Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Nonnatechnology - the new fear amongst trackies

Beware. There lurks out there a devious, performance enhancing thing, known as nonnatechnology. Our fearless, IOC aspiring, UCI President, Mr McQuaid has warned us. Now it is up to us, as brave, courageous, compliant trackies to take heed and beware.

For your edification, so you know what to look for; some examples of extreme nonnatechnology:

Nonnatechnology in use in multifunctional race car technology

Nonnatech is very new and incredibly experimental. For this reason it can be volatile. (see wooden framed bike on a tanning bed). Hence McQuaid's justified concerns about The Big Three of Track accessing this dangerous technology.  Tell tale signs of using nonnatechnology illegally are readily identifiable, particularly nonnabiotech, which is the most experimental form of nonnatech currently available to national sports institutes.  

These two nonnabioteched trackies were once known as Chris Hoy and Theo Boss. You have been warned.

These experiments are often hidden under 5Bling gloves, nonnatech skinsuits (see youtube clip above for extreme nonna skins), ubiquitous Casco helmets and Bont shoes, and of course, the BT Stealth, which hides all signs of illegalities with it's stealthy stealthness. 

You have been warned.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

It's all fair in love and boards

Ooops, I just sprayed my organic herbal tea all over my keyboard, after reading the latest journalistic gem on, commenting on Pat McQuaid’s latest insightful gem on bike technology and The Rules.

Apart from being stuck in the 1830’s, McQuaid is on a mission to help the Greenlanders conquer the world in track racing. Or something like that. I’ve heard that the Greenland sprinters in particular, have difficulties in getting true aerodynamics happening on their IceBykes TM, as the airflow over the frame causes it to melt, thereby slowing them down. Without appropriate frame technology, they cannot get below a 10.5sec flying 200m. Damn shame. They show so much talent otherwise.

So McQuaid wants BT to stop manufacturing and selling Stealths so that the Greenlanders, who can only afford IcyBykes TM, and occassionally Hillbricks and Apollos (and second hand ones at that) after cashing in their annual snow allowance, can experience parity in the sport. That’ll work!

On the other hand, perhaps if everyone else slows down, then the Greenlanders can experience parity that way. Or maybe if the Greenlanders trained in a manner more similar to the Brits, the Aussies and the Germans, that might help the parity issue as well??

I saw some very funky glove technology happening at Masters States a few weeks back. I am really concerned. Carbon fibre knuckles, full fingered, kid skin palms, funky blue coloured gloves, suede palmed golfing gloves (golf gloves! Now surely they have to be banned! Cross sport clothing technology! It’s plain offensive if nothing else) . Now this is where I feel McQuaid could be very effective: disparity in glove technology. I actually saw some poor old soul wearing NO GLOVES at all. Perhaps a UCI fund raiser headed by McQuaid is required, so the dear can be presented with UCI sanctioned netti gardening gloves, with inbuilt blister protection and antifreeze technology?  Alternately, let's just ban gloves. Much easier and still gains that illusive parity.

That would overcome the nanotechnological advancements THOSE track cyclists are using. And of course “While the current generation of track cyclists goes beyond mere riding position and into the realm of motor racing technology” we are all doomed to be dominated by revhead dickheads doing donuts in the infield. Heaven forbid!

From this:
 multifunctional racing car technology; can be used as a tanning bed
A no go for track bikes.

To this:

A wooden frame: inflammatory material on a tanning bed.

And while McQuaid is browsing the pages of Cyclingnews, to see how his latest media release scrubbed up, or out, or whatever, perhaps he should take a look at this for some perspective. 

Going to the dogs

The next three weeks are going to hurt. Despite ongoing lurgyness, I am hitting the straps hard for a final, last minute, last ditch attempt to drag some semblance of competitiveness out of my body in time for Nationals. I’ve got nothing to lose, and maybe an extra thousandth of a second of speed to gain. At least I’ll look fit ;-P

But I am not the only one. So I am secretly doing happy jigs knowing that all you other masters girlies are doing the same hard work, chasing some elusive something that will make a difference, any kind of difference.

