Wednesday, 24 December 2008

81 Days, 15 Hours, 21 Minutes

And now we have pony!! Yes, in the last hour, Kat has paid for her new pony, Bogie (I call him snot block, appropriately) who passed his vet check this morning. He is a spunky lad, and I'd bring him home and polish his hooves any day. Merry Christmas Housie!! Santa came early.

Me, I did a 1in20 PB this morning. Cos I'm ace. Or something...

Monday, 22 December 2008

O Yeah, Training

Apparently I rode on the weekend. I found some hills with Mdm Hr. They felt good, very therapuetic, and a nice lift to my CTL. My training's back on track and I am a happy little racergirl.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

It's all about the hair













For those that know me, I like colour in my hair. The last month has been a bit dull and boring, as I grow my hair and have time out thinking about a new colour scheme. Well, here it is. It’s actually a deep violet. I am also currently growing my hair, ostensibly to soften my paper cut sharp jaw line, cheekbones that soar so high that eagles nest on them, and to look like Meg Ryan. And Santa is coming this week.....





Thursday, 18 December 2008

UK Coach of the Year

goes to Shane Sutton.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/cycling/7788962.stm

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Bogboy

Once upon a time, on a weekend only a few days ago, lived a man by the name of Bogboy. Bogboy was not his real name, but people called him that, because, well, he got bogged. This is a tale of casting stones, aspersions, derisive insults and laughing at the vulnerable, namely those already bogged.

Bogboy and his mighty boggy entourage were following a little group of intrepid riders conquering the weathered out Scotty’s Ride. On the way, as there was time to spare, the bog standard Boggymobile took a detour past Bogboy’s uncle’s farm, just down the road from his cousin’s farm, around the corner from his grandfather’s farm, behind his nephew’s third cousin’s grandmother’s niece’s farm. Much to his delight, Bogboy’s nephews were out hooning in the front paddock. Well, they were hooning, until the Bogmonster grabbed hold of their hoonmobile by the axles and wouldn’t let go, as feral Bogmonsters are wont to do. Bogboy offered some words of ancient wisdom: “good on yas, lads”, amidst much laughter and merriment, and promptly drove off into the rainy distance, in the opposition direction from the intrepid Scotty’s Ride riders.

To get where he wanted to get to, and be where he once was, Bogboy needed to turn the Bogmobile around. Being a skilled bogger, and still enjoying the merriment of the memory of his nephews’ encounter with the Bogmonster, Bogboy replicated the family trait of getting bogged, promptly dropping the Bogmobile into a Bogmonster lair, on the soft shoulder of the road, quite securely and definitively achieving a state of bogment.

Fortunately the Local Slayer of Bogmonsters (ie the local constabulary) was driving by, in his large Bogslayingmobile, and was able to lasso the Bogmobile and drag it bare handed and by his very teeth, out of the bogmonster’s liar on the shoulder of the road. Bogboy, somewhat embarrassed, but truly forever grateful, thanked the Local Slayer of Bogmonsters, who, after some interrogative questioning, ascertained that indeed he had rescued a member of the Bogster family, much to his delight, as there was a bog of history between the Local Slayer of Bogmonsters and the Bogster family.

The moral of the story: don’t play in mud. Be nice to your loved ones, lest you get bogged down in shit.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Scotty's Weekend

Saturday was miserable, wet, windy, cold. Not a nice way to spend 3hrs (out of an anticipated 5) in the saddle. But good conversation kept us going until a crash in our small ladies group stopped the show. By the time everything was sorted, the ambulance came and went, we were over it. Wrapped up in a huge bluey jacket, and 2 thick woollen blankets, plus a beanie (I would have loved a photo of that! Great look!!) I clambered into the back of Mini Me’s car with the Coach family, went back to the motel and thawed out under a very hot shower. The evening track meet was also cancelled (obvious really – didn’t need a degree to work that one out!!) so Saturday night was kick back time, lots of belly laughs, a few Christmas bevvies and a good meal.

Sunday I was back on course, this time in the back of the Chief Commissaire’s car, watching Scotty’s Race rapidly unfold. Once the flag was down, the guns off the front tore the pack apart, and the never-ending wind did the rest. It was full on from the start, with the CB and UHF radios, 2 mobile phones going flat out, commentary flying around the car, listening to the radio for updates on the front of the race, scout motorbikes, spares vehicles, cyclists all around; four of us in the car, keeping tabs on the race, not just the racing but race logisitics. Sitting in a comm car is not just a pleasant drive in the country. If you want to get a real understanding of road racing, get yourself in a comm car. It’s a totally different experience.

Friday, 12 December 2008

FIGJAM

Race brain: Check. Legs: well, yeah check. Post race attitude: You bet! Me, I was awesome (just ask me!)!!! I am the bunch smasher.

Race 1, lap 7 and I’m on the front, with a plan. And the plan is to roll away, away from all those behind me. And I do it, slowly winding the bike up, getting on top of the gear until she lets go and starts to sing. I look back and I see a few riders behind me. End of my lap, I swing up and look down. Holy crap – there is so much air behind the two riders below me, I can’t see the rest of the bunch in my peripheral vision. I whoop inside, drop down tight into 3 rd wheel and yell at my little posse (1 guy, 1 woman) to GO!!!!!! JUST GO!!!! But they don’t, well not as much as I’d like them to go. In the final 2 laps we’re caught and swamped, and I roll home for 6th or 7th.

I sms Mrs Coach: I am AWESOME!!! Somewhere on the boards, I’ve had an attitude transplant. My racebrain is humming, plotting already for the next race. I feel... different.

Points was not spectacular, but early on I take height to hit them, but don’t commit 100%. I’m just practicing, toying with them, and roll over the finish line in 6th for the 1st sprint. There's another strategy locked away for future use, just need to hone it. I’m tired from the scratch, and hunt for a wheel to take me up the front. Once I have it, it’s locked and loaded taking me where I want to go. I stay in the mix, non-combatant in the sprints, and finish the race 5th over the line. I’m not as awesome, but something’s happening in my brain and body. I feel like a racer. I am a racer.

Motorpace. Woohoo – the derny’s back!!! And the speed is up right from the start instead of the fall off the track pace of the motorbike. I count. I should be on the derny for lap2. Perfect. Wrong. I was on the dern for lap 3, almost thumping the back of the derny to move out of the way. Then I realise. Crap! I was primed and ready to smash it, but instead had to roll off and take pot luck. I was high with the guys coming under me, and I did my normal thing of slightly backing off until they pass. Where’s my attitude gone?? Get agro girl! Push them out of the way. I finish mid-field and realise C Grade is probably not so far away. That's a good feeling :-)

And male chauvinism is such a sweet thing: After the scratch race, seated beside the only male in my breakaway, I overhear a buddy of his congratulating him on his brilliant attack that ripped the field apart. I’m on the rollers and think Me!! That was me!!! I did that!! That was mine!!! Me Me Me!!!!! What was worse, my breakaway man accepted his congratulations. Bastards.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Bring it on Santa!

Competitive cycling is a high demand sport, mentally and physically. It’s easy to take for granted, or underestimate the costs of those demands – it’s part of being a competitive cyclist, so we just suck it and see. But sometimes, it’s hard to suck a lemon day after day. It’s hard to keep hurting yourself week after week, in amongst being a regular working adult with a mortgage and other responsibilities, but that’s what’s required to achieve goals. And doing so takes its toll at times; slowly but progressively until you start fighting yourself just to do a simple ride. I’m lucky in that I have other cycling interests I turn to at these low points, so I stay involved, engaged and enjoying the sport. In fact, all my social group are involved in either horse sports, or cycling. This could be a bad thing, but I’m not worried: it helps to anchor me.

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to maintain my regular training routine and load. I berated myself for being soft, but nothing changed. So the time has come. I need a freshen up. I had a small dose last weekend at Country’s. This weekend is set aside for some chill out time and some self-indulgence. I need it! It's hug a teddy bear time :-)


Coach has set my new program for the next 4 weeks around more road kms, to rebuild some of the base I threw away over the last 4 weeks and get some more conditioning into my legs and lungs. We had a bit of chat last weekend about where I am at, and he got to see 1st hand proof of that. All my weaknesses were on display, which was a Good Thing TM. I needed that grade on the test as concrete, real world evidence.

Fortunately I have a great coach, and the new program looks good, and I am looking forward to doing it. I have some time off over Xmas, so I can fit in those kms, eat, sleep, sand walls and glue tiles, and ride my bike at my leisure, rather than chasing the clock in and around an employer set schedule. We’ve reset some goals, and Baw Baw is not a main focus any more (read: palpable relief!). I’m back on track, and back to being a trackie. WOOT!! It’s what I love, and what I need to be/do. So, this coming month, lots of road km, back to Thursday night racing, and lots of Bring It On Santa!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Tour of Bright

Tour of Bright is on this weekend, with the women's entries totalling 65. I don't know of a race in Victoria in recent times that has attracted that many female competitors. It's totally awesome!!!

