Saturday, November 28, 2009

stick to your story no matter how lame it is


Former Gerolsteiner and Cycle Collstrop rider David Kopp has been given a one-year suspension for cocaine use by the Flemish cycling federation. The ban was post-dated and expires on December 31 of this year.

Kopp, 30, tested positive for cocaine at a Belgian national race on September 11, 2008. The German denied having intentionally using the drug, and said that someone must have spiked his drink at a club two days earlier.

This is what happens when you go out drinking with Tommeke!

Friday, November 27, 2009

rain approaching

Another Thursday, another dirt crit. In the morning I woke up and headed out for an hour and a half through the soup that was the feral humidity that was hanging around. It was almost like I had a headwind in every direction. Just really sucky.
The morning was spent in a training course for work at another building. Leaving the room for a short break, i exited the door into the hallway and was greeted by someone. It was one of those ones where they know who you are, but while you recognise the face, you are not quite sure who it actually is. I am sure that if he was in full bike kit and on a bike I would know exactly who it is.
Riding over to Majura from my place to the race start is always a sluggish affair on a split session training day. Kylie had just left 2 minutes before hand but had to turn around and wait for me because either she was flying or I was lagging.
The course was awesome. A nice length fireroad followed by fast slightly descending singletrack that rewarded smoothness and tech skills. The latter half of the track was sent backwards up a trail to the base of the fireroad. Going over tracks backwards is harsh due to the braking bumps that exist on this track. Not massive, but something to make it even harder to ride fast over.
Gazza got the race underway with an inventive countdown. 10.....4....Go! - This worked great, the 3,2,1 countdown tempts the riders to clip in way too early. I drag raceed Dylan Cooper up the fireroad searching for the holeshot. As he was on the inside and 3/4 of the way up the side, I decided it was not a good idea to chop him off, and just backed off slightly and slotted in just behind.
The first lap was pinned around at a rapid rate. Halfway through the 2nd lap Brad Morton went past me, which was good as at this stage I was happy to get through the bumpy stuff and have a small recovery. On the next lap up the fireroad I hammered past Brad and was also able to get back onto Dylan's wheel. This stayed like this for 2 laps.
On the last lap, Dylan pretended to slow down and be tired before the fireroad (I only know this because I have done it in the past also!) He then hammered up the fireroad with me right on his wheel. He then gave it a fair hit over the next bit of singletrck and the elastic stretched a little too much. a minute later the race was done.
Dylan first, me second, Mark Tupalski 3rd, Brad 4th.
Stats from the race
Time: 14:00
Laps: 6
Avg Speed: 28.6km/hr
Max HR: 188
Avg HR: 177
Kylie had an awesome race within B grade mens and got 14th. She was loving the tech singletrack at speed.
After the race it was about cruising home the long way, whilst it tried to rain on us. A pretty nice way to finish off the day.
20 minutes after getting home it poured down!
Got to love staying dry!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stromlo West - XCO race

On Sunday, CORC ran round 7 of the XC series - this was held at the Mount Stromlo Western Carpark. Now these trails are a bit more tech, and there are some more 'hills' available out here - so all week I was wondering what sort of race course would be used.
After registering and getting ready, I headed out for a practice lap. I was not disappointed. The course took in 100m of vertical ascent each lap. This doesn't sound much - and half of it was in the Big Dog, but it was really hard! This area of stromlo is also really technical, dry and dusty at the moment, which made it a good challenge when trying to ride fast.
There was a decent turn out of Senior \ Elite riders this morning. All up there were 10. Some of the names included: Dylan Cooper, Ben Henderson, Jeremy Ross, Brad Morton, Shaun Lewis and Will Bowron. When Paul Cole got us underway, it was an absolute smash fest to try and get to the singletrack first. I managed to get there in 3rd place behind Dylan and Ben, with Jeremy and Brad right behind me.
After the first compartment of ST we headed out onto the fireroad climb in Big Dog, plus 5th on the back - pure power grinder this hill. Pretty much for the next 4 laps, Jeremy and I went back and forth. He would power away up the fireroad climbs and I would pull time back on him on the singletrack descents. Brad was still right behind us, probably less than a minute at times, but he was caught in no-man's land.
5 laps later I manged to come in 4th place, behind Ben, Dylan and Jeremy, with Brad and Will in 5th and 6th. It has been a while since a CORC clubbie has had some decent climbs. This was one of those really good races where every body has a bit out on the track that suits their particular skillsets. It was probably one of the most enjoyable races I have done, in the fact that it was a good battle with some extremely good racers. I will probably be pretty sore tomorrow!
  • 5 laps
  • 6.1km lap
  • 100m climbing per lap
  • ~31km total distance
  • Avg HR: 174bpm
  • Max HR: 187bpm
  • Avg Speed: 24.7km/hr
  • Max Speed: 63.5m/hr
  • 2 litres of EFS drunk - far out that is a lot!
  • Temperature: 25 degrees
  • Humidity: 55%
  • Oakley Radar - Retina Burn
  • Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8

