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Entries For: December 2007


Anarchy on christmas day

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Or "what a beautiful bike path"

Riding home from Dad's (Baxter) to home (Vermont) I thought I'd try Eastlink before it's full of cars.  Got on it at Seaford, and a security guard found me somewhere about 5k short of Wellington Rd, where the conversation went like this :

me: "G'day!  What a beauty of a bike path"

sg: "yeah!  But, can you get off at the next exit, you're not really supposed to be on it"

me: "No worries"

and that was it, he followed me as far as the next exit, but it was a freeway intersection, and after I'd ridden up the off ramp he drove away, so I turned back and rode back to Eastlink and carried on north until I got to Wellington Road.  At that point I decided to call my mini critical mass to a halt and I rode back the rest of the way on normal roads.

Eastlink will make a great bike path once petrol hits $10/l and everyone's on a bike, and Transurban are suing the state for having the gall to not make petrol free so they can slug drivers with tolls.  Evil ..

Anyway, here's some photos for your amusement.

eastlink near seaford eastlink near seaford - carl
eastlink near dandenong carl on eastlink


Three in a row - washed out!

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Who'd have thought, global warming, drought, and three washouts in a row

Today a hardy few riders and volunteers showed up for the third atempt at the Blackburn christmas h'cap.



At least the ducks had a good day!

The BoM radar for the afternoon shows :

weather radar dec 22nd 2007

So it's not really a suprise! Aparently on Wednesday the Blackburn velodrome was flooded up to the blue line.  And DISC, last night (Friday) was closed, it seems the roof leaks, and wet concrete is one thing, but wet boards?

To put it in perspective, we need rain more than bike races.  Rain is good. We managed to squeese in two races, a all-grades 3 lap h'cap, won by Dale Reith, second place .. Dino! (helped by a lap and a half leadout by yours trully) and then after a break for rain, another 3 lap F-D grade h'cap was run and completed, and the A-C grade was called after one lap when rain started again in earnest with 35kn crosswinds. Time for the BBQ (thanks Bev!).




A great night's racing!

I managed to swing a couple of media passes to Revolution No.2 last night courtesy of a few photo sales and asking the right people the right questions, and I now have a swag more closeup racing photos and fan shots (Kerrie Meares, you are wonderful!).  It very challenging conditions for photography at Vodafone, I like to get in close with at most a 70mm lens rather than shoot from a long way out with a long lens, and running my camera at 1600asa in the dark makes for a very unforgiving depth of field with any sort of reasonable shutter speed. My camera, even at 1600asa, gets quite grainy so 3200asa isn't a good choice, and I don't like using flash, it flattens things out too much.  So I got a lot of miss-hits and blurry photos, but I did get a couple that may be worth selling, so that's good. 

The racing was very good, I'm still somewhat bemused at the inclusion of the derney race, it's kinda pointless, which isn't to say it's easy (far from it!) but that it's really a bunch of motorpaced ITTs going on at the same time.  The only way to make it interesting from a tactical perspective is to see what Graham Brown did, when his derney was too slow (!) he jumped from it to Alan Davis' derney, and then proceeded to leapfrog from derney to derney trying to make places. I'm not sure that's legal in that race, it's certainly a novel tactic and one that ultimately brought Browney unstuck as the effort took its toll and he DNF'd, but he earned the admiration of the very full crowd.  Stuart O'Grady won that particular event, some were heard to say that he had the advantage of having the biggest derney and biggest derney rider to draft, it may have helped somewhat, but the result was a popular one and the crowd was thrilled.

The night was marred by a nasty almost all-in crash in the junior mens scratch race, one rider hooked up close to the front going for a gap as another came down into it, and they wiped out almost the entire rest of the field on the back straight.  One unfortunate lad even went over the railing and almost into the crowd.  Very luckily no-one was badly hurt but a lot of bikes were broken and the field for the rest of the junior mens racing was quite sparse.

Anna and Kerrie Meares predictably dominated the womens sprinting, they're a class above the other women that were there, that doesn't mean the racing was boring, it was fantastic seeing them when they really jumped hard and just how fast they are.  Like watching Lance Armstrong win a Tour, but in about 30 seconds, not three weeks.  A great exhibition and superb to watch.

Rochelle Gilmore had a pretty quiet night, she's one of the stars of women's track enduro but she didn't feature much, it's off-season for a lot of European pros and maybe this is just a bad time of year for her?