To my buddies who are racing - rock on girls!!!! Ride hard, be bold, have fun.

Going the Distance

Apparently, it's as bad to do 150m too much as doing 150 too little. We're enduros, we're meant to go the distance, and some!



Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags goes up,
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.

They deftly manouver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank,
Wreckless and wild they pour thru the turns,
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.

As they speed thru the finish the flags go down.
The fans get up, and get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup,
But he's driving and striving and hugging the turns,
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He's going the distance.
He's going for speed.
She's all alone, all alone in her time of need.

Because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He's going the distance.

Going the Distance - Cake

I also discovered last night it's possible to piss yourself laughing when at 90% throttle, thanks to the rowdy chorus on the fence who helped me through my final half lap of the second effort. :-D

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I Heart Track with Photos



Far out, how does it go again? It's been so long since I worked on a slow bike. Maybe Mini Me Coach can help....















Dude, I think it's stuffed... This bike has no speed about it at all... I can smell onions cooking, let's get breakfast!



MMC: Mate, did you see how slow that teschner was in that last race??

Shane: Yeah, didn't think they could be that slow. But goddam, Gaz, she sure looks hot in that new Scott Peoples Foundation kit.







Monday, 1 December 2008

I Heart Track

For the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve been suffering delayed post Worlds blerhs. Mine was a delayed reaction, probably because my strong sense of denial helped stave it off for a while. At least, I think it’s post Worlds blerhs, cos it sounds very much like the disease Mdm Hr has been struggling with lately, and I feel the muggy, rank, dankness of it. You hop on the bike because you know if you don’t, all that hard work you've done so far will be wasted, so you do enough to keep ticking over. I've been doing for it, but it’s just not doing it for me.

So yesterday, my two henchmen and I went to Maryborough for Day 2 (IP and scratch) of the Country Track Champs. I hadn’t intended entering, but fellow Warragul member, Karen M goaded me into it (Thanks for doing that for me Kaz! You're a winner and a gem) . I wasn’t excited about it, but thought it would be a good opportunity for some pursuit practice under race conditions. So I picked up Coach at 5am and we drove across town to meet up with Mini Me Coach, moved all my gear from my car into his, and took off down the highway for a day of fun and frivolity (ie I got paid out on a lot, which was lovingly reciprocated).

Highlights (cos the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet for verbosity):

  • More WMAS entered than elite women
  • Remembering everything but the kitchen sink and the extra spacer needed for my aero bars. This lead to some interesting work by Coach and Mini Me with coke cans, until they realised I meant spacer not shim. Fortunately Mr McCoombe came to our rescue and I rode the aero bars in the IP instead of sprint bars.
  • The awesome work by my mechanic and soigny. It was a real treat to not have to worry about my bike, and to have drinks handed to me, someone to catch as me as I fell off the bike after each event and take my bike back to the car etc. Thanks to the best henchmen a girl could have!
  • Being nervous before the heat. Nervous??!!?? It’s a training run at Country Track, so what’s with the nerves??? I wasn’t that nervous at Worlds!!! I guess having your coach there, and doing your schedule for you ( a first for us) made all the difference
  • Doing a new best worst time, then realising everyone (well, nearly everyone) was going slow, thanks to the wind and the large bumpy track
  • Losing my IP heat in the final 2.5 laps. Oops on the classic but fatal pursuiter’s error.
  • Thinking what the hell am I doing here, and what the hell am I doing pursuits for, after my heat
  • Losing my final but going 2 seconds faster than the heat, and remembering what’s so good about pursuiting.
  • Looking forward to the scratch race, and having my butt kicked in the final lap with nothing left in the legs to kick on with when the other 3 girls jumped for the sprint, and having a total ball.
  • Getting new kit*
  • Looking good in my new kit in the scratch race, despite coming in behind the little bunch. Looking good is as good as winning ;-)
  • Sunburn
  • Remembering what track racing is all about: it’s not just the racing, but the comraderie, the friendships, the community that sits around the track and supports its own, and the thrill of the chase out on the concrete.
  • Coming home totally in love with track again.

* Two of the Scott Peoples Foundation recipients wore the new Scott Peoples Foundation kit yesterday. It looks fantastic, so I managed to score myself a set, which I wore during the scratch race, and look forward to wearing in future racing and training. Coach and I are also Foundation grant recipients, so it’s great to be able to promote the Foundation and the good work it’s doing to help regional juniors with their training and racing. We are both working at the Scott Peoples Memorial Cycling Festival weekend after next, and now I can proudly wear the kit over the weekend.

PS photos coming

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Another Day at the Post Office

I was back at the outdoor velo last night, with a luverly wind blowing up the back straight, even impacting on Con the postie’s ability to keep the throttle up to the poor little bike. This meant that heading into the headwind, we were running up over the postie bike as it was pushed back by the wind, then with the tail wind having to scramble so as not to lose that precious wheel for the next back straight. Lose that wheel into the head wind and it’s good night from him.

We had a good little turn out, with more sprinters than enduros for a change. After an interesting, if somewhat rather frustrating warm up (thanks to the wheel I was on – which kept drifting off the wheel in front, and up out of the line up, then back in, and then suddenly bailing back out again. A lesson in how to ride a pace line, as well as coming off the bike correctly, is required me thinks) the pursuiters did a 3km effort behind the bike. That was actually fun, and my breathing didn’t start to ramp up until the final 2 laps. It was a good finish to the warm up. Next we did 8 laps efforts, in front of and behind the bike, starting in front of the bike, finishing the final 2 laps behind. I nailed the first one, and actually thought about coming past the bike down the home straight for the final time. Well, I thought about it… Effort 2 and I went out a fraction harder, feeling good and a bit keen. Unfortunately, I blew up in the final 2 laps thanks to this keenness. Shit happens, and I rode it hard home anyway despite the minor implosion in the legs.

Disregarding the wind, the contrast between last Tuesday and this one was very much appreciated: warm, sunny, blue skies. I spent time between each effort lying down on the infield, gazing into the blue, relaxing and chilling out, appreciating the extra recovery time. Mainly because any time I was upright, I felt light headed and would start coughing a treat. So I musta done some work at some point! I’m really enjoying these sessions and Con the postie is really getting the hang of handling the little red bike on the track. I have an absolute ball chasing the bike, and it’s so so sweet sitting in behind, getting that lovely draft.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Muscles aka Sexy Legs

Tight lipped on the line for the IP, World Masters Oct 08

I think my pedal is a bit high. I remember thinking that at the time too!

Photo stolen from Gary Jackson's Facebook gallery. Thanks dude!

Velodromes

I'm not sure how accurate this list is, but it's kinda scary.. and exciting! Australia ranks second with 90 listed velodromes (admittedly, some may be out of action these days), behind France with 118 and in front of Italy with 50. The States has only 26!

So.. where are all the local trackies??????

Monday, 24 November 2008

Women's Omnium Champs


Caitlin, Anna, and the card!

This morning, I’m sitting at my desk, wondering what the hell I’m doing at work. It was a big weekend, and I’m still paying for it. The highlight of the weekend was the Women’s State Omnium Championships yesterday. This was the first time this event had run in Victoria, and in the country (I think), and one of the largest turn outs of women at a Victorian track racing meet.


The standouts for me were:

  • The quality of the racing across all levels. Everyone raced 110% in each event, so much so, that hardened commissaires were commenting on how hard and fast, and exciting (yes, women’s racing can be exciting!!) the racing was.
  • The atmosphere. The camaraderie was brilliant. The lack of complaints and bitching was noticeable, with people making comments about the lack of comments! I do believe that everyone wanted to make this event work, and committed themselves to doing just that. And I’m not talking only about the officials, but also the competitors and their supporters, and the sponsors.
  • Anna Meares. A very gracious and giving woman who freely and willingly spent a good hour or more talking to everyone, particularly the junior girls. She made shy nervous requests for autographs very normal (well, I guess for her they are!) and made the requester feel at ease. A pro, and a pleasure to work with. Caitie Coach presented Anna with a card she had made (there is a long story to this card!) and Anna willingly spent the time to talk with Caitlin, and then kept hold of that card for the entire time she was with us.
  • Proman Racing. Three girls from the team (Cari Higgins, Shelley Olds and team owner/manager Nicola Cranmer) came down for a look, so I roped them into handing out the medals at the end of the event. They very graciously accepted, and added a bit of PRO to the event. They were excited by the racing and hopefully we’ll be able to link up with them next year to take the event to the next level in terms of competition and recognition. Thanks girls for coming down and for doing presentation duties. The medallists were all stoked and the podium tips went down a treat.
  • The loot!! Caroline did an awesome job organising sponsors, who came to the party with some fantastic loot for the medallists. Normally in a state championship event, you go home with a medal and that’s it. The medallists yesterday got a stack of goodies as well, which just added to the specialness of the day.
  • The number of thank yous, yes, thank yous I and the other Committee members received, from parents, supporters and competitors for putting the event on. That really blew me away. It made me realise how important the event was, as a stand alone women’s event. All the hard work and crap involved with getting it up and running was well and truly worth it, and a few of us are already planning for next year.
It was an opportunity to showcase the best of women's track racing, and to showcase the female cycling community, to the wider cycling community, and that was achieved with overwhelming success. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A Night at the Races

