Monday, 30 November 2009

It Never Rains in Maryborough

Cleaning the track before racing, Saturday morning

I lost count of how many times I heard that over the weekend!! It may not rain in Maryborough, but obviously when it does, it overfills its quota! The bitterest joke was on Saturday afternoon when a fellow competitor had gone back to their digs for a few hours, returning to bucketing rain at the velodrome, saying it’s not raining in town! (1 kilometre away).

So, the joke of the Country Track Champs was the weather, or was it us for driving many hours in the hope of having a race or two? The sprint rounds and finals were cancelled, the IP finals were cancelled. Placings in those two events were based on times in the qualifying rounds. So my sprint debut is yet to happen, and my handtimed flying 200 was a bit of stunner. I’m not convinced.

When I arrived, the front and back straights were covered in mud from the previous night’s flooding, and the infield a swamp. The organisers worked hard and fast to clean the track, with blowers and brooms on it to dry it off. That was the procedure for the rest of the weekend: one eye on the radar, running events in between rain bursts, and blowing the track dry if the sun and wind (yes, there was plenty of wind) weren’t doing it.

The highlights, apart from toughing out the conditions, were good company, hanging out with buddies whom I usually only email/sms/facebook, watching some excellent racing, the good humour of all involved, despite the miserable conditions, and once again returning medals after each presentation. When will we (CSV) get this right????

I rode ok, nothing to rave about, and my scratch was a reversion to the good old days of wrecking myself out the back, with my brain on overdrive worrying about nonsense. I have to learn to not only ignore, but completely reject crap things people say to me, or I might as well go home and take up knitting as a more productive activity.

Next stop, Scotty’s Track Carnival in 2 weeks time. I got some work to do.

PS All photos by Peta and Brendan Stewart.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Next stop

Country Track Titles, this weekend.

I've entered the sprint (my debut!!) 500m TT on Saturday, and Scratch race for some Sunday afternoon enjoyment.

Maryborough Track is 333m long. Only ever having done flying 200s on a 250m track, getting my brain around the entry line on Saturday afternoon is going to be interesting! Fortunately there are only 3 women masters entered, so timing is not crucial.Tactics will be, and stamina. I suspect at least one of my rivals will go for a longer sprint, so I'll have to work on delaying her final jump for as long as possible, or having her tow me around until I am close enough to the line to let it rip. It'll be good fun at the very least, and I am going for the learning as much as anything.

Training over the last 10days has been less than ideal thanks to a few small track events over the weekend. I've not ridden since Saturday, when I completely blew myself up with just one more effort. So this week isn't looking too great either (not because I blew myself up though!!). That's life and you just get on with what you got.

The next few weekends are taken up with racing of some sort, either track (Country's, Scotty's) or being support for others in the Tour of Bright (and sneaking in some hill training whilst staying away from the Chief Comm as he's promised to keep me from being bored in a small country town with jobs!! Thanks Doug). I am looking forward to Christmas, just for a break before it all starts again with the Xmas Carnivals in central Victoria.

Another happy little omnium organiser

The Women's Omnium is done and dusted. Well not really dusted, as it rained, and when it rains, the roof leaks at the velodrome. Ironic really.

So when I arrived at 9.30am to start sorting things out, our first potential showstopper (in fact, our ONLY potential showstopper) had arrived and was doing its thing. More leaks than ever before, in new spots on the boards. After the change of date debacle, I really didn't need this crap. So we waited. And waited. Kept checking the BOM radar, kept conferring with the Chief Comm and special Highly Knowledgeable guest. The decison was made to postpone the start, checking the boards (ie the leaks) every 30minutes to see how they were faring. At 11.30am we decided that racing would go ahead, but we'd start with the pursuit, to give the boards time to dry out more, with the diminishing rain and slowing leaks, and aided by men with mops. Some weren't convinced of the safety of this decision, and withdrew. Their call. It created some tensions that unfortunately marred the start of the day, but were eventually forgotten as racing progressed, the leaks finally stopped with the rain, and the fight for points became earnest.

We started with 7 more entries than last year, and the competition was as fierce, with a number of interstate competitors pushing the local girls along. The show ran very smoothly, and despite being a very long day, we had many smiling, but tired, faces come presentation time.

The Sukkie guys were fantastic entertaining the crowds, and sponsoring the points races, as well as providing swag for all placegetters. Our other sponsors Avanti, Crumpler, Evelyn Faye and A'qto provided some fantastic prizes, and Doug Armstrong's trophies were just stunning.

