Saturday, February 26, 2011

pics from nationals

2011 Australian Titles - Radelaide

Back in Adelaide for the 2011 Australian Mountain Bike Titles, I was looking forward to racing both the Olympic Cross Country and Short track formats against some tough competition.

Kylie and I flew down on the Wednesday, booked into the house, and whilst I put the bikes together, Kylie went and got some food for us. After that we drove up to the Eagle on the hill venue to check out the track.

The first ride after travelling to an event is always a shocker. This was no exception. Sketchy, gravelly, slippery - I was questioning my choice of tyres as I struggled to get any grip on my first practice lap.

I did another half lap and called it a day. Time to get some pasta in the belly for the days to come. Thursday morning, Kylie raced and was able to succesfully take away a national title in the cross country format for her class. She did an exceptional job in the heat managing the body and the bike around the tough course.

Later that afternoon, I headed out to the course to cut some laps. The main climb was one that was able to be done in the 40/36 (just) and took about 3 minutes and 45 seconds to do. After this there was a bit of flowy singletrack where you could recover a little. This was followed up by a 2 minute 40 second climb through technical rocky singletrack which could be done in the big ring, but was better for the legs to use the small chainring and about 3rd or 4th on the back. At the top of this climb was an opening that was to be used as the neutral feedzone, which then funnelled into some tight twisty technical singletrack. The last climb was a 1 minute affair before heading down into some fast sweeping singletrack descending through trees. The last descent was down sunset boulevard which used to be a bunch of super tight switchbacks, but was now just fall line bombing. After this descent was a bunch of sweet sweeping switchbacks that rolled over extremely rocky terrain.

After 3 laps I was extremely happy with the tyre choice and the challenges that the course had to offer. I decided to ride home to spin the legs out and as I was leaving the venue, I was looking down at the chainrings, and managed to run into the back of the x trail that Kylie had parked at the side of the road! Such a shocker! I bruised up my left shin with a couple of corkers, and gave myself a bit of a fright.

The rest of the night was spent icing and compressing the shin bruises to reduce the swelling. By the morning, it was fine and I was able to go for a 30 minute spin without any hassle.

Later that afternoon, I headed out to the venue for the late afternoon race. I did my warm up and got back to the start finish line to be called up to the start grid. We were starting behind the 25 or so U19 riders, and I had a strong line up of racers to contend with. Rohin Adams, Perren Delacour, Phil Orr, and Craig Felix were all on my radar as fast guys I had to keep an eye on.

From the gun, I got a superfast clip in and got the holeshot up the first super steep loose gravel climb. As we rounded the turn up the hardpack ascent, Rohin put down some major power and quickly got a 10 metre gap on me. I tried to limit the losses but not go too deep, as we still had 5 laps to go. By the time we reached the bottom of the 2nd climb I had caught up with him again, which was a relief, as we were starting to catch up to the tail end of the U19 class.

I put the hammer down just before the final descent and got in front of Rohin to lead him down the descent and up through the start finish line in about 15 minutes. Again Rohin attacked on the climb and opened up a small gap. On the descent my chain popped off on the outside, and I had to stop and put it back on. In this time, Rohin was able to get a good 20 seconds clear, and this gap went back and forth for a few more laps until the 4th lap (of 5) when I managed to relatch on.

On the start of the last lap I grabbed a bottle from Kylie through the start finish line, sucked down some verofit and locked my gaze onto Rohin's rear wheel. By the top of the loose steep gravel climb, I had got onto his wheel and was close to redlining. Rohin put in a huge effort over the next 3 straights of the climb which had me fully at 190bpm heart rate. Going under the DH tunnel at the top of the climb I had a chance to recover slightly.

At this point the singletrack split into 2 lines. I attacked really hard and put down about 5 seconds of max power which was enough to put about 5 metres into Rohin and get me in front prior to the singletrack descent. This was enough to allow me to recover and go again for the next climb. I managed to extend on this lead and was able to eek out one minute and 28 seconds by the end as I crossed the line defending my title earnt last year.

Rohin came in second followed by Perren Delacour rounding out the podium. As I was coming up the final rocky climb about 100m before the finish my front tyre caught a sharp rock and cut open the sidewall. I managed to ride the last 100 metres with the tyre slowly deflating, but not my luck. I will take that one.

The course was 6.5km long and I reckon that about 5.5km of that was rocky. 9 laps and the rear tyre is absolutely hammered and in need of replacement. It was that rough.

On Saturday I raced in the Elite Men's short track and managed to get 15th with the energy I had left over, which was not much!

Numbers to come in due course, but this one was really tough.

