Thursday, 29 November 2007
It’s hot. Summer is a few days away and sharing her love already. The last couple of days doing pre and post work sessions on the trainer, I don’t think I’ve sweated as much, ever. Last night I wrung out my nicks. Even this morning at 5 am, when it’s meant to be cool, I was drenched. Or it could just be me. As it was, I got to 20 km this morning and stopped. I’d had enough. I was very hot, tired, weary and plain fed up. I don’t remember being so intolerant to heat, particularly early morning warmth. Perhaps it was just lack of sleep. Normally cutting a short a morning session wouldn’t worry me, as I just make up the kms that evening, but tonight we are going to the Spicks n Specks road show at the Comedy Theatre. Another late night, another short night of sleep, another crabby training day tomorrow.
Looking at the entry list for this weekend’s Tour of Bright, the number of women entered is excellent, and from all over the country: NSW, ACT, SA, VIC. My favourite road racer Pip Read has entered, so can’t wait for her sms updates over the weekend to see how she goes.
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
The hour between 5.30 -6.30 was one of the fastest hours of my life, lap by lap, watching the stopwatch, comparing lap times and to Hourof Power Woman’s body language, wondering what the hell was going through her head for those 60 minutes. All I can say was that it was very emotional sharing the final hour of Liz’s journey with her, and I was choked up with a tear in my eye for the bell lap: Coach DJ laughed when I said I think I am going to cry as she crossed the finish line.
151 laps. 3 laps off the target, but an incredibly strong effort nonetheless. 3 minutes at race pace is bad enough, so multiply that by 20 and perhaps you might glimmer what it could possibly mean to ride for an hour. I am still trying to get my brain around it, and even begin to understand why you would possibly want to. Coach DJ and I watched each lap, discussing where we thought she was at, what coaching should be offered (ie focus, steady your body, dig in, don’t bloody well give up!!!, how are you feeling?). Failure to finish was not on the agenda for any of us and when HoPW began to cramp, and swung up high to use the boards to keep up momentum, I thought she was losing it. I am not one to scream out, but that’s exactly what I did – across the infield during a well-timed lull in the music. Two precarious laps and she was back into a rhythm, driving along to gain back some precious time. The final 10 minutes were brilliant, with faster lap times, bucket loads of guts and determination.
The grandstand was loud and incredibly supportive, and the atmosphere was superb – lots of anticipation, lots of support and encouragement, with everyone well and truly behind HoPW. I noticed the difference between HoPW’s ride and Shirley Amy’s ride in terms of the atmosphere: the music and slightly larger, noisier crowd just lifted the place. The bell lap was something special, and I gave Liz my own little standing ovation on the back straight.
So it’s over, with that lull now before starting all over again for the old girl. Apparently she wants another crack at it, announcing this fact just after “giving birth” the first time! Most people would wait and think about it, but then, I thought the same thing after my first nausea-inducing, black-out threatening pursuit. Admittedly, I was surprised that HoPW was so chipper and spritely after her ride: no dribble, no vomit buckets, no quiet lie downs, but the delirium showed with that comment….
Liz, your legend status just scored some more gold stars. Congratulations on an awesome ride. I'm very proud of you, and your ride.
Monday, 26 November 2007
Today is Hour Day – HourofPower Woman’s attempt at the Hour record. I’ve purposefully not made any blog entries over the last couple weeks on HoPW’s efforts, as she has enough stress and pressure to deal with, without added weight from me.
Tonight I’ll be trackside, part of the support team, coaching, encouraging, hopefully steadying HoPW as she pedals at least to an Australian record, and perhaps a World record. At this stage, there will probably be four of us sharing line duties. An hour is a long time to be standing by the boards, focussing on your athlete, keeping an eye on their lap times, their body language, posture on the bike, cadence and rhythm, providing encouragement and direction.
I am not sure what to expect afterwards, none of us probably are, apart from knowing HoPW’s legs won’t work when she walks, she probably will be very untalkative, will be incoherent at times, will be terse, gruff, and snappish (well, wouldn’t you be after riding your guts out for an hour non-stop on a boring indoor circular track?), she may even dribble. She certainly won’t know which way is home (sorry old gal, had to throw that one in, one last time ;-) ). One thing is for sure, a whole bunch of people will be very proud of this tough, focussed, determined woman. She has been a tremendous ally and support to me over the last year, so it’s a privilege to be able to provide whatever support I can to help make Liz’s day a success for her. Rock on HourofPowerWoman!!