I had a friend in the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, big Stu Vaughan (the V-Train), the current masters world champion pursuiter and general track gentleman (until he kicks, and then everyone's in a world of hurt!) was off 170 metres with a reasonable group for the major race of the night, his quartet stayed clear of the big group of backmarkers for almost long enough, but then with a lap and a bit to go they were caught and no-one had an answer to Leigh Howard's sprint (not even Browney, despite some ... assertive ... riding near the front with 100m to go, would you like any mint sauce with your chops, Graham?) and Leigh was a deserving winner of his second MCOW.

There was loads of match sprinting and a couple of kerins, and the Jayco/VIS boys did well in them, Ryan Bailey seemed a bit off but still managed to win the sprints in his usual 'monkey humping a tennisball' style. It looks awful, but it's very effective. I felt a bit sorry for Shane Kelly, he's a great champion and still has a lot of speed, but he wasn't quite there and it must have been frustrating sometimes to have the kids blow past him.  I hope he'll be at the Bendigo Madison again this coming March, watching him race is a joy, he's one of the best and a great ambassador for the sport.  He's not far off masters and I hope that he's one of those people that races for the love of racing, and that he'll keep on for a long time yet.

All my photos are here.


Dualies - wow!

My first real bike-filled weekend in a while - BBN track and a day at Bonnie Doon on the EX8

I managed an almost-decent 50km on Friday on the roady without too much discomfort, so I figured I should have a bit more of a fair dinkum go on Saturday at the Blackburn races.  The Besse Pool wheelrace (h'cap) was the feature race of the day, and I'm no handicap racer, nowhere to hide, just 6 laps flat out, urgh. I don't like 'em much, but it's a feature race on the BBN calender so I'd better have a go.  The races for the day was scratch, h'cap and progressive points, before the all-in.

I managed to finish the scratch race and although I was off the back with a lap and a bit to go, felt ok and didn't need to pull out - good!  I saw Dino lead Mick Thomas out for a win, so they rode well together.  The wheelrace was split into 3 divisions (A&B, C&D and E&F) and I was off 180m with Dino.  Knowing that my endurance for h'caps is junk at the best of times, and after three weeks of next to no riding, it's not going to have improved, I figured I'd just do a longish turn for Dino and then see how he went.  Job done, did about 1.5 laps on the front before peeling off, Dino just missed out of qualifying for the final, but I don't think either of us were too concerned about that!  Emily won her heat but spent too many pennies qualifying and didn't have quite the same dominance in her E & F grade final.

Rob M rode well, learning quite a bit as he went along (and learning not to do all the work!) taking a couple of really good results from the C grade races.  Tom Leaper kept Stevie Martin honest but neither of them could contain a rampant Barry 'The Wizard' Woods in A grade.  Bazz was on fire. No sign of Jamie Goodard, which was a shame, maybe he was up doing the Scott People's race?  Tom was still trashed from his ride the week before at the Tour of Bright but rode with courage.

Last up was the progressive points, and my plan was 'win the first lap, then finish'.  Done .. 1 point.  The last one of these, that would have got me 2nd place(!), but not this time, no-one escaped to mop up the lot, so I got 5th I think ... anyway, it was fun.  We finished off with the usual All In, and I was paired up with Katherine from F grade, who rode well and we only got lapped once (Who put Mick Thomas with Will?!).  Well done Katherine, you'll get stronger and stronger.

Then we threw the big armchair (Trek Fuel EX8) on the roof and drove up to Bonnie Doon. Junkfood for dinner en-route.  Got up, and felt ok, and then did a lap of the Hurt Hill Loop.  I think I set a PB up it, 21:45, then the rest of the rolling climb was quite slow (trashed legs from the climb), but the descent down Maintongoon Road was a delight (once I dropped the saddle 1cm anyway ...).  On the old 4700 hardtail the last few k's of the descent is a "I wish this was over" experience, it's rocky and rough road, but the big dualie just rode down it like it didn't care.  I made plenty of errors, bad lines through corners etc .. it just didn't give a stuff what I did, it was going to get down quickly and upright the whole way.  Wow. It's so much fun to ride and incredibly forgiving (and .. comfortable! I felt like I could ride it again, if I didn't have to go back up Sonn Berg Dve again to get there, that is ...)