Very happy once again, this one was a tough battle and one of the best races that I have had racing against some extremely tough competitors.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The long weekend

This weekend was all about hitting up some more good length rides that will help out in the time to come.
Saturday started at 5am with an alarm clock to get me out of bed to get my ass over to Phillip for the start of the bakery ride. This was a pretty mellow affair until the normal sprint start at Gold Creek. From here it averaged 45.6km/hr until the bottom of Horse Park Drive.

After the ride finished up in town I kept it at tempo and headed out to Condor Creek and back for a nice round trip of 175km. The overall average speed was quite good today also.

On Sunday, I woke up and found I had a flat rear tyre. So I grabbed Kylie's Roval wheels and headed out for a flattish 100km in 3 hours, just slowly turning the pedals over.

Both days were really humid and it was a struggle to get the fluids down and keep hydrated. There was plenty of work to do on Saturday night with both hydration and eating in order to get things back to some sort of normal energy level.

Monday is a recovery day before setting up for the last block of major training before commencing my taper before the National championships.

Really looking forward to this race. Motivation is quite high as is desire to race. Should be good whatever happens!

Photo is from last year's nationals at the final climb up to the finish line.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Dirt Crits -Stromlo

In the morning, I cruised out on the road bike, for a nice spin. Later that afternoon I ran some errands, had a nana nap, then woke up and headed out to Stromlo for a dirt crit. 

The course was a similar one that was used about a month ago. Really fast, requiring huge amounts of power and some good skills whilst keeping it pinned.

In attendance were Brad Morton, Dan O'connel, Ben Henderson, and Ivan Rybarik all with good form and wanting to put on a good race.

From the gun, I slotted into 3rd position with Dan and Brad in front. On the first major corner Ivan made a big move up the inside, and took back a couple of spots. He was intent on leading and managed to head up the group of 5 for about 4 laps. At that point Ben and Brad went by him and took Dan with them. At the finish line it was Ben by a whisker over Dan with Brad in 3rd and me in 4h just ahead of Ivan.

This was a sensational race with all positions changing over the course of the race. Pretty much though you could throw a blanket over the group of five, it was that close.

Avg HR 178bpm. Reasonably intense.

Total km for the day 135-140km. 5 hours.

Thanks to Russ Baker for the pics.

Brisbane's bike way

When I lived in Brisbane about 20 years ago I used to ride my bike to uni at UQ in the suburb of St Lucia. There were a couple of ways to get there, both by utilising the on road and off road cycle networks that existed back then.

In a good way, progression is occurring in different parts of the cities within Australia. I came across this photo on a blog I was checking out showing what Brisbane now has - and how quickly it was cleaned up after the floods.

The 'old' bikepath actually runs at the top of the cliff line under where the cars are driving.

I like the fact that they have made it wide enough for both pedestrians and cyclists. Quite progressive really.

Today I did a lazy 75km around the flat arterials on the road bike. This afternoon I am heading over to Stromlo on the mountain bike to race the dirt crit as well as sneak in a few more extra hours. Total today should be about 130km split between the road bike and the mtb.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hills day

Wednesday is hills day. I tend to do most of my hills on Mount Stromlo pushing a couple of gears harder than normal for the strength benefits with the HR at Lactate Threshold for the engine benefits.

Today was no exception and 6 repeats were done with the times all being within 10 seconds of each other. In a pleasing way, the times are coming down also. Today they were another 10-15 seconds quicker than 2 weeks ago. 

After that was done, I met up with Kylie at Stromlo Forest Park and we rode together until Dickson where she pulled off and headed home, whilst I headed up to Gungahlin to get a few more kilometres in. 

All up today, about 115km, in about 3:45. Recovery Nachos, rice cream and lots of water.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The start of good times

Today was the first day in the start of a good four week block of riding and racing leading up to the Australian XCO MTB Championships. 

The morning was sensational with an easterly breeze that pretty much just made it a tailwind everywhere. I was able to roll out 120km in about 3 and a half hours or so, without breaking into too much of a sweat. Well it was only 18 degrees. It was a wonder I didn't go for the knee warmers.

I managed to run into Daniel Schlage up in Gungahlin and had a chat to him for a while. He told me he was recovering from a broken foot sustained by dropping his motorbike on it! Ouch. He also said that he was hitting up the Otway Odyssey to do the 50km. Good Stuff!

When I got home I found a parcel in the post containing some extra RAM for my PC. When I pulled the desktop PC apart I was blown away by the dust. It was amazing! I got the vacuum cleaner out and cleaned up as much of it as possible. Pretty mental that's for sure! Hopefully it should run faster now with the extra RAM plus by being clean!

Tomorrow - hill climbs at Stromlo, probably. There are six to do. These are done so that the repeatability is quite sustainable. These do hurt a fair bit as they are done at a good LT pace. However in terms of value for training output they are gold.