Reading Mike Goldie’s blog this morning was heartening. This last week of training has been difficult – not only trying to wrestle time to do it from the vagaries of life (ie work, family commitments etc) but also physically more difficult to deal with. I spent more time on the trainer this week also, thanks to rain and a reticence to ride solo on roads at dawn O’clock, with HourofPower woman in her final week of preparation for the Big Day.
Week 2 back in the saddle and I felt great – speedy, strong, invincible. Week 3 and I felt stiff, sore, grumpy, slow, lacking ability. So Mike’s blog on his experience of Week 3 made me realise that, well, what I am feeling is probably pretty normal.
Friday I did my scheduled kms, then threw in some deadlifts and squats immediately after. Saturday Mr Legs, Mr Incognito (a buddy of Mr Legs. I can’t tell you why I call him Mr Incognito, as I’d have to then kill you) and myself did a 75km loop of Kinglake. My legs were dead from Friday’s work, but I made it readily up the main climb, practicing a new breathing technique, and without stopping on that horrid steeper section marked by the green side railing, near the top. I often stop there (don’t tell Coach) as my legs usually give out as the road pitches up. When we reached the top, Mr Incognito said that he thought my fitness has improved since the last time we rode together (over 6 mths ago), which put water on my critical self-analysis that was blossoming at the time. Mr I is a strong rider, particularly uphill, and I heard him puffing a few times up the climb. Overall the ride took 2hrs 45. Usually I pay no attention to how long the Kinglake ride takes, just how I feel doing it, but Mr Legs noted that it was the fastest he had done the course, even when he was at his absolute fittest a couple of years back (I think that was at the time I first asked him out – climbing Kinglake as a matter of fact!).
Sunday Mr Legs, Mr Univac and Mr FIGJAM (no comment) and I did our 1:20 loop. Mr Legs was suffering from the day before; Mr FIGJAM took off like a rocket even before we started, not wanting to be a LOSER by not being first to the top. If he were in a start gate, he would have dragged it up the hill. Mr Univac and I cruised up at around 15 kph, chatting away enjoying the scenery like it was a… Sunday morning drive… By the time we were within 2km of the top, Mr FIGJAM was in sight. Then he turned and saw us with about 1km to. He lept out of the saddle, hammering on the pedals, trying (unsuccessfully) to put more into the couple of hundred metres between us. Mr U and I kept chatting and pedalling, and I chuckled to myself as Mr FIGJAM kept up his race to the top, desperate not to be beaten by a woman (or, more specifically, me). He was the same after our coffee stop, hammering past me at the very start of the downhill, desperate to prove some over-testosteroned point.
Apart from having to ride with a jerk, I finally road tested my new “race” wheels I picked up at the end of the Sun Tour. I bought some new titanium skewers (thanks Steve at Le Tour) on Saturday, so decided the 1:20 would be a great test run for the Eurus. Uphill they actually didn’t feel much different from my Protons, apart from rolling slightly more smoothly. Downhill however, I felt the safest I have ever felt, taking corners more aggressively and a bit faster than I normally would ( I am a pathetic downhiller – very nervy and speed conservative. I am vertically challenged in more than one way!). So I was pretty stoked by the time we got into Montrose, and I give the Eurus a 10/10 crankscore.
I had 3 hours of track training Sunday afternoon with Coach and a bunch of elite juniors, so when I got home from the 1:20, it was into feed up and rest up mode, in preparation for the likely painfest. I was pretty tired and my legs trashed, so it was on with the Skinz, in to the Endura, eggs and spinach on toast, plenty of fluids and legs up reading the weekend papers in bed for a couple of hours.
