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!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Cyclist Down in Swanston Street

I hate reading these news items. The fraternity of cycledom is close knit, and I worry and fret until a name is released, and I know it's not a friend, or colleague.

Condolescences to those concerned.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Pain of Pursuiting

Ah, the pain of pursuiting. It’s a bit like childbirth, how quickly we forget! Well, last night, Coach kindly reminded me. It was a bit of a shock to the system. Four minute efforts: first minute felt good, heavy on the legs but good – hey this is going to be ok; 2nd minute – o shit, this is getting hard, minor anxiety heading towards panic as I wonder if I can make it; 3rd minute – I start hanging on for grim death with Coach coaching from the sides, passing me little reminders about technique; 4th minute – made it, only 2 x 30 seconds to go, I keep pushing but there’s no baby yet.10 seconds and I grit my teeth, make snarly faces and force myself to keep going until I hear “OK”. And then I really can’t believe it for a fraction of a second. It’s over, I made it, and now I have 8minutes before I do it again, three more times. O the joy.

Attack of the Doona Monster

My new house is cold, very cold. It was much warmer outside last night than in! So come 5 am this morning, I stuck my nose out from under the covers and promptly retreated. The last two days, I've been wearing to bed: track pants, thick thermal socks, long sleeved thermal top, fleece jumper. And it's Spring. I'm not looking forward to next Winter in this house. Might be cosier to sleep in an igloo outside!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Surrounded by boxes

I’d forgotten what a PIA moving is. I’ve developed a habit over the last 20yrs of moving house/job approximately every 2 yrs. So, it’s been about 2 yrs since my last move….

Anyway, the job is pretty much done, and I’m left with sorting out my loads of accumulated crap (I’m sure I didn’t move to Melbourne with this much stuff???) so that I can re-establish some kind of routine (ie control!!) in my life and I don’t have to panic in the morning searching for underwear to put on to go to work. I hope I can remember where I put my Powertap for tonight’s ergo session. I saw it somewhere…

Training over the weekend was non-existent, but I had a good workout on the ergo Friday night, with my four 4 minute intervals shaping up ok. As I missed out going to DISC on Sunday, I took myself off yesterday for a session. Being tired, slightly dehydrated (perhaps that bottle of bubbly with my new housemate the night before wasn’t such a good idea??) and underfed is not really a good way to be when trying to nail 750m efforts at race pace. I started on my warm up gear and it was hell - dog ugly really. I did a lot of dissection between efforts, gave myself a solid talking to so I didn’t throw in the towel in disgust and go home after the first failed effort. I got a bit angry and changed up gear. It couldn’t get much worse, so I had nothing to lose. The difference between the two gears felt great, and my confidence started to come back. The next lot of efforts was better. They hurt just as much, but I was able to stop the speed slipping away in the final lap and a half. Sweet. Still not up to scratch, but I was able to save a bad session from getting any worse. I followed this up with a couple of standing starts, to totally finish trashing myself.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been steadily progressing, improving each ride. Now I’m having good days and bad days in a single week. Does this mean my body is about to hit a new level, and it really doesn’t want to go there? Or perhaps I’m just a bit stressed out with moving etc, and it’ll settle soon. I’m actually hoping the former, but I suspect it’s the latter.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

More Weight Marty?

One day bad, the next day strong. Funny how it pans out. Last night’s session in the Au Go Go shed was good – lots of “more weight Marty??” to raised eyebrows and are you sure? After an extensive warm up in a slightly packed shed, Marty had me doing single leg leaps, then lunges and squats. I expected the lunges to be challenging, not having done any in over a month. No drama at all, and I’m feeling stronger despite 2 weeks away from the shed due to Life Happens. All good, and I’m ready to transfer it on to the bike tonight, and tomorrow morning in the sun, thanks to a day off work. Yaay!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Metal Man Racing Round 5

Last night was my 5th attempt to give Metal Man something to work for, and managed to make him do just that for 2.5km. Then the little critter rode off on me, down a hill. Well, at least that was a PB, the only PB I scored for the whole ride. After blowing myself up with some big watts early on, I proceeded to drag my sorry butt and screaming legs over the next 3 climbs and limped home for an almost Personal Worst. Weird thing was that my watts were significantly up, and everything else within the same range as my last 3 rides, but time was way down (ie slow). How does that work? I was really thirsty for the whole ride, and figured dehydration played a role, but my HR was “normal”. Something isn’t adding up.

