Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Yet another Bicycle Film Festival is hitting our shores: this one is THE Bicycle Film Festival that journeys across the northern hemisphere anually. It will hit Melbourne 6 - 9 December with a variety of activities in Melbourne across the 4 days. From the Facebook BFF Group:
Thursday 6th Dec07 - Opening Night BIKES ROCK! Gig A ride-in event with bicycle valet parking at the heritage-listed Meat market in North Melbourne, local and international bands will entertain 500+ guests at this once-in-a-lifetime gig.
Friday 7th - Sunday 9th Dec07 - Screenings at RMIT Capitol Theatre The historic and glorious Capitol plays home to 13 screening sessions over 3 days. A foyer bar and lounge sustain the devoted bike masses through marathon screenings.
Art Show Some of Australia's best artists & photographers join together under one roof to lionize and venerate the bicycle. Venue and artists will announced in September.
Saturday 8th December - Bike Parade & Street Party Watch in amazement as the cyclists of Melbourne converge on Federation Square. Bike swaps, Demonstrations, Bicycle Beauty Pageants and more will entertain the crowds while the big screen shows highlights of the BFF over the past seven years.
Sunday 9th December - Final Screening & Closing Party at Rooftop Cinema As the sun sets over Melbourne, a VIP Bicycle Film Festival crowd will enjoy a final screening and very special party on top of the world.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Whilst I was in
Friday, 26 October 2007
Eating out: limited in Bass Hill. The Handlebar Tavern couldn't cope with its regular customers and another 400 odd new regulars.
The Velodrome: cool, easy to get into and out of, the track is a treat to ride on, toilets within easy distance, plus there is a bar and crit circuit to roll the legs out on.
The Event: overall very well run, despite every effort to make me male. The commissaires/organisers and volunteers were helpful, supportive and worked hard and long to create a successful event. There were no dramas, no hassles, no fuss. My only criticisms would be to do with women's racing and the way age groups were combined, plus losing the team sprints and nearly losing the pointscore. Expect some political lobbying in the near future from some active Americans.
The Competition: fierce and professional. Excellent comraderie, fantastic to meet new people from all over the globe (well, the States mainly for me). I felt welcomed and accepted by the old hands who made my first Worlds easier and more enjoyable, less stressful than it otherwise could have been. It was excellent to see familiar faces from home - it was a DISC reunion in many ways. It was also excellent to see those familiar faces do extremely well, and to see tears of relief, joy, shock, overwhelmnedness as people medalled. Inspirational, motivational, bloody hard work, challenging, and absolutely worth it.
With the high quality field for our race (30 – 44 yr olds eg Michelle Ferris, Megan Blatchford-Peck, Julie Barnett, Michelle King, Michelle Crawford, Amanda O’Connor, Mandy Collis, Kerrie Howard….. I could keep going!) I thought it might end up being a cat and mouse game. I was so far from being right it hurt! Our neutral first lap was totally non-existent, with the girls throttling through as soon as we hit the duck board (and straight onto the track proper – the commissaires should have pulled us up before we made the back straight). I wasn’t too worried, figuring everyone would settle down on the back straight….. nope.. well maybe next lap… oops missed that and I am way off the back… Ok, I settle into a pace that will see me not being dropped further, and eventually getting back on. I managed to hold my gap but never really gained on it. Lap 5 and still no let up, and the pace is winding up. A couple of girls have made the break and are hammering, another one takes off and bridges to them – all pursuit medallists. Lap 8, they will sit up in a minute and I will get back on. Wrong. Lap 10 and I am seriously looking like being lapped, as the pace increases lap by lap, unrelenting. Lap 11 the front runners hit me and I roll off the track, according to the rules. I am pleased in a way, because this is one exciting race and one of the best women’s races I have ever ridden in, and I now get to watch it in full. The pursuiters do not let up at all and are grinding the sprinters into powder. Michelle King catches a wheel to move forward in the final 2 laps; John Kennedy is yelling at Darren King to tell Michelle to go – she has to go now! he screams. But it’s too late and Michelle Ferris is on Michelle King’s wheel, just cruising up to rev past her in the final bend and over the finish line.
Two of the three pursuiters make first and second, Ferris lifting tempo to roll into third. Special mention to Trudy Van Der Straaten who made the initial jump and drove much of the pace, and did an awesome amount of work to set the race up and never letting the pace drop.