It was really good to be back on the track bike, and back on the boards, but riding with the juniors was simply a lesson in how much work is ahead of me. My legs were totally flat from the weekend’s work so I struggled to keep up in any meaningful way. You have to wonder when you think to yourself, when I grow up I wanna be as fast as those kids. A couple of the girls had raced the Revolution series the night before (winning or placing in all their races), raced Glenvale that morning then put in a solid session on the track that afternoon. These girls are awesome, and their dedication and commitment is really proving itself now, as they continue to improve and stamp themselves on the track. I am certainly on their cheer squad.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Finally I’ve downloaded my photos! Weekend before last, Mr Legs and I headed back “home” to Boolarra. The weather was very warm, the pastures thick and lush from the recent rains (ie floods in
After the Grand Ridge loop, rather than heading back towards Churchill on the highway, we took a detour along the
The road is extremely quiet, narrow, overhung with wild plum trees, pasture, blackwoods, with farms either side of the road cut into the hillside. Riding up, I noticed on a corner some stairs down to the river. On the way back, we stopped and coolled some tight, overheated calves and quads in the chilly water. Although it looks brown in the photos, the water was quite clear, with the rocks below providing the tint. Fox’s Hole was once a very popular picnic spot, complete with a swing rope over the river. Now it’s just a bend in the river, and my new hydrotherapy spot in summer.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Pip's season is just getting better and better, and she continues to prove age isn't a prohibitor to excellent performance at Opens. Rock on Pip!
What a change from one weekend to the next. I’ve been meaning to blog about the weekend before last’s riding, in sunny downtown Boolarra (complete with pics). However, I’ve been too busy to download the images from my phone, and refuse to blog without the photos. Hence the lack of riding reports. Weekend before last provided some gorgeous riding, both in scenery and weather. This weekend just gone was not so pleasant.
Saturday, Mr Legs and I ventured out on the mtbs to check out the bike path route I take to work (when I actually do ever ride to work!). It’s part of the new Eastlink bike path and has been subject to closures due to upgrades. The upgrades that affect my ride are now complete and pretty darn good! I also did a tweak on the front end of my mtb that I’ve been meaning to do for over 12 months, and wanted to test my mechanical alterations. Basically the bike, even though it’s a small frame, is too big. I finally turned over the head stem, and turned the riser bars into downer bars, for a better fit, and greater manouverability in the front end ie I can now pick it up over obstacles more easily.
The temperature at 4.30 pm was hot, but not grossly so (unlike today!). By 2/3rds of the way home, I was beginning to suffer great thirst, despite drinking enough (apparently!) and was more hot and sweaty than usual. 3/4rs of the way home, I started to feel shaky ( a bit odd on a 60km ride but I just figured it was from hammering up the hills to remind Mr Legs of who really wears the nix in the house), so stopped at a little milk bar for a Gatorade (why did I choose the dark green one??? It looked so refreshing and full of carby goodness) and a little bag of multistriped “fruit” straps. After stuffing my face with sweet and sour fruit straps, saying to Mr Legs how great they were, we rolled on home without event.
Within an hour of getting home I felt ill. Very ill. Not long after I was thankful I had cleaned the toilet that morning. Eventually things settled down enough that it was safe to go to bed, after realising that eating anything was a pointless exercise. I woke up the next day, semi-delirious, totally forgetting we had planned a Kinglake ride with Mr Univac. A quick call from Mr Legs sorted that out, and also saved him from getting wet later in the morning when the much needed (thinking of the grass in the horse’s paddock) rain fell. I spent the day totally prone recovering from whatever little gremlim (heat stress?? A bug?? Fruity strap poisoning??) came a-visiting me.
Apart from this minor glitch, the last 2 weeks of training have been very good, after my lay-off after worlds. Once I download the photos from the Boolarra training weekend, I’ll post ‘em up for a show ‘n’tell.
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
There are reasons blueberries, tuna, carrots, basil, grains etc are good for you. They work inside our bodies the way pills can't, the way reconstituted foods (eg protein bars!!) can't. You don't have to be Einstein to work that one out. I just love academic research at times... illuminating.
Friday, 9 November 2007
After reading the teams list for the upcoming Sydney World Cup this morning, I am really pleased to say that my rants earlier this week were off the mark, and the addition of the Toshiba pro team has allowed the National team to access excellent talent that may have otherwise not been able to be accommodated. The teams set up means that more Australians are able to compete on the boards, rather than competing for a spot on the team. Now, that IS good for cycling.
Thursday, 8 November 2007
3pm munchies hit, and I had to go out of the office, so I took a detour and bought a small stash of munchie-crushers. The shop on campus has a range of "health-food" options, which include protein bars, including mini bars that are wrapped like afterdinner mints, taste like after dinnermints! At last a protein bar (9.5grams of protein per 25gram bar) that tastes bloody good! Australian made, Australian owned. Highly recommended, with the fixmawheel crank of approval.
