Monday, March 23, 2009

Crit series overall

The final race of the ACT crit series was run and won, and unfortunately I missed the win by 2cm. Brad did his usual scalded cat start and put a bit of a gap on the field. I started reasonably quick and just bided my time for a few laps. An over excited junior who didn't believe in deodorant went past me. There was only so many seconds I could sustain breathing in BO so I went past him and got into the clear clean air. Brad slowed a bit on the 5th lap of 7 which allowed me to get on his wheel. At stromlo, overtaking is extremely hard if the two riders are evenly matched. Brad and I have raced each other over 40 times so we know each other's strengths and weaknesses pretty well, and as for tactics - blocking is what works well at Stromlo!
Every time I would go for a passing move, Brad would shut it down with just enough gas to keep me out. The Titus being a bit heavier wasn't helping either - it definitely lacks the kick of the hardtail. After trying at every spot (about 7 of them) on the short 90 second loop, the only place left was the finish line. Which ended up being about 2 metres too short. It was a great race though, as has been the whole series.
I ended up with 2nd overall in A grade to Brad. He won 8 races to my 4 and was defintely the deserving winner. Kylie also got 2nd overall in women. She raced 11 of the 20 in the series including 9 first place finishes and 2 3rd place finishes. Sensational work.
On the weekend I spent a fair bit of time climbing. Over 2500m over the 2 days. This included 6 runs up Stromlo alternating 'Ullrichs' and 'Armstrongs' - secret training method!
After this session I pretty much limped home absolutely hammered. When I got home, it was straight to the couch for a lie down - with all my gear and helmet still on. I was blown! This will pay off in about a week or so when the recovery has occurred.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hilly rides

Hours ridden this weekend: 6
Hilly kilometres: 180
PowerBars: 2
Clif Blox: 25
Bidons of Electrolyte drink: 7
Bidons of Water: 5
Number of times I admired my form in glass windows: 7
Number of times I looked down to admire my leg muscles: 47
Number of times I looked around to see if anyone was chasing me: 7
Heart rate range: 150 - 181bpm
People I saw on bikes: 14
Females on bikes: 9
 Must be chick day out or something, that for sure is a pure cycling anomoly
Number of times these female cyclists admired my form on the bike: 9
Number of times kidding myself: 9
Layers on Sunday: 3
For how long: 45 minutes
Number of times I got out of saddle like Alberto: 0 - very disciplined this weekend
Number of cars that got a bit too close for comfort: 3
Top speed descending Mt McDonald: 75km/hr
Speed on the sharp left hander: 40km/hr
Bad songs on the IPOD: 5
Best day on the IPOD: Saturday
Muppets who chased me: 2
Times I slayed the muppets: 2
Times I lied about being out of the saddle: 15 - only slightly disciplined
Dumb walkers on the bridge 3 abreast: 3!
Number of wobbles pretended when riding at them: 4
Number of large holes dug: 2
Bags of cement mixed: 2
Manful hours doing landscaping: 3
Times I thought my roadie could be lighter: 3
Word association
On road cycle lane from Weston Creek to Stromlo: Paris-Roubaix
Mount McDonald descent with tailwind: bliss
60km/hr down Cotter road to Weston with Tailwind: simulated epo use
Doing wheelies on the roadie up Mt Stromlo: recovery ride
Riding during autumn: peaceful


Friday, March 13, 2009

Stat time

Instead of the usual round and round in circles crit, it was a SuperD of sorts. A climb from the Stromlo carpark up to the bridge then down the berm track back to the carpark. Brad took off like a scalded cat and kept it pinned to the top of the climb. I was about 10 seconds behind him entering into the berm track, and by the end managed to pull back 8 of those seconds! 2nd place. Third place was well over a minute back. This was such a good format for racing, I really enjoyed it but would have liked the hardtail for the climb.
Some stats
Race Time: 9 minutes 40 seconds
Average Heart Rate: 180 bpm
Percentage of Max heart rate: 94%
Ascent: 95m
Climb time: 5 minutes 40 seconds
Descent time: 4 minutes
Lost by: 2 seconds
Total hours ridden including warm up and warm down: 2
Kilometres ridden: 40
Calories burnt: 2010
Bottles of sports drink consumed: 3
Bottles of water consumed: 1
Lens used for racing: fire irdium
Bike weight (dually): 10.2kgs
Bike weight (hardtail): 8.9kgs
Only one more crit to go for the local series. Again at Stromlo, it will be interesting to see if the format is different. With daylight savings coming to an end the lack of sun makes it all the more interesting with options.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to old hunting grounds