Don't read my blog, read hers (when Liz updates it!). Apparently I am due for another roasting after last night's efforts smscialising whilst at World Cup. Sigh, Baby Boomers are such difficult people, just ask my mother!!! ;-)

The racing last night was fantastic, with a very tightly contested men's pointscore seeing Glen O'Shea and Korean rider Joon Yong Seo going point for point down to the wire. The men's team sprint was very quick, smooth and an excellent display in how to do it properly. Watching Jack Bobridge's gold winning pursuit ride was also a highlight, as he kept the hammer down as he passed Markov in an attempt to beat a time of 4.20. He didn't quite get there, but a gutsy effort nonetheless.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Victorian Women's Omnium Championships

The inaugural Victorian Women’s Omnium Championships are on this Sunday. After months of work leading up to it, lots of planning, talking, more planning, more talking it’s finally about to happen. Brunswick CC, CSV office staff and the Women’s Committee have put a power of working into getting this up and running, with a stack of great sponsors on board, and special guest Anna Meares popping in. I’m really proud of what we have achieved, and will also be glad when it’s over, because then I’ll know how much of a success it was, and can breath a massive sigh of relief. At the moment, it’s looking fantastic with 42 entries, which must be one of the largest women's fields for a track meet seen in the state. Awesome!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Make like a dog

While I was waiting for Coach et al to arrive for the first of a regular Tuesday night gig at the local outdoor velo, I watched a loopy dog chase cars on the fenced-in oval next to the velodrome. About an hour later I was doing pretty much the same thing: chasing a postie bike (how appropriate), excepting I wasn’t grinning as much, and after a few efforts my tongue was hanging out, and my ears were flopping. I did manage to catch the bike, and pass it, just the once. I even had a grin on my face, and did a Lleyton Hewitt to Con the Postie as I passed him. New goal for the season: do it again! The only catch with this game is that if you do pass the bike, next time, the bike is faster. Bring it on!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Lazy Weekend

I’m not sure happened to me last week, but I think it had something to do with the Otways Classic and Metal Man racing. By the end of the week, I was toast and struggling to turn the cranks over.( Is this what being a Masters athlete is about???!!) So of course when Mdm Hr suggested a ride in the hills on Saturday mornning, over the 1:20 and up The Wall, I was all up for it. Seriously! Something to do with denial, and proving my legs wrong...

The morning started well: as I pulled up at Mdm Hr’s front door, and swapping early morning greetings, an sms came through on my phone. So you can imagine the eye-rolling, sighing, verbal payouts I then suffered. Perfect timing :-) The ride out was uneventful (or, I just don’t remember it!). We started up the Big Hill, but I was struggling to find a rhythm, and was fighting the road and the bike, and myself. After a few km I let Liz go, keeping her only 100m or so in front of me until the final kms when it lengthened out to 200m as the nausea that hit me just after I let Liz go firmed up its grip. At the top recovering, and making sure I really wasn't gong to throw up, we both decided to turn left instead of right at the top of the hill. Left = home, Right = The Wall. Good to know I wasn’t the only one still feeling the effects of the previous weekend. It was disappointing however. The brain wanted to go, but the body had other plans. Sometimes, you just gotta listen to your body, no matter how pouty the ego gets.

Sunday I allowed myself a sleep in. 9 hours of sleep, such luxury! I had planned to ride later in the day, after doing a few errands in the morning, but by lunchtime, my tired trashed body convinced me to blow that idea away, so I played with my pony instead. She has a funny sense of humour, attempting to rear and buck at the same time on the end of a long line to display her enthusiastic, exuberant personality. Having 500+kg jump up and down on the spot in front of you, trying to be scary and bossy, blowing fire and smoke, looking very beautiful but also plain silly, is a sight to behold. She wasn’t impressed when I laughed, shrugged and just waited for her to land. I think I dented her ego.

After a couple of hours bonding with the mare, I came home and did what any self-respecting athlete having a non-athlete day does: lay on the couch with a glass of red, or two, reading the paper! Hopefully my day off has done the trick, and my legs have now come back home to play.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Today's Drive to Work Musing

How many women drive around with a set of rollers permanently in their car? And I'm not talking hair rollers.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A Bowl of Whoop Arse

Last night it was back to Metal Man racing, this time over a new 30km hilly TT course. Hilly, as in no flat bits. Well, the flat bits that do exist are blink length ie blink and you’ve missed it. To give you an idea of the flavour of this course, when you are at the start line, you are eyeballing face to face the road which walls up in front of you. Yeeha bring it on baby. I was a little concerned about this course. The profile looked savage, and I’d not ridden since Sunday. This turned out to be a good thing, as I was at least somewhat fresh, even if not fully recovered. It’s probably the freshest I’ll be for racing Metal Man, so I’ll be framing the WKO file on this one.

So Coach dialled in the pace for MM, hit the go button and within three pedal strokes a bunch of expletives launched themselves out of my mouth. Nice way to start a ride, the hill that is. Coach was very merry, and had a good time chuckling at my invective and dagger looks. But from those first three pedal strokes, I was in front of Mr Shiney and managed to stay that way for the rest of the ride. At the 5km mark, I was feeling it, and looking nervously at the 15km mark, where a 12% incline loomed. All I wanted to do was make it up that section, and then if I died (and I was thinking about calling an ambulance to be on stand by even then) it didn’t matter, I’d made the nasty bit. The next 10km were horrible, the road so lumpy that you couldn’t get a nice rhythm going, with constant gear changes to match the terrain. The rear derailleur got a good work out!

Then suddenly, we’re on, pushing down the big downhill into the bottom of the big uphill. And I am up over the nasty bit, settling into the length of the climb. Sweet. My legs are dying, my body beginning to ache from all the climbing, but suddenly I have only 10km to go. I know I’ll make the next 5 km, and I do. Another 5km to go, and even the 3% climbs feel like 10%. I’m about to run out of water with 2 bidons downed, and send Coach off for more. I’m feeling the heat, and the fan is only just helping me out. I push into the final kilometres, and then have 2km to go – a final pursuit. I get through the first kilo of the pursuit, then start counting down the final 4 x 250m laps. Yep, I was that desperate. I’d wanted to bail at the 25km mark, but being in front of Mr Shiney, and with so few km left after the slog I’d just been through, I wasn’t about to let it go. I beat Mr Shiney by 2.5 min.

The effort took its toll, although the WKO file doesn’t show it. My legs were hot and achey for the rest of the night, and reminded me every 2hrs during the night once I finally managed to get to sleep. My digestive system, which had only just recovered from Sunday, packed it in again with the effort, and eating my pasta when I got home was akin to force feeding a goose for Christmas dinner. If this is the kind of work I need to do to make it to the Baw Baw start line, then I’d better make sure I actually do front up on the day, otherwise I’ll have endured a lot of pain just to build my character and not much else!

Monday, 10 November 2008

I Spy

Reading Mdm Hr's account of yesterday's ride reminded me, and how could I forget?? Our game of I Spy to while away some of the final kms of the ride. We started: I spy something beginning with G, Grass! Too easy. And so it went, swapping turns at spying. Until Liz threw up NB. NB?? WTF is NB?? I give up. Nice Bottom. What??!!! Looking at the small group of guys who had just passed us, I shook my head and laughed. And therein lay the reason for my failure to get this one (apart from reduced brain function from fatigue). I simply didn't recognise any NBs in the bunch.

Post Ride Recovery

What do you eat when you’ve expended a normal training days’ worth of calories in a ride? Whatever you bloody well want! A banana, small vanilla thick shake, medium fries, water, leftover pizza, protein shake, Arnott’s Shapes, baked beans, toast, chocolate.

I got home, unpacked, ate, put on some hand washing to soak, ate, had a shower, then soaked myself in the bath, ate, finished the handwashing, ate, did some other bits n pieces, ate, and then sprawled across my bed for an hour in a semi-comatose state, sleep not quite reaching me. And of course, it took ages to get sleep when I finally went to bed for real. Go figure!

Ms Housey spent another day horse shopping yesterday. We are now having big celebrations because this one is a winner, a gorgeous mare by the Keanu Reeves of stallions, Capone. Hopefully she passes the vet check and Ms Housey can bring her home to keep.

Geelong Otways Classic ie the Original One!