But may I ask a favour please? Of those entering the sprints: no drag racing please. How frigging boring is that? What’s with this drag racing business anyway? Scared of riding the boards, of playing with chance, of taking a risk? I say phooey to that, and am planning to have some fun. I may even do my own version of drag racing, more frequently known as ‘going to the dishlickers”, “puppy pacing, “rabbit chasing” or, simply, “the dogs”.  Then again, my flying 200 may be so slow, I get to sit on the sidelines and watch… some drag racing. Most likely! heh

 image stolen from:

Thursday, 25 March 2010

TISM is the new cycling

Apparently Mr Flowerpants is one of the suspects, but I won't believe it until I see his pearly whites.

Are you disturbed yet?? And I thought track cyclists were a little bit out there.... this is downright scary. I thought TISM had gone back to their day jobs, playing cowboys with roots.

Cough Cough

Yes, I am still with lurgy. All the classic cold symptoms, plus some, sitting on my chest. Yaay!! Perfect timing four weeks out from Nationals and the week leading into the State Masters Crit Champs. I won't be going (to the crit, that is).

So I am just pootling along, nursing the cold lurgy, trying to evict it's nasty mucousy evilness whilst not losing too much fitness (just some speed, just some strength, but what the hey!).

Monday, 22 March 2010

Junior National Track Championships

I spent most of last week as one of three team coaches for the Victorian Junior Track Team at the Australian Junior Track Champs. It was a huge five days of work, with long days at the track standing on your feet, fetching, talking, feeding, watering, monitoring, massaging, negotiating, watching,yelling, strategising, coaching, motivating, providing feedback, bike checking, schedule watching, timing .. you get the idea.

The team was fantastic, not only because they produced the goods on the day, winning enough medals to get Victoria well ahead of the rest, winning the Ray Godkin Shield, amongst others, but also just a great bunch of people to work with.

Some highlights:

  • The look on Hilton's face when the U17 boys won gold and a new Australian record in the team pursuit
  • The sound of those boys thundering around the track each lap, winding it up to the new record
  • All performances in the scratch races. I got choked up at times.
  • Seeing riders step up and meeting the challenge of riding at their very best under pressure. Plenty of new PBS all round
  • The learning. I learnt so much, I don't know where to start. One of the major things I learnt was I DO know what I am doing!
  • The venue. Nice to be nationalling at my home track!
  • The heat and humidity. Thanks Melbourne - not!
  • The trust the kids place in you to help them perform at their best.
  • Laurie putting up with me constantly checking and rechecking the communiques, so I got the event timing spot on!

The downside: I went into Junior Nationals with a slight cold after States, which got worse as the days went by, but I managed to keep it at bay. Just. Now I am back at work, I am falling in a heap of fatigue and virus. Great timing for my own nationals in four weeks time!

Photo stolen from Leanne Cole.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The weekend that was...

This weekend of racing was kind of special for a little group of us. It was a celebration of friendship, racing and a love of track, mixed in with some Club pride (go Warragul!) and friendly sledging, with the princess tissues doing their job.

My one downer: A couple of others showed that a little respect towards fellow competitors, event organisers/officials and the event itself goes a long way, and empty podium spots are not good for the sport, nor do themselves any good.

But mainly the weekend was full of Good Stuff: Mr Flowerpants debuted in the IP, and showed he has much potential for this soul destroying event. I did my third ever flying 200m, and finally won a race. The Sam on the podium yet again! The Poida proved to me she is full of shit and should trust in her training and herself ;-). The G-Bert displayed his gutsy racing style yet again, and was rewarded for his fly catching techniques. Princess Kaz is one tough cookie, and showed us what determination and grit really is.

photo: Brendan Stewart

Warragul CC had four riders, and brought home 3 Gold, 9 Silver and 4 Bronze. Not bad for a regional club with a small interest in track. Sam Miranda appeared on the podium four times, and has a state title to brag about in the Wine Club newsletter :-)

Check out the photos of an excellent Sunday's racing. Next stop, Junior National Track Champs @ DISC.

