week, my eye has gotten a lot better and I have been able to venture outside for some riding. Finally I was able to beat the wind trainer blues.

I took a spin out to Stromlo and checked out the World Cup climb that the CORC trails team have created. This is a superb bit of trail. It is the epitome of the word 'technical'. The descent in the climb wouldn't look out of place on a downhill course. All in all a really good test of bike handling.

I have been able to also get out on the road bike as well, which is less fun, but achieves the desired training objectives. Today was freezing, about 5 degrees when I left and maxed out at 10 degrees when I got home. Anyway, the time and kilometres are in and that is all that matters.

I have to go to work tomorrow which should be pretty fun. I have had two weeks off recovering from the surgery, but I am good enough to ride and therefore good enough to work (unfortunately).

I also got a new toy last week. I was able to get a good deal on a Scott Scale. I have wanted a hardtail frame for a while, and the Scott Scale is a good place to start the build from. I am stripping it right down and rebuilding with a whole bunch of new XTR, avid ultimates, Rockshox SIDs, and some other bling. I'll post some pics when it is finally done.

It should be an awesome short track weapon and smooth XC course speedster. It is the first hardtail I have owned for a about 18 months!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Euro house music

Another day off work recovering - my eye is opening up a little more which is good.

I am off to the doctor this arvo for the follow up check up. I can not wait for the sweeling to go down. I did 3 hours on the windtrainer today watching Youtube.

I have a whole bunch of cycling clips that are done to Euro house music. Doof doof to the max. I got a delivery from Australia Post this morning but didn't hear the guy ring the doorbell. Lucky he knows us and just left the box on the doorstep.

Lucky I live in a good neighbourhood. Only have to worry about kangaroos in the morning making their way back to the mountain.

Thank god for the internet while I am off work - I really do think that apart from USB, it is the greatest invention ever. Sooo much information about all sorts of random stuff.

Last night Kylie and I played a game of 'name the Tour de France riders'. I could only come up with 74. Kylie got 102. I have got to do some more training on this. 28 riders is a lot to make up.

Just thinking, I find that Red Hot Chilli Peppers are hard to listen to whilst riding, however I like them when I am relaxing. I think the best music for me anyway is Bogan rock, ie Guns n Roses, Metallica and early 90s rap music, Tone Loc, Run DMC etc. Ska covers are also really good when it is time to go over tempo. But not today - if I go over 140bpm I think I'll bust my stitches, and that would not be good - It is probably not a bad idea to run it in low E2. I usually always ride at tempo or above.

Due to it not snowing in Canberra (often) we don't really have an off season. It is just cold. The racing season runs all year anyway - you just have to pick the ones you want to do.

Picture today is of me kicking it out at Tuggeranong BMX track back in August 2004 over the second straight doubles. Fully RAD.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wind trainer blues......

So, I am stuck on the wind trainer - at least I have some new footage to watch. It is pretty boring watching an ITT on the wind trainer. Almost as boring as doing the wind trainer. But it is less than 5 degrees outside and my eye is fully puffed up and I can barely see out ot it.

Stefan Schumacher won this one. I didn't realise that he could time trial. That is pretty go

od. He beat Kim Kirchen, David Millar, Cadel Evans and Fabian Cancellara. As a bonus he inherits yellow - got to be better than Gerolosteiner blue anyway.

I found some good Youtube clips.

They are in my favorites now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lucky it's a recovery week

Yesterday I got a Basal Cell Carcinoma chopped out of my face. It was located just under my eye and as expected I have a super puffed up eye now.
The doctor did a great job with the plastic surgery and was able to successfully chop out a 3cmx3cm bit of cancered skin from a delicate part of the face.
I am so glad that the Tour is on because I can't really train for a few days - at least I can keep my mental training on.
It is so fascinating watching the team tactics (or lack thereof) play out over the course of a day. Some teams just figure it out and get it spot on. It never ceases to amaze me the sort of planning that goes on. I try to mimic this with my own racing to ensure that the least amount of energy is used up on the actual day. This starts with things like getting bottles, food clothing etc ready 2 days before the race. I also write out a race plan for every race with at least 3 options. This way when a certain element plays out, I don't have to think about it too much. You can't afford to be thinking for 3 seconds as you may miss the key break.
It sometimes seems like a lot of work, but I think that it is worth it. The results this last 6 months have highlighted that something is going pretty well. I am still looking for a fair bit of improvement for the next 6 months as it didn't go exactly perfect, and there is always something to learn.
Stats time now:
  • Races contested in last 6 months: 42
  • Podiums: >50%
  • Top 5: >75%
  • Mechanicals: 0
  • National Series Championship overall titles won: 2
  • Ordinary races where it felt crap: 4
  • Dislocated fingers: 2
  • Races where I couldn't feel my fingers or toes: 1 - Tumut 3 hour - so cold
  • Dehydrated after races and throwing up: 2
  • Times I wish I had a hardtail: most of them
I love my Titus Racer X. At 10 kgs it is pretty light for a 4" travel dual suspension bike. I have ridden this for 18 months, this is concidentally the bike I have owned for the longest time. I have been racing bikes since 1989 and in that time have had over 35 bikes. However, there are times when I feel the need for a rock solid platform that a dually can't offer. So in the next couple of weeks I will be getting a Scott Scale.
I have pondered long and hard over this bike choice, the Cannondale Taurine was on the hotlist for a while, but the system integration - or lack of it with all other bikes in my stable (eg lefty front wheel and cannondale cranks) have got me going with the standard fare XTR and Chris King for cranks and wheels - and this is something that the Scott Scale can offer me. I'll see how it goes anyway - I aminly want it for the Short track races, and the occasional XC - I'll probably ride it all the time - who knows!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