The human body is a weird bit of kit. While Mdm Hr was powering along in the early stages of our ride yesterday, my piriformis, ITB and hammy were wreaking havoc with my left leg, and forced me into groveldom. Yet in the final 50km, as Mdm Hr grappled with cramping and fatigue, I hummed along with energy to burn.

Yesterday was my 3rd Otways Classic, after missing out on it last year. It’s excellently run, with a small field capped at 400, well supported, and the route is terrific. The worst and best bit is riding down the hill into Lorne. You catch glimpses of the brilliant irridescent blue of the sea, and turn to look at it, then realise you’ve got another hairpin corner coming up. So you do this mad thing of looking left at the sea, then look at the road, then look at the ocean, then look at the road. Makes for an interesting descent!

We started out in the lead group, hoofing along into a stiff headwind (that would stay with us for most of the day), at about 35-40km an hr. After 20km of this, sitting in about 3rd wheel, I said to Mdm Hr that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace. 5 km later we both bailed. I kept looking at my watts, and thinking no way am I going to be able to finish 152km when I’m starting out regularly sitting on 120% of FTP, with my HR hitting 90% max. As Liz commented, it was like sitting in on a points race! So we slogged along for another 30km into a quality headwind, averaging 21-22 kph. By that point I was over it and wanted to go home! My left leg began to complain bitterly from the constant driving, so that by the time we got to Dean’s Marsh and the first major climbs of the day, I was experiencing power failure in my left leg. I had to stop on both climbs to ease out the pain searing in my hammy and left glute. You can imagine the misery and humiliation I felt watching that time triallist ride away from me up a decent climb.

I managed to get over the hills by hitching a ride with any bloke who had a friendly wheel (Honey, I behaved myself. I promise! ;-) ), and ended up myself giving some very tall guy a tow for the part of the way. His mates rode up to us and paid out on him with a bit of friendly ribbing; it would have been a funny sight to see this hulk of a man sitting on a small woman’s wheel. But he kindly reciprocated when we turned back into the wind near the top of the climb, realised I was going backwards, took the lead and towed me over the top.

There were a few near misses around Dean's Marsh, the least of which was the sight of a large 4wd ute that had obviously rollled, just after our 1st checkpoint at Bambra. This car had passed us at speed earlier, and he must have lost it on a downhill corner, flipped, landing on the other side of the road (cliff face side, fortunately for him) rubber side down and facing uphill. How he didn't take out any cyclists, or motorbike riders coming up the hill is amazing. We didn't hang around to think too much about it, as there were enough people there already, picking up bits of car off the road (we'd only just missed it fortunately) and the driver was intact and walking around.

Once over the range and heading into Lorne, my leg eased out and didn’t trouble me for the rest of the day, thank god. I’m really happy with the way I descended into Lorne, as I am a mediocre downhiller (recently upgraded from a sad case), but I felt comfortable taking the corners and left the brakes alone until I caught up with a woman who was obviously not comfortable with the descent. Funnily enough she was wearing a Cyclones gillet. Unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to overtake her, as the corners were coming up pretty rapidly, and I didn’t want to hit a corner at real speed and overcook it. Sitting behind her into the final bends into Lorne, I had time to be blown away by the view at least.

Lunch at Lorne, very tasty with excellent company, then back onto the road and more ocean views to enjoy. At the 110km mark I had a desperate sudden craving for a cold, fizzy drink, so we did a quick detour into a servo. I bought a Gatorade and put it in my empty bidon, and sculled most of bottle of soft drink, with Mdm Hr urging me on (think Blackboard on Mr Squiggle: Hu-rry u-p, hu-rry u-p!), as she was very conscious of the state of her own body, which was beginning to complain and show its malcontent at what we were doing. After throwing back 400 odd ml of sugary fizzy goodness, we promptly rode up a 3km climb. The throw back came close to being a throw up, but I managed to keep it down, plus ride away from that nasty TTer who had thrown mud in my face earlier. Pox on you, Mdm Hr! Weirdly, from that point on, I picked up, and even managed a few sprints on the way home, showing some guys how to finish off a 152km ride in style. One guy was convinced my PT hub had some kind of motor in it. At first I thought he was joking, then realised he was an idiot. But it was kinda funny.

So it was a classic ride, full of lows and highs, sunburn, wind burn, pain, pain, pain and did I mention, pain? It was great to see a number of friends riding it as well, some as first timers, and finishing with smiles on their faces. I’ll leave the scuttlebutt to Mdm Hr. I don’t see anything wrong with smsing ride reports every 50km…….

Friday, 7 November 2008

I Need a Bucket of Caffeine

This week has been one of those where you try to overstuff a small box with too many things, particularly in the last two days. I think I’m out of practice, or got to liking normal human hours during my post-Worlds down time too much. Thankfully, it’s also been a recovery week so training load has been reduced.

Racing last night was a bit tragic. I had strength but not much of anything else, including any capacity to read the bunch. I need remedial literacy classes. Coach was right when he said all my lovely hill riding will rob me of speed. Boohoo. Fortunately I’ve definitely got fitness to see me through to the end of the race, and I managed to bridge a couple of gaps. All is not lost, not quite.

I’m back in the Shed of Pain tonight, grovelling away on the ergo. Fortunately I’ll have new groovy hair from visiting the hair dresser before hand, so at least I’ll look good (stop laughing Mrs Coach). Tomorrow is a quick fling around the local hills with Mdm Hr, then some shopping, including horse shopping with Ms Housey. Unfortunately, pony shopping with Ms Housey is making me ill. The pony sickness is coming back, and I can feel the conflictedness already creeping up on me. That, and Ms Housey threatening to confiscate my phone at night so I get more sleep, I think this woman is one evil person out to corrupt me.

Sunday, Mdm Hr and I will be riding the Great Ocean Road, well a bit of it at least. Hopefully the weather will hold, but winds have been forecast. Great! I’ll get to listen to Mdm Hr pay out on me all the way to Geelong for my great idea that got her out of bed so early, then put up with 20-30kph headwinds for half the ride. Hopefully the hills will block some of it. Teaching a horse to go sideways and stay straight and light in the hand at the same time is much easier!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Thought of the Day

No one ever says, 'It's only a game' when their team is winning.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Portrait of Me


Ponies on the top of Hautacam. Photo by Peter Hancock, courtesy of redbubble.com

Mad Rush

For a change, I managed to score a favourite in the Melbourne Cup sweep at work (yes, I am working on a local public holiday, but we have perks and gains from suffering this burden). Usually I get the reject, but as favourites don't win that frequently, I suspect I may have as much luck as I usually do anyway. At least the name is appropriate. My mother was always telling me to slow down (and stop running in the house). Some things don't change, except I now live in a smaller house.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The Beach and The Mountains

Saturday

After sledging Mdm Hr about nailing her arse to something immoveable and solid on Friday, my inner athlete something got cold feet about doing any major hills on Saturday morning, and we headed off down towards the coast instead. However, instead of going straight ahead, we turned left, and ended up doing at least one nasty hill anyway. And yes, I did nail someone’s butt to the wall, my own. I’m pretty certain that was an evil,sarcastic grin on Mdm Hr’s face as she (finally) sailed past at the lights at the top of the climb on Canterbury Rd.

The Beach Rd trip was really enjoyable, thanks to a sudden, drastic drop in cycling numbers, and a pleasant tail wind. I seem to be burning up fuel at a great rate these days, so we had a refuelling stop at Black Rock (almond croissant not as good as Port Melb), and a side trip for a new helmet for Mdm Hr. Check that stripey headgear out next time you see her on her bike!

Nearing St Kilda, we picked up a hitch hiker. I was feeling a bit fatigued to care, until Mdm Hr commented on his presence. Time to (re)assert our domination, so I made a comment to my partner in crime, flicked up onto the big ring, and dropped the poor sucker in about 5metres flat. Unfortunately he caught us up at a red light, so I had to do it again. This time it was permanent. Instant disposal, the Mortein manouvere.

Sunday

It said E1, recovery, in my program, so when I was offered a berth on a ride to Warburton via the rail trail, I snatched it up. A quick change of bike to the mtb, and a pleasant change of scenery (hey Lawrence, are those emus or ostriches??). Sweet. We were meant to be five, but ended up as a tri-cycle, and I was happy to sit in the boot and enjoy the ride out with Marty A Go Go and Mr Legs doing most of the driving. Marty was resting his legs from some hard racing the day before. Perfect. Highlight of the ride out was being passed by a skinny old guy, covered in fluro, dinging his little bell like crazy, calling out very animatedly, “passing! passing!”, and zooming by on a blind corner. The White Rabbit. Classic; cracked me up a treat.

