Thursday, October 29, 2009

catching up

At the Scott 24 hour race this year, I was fortunate to catch up with an old friend from junior racing days, Ben Monroe. It was good catching up talking about bikes in general and what he was up to now as RockStar Racing strategy consultant. A film is in the works documenting the Scott 24 hour quest for the Rockstar boys. I was fortunate to be interviewed in the film, hopefully it turns out alright - it was in transition waiting for Trev to come in!

Pete Smith, Ben Monroe, Scott Finlay and myself were part of the shop team back in 88, 89. Back in Brisbane, in the late 80s there was a strong shop presence in the way of Edward Street Cycles. Laurie Cranley, who now heads up Bikestyle Tours, and Brian Johnson sponsored the local guns in the emerging MTB world.

In 1989, Ben and Scott went over to Mammoth Mountain, USA for the world championships. Ben was fortunate to win the junior downhill event thus becoming the first Australian MTB champion in the process. When he got back I rode with next at the 1989 Australian MTB titles at Pierces Creek at Stromlo. This was probably the first trip away from home for me, being 15 years old! Ben won the Cross Country and the Downhill that year, Scott got 3rd in the XC and I got 6th in the XC.

Even back then I figured that Canberra was a pretty cool place to ride. It might have been something to do with being away with a bunch of guys who loved to ride and race bikes. We drove down from brisvegas in a hired tarago, towing a trailer full of bikes. It was a week long trip and pretty much opened my mind to the big world out there!

Of course, people move on and do new things, there are still probably just a handful of people from those days that still race and ride. The longevity of these people is testament to the pull that 2 wheels has for a lot of them. I am pretty much addicted to the wheels. I currently have 4 bikes, my girlfriend currently has 6 bikes, I own 3 bike helmets, 4 pairs of cycling shoes, 10 pairs of cycling gloves, 5 team outfits, way too much Assos gear!, over 30 pairs of Oakley sunglasses and devour as much information I can in the way of books, magaizines and internet pages.

Strangely enough, I don't hark back to wanting to ride a steel, rigid, singlespeed. There is a reason why technology has advanced!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A nice recovery week

After the Scott 24 hour race, a scheduled recovery week was due. This is mainly due to the fatigue that sleep deprivation brings. At the Scott, 2 hours sleep is considered a good effort. This year the nutrition was sorted quite well. I had plenty of pasta, watermelon, cashews, protein shakes, banana muffin-cakes, cytomax, english muffins, bacon and eggs. The good combination of real food in decent proportions ensured that the early morning laps were busted out with the same intensity as the day before. Only the traffic makes them slower!
Back into the training over the weekend and it was back to back 4 hour tempo days on the roadie. Saturday, out at Contador Creek, I reckon I saw about 50 people. The great weather has brought everyone out. Sunday, it was just quiet as. Evyerone was probably cruising on the flat or something else was on that I didn't know about!
A little bit of discussion on a certain forum today ensued with some punter saying that intervals weren't required for cycling. With that in mind, the morning session today involved hard riding, and the lunch time session included some even harder riding. LT and VO2max efforts on the same day??!! No way it can't be done, it doens't need to be done!!!  --- Well I did them, and I reckon they might pay off in a few weeks time!
I also signed up to do the 4 hour Rocky Trail Entertainment Enduro at Stromlo. Well, the course is superb. Up and down the trunk, skyline and berm track for 4 hours. That should equal 7 - 8 laps. I would do 6 climbs of stromlo, majura or ainslie on any given Saturday so I decided to throw it down on dirt. The fact that it is on a Saturday means that I can also train on the Sunday --- we'll see how that one pans out.
Now I wonder if my new Cannondale Flash will arrive before xmas?????

Monday, October 12, 2009

more photos

more photos of the Scott 24 hour race

James Downing

Scott 24 hour

The weekend just past is the annual Scott 24 hour race put on by Canberra Off Road Cyclists. This year they had capped the entries (solos and teams) at 2500. By reckoning, this amounted to about 630 riders on course at any one time, which at 19km is about one rider every 28 metres.
I was fortunate to be notified during the week that I was selected to race in the prologue. The prologue is an invitational event for the fastest 20 riders to showcase their speed and race for some big money. Unfortunately, I did not win the big prize, but was stoked with catching my minute-man, and averaging over 23km per hour for a quick up and down lap at Stromlo.
For the main event this year the Lonsdale Street Cyclery team consisted of myself, trevor Rix, Will Bowron, Jon Harris, Joel Stewart and Doug McLean. We were extremely fortunate this year to have the absolute luxury of a corporate tent. This entailed a 6 x 9 metre marquee, full lighting, full electricity, patio heaters and to top it off, about 75metres from transition.
After holding the pre-race meeting the weekend before, we had the tactics sorted. After setting up on Friday morning, then going for a quick spin around the day loop, we decided to go with Plan B. This course was full on for an event like this. The fatigue would definitely kick on as the course went on, not to mention the traffic. We took time at slickrock to sort out some different line options, this came in handy in the race as Joel was able to make up 15 positions in one stylish passing move.
The course this year consisted of about 400m climbing per lap - this is pretty considerable. The course also included a lot of technical trails out the backside of Stromlo. Definitely a rider's course. The course also included a mental breaker at the end which added on a cruel little climb which took all of the mental energy (as well as physical power) to get you up. There was also a dedicated day and night lap. The night lap taking the more conservative approach down 'skyline'.
Will was the keen participant in the run and got the team off to a fantastic start. We lapped solidly for the next few hours, and in perfect timing, Trev turned up! This was great as Trev had to work the morning, but he was able to get out early and we slotted him in so that all in the team were able to do a single lap before their second. As night fell we went to the double-teamed lapping strategy to allow for everyone to get some well-deserved sleep. This went like clock work, and we rode strongly through the night.
Sometime before 8pm Kylie went to the timing tent and fond out that we weren't down as part of the 6man teams, but were with the corporate teams. Trev got this sorted and we soon found out we were in 2nd place behind Team Felt. This stayed like this until the end of the 24 hours, the felt boys putting in consistent lap times and their win was well-deserved.
Each person in the team was able to get in about 5 laps each which added up to about 100km for each rider, taking into account transition and warm up and warm down. All up the team did 513km in 24 hours.
Special thanks go out to Trev and Janie for the entry and associated management of provision of a luxury corporate tent for the team - hugely appreciated by everybody. Kylie - for sorting the timing board early on to get everyone in the transtion mindset, and also for the awesome cakes, Rachel, for volunteering and also popping in to talk - and all the friends, wives and girlfriends for poppin in and saying hi, and keeping everybody's fatigued mind stimulated with 'new' talk - it all definitely helps.