by the numbers

Well it is only 2 sleeps here in Australia before the Tour de France starts. The good thing is that there will be new content to watch on the TV whilst on the trainer.

Here are some random stats for this week.

Anti-biotics taken since monday: 24

Days off work: 1.5

Morons at work who have annoyed me: 3

Days ridden since Saturday: 2

Tubs of Cytomax delivered: 5

Continental GP4000 road tyres delivered: 6

New bits and pieces delivered for different bikes: 16

Money spent for getting a skin cancer removed: $1811 (ouch for the pocket)

Minutes spent determining if full hosptial cover was worth it: 13

Episodes of Two and a Half Men downloaded this week: 4

Hours I plan to ride this weekend: at least 6

Temperature it will be on Staurday and Sunday: 13 degrees Celcius

At least the shortest day of the year has been run and won and we are leading up to the ong ones that are warmer.

Photo is rock railing at the 2007 Brindabella challenge

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

not an energy drink ingredient

This last week, I have been fortunate enough to demo a Cannondale Taurine. This is a bit of a custom job, with full XTR and some bling bits. All up with pedals it weighs about 8.8kgs.

I am really impressed with this bike as a whole. The stiffness afforded by the lefty fork impresses me hugely.

I love how light it feels and how you never seem to feel fatigued on it.

I have been able to smash some lap times and hill climb records on it also which is extremely pleasing. Definitely one to recommend.

AT the moment I am on a course of antibiotics due to an annoying infection picked up from somewhere. It was so bad on Saturday I had to cut my ride short and went home feeling absolutely frozen for about an hour then feeling hotter than the sun for the next with a fever. It'll be better soon and I will probably hop back on the bike tomorrow after 3 full rest days.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All day sucker

Man, on Saturday, it was superb. I felt like I could have ridden all day. It was one of those sweet days when you are in the zone, then inclines feel like they are flat, and all of the flats have tailwinds. It was good because even when going into LT territory, the oxygen was being sucked in so sweetly that it almost tasted good.

You know when you are riding like this when the knees flick up really fast and strong. Of course, I knew I had a plan to keep to and rolled it home on the particular hour that I had sorted.

Right now it is a little cold when I am heading out. Well it is cold for me. I had a pair of windstopper socks on, some Assos wind stopper toe covers and a set of Roubaix booties. The feet were just about right. Warm and not sweating.

I scoped out some new roads to visit, which always helps. I don't really enjoy the 'chip-seal' roads that are becoming all too common. Actually working for the Government department that actually decides how and why these roads are commissioned always is fascinating. A bit of asphaltic concrete wouldn't go astray. Saving money isn't always the be all end all.

But as a cyclist you just ride it, what other choice do you have? Wind trainer? Well if your name is Kylie, then that is a viable option. 3 and a half hours of tempo on the wind trainer watching Alberto Contador and Michael Rasmussen attack up a mountain pass. I swear that she doesn't go out if it is under 15 degrees C. It is no wonder that there is a nice little groove starting to appear on the flywheel of the wind trainer.

Kylie got a new toy on Saturday. Trev from Lonsdale St Cyclery hooked her up with a Scott Scale. The picture attached is of Kylie testing out some key balance points of the bike.

Within a couple of weeks we should have it set up pretty much identical to her Titus Racer X in terms of parts and position.

I have my MTB set up identically in reach and seat height relative to pedal to my road bike. I heard that French muppet Julien Absalon does the same. He probably did it first, I am just copying him. It should make sure that the muscles are used in the same way on each bike.

So, on Sunday I headed out after the superb saturday. Always a bit of a funny one the second week-end day. The average was nice and high - 33.2km/hr, but I didn't remember the last 15 minutes of songs that were playing on the IPOD. I was a little hungry.

Cyclists I saw today: 25

Cyclists I saw today in fluoro yellow: 14

Kilometres of sweet tailwind today: ~50km

Walls in the house painted: 2

Coats of paint: 3 - quality job of course.

Blogs checked out: 14

Bowls of pasta consumed in last 24 hours: 6

Weight lost in last 3 weeks: 3kgs

Temperature while riding today: 6 - 11 degrees C.

Embrocation used: Quoleum Medium.

