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?