Friday, 30 January 2009

Fire Updates

It's 10.30 or so, and I have been glued to the net, the news and my phone all afternoon. The fires reached Boolarra just after lunch, with spot fires breaking containment lines and reaching the western side of town, between town and the Strzelecki Highway to Mirboo North. Boolarra was evacuated earlier in the day, and roads blocked.

During the afternoon, I was on the phone to Terri who is Yinnar South and owner of my gorgeous gentleman stockhorse Moonie (20 this yr, my boy since he was 2 3/4) and X who breeds Irish Sporthorses in Mirboo North. Terri evacuated earlier this evening as the wind change sent the fires back into Yinnar and Yinnar South. Last I spoke to X was at 8.51 pm. The fire had reached her property but was moving slowly. She was then off to save her place with her father. My thoughts are with her.

The windchange this afternoon sent embers back across town and started fires on my road, one of the major roads out of town that was yet to be closed. By 5pm it too was closed. The fires have been erratic with the terrain and unpredictable. Now the windchange will add to that, and if the fires head back east, then there are many more thousands of hectares of bush and difficult terrain to burn, as well as the properties on my road, if the embers haven't got them first. So the danger is far from over, and I suspect tomorrow will be a much worse day for all concerned than today.


Sirens again this morning, and first thing, I hopped onto the net to check out the bushfire situation close to my house in Gippsland. My housie gave me the heads up late last night, just after I'd gone to bed while she was up watching late news.

The fires are close but there is not much I can do at this stage. I can drive the two hours down, perhaps not even get into town, to pack some things and leave again. As a single person I don't have the resources to work to protect my house, and it is of course insured. It's the stuff inside that's important. And ultimately, it's the stuff inside ourselves that's most important.

So today, my focus is partly in Boolarra. And my anger potentially directed at the f^cktards who have been lighting fires around town all week. Having survived one house fire, I have no time for pricks who think endangering people and destroying their histories is fun.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Bad Night

The heat is suffocating and all evening there have been fire truck sirens calling out to each other like frantic whales.

Not good.

I'm Hot, No Seriously!

32 degrees at 5am. 43 degrees yesterday, 40 something the day before, 43 today, same tomorrow.

Joy o joy being a serious competitive cyclist in weather like this. You just grit your teeth and do what you can, keeping in mind tomorrow also needs to be included in what you do today. Fortunately for me, this week is a recovery week (which started end of last week oops!) so its all low key. Perfect for this kind of weather.

Racing this week will be at DISC on Saturday for the Brunswick Open. The 'drome will be a bakehouse, and us, little sultana scones. Bring the butter and jam please!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Too hot, too tired, too windy

A solid couple of weeks of training resulted in a failed attempt at sprint intervals last night. My legs just couldn’t do it, finish off what was started, spinning up the cranks, firing off the muscles. Nothing, absolutely nothing.

But I am more than happy with this failure, with the fatigue and pain in my legs. It means I've been working hard, training well. A few days of recovery and my legs will be purring happy, demonstrably stronger, faster.

Tuesday night track training, and we are taking laps off the bike, into an aggressive headwind. " I need a haircut" Peter is off the front, and beginning to struggle with his second effort. Coach points at me as we roll past, yells: go help him. So I jump, and chase. And chase. And chase. Then blow, having made little ground on Peter. And as I blow I think: how the hell am I going to be able to help him? If I catch him I’ll be too buggered to do anything but hang on to his wheel. Needless to say, the joke about “help is coming” was ongoing and well polished by the end of the session. It was a tough night of training, but a helluva lotta fun.

Tonight, I’ve bailed on racing. I’ll be lucky to stay with the bunch, let alone be in any state to make moves on the bunch. Recovery time has started as of this morning. There is a fine line between recoverable fatigue and jumping into the black pits of eternal hell. Besides, my sinuses are playing up with the beast of a northerly today.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Looking forward to fresh

I’m not sure how many weeks it’s been since I last raced Thursday night, but it's been a few. So back to the boards last night and I was excited. I’m still recovering from Marty’s on Monday (fortunately I’m not the only Marty devotee with the same problem!!) plus fatigued legs from some good training this week. So, of course, with tired legs, I decided to do something different and warm up on the road, on some hills. And of course, being hills, you can’t just roll up them. So I arrived at DISC ready to go home to bed.