I must thank the guys on the organising team who helped me get the show running: Caro Page, Nathan Fraser and Emma Gaul. You guys rock. Big thanks to Omar Ramirez for his camera and artistic skills with our new logo. Thanks also to Doug Armstrong for officiating, and for ensuring we had enough officials on the day; Brunswick Club for being the host club, and providing helpers, judges, time keepers etc; Matilda Vaughan for keeping scores and times of her own volition - that was a real bonus!; Brett Truscott in the office for putting up with my nagging reminders; and finally Rhys No Sleep Zombie Walczak for being our Man from the Office for the day. Many people had come off the back of working World Cup, so it was a big call for them to work our event.

Finally, I have made a facebook page Womensomiun Championship to keep us on the radar. Please show your support be friending us and spreading the word!
All photos by Omar Ramirez.

Friday, 20 November 2009

I'm getting excited and can barely wait!!

This weekend is a BIIIIIIIIIG weekend of track:

Tonight and tomorrow night is World Cup Track. Looking at Andy White's latest post has got me revved up. Tonight we are in the infield, being corporate types. Might wear my new JP Gaultier jeans. How I am going to make it through the rest of the working day beats me. Lucky I have my performance review to keep me focused!

This week has been hectic and tomorrow is no better: training til midday, then home and domestics, followed by a 2 hour recolour session at the hairdresser, more house work/domestics etc, then back into Hi Sense for World Cup, this time on the fence (with a better view than the infield where you are seen to be seen, rather than seeing what's to be seen).

Sunday is Omnium day!!! The Victorian Women's State Omnium Champs specifically. Four of us have been planning and working towards this day for a long time, with the last few weeks a flurry of emails, phone calls, more emails, more phone calls. We will still be wrapping up final preps on Sunday morning, just before show time. 50 women entered, 20 helpers and officials. Prizes, sponsors, trophies, a welcome "gift" for the competitors. Oh! and I owe Doug a drink afterwards ;-)

And Mr Flowerpants asks this morning: wanna go see Jeff Martin Sunday night. Would love to, but we'll finish at 7, the gig is in Belgrave at 8. I gotta go home and iron my work clothes for the week!!!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The view from the backyard

These photos was taken on Sunday from my back yard in Boolarra, of the bushfire regrowth. Top one is looking forward to the hill in front of the house, bottom on is rearward, behind the back yard. Yep, that's how close it got to my backyard; two hundred metres at most. How it didn't spread across the hay paddock (ie dry tinder at the end of Summer) beats me. Good management on behalf of the CFA. Six houses down, the fire was licking the wall of the last house on the street.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The view from here

3 km from the top of Loves Lane. Ouch #2!

Horse lovin' sheep. Well, it's not called Loves Lane for nothing. Horse declined to be photographed.

The view from the top of Loves Lane, on the Mardan Road. The pain is worth it!

Regrowth in the paddocks where my mare was born, only a few km from my house. This area was black and desolate 8 months ago when the bushfire went through.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Blog Names

Don't mind me, I'm just playing around with blog names. Have been meaning to for a while: the time has come! Please adjust your screens.

I can't feel my legs anymore!

Ooo think I might try for a slighter smaller gear next week: Marty legs aren't fun to race on. Brain says "Go!" , Legs say "Gimme a minute, I need to activate the start up sequence first."

This was my post racing Facebook status from last night, and sums up nicely how it felt on the boards last night. It wasn’t a huge gear by any means, but my legs felt like I was wading through sludge, with a long dwell time between brain activity and leg activity. I had no jump or real top end speed, which is normal after the week of training I had. But, despite that, I rode well, in terms of positioning, looking after myself. I even tried a little move, which may have paid off if I’d taken it a bit further. So overall, I am happy with my racing last night. Things are coming together. Most importantly, as well as being my weekly test of how my training is going, the best bit of feedback was that I really enjoyed it: the easiest way to get a bloody hard workout!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Month or more of Bike Jam

The next four or so weeks are jammed full of bikelicious goodies for the follower and player alike:

* World Cup (see you there Friday and Saturday nights)
* Bicycle Film Festival
* Racing every weekend from Nov 28 til Xmas (well, almost!!)
* THE WOMEN'S OMNIUM!!! of course (in between World Cup and the BFF)

and something else I can't remember but it will come to me.......

Monday, 9 November 2009

Legs Update

As riders, it's not often we actually get to see our legs in action. So when these images were sent to me 10 minutes ago, my initial reaction was: HOLY CRAP!!!! Look at my LEGS!!!!!!!!!!

Photos taken during a cool down lap about 2 mths back, on the Shady Creek circuit, after a club race.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Nufnuf alert!!