I rolled into the infield fully fired up for the upcoming track season, and the Vic Country Christmas Carnivals. It was excellent therapy after the IP. This race set the tone for racing for the rest of the evening, with some incredibly fast and tenacious performances from the men. Several events had guys lapping their fields. Tim Decker’s performance was a stand out – not only did he lap the field early in the piece, he then kept attacking, and sprinted over the finish line to keep the level of hurt up on the rest of the field. I see he made 78 points in the pointscore on Sunday, so he obviously repeated his performance. That night’s racing made last night’s club racing at DISC look very tame and sedate. To be honest, it was boring after seeing racing of that calibre the previous week. Anyone who says Masters racing is not worth it is simply showing their ignorance, or fear of being a flogboy for an over 30 year old.
The scratch race on Thursday was my last event for the Champs. We were due to leave for
HourofPowerWoman had ventured into the city to test her legs and nerve walking over, as in up the span of, the
PS. It's been some years since I last visited Sydney's CBD, and it is a very different place to Melbourne: more energetic and vivacious, brash, busy, congested, very Paris Hilton. Sydney creates reasons for people to go into the CBD, Melbourne doesn't. Sydney's historic architecture has a greater sense of history than Melbourne's, but there is less of it, which perhaps increases its import. Overall, I prefer Melbourne, and its decentralised cafe and shopping culture, which rests in the inner suburbs rather than the CBD itself. I think Melbourne is more quietly self-assured, and whilst Sydney is older, it acts like a younger, attention-seeking sibling. And to clarify for those who think I may be biased: I was born in Sydney, raised in Brisbane.
Where do I start with the IP? I can give a bunch of excuses eg, upset tummy early in the week, legs tired, flat and heavy, self-generated mental pressure, misplaced focus during the race etc but I won’t (although.. I just did!). The bottom line is I didn’t pull a PB, but close to PW (personal worst). I felt ok in the first half of the race, controlled and steady with breathing in good shape, but the seconds were sliding away from me by the middle laps, and although I tried to lift in the final 2 laps, nothing happened, my legs failed to respond and I was shot. The only positive thing I can say is that asthma didn’t hit me, although my breathing was overextended in the final 2laps, and I had that classic metallic/bloodied taste in mouth and throat afterwards (and struggled to walk for several minutes after). I made my breathing a focus during the whole 8 laps, but perhaps (likely) to the detriment of watching my cadence. I just wasn’t up to it on the day, probably chose the wrong (too small) gear and lost my cadence by focusing too much on my breathing.
I was completely devastated when I saw my time. One of my (novice) fellow competitors tried to make me feel better as I staggered back to my seat by saying “O! but you’re a sprinter Lawrence.” Hmm, that’s news to me! Her timing was bad, her comment terribly misjudged and grossly inaccurate – I won’t say what I thought when she said it. I must have looked bad, because very few people came near me. HourofPowerWoman summed it up well in noting it wasn’t a time I was after, but her delivery indicated she understood how I felt, and ... what the hell can you say to someone who just failed themselves miserably and is demolished by it?
That evening Coach and I had an excellent debrief, proving how much quality coaching is about communication and empathy. The following day I received some very supportive sms, and words directly, that helped me out of my bucket of self-pity and back into a forward-looking, positive frame of mind. It’s a seriously good feeling to know that people do believe in what you are doing, even if, momentarily, you seriously doubt it yourself. Thanks guys :-)
Day One of racing had some people perplexed and a little put out about their racing machines and their relationships with the commissaires’ scales. Bikes that in their current configuration had made weight quite readily at previous World Championships were suddenly underweight. My own bike that had weighed in at home at 8kg with aerobars and training wheels, but when stripped down to bullhorns only, Shamal up front and disc wheel rear, just made minimum weight by 180grams. The next day, with carbon fibre aero sticks and cups back on, it gained 900 odd grams.
The venerable Max Read, Gentleman of the Track, was in the above category. His bike has never weighed under, and Max has ridden on the same equipment for several years. This year, he as half a kilo under. So with some lateral thinking and deft application, a strategy was taped into place to get him through the commissaires’ scrutiny, and onto the boards at race time. I am not 100% sure what is under all that duct tape, but I was told it was a heavy bike pump. Obviously duct tape must weigh a bit, and I think a large portion of a roll was dumped onto the top tube.
I enjoyed gating up for the TT, but was severely disappointed with my final time of 42.7 something - 1 second slower than Nationals. The time screwed with my head for some time, and probably didn't add anything to my pursuit performance the next day. By the evening I had got my brain back in order, after realising that speed work had not been on the training agenda, and I had not trained in anyway for the TT. My start was slow, a pursuit start not a TT start., which is what I've been training. I like racing the TT, and am keen to score a sub 40 second 500m one day (ie before I go up an age category). Not this year tho'. Interestingly enough, my time on the Communique and in Cyclingnews later was recorded as a second faster than the scoreboard and Mr Leg's timing. The only difference it made was to the finishing order.