I got a bit bored on the way back, and leapt up the steep side street to the rail trail in a single bound (cop that guys); demonstrated, twice, how I dropped the mtber mosquito on Beach Rd the day before (cop that guys); found another hill to leap up in 2 bounds (come on guys, what took you so long??); and demonstrated how to pace a 3km massive 2% rise in the rail trail and still look good at the top while leaving every one for dead (come on guys, what took you so long??). Oops. I must be feeling good. :-)

Waking up at 4am

I’ve developed the nasty habit over the last week of waking at 4am. I’ve been trying to work out why, so I can stop this very irritating affliction:

  1. Miss Chili wakes me to remind me that I need to get up in an hour to train. Thanks Cat!
  2. The possums in hood like to practice their phat beats in my guttering on their way home from a hard night in the trees. It’s a pity possums sound like they are choking on tree bark.
  3. My housemate’s been burning popcorn again, and I get the sms to tell me (whoops, ducking now!)
  4. The light from the front porch light has woken me. This means my housey is still out on the town, having a (too) Good Time tm . Bitch.
  5. Lustful thoughts about the leader of a subversive, seditious cell, the Bomberlegs, who are slowly infiltrating track and crit racing as a way to gather intelligence and recruit new members. Fortunately, they are staying away from sprinters, so they may actually be successful on the intelligence front (Sorry Coach).
  6. I suddenly feel the need to read my email, mid REM sequence (see point 5). What’s worse, I actually do it.

Of course, worse than the waking up process, is not being able to get back to sleep. And then, as I lie there, trying to relax, I realise I actually need to take a leak. The journey to our toilet is similar to that which Maxwell Smart took to get to the office each day. There are 5 closed doors between my bed and my destination. There is also a whirling dervish of a dog at the midway point whose savagely happy tongue and tail one must dodge to safely get to the 3rd door without being slobbered on or badly bruised by an overanimated spinal extension. Try doing that in the dark, half asleep at 4 am without waking up fully. Maybe I should give in and just go train?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Summer Racing Fun

Great to see the Jayco Track Aggregate series finally up and running for this coming track season. Laurie Norris has put a huge amount of time, energy, effort and consideration into this program, to help boost track racing across the state. Jayco have come on board as a sponsor, which is huge for track racing. I truly hope the series gets the support it deserves.

Unfortunately I won’t be travelling as much for racing this summer, as I’m saving my pennies for other things, so will skip most, if not all of the Christmas Carnivals. Hopefully I’ll be painting my house ready for sale instead. I’ve planned for one Open a month (by chance, as that’s the way the schedule worked out!). I may even be sighted at Vic Seniors this year, dependent on rubber stamping by Coach, as I’ll miss out on State Masters in March. This season, there will be a new Masters Championship event in an omnium, and I’m really keen to have a crack at this. Fortunately it’s at the end of the season, so I have plenty of time to practice getting the line right for the flying 200.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Quit Smoking, NOW!! please

so they'll stop showing this ad. I don't watch much TV (too busy training or sleeping) but this ad always seems to be on when I actually do grab a spare 30 minutes of televisual recreation. I can't stand it. It should be banned. I don't smoke and it effects me! Please spare my maternal instincts and take it off the airwaves.

PS what makes it worse is that I wonder at the process of getting the poor child to cry. If he were a dog/cat, the RSPCA would be on to it.

Monday, 27 October 2008

I am a work junkie

I've discovered something about myself. It's pretty obvious to people who know me, and to myself when I think about it, but the last week made me consciously realise it: I like being busy! The busier the better. Being stuck at home on holiday drove me nuts. I really couldn't cope with being unemployed with nothing to do. I need to have something to get up to in the morning, a purpose with meaning, and I enjoy the structure of training, work, life; I need it to be and to do. I also like breaking rules, and changing things around, playing with that structure. That's a sure way to drive other people nuts! :-D

Kissing Utes

For some reason, I don’t feel like blogging at the moment. Or rather, I don’t feel like blogging about my weekend adventures, as I normally do. Not sure why, just don’t! But as Mdm Hr has dobbed me in for hammering her on the hills, I guess I must respond! Funnily enough, after procrastinating all weekend about updating the blog, as I was trawling through the 150 emails in my work in box this morning, I came across this, on slow blogging. Might take that cause up for a while.

Saturday was going to be doomed day, starting off by sleeping in due to alarm failure (human error, something to do with pm instead of am… oops!). The first 10 minutes of the ride were uneventful, until we approached a roundabout. With traffic on our right, and a ute looming up behind us, I stayed on Mdm Hr’s right, keeping us two abreast and claiming the lane. I had a funny feeling the ute driver was going to try to squeeze past us. That he did, managing to collect me, or rather my right pedal and side of my leg, sending my toppling forward. I managed to stay upright, and all I could think was “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!” like a cartoon character who thinks they’ve been shot and is going to die. Fortunately Mdm Hr was there. As I went round to speak to the driver (“What are you doing dude??!!!!!”) she pulled out the phone, took photos, recorded time and date etc. Apparently he thought we were moving forward into the intersection and kept rolling the car through. Not sure how he thought that when we were both stationary with one foot firmly planted on the ground. Anyway, he was profusely apologetic, apparently willing to cover costs for any damage done (it’s carbon fibre man, hope you’ve got the money!!), gave me his details etc. I checked the bike out as best I could, still in a state of disbelief (it was my first up close and personal with a car). All seemed ok, nothing bent, nothing cracked, gears changing normally. The bike gave me no issue on the rest of the ride, and while washing it yesterday I gave it a thorough going over and all seems good. Apparently, the bianchi signed its name on the ute, so the driver will have a lasting memory of meeting me.

The rest of the ride was pretty average, in that, that’s how I felt. We had a goodly headwind and by the time we got to turning right to head out to Death Valley, I was over it. Fortunately for me and my lack of motivation, Mdm Hr wasn’t about to complain about my lack of fortitude. Sights on the way home: first snake of the season, well and truly dead; a decapitated magpie, well and truly dead, with its head few metres down the road, a recently hit magpie, almost dead, but not quite. A sad, disconcerting sight and I hope he didn’t last much longer.

Sunday I was in Boolarra, recovering from a very late night in Traralgon helping a dear friend celebrate her 50th. I only had two drinks for the whole night, I must be getting old! I had plans to ride the Strzelecki hills on Sunday, but after mowing my lawn of pasture length rye grass, my immune system complained bitterly and I was not riding anywhere. Fortunately I was able to get some antihistamine for the drive home. Being a citychick now, I’d forgotten about the power of rye grass for setting the skin on fire, and the sinuses flooding with muck.

Friday, 24 October 2008

In the Money for 3rd

After an exciting week of World’s racing, it’s back to the comfortable format of Thursday night racing, where my current challenge is finding good real estate in the race: position, position, position. Last night, I managed to do that, but only once, despite my best efforts.

Race 1: There are about 11 of us lined up on the fence ready to race, a bag of mixed lollies, ranging from the regular hardened, crafty old guys, to a couple of juniors, 2 women and a bunch of mixed ages. The bunch starts off a little slow, and I find myself rolling above the red line, heading towards the front at my own pace. I’m not too bothered, as I wasn’t happy with my place in the bunch, which would have had me down the back in the final laps. Finally the pace increases, I slot onto the back and with some quick calculations realise I’ll be leading the bunch out on lap 3. That’s ok, I make a plan of action, and sit and wait, vewy vewy patiently. It’s rabbit hunting season. Lap 4 comes and go and I’m ready for my turn on the front, ready to implement my little plan, ready and waiting for the old guy in front to come off. He doesn’t. I sit and wait, rather than getting impatient, enjoying the free ride. Lap 2 comes and there is an attack. The old guy in front goes with it, and I go with him. The three of us are away, and into the final lap I’m expecting to get rolled, waiting to be boxed in. I keep checking over my shoulder, waiting to see someone’s wheel on my hip, but there is nothing but empty space. I think I can get around the guy in front, but not quite, realising I’m going to get stuck on his hip, so I tuck in behind him, stick his wheel, and hope I don’t get boxed in. In the home straight for the finish and we’re still clear. How can that be?? There are a few good guys in the bunch who should have easily caught us up. Then I realise, one of the other old guys was behind me, holding back the traffic enough to allow us enough of a gap to stay away. Everyone has their day, as they say, and I think the old guys helped me with mine in that race.

Race 2: I recovered well after the scratch, and think I might have a good ride in the points. My legs feel strong, and I was able to turn the gear over in the first race without too much hassle. The bunch rolls out well in the first few laps, and as the whistle blows for the first sprint, I’m in a reasonable position near the front and am able to ride forward for a very close 3rd, backpedalling like mad to avoid running into 1st and 2nd place as we cross the line (told you we were close!). The next few laps we’ve bunched up a little, and I’m up near the blue line above the bunch, not happy with the slowness of the ride, and waiting to launch an attack somewhere. As I pass over the top of a rider rolling back in corner 2, I realise how much energy I’ve used just sitting there. Game over for me. I push my way back into the line (that's novel for me!) and I finish with the main bunch in the second sprint, and finish at the back of the bunch for the final sprint. My legs are shot and burning up with whatever thing causes muscle burn these days. I think Marty’s session the night before just kicked in!