This one's for PetaPoidyPeets.

At the track this morning, I went to change the 14 cog on my back wheel to a 15. I take the back wheel off: no 14 cog, it's a 15. WTF?????? I search through my kit bag for the 14 cog.. no 14 cog to be found.. it's gone astray. So what am I doing with a 15 cog on my back wheel and not the 14 cog I thought was there?

To make matters worse, I hadn't changed the cog on that wheel since Worlds' "knowing" it was a 14. So when I warmed up and raced last Thursday night, in my mind I had a 14 cog on. I didn't. I thought I raced on 90.6. I didn't. Now I know why I couldn't finish off any of the races with the bunch. But bloody hell, I rode a brilliant motorpace on an 84!

Friday, 6 November 2009

is this what BikeJuJu might really look like???

Image stolen from BikeJuJu, here. I stole it because it says so much, and nothing really at all.

pedal head flowers

Back in the Classroom

Thursday night racing is my weekly tute group: I find out where my legs are at for the week, learn more about reading race play, strategies, play around with what I got that night, and generally take home some new snippet lodged in the track racing 101 files.

Last night I had one of the worst afternoon preparations you could ask for. Normally I make sure I eat and hydrate well, because I stop eating real food at around 6pm, and can't eat heavily before then anyway. Yesterday afternoon was wall to wall meetings, with the final meeting finishing just shy of 6.30 (meaning reduced warm up time). So.. not enough food, not quite enough hydration, shortened warm up time, on race gear as a compromise for time. Add to the mix hayfever, which roused an asthmatic response under load, and NO ventolin in the kit bag to speak of. It was going to be an interesting night!!

I actually don't remember much of the scratch race. I DO remember thinking about attacking with 5 to go, but decided against it as a Bad Idea. 3 to go and two junior girls give it a solid crack, making us oldies groan at their enthusiasm. I went with them as best I could and with 2 to go, just had this odd sense in the brain of "STOP NOW!!!" So I did, just as the lungs filled with dust coated cotton wool, and my breathing failed. Good timing ;-) I rolled into the pits, felt like complete shite as the lack of oxygen hit my system. I was worried for the points up next: I was standing at the gates of nastyland.

I ate some snakes, which made me feel nauseous, drank some fluid, which made me feel nauseous. I finally began to only feel slightly better as the A graders completed the halfway point of their race. Lining up on the fence, I mentioned to the Gazman that I had left my ventolin at home. His reply: just win the first sprint. Well, I nearly did, but was blown away by racing regular Chris, who launched himself past me with about 150m to go and galloped home to collect full points.

Figuring that was me done, and wondering why the hell I was spinning out the gear in a standing acceleration but truly feeling its weight seated, I figured my race was done and dusted. Then I noticed I was gaining on the bunch and about to join them up, having let them roll over me after the first sprint. I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or not, but decided to hang in until my grip let go and I slid off. It took a few more laps for that to happen, and I was by that time more interested in managing the rising asthma than scoring racing goals. And I was feeling a bit better than I had been after the scratch: that had to be a Good Thing!

I was ready and keen for the motorpace by the time I lead out the bunch behind the derny; a huge physical and mental change from when I rolled off the track after the scratch. The gear felt like butter, smooth but with some gentle weight to work with. I was happy. Behind the derny at 5, and off up to the blue line with 4 to go, to wait anxiously for the right wheel. The woman behind me had disappeared and in her place was a big guy to draft when he pulled off the derny. Sweet! When he came off, I was ready for him. I was worried he would drift too far back down the line, and mentally urged him to stay forward, ready to hit the pedals when the time came. He was my ride home, and I didn't want him to fail in this task! Somehow, my mental telepathy worked, and he caught his backward drift and maintained forward. Unfortunately when the jump came, I didn't have the legs, and then had a minor scare with a guy passing over me, dropping his line into me. Back off time!!! Into the final lap and legs and lungs were in failure mode, but I was happy to be able to deliver myself into a good finishing position ready for the jump. New task: more fitness (o, that's my current life's mission!!) and learn how to finish the job.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Thought of the Day

The question is not: How am I going to win? but: Why do I stand where I stand? (tweeted by Orna Ross)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Open Season Begins

with entries. I've now entered Country Track Titles at the end of the month and Scotty's Twilight mid Dec (it was washed out last year, hopefully not this year).

Time to start sizing up myself and the opposition:

Photo courtesy of Ernie Smith via email.

Why So Cross??

Cross is big in the States... and Europe

It fascinates me and kinda rings my bell. But there is a reason I do track: you don't have to clean your bike so often! That's one big bad cross against cyclocross!