Monday, August 30, 2010

working on the tan

The last weekend before the Angry Doctor 100km race. The weather this weekend was perfect for riding. So I rode, and ensured that a few things were checked off.
  • Friday Massage
  • Friday Pasta
  • 5 hour road ride Saturday
  • 2000 vm Saturday
  • Saturday Pasta
  • 4 hour MTB ride Sunday
  • 1500 vm Sunday
  • VO2 Max intervals Saturday (Mt McDonald, Dog Hill, Condor - all x 2) - These were all done for 3-5 minutes after building to a LT level. These hurt bad.
  • Truck loads of gels, bars and energy drink consumed
  • Sunday night Roast
So what's new for this week? Well, I will ensure that I get some good sleep leading up to next weekend. I will reduce volume a bit (a little) and increase intensity (a little) to essentially tune out the diesel a little bit. Lots of rest and ensure the bike is running perfectly. Another massage Thursday night and all should be feeling good to hit up some hills.
I will also think back to that lovely day at the end of May, affectionately known as the Capital Punishment mud-fest, and remember all of the ways that I coped with that particualr set of conditions. It seems AROC have the monopoly on 'epic' race conditions. Yes it does look like the AD will be wet this year. How wet, will be determined by this weeks localised climatology.
Anyway, it's just a race, every one has the same conditions!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

what a sight.

I love the sight of this. It is the point of turnaround at the top of the Condor Creek climb. It means that the descent can begin. It is exactly 45 kilometres from my front yard to this point.
I have ridden up further from here on the road bike, but it does get a bit rough at times as it is frequented by many vehicles that cause awesome corrugations!
I have ridden down here on the MTB in the dark, sans lights, sans energy, coming home from an epic Brindabella adventure. What was I thinking? Heading out to the Brindies with Graeme Allbon with just 2 powerbars! That was about 15 years ago.
Occasionally I do go off onto the fireroads on the road bike, a lot of them are really smooth. Warks Road isn't too bad on 23mm tyres. One day I might fit up some 25mm tyres on the heavy training wheels and go exploring. Or, I could just head out there on the mountain bike. Actually, I think that could be a better option. Lots of trails out there to explore. One day....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Big weekend

They usually always are, however in the last month I have been working on specifically logging log miles, hours and lots of vertical gain. This is all being done in readiness for the Angry Doctor in early September. Training is the coping mechanism for racing and what better way to be able to cope than to replicate what is being dished out.
Sunday's ride was the first on the mountain bike for a while. It started with a time trial up Mount Ainslie via the twin peaks loop trail. With the amount of water on the trail, as well as 5 hours the previous day, I was exceptionally happy with the time taken to climb this mountain which was on par with course record time.
I then ventured over to Bruce Ridge to ride the Anaconda trail. Not bad, but really slow here due to truckloads of soil moisture, known affectionately as mud in places and a bit squishy in others. Over through Black Mountain I kept to the high grounds and got through this part before hitting up the Cork Plantation and Dairy Farmers hill.
When I got to Stromlo I filled up with water and headed up the trunk trail. Wow. I have never seen sloppy mud at Stromlo before. I must admit I didn't ride the MTB last winter much and now I know why! A run down skyline and the berm track punctuated my exploration of Stromlo as I didn't care too much to take on too much more mud.
From here it was a strong pinning back via the fireroads parallel to the Tuggeranong Parkway, a traverse through the Cork Plantation and Aranda ridge, followed by an urban assault to the Hackett lined channel, where the urban singletrack got me to the base of Mount Ainslie once again. Just up from the old Ainslie tip, I took the steepest fireroad to get up Mount Ainslie in the shortest possible time. It was a granny gear, third on the back effort, but it was still quite hard especially with the pace being pushed. I hit 183bpm on the first Ainslie climb of the day and was hitting 175bpm on this one.
As I hit the sealed road I knew that there was only 2 minutes left, so dug mildly deep and pushed it to the white line that someone has nicely painted near the sign where the road levels out at the summit. I looked at the snow off in the distance, the observatory pods on Mount Stromlo and got myself ready for the descent. Not that hard to do! Just tuck and check the brakes and let go! By the time I have hit 70km/hr I flick left and I am off the sealed pavement and onto the fireroads.
10 minutes later, I am back home and pretty stoked with the 2 day block just put out. The training objectives have been met and that is the main thing!! Next thing on the list was to strip the bike, fully clean it, and put some new consumable parts on it to freshen it up and just chill.