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
I am 3 days back into training, and either someone is playing tricks on me or the hills have radically changed in my time off the bike – they HURT!!! Riding out this morning with HourofPowerWoman, my body turned into the anti-Little Red Engine up some of the lumps along the way. My glutes and hammies were crying out: “I don’t think I can, do you really want me to that?? I don’t think I can, don’t think I can”. Of course, they could and they did, despite the many protestations, which were overridden by my bitchbrain saying “shut up and drive you b@st@rds!!”
I don’t normally ride on the roads peri-peak hour, that hour or so before peak hour starts to hit capacity on the roads, but with two of us, flashing lights abounding, we faired well and the traffic was considerate and accommodating. We skipped off the main city-bound roads after a short stint, and headed back against the main flow, looping around some side paths for variety, and so HoPW could show me alternate bike path routes from home to Dandy Creek Path. A couple of weeks of these early morning jaunts, and my legs will find their form again and I can find some bigger hills to climb before work. It’s a satisfying feeling sitting at your work desk, 9am, knowing you’ve done your training for the day, and it’s consisted of real road kms, not just grinding it out on the trainer. Or maybe I am just enjoying being on the bike again? Best of all is the 9.15 am fresh coffee and blueberry muffin to keep me awake after a 4.30 am rise.
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Too often of late I've been hearing "It's good for cycling." In my mind "good for cycling " MUST equal "good for cyclists". If a new way of doing things doesn't, in actuality, provide more opportunities for more (racing/competitive) cyclists to compete (more often) then I ask: is it really good for cycling? In what way is it good for cycling? An argument exists about raising the profile of cycling as a Good Thing tm. If it raises the profile of cycling, will it, for example, reduce the amount of abuse and danger cyclists experience on the road? What are the benefits of simply raising the profile of cycling? What does an increase in the number of people who pay to watch cycle races as entertainment (along the lines of dog, horse and car racing) mean for cycling and cyclists? Will it increase the opportunities for competitive cyclists to race, will it increase respect for cyclists on the road, or simply make a business enterprise profitable for some?
So when you read or hear "It's good for cycling" think critically/analytically about what that might mean, for you as a competitive cyclist, for up and coming elite/international cyclists, for cyclists in general.
CSV'S Luke Mason wrapped it up in this review, doing a far better job than I can manage this morning (it's a public holiday in Melbourne but some of us are at work..). Unfortunately, in amongst all the thank yous, one person keeps being left off the list, and that is Luke. Without Luke, the program would have been more difficult to get up and running, as he booked the venue, the coaches, managed enrolment of participants, organised equipment as needed, organised the goody bags, food, room hire, coaches' gifts, participation and appreciation certificates. There were many small things that Luke saw to, which made the 7 week program run very smoothly. The office staff at CSV are often at the front of the battle lines and usually take more hits than bouquets. So Luke, sending you a bouquet! Thank you.
Monday, 5 November 2007
5 November 2007
Toshiba and Cycling Australia - The Perfect Team
The gold medal hopes of Australian track cycling have been boosted by the announcement today that Toshiba (Australia) Information Systems Division (ISD) is now an official sponsor of Cycling Australia.
The partnership will involve the formation of Team Toshiba, an Australian professional track cycling team, and sponsorship of the 'The Cyclones' - the National Team. Toshiba's sponsorship provides an exciting opportunity for more of Australia's talented track stars to compete in world class events.
Team Toshiba will debut at the Sydney round of the 2007-08 UCI World Cup Classics commencing 30 November 2007. The Sydney World Cup will bring together more than 400 riders from 48 nations to contest 17 events. ‘The Cyclones’, as well as contesting the World Cup Classics, will also compete at the World Championships in March 2008 in Manchester, England.
“The pure intensity of Toshiba’s full product range aligns perfectly with the speed, skill and excitement of the cycling sport,” said Mark Whittard, General Manager, Toshiba Information Systems Division. “As a company, we feel an enormous sense of pride to be able to assist Australian cyclists further their careers and attempt to secure gold around the globe.”
Cycling is a worldwide phenomenon enjoying enormous popularity, as four out of ten Australians own a bicycle. The Toshiba sponsorship allows Australian cyclists to have an increased presence on the international cycling circuit.
