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Entries For: June 2007


Thursday night at DISC and some skin suit proposals

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A good night at DISC for aboc, and we have some ideas for the skinsuit

Thursday night saw Nathan pull out his best night at DISC so far, with a good finish in the D grade scratch and narrowly missing out on a place in the D grade motorpace.  We didn't notice Mick Thomas in the stands, because the cheersquad (Bev, Dino, Emily and Mick) was too loud to pick individual voices.

I managed a 3rd in the motorpace after a fine leadout from Paul Ambry from HCC.  We split the prizemoney 50/50, so he got a $2 coin for his efforts.  Should have won it, but 250m is a long way to be on the front at full speed and I faded with 50m to go, allowing the mosquito fleet to take first and second.

Emily reported that she had a 1st, a second and a 3rd at the Siemens junior racing on the weekend, and she was even more excited to nform us all that she can now get off her bike without falling!  It's good to have Dino back in the country after his brief stint in the US.

Richard found an excellent skinsuit design that I'm working on adapting to aboc :richard’s skinsuit find



The Flying Scotsman

Graham Obree's story, in film ...


The above is a theatrical trailer for "The Flying Scotsman", a telling of Graham Obree's story.  The imdb info for the film is here. More bits & clips are here. MGM (US distributor) has more info here.

It's due for Australian release sometime in July 2007. I'm still hunting for an overseas copy, or a torrent ... but will definatly go and see it at the cinema when it eventually makes it here! One for the climbing camp, I think ... I've had his books on order from Amazon in the UK for months ... waiting waiting ...

While waiting, you can watch Obree do it for real :



Running a sprint series

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I've started another blog on the sprint series site aimed at how we're putting together the summer sprint series

I don't want to flood the aboc site with stuff about the details of the Summer Sprint Series, so I've put a blog on the SSS site, you can see it here.  I'd much appreciate feedback from those of you with an interest.


summer sprint series - we have a sponsor!

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Trek Australia are going to be a part of the Summer Sprint Series

Some excellent news - James Collins from Trek Australia has confirmed that Trek will support the Summer Sprint Series.  I'm thrilled to be able to let everyone know this. We don't have the details sorted yet, but they are enthusiastic and having them as a major sponsor is a really big step for the series.

As such, here's the text of my latest correspondance with Blackburn - nothing here is confidential that I'm aware of :

G'day Nicko and Brian ,
A headsup and progress report on the summer sprint series.

Further to your (Nicko) approval verbally given to me a few months ago, I have organised a title sponsor for the series - Trek Australia, who will provide prizes for series aggregate winners similar to the Inexa series that have run in the past at CCCC and also I believe, BBN track races.

I have also begun low level promotion of the series through coaches and people I know at DISC on Thursdays etc.  The format of the racing will pretty-much limit participants to at most 30 riders I think - with either complete or partial round-robins (I want everyone to get at least 3 races no matter what).

Can I have the club's permission name the series this :

The Trek Summer Sprint Series presented by the Blackburn Cycling Club and aboc Cycle Coaching

If you can approve that for me ASAP, I'll do up some flyers for it and start to promote it a bit more seriously.

I would also like to request from the club a commissaire be present for each day - we're going to run this every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from November through to March, so that's a total of 10 days racing (baring weather or other circumstances).  Racing will commence at 12 with flying 200s, and then starting at 1pm, graded match sprints.  I haven't yet worked out a final points system or the best way to structure the grades and round robin/partial round robin system, but that won't be too hard, and I hope that Rowan Geddes will assist me in that side of things when he gets back from his holiday.  We will support the club commissaire with at least a free lunch and drinks.

We'll see what else we can do to support the people who assist, which will mostly be sourced from aboc people I think. They're highly motivated to make the series a winner.

So to proceed I need from the club permission to use the name suggested above, permission to the velodrome on Sunday afternoons and a commissaire once a fortnight.  I expect the club will want to review the proposed format for these races when I have them a bit more sorted, which I hope to have done in a few weeks.  I would also hope that the club would recognise volunteers who assist with the running of this series and not double-schedule them - ie: they get helping at this counted towards their overall contribution to the club and that be considered with rostering for other club events.





Monique Hanley, awesome! and a mystery from Saris sorted out etc

Monnas wins the RAAM, Saris gets back to me, and the De Bortoli Tour fallout

Good news first.  Monique Hanley, former Warragul club member, defected to Blackburn, partner of Simon Quick and state level trackie, has just completed the RAAM (Race Across America).  The RAAM is a bike race that crosses the USA.  It's some 3000 miles or so (around 5000km).  An interesting type of race for a track rider to even contemplate.  Finishing  this on its own would be a lifetime achievement, but it's made even more inspirational by the fact that Monnas is a type 1 diabetic, rode in a team made up of type 1 diabetics, and they won their division.  You can read all about it here.  On behalf of us all, Monnas, awesome ride.  Well done.

