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Entries For: January 2008


Report from the coaching seminar

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A brief overview of the proceedings at the first coaching seminar/forum

This was something well overdue, and although it was initially a bit directionless, that was probably a feature (although unexpected!).  I got there a bit early and watched the last 30 mins or so of Hilton running a training session, including some motorpaced flying 200's.  Hilton's assistant needs to work on his motorcycle riding a little, in particular holding a line, but Hilton himself rode perfect F200 lines and set up his riders beautifully for their efforts.

On to the forum/seminar.  Around 20 coaches were present. There really wasn't a set agenda for this, I think a major goal for it was to see what we (as coaches) wanted.  John Beasley started off with a bit of a Q&A session, and immediatly was drawn into dangerous grounds, where he was discussing female cyclists and the issues that occur with coaching them that are different to coaching male riders.  I kept out of that one!  Anyway .. after that  I asked him to elaborate on training sprinters and that was useful information for me and a few others.  There's a real lack of information on coaching sprinters, and a glut of stuff on enduros.  Enduros are reasonably easy to coach, by comparison, 'get out and ride your bike lots' and do some intervals that are tailored to your goals. Sprinters on the other hand really need to do a lot of strength and power training which involves gym and on the bike strength work, and the trick is to know what sort of gym work and how best to fit it in with riding.  I wanted to really pick John's brains on this, and got a good few leads. I read a book recently by Boyd Epley, who pioneered the use of gym strength work for college level athletes in the US in the 60's and 70's, and I was wondering how best to use that for my power riders (Nath!), and John basically confirmed what I hoped to be the case, that the same sort of resistance training is appropriate - squads, deadlifts etc.

We then meandered a bit, and there was a brief discussion on power meters vs heartrate monitors.  I waved the Powertap flag a bit here, as for a coach, a Powertap is a good tool as it's so quick and easy to swap between riders. 

There was some more randomish questions, and then we drifted into a discussion of what 'we' wanted from the sessions, which was productive - this ended up being a decision to involve each of the forum attendees in giving presentations on specific topics (a great idea) and having the forum probably once every two months or so.  There was also a little bit of passionate discusion from one coach (who's name I can't recall, I'm sorry) who was beating on about what we should be doing to change the sport - he had a point and I think most of us agreed with him to a certain extent, but it got muddy and I think his message was lost in the noise.  Suffice to say that the gist of it was that we should remind riders and coaches of the bigger picture and that they're part of a sport and that they need to contribute and share their knowledge and time, not just take from the sport for their own personal goals all the time. I agree whole heartedly with his sentiment here, although when he drifted into denigrating people who see D grade at Glenvale as a major goal I was a bit non plussed.  I think he got a bit carried away!  For many riders in the real world, a win at D grade at Glenvale or St Kilda is a major goal, and that's not one I think that should be seen in a negative way.  Everyone competes at the highest level they can based on circumstances and their genetics and potential.  If that's elite level, or D grade crits, they're equally valid in my eyes.

Anyway, after that moment of rigour, it settled down again and the general gist of it was that we need to collaborate more (agreed!), coaches are welcome to attend John Beasley's and Brad Robins' sessions etc and we will have bimonthy forums/seminars where there'll be topics and speakers.

I will be going along to the gym that he uses with his Malaysian sprint squad to see how they do it, and also his track sessions when I can to learn, and hopefully get involved a little.


Training with power

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around 12,000 horsepower ...

I had a ride in a train this morning with an old schoomate who's now a train driver.  Pretty amazing being at the pointy end of a 12,000 horsepower tube of people.  Thanks, big fellah, that was awesome! Apparently each carriage has 4x415v AC motors, each one is ~400 horsepower.  6 carriages ... that's some grunt!

I took the old pub bike to the local station, locked it up (why bother? I wanted to get home afterwards!), the track was a bit damp and the train does indeed spin wheels and lock brakes a little.  Quite a good fun morning.  He told me that they've lifted the ban on bikes at peak hour.  It wasn't being enforced anyway, train drivers don't get out of the cabin much, and certainly not to police bike rules.  That should make a few people happy who were upset about peak hour restrictions with bikes on trains.