A funny thing happened on the way to the gate. Sitting in the chair waiting to load the bike up, a commissaire fairly well-known to me looked at his start sheet,looked at me, then looked at his start sheet again,then looked at my number and pronounced "YOU'RE Lawrence Maskill" "Yes, Bronco, it's me". He then showed me his start sheet. The judges had drawn a big fat line through my name, and in bold capital letters beside it, written MALE. Poor Bronco: me out of context, fully suited and helmeted up, him in commissaire mode, and following his running sheet, didn't register who I was, and that I should actually be racing Women's 40-44 TT.
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
After training on Sunday, about 20 women from the States, NZ and Australia headed for the Handlebar Tavern for some food and an informal meeting on the state of women's masters racing courtesy of the UCI. There were many disillusioned, angry and disappointed voices, expressing concern of the UCI's lack of engagement with women's master's racing: the pointscore had been on the verge being cancelled and the team sprints were cancelled. The outcome was agreement on organising voices into a unified cohesive squeaky wheel, and gaining the ear of a women's friendly UCI member to champion women's masters racing. It's a numbers game, and the bottom line is that we need more women to enter and to race, to demonstrate a demand for competition.
On Sunday, Mr Legs and I ventured into the city to watch the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour, check out any bargains going from the teams/riders dumping end of season goodies in preparation for next year's kit, and perhaps meet some of our buddies doing the annual Around the Bay ride. This year apparently 15 000 riders participated, and Mr Univac himself did the 250km.
After a bit of spot the celebrity cyclist (Katie McTier, Olivia Gollan) I came across a pair of Eurus that the Drapac Porsche team were offloading. After a bit of thought, some quick movement of money between accounts, and some advice-seeking from Coach, I picked myself up a pair of almost new campag race wheels, with brand new rubber on them. Unfortunately I now have to wait until the weekend after next to ride them, thanks to my riding curfew.
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Thursday, 11 October 2007
I am in my final hour at work, doing those last minute things you do when you are about to go on holidays for a couple of weeks. For me it means I can now walk away from the bunfight that has been work over the last week, filling in for someone else as well as doing my own work, and concentrate on being a competitive cyclist, and focus on competing next week.
Tomorrow I have a workout at DISC, then packing, shopping, getting the Aussie flag painted on my thumbnails and other such important activities. Saturday we set out in the big red car, megagig ipod plugged into the stereo, listening to Mr Leg’s crap 80’s American big hair rock music, and my fantastic punk and post punk indie intellegensia stuff. I am getting excited about going to my first Worlds, and as my favourite allwheeldrive cyclist emailed me today: enjoy the experience. I will Mike! Rock on!
I won’t be blogging much while I am away, but I’ll post results, impressions, gossip and incriminating photos as soon as I can. I want to thank everyone who has supported me over this year, who has offered encouragement, advice, wise words and competition experience. Every little bit has helped to get me here, and I am gunna race my little heart and lungs out next week, and have a ball while doing it.
Monday, 8 October 2007
Photos from CSV site copyright Amy McCann
L: Dave's mini bikes
R: Max n Reilly's generation grudge match
This morning, Cotter Pin launched the Revolution series, with the help of a couple of track racing celebs, a little weatherman from the Today Show and a cast of many from the local cycling and racing scene. I didn’t attend, deciding that I needed sleep more than free coffee and croissants at 6 am. Mr Legs did, however, turn on the TV instead of the radio (he even got up early to do this) and we saw a couple of micro-second snippets from DISC during the weather reports.My favourite handicap handler, Dave Morgan had worded me up on some “revenge” match that was to be held, between a couple of unlikely lads. I was stoked that I got to see the venerable Max Reid and young 8 yr old Reilly battle out a one lapper during the national weather report. Reilly held off the cagey Mr Reid in real style.
Unfortunately, I missed out on seeing Ryan Bailey, Anna Meares and Steve the Weatherman ride Dave's custom mini-track bikes. Photos available here, courtesy of CSV.
Tickets are now available via ticketek for the Revolution series, and there is AAA seating for the rich and celebraires.
There is some excellent women’s racing coming up in the next two weeks (apart from World Masters’ track!) in the form of a couple of crits as part of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour cycling festival. There is a crit in
So what happens during the week leading up to a World Championship event? How does it feel to being going into your first ever World Championship event?
