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.