Further Edumucation

Seminars, courses .. oh my

I've been meaning to do a strength & conditioning course for some time now, but they've all clashed with things I needed to do... but I've committed (and spent the $'s!) to a Level 1 S&C course with the ASCA at the VIS gym on the 31st of May/1st June.  About bloody time I managed to commit to doing it ... anyway ... the weights should arrive tomorrow too, so we're almost all go for the sprinters lab at aboc HQ.  Can we turn Big Nath the Foxy Ox into the Ubersprinter?  Time will tell ...

And speaking of further education, there's a coaching seminar at DISC this Sunday evening, John Beasley's the guest speaker.  Should be good.

And .. there's talk of more structure at the masters track sessions (Sunday midday at DISC).  I haven't been to any of these recently (summer, and BBN's velodrome is free and local) but we're planning on doing these a lot over winter, so I'll keep you informed via this blog and the website in general as to how it pans out.  At the moment it's being discussed by Stu 'V-Train' Vaughan and Liz Randall.

We've had more people sign up for Hotham, there's only a few places left now, and round 4 of the TSSS is getting close too.

Vanders and Claire are back from Wildside in Tassie.  They had a great adventure, and Vanders at least is going back next year, better prepared and keen to do well.  I haven't heard from Claire yet, but I expect she'll be keen too.

Finally, the dinner, with Monique Hanley as the speaker at the new venue was a success, everyone who came along gave us good feedback, and the bigger venue certainly helped - as well as the licenced bar meaning that deciding who paid for what with drinks was very simple.  Monnas was an excellent speaker, and will be a hard one to follow, but I have a few ideas ...


I must have hit a nerve

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Somewhat delayed, but I got some feedback about a racing incident I wrote about way back in 2007

Some of you who read this might remember that I wrote a blog entry a while back about racing at Crib Point, and how I mentioned to the commissaire at the race that if they had noticed and were planning to speak to a rider for a breach of the white line rule, I saw the incident and was prepared to back up any report by the follow car.  It got a little ugly at the time as one of the rider's teammates/friends took offence and got a bit stroppy, but that was the last I heard of it.  Until tonight!

Another one of the group ( who is also a Blackburn member and a racer of some repute sent me a long and sarcastic email tonight which he must have spent a bit of time drafting (it was quite good, entertaining in a way and oddly flattering that he'd go to so much effort), which he Cc'd to his group's mailing list.  I'm not going to publish it, but you can probably sign up to their site if you're interested, it's probably doing the rounds there on their forum and mailing list. I guess one of them stumbled onto this blog somehow and the tribe must stick together, even if the rider in question didn't get in any real trouble and it was just a reminder that the rules of racing apply to us all.  Tom Leaper got his result for the 1:20 ITT at the Dougherty Tour last year binned for crossing the white line, riders I coach have been fined for doing it too.  If I got caught doing it, I'd hope I'd have the grace to accept that I did something against the rules and I'd cop it sweet and learn from it. If anyone does it by accident and gets caught they get to learn from the experience.  I don't quite know what makes this case different, except for one thing, it wasn't accidental, or at least, that's what the rider told me at the time and maybe that's why he got so worked up about it?

Perhaps a case of The Lady doth protest too much?

I suspect I'll get another reply to my reply to him, with hopefully less sarcasm and more explaining exactly why he set out to defend something that should have been accepted at the time as a slap on the wrist and then done with. I have nothing against the 6am-ers as a group, every one I've met has been a decent person and a keen cyclist, and one of them shares a house with me.  I admire their enthusiasm and their culture, it's similar in some ways to what I've been trying to build with aboc from day 1 and I like them, if I'd known of their existance when I started racing, I'd probably have wanted to join up with them and if we race together again, I'd cheerfully form an alliance if in a break or chasing etc with them.  That doesn't put individual riders wearing their colours above the rules we race by, and the person who wrote to me I would have expected to know that.




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Will life return to normal now?

What is normal anyway?

