Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting colder

I think summer has pretty much flown the coop.
The mornings are starting to be foggy and cold.
Under 10 degrees.
I have started to scavenge for items in the winter drawer.
Knee warmers, arm warmers, under shirt, shoe covers.
The good thing however, about riding and racing in winter is that you can pretty much push as hard as you want as you will not blow up due to the body not managing the heat.
Whether or not your legs can go around is another thing, which is why Assos is in business and there is a market for Belgian kneewarmers.
Lots of races coming up in the next 6 months.
Australian Marathon Championships - QLD.
Dirtworks 100km - NSW
Husky 100km - NSW
Back Yamma Bigfoot 100km - NSW
Angry Doctor 100km - NSW
Scott 24 hour - ACT
Club XCO races - ACT
Club SuperD races (series hopefully) - ACT/NSW
A good summer of training should hold these ones in good stead for some enjoyable racing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

CORC Dirt Crit series wrap up

This year's CORC Dirt Crit series was a battle with the elements foremost with at least a good quarter of the events being cancelled due to bad weather and just about every other race encountering some sort of mud.


However, every Thursday from November to April was put aside to race the fast paced short track event. All grades are catered for in this format from U11 to A grade. The riders compete on a short track anywhere from 500m to 1000m in length and will race a predefined number of laps over a time frame of 10-15 minutes.


As you can imagine, this sort of racing relies heavily on the higher abilities. The ability to be able to ride fast off road at a heart rate close to 95% of maximum, against others, and make split second decisions with regard to tactics is what defines a successful short track racer. There is no time for making mistakes as even losing 5 seconds in this sort of format can penalise you in the long term, which in this case may only be 10 minutes.


Kylie and I  competed in 10 and 11 of the total 13 event respectively. Other national round commitments stopped us from attending all of these.


Kylie managed to dominate the women's category and also managed to get 2nd (or 3rd – subject to final result not quite yet in) in B grade overall.


I also managed to get 2nd overall in the series in A grade against a superfast Brad Morton.


Overall it was another successful Short track season campaign with a lot of fast riding taking place, and a lot of new people met and some awesome times had.

I am a huge fan of the short tack format. Over the last 5 seasons I have raced in 85 of the short track events here in Canberra and also at National Rounds.
It is a good opportunity, at the local level, to get in  good 3 hours of riding with a hard smash of 10-15 minutes in the middle for some excellent top end training.
Can't wait for next season!
Pictures courtesy of Russ Baker.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Capital Punishment 100km 2011

You have got to love a 100km mtb race that traverses your local trails, goes right past your front door, and is done in under 4 hours. A lot of anticipation for this event in the mtb community in the weeks leading up after last year's mud fest. Thankfully, this year, relatively dry and awesomely fast trails. 

The start was at Kowen forest and pretty much hit up all of the best trails in this area before heading to Sutton road for some singletrack action. From here it went across some awful grass paddocks to get to the base of Mount Ainslie before heading over to Mount Majura. After Majura, it was a 10km untimed section to the base of Black Mountain. After cruising up the saddle the course wandered through the Cork plantation, arboretum then finished up at Stromlo for some awesome singletrack.

Everyone was super twitchy on the start and we broke the timing mats while the race was being called up. Some riders broke the start as the count down from 10 seconds started. The start wasn't too different to a short track or cross country in that it was flat out to position yourself well for the first 2 km before the first bit of singletrack. Looking around, I was surprised at some of the riders who seemed to be writing cheques that their bodies would not be able to cash at a later stage. 

I managed to get into the singletrack in about the top 15 or so which was not too bad, but unfortunately this lost contact with the lead group of 8 or so. No big deal at this stage as it was only about 5 km into the race. By the 10 km mark, I was riding with Jarrod Hughes and another guy and we were swapping off along the fireroad to keep the lead group at about 30 seconds. 

Marc Williams and Dylan Cooper had slight mechanical issues and we managed to pick these guys up. I mentioned to Dylan that the lead group was only just up the road, and he put the hammer down and dragged us all back up to the main bunch. He latched onto them, but Marc, Jarrod and I weren't staying on that train. We settled into a rhythm and motored on down into Sutton Road which was a predominantly downhill run. 