WMAS Combined Scratch Race

My god! What a race!! The scratch at MCOW against international riders wasn’t as nuts as this race on Sunday. It was so full on, I have memory blanks, where my conscious thought process obviously shut down and I was working on pure gut reaction and in survival mode.

 Photo by Leanne Cole

The pace was on from the start, but that was ok. We rolled a few laps, settling in, waking up the race legs, then Princess Kaz rode off the front. I popped my head out to see why the bunch had fallen off her wheel, and waited for the bridge over. A lap later and Karen was still out in front and all hell broke lose. I don’t remember much of the next few laps. Apparently I jumped onto Megan and Janelle as they came past, but I don’t remember that. I remember about mid race, being dropped off a small bunch when they put in just one more kick, and clawing my way back on over the next lap or so. I hung on until 5 to go, when they kicked on, yet again. That was my first pop. Second pop came with two laps to go, and it was just a matter of finishing, with Megan and Karen in front of me for 1-2 in WMAS3. The field was completely ripped apart, with no chance of a bunch finish. Sue McCarthy dictated pace and rode a brilliant race, winning decisively, well clear of second placegetter Megan Marsh.

It was one of the toughest scratch races I have ridden. After two hard days riding and racing, it was a matter of survival. My ability to change up gears rapidly was shot, so I was limited in being able to go with attacks or sudden lifts in pace. I needed a motorbike to slowly wind up behind! But it was excellent racing, hard nasty scratch racing, and I think we proved a few punters wrong about how women race on Sunday afternoon.

 Photo by Leanne Cole

Monday, 15 March 2010

500m Time Trial

I had no idea what to expect coming out of the gate for the 500m Time Trial. Last time I came out of a gate was at Worlds in October. I hadn’t timed myself in training for a few months, and the last time I had a clock on me, was for a flying effort. Then, my legs weren’t flash and neither was the time. My legs weren’t flash on Saturday afternoon either, so I was going to have to be happy with something in the 42s, if I was honest with myself. I felt good coming out of the blocks, a little tentative as usual through the first corner, then I let it rip as best I could. I didn’t die in corner 2 lap 2, but held on for a slow fade in the final bend and across the finish line. It didn't feel fast, and it wasn't. 42.76. Same as Worlds, similar to Nationals last year. And one one hundredths slower than Fleur Spriggs, who got Silver. That’s how close we were. A blink. A glitch in the Matrix is longer than that. But, it would have been worse to have gotten fourth by that much (and I’ve been in that situation, or similar, before). And of course, if it had been me for silver, not Fleur, I wouldn’t even be writing this post as I am! So I am not going to whinge too much about such a close placing. :-)

State Masters Sprint Champion

Results never tell the full story. Pictures can be deceiving. Standing on a podium on 3rd spot all by yourself is rather lonesome, as is standing on the top stop all by yourself.

Victorian State Masters Track titles are done and dusted. I came away with 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, all hard earnt, even the gold.

Saturday was packed full of racing: sprints, 500m TT and keirin. After her bone biopsy on Friday, Princess Kaz wasn’t up to racing the sprints, and as my only competitor, left me with a gold medal and a flying 200m 0.05 seconds slower than the WMAS4 gold medallist, Wendy Martin to compare myself to. I’ve raced Wendy before: she is tough and gutsy, very fit and strong, has much more endurance than I do, and over distance can whoop my butt no problems. The Chief Comm was happy for the two WMAS4s and myself to race a 3 lap sprint derby for their final medal positions, and to give me a run on the boards. For me, it was an opportunity to actually win my medal, rather than being awarded it by proxy.