Anyway, I was pretty trashed by the time I crossed the finish line, and had a bit of a wobble in the legs when I finally got off the bike. Mr Legs commented that I looked “drained” when I walked in the door. Nice of him to notice, and yes, that’s pretty much how I felt. So, it was an excellent workout, with some weirdarse wattages (but no obvious anomalies ie spikes etc), and a disappointing time. Am off to the Au Go GO shed tonight, after a small lay off due to life happening to both Marty and myself (not together!!). Am looking forward to seeing how I go. I’m feeling pretty good about being together enough to make the trip to Sydney next month worthwhile, but the next 3 weeks will tell.

Monday, 8 September 2008

My Big Adventure

Sunday afternoon, I ventured somewhere scary - really, surreally, scary. Ikea. I’ve been into Ikea about 3 times in my whole life, and each time was to the Logan store. Say no more. Yesterday, cycling buddy and fellow coach, Mr Whiskers accompanied me as I went shopping for boxes. Well, a girl needs boxes you know! And who wants boring brown cardboard boxes?? But I’m glad I had a navigator, because that place is vast, and works on the yellow brick road system. And going the wrong way up the yellow brick road on a Sunday afternoon creates its own little problems, particularly when faced with hoards of trolley-pushing, glazed-eyed Sunday shoppers.

After consulting the map twice (yes, they provide maps. They need to.), we finally found the boxes. Under Home Organisation, of course. Where else would they be? So Swedishly logical. Mr Whiskers took off to test himself out as a store model, which worked a treat and confused some four year olds. And their mothers. I would have thought just being in Ikea confusing and disorienting (well it was for me. Beam me up Scotty!), but obviously one becomes more accomplished and acclimatised with exposure, or simply brainwashed. Anyway, I found some funky boxes, and some nice lights too, but they will have to wait until I can gather up the courage to enter the biosphere that is Ikea once again, with another stiff coffee lined up afterwards!

More good riding weather

After a full on week of meetings, training, and life, I felt that my training hadn’t been up to scratch. Close scrutiny of WKO+ shows that perception and actually don’t match on this occasion and it’s looking all ok. Thank CrankDiety.

Saturday I did my second longest ride since May (100km) with Mr Legs, Mr Univac and a couple of M2M mates of Mr Univac’s. We headed out from Belgrave Heights (umm.. I thought Belgrave was in the heights anyway???Does that mean Belgrave Heights is higher than that?) down, and a couple of longer nasty ups, into Narre Warren and into Frankston. I was able to hone my riding in traffic skills though Narre Warren, and I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank those kindly motorists for reminding what freaking bad driving is all about.

As we rode into Frankston, I felt hungry, as in rumbling guts hungry. I don’t get hungry on long rides. I may need food but I don’t ever feel hungry. We parted ways with Mr Univac’s two buddies, who opted for the scenic route back, and we headed up the highway towards the city, with one eye out for a decent cafĂ©. It took us until Carrum to find one, by which time I was really fkn HUNGRY!! and I could see the brick wall in the distance. The Blue Chair has a nice big, soft couch in the window in the sun. I had to work hard to take my coffee and muffin back outside to where we were seated, and not just lie down and snooze on the couch. Maybe next time.