By the 3km road section of Sutton Road, we also picked up Brent Miller who was caught in no man's land. This bolstered our strength and  we all pulled through down Sutton Road and up over into the defence land, where Jarrod had an unfortunate flat tyre. Around the airport we could see Peter Hatton and Brendan Johnston. Up over the saddle and into Majura, Peter had done a flyer, we lost Brent, and had picked up Brendan. 

Majura trails were fast and flowing and had a good amount of wear showing after the 50km racers had been through. Marc and I went through the feedzone at Majura vineyard and dropped brendan. We smashed it back through the tight and twisty singletrack where the grip was just sensational. 

When we exited the forest, this was the start of the untimed section. I was fortunate that this part went within 100m of my house so I popped home, and got some more drinks, some fresh gloves, new glasses and some more energy gels. Sweet as! Most of the guys I talked to in the top 10 also did the same. 

At the end of the untimed section at the base of Black Mountain, it was time to wake back up and get the legs and lungs ready for the climb and the hammer out to Stromlo. It was here where I was starting to pick up the backmarkers of the 50km event. This was about 30 odd km to go, so it was also a place to start emptying the tank. 

I got to Stromlo and paced my way up the climb so as not to blow everything. I also ensured that I kept my tyres in good shape. There are a lot of razor sharp rocks out here and I was running 450gram tyres with paper thin sidewalls! The descent down Skyline and the luge was awesome, a light dusting of rain making the tracks super grippy.

The race course veered off to Slant Six and made its way out to Double Dissolution via Willow's link before heading back down to the finish line which was situated on the road crit track. I didn't know it during the race, but I was fortunate to finish in 1st place across the line and was met with a massive amount of fanfare and applause. I wasn't counting my chickens though as I knew that the untimed section would definitely play a part in the final result.

I was fortunate to be interviewed by SBS's Jim Trail, the Cyclenation crew and some journalist students from Canberra uni. Always good to feel like a rockstar for 15 minutes!

In the end I was right about the overall result. I came in 9th in Elite, which I was stoked with based on the quality of the field. Dylan Cooper had a great win with Peter Hatton and Ben Mather rounding out the podium. 

My adjusted time in the end was 3:54:31, (90km) but total riding time was 4:17:52, (100km),  so it was definitely a fast 100km event. Due to this it was also pretty easy to put out a fair bit of effort with my heart rate averaging about 167 for the whole time. I was pretty spent at the end and was satisfied that I had put everything into it that I could.

Later that afternoon, we all went to Brendan Johnston's house for a BBQ prior to heading to the Crowne Plaza hotel for the presentation. This was an awesome affair with hundreds of riders staying on to eat drink socialise and party. 

The event this year far surpassed last years in so many ways. Last year was epic and unique, this one was an excellent follow up for many different reasons. Congratulations for putting on an excellent show and making 1700 mountain bikers happy for an awesome day out on the trails.

Photos to come shortly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Australian Titles Cross Country race by the numbers

Today I downloaded the Heart rate monitor files for the week just gone.

The cross country race last friday had the following numbers....

Total Time: 1:17:53
Lap 1: 14:59.6
Lap 2: 15:48.8 (dropped chain)
Lap 3: 15:39.9
Lap 4: 15:43.4
Lap 5: 15:41.0 (front flat in last 100m)

Average Heart Rate: 179bpm

Max Heart Rate: 190bpm

Percentage of max raced at: 94.2%

Laps: 5

Temperature 30 degrees C

Ascent 600m

Verofit bottles: 5

Oakley Radar Fire iridium lens

As I mentioned previously, this was pretty deep. Running at 94% of max heart rate I was definitely getting as much out of the body as I could. To put it into context, the next day in the short track I could only average 178 and max of 186 for 11 minutes.

Definitely managed my peak and taper correctly, and expended the exact amount of energy required for this particular race. I am extremely happy with how this particular build went and obviously also happy about the result.

It is always great to win a title for the first time, but super satisfying to be able to defend it successfully.