Last night was the passing of a big deadline - my former employer, Vivitec Pty Ltd, basically went broke in November, and they generously 'gave' me the web hosting part of the business (in lieu of a redundancy payout, in a way).  To cut a very long story short, last night I finished moving all the core stuff off their servers and onto mine.  Websites with mod-perl, PHP, old versions of Zope and Plone, crusty old perl-CGI stuff etc.  Stats, logs, DNS delegations (finding who has the DNS registry keys etc ... ) and email are all working, and if Vivitec turn off their server today, none of my(!) clients will notice.

There's mopping up to be done, and there'll be some fires to put out, but generally it's complete.  The last fortnight has been 12-16 hour days getting it sorted, which has made normal life difficult to say the least.  A big thanks to Bev for doing the dinner bookings etc, I've simply not had the brain space to take care of it. And to everyone I'm coaching for their patience.  I've not been able to give you proper attention for far too long.

So now I'm pretty-much 100% self employed (except for 2 days a week at Cycle Science). If my clients pay their bills I'll be able to pay my rent!

So what else is going on?  We raced on Saturday at Blackburn, there was enough gaps in the weather to get racing done.  Dino and I and young Ed Osbourne got dropped in the combined A&B grade points race at the first sprint (gak, Tom Leaper and Steve Martin .. when they go we blow!), but we worked together and managed to avoid being lapped in the 20 or 25 lap race. It's a bit of a blur, that one ... The bunch did sit up and play cute games which helped (we were sure we'd get caught at lap 7, but the bunch sat up) so although we were dropped, we didn't lose 20 points! 

Before that we had a combined A&B scratch race, and Steve Martin, I owe you a beer, when Steve got onto the front he slowed down(!) and as a result I managed to hang on and recover a bit, and even slipped in a small attack with 5 to go.  It wasn't really an attack, I was caught between Ed's wavering wheel as he tried to avoid running into a rider in front, and Ben Schofield dropping down onto me, the safest place to be was in front of that mess so I jumped and briefly (5 seconds?) was off the front of this bunch!  Suffice to say that was the end of my race and I was quickly ejected from the back of the bunch.  86" - not enough! Legs, not strong enough!  Lungs ... *cough* urgh.

We had a team sprint, big .. 8 riders or so per team, and I was rider 2 in my bunch, and we split our bunch - communication is so important in a team sprint!  I didn't know we'd gone too hard. C'est la Vie ... and then the all in, and I keep getting paired up with strong juniors, I think we got 3rd? Thanks of course to Brian Harwood and Sue Dundas for running the days racing, and I'm sorry I don't know her name, the lady who was inside doing entries etc.

Dino and I have been doing some strength work on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and Nath (aka Foxy Ox) came over last night and we used the now useful shed out the back of aboc HQ to do an ergo session, doing 30 second (10s at each level) sprint rampups.  The basic plan for me is to have a go at more focussed track sprinting.  I figure it'll take me a couple of years to see what I'm capable of.  Maybe masters worlds in 5 years?  Who knows .. I was a pretty decent (running!) sprinter as a kid and the sports I played as a kid were all sprint/power sports, so I figure I've probably got the right genes, or at least, right enough to have a go and see what I can do.  Time will tell ... One thing's for sure, if I don't have a go, I'll never know!

The big BBN Australia Day Madison is next weekend.  I've entered the support races.  Should be fun!

The TSSS round 4 is coming up soon too, if you're thinking of doing it, come and do it.  It's loads of fun and it's graded - you will get plenty of chances to race, learn and try something you've probably not done much (at all). And .. a free BBQ courtesy of aboc Cycle Coaching.  What more can you want?!



One World, Two Wheels

Trek US have dived into bike advocacy. What are we doing?

Trek US have just launched their One World Two Wheels advocacy campaign. It's kinda typical of the Yanks to call it World when it's just in the USA, but we'll forgive them their hubris, they're doing a Good Thing all the same.  Their catchcry is Go By Bike, and I'm all for it! I know Trek Australia are involved to a certain extent in the local cycling advocacy arena, I hope they up the ante on this and get more involved as well.

Dino and I had a good session this morning at the Blackburn velodrome, doing standing 150's in 96 and 98" gears.  Must. Get. Stronger.

The dinner is only 5 days away, I hope you're all coming!

On a lighter note, watch this!