The ride back was excellent, with a slight tail wind for an easy 30kph plus cruise. Pity about the sticky Mtber who was happy to sit my wheel but not happy to take a turn. I flicked my elbow and moved over right. He followed. I returned left. I flicked my elbow again and moved further right and, he followed. I moved left again. Next time I bailed hard right, almost to the centre line. This guy was an A grade leech. I had one final attempt without any success, so as I returned left, I sat up. Then I hit the brakes. Sweet, he swore and shot past me. Worked a treat. I then hammered up the hill, and definitively passed him for good, or so I thought. Unfortunately he caught me back up when I caught up with Mr Legs and Mr Univac and slowed down to let them hook on as I passed them. Mr Leech proceeded with his same leechy antics for the next 10km, only backing off our group each time I turned to give him a nasty evil look. Which was frequently. That kind of freeloading behaviour simply shits me. I don’t know if this guy can handle a bike and I don’t want to be coming off at this stage thanks to some incompetent. Finally Mr Univac invited him forwarded to do his share, at which point, Mr Leech mumbled some rubbish and took off.

Sunday I headed out towards the 1:20 with sooking legs, who won the argument and took me the long way back home. Sight of the day was carloads of riders parking at the foot of the 1:20 to ride up it. That’s gotta hurt with no warm up?

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Crank gazing

Sometimes I just don’t get it, why we do this weird thing called bike racing. We dress in silly, unprotective clothes, ride expensive machines that hurt our legs, lungs, arms, back, arses, immune systems and do it day in day out in some kind of addicted, OCD way. We fall off and despite the blood, lost skin, broken bits, we get back for another go. We get out of bed when we should be asleep, to ride. We get growled at, pushed, prodded, provoked by coaches who have our dreams in their hearts. We chase those faster than us, and are chased by those who are hopefully not. Fear of losing and of winning, keeps us pedalling, keeps us sweating it out, alone, in the dark of winter or a cool summer dawn. We map and plan, the next week’s training, the next race, the next season, calculating, fantasising, moulding ourselves into something else, something other. I don’t get it, maybe I don’t want to, and don’t need to. Just let me ride my bike. It’s something I have to do

Monday, 1 September 2008

A nice day for a bike ride

Today I’m feeling very refreshed, which is a much needed change from last week’s dull dreary slugfest of living. You have weeks like that I guess.

Saturday started at Whittlesea, waiting for the start of the SRAM cyclcosportif ride, with an sms from Mdm Hour, saying she’d won the World Masters RR in a.. wait for it.. sprint finish! It was fantastic news and set the tone for the day. The ride itself was a leisurely way to do 110km, good for those of us who haven’t ridden that far in a few months. It was my first attempt at Humevale, which I found relatively easy but annoyingly dead. Conversely, Strath Creek was far from relatively easy, and found me annoyingly dead. Fortunately I was on the bike when I rounded the corner to be greeted by Coach and MiniMe Coach, rugged up, sipping coffee, looking very smug and amused.

The rest of the ride was straight forward, including the short 9 percenter after Strath Creek, which I flew up, just to get it out of the way. At 8pm Saturday night, I realised drinking 1.5 bidons of water, eating a few snakes/jelly babies and a chunk of cake during the ride just didn’t crack it for good recovery after the ride. I was happy for the sachet sample of this stuff in the goodie bag we received at the end of the ride.

While I’m here, I want to thank all the terrific vollies from the Yea Rotary Club who looked after all the riders on Saturday, at the feed stops, managing traffic etc. The fantastic attitude and every friendly, smiling faces made the event even more enjoyable.

Sunday I tootled off on the bike into the VIS to watch some talent ID testing for Project 2012. The girls did a 4min power test on the SRM cranked ergo. A few girls from the junior state teams were showing their stuff, and from what I saw of them on the ergo, did an excellent job. It’ll be an exciting time for them if they are successful. The ride in, despite being a little wet, was fun (and a bit painful thanks to poor nutrition on Saturday), and I enjoyed being a cyclist going somewhere, just me and my bike heading off down the road.

And in other news: I'm moving into a new house in 2 weeks, sharing with an eventer. How cool is that?