I had a bit of a dilemma. I sure didn’t want to interfere with Wendy’s and Marita’s race, but I also didn’t want to float around off the back and just roll around for the hell of it. And I wanted to win, earn my gold in competition. As we rolled off the start, I was up high on the banking. It was a lucky draw. Coming out of corner 2 all I saw was open track space and a beautiful downhill section that my legs just had to jump into. No thought, just a lot of hunger. I saw an opportunity and it was mine. I hit the accelerator and jumped, with 2 ½ laps to go, gaining a good gap on the girls quickly. As I came through with a lap and a half to go, all I could think was you idiot, there goes any chance of a good time in the 500m ‘cos I am laying most of it out here right now. My legs were not in good shape to start with, This was going to bury them. But it didn’t stop me :-) I wanted to win. I kept sneaking looks behind, expecting Wendy to be hi-tailing it across to me, but mostly, I saw empty boards. I was surprised, to be honest. I kept waiting for the catch, but once I was in the final bend, heading for the home straight, and saw the girls still well down in the back straight, I realised there would be no catch. I had gapped them too hard at the start, and they were unable to bring it back, despite a strong effort to do so. I even had the luxury of backing off a bit and rolled over the line, with nearly half a lap up my sleeve. It’s a bit weird winning a race, but I kinda like it. Results on paper don’t tell the story. Podium shots can be deceptive.

Bianchi's first ride out

Friday I had an all-day workshop on the outer edge of the CBD, so decided it was a great opportunity to take the new bianchi for a spin, and to get some kms in the legs. I figured it would be max a 65km round trip. My only real concern, apart from the basin wash at the end of the ride in, was riding the Boulie. Hills have not featured regularly in my training diet, rather featuring as a rare treat.

I headed out with a reasonable backpack, and safely negotiated my way in. About 2/3rds of the way there, I realised my guesstimate of kms was going to be slightly out: try an 80 km round trip instead. A little seed of concern was planted, and I began to plan for ways to save my legs for State Titles the next day. I could face the dreaded Boulie or face heavy traffic. The Boulie won out, and I would just have to deal with it on the start line for racing.

The ride home started well, but by 20km, with the Boulie well and truly behind me, I was beginning to suffer. Not enough food, not enough fluid, fatigue from the pack and the hills. It was looking grim. With 17km to go, I stopped for a sandwich, checked my email whilst chewing, groaned about my plight on Facebook. 7km later my phone went off, so I took the opportunity for a break to read the message. I ate some lollies while I checked the phone. It was a godsend of an sms. If it hadn’t have come through, I wouldn’t have stopped, wouldn’t have eaten some lollies, and wouldn’t have made it home (just) intact!

A cold bath, skinz, a light massage, plenty of starchy carbs, and I went to bed with sore, aching legs, trying not to panic too much over their sorry state. Fortunately, something must have worked, as they woke up flat and tired, but somewhat race functional on Saturday. Moral of the story: use google maps to work out how long your actual route is before heading out, the day before a major race meet!

And how did the bike go? Stiff, twitchy, responsive. It's going to be a sweet crit machine.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Searching for your inner google

I ocassionally like to check out where my blog visitors come from, how they got here. Sometimes my readers arrive serendipitously via google.

Here's is today's Google Search of the Day:

"l am doing research on the pin killer and h just ant to ask you can the humen stand the pin if the prok their pons."

The searcher came from the UK, so I'm guessing if you bung on some kind of English dialect, it makes more sense. I also like the direct conversational questioning of google. Google the Oracle. Some people do believe. Sometimes google speaks directly to the googler. I'm still waiting...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

This is the day

Today I feel unfit, unstrong, unfast, unathletic, totally unprepared, underdone. Not a good way to feel 3 days before State Masters Track Titles. Never mind, I am sure I’ll get over it.

Training was a bit of a non-event over the weekend, as I started the Equine Myotherapy certificate of a Diploma in Equine Naturopathy I enrolled in a few months back. I started the Equine Myotherapy certificate 7 years ago, but life got in the way, and I bought a house. The course lost out to paying a mortgage, but the time has come to return and finish the unfinished.

Monday I got in a session on the trainer, and yesterday I woke with an ache: an aching head, an ache in every joint and most muscles in my body, an ache when I stood up. So I stayed prone for most of the day. Except for when I was butting heads.

The saga-ish saga of my replacement bike has been ongoing, and going, and going. Early last week I was finally mailed the settlement cheque, which meant, on receipt of said cheque, I could go and collect my new bike from Cecil Walkers.