Because I am bloody invincible, I put on a slightly bigger than normal to race the scratch. It was an interesting experience. I could keep up with the bunch of about 15 or so, but was totally incapable of doing anything, making any moves, attacking. The scratch turned into a messy affair, with guys not wanting to sit wheels (can’t blame them really, some wheels not worth sitting or just too scary to sit), nor wanting to do a turn. We ended up bunched up across the boards in the final 5 laps or so. I sat just off the back, waiting for a fall to happen, hurting my legs some more catching up accelerations. For me, a painful non-event. I am sure D Grade stepped up a notch last night; it felt faster than normal, but who can tell with fatigued legs?

I swapped gears for the pointscore, knowing my legs wouldn’t be able to cope with the accelerations on my scratch gear, and it worked a treat. My race brain was not functioning, but gees I had some speed chasing down jumps from others. Just a pity my positioning was crap and I was too busy waiting rather than being the one making the moves. A few times I could see perfect opportunities for action, but was too stuffed to do anything, happy just to be in the front bunch, covering moves. A sweet race really, I was happy to see the motorpacing and sprint workouts are actually making changes in my legs.

Back up to my original gear for the motorpace, and coming into the final 2 laps I was well positioned in 2nd wheel, ready for the derny to come off and to leap into the final sprint for home. The bike came off, I jumped with the leaders. Then all I could hear was a pinging noise in my engine, as muscle fibre by muscle fibre, my legs let go and I slid out the back, unable to do anything about it. Disappointing but that’s the way it goes when you race tired.

Overall I was happy with how I went. Now I have some good fitness, my race brain is developing, and it’s coming together. I kept thinking last night whilst on the boards unable to do anything but follow, how sweet it’s going to be when I am fresh.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Return of the Shed

Last night was my first time back in the A Go Go shed in 6 weeks. And I felt those 6 weeks, as I walked out the door after the session. It’s going to be really bad by tomorrow!!

Marty put us through a good session, obviously keen to get back into work after his holiday. Thanks Marty! My quads are really appreciating your enthusiasm today. I think my biceps will be praising you tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have recovered by my next visit, so I can do it all over again.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Dummy Spit Queen (language warning)

Today I was awarded The Dummyspit, which entitles me to wear The Dummy, now beautifully displayable on a lanyard with “diva” printed on it, and a badge saying "no guts no glory" until one of us has the next dummy spit. It’s hanging proudly on my bedroom door handle.

I won’t go into the ride itself, as Liz covers it well enough, although the bike path incident was rather funny; and I added another 55km to my ride afterwards.

It never ceases to amaze me what F^(*ktards (yes, with a capital "F") people are. A small group of us, lead by Liz and myself rolled up to a set of red lights. I hung back a little to avoid unclipping, and as I rolled through, a large guy on an mtb came up on my inside, promptly turned right in front of me, nearly taking out my front wheel and that of the person to my right before Chopmeister then turned left and rolled to the front of the group. As he passed me and the guy next to me, I yelled at him “Oi, watch it! What do you think you’re doing idiot!!! To which he turned around and replied "blah blah bitch blah blah bitch blah blah". Lights turn green, and this idiot fumbles and fluffs his way through clipping in and rolling off, and we all rapidly pass him, with Liz and I winding up to continue our effort. As I came up to him, I call “And of course, he has to be a big fucking ROAD BLOCK as well.” Or words to that effect. Perhaps I shouldn’t have called him a fucking roadblock, but, well, that’s what he was. Idiot. So once again he replies “blah blah fucking mole. Come here and say that fucking mole. Is that all you got to say fucking mole blah blah blah”. Too late dude, come get us, we got work to do.

Several minutes later, we roll through an intersection with a right hand corner, coming out of a red light and next thing I know, some retard is riding me into the gutter. I look up and it’s my friend. So I say “what the fuck are you doing you idiot??” His reply: “Is that all you can say you fucking mole? Who do you think you are you fucking mole? Who the fuck do you think you are, mole?? Is that all you can say you fucking mole?” My reply:” Learn how to ride a straight line, learn how to ride a bike properly, and come back and see me you fucking idiot.” At this point, Liz grabbed me by the collar and took me away from the stupid oaf. We started winding it up again to get back into work and rapidly dropped him, never to be seen again. I was waiting for a third encounter, prepping myself to give him some education about bunch etiquette, riding safely and who the fuck I was!