Average number of layers: 3

Hours ridden this week: ~14.5 hours

Bottles of Cytomax consumed this week: 8 large

On track for next week: Should be.....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Watching the King Parrots

Friday morning. I always look forward to Friday morning.
I get to sit down and have some coffee. No windtrainer. No 5:45am.
The Vittoria High Altitude Premium coffee always goes down well.
I have a view from my dining room of Mount Majura. It pretty much rained all night last night about 5mm. The mountain definitley looks good with the low lying cloud over it. On Tuesday morning the fog rolled in and engulfed the whole area.
I am pretty lucky to have both Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura one minute from my front door. I have a training ride - Twin Peaks, which is a climb up both mountains. This takes me just under an hour. 51:48 from my garage door for both peaks is my current record. The route I take to get up Mount Ainslie is not necessarily the most direct route, but it does allow for a bit of a leg wakener, so as not to hit them up too hard too early.
After ascending Mount Majura, I haul down the Radar access road. This is a bitumen access road that you can hit 70km/hr on. There are no cars because of a locked gate near the bottom. The only things you need to watch out for are kangaroos. Then it's a right at a key point, then a traverse to the top of Majura, near the Vineyard.
Hopefully the rainwill ease so I can head out tomorrow without getting too wet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bike fits properly again

Wind trainer


15 interval sets

Feeling great on trainer - this only happens about once every 3 weeks at best

2007 Stage 8 - Tour de France.

David Orroyo over the barrier into the bushes.

Mick Rogers - rolls tyre off rim - later abandons - dodgy wrist.

Levi Leipheimer breaks rear derailleur, gets new bike and gets it
'fixed' for about 3km and latches back onto the 'poursuivants'

Chicken Rasmussen wins.

I got some new cleats for my road shoes.

Amazingly the bike fits properly again. I had worn down the left one especially.
This is the one that I primarily unclip from when not on the trainer. It goes
down onto the road first and slowly wears down over time. I got 2 years out of these ones
so that's not too bad.

I have already worn out a set of bottom bracket bearings and 3 sets of tyres.

Monday, June 16, 2008

random summer dreaming

When the days are barely making 10 degrees, and it is windy and cold....

I like to sit back and dream of summer.

For example the dirt crit series.....

Majura Pines......

February 2008......


One month's rainfall in an afternoon.....

Getting the holeshot on Soren from Denmark.....


(photo credit: Russ Baker)

Doing nothing quite well

Sunday was nothing. It was a rest day. So I rested.
My mate Trev, who runs Lonsdale St Cyclery, busted his wrist riding Stromlo.
6 Weeks on the trainer just when he was hitting some great form.
The bike was ok though.
Kylie got on her mtb for the first time in 4 weeks after being concussed at Wagga.
We demoed some hardtails - Scott Scales to be precise - I need a short track weapon.
I loaded a bunch of STUFF on ebay. God I had a lot of stuff lying around that I had forgot about
more to be loaded in the next few days also.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

chasing roadies down Northbourne ave

Day 1 of blog - better think of what has gone down.

Well, the program called for some road riding today. Pretty much how the weekend pans out at the moment. I am taking a couple of months off racing. I have raced about 39 races since November 2007. I mainly want to have a mental break so I can come back hungry again when the weather warms up.

Today, it was 10 degrees maxiumum, with the wind chill making it feel like about 6 with a standard 34km/hr wind. Heading out up to the base of Mount Taylor I was grinding it out at about 23km/hr up the bike way. Turn around at the top and it was a freight train down to Woden at 45-50kays. After heading onto Commonwealth Avenue bridge I noticed a roadie cranking pretty well.

He slowed a bit over the bridge and I caught up a bit. He looked around and saw me then he tried to drop me I reckon. I was doing my best to look like a roadie, but I guess it wasn't enough. The road up to Capital Hill starts nicely with a 1-2% gradient, but it just doesn't let up. My Heart Rate at the top was pushing 177bpm but at least I was reeling him in! He slowed to recover at the top then rolled down to the lights, where he got caught by the red. He kept sneaking glances over his shoulder checking things out seeing where I was. I just wanted to say g'day to him.

When the light went green, he took the whole intersection to clip in then it was hammer time again. He just put the power down and took off. I went after him, but by now he was really tiring, and got caught by another red light. He balanced for about 2 seconds then out of the blue decides to chuck a left and go down a side street. SOFT - come on and play, there was at least 5 more sets of lights to do sprints at!

Kylie got me some new Oakley Radar glasses with the blue iridium lenses. These are way better than the M frames I have been usign for the last 2 years. They offer a much better fit and the hydrophobic (water repellant) coating on the lens is awesome as I tend to sweat truckloads.
I am also thinking about seling my Giro Atmos. It is pretty good, but I also have a Specialized D2 which is 10 times better - lighter, fits better, more comfortable blah blah blah. Have to get EBAy rolling.

I rode for about 3 hours then went home to thaw out. Had a warm soak in the bath and some pasta (at the same time). Kylie had done 2 and a half hours on the wind trainer as she doesn't go out when it is below 10 degrees.

Went to Domayne and checked out a Tempur space shuttle certified bed. It is pretty awesome, and at $5000 it should be too. It has this thick conforming foam that feels a bit like quicksand and you sink into it.

Anyway - more secret training tomorrow hunting down rabbits.