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breaking even

by Carl Brewer last modified 2007-05-31 21:16
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A win at DISC pays the entry fee

Thursday night, and it's time to debut the new wheels.  My new Bontrager Race-X-Lite carbon singles, with Tufo S3 Pro tyres, all glued up and ready to race.

bontrager race-x-lite carbon trackThe wheels are the hr0n!  First impressions - these things are responsive.  I don't feel any faster (how can you tell anyway outside of a wind tunnel with a power meter?) but they have thought-control steering.  I'm glad I have a solid 10 months of track racing in my legs, they'd have been way too responsive for me as a beginner.  But now, I like .. yes.

It's only Dino and I tonight, and Bev, the Llama and Von in the crowd. No other aboc'ers present (slack ... but Nathan has an excuse, he starts racing there again in his next block)

Anyway .. did ok in the scratch race, maybe 6th or so?  Lain Hammond won it, which was pretty impressive, she's maybe 17 or something?  I don't know how old she is, but for a female, and a female junior, to win (ok, only C grade .. but still, some strong boys ride it) is pretty impressive.  Well done Lain.

The points race and for the first time since I've been racing at DISC I don't get dropped.  Positioning and knowing who's who, and not working as a leadout. Thankyou to Dino for my leadout for the first sprint, I should have talked to you more, my fault! I contested every sprint, got 3rd in the final sprint but 4ths or worse for the rest, so no points to speak of.  Still felt good though, good to not have to chase for 10 laps. A bit crampy in a leg, but that soon settles down after an easy roll around.

Along the way we're cheering on big Stu Vaughn and Mal Sawford, Mal had come over because he's afraid of the dark and wet, and wanted a ride.  His track bike looked pretty clean for something that had been (he claims) not ridden for years.  Uhuh ...

On to the motorpace, and I'm feeling pretty good.  It does the usual thing, I manage to be in almost the perfect place, on the bike for the last paced lap, the bike pulls off, I surge for 50m or so, then sit up, no-one comes over the top, I surge again for aother 50m or so, sit up .. still no-one, 1 lap to go, put down the hammer and go ... and ... 250m later, still no-one comes over the top!  That'l be a win, thanks Eddie. w00t!  Wave to the aboc cheersquad, do the 'touch the tyres, burn the hands' thing, roll around and think 'that was pretty good!'.

I felt strong all night and never felt like I was struggling or in any danger of not being able to contest the finish of any of the races, which was a first at DISC - I'm getting close to how I felt at Blackburn over summer racing C grade, where I knew that I could win anything if I did the right things tactically.

So what did the win pay?  $10!  That's $16 total DISC prizemoney.  $10 to enter, so for last night, I broke even (if you don't count the new wheels .. the tyres, dinner ... etc etc one does not race for the money ... )

This morning I picked up the prototype of the new aboc polarfleece jerseys.  Very nice.  Perfect for cold nights at DISC. Royal blue with yellow trim, and the aboc logo on the front and back, 300 weight fleece, good quality, low pill and made in Australia (no Nike sweatshops here!).  It looks pretty snazzy.  Once I have a firm price from Rowbust we'll be putting in an order for a bunch of them.  Got a prototype skinsuit (size L) for evaluation too .. I think Dino will fit into it so we'll try that on Sunday afternoon at DISC. If he likes it, we'll get the pattern done up in Illustrator and then I'll do a design with aboc colours.  I'm reviewing Steve Hogg's (of Bicycling Australia and fame, as well as being regarded as one of the bike fit gurus in Australia, with John kennedy as the other) DVD at the moment, 'Sitting pretty'.  Interesting to watch, I like the layout of his fit studio, will have to negociate with Pete from Cycle Science about my fitting 'space' at the shop.

I'm also trying to convince Dino to ride the BBN/HCC ITT on Sunday morning with me, on the aboc tandem.  Place your bets .. but if he's crook I'll have to look elsewhere.  Maybe Rob Monteith? Rob? You want to do it?