A few weeks ago at Cycle Science we got a new spin trainer in from Cyclops - nothing exciting, just a Fluid 2 (IMO one of the best spin trainers, that's why I bought one), but on the box there was a picture of an 'electro pro' which seemed to be some sort of power meter combination - similar to the Tacx trainers.  I googled, found nothing, I called Trek (Aust distributor for Cyclops/Saris), they said they'd find out about it, I got sick of waiting, and I emailed Saris/Cyclops myself. It turns out it's vapour :

Hello Carl,

I'm sorry, but unfortunately, we have discontinued our Electronic
trainer line. We are no longer manufacturing this product.


Maggie Walz
Customer Service Representative
Saris Cycling Group

-----Original Message-----
From: Carl Brewer []
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 12:08 AM
To: Saris Products Email
Subject: cyclops "electro pro"?

We have a Cyclops Fluid 2 trainer here at an LBS I work at, and on the
box is a picture of an "electro pro", which appears to be a trainer with
a builtin power meter. This has some interest to me as a coach for a
training tool. We haven't been able to find any further information on
this anywhere though.

Does the product exist anywhere other than on this box? Google has no
record of it, there's nothing on the Saris website and the local Saris
distributor (Trek Australia) knows nothing about it either.





Poo.  It looked interesting on the box, and the Tacx power meter trainers top out at 999 watts, which is great for enduros, but for doing sprint strength work isn't enough.  I'm still waiting on the Powertap SL 2.4 to come back, and I miss my watts, especially now I have a copy of CyclingPeaks WKO+, and I want to use it.  Saris do make a power meter trainer, but it's a whole excercise bike thingo and very expensive, not something I can cart to track races and spin classes without needing a station wagon and a trolley.

Finally, bad news ... of a sort.  I get around, and I keep my ears open (and, my mouth, too often!), it's very upsetting to hear and read so many people bagging the De Bortoli Tour, but they are.  I overheard a conversation at DISC last Thursday about how bad the DB Tour was (the results, of course ...) and the same theme runs through emails on Hawthorn's Bicigaga mailing list, chat sites on the web etc.  It's a great shame.  I had a conversation with Tabatha Cole about it, and expressed that the club needs to make some steps to address the issue.  I did speak to the people at DISC who were bagging the DB Tour, and expressed my dismay at their negative attitude, but they were right, and when they said 'yeah, but we get it right every year with our tour (3 day tour, northern combine)', there was nothing I could say except that everyone did their best at the time.

We can't fix what went wrong at the time, but we can fix some things (there's still no breakdown of the prizemoney available, etc), and IMO we as a club need to very honestly, completely and openly explain what went wrong, why, and how we will prevent it happening again. This needs to be made public on both the club website and the De Bortoli tour site, and the longer it's left undone, the less benefit it will have in terms of fixing some of the damage that the clubs reputation has taken.  Nicko's paragraph wasn't sufficient, I think.  When club members who volunteer to help run these events overhear this sort of thing it's demoralising and serves to demotivate them to help out in future.  We want to be part of a team that delivers and has a reputation for excellence, not "the club that stuffs things up".  If the DB Tour is just too big for us as a club to run successfully, then we need to look very hard at if we want to run it at all.


Other tours do not have the same problems we've had - the Colleraine Tour, the 3 day tour etc, they have results up quickly enough to be useful to competitors.    I'm sick of hearing people bagging BBN as the club that stuffs things up, but that won't stop until we look them in the eye, accept that we got it wrong, and explain what went wrong and how we will fix it in future.  We as a club run many things very well, but the De Bortoli Tour (and the 1:20 ITT from two years ago when we also got the timing wrong) - these big things get noticed.  There was a club meeting that (I asume) addressed a lot of the Tour issues, last week.  What's happened since? Nicko, as president, the buck stops at you.  Communicate with the club members, please.


I'm a Trek fanboy, but the '08 Madone?

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Trek's new '08 Madones are being touted all over the place ..

I'm a Trek fanboy, I make no apologies for this.  I have 5 of them, and many of my friends ride them, and when I give bikes to people, they're generally Treks ... Why is this?  My first roady was a Trek 1400 and it's still going (after some 65,000km or so) and I love the ride and handling, and when I went up to a carbon bike, the Madone 5.2 with Project 1 graphics just seemed 'right', and I wasn't disapointed by it, to say the least. It rides like a real bike should ride, it handles high speed decents with confidence and predictability, even with my lardy backside on it, and it looks like a proper road bike should look , even with the tail on the seat tube and the bulgy down tube on the '05 Madone.