“Toshiba’s support will provide extra pedalling power for our athletes and give more of our talented cyclists an opportunity to shine,” said Graham Fredericks, Chief Executive Officer of Cycling Australia. “As an organisation we feel Australia’s chances heading towards the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are heightened dramatically with Toshiba’s support.”
Team Toshiba will boast a stellar line up of Australian talent including dual Olympic gold medallist, Ryan Bayley and reigning Olympic and World Champion, Anna Meares, who says she is delighted to be given the opportunity to race with the team.
“It’s fabulous that Toshiba is backing the track program and I know the support they give us will be crucial in our bid for gold,” said Meares. “Team Toshiba has an outstanding roster of experienced performers and some promising young talent and I expect we’ll post some great results during the season.”
Following the sponsorship of the Soccer World Cup in 2006 and Rugby World Cup in early 2007, Toshiba continues its commitment to outstanding Australian sportspeople by supporting Cycling Australia. As part of the exclusive sponsorship, Toshiba will have advertising and signage rights for both Team Toshiba and ‘The Cyclones’ as well as access to the nation’s top cyclists.
Please visit www.cycling.org.au for more information.*********************************************************
So basically, it means that some (most??) of the national team riders are now also in the professional team, rather than 2 separate teams existing. I think it's called double dipping, but if it means more opportunities for track racing (am wondering how that might work with 2 teams created from one group of [the same] riders), then that must surely be a Good ThingTM.?
So ends my cycling/training hiatus. Now we start all over again, building on what we began earlier this year. This week has easy ~50km rides this week, with some big volume kms in store for me in the coming weeks, as promised yesterday by Coach. Well, that was on the cards: a good pursuiter has a very high aerobic capacity and high anaerobic threshold. There is only one way to achieve those: lots of km and intervals (ok! that’s two). My strength endurance and speed endurance also need lots of work, so you can bet that there will be monster hill repeats, SE efforts on the ergo and cadence work in the not too distant future.
This weekend Mr Legs and I finally got around to tweaking his track bike, which is, essentially, too short for him. In the drops, he looks cramped, and rides cramped, with nowhere to slot his mega quads but out past his elbows, like a frog with huge testes. Ultimately, he needs a bigger (longer) frame, but that won’t happen until next year. After some experimenting with his riding technique with the bike locked into the trainer, we swapped a longer headstem onto the bike, and flipped it so the handlebars sat higher. This seemed to help a little, but the stem was still too short, so we put an even longer stem on, which did the trick within the parameters in which we were working. The longer stem raised a new concern: flex. The stem used a 2 bolt arrangement to hold the handlebars and seemed to flex under pressure. Some more rummaging in the spare parts box, and out comes a heavy duty mtb stem of the same length.
Next issue was with the handlebar width. Mr Legs’ current track bars are 40cm wide –waaaaaaaaaay to narrow for his manly, broad shoulders. We measured his Alpine Classic bike, which was custom built, and the handlebars are 46 cm across. A quick search online and it seems the majority of track bars are around 40 – 42 cm with the occasional 44 cm. We had some 44cm road bars and put those on, and again, a small improvement was made in riding position and the frog leg position. Added to the shopping list: 46 cm road bars with shallow drop and cut away tops, for wrist/forearm clearance. This is going to be a tall order but if we can get some criterium bars (as recommended by Coach) then they should do the trick. Hopefully now some of the issues Mr Legs has had putting power through the bike will be minimised (skipping rear and front wheels for example) and his track riding and racing a little more comfortable and enjoyable.
As for me, I’ve decided my new hobby for 2008 is collecting wheels. I picked up an almost new pair of Campag Eurus at the end of the Herald Sun Tour, and an old shamal road wheel on Saturday, which will be converted to a track wheel over time. On my wish list: rear disc, front shamal, corima 4 spoke front wheel, powertap, win tattslotto.
Friday, 2 November 2007
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Food for thought for the Southerners?
It seems likely that the MoToR series run at Dunc Grey as a lead up to the Worlds will continue. Is there a demand (read: numbers) for regular masters track racing in Melbourne? And if so, where and when would it be held? DISC is booked solidly for some months, so a metro outdoor venue would be likely. Interested anyone?