Race 3: I’m looking forward to this race, and want to put myself behind one of the old guys, as they always finish up front of the motor pace. As it was, I end up on the wheel of another old hand, one whom I thought would be competent. Hard lesson learnt. The race is very surgey as inexperienced people simply bail off the back of the bike, and the guy whose wheel I'm on keeps flicking up and down the track, and rolling on and off his son in front. It's a painful, annoying ride. By the time the bike came off the track, my legs are shot from the start/stopping and I have only enough left to get myself home at the back of the pack. Disappointing to say the least. At least I know whose wheel to avoid next time, and I can feel my race brain growing some more cells, as I keep making mistakes and realising my errors. Sweet!

2am this morning, I woke up feeling like I’d been steam rollered. Ah the sweet pain of gym work and hard racing kicking in. Well, hello! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had that pleasure. Back to being a cyclist in training again! Bring it on!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Melbourne Spring Days

are the best. Today is a classic: mild temperature, ultra blue skies, not a cloud to be seen (oops, no rain..). Great weather for tootling out on the bike, rolling the legs over after returning to the Au Go Go shed last night, and refocusing them on racing tonight.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

50 years on and it's still the same

Only the bikes have changed, not the attitudes to cyclists on the road.

This morning I read Russell Mockridge: The Man In Front. It's a good read, by the way. Grab a copy and read some of Australia's cycling history.

What deeply saddens and angers me is reading the analysis and description of the legal response (police, coroner, courts etc) to Mockridge's death. 50 years later and it reads just like the Scotty People's case, in terms of attitudes, attention to detail by investigators, victim blaming. In 50 years, nothing has changed.

How many more serious injuries and deaths will it take before cyclists are considered truly legitimate road users, and with the respect that entails? Motorists have it, and it's upheld by police and the judicial system. Cyclists should have it, it's written in law, but somehow that seems to fail, go missing, in translation. I could rant on, but won't keep proselytising. I'm not sure what we can do to lobby and advocate when the likes of BV and the Amy Gillet Foundation do little for our cause but repeat stereotypes of cyclists as victims, at fault, and rogue road users.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Welcome to Death Valley

Really, it should be called Trackie’s Hell Valley. Mdm Hr and I ventured out, on Day 1 of my transformation into a goat, or a lobotomised monkey or whatever those animals are that ride hills fast with a smile on their face, nattering away. Three days off the bike, plus slight dehydration from being a cycling groupie socialising butterfly type yesterday at the Herald Sun Tour, had me feeling blerghoff.. that’s blerg with some exercise induced asthma thrown in for luck.

The ride out was not bad, and all was good until the first climb on Old Healesville Rd. Coach didn’t tell me about this! Liz had cruise control on, after a big ride yesterday, and she called out, I’ll catch you up at the T intersection. Hmm, I’m thinking, whilst looking up, it’ll be sooner than that! So I started up the bloody thing, and was going ok until about halfway up. I held on til about 20m from the top, when I turned sharp left into Pukesville and got off the bike before the town sheriff locked me up in purgatory. I died a few times on that road, and each time I was reincarnated, but on the same bike, on the same stretch of road, still feeling incredibly nauseous. Perhaps there was a lesson I wasn’t learning???? Apparently there are three climbs on that road, but the third was obviously during my final reincarnation, because I certainly don’t remember it, or perhaps Mdm Hr was just hallucinating?

For our pain, we stopped off at the Bakery in Yarra Glen for a coffee and apple scroll (so fresh, so soft, so yum!), ran into an old buddy of Mdm Hr, who also happens to be the father of an olympian mtber, so got some good goss on racing in Beijing. Such a small world…The journey home was sedate, thanks to non-compliant legs, a sulky stomach, and a mild head wind. My legs are still feeling it an hour later!

I think this ride is going to become a regular staple route in my training program. It’s in my back yard, it’s fairly low traffic, it’s scenic, it hurts, and I can add to it to increase the pain factor. O yeah baby!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Thank You

Another World's has come and gone for me. This year was an interesting experience, and, forgetting about the car bit for a moment, was much better than last year's. I am glad I went and was a part of it. I'm already looking forward to racing a full program at next year's Worlds.

As usual, a whole bunch of people helped get me there. In no particular order, but with a truck load of appreciation, love and, of course, deep thanks for their support, words of wisdom, wise crackin', shit stirring humour when the going gets tough, and passing the spew bucket when required: Coach, Mrs Coach, Mini Me Coach, CaityCoach, SallyCoach, Mdm Hour, Marty A Go Go, Tracey my chiro, my housey Kat, Mr Legs, my fellow competitors, particularly the women who go hard then rally around afterwards, Mr Univac, Yogi Guru, Darci and Sharon, Kirsten and Amy, Terri, Mad Dog, Caro, Squirty. Special thanks to Ian Gillam and Robert Hanner for giving me back my batteries!

The best honour and respect you can give those people who stand by you day after day, getting sprayed with your blood, sweat and tears and who continue to stand by you even though glory may not be readily apparent, is to train and race with your complete, utter, committed self every single time. I know I have failed to do this at times, and it's my new season resolution.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Baby, You Can Drive My Car..

So, what does one do for 10 hours trapped in a car between Sydney and Melbourne? Listen to music of course! and daydream, but we won't go there!

Playlist: PJ Harvey, Thom Yorke, Josh Pyke, Radiohead, The Eels, Spiderbait and bits of radio surfing.

Tonight I've been getting updates on the women's scratch races and am currently watching the Mens 34-39 scratch race. The magic of the interwebs!

Tomorrow, I lose my car for an indefinite period while it gets a new window and a paint job done. Apparently the glass is not available in the country, so it could be a long wait, meaning lots of cycling to work and other places. I miss my car already!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

TT/IP Video

Courtesy of CyclingMasters TV:

Time Trial


IP

Yes, I PBed.

It took a while for me to realise, and took an sms from Mr Legs to make me really think about it and check it out on the web, but I took 2 seconds off my previous best time for the pursuit. I was so fixated on obtaining a particular time (which I failed to do) that I totally overlooked what I had achieved. It also took a while for me to accept that the PB was actually acceptable!

I am satisified with my PB, all things considered. The last 24 hrs have been crap, stressful and energy sapping, sorting out repairs on my car in a foreign town. I raced, and even though I came last, I successfully improved. Have the costs of the last three months been worth it?? You bet!!!

Now it's time to head back to the track to watch the finals, and have a drink to celebrate, not just these Worlds, but also as of now, being a hill-climbing roadie for the next few months. With just a few track meets thrown in for fun! I promise!

PS The gold/silver race off in my division between Meg Marsh and Kerrie Howard tonight will be a ripper. Both women were in the 2 min 30s, and if nothing else, it will be great to see them both medal. Just who gets what colour will be their issue and exciting to watch.

Welcome to Sydney

Yesterday’s racing was overtaken by some car thefts at Dunc Grey, involving smashed windows, and several cars, one of which was mine. So while I was not PBing by fractions of a second, some fucktard was stealing stuff from cars in the car park. For me, they took my favourite Billabong backpack, which I had emptied out into my velo case. That’s my revenge, but now I’m dealing with getting an uncommon American car that’s no longer imported to Australia fixed. Finding window glass is hard enough, but there is door damage as well. So today after this morning’s pursuit, I’ll be making a report to the local police who have minimal care factors added to their daily intake of apathy, seen it all before and CBF. Then it’s off to Bunnings for a serious sheet of plastic, and some gaffa tape to make my drive home tomorrow less windy and noisy. I think it's going to be another long day of doing something I hadn't planned to be doing. Unfortunately the whole incident has totally hijacked my plans for staying in Sydney.

I didn’t quite PB in the TT. I hit the start too eagerly and had the back wheel skipping around the place, so sat down to regroup the bike through the first bend, then got back out of the saddle and hammered. My only consolation was that I finished more strongly and drove through the lap 2 fade much better than I usually do. 4th – 6th place (that’s me) all finished within 0.8sec of one another. 6th at Worlds, I’ll take that.

People kept asking me if 1) it was a PB and 2) if I was happy with my time. No to both, but keeping in mind 3 months ago I couldn’t cope with getting my HR over 85% and needed a week to recover from such an effort, I’m pleased to have my June form back, which is pretty much where I am at, with a new FTP. Those lost 3 mths of training under my wheels and it would have been a different story (I can say that, because we’ll never know!).

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sunny One Day

Sydney the next. The trip between Melbourne and Sydney is so long and boring. Two hours in and I was bored. At the four hour mark, I was even more bored. Six hours in and well, it was boring! Anyway, I arrived safely. Hot, sweaty, fatigued but safe.