Except for one small problem: the cheque is STILL in the mail. So on Friday when I realised this, I rang up the insurance company and butted heads. Without much luck there, I spent the weekend fuming and irating, and on Monday composed a tanty of an email, complete with final head butting buttisms, and sent it. Being a public holiday on Monday, I had to wait until Tuesday to complete my headbutt extraordinaire. I rang the insurance company to see what they’d do about the cheque (yes, I know it’s STILL in the mail) and was fed some crap, at which I completely headbutted the guy at the end of the phone. I think he cried when we finally parted company.

A few hours later, his boss phoned me. “Even though the cheque is in the mail (yes, I know. It’s been in the mail for a while now) I have arranged with Cecil Walker for you to collect the bike today. “ I thanked him, not too gratuitiously, but politely enough all the while thinking about time you fecker. Did you find customer service misfiled under L for loser? A few hours after that, a special delivery was made to my door, and I promptly “rode” the new loony bike around the drive, as you do, in slippers and without a helmet, drugged to the eyeballs (aspro of course!!) which explains the no helmet.

I like the way the joy of a new bike (even though it’s the wrong colour ie unloony) takes away the viral pain of aches, even if only for a few moments, to allow one to cut some driveway laps. And then add the clear plastic spots under the cables, and add some lights, and add the powertap head, and clean off the grease prints on the forks and downtube, and finally, weigh the finished bike. And then the viral pain of aches returns. Weird innit?

Just in time for training for the weekend.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Oops lost in moderation

I just found this comment, unmoderated, in the backwaters of my blog. So not only did I publish it accordingly, I felt it deserved front page attention, so here tis:

Mr Wino:

"Yep lock in October 9 - 10 2010 everyone. The weekend after the worlds and the week before the Warny!!

Saturday 100km Sam Miranda High Plains Road Race (Mansfield - Oxley)

Sunday Snow Road Criterium.

Pasta Dinner Saturday night along with RR presentations

Overall winners jerseys and KOM jerseys all grades. Trophy (wine) for best placed in both races.

more details
Entries through CSV $60rr $40crit.

MINIMUM $5500 for the weekend."

Style Nazi Style Queen

I’ve had a full on week this week, commencing with MCOW on Saturday, yet haven’t had the urge to write up about any of it. I am not sure why, maybe fatigue, too much going on, or I am struggling with style?

Melbourne Cup on Wheels was a complete hoot – I had a ball. Three races, the first of which I stuffed up because I can’t count, or the judges can’t count. Either way it doesn’t really matter, because the handicap and scratch were awesome fun, and I got to ride in style with some excellent riders whom I would otherwise not get to share the track with in competition.

Monday I was the official Style Queen, being the dragon on the track apron, reminding the Hour Queen to maintain form and technique, despite glycogen drops, cramps and massive fatigue during her conquering of the hour record in her age group. Style queen my arse, I was the Style Nazi! And Liz has a World’s Best time forWMAS8. Bloody brilliant! That's Style!

Tuesday I trained before work at the track. This is very unstylish, because it entails getting up at 4.30 am, a time at which I am never any good. Wednesday was full of meetings, at work and after. Here I was the style queen of thoughtfulness, incisiveness and problem-solvingness. Thursday I was style queen on the bike, redeeming myself for some missed training sessions during the week (not stylish), with a repeat this morning (stylish).

State Titles are next weekend. I keep forgetting. Maybe I’ll forget to turn up Saturday morning. This year I am racing events that are new to me in a championship situation: sprints and kierin.  Pursuiting is still on my banned list, particularly as my training this year has been interesting to say the least, being haphazard, ad hoc, short and sharp when it happens. Or maybe my training regime has been like this because pursuiting is banned? Of course, being a style queen means that such training, any training, is irrelevant, and as long as I look good on the boards on the day, that’s all that matters. Although, I must admit, with 8 days to go, I am sneaking in some secret training, just in case. My cop out line is that I am focussing on Nationals, the pinnacle for style queens and nazis alike. I am hoping my Sam Miranda skinsuit is ready for me to swan around in bucolic style by then (hint hint).