But instead of poking fun at him, making him the butt of this blog post, I really should be thanking him, because physically I was fatiguing (I put in a couple of standing jumps off the lights on top of the work I was doing gluing myself to Liz’s wheel) and mentally was faring even worse, despite telling myself all the stuff you tell yourself to stop yourself dummy spitting, packing it in and leaving the party. So the instant indignation and anger at this guy’s stupidity and bullying gave me a brilliant adrenaline hit that cleared all that black pits of hell garbage I had been grappling with. So, you f^(*tard, thank you for helping me finish off a really good training session. I hope I never see you again, because I’ll be saying the same thing to you, because I doubt you’ll have the intelligence or self awareness to actually understand what I was on about.

I am very proud of being the DummySpit Queen this week. I earnt it!

PS Today I wore for the first time, my very special Caitlinpower, Xmas socks with the cherries on them. They worked a treat and I think may be my special competition socks, alongside my new australian flag socks.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Xmas Track Carnivals

Looking at Andy White's photos from the recent Xmas track carnivals brings a twang of regret to my little tracky heart. I love the Xmas carnivals, and wasn't able to go this year. Andy's photos describe the dust, heat, icebags post racing, bumpy tracks, energy expenditure, vibe and feel of the carnivals in full, vibrant living colour, and a tear to my eye. Or it could be sweat. Either way, I'm sad I didn't go.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Tuesday night, back on track

Last night was back to the regular track training session, except this time without the motorbike. And of course, there was a howling headwind down the back straight. With no bike to hide behind, this was going to hurt. And to make matters worse, Coach decided some power starts were the order of the day. Nice.

So, what's with doing one of the last efforts of the day, and half a lap later suddenly getting a craving for BBQ chicken, chips and coleslaw? And what's with, whilst driving home, being able to TASTE lebanese pizza, complete with fresh lemon juice and chilli????

Monday, 5 January 2009

New Blog

Most people don't know, but I write. Well I used to write, but now I just think words a lot, but leave them where I find them. So, a couple of weeks ago, I started Twittering to help the words come out into the fresh air. This is not what Twitter is for, but who gives a damn? Ithink it's a better use than the original intent of Twitter. The Twitternerds and nazis can have their little conniptions.

Today I started a new blog. There is a link to it in my blog list. It's in a new format (wordpress not blogger) for variety, and to alert my brain to its focus. A bit like slipping on a racing skinsuit - the brain becomes conditioned to particular performances in particular guises/modes. Wordpress is my creative mode, blogger is my cycling commentary mode. I like to play around with communication technologies and spaces, so hopefully my wordpress blog will facilitate that, and provide me a space to comment on playing around with different ways of getting words out there. EG, today, I joined ping, which allows me to post to this blog, my new blog, twitter and facebook, amongst other social networking spaces. Pretty cool. Now I just need to upgrade my phone to something kinda like an iphone or Samsung Omnia, but only better!

Time to Develop Mastery

There is a rule of thumb, primarily bandied about by cognitive psychologists, that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to gain mastery and expertise in an area. This figure is debatable, and not backed by hard evidence, but I did the maths anyway.

On average I train 12 hrs per week (most weeks ~14, the commonly practiced 4th week of recovery about 10, varying over the course of macro and micro cycles). This gives me ~833 weeks to develop bike racing expertise and skill. That's 16 years. 13 now, less the 3 or so years I've already done. So by the time I get to my mid 50s, I should be just cracking it. You ready for that Coach??

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Damn you Liz Randall, damn you. At least, that's what my legs are saying. I hope I've recovered enough by tomorrow morning to etch out my revenge in the hills.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

I am a Weis Bar

Originally I heard it as Wii Spa, which I took to be some kind of new Wii game, whereby you and a bunch of friends sit in a virtual tub, with virtual alcohol and wave your arms around madly trying to effect a score on screen. But then I realised what was meant.... and it kinda tickled my fancy, having grown up with Weis bars as a young thing in SE Queensland, home of the Weis bar. And to clarify, the comment was in regard to my hair. It's back!! lol

Day 1 of 2009: a day of renewal of past resolutions, creation of new ones, reassessment of goals, and current statuses. Well, my goals are still the same, my resolutions still the same (although I do have two new ones of don't drink alcohol every day for a fortnight for another year, and don't lose any more weight).

Currently, training is as training is, ie you do it, you produce good data, you do it again. I have 4 months before nationals, and a training buddy hard on my wheel trying to keep me honest. It's gunna be a fun, hard four months!

Happy New Year everyone. I hope your 2009 is rich and rewarding, full of opportunities presented and created, and taken, and plenty of new experiences for the soul.