To be honest, I feel the same as I did before my first Nationals (this year) and my first states (last year). Nervous, excited, anxious (about making a fool of myself, about going slower than I did in March at Nationals, about coming last). I am more excited though. The thought of seeing some fantastic racing, of being a part of something bigger than myself, of meeting people from all over the globe who have similar interests and ambitions as yourself is pretty inspiring and fires up the emotions . Everyone wants to do their best, whatever that means to them. For me, it’s not letting Mr Legs and Coach down, acting professionally (ie not losing it, which hasn’t happened racing yet, and keeping myself focussed, assured and assertive mentally) and giving myself the best possible opportunities mentally and physically to give each race all that I have got plus some. It’s also about supporting my fellow competitors, be it cheering them on, providing a calm, supportive presence pre-race, and being as competitive as possible on the track, so they can get the most out of their racing.
And whilst all this stuff is buzzing around my head, I am also working as usual this week, like the majority of domestic masters competitors. Unfortunately, as of last week, I have been given extra duties with a very tight deadline (Thursday – how convenient, my last day at work!) so the stress is on. Perfect timing. All the better for practicing dealing with stress, pressure and anxiety, and keeping a part of my head clear so I can keep a focus on the important things in life.
There is a video doing the rounds of Shaun Wallace and Sean Yates IPing at the World Masters Track champs last year. I felt sick watching it. Nerves set in as the guys rolled out of the gate, got on top of the gear and into rhythm. As one caught the other, I realised I was talking myself through their race, as a kind of mental rehearsal for next Wednesday.
Friday, 5 October 2007
On the other side of the pond, another ex-masters (World Masters Champ) competitor, Liz Reap took out the 500m TT in 35.947 seconds at the USA track nationals. Liz, from memory (so I could be wrong), is late 30's and moved to elite racing last year, gaining a place on the USA talent squad. Liz writes about her transition from full-time employee and part-time masters racer to full time elite racing here.
Monday, 1 October 2007
And, on something totally non-cycling, I actually watched the AFL grand final on Saturday (having been invited to Mr Leg’s friend’s place for football viewing pleasure, although I nearly fell asleep on the couch in the third quarter). Why did Port Adelaide even bother to show up? A more serious case of choke I’ve not seen: their reactions times were delayed - always being behind with their interceptions, they were not confident in marking opposition and tackling, had too many inaccuracies, were reactive not proactive. They simply looked like a bunch of amateurs. I wonder what was going through their minds to choke down so badly. It was a good example of how much destruction and damage a negatively focused, or totally unfocused mind can have on performance.
Sitting at my desk, feeling tired and hungover from lack of sleep (waste of a hangover – no empty bottles and wine reviews to show for it) I flipped over to Lisa’s blog and her report on yesterday’s Women Track Skills session. The girls did pursuits yesterday, with gate starts, and culminating in a coached 8 lap pursuit ridden to a schedule derived from a previous 6 lap effort. Mini Me Coach, Coach Joe and I were in the home straight, with CSV Luke and Coach in the back straight, starting girls off, timing them, giving feedback and encouragement. All the girls that ran out of our gate rode fantastic rides, with nearly every one of them digging deep in the final couple of laps, negative splitting and giving it all. There were some gutsy rides, and it was pretty inspiring to watch. One women commented as she finished her effort :”Well, I don’t think that event is for me.” We all had a bit of chuckle at the way she said it, and empathised with her. But for me, she reminded me of why I do this event, and the inspiration for this blog. The first time I did a pursuit (at State Masters in January this year) I came off the track totally and absolutely trashed, but addicted, thinking “How cool was that!? I gotta do that again!”. So her words were a bit of a reality check for me, as well as a motivation check, in these final 2 weeks before Worlds, when it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the finer details, the pain and fatigue, monitoring food intake, sleep intake, fluid intake, wheel choice, gear choice, habituating set cadence, and lose sight of why I am actually doing this. The pursuit is challenging on many levels, and is a very pure and very difficult event, mentally as well as physically; it’s also very rewarding personally. I am grateful for her comment.
Yesterday morning Hourof Power woman and I went for a ride, "heading east" as suggested by Hourgal. I wanted a reasonably flat ride, having done the 1:20 the day before with Mr Legs. So we opted for an undulating ride out to Lilydale, Coldstream, back through
My new shoes arrived on Friday courtesy of Omara Cycles, and after much fiddling with cleat position, they are very comfy and very stiff. They are also very silver. Now I look like a tosser, with matching shoes and bike. At least my helmet is bright orange and matches nothing much at all.