Monday, February 23, 2009

Fine Tuning

That was pretty much the key aspect of the last week's training. With Tasmania coming up next weekend, it was all about the VO2max efforts and longer LT workouts. Saturday was spent out in the Brindabellas doing some LT climbing work. I did an easy loop then the second time through it was all done at race pace. This is pretty much 90-95% max heart rate. The downhills are considered recovery - thank god for them.
There is a descent coming down from Condor Creek where there are 2 60km/hr left hand sweepers. These 2 remind me of the descent down the Poggio in the Milan San Remo where Paolo Bettini railed (literally) the guard rail prior to winning this classic. He is resplendant in his World Champioship Stripes and Number 1 dossard.
Take note at 1:15 into this clip. This is what I am talking about! Bettini attacks everywhere in this race, he is always on the gas. The accompanying Euro trash disco is just perfect for this montage. The look on Fabian Wegmann's face when Bettini shunts him into the pain cave is one that I think everybody has had at least once.
Anyway on Sunday I backed it up with some Stromlo efforts. I was pretty pleased with the results today, as for this taper I was a good 30-40 seconds quicker up Stromlo than the one done prior to the Australian Titles. Only time will tell if this translates into appropriate results.
All that is left to do now is a few more tempo rides and packing the bikes into the bags for the flight down as well as all the associated spares, clothes, etc.
I have vistsited every state in Australia except for Tasmania so that will be new and something to look forward to. We have a place right on the Derwent River so a peaceful time should be had also. I will have been fortunate to have raced in every state of Australia after this weekend, another box to tick!

Friday, February 20, 2009

feeling a little flat

My rear tyre, not me!
Last night was a great dirt crit at majura. Held up in the foothills, on what was basically a mini XC course. Superb. I got the holeshot, and just felt like the legs and lungs were nice and open today. I kept getting further in front on each lap, but (always a but) halfway through the 2nd last lap the rear tyre wet down. It was banging the rim over every rock and root as well as fishtailing all over the place.
It took a full lap for 2nd and 3rd to come past me, but there was no way I was sprinting that tyre! 3rd place in the end. Not bad - but I did love the course - and that always helps.
The pictures tell the story (thanks Russ - you always take the best photos - even with no light)
Have a look at the rear tyre in the last photo - about 12psi!
Off to Tasmania next weekend so the form is good. A little bit of fine tuning over the next 5 days and it should be good to go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

a frozen crit race

Last Thursday it was 37 degrees celcius when we raced at Majura. Yesterday it was 10 degrees. To say it was freezing would be an understatement. The course was a nice long one. Quite a bit longer than usual. This was good. Luckily I had done all my training this week in 13 degree 'heat' so the cold wasn't too bad.
Riding over I had an undershirt, short sleeved jersey, windstopper vest, arm warmers, and Qoleum number 2 embrocation - Belgian knee warmer stylee - perfect for 0-15 degrees.
The cold kept a few away. But brought out more pro downhillers. In A grade there were three of them. I got a great start, but then pulled the right foot out of the pedal. No worries. Just clip it back in and get on the wheel. It took about 3 laps in order for the blood to get flowing. In that time, Brad Morton had lead the first 2 laps, crashed, MicK Hannah had crashed, and thenI had gone from 5th to 3rd. Jared Rando was leading Ben Cory on the 4th but due to riding a "free-ride" bike (ie heavier) was fading a little. Ben went past and stormed around the 4th lap - he was flying. I managed to keep on his wheel, and then made a passing move in the start \ finish straight just before the last lap. I put the hammer down for the last lap and managed to win by a comfortable margin in the end.
Brad borrowed Kylie's bike to finish the race after he busted up his hanger which caused the gears to not work. Mick Hannah hit his pedal on a concrete post and shattered it (first lap) - this post has been there for about 20 years! - No longer!
More big riding this weekend. Still trying to wear out a set of road tyres.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time flies

When you are having fun.
I have been fortunate to have been on holidays since just before xmas. In this time, I have eaten, slept, and ridden my bike. I have also landscaped the backyard, but that is only part time.
The first major race of the year was the Australian MTB Titles. I first raced the Australian MTB Titles in 1989. As a 16 year old, I raced U19s against some pretty good riders. Ben Monroe had just won the world championships downhill at Mammoth and he took the win in the U19 XC and also the DH.
I have raced the last 3 National champs since getting back in to the mountain bike scene. They have all been at Stromlo. The first year I got 16th. I had ridden myself into some bronchitis and was feeling like crap. Last year I got 6th. Bit of an empty feeling that one. Just didn't get going and felt ordinary. Got 5th in short track also that year.
For 2009 I decided that I wanted to get a good result. 6th place last year matched my result from 1989 in the junior ranks. So I decided to get the roadie out. I pretty much just rode the road. I also purposely stayed away from the race course. I knew that the course would take a lot out of me, so the best bet was to leave it alone and not over practice it.
Come race day, I was feeling pretty good but not sure how it would go. At a crit 2 weeks prior, I had pulled a pedal and put it through my front wheel and used my forearm as a brake. Not good, but anyway the gun went off and I clipped in and bolted around the road crit track with the rest of the Vets. The pace was really high from the beginning, however, quite a few people had gone pretty deep early and had popped by the picnic table false flat. This was where I essentially wanted to start my race. I moved up from aout 10th to 3rd and followed Warren Burgess up the World Cup climb whilst keeping Andrew Wilcher in sight.
I felt pretty good following Warren and went past him on the 2nd lap and just kept going.  I was able to keep Andrew in sight most of the race, but was unable to get him back. On the 4th lap my front wheel somehow lost 10psi and became a little unstable, so I nursed it home to claim 2nd place. To say I was happy was an understatement. The day went well and the pedals felt light - such a good feeling.
The next day was the short track event. The course was a pretty cool one with berms and jumps. I got the holeshot and lead the first lap around at my own pace. After the first lap, I sat up a bit and made the other 2 come through. On the 3rd lap a small pack of 3 or 4 riders busted through and the 2 guys in front of me were able to get a bit of a break. I didn't panic, but just kept trying to inch back. It took about 3 laps but I was able to get back to the 2 leaders. When I did catch them, I attacked almost immediately to see what they had. They pretty much were able to get back, but then Brad counter attacked and got a gap. I went after him, but couldn't quite close him down. Brad won and I got 2nd. Not a bad weekend at all.
The rest of the week I was on a high. I also did a bunch of paving - 100 square metres or so. I gave Mt Buller a miss as I was a bit mentally tired. Physically I had recovered really well. I also started to rebuild for the last National round in Tasmania at the end of February.
I also got a new road bike. Trev hooked me up with  Cannondale Six Carbon. Nice smooth ride. Stoked.
Since then, I have raced 2 local dirt crits at Majura. 2nd and 3rd in both of those, the last one was run at 36 degrees celsius at 7pm - hot, hot, hot.