Today is cruise mode: Day 1 of holidays. This afternoon I'll head off to the track, cut laps of the crit circuit to get the legs back, set the bike up with race wheels and get on the track and cut laps during our designated time slot.

Big gossip at the moment involves CSC riders and a little test that some of them may not have done so well in, and it wasn't a maths test. As some of them are racing locally (Victorian local) in the Herald Sun Tour, the gossip is hot and lively. Everyone's waiting for the Official Statements to confirm or deny.. I suspect these won't be forthcoming until the Tour is over.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Training Secrets

It’s been a quiet week on the blogging front. I don’t want to give away PB secrets to my competition ;-). I’ve noticed an increase in traffic to my blog this week, which is always nice. Thanks for visiting! Hopefully you’ll be entertained in some way by my self-indulgent rants. But... no performance secrets here!

I raced last night, and something happened to my motivation between leaving work and getting to the track. I think being stuck in a huge traffic jam, thanks to a load spill, may have had something to do with it. Too much time to think about 42 (no, not as in my age, as in The Answer). Anyway, I was guilty of racing like a female, and I’ll confess in private to Coach tonight. I needed someone to yell at me last night. Mini Me wasn’t there, so had no one to rouse on me, and rev me up. Boohoo.

I did make one brilliant move (don’t laugh, it was a great move!) in the final 2 laps of the point score. As we rolled past the 2 laps sign on the home straight, me in second or third wheel ( I can't remember which), a guy floating above me, boxing me in, drifted down towards me slightly. I told him to stay up; he responded by shifting up further, ever so slightly. And then my racing brain lit up, synapses zinged and zapped (finally, but just the once for the night) and I saw daylight; enough daylight for a Teschner and a small woman to fit through. And we did, accelerating past two bodies and bikes through the first bend and ramming up the throttle in the back straight. I did a quick head check, and another, and then one more – they weren’t far behind. Second bend I pushed a bit more and gain a little more space. Bell lap and I was still clear, but started to feel the weight of the effort in the back straight and then was struck by a moment of doubt. In that moment of hesitation, I lightened pressure ever so slightly on the cranks, but enough to let the 3 behind gain on me. They passed my one by one in the final bend. When I realised it was just 3 of them, I hit the throttle again, making it home in 4th for a point. Not that long ago I couldn’t finish the pointscore, now I am coming home in the bunch for points in the final sprint.

I’ve now got two weeks’ leave, bags and a car to pack, a drive to Sydney and back to make, two events to race, some relaxation in down town Parramatta to have, and a few sleep ins to do. Then it’s all back to business regaining the last of my lost fitness, developing it further, and some racing brain cells to generate over the next few months.

Did you really think I was going to tell you my training secrets?? Well, I'll tell you just one that's been brilliant over the last 3.5 mths: Vitamin C, in grams, not milligrams. Lady Cilento was on to something (name drop: I went to school with one of her grand daughters).


Monday, 6 October 2008

Start Lists

The entry list is out for World Masters Track, and it really just looks like another Nationals, but better ie more riders!! There are 11 in my age group, with the 2 non Australian women from NZ. So let’s just call it Masters Oceania’s. There are some strong women in my group, and I’m placing money on Meg Marsh, Kerrie Howard, Trudy Van Der Straaten, and Megan Blatchford-Peck.

I’m a bit over Worlds, thanks to a stressful month personally, plus getting back up to speed on the bike over the last few months. It’s been touch and go, and I’m not where I’d planned to be, in a number of ways. But it’s all a learning experience, and I know who I am and where I want to go, and I’m pretty happy with that.

I am really looking forward to just riding the bike after Worlds, for a while, rather than worrying about achievable cadences, gearing, times, splits, perfecting starts, mental rehearsals etc etc. Just a back pocket full of munchies, some money, some spare tubes, someone to help whittle away the kms, some hills to climb, new goals to achieve, strength and endurance to build. Sounds good to me!

One final almond croissant

Sunday, Mdm Hour and I had planned to head to the hills for some more glory in pain, but the overnight minimum temp forecast carried over well into the morning. So at 8 am which was really 7 am but actually 8am, the thought of blue skies, blue seas, balmy coastal warmth and sunshine, compared to damp chilliness in the nearby ranges was too much and we turned right instead of left and headed for Beach Rd.

I’ve been asked lately why am I riding Beach Rd so much when I am not a real fan of that ride (mainly due to the volume of idiot, cowboy riders. Call me a lycra snob). Its two redeeming features are flatness, and relative warmth of air temperature. The bunches were smaller on Sunday than last week, with just a few yobs, and one Richmond Cyclery wheelsucker of note. These Richmond Cyclery guys seem to be getting a reputation for inability to do any work. Mdm Hour and I managed to ditch him with a crafty double-handed manoeuver, which we had to replicate a little while later to drive the message home. Apparently these RC guys are also slow learners. Earlier we had 2 blokes hitching a ride, who wouldn’t take the message or do any work, so as we passed a slower rider, I cut back into the gutter in front of the Sunday cruiser, bringing Mr Blue Brunetti with me, and promptly sat up. I heard a grumpy “let’s just go around them ‘ey” from behind and as they passed, Mr Blue Brunetti shook his head at me. I nearly forwarded a snide comment to him about real cycling and having to work for it, but held my tongue.

One of the conditions of our ride was to stop at Eurodore again, just to make sure the good coffee and croissant last week wasn’t a fluke. I am happy to report they weren’t. But I did declare it would be my last almond croissant for some time, as in 10 days time I start my fugacious reincarntion as a hill-climbing, road racing enduro whiz. This also means more turning left than right when leaving home on the weekends, and some practice at focussing for longer than 2 minutes 50. Fortunately, some nameless person has dobbed themselves in to keep me company on my long hill-climbing jaunts, a promise they will be kept to!

New FTP

Saturday was cold, damp, grey, miserable. Classic Melbourne weather. So what’s a single girl to but go ride a hill! I took myself up the 1:20, just to go out for the ride, no PBs in mind, no hard riding, but to enjoy myself (if you can do that climbing 6-7km). I didn’t smash myself, just rode within my limits, but by the time I got to the top, passing a few people on the way, I felt like crap, my guts were thinking of ridding me of breakfast, and well, I was told I looked pooped. That was the understatement of the week.

Today, looking at the data from that ride, I think I just rode myself into a new FTP, bettering my current FTP (that I’ve held all year) by 10 watts. Pity I don’t have time/space to confirm this before Worlds, but I guess it doesn’t really matter too much, just that I now believe I really am stronger – the data says so!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Waking up the Dead

This time last year, I was blogging with excitement and trepidation about heading off to Worlds. This year, my mind is distracted by: "do I really have the legs to not totally embarrass myself in 12 days time?". At least one defending champ isn’t going this year as illness put a kybosh on his ability to prepare well for Worlds. I guess it’s about personal goals, for each of us.

For the last week, my legs have been dead. As in, laid out on a cold slab in a morgue dead. I’ve skipped training sessions and modified others to help freshen them up, but they remain stone cold, motherless dead. I peer at and poke and prod my WKO files, trying to work out why. Nothing looks overdone, untoward or outrageous. My TSB is on the low side, about where it was for states and nationals. My CTL is cruising along at 80, about 12 points higher than for states and nationals, and my ATL about the same as for states and nationals. I’ve been getting reasonable sleep (for a change!), and my diet is good. Maybe I’m just expecting too much, after having a successful recovery from a virus and nutritional deficiencies in a relatively short period of time. Time to HTFU mentally and become just a bit hungrier, greedier, for the kill.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Another weekend in the sun

I never knew how devastating it could be, when your Power Tap dies from hub battery failure. Even worse, when it dies, so brutally and definitively, 33 kms into a 90km ride, when you’re feeling strong and about to start passing big groups up hill on Beach Road. Well I can only dream now of how many watts I was pumping out on Saturday, but it sure was sweet chasing down Mdm Hour who was doing a big effort interval, passing people with ease. The sweetest moment was overtaking a very large bunch up one of the longer rises (can’t bring myself to call them climbs) on Beach Rd, and as I reached the top, I checked my gear: 53 x 13. Not what I had planned, but was nice to realise that maybe I underestimate myself sometimes. So after getting over the disappointment of not having any true data from Saturday’s ride, Mdm Hour and I had a great ride in the sunshine, I ate a very scrummy almond croissant at Eurodore in Port Melbourne, and we had an enjoyable detour via the Boulie to DISC for an errand. The day was topped off by a train ride home watching once a year footy fans be, well, once a year footy fans.

Sunday saw a revival of the PT hub, with new batteries installed courtesy of Mr Whiskers’ way with tools. Not only did he successfully manage to get the PT hub cover off, which are apparently notorious for being difficult, he attached legs to my housemate’s new kitchen table top the night before. There are some things about which it just pays to be a feeble girl. Once the hub was back doing its power thing, we did a 1:20 loop, with some PBs happening for both of us, and a too close encounter with some cars less than a kilo after heading out for the hills.