This week was a recovery week of sorts. Mainly the volume was lower. Plus with the Short track on Thursday called off due to Total fire ban because of 38 degree weather, the weeek just got chopped! Now to tune out the diesel over the next 2 weeks prior to going to Hobart for the first National Round.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

long rides, belgium beer and snakes

Saturday and Sunday were both slated for 4 hour tempo rides. I was going to race the Rocky Trail Entertainment 4 hour race at Stromlo, but with a proposed start at 12:30 and a proposed temperature of 33 degrees, i decided to skip it.

So out to the West I went on Saturday. Round and round for a bit, coming back I decided to climb Stromlo to get some water and saw a really big dead snake at the side of the road - just as I had come up beside it. Scared the crap out of me. Kylie said she saw one out on the farmer plains up out of uriarra crossing.

Later that night trev and I consumed a lot of Belgian beer to see what it would feel like to be Tom Boonen. Jokes aside, the smallest one which was a Jupiler at 250mL was considered to be 1.8 standard drinks. The funniest one (which may not even be belgian) was the HoeGaarden. Ah yes, that is where I keep all my ladies!!!

Sunday, it was hot already in the morning. But I managed to smash it out to the dirt after Condor Creek in a pretty quick time. The climbing was going well, and the voices inside my head were debating whether it was good form, or a good tailwind. When I turned around, I still went fast, but climbing out of Blue Range, I found the headwind. And it was also fast down Mount MacDonald, where Kylie again managed to pedal down to the corner and exceed 70km/hr beating me by 1km/hr. Girl got skills.

After filling up at the Cotter, I pinned it up to the base of Stromlo, then slammed it into a big gear and grinded my way up Stromlo to get some more water. The snake had gone, which was weird. I wasn't complaining though.

After getting home I weighed 2 kgs lighter after drinking 3.5 litres on the ride. It was slightly hot(ish).

The weekly training objective was met, but I need to start heading out earlier I think in order to beat the heat and not do too much damage to the body. We'll see how that works out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The second dirt crit of the season

Well, another week has passed and it was again time for the Thursday afternoon dirt crit. Again at majura, however this time the course was flat. And twisty, with majura's trademark sinuous singletrack. It also had a kick ass 1% fireroad which was plenty long for passing, and totally doable in just about the hardest gear!
Quite a few more people turned up today, including Dan McConnell, Ben Henderson, Nathan Haas, Matt Rizutto, Brad Morton, and Mark Tupalski. This was defintely going to be excellent. When Gazza got us underway it was an absolute drag race up the fireroad peaking out at 39km/hr before the first corner. I went in at 5th wheel behind ben, Nathan, Dan and Brad. On the 2nd lap Brad went through on the fireroad and slotted into 2nd and I was still in 5th behind Dan. Around the backside we were still in a single file arrangement when ben hit a stick the size of a cricket stump. It went up into the air at head height twirling in slow motion for the amount of time for 4 riders to pass. It was hysterical.
By this stage the elastic was beginning to stretch and ben was getting a slight lead from brad. On the 3rd lap I laid some power down and went past Nathan on the fireroad in search of Dan's back wheel. Brad had a mechanical and had to stop by the side of the trail to tune a front derailleur that had misaligned itself randomly!
I finally got Dan's wheel on the back side of the 5th lap, where he nicely let me through which allowed me to slot into 2nd place and essentially no man's land. ben was too far in front to get back, oh well no problem. ben 1st, Me 2nd, Tupak 3rd.
Now, it was quite apparent to me that both Dan and Nathan haven't raced since the Worlds so their motivation factor was probably pretty low for a humble clubbie. It was pretty classy Dan letting me through when he knew I was keen to go on.
Afterwards I cruised around Majura with Tupak and brad, and then did the backside of ainslie for a spin down before cruising home talking to the kangaroos!
Stats from the race.
  • It was warm and muggy
  • Race Time: 10:40
  • Avg Speed: 26.1km/hr
  • Avg HR: 173
  • max HR: 184
  • Dusty as!