Went back to the house, bacon & eggs for lunch, ducked in to Mansfield and got some more trees, came back, planted them, then it was time to start building the MTB crit track through Trev's Paddock.  I started with the jump.  I made it a bit big to start with, and when Vanders finally arrived to test it, he baulked at it and we had to make a smaller one next to it, we then had heaps of fun jumping the little jump for around an hour or so, getting timing and confidence, before at the end, we both had the balls to jump the big jump.  I did a terrible jump, landed front-wheel first, but the big EX8 just said 'heh .. you stuffed it up, but I'm not getting my paint scratched .. we're not going to fall over' and sure enough .. no worries.  I'm beginning to really enjoy riding it.  It caters for my MTB gumbieness very well indeed.

Dinner (chilli chicken wings!), then a few beers, and vanders and I decided one more ride .. down to the Bonnie Doon Maroondah Hwy bridge where there's some scoops to play in - we rode out at night with lights along the 4wd tracks along the lake, did the scoops a few times then rode back.  Along the way back the EX8 (hereafter known as my saviour) hit a cunningly concealed 45 degree rut and before I knew it I was 1m left of where I started, but .. still upright!  This bike just won't fall down! It carries on with arrogant aplom over everything my clueless handling could throw at it.

So for the w'end, 3 races and 3 MTB rides (including a PB up Hurt Hill) .. today (Monday) is a well-earned recovery day!


Setting the right example

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When a respected and prominent Victorian roady flaunts the rules, what are we to do?

Rob Crowe, Barcelona Olympian.  Campaigner for the shared respect TAC rider good behaviour program. Shining example of how to do it right.

Watch these two videos




These were taken at a recent St Kilda CC linked training camp, descending Mt Hotham (a climb we at aboc know well!).  Rob, if you're going to ride all over the wrong side of the road, at least have the sense not to video it and post it on youtube.



Some frustration!

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It's been a testing time ...

There's a couple of things that are keeping me a bit frustrated at the moment.  The obvious one is the rib injury - as Dino can empathise, it's bloody annoying.  Around now I was expecting to hit some form and start to be more of an influential rider in the B grade races at BBN track, but that's racing, and I just have to deal with it. I've been getting around a little on the new '08 Trek Fuel EX8 which is a delightful dualie, and makes riding with rib injuries possible for sustained times, but it's no substitute for getting low and flaying my legs in sprint training. C'est la Vie ... In the overall scheme of things it's really a minor thing.  I managed to at least start all three races at Blackburn on Saturday and even actually finished the Keirin (w00t! 8 laps!) despite not being able to hold the wheel at least I ended up on the same lap.

So that's ok, under the circumstances.  I needed to be getting some more real miles in to shed some of these excess kilos, but it'll come once I'm healed. I won't be walking up CRB hill next time at Hotham in February. That was a real wakeup call.

I'm disappointed in the turnup for the Trek Summer Sprint Series.  There's a bunch of reasons (Stu Vaughan was out riding his fixie to Albury(!) for example and teh Llama was at Bright doing some enduro thing) but still having only 7 riders was really not what I was hoping for. We were hoping to get a few good A graders (Eddie Wilson, Stu Vaughan, Barry Woods etc) and while Jeremy Mclay showed up we had no-one to push him and I think for him it would have been a bit of a flat afternoon.  All of us who've worked a lot to make it happen want to see more people actually racing the program.  There's a lot of people who're racing lower grades who would also have a great time, if only they'd just have a go.  All the feedback we get from riders actually doing it is overwhelmingly positive.  Just, they don't bring their friends. 

It's a small racing field and it has to be (30 riders max) so we're really sensitive when numbers are down, and if you're thinking of coming, we really need you to, and to bring your friends.  We've asked all the clubs to put links to it on their websites, and CSV told us they'd link it too, but they didn't, which isn't helping, and I know I need to get out to DISC on Tuesdays and Thursdays more and promote it with flyers and so on.  We've got a great team running the races, event photographers taking good shots, commentary (where we actually know the rider's names!), food, drinks, music and well organised races.  We get results and photos up within 6 hours of the end of the races. We're not competing with any of the other clubs with this, it's a niche and one that no other club is filling, it's timed to avoid clashing with all the local crits and even with some other club's training, Brunswick at DISC, for example, I'm sure more of the Brunswick people would love the racing, and their training finishes at 10am ... plenty of time ... and anyway, this is once a month, not every week.

So, please, if you want to have a go at this, it's great fun and we treat our competitors with respect and want to make the series a success, but we can't do it without RIDERS!  Come and have a go.  If you're unsure, contact me and I'll make time to get you sorted on track bikes and get you doing some practice match sprints (free!) - you can't ask for more than that.


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