They're not perfect (nothing is ...), and the T1 track bike in particular has some missing things that a track bike at its price point really should have - the most glaring missing feature is replaceable rear dropout surfaces. It really should have them, but it doesn't.  At least, unlike the Specialized 'Langster' it does have stainless dropouts, but at a RRP of around $2,600 in Australia, it has less real track features than the Raceline 'Record' at a thousand dollars less. It also comes with some pretty ordinary road cranks, not track cranks, and the wheels are servicable but the bearings are low end Bontrager and mine haven't survived a summer's racing all that well.  A service will probably fix them up, but now I have high end wheels (Bonty Carbon track, yum!) it's not urgent.

Their roadies in particular, I do love, the traditionally shaped top tube, the feel and poise on the road, the handling works for me.

Until now.

Trek have just released their '08 (it's June '07 ... this US marketing stuff is crap!) Madones, and there's a -lot- of new stuff in them.  New to Trek anyway, long time Cannondale fans will see a few borrowed features, and, shock/horror the new shape looks very similar to a Giant TCR! Sloping top tube, seat masts.  I don't like, mkay? They've also obfuscated their OCLV carbon, instead of knowing what the frame is made of, now you get a rather insulting 'red, white or black' to signify the three 'levels' of frame material used.  Huh?  I'd actually like to know what's in there, please.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and until I actually get one under my backside for a ride, all the above is based purely on not liking the look of the sloping top tube and the obfuscation of the carbon grades used.  If Mark G from Trek wants to lend me a 56cm '08 Madone to test and review, then I'll be able to make up my mind about if it's a better bike, despite the Giant TCR looks and the rubbery seat mast.  Does the huge BB shell (90mm, with integrated bearing seats) keep the bottom bracket more solidly in place?  Does it weigh significantly less than the '07 models?  Enough to justify the sloping top tube?  Enough to justify the 1.5" lower headset bearing. The UCI limit for weight starts to make weight loss a waste of time anyway, we can't race a 6kg bike, it's illegal. Does Chris King make something to suit the new headset or do we have no choice with bearings? LBS's will have to carry (or order in) different seat 'post/mast' bits for different saddle heights, which is a PITA. We already have a pile of seatposts and stems, now we might have to carry these bits, and for how long until the trend swings back?  Will Trek Aust have stock of these in 5 years time?

You can read a less biased review at here, or see Trek's own marketing spin here. Make up your own mind, but have a testride first, I'll be riding one as soon as I can to see if I'm full of it and the bike's a real winner, or if it's a pile of gimicks and slick spin. I'd like to see it tested and some hard data, weight, flex at the BB etc.


A lazy 100 miles with the lads, a track report, and the Tours that Greg should have won

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Yesterday a few of us did a lazy 100 (ks or miles), on Thursday we went a'racing at DISC, and some funny stuff about the Tour and Greg Lemond

In jumbled order, DISC on Thursday last week.  Richard makes his DISC debut and rode very well, he managed to finish strongly in all his races except the motorpace, but the motorpace was disturbed by a crash that not only saw Rich get spooked, saw John Lewis (masters session coach) crash heavily through no fault of his own, get a pretty impressive concussion (It's Thursday night John, you're at DISC, you were in a crash, remember?) and almost certainly break a collarbone.  We wish you all the best for a speedy recovery John.

Dino rode well, he took a punt in the points race in a very strong C grade field and overdid it, but in the motorpace took a good 4th and was unlucky to not have placed in the money.  Wayne Evans handled the move up to B grade (about time you sandbagger!) well and never looked like he was struggling.  I sat the night out taking photos due to a feeble excuse (headcold!).  Justin Wornes rode A grade and was strong, but no-one could beat big Stu Vaughan, who won everything in A grade. The photos are here. The team was cheered on by Bev, the Llama and Von, Emily and Anne Apolito.  Thankyou everyone for your support.

And on Sunday, Byron, Dino, Steve Bourke and I did a lazy cruise down Beach Rd, the lads all clocked up around 100k each and I put 100 miles in my legs for the day including a grovel home up Whitehorse Rd after one too many sprints against Dino and rather a lot of time in E2  Lucozade and red eye got me home up the hill!  Bourky's thrilled with his new steed (Trek 1400) and we'll work on getting him racing next summer .. Glenvale maybe ..

Finally, gleaned from aus.bicycles, for your and my amusement :

Minneapolis, MN -- Greg Lemond today released a statement that said he
has, reluctantly and with great sadness, been forced to add the 2006
Tour de France to the long list of tours that he should have won. Lemond
initially believed, and was even quoted in an earlier interview as
saying, that this was the first clean Tour de France in many years.
However, in light of the recent positive doping test of tour winner
Floyd Landis, Lemond has concluded that, in all likelihood, he himself
should have won the tour this year.