Commuter Olympics

I decided to figure out how many traffic lights there are on my standard 90 minute, 55km morning training run. It turns out that there are 37.
This morning I managed to get stopped at only 3 of them. This is pretty amazing, thus the post:)
On average, I would say that I would get stopped by about 10.
This is pretty much why, on weekends I take the roadie out west of Canberra towards the Brindabella Mountain ranges. No lights, not much traffic, slightly hilly.
Dirt Crit this afternoon - hot day - majura pines - shade by pinus radiata.

Friday, November 6, 2009

First dirt crit of the series

Majura Pines, hallowed grounds for many ACT riders. 5 minutes from my front door. View of Mount Majura from my dining room table!. First dirt crit round of the CORC series for 09/10.
Steve and the ONYA crew set up an absolute brute of a course for the first round of the series. The course started half way up the main fireroad from the bottom, before turning left into the singletrack, then left shortly thereafter to follow a rough old track that had doubles, drops, berms and more doubles. It then crossed the fireroad then hooked back up through the native section which twists and turns then rocks up back at the base of the main fireroad.
This fireroad is pretty long, has a grade of about 3%, pinches past the start finish spot at 5% for 10 metres then flattens back out to 3% on the run up to the singletrack. But, the real climbing starts after the double track, and includes about 200m of singletrack that has a very slight false flat.
When the start gun went, which was actually steve just counting down, I got a quickish clip in and laid some power down. I drag raced Brad Morton, Mark Tupalski and Shaun lewis up to the singletrack and got the holeshot for the entry, the descent was pretty much just a recovery for 10 seconds then it was all about the elbows absorbing the bumps and making it as smooth as possible.
On the exit onto the fireroad, I let Mark and Brad go past and promptly got onto Brad's wheel. On the next run up the fireroad, Brad's weekend of racing caught up with him a bit, and I went round him and started to get Mark in sight again. I followed around for another lap and noticed on the second last lap that he was slowing down very slightly. At the exit of the singletrack, I had got back onto his wheel. From here I was checking to see how he was trekking and figuring out when to go past him. Mark got out of the saddle for the little pinch past the start finish line, and as he was sitting back down I made the jump across on the blind side. From here I just buried myself and sprinted out of the saddle up to the singletrack. This got me a decent gap and I was able to hold on through the rest of the singeltrack and take the win, which was extremely pleasing.
After that it was just talking crap with everyone and riding back home with Kylie.
Some stats from the race.
it was freezing - well it was 15 degrees, which was half of what it was on Monday
it was actually the same temperature as my morning ride that same day.
Time: ~12 minutes
Average Speed: 26.6km/hr
Avg heart rate: 170bpm
Max Heart rate: 184bpm
Glasses: Oakley Radar black frame, Hi-Intensity persimmon pitch lens.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