A good ride can be very satisfying indeed....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Specialized S-Works Podium Shoe

That's right! A shoe to wear whilst on the podium. When you are taking the steep rise up to the podium in order to showcase your recent race ability, it is vital that your feet are well supported.
There have been plenty of documented cases where racers have slipped whilst on the podium steps. Why... they were probably wearing their cycling shoes (FAIL) or they had non-PRO shoes on.
The Specialzed S-Works Podium shoe (AKA Stumpy II) is the solution for all of those little problems. Firstly they have the BOA system that all top-end Specialized cycling shoes have. Secondly, they have the exellent Specialized BG foot beds. Thirdly, they have adequate ventialtion and support.
The styling is quite bold with a patent leather look in black and white, which should go with your fresh cycling outfit that you have just put on after finishing the race.
There is super grippy rubber on the soles so that you can kiss the podium girls, spray champagne around, and then walk suavely over to shake the hands of the invited dignitaries and so forth, without slipping over and looking non-PRO.
As they say in the Rap Game..... Pimpin' aint easy! - However with a pair of S-Works podium shoes you are halfway there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lonsdale St Cyclery Information Nights

For those hooked up Facebook, check out the Lonsdale St Cyclery Wall.
24hour Race Survival  Night seminars
Come in and Listen to INDUSTRY EXPERTS speak on matters that can help you improve comfort, endurance and ultimately your enjoyment at Australia's biggest mountain bike race!!

Wednesday 1ST September
September 1 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm
The second night in our series features:
Craig is an osteopath and yoga instructor and will be discussing the relationships between setup, comfort, breathing and ultimately endurance.
September 15 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Ok, the big one! World 24hr Champion Jason English will be discussing RACE ETTIQUETTE AND TECHNIQUES and showing off his new 2011 Pivot Mach 4 race bike.
September 29 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Check out some of these information sessions if you are interested. Some of them could unlock some of the things that may make your racing and riding more enjoyable or successful!

Team-mate needed for fast team at Scott 24 Hour Race

This is basically a public service announcement on behalf of Nathan Spencer, who is after a team-mate for his team 'On the Go Advertising' (

Everything is fully paid for - you just need to punch out the fast laps day and night as part of the team.

They are a man down and need an extra person to step in and ride fast. Contact Nathan directly at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Otherwise known as a standard ‘average’ training week…..

Monday: off the bike


Tuesday: AM: 2 hours road bike, push some hard gears, work the LT, sprint a bit, chase commuters.


Wednesday: AM: 2 – 3 hours road bike, big gear Mount Stromlo repeats – 4-6 at LT, keep times within 10% of each other. Keep pedalling whilst recovering.


Thursday: AM 2 hours road bike, play it by ear depending on fatigue level. Ok to split this day up into 2 sessions, trainer\road in morning, MTB at lunchtime.


Friday: Lunch time 75 minute MTB ride – twin peaks loop – race pace, or 45 minute MTB ride at recovery pace.


Saturday: AM 4-4.5 hours road bike, hit up lots of mountains. Ensure last hour is done reasonably hard


Sunday: AM 4 hours road or MTB depending on requirements



Repeat for a number of weeks then have an inside trainer week with an extra half hour of sleep, with half an hour less riding. Never increase volume by more than 10% for each successive week. Build weeks can go for 2-6 weeks depending on specific requirements.


In Summer, Thursday is XCC race day for 5 months – good high intensity training day. Still do 2 hours in the morning, probably switch hill day to Sunday.


Racing can also occur on the weekends for XCO or 100km races.


Recovery is important, eating is important, hydration is important.


Highest intensity work only ever conducted at a volume of 10% or less of total weekly volume, except for a race week, where racing is done at what ever intensity required to perform – ie usually pretty high!