On Thursday I dusted off the Titus and headed over to Stromlo for the dirt crit. I signed on then headed off for a loop up the hill for a warm up, and to get used to the bike which I hadn't ridden since October last year. It felt good straight away, which is always a good thing. I lined up about an hour and a half later for the start of the A grade crit. We were joined with B grade (behind us) as the sun is setting a little bit earlier these days. When the gun went, I got a super quick click in and pedalled off at a reasonable rate. The day was windy, and I didn't really went to be off the front, so I 'made' Brad go through on the first corner. For four laps, I kept him close enough, but also kept 3rd place behind me at a nice distance. On the 5th lap I attacked on the start finish straight, not a lot, but just enough to change the pace up a bit. This enabled us to drop 3rd place and allow me just to have to worry about Brad. From this point on, I kept the tempo higher and was able to hold out for the win.
After the race Brad and I smashed each other around the stromlo climb and descent. All in all a good ride for a Thursday. The week is part of a 2 week transition block of unstructured riding, and 2 dirt crits. I didn't ride the bike Monday to Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, and it felt good! On Sunday I got out on the road bike, and bonked after an hour 45. Mental note was made to actually eat some carbs. After about 6 bowls of pasta over a couple of meals, I joined Trev, Michael Hanslip and Andrew for a smash around Sparrow Hill. I hadn't been here since August 2008, but had spent a huge amount of hours there back in the day. I couldn't believe how dusty it was, it reminded me of Majura. As usual the trails flowed extremely well and made for sensational riding. We hit up the big loop and had it sorted before the sun went down.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Success in Tasmania

On Thursday I travelled down to Tasmania with Kylie for the last National Round of the series. A super early start for a flight got us dodging Kangaroos on the way to the airport. Upon arrival we were greeted by a sprawling absolute waterfront property. Again, I nailed the accomodation - this is super important!! And as a bonus we had free internet - sensational.
On Friday we had a look at the course. Nothing overly technical but in practice, the heart rate was reaching 180bpm without too much trying on the climbs. A mental note was made that this was going to probably hurt. After practice we went for a drive up tot the top of Moutn Wellington, 1hich is about 1200 odd metres above sea level. As Tassie is at sea level, this was a huge mountain - great views also.
Kylie was first to race on Saturday. After having a year with injuries, and a bit of bad luck, she was mainly looking at just getting a finish. Kylie managed to get 12th in Elite women which was pretty good as her leadup was not ideal - what with being run over by a Pinarello in the road bunch and getting whacked in the head by a pedal. Nice work chick!!!
We raced home after Kylie's race and I kitted up in the superb 'go-fast' orange and black colours of Lonsdale St Cyclery. This weekend I also had a matching bike as Trev had extremely kindly lent me his sensational Cannondale Taurine, after my bike was waylaid with mechanical issues.
Back at the race track, I took my spot on the start line. There was a slightly depleted field, with a few people not being there. But as always there were a couple of quick locals to keep an eye on. When the gun went off, the 2 local guys sprinted off up the long haul fireroad. They were flying, but I tried just to kepe them in contact. After the first descent, I had caught the guy in 2nd and went past him on the next climb. About 3 minutes later, I caught 1st place and went past and put the hammer down up the long climb. This was a technical switchback climb that fed to the highest point of the track. The descent offered a bit of recovery, passing down through the 4X track - the berms here were great. After 4 laps I had built up a lead of 4 minutes, and racked up my first National cross country race win.
The next day was the short track. This was a sensational course that had 2 bigger climbs than usual. They were big ring climbs (2nd or 1st at the back), but they hurt big time. The bonus was the run down through the berm track through the DH crowd. I managed to get the holeshot into the first corner, which was the plan. A bunch of rabid juniors went through on the long haul climb, I let them go and fell back into about 6th or 7th. No hassle - this would be a long 15 minutes and the 3 laps were going to add a few extra long minutes. I kept going and got back up to 4th. On the 3rd last lap, I had 3rd place in my sights and was planning to overhaul him on the 2nd last lap up the big climb. AT that point it all went pear-shaped, as a stuff-up by the commissaires had them trying to pull me off the track, even though 1st place was only about 10-15 seconds in front. Apparently we had caught so much traffic that they had gotten confused and were pulling people who they thought had been lapped.
After arguing for about 10 seconds, they realised their mistake and sent me back on my way for the last 2 laps. By now I had lost the chance to pull back 3rd place, so just rolled around and got 4th place.
A very red-faced officical came up at the end and apologised profusely for the mistake that they had made. Unfortunate but that is racing as I told him. There is nothing that could be done, so that is how it goes.
As a bonus, I did manage to win the National XC Series for Veteran Men for the 2nd year in a row. This year was better as I only raced 3 of the 5 races in the series and managed to win by 2 points. I also managed to get 3rd in the series for the short track series in Open Men. Not bad for 3 races!!
Anyway, a week off will recharge the batteries and then I can resume training for another part of the season.
Thanks again to Russ Baker for the racing pics.