Now it's time to go and get some extra hot chilli noodles and work at the shop for the evening.  I have bikes to fix, people to fit and stories to tell.  Thanks for reading.



Sprinter or Enduro?

Posted by Dino Apolito at 2007-06-01 02:08
After watching you for two consecutive weeks work off the front to claim wins I'm really begininng to doubt your membership in the lazy sprinters club.

That was pretty impressive stuff last night. Had you not got boxed-in in the scratch race I think you may have had a good shot at winning that one also. I was sitting on your wheel hoping for a tow!

Don't know about you but I'm finding the DISC program much tougher than first thought. At first I was thinking three races in one night was nothing. But during that time you may have to put in half a dozen max efforts (four sprints in the points score race is a killer for me) and you don't get much rest in between. All 12 races over four grades are over in less than two hours.

Oh and I think anyone with those sort of wheels should at be in at least B grade. :-)

I dunno ...

Posted by Carl Brewer at 2007-06-01 09:55
I'm not finding the recovery between races (or sprints) that taxing, but I have a lot more miles in my legs than many riders there. Remember I've done two Warnies and been racing, albeit badly, in B grade road for 3 years now. That deep endurance background certainly helps, I'm getting better results later in the program than earlier, which shows up in points races, where I've been dropped early, chased back on after 10 laps, and been able to then get away.

You may have a point, I'm certainly a roady sprinter, but a track sprinter? Not yet .... I'm working on it though! As much as I like watching Stu Vaughn race, I don't want to do it that way myself. I like sprinting. It's fun! Pursuit/ITT stuff is just pain tolerance and seems pretty pointless to me, you're just working towards your genetic limits, but sprints are tactical and bold and nasty and there's luck and skill and assertiveness in play.

You missed the sprints at the BBN club champs, but that was a prime example of some great tactical riding, watching (and being beaten by!) Brett Curren who wasn't the fastest, but was the smartest - now that's great sport. Brett's F200 time was a full half second slower than Alan Barnes, but he won the match sprints against Alan convincingly.

And yes, I feel like quite a wanker with those wheels in C grade! But, there's people tooling around on Dolans and Teschners and BTs in D grade who aren't ever going to get up into a higher grade, and old clunker steel frames in A grade - it's not the bike or the bits, it's the legs and the lungs and the brains that make a racing cyclist. The rest of us just try and look the part.

I'm waiting 'til you and I have the confidence at DISC to actually give a sprint everything - I haven't really hammered there yet. I've done some long efforts at a pretty high workrate (around 90% or so of max power, sustainable for maybe 30-45 seconds?), and of course nothing maximal in the points races, but nothing really committing. I'm still not really comfortable with the bike and the banking and my choice of gearing. We can both go quite a bit faster than we have so far. It's going to be fun! We need to do some motorpaced sprintwork, and now I have John Beasley's OK to use the motorbike, we can start doing it on Sundays (and other nights if we want .. I have the key!).

Body or environment?

Posted by Dino Apolito at 2007-06-01 20:40
You make some good points.

I have never felt I've opened up to full throttle yet but I had put that down to no structured training over the last three months and a host of other excuses. But it could equally be due to being uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the surroundings. I know I waste a lot of nervous energy during a race just keeping upright. I also know I'm not as assertive as I could be and don't jump into half gaps while letting other people "in" when I shouldn't.

The whole experience is still new and strange. The boards, the bank, short straights, and the riders themselves. The field is at least twice the size of BBN fields and the quality of the riders makes for close quarters racing which is also somewhat of a novelty.

As for those wheels there's an old Italian proverb..."Il gatto dove no po arriva, dice che puzza" which roughly translates to "The cat, when it can't get to a certain spot says the spot stinks anyway" In other words the only people who think your a wanker with those wheels are the jealous ones who wish they had a pair!

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