It is not a lot of weekly volume as it has to fit in with other commitments such as work, house cleaning, bike repair, tv watching, recovery, living etc, but it seems to work ok for me with regard to doing XCC, XCO and XCM (ie 100 km races).
As they say, you reap what you sow....


Monday, August 16, 2010

Compressports Compression Garment Review

Recovery is the number one thing that helps an athlete respond to the daily training stimuli. Consistency with training is also another thing that is vital in order to progress. There are many ways to recovery effectively, including compression garments. A lot has been documented about the virtues of compression garments, so I won't be elaborating on these details. If you need to know, use the google.


I have used these compression garments since XMAS 2009. I pretty much throw them on straight after a ride and wear them for quite a while after. The unique thing about the Compressport items is that they are a 2 piece set.  There is the quad version and the calf version. This is pretty good in my opinion for many reasons. The compression is actually being performed on the muscle itself, as opposed to the bony bits such as the knee.


These things are tight. This is an exceptionally good thing as it is exactly what you require with regard to compression. The other great thing is that unlike other brands the tightness does not diminish over time. This is the greatest attribute that these garments have. The set from XMAS lasted until August this year with daily use. That is pretty sensational.


They come in both black and white colours and there is also a line that includes some extra recovery oils embedded in the material. I just use the plain jane model.


Having 2 sets of garments for the quad and the calf allows you to wear them underneath long pants, easily put them on when flying or driving, and are also cooler when it is hotter. These are all pluses when combining training and racing with real life.


I guess that people pretty much fall into the yes or no bandwagons on the validity of the compression justification option. If you are in the 'yes' group, then these would be worth looking into. Trev has just started stocking these at Lonsdale Street Cyclery in Braddon (Canberra). If you are in the ACT, and want to at least check them out, you can pop in at any time. They also have a website where you can buy them direct.


These items are pretty big in the triathlon scene, when actually competing, but would also have possible application in the longer enduro scene – ie 24 hour racing. I haven't ever used them whilst racing or even riding the bike in training, but it might work for some. Apparently they are banned for UCI sanctioned events. Supposedly…..

Friday, August 13, 2010

The 'Andy Schleck' Specialized Tarmac

Trev got a new bike. Size 52cm 'Andy Schleck' Specialized Tarmac SL3.
Pretty good bike. Very similar carbon frame to a Cannondale Super Six (trev's daily ride). Seat tube is squared off towards the bottom bracket after it passes the bidon cage bolts.
He is consideing putting Campagnolo Record 11 speed on it, but I am betting he will go for Shimano Di2. At the moment it is a ghetto mix of mechanical dura-ace (pov version) and a non-PRO Ultegra front derailleur.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Common theme

I think it has now been two weeks I have relied on the kinetic trainer, guns n roses, tdf repeats, spinervals 24.0, and the hallway mirror. Oh yeah, I have also relied on high electrolyte content verofit.

The weather has ultimately forced me indoors to get me training. Yesterday was a 2 hour double set of spinervals, 24.0. This should pay off sometime in the future.

I heard that the weekend could be fine..... i will be going out anyway!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good day on the trainer

If you hear those words, you have to be suspect. The trainer is the last resort. However, today it is a 2-trainer session day due to the rain, cold and the wind. The first session is a 'pre-sunrise' session where basically it is a good aerobic session. This is also a good opportunity to spin the legs out after the weekends' race.

The second session will be a 'Coach Troy' Hills sesion. This is a spinervals DVD which is slightly comical for many reasons, however it gets the HR up to Threshold and is a good hour of pain. Lots of towels and big fans blowing all over the body are required for this one. Also a good electrolyte drink to replenish lost salts. And there will be lots of lost salts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

CORC XCO - Stromlo Race – 08 aug 2010

Early Sunday morning in August. This sentence guarantees that it will be cold. CORC were running round 5 of the series out at Stromlo at the Western Carpark site. Kylie got the car running about 15 minutes before we left in order to have everything nice and warm and the ice defrosted off the windscreen.