As we turned onto Bayswater Rd, a little silver 4 cylinder thing hooned up the inside of me on the gravel, dust and stones flyng. Whilst it gave me enough clearance, the speed at which it hit the gravel had me worried about it losing traction and sliding into either me, or Mr Whiskers up ahead, or the trees to the left. Once it cleared the gravel, swerved past Mr Whiskers and took off down the road at warp speed, I realised there was car on my wheel, and I mean, on my wheel. I turned to see some old expletive deleted almost stopped, with his passenger front light in line with me, and less than a wheel distance off my back tyre. Why he didn’t go around like most would I have no idea. I thought he was going to run me off the road, or pull up beside me to have words. He did neither and finally got his act together to pass, and pass safely. I have no idea what went down with those two cars, but I’m assuming some red light running joy was had. Mr Whiskers conjectured that the white car turned right onto the road after us, suddenly saw me and braked hard, with the silver Professional Driver behind him taking evasive rally car action. It was a f^ck me!! moment that’s for sure.

It’s been a while (a long while) since I’ve done the Big Hill ride, and I didn’t struggle too much with it, just set myself at a nice, hard-working tempo and hoped to finish. I don’t usually time myself, but check out the stop watch retrospectively once I’ve downloaded the data. I managed to take a solid few minutes off my more recent times up the climb. Admittedly the last two were pretty poor thanks to my health, and previous ones, big ring efforts. But I managed to hit my fastest time up the 1:20 this year, without consciously trying to do so. After 3 weeks of illness/poor bloods in June/July, 6 weeks of recovery work, 6 weeks of building strength and fitness back up, I think we’ve managed to almost make it. Not bad considering 3 months ago it looked like it was a bit of an ask.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Leg Meltdown

After a confidence building session on the track yesterday morning, I had a total leg meltdown on the ergo last night. Not a good way to finish the day, and it was a beefy dose of what goes up must come down.

On paper, my diet, recovery, etc are on track. So I was puzzled. This morning pouring over WKO, PMC etc, wondering if I’d not yet recovered from the weekend’s riding, I noticed I’ve doubled my TSS from the previous week. Yeah, that’ll do it. Coach has ordered a recovery day today, and it’s aaaaaaaaaaaalll mine!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

It's Done

I've entered Worlds. And I feel good :-D

Monday, 22 September 2008

Windy Sunday

Windy one day, windier the next. After Saturday making the legs work, I opted for an “easier” ride down Beach Rd, with pace setter Mr Whiskers (read, my tow home into the raging northerly). The trip down to Mordi was great, with a nice tail wind for most of the way. I got in trouble a few times for, umm, attacking, cough cough, up some of the rises, cough cough. Not my fault if Mr Whiskers has zoned training to do and is a disciplined number cruncher! Me, I was E1ing, apparently, and well, if my legs want to work at a particular rate up a hill, who am I to deter them?

I was dreading the return trip though, and even with some very focussed wheel sucking (no way was I losing that wheel in that wind, you’d have been proud Mrs Coach) it was not fast thanks to the wind, but I still was buffeted around a treat. I was really glad I was not on the front, that’s for sure, and appreciated the steady wheel. Despite the wind, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the view is always good on Beach Road.

Windy Saturday

Another good weekend of riding, if somewhat curtailed in the kms department thanks to some hefty headwinds both days. Saturday, my new neighbour, Mdm Hour and I headed off east into the hills, hoping to beat the forecast rain. We did, just! We took to our usual eastern route, and it was with great joy I faced the two lumps on Edward Rd. I’ve been known to need a recovery stop after these, but not Saturday, dear reader. I thumbed my nose at those nasty rollers, spurning any stops, and slugged away with gritted determination and a bunch of HTFU. When we got to Coldstream, we both decided that we’d have enough of hills, knowing that we’d have face the bastards on the way back, so we headed off to Yarra Glen. I’ve not been to Yarra Glen before, and slogging it into a headwind the whole way, plus two close encounters with tourist buses (must be the week for that) I was wishing for the trip into Beach Rd instead. I suspect this is a journey I’m going to become very familiar with after Worlds (oh yes! I’m going to Worlds. Well, at the moment I am!!).

Halfway between Coldstream and Yarra Glen, Friday night’s ergo efforts decided to let their presence be known, and I realised that I was going to need food sometime in the next 15km. I’m not sure what this rapid ride-hunger thing is. I can easily ride 60km without needing to eat halfway. Anyway, coffee and an apple scroll downed at Yarra Glen; and a discussion on where to head to after that, until we looked up. The blue sky had blackened and it was looking ominous. We looked up, looked at each other, looked up again and said: let’s head home then assess the situation.

The slog home was, well a slog! Nothing beats a headwind uphill for developing character. 10km from home, I suggested we ride past home for another 10km or so. 5 km from home I suggested we forget that plan and call it day. Mdm Hour was not dissenting and approved my call. Within 15 minutes of getting home, the rain came crashing down. Like a final sprint for the line, nothing beats good timing.

To cap off the day, I headed out to the movies for a change, to see Hellboy with Mr Whiskers. The movie was a potentially a good cinematic version of the comic strip, heavily overlayed with corn syrup. A bit sickly, over-sugared and almost pathetic, ie don't bother paying to see it in a cinema. At least the company was great, and dinner yummy.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Sucking Wheel Pays Off

Last night I resumed my Thursday night club track racing career, after a 4 month hiatus (gees, I had to count twice on my fingers to make sure! That long?!?!?!? Eek). Numbers are down at the moment, but ideal for recommencing racing. My legs were flat and dead from another excellent session in the A Go Go shed the night before, so the plan was to roll around, stay with the bunch, don’t attack two laps into the race as I usually do, and suck wheel baby!

  1. Scratch race. I sat in, and waited. Second time at the front of the pack, as the rider in front of me rolled off, I lifted the pace to see what would happen. I dropped the bunch by about 5 or more metres and it took the rest of the lap for the group to reform. As soon as they were back on my wheel, I bailed off the front, a bit shy of my full lap. A few laps later, I moved off the back to come around, testing out my legs and the resolve of the small bunch. I picked a really bad spot to do this, and ended up on the bend above the group near the front and without snappy legs to pull off any attack. The paced up though, and I put some pressure and was happy enough with what I saw. The sprint to the finish saw the 3 regular old guys pull away from me (I missed the jump). I held the gap though, and brought them back by a few metres, coming in 4th a few metres off the pace.
  1. Pointscore. The old guys decide to use this to keep themselves warm and not much else. However, one of the trio decides he actually is up for racing, which suits me fine, as I get to play a bit and do some hard efforts. Sprint #1, I sit on his wheel, but my legs don't work, and I cannot come around him, settling for second. He seems a little spent from this effort, and we form a trio with a young female rider, working together towards the next sprint. Sprint #2, I am on the old guy’s wheel into the back straight, and make my move out of corner 2, coming around him and slowly I pull away, with legs dragging and kicking and whinging. I know I’ll be able to stay away, but it’s going to be hard, close work. Then all of a sudden, the brakes fall off and I get some sudden acceleration and pull away for a very decisive win (half a lap I was told!!). As my speed jumped I remember thinking: where the hell did that come from???!!! I roll around after crossing the tape, somewhat trashed, and the young Brunswick rider catches me up and we do half lap turns for a few laps. Bell lap has our active rival gaining us back up, and I end up 3rd wheel without the mental or physical motivation to rip myself apart to come around past the Brunswick rider. She rides hard and I give her some encouragement, and congratulate her as we ride over the finish line. I’m on equal 1st points, but am second thanks to my lack of motivation (ie on the verge of being totally smashed!!).
  1. Motorpace. Yeeha! We actually have the motorbike for the final race. I was expecting another scratch race, so was pretty stoked to see Quickie out on the bike. I know the old guys have saved themselves for this one, and pay due attention. It’s nice to be on the back of the bike, cruising around in the draft. I end up second wheel when the bike pulls off and decide to stick to my pointscore rival’s wheel, figuring I’ll be able to come around him in the final lap. I was wrong by a tyre width, leaving my run about 2 metres and a couple of deep pedal strokes too late. I dug in for the final metres and gained half a bike up to him, to be beaten by such a small fraction. It was a sweet way to come 4th.

A good friend recently commented I need to know and learn what winning tastes like. You know, I think it tastes kinda good. I was really happy with the way I rode: Mrs Coach would have been pleased. I ended up with some money in the kitty (sorry Kitty) for next week’s entry and I read the moves better than I usually do. I made a couple of mistakes in timing and placement, but was able to use that in other ways. My legs gave me a little present in the second sprint of the pointscore, after a very solid workout the night before. A few more weeks, and I think the power will start kicking in. Am looking forward to another run next week - I got an old guy to beat!