Saturday, December 19, 2009

enforced break

I knew something wasn't quite right in Tasmania. I had a good win, but it wasn't the normal feel of 'effortless elatedness'! Even the pictures that Russ Baker took of me looked like I was not feeling good.

This week has been pretty much a write off with regard to training. The lungs and the head are clogged with either a cold or really bad allergies. Phlegm is not good for cycling!

SO in the meantime, I have been watching the cricket, installing a watering system and cleaning up the garage waiting for my head to clear up. It is a good time to dial in a few of my bikes, new chains, new push rod lever kit for the Avid Juicy Ultimates. No more slop at the lever!

Monday, December 14, 2009

stats from the weekend

Well, I have said it before, but I do reckon that Glenorchy is one of the toughest courses on the circuit. Stats don't lie.

Avg HR: 175bpm
Max HR: 189bpm
Distance: 28km (so short!)
Avg Speed: 20.91 km/hr
Total vertical metres per lap: 222m (888m for the whole race)

That is like climbing from my house to the top of Majura every lap!

Short track was just as hard, same sort of numbers, just a bit more dust with a bigger pack. Just a blur of pain - especially the soggy flase flat at the top of the course -every lap 185bpm trying to get through this to the bit where it starts descending.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

in the box

The cross country event for me started in the late afternoon. After pickign up my transponder and attaching it to the fork, I went for a spin to warm everything up.There was a ferocious headwind which at one point on the flat allowed me to pedal only at 17km/hr.
Veteran Men started at 2:35, and the mood on the startline was pretty relaxed, but the heart rate was revving nicely. When the gun went off, it was the usual frenzy of bravado and effort, at the feedzone (only 150 metress up from the start) everything had pretty much settled in. I was sitting in 4th wheel, making sure that I didn't go too deep, too early. This was my plan for this particular course.
I caught up to and passed 2nd place after the first descent, then made my way up to the back wheel of first place just before the long 6 minute climb. I tried to go past him just at the base, but he also attacked back, which was fine by me as I could then see how he rode. One thing stood out and that was his descending skills, I later found out that he was a former downhiller.
After the feedzone, I made why way past him and put some pressure on. This worked a bit, but he came back before the climb to sit on my wheel. Amazingly, as I don't consider myself a pure climber by any stretch of the imagination, I made a up a fair it of time up the hill. He did manage to bring it back again on the descent into the start finish straight.
The way that this particular race panned out was that the third lap ended up being pretty crucial. I pretty much buried myself  here and was able to put 45 seconds in on him, to have a handy buffer going into the  last lap. After the final hand up at the feedzone, I just kept turning the pedals over and ensuring I made no mistakes until the finish line.
Stuart must have had a last lap resurgence as I spotted him when I was about 2 minutes from the summit, and he was bearing down on me like he meant business. At the top I just hammered the descent knowing he was going to make up some time here. By the end, there was just 8 seconds in it!
Over the same course, I managed to go 90 seconds faster than the last time I was here in March. No let up on the climbs -stats from HRM to come later on Monday. I saw a lot of 180 action!
I would have to say that this was one of the most full on races I have ever done. Never in the zone, just fully in the box.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