After the last 2 weekend spent down the coast, I had booked myself in for a recovery week. The week was spent on the wind trainer, just slowly turning the legs over, at an embarrassingly low HR and perceived exertion. I also managed to clock up an extra 30 minutes of sleep each morning, which was just sensational.


On Thursday I decided to spin up the twin peaks loop to see how the body had responded to the enforced\required recovery. Another 14 seconds lopped off the course record, even if the HR, due to being fresh, was through the roof. The joys of being fresh. On Saturday I ventured out into the cold, and did my allotted 3 and a half hours, but felt pretty ordinary. Probably a reaction to the cold weather, but everything felt blocked, legs felt short and the ride was almost a chore. Just one of those days, pretty much.


Heading out to Stromlo, I still felt pretty regular, but didn't dwell on it as I enjoy racing at Stromlo, and figured that the racing would bring the necessary distraction to the situation. After registering, I went out to spin the legs around the course. The Western Carpark course is becoming a standard, one which tests the technical ability of a rider, as it is extremely fast for an XCO race, plus contains rocks, trees, and enough twists and turns to ensure that the rider is tested appropriately.


Even with a super cold morning, there were still close to 200 people who turned up. On the start line the goose bumps arrived on the skin as all of the warmth was sucked out of the body. I tried to stay warm just by talking crap with everybody. This lasted for about 5 minutes before the racing got underway.


My start was pretty ordinary as it took a few pedal strokes to get the cleat engaged, but after that I slotted into 3rd place behind Matt Rizutto and Brad Morton. They were setting a pretty awesome pace, and I worked hard to manage my initial outlay, yet stay on the wheels.


The first lap was a flier, due to not hitting up any traffic. The 2nd lap I went to the front up the fireroad climb and led through the whole lap up until the last climb, where I managed to get stalled by a slower rider and had the most lame crash – falling sideways. This was a good opportunity to fire the adrenaline, and I managed to get back on and then get back up to Matt who had snuck through whilst I was counting weeds on the ground.


Again on the 3rd lap I decided to go to the front up the fireroad climb, but at the top, Brad decided to sneak through and lead the train. This stayed the same until the 4th lap where yet again, I went through on the fireroad climb after Matt and Brad had set some blistering pace through the Crim track singletrack. At the top of the fireroad climb, I kept the pressure on and got a bit of a gap in the technical singletrack.


By the time I had got through to the feedzone, I had managed to get a healthy buffer of 20 seconds on Matt. Starting the final lap, I decided to empty the tank and keep the gas on, as I know that Matt has a decent ability to close out a race on the final lap. At the top of the fireroad climb, I snuck a peek back and saw Matt fully tucked smashing the climb. Luckily I still held onto the buffer I had established on the 4th lap.


I kept the tempo high through the singletrack, making sure that I protected the tyres and picked good lines. As I was starting my descent down 'double dissolution' I looked across and saw Matt finishing up the climb, still at the same buffer of approximately 20 seconds.


90 seconds later I was crossing through the finish line for the win with Matt not too far behind, and Brad again not too far behind Matt. All in all, a really good battle with some fast guys on a very satisfying race course.


Notes from the race……

  • Pretty high output. The first half of the course allowed for some awesome smashing. The 2nd part was tech. Basically 2 sets of climb + descent.
  • Stats to come later, but HR was reasonably high due to the nature of the course. Matt, Brad and I pushed the pace pretty high.
  • Continental tyres worked extremely well in the (finally) dry condition at Stromlo. There was about 3 metres of wet soil out there, but nothing to stress about.
  • Not a lot of traffic, probably due to the fast average speed of this course.
  • Legs felt like crap after the 4th day of a 4 day block – not surprisingly! Missed out on massage this week and definitely felt it by Saturday afternoon. Monday morning – no difference.
  • Met up with the newest member of the Lonsdale Street Cyclery 6 man team  – Ben Carmody. Superfast bike rider who will compliment the team this year at the Scott 24 hour in October.


Next up….

