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.