tassie part 2

After getting the bikes together on Thursday and having a bit of a snooze, I headed out from Austin's Ferry to the track at Tolosa Park. This is about a 30 minute ride away. The Inter City rail trail offers a gentle gradient to wake the legs up before the climb up to Tolosa Park. I got rained on a bit whilst heading up to the park, but not too much.
Having raced here earlier in the year, I knew where the course went. I decided to just do the first part and do a couple of loops of that. First impressions were: I am glad I brought some mud tyres. Slick and greasy are not the forte of the Kenda Small Block 8, which are my tyre of choice, and have been for the last 3 years. Hitting up the first descent on dusk was pretty cool, add in some slick and greasy tree roots that cross the trail at 45 degrees made it even better.
After two mini laps I was done with the recce, and started to head back. Then as I was descending into Glenorchy, it just bucketed down and soaked me to the skin. At this stage I could not wait to get back to the house and get dry and warm.
On Friday, I headed out to the race course in the morning for a wake up cruise. Rego was open and my legs were still feeling blocked and dead, so the hill up to Tolosa Park did its bit in waking them up. Rego was easy and quick having pre-entered a couple of months prior. I then cruised back home and had a bit more food before the official practice started. After lunch I headed out to the course, eager to see what sort of track was ready for us on the top half.
The second half of the Tolosa Park XC loop is probably one of the hardest climbs at any National round in Australia. AFter coming off the first climb and descent (practiced on Thursday) there is a short 30 second pinch followed by a Mt Beauty styled descent before a 'relaxing' climb for 90 seconds up to the junction again. This is where the real climbing begins. For the next 6 minutes it is just a maximum level middle ring 1st/2nd at the back slog. Lots of switchbacks that are tight and go up the fall line - no flat easy 'Stromlo' style switchies here. The hardest part is a long straight where you are still 2 minutes from the true summit. This is a long drag over rocks and logs.
After making it to the top, there is a full on descent, long fast slightly off camber straightaways, with tight root and rock ridden switchbacks. Very hard to keep a decent flow, but really challenging nonetheless. After getting through all of this it is then onto the bottom opene section which runs beside the 4X track. This has berms, drops, doubles and is one of those bits that is reasonably enjoyable. When that is all finished, it is back onto the start straight for another lap.
The hard bits about this course is that there is not a metre of flat ground anywhere. There is a lot of climbing and the descents are quite demanding and are reasonably hard to recover on. All in all a good test for a National event.
After practice, I spun the legs out cruising home. The feelings in the body were good, I had got the lungs and legs in alignment, there was no need for mud tyres, so all that is left is to wait until race time on Saturday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

in tasmania

We left Canberra this morning, waking at 5 to catch a 6:30am flight. After being reamed $210 for excess baggage we made our way through to the Qantas club lounge for breakfast. An uneventful flight to Hobart via way of MElbourne ensued and finally we had made it overseas to the apple isle. We took a detour up to Mt Wellington which was windy and freezing. Well it was about 10 degrees up there but 22 in Hobart.
Finally we got out to our accomodation. We got a place right on the Derwent. 3 bedroom house riverfront views in a very quiet neighbourhood.The bikes have been put together and I'm going to head off for a ride into Hobart itself via the 'Intra-City Rail Trail'. We actually saw some maintenance guys giving part of it the once over with a blower to make it spotless. Awesome!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Another week of tuning\training has almost gone. Yesterday I discovered the pluses of buses. Well I already knew it as chasing buses is pretty good training. This time, I got the best draft ever and it pulled me along for about 2 km, without me having to barely pedal. Safe as!

Anyway, I rolled over to Majura on Thursday for the weekly short track racing. With the Tour of Bright being on this weekend, Brad Morton, Mark Tupalski and some others didn't show up. Dylan Cooper has been doing 30 hour weeks as of late, and I hadn't seen him since Sunday, when we chased the draft of a truck up to Stromlo on Cotter Road.

Gareth set a brute of a course (which secretly I was loving). Drag race up the 3% fireroad, hard left into singletrack, tight and twisty, then hard right to cross a fireroad and go up through some rocky rooty ultimate tech singletrack - just awesome. Now we have been climbing since the start, so this really hurts. Then a tech downhill, one foot drop off hard left onto the fireroad, then back though some twisty Majura magic before hooking back up with the main fireroad.

So, when the start call went, I made sure I got the holeshot into the first bit of singletrack, as the steep pinch halfway along was causing all sorts of havoc in B and C grades.

I made a mental effort to start 'slowly' - ie not go too deep, otherwise lap 3 would really be bad. I had Matt Rizutto nehind me for the first lap. I sprinted out of the saddle all of the way up the fireroad for the start of the 2nd lap trying to increase my lead just a little. Slowly but surely I stretched away from Matt, until by the start of the last lap I had the entire straight. I had some great support from friends at the side of the track which always goes a long way to making the pain seem normal. 2 and a half minutes late I sprinted acros the line for first place, very pleased.

Kylie pulled out a pearler on a course tailor-made for her skillset and won the female class and got 10th place in B grade against the guys.

Today, was a relaxed work day. A colleague is leaving so we went out to another colleague's house on the river and went fishing, drank some beer, watched some cricket, ate some food and talked some crap! - It may just become a standard friday afternoon 'thing'!