This brings the total number of Tours de France That Lemond Should Have
Won (TDFTLSHW) to 167. Lemond first won the tour in 1986. However, as he
has explained many times over the years since, he should have won the
Tour in 1985, but was lied to by Bernard Hinault and cheated out of the
race victory. Lemond next should have won the Tour in 1987 and 1988, but
was incapacitated by a shotgun blast from his brother-in-law. While the
incident was ruled an accident by the police, Lemond believes that his
brother-in-law was working with Hinault and a young Texan by the name of
Lance Armstrong to remove him from the sport.

Lemond came back to win the Tour in 1989 and 1990, but lost in 1991 due
to the fact that, as incredible as it may sound, every other rider in
the Tour de France besides Lemond was taking performance enhancing
drugs. Lemond believes these drugs were supplied by Bernard Hinault, who
realized that if nothing were done, Lemond would continue to win the
Tour for the next 50 years. The drug-tainted Tour would continue through
2005, including the reign of Lance Armstrong. In the absence of doping,
Lemond clearly would have won the Tour from 1991 to 2005, bringing the
total number of TDFTLSHW to 21.

Going back before 1985, Lemond believes that in all likelihood, he would
have won the Tour de France each year since his birth in 1961 if a) he
had known about it and he had not had the small stature and limited leg
length common to children between the ages of 0 and 10. As Lemond
explains, clearly it would be unfair to him to discount the Tour wins he
should have achieved were he only able to reach the pedals of his
bicycle. This brings the TDFTLSHW to 45.

While Lemond concedes that some may believe him to be "stretching it" by
including in his TDFTLSHW years from Tours before his birth, he claims
that if one is to think about it logically, the only possible conclusion
is that the greatest bike rider in the history of the Tour would
absolutely have won the Tour since its inception in 1903, if only he had
been alive at that time. It was not Greg Lemond's fault that his parents
were not alive and able to conceive him in time to ride the initial Tour
in 1903; thus, it would be unfair to strip him of the Tour wins that he
rightly should have been awarded.

Note that there have been 11 years since its creation in 1903 that the
Tour de France was not held due to the two World Wars. Clearly, stopping
the Tour due to worldwide war would have been unfair to Greg Lemond, had
he been alive, and would have in all likelihood, been a move
orchestrated by Bernard Hinault, had he himself been alive, to keep
Lemond from winning the tour. Thus, Lemond believes that these years
should also be included in the TDFTLSHW, giving him a total of 103 wins.

Finally, Lemond explains that he has included the years between the
invention of the bicycle to the first Tour de France (1839 to 1903) in
the TDFTLSHW. Had the French had the foresight to create the Tour de
France in a more timely manner, Lemond would have definitely won it each
and every year, again assuming he had been alive (see above). Obviously
Lemond cannot be blaimed for the shortsightedness and general ineptitude
of the French, and therefore the victory from the Tours de France that
should have been held in these years must be credited to Lemond,
bringing the final tally of TDFTLSHW to 167.

Note that while Lemond has not yet been able to rationalize including
years before the invention of the bicycle in the TDFTLSHW, he has
created a company to pursue such an effort. The company is hard at work
on a rationalization and hopes to produce one for him within the year.


tandemania, track crashes

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An interesting day indeed

7am, 6 degrees, ride the tandem to the boule, meet up with Vaughan Bowman en route, and a few others.  The tandem on my own, is a barge.  It'll be fun doing the BBN ITT on it.

Arrive at the ITT, meet up with Rob Monteith, we set up the tandem stoker seat for him and enter ($10 for the team! that's half price!).  We do a practice run, it's a barge, it's a truck ...

ITT time, and we go pretty hard, not a great time, but we only get caught by one rider, on a hilly course on a great big heavy bargebike.  It's a handfull, on the descents it drops like a missile, on the flats .. we don't know, the boule has no flats, and up hills ... urgh!  We managed to get around the turnaround at the roundabout without having to get off it.  19:40-something.  Tom Leaper wins it, Jono Lovelock wins the juniors(!). Not a big turnout, but I think it'll grow.

Then, off to the velodrome.  3 hours of some decent training.  A big aboc turnout - Dino, Rich, Rob, Nath and me.  We train pretty hard, and to finish off, Dino wants to do a match sprint. Ok, I'm game.  We roll around, and at the second turn, Dino's about 2m ahead of me up on the red line, I'm down on the duckboards - we're going pretty slow, and Dino slips and falls right in front of me.  Nowhere to go except straight into him!  He's ok, a bit of skin off, but otherwise ok, my bike .. bent chainring, bent crank spider.  Bugger!  I was only doing 2-3km/h when it happened.  No bones broken.  I need a new crankarm.  A Bontrager/Truvativ 165mm crank.  I hope Trek have some in stock, or no racing for me this Thursday!

The Rowbust skinsuit Dino was trialing was torn!  But, it did fit well before then, and generally everyone liked the aboc jacket. You want one?  Send me an email.

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