year in review

The last 12 months have been pretty good with regard to racing. My season runs from the start of the Dirt Crits in November to the start of them again the following November. I usually have 6 weeks off racing in the middle of the Canberra Winter in order to freshen up mentally and keep the desire. I still train during this time, just no racing.
In the last 12 months I have entered 29 races, not including the prologue at the Scott 24 hour. Not sure how to classify this one - sort of like a race within a race. The breakdown of events enetered goes like this
  • 1 SuperD
  • 1 24 hour race (6 man team)
  • 1 100km race
  • 1 hillclimb
  • 9 cross country races
  • 16 short track races
The unique result breakdown goes a little something like this
  • Super D - 2nd
  • 24 hour race - 2nd
  • 100km race - 6th
  • Hillclimb - 7th
  • Cross country -  2 x 1st, 3 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 2 x 4th, 1 x 5th
  • Short track - 5 x 1st, 8 x 2nd, 2 x 3rd, 1 x 4th
Notes on specific races
100km race was first of this kind that I have done. This should be a good one to progress in the years to come. I liken these to the Classics races within the ProTour events. It does take a few years to figure out the route, the pacing, the distance etc.
SuperD was a sensational event. Top of Stromlo to bottom of Stromlo, via skyline. Hopefully there will be more of these to come.
Hillclimb - should not have raced this event! - Just came back from Geelong National round and was not even close to being fully recovered.
Cross Country - finally won a national round down in Tasmania in Vet men. Also won a local round at Stromlo. Had a good day out at the national titles to get 2nd in vet men - loved that course.
Short track - finally won a national round down in Geelong in Sport men. One of the third places was due to a flat tyre on the last lap after building up a healthy lead.
Managed to get 2nd place at the Australian National championships for both XCO and XCC. (Vets and Sport men respectively)
I also managed to win the National XCO series in Vet Men for the second year running. This year I had different objectives and actually wanted to win a race, so I did less of the series races, got the win at the last round, and as a bonus also got the series from 3 of 5 races. Sweet! I also came 3rd in the National XCC series for sport men - Sport men is essentially the fast U19 and the Vets at the National level. Again I only raced 3 out of 5 of these, So the placing was a bonus.
Locally, I finished second in the A grade Crit series to Brad Morton. Currently I am leading the Senior\Elite men standings for the CORC XCO series.
In all of these races I have had 3 mechanicals in total - 2 flat tyres and 1 bent chain. Still finished all races.
No cramps in any of the races - EFS is some good stuff for my purposes. Lots of electrolytes.
Reasons for better performance
A few things stand out.
Researched a lot of things. Never stop learning
I tightened up my nutrition. This resulted in a further loss of 6kgs. This does make a big difference. I should be able to safely lose another 2kgs over this summer, without any loss of power.
Raced a little less - not sure how, but the total amount of races is down from the previous 12 months by 10. - Not by choice!
Made sure that i focussed on making incremental, sustainable gains in training. 6 week training blocks (a'la Lemond style) definitely worked here.
Got a hardtail and made sure that the bike was never the weakest link, some stuff here that is definitely not getting mentioned - free speed!
Made a lot of 1% improvements in many areas. The incremental accumulation of small performance gains do add up - thankyou to Dave Brailsford (UK - team Sky) for that one.
Got some white shoes, white gloves, a white helmet and white parts for the bike. The white gloves only come out for special occasions!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sparrow Hill Round 6

On Sunday there was Round 6 of the CORC XC series. What a day. Hot and humid with lots of blue sky and sunshine. The day before I had spent a few hours out around the Cotter and Contador creek lapping up the sunshine. When I woke on Sunday, I was still a little tired and the muscles were telling me that I had done some good work. Kylie cruised out with me today, which was good. We talked crap for the half hour drive out to Sparrow Hill, marvelling at the massive roundabout put in for Captains Flat.
After registering I set off with Joel and Bronwyn Ryan and Kylie for a light practice lap. Joel was rolling some new SRAM XX on his 29er. Only just got it. The lap was pretty cruisy, just checking out the 7km track. Pretty much just big dog action today. When the start call came, our field of 10 senior\elite men pinned it up the fireroad at 35km/hr. The first bit of singeltrack was a fair way off. I settled into a good rythym and popped in behind Joel for the entry of the singeltrack. We caned it around uneventfully for about 17 minutes for the first lap (17:09). Then some reshuffling occurred and Brent Miller took off with Joel on his wheel. I settled in behind Mark Tupalski and we cruised around for 2 laps until the traffic started getting pretty ordinary. 225 people turned up - just amazing the pulling power of Sparrow Hill.
On the 4th lap I put the power down and Mark popped off somewhere - I later found he busted his rear derailleur, and had to DNF. I thought I had Matt Rizutto on my wheel, and was occasionally talking to him as such. On this lap, we managed to pass Joel Ryan, not sure if he blew or had a mechanical. I also ran over the ass of a snake that was slithering across the track. I thought Matt was having a good day out, and was having a lot of trouble dropping him. On the last lap, I opened it up some more (not much left to open really) and tried to get a 5 metre gap. This held for about the 3.5 kilometres and I was able to get across the line for 2nd place, behind Brent Miller.
Then I realised that it wasn't Matt, but Brad Morton, who had also nicely won the ACT club road championships on Saturday. If I had known it was Brad, I wouldn't have left it so fine. I will always back myself in a sprint, but with Brad it is a pure 50/50!
Some stats from the race.
Distance: 7km per lap  - 5 laps - 35km
Time: me, 1:27:47 (winner 1:27:27)
Avg Speed: me, 24.26km/hr, (winner 24.36km/hr)
Avg HR for race: 170bpm
Max HR within race: 184bpm (pretty close for today's relative max)
Glasses worn: Oakley Radar Retina Burn
Time on the bike this week: 13 hours
Drink: EFS - lemon lime
Gel: Gu Roctane orange on 4th lap.
So that was the last race of my 12 month season, which runs from November to November each year. The new season as such, starts on Thursday with the first local dirt crit.
Later this week I will post the yearly assessment with the finer details of races and their results.