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


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!


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.