Some good long hilly rides to build back up the endurance and accustom the body to the repeated hills of the Angry Doctor in early September.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Continental Race King 2.2 Long term review

I have now had the Continental Race King 2.2 tyres on my bike for 6 weeks. During this time they have had a fair bit of use. In particular it has been relatively moist and there has been a fair bit of mud around the place here in Canberra.


I have thoroughly enjoyed riding these tyres and there are a few reasons why which I will attempt to articulate below.


First of all, they have a large bag. By this I mean that they have a lot of volume to work with. With a fair bit of subtle experimenting, I have managed to come up with an ideal pressure which allows for the best combination of fast rolling, cornering sidewall stability, and small bump absorption.


Second, the small block height is perfect for my application. There is no unnecessary squirm, I am not having any problems with grip and the knobs are holding up quite well with regard to wear. This is for a tyre that has been on for 6 weeks. That in itself is a major bonus.


Third, straight line speed. They are pretty fast. Always a hard one to actually quantify, but I have noticed a decrease in my times up timed mountain climbs. I also raced these tyres in the Super D event at Stromlo recently and took the win, as well as 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 9th fastest times of the day. Of course, this could be down to form and ability, but the bike is an extension of myself (on good days) so not an insignificant factor.


Probably their greatest strength is the combination of the large bag with the light weight. I run a hardtail, and it seriously feels as though I have an inch of travel just in the tyres alone. The black chilli rubber also 'feels' as though it conforms over terrain.


The more either suspension, or tyres can deform over the terrain and cushion the vertical movement, theoretically the faster one can go in straight line forward motion. If you run a hardtail then there may be an argument for a bit of 'cush for the tush'.


The straight line grip is a no brainer. Pretty easy to get grip any time, more a matter of how you ride the bike rather than the rubber itself, however, good to know it's there if required. There is also a fantastic transition set of knobs on the side which allow for sensational lean angles and perfect cornering ability. Coupled with the low knob height and the feel is extremely consistent throughout a corner leaning exercise. This is a good thing.


I haven't really had the opportunity to ride these in 'true' dry terrain, as it just has not been purely dry of late. My best times in timed sections have occurred when the trails have been moist (and theoretically slower), therefore I need to wait until probably about October for this.


As you can see from the photos though, I have acquired a few more of these tyres. These will be loaded up in due course as the others are retired.

Monday, August 2, 2010

road trip - version 2.0

Another cold, wet, windy Canberra weekend. Another Road trip to the coast. Mogo was a nice balmy 19 degrees and sunny both days. This definitely led itself to lots more riding time over the Angry Doctor trails.


On Saturday the trails were a little damp, from the week's rain on the front 25km, which combined with the hills made for a really tough day out climbing. That sort of goes without saying as the climbs are not ones you can do slowly, easily or lightly. In fact, it would be pretty hard to do a recovery ride around this area. There are almost no flat roads anywhere.
As I think I have mentioned before, there is 1000m of climbing in the first 25 kilometres alone. This is about the same as 5 and a half times up Mount Stromlo. But covering about half of that distance.


On Sunday, we started from the 30km mark (sort of where the first feed zone as last year). This side of the course was a fair bit drier, which was pleasing, but there were still a few soft spots. Combined with the motos who don't care too much about throttle control and you will get the occasional soft bit of dirt to contend with. We hit up a few sections multiple times to get used to the sensations at various places along the course.


The river crossing this time, had to be done on foot, carrying everything over, as the river had swollen quite considerably in the week. It was pretty much up to mid-quad height, which would have been well over the hubs and bottom bracket.


I hit the 50-55km up at a fair clip of pace at the end of Sunday's ride to simulate the sort of pace and feelings that would be associated with this spot. There is, unsurprisingly, a fair bit of climbing here. The trip down from this high point, took forever to get back to the main oval at Mogo. There was however some fun singletrack here, but again, some really brutal climbs in amongst the trees that I remember from last year as being really tough. So nothing has changed!


I have a club XCO race slated for this weekend at Stromlo. The early morning temperature is forecast to be minus 4 degrees. Secretly I am hoping that the weather at the coast will be warm to give me an excuse to head down to some extra warmth. Maybe, just maybe…..