A perfect day to be on a bike

Sometimes, everything's just right ...

The joy of ... cycling!  Got up this morning to head on down to the BBN velodrone for training, coolish (just comfortable in a jersey and undershirt at 6:45am), no breeze to speak of.  Sunny and clear.

Pat D, Dino, Emily and I did some good quality training chasing the motorcycle around the velodrone until about 9:15 or so, when Mick Thomas and young Will showed up, just in time to be Dino's holder for our 1 lap big gear pursuit to finish the session.

More words will only spoil it.  A perfect day to be on a bike.

New bits of a randomish nature

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Stuff arrives ...

Last night Vanders & I went 50's on this puppy :


We're planning on doing some strength work - my roadies don't usually need strength training, IMO on the bike strength is enough for roadies, but track sprinters need more, so we're going to set up to do strength and power training.  Also, MTB'ers need more upper body strength, mixed in with swimming, kayaking etc some upper body work could be of benefit.

Also, a mystery bike arrived in the front garden today.  It was out there when I got home. It's an old red Malvern Star roady. No idea where it came from .. maybe Vanders found it in hard rubbish or something?  I'm sure the mystery will sort itself out soon enough.



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Alarm set for 6:45, forecast for today is 41 in the mid afternoon.  Today is sprint training day (Tues & Thurs ...).  Plan : do 3 F200s, then 2 standing 300's, then work for the rest of the day at the computer.

8am ... huh?  Why didn't my alarm go off?!  I've missed my window of opportunity.  I might do the sets later on a spin trainer instead around lunchtime, next to a fridge full of cold drinks!  I have a pizza to burn off.

I don't like this new phone (Palm Treo 750)... it is not to be trusted, especially as an alarm.

Did anyone notice the ITT results from the Aussies out at Ballarat?  Jono Lovelock rode really well, and the most amazing thing was Kathy Watt.  4th in the elite womens.  She's 43 now? Amazing.

I will have to really start digging for people to come to the aboc dinner.  We're low on numbers.  I'm going to break from tradition for this one. The guest speaker is Monique Hanley, of 'Team Type 1', and she has a fantastic talk for us.  If you miss this talk, you're crazy....

I've shuffled the web page around a little - and put the 'coming events' portlet somewhere more immediatly visable.  I hope you like!


My 'holiday'

With a change in employment, holidays are now sparse, so I made this one count .. sorta!

Everyone keeps asking 'how was your christmas?'.  Coming from a post-nuclear family, my ideal xmas is a non-existant one.  I used to hide at my surf life saving club when I was younger, but that's not an option anymore (I don't have time to be a lifesaver anymore).  This xmas was Dad's place on xmas eve and overnight (and a bizarre experience, sleeping on the floor in his bedroom ... ) and then riding back to Vermont on xmas morning (via the uberbikepath known as Eastlink! - this has been blogged earlier).  Then Lucie & I spent the rest of the day doing nothing and ended up having Chinese take away for dinner.  Bliss.  Boxing day was a mums-family lunch that I couldn't ride to (had to take a ... car ...!), but next year that'll be better once Lucie's done with all her chemo etc.  Might take the tandem... It needs to be ridden more, it cost me a fortune and I've hardly ridden it at all.

Anyway .. enough of that.  The rest of the gap between xmas and the turn of the year was spent up at Bonnie Doon, or. specifically, Trev's place at Peppin Point.  Myself, Rich and Lawrence (rocketboy) took MTB's and beer.  A dangerous combination! The trip up was eventful.  Rich's old Landrover (aka The Adventure Truck) is ... old ... (1973) and it has some issues.  We had a puncture just outside Yea, the jack collapsed so we had to wave down a passing car for help (can we borrow your jack for 5 minutes)!, and then the old adventure truck had carby problems, meaning that it basically took us a day to travel the 160km to Bonnie Doon from home.  I've ridden it on my roady in around the same time (but, with a lot less luggage!).  The next day RB and I rode Hurt Hill in the morning before it got too hot.  I was pretty slow up it (25 mins I think?) and RB wasn't far behind.  He rode it really well, but suffered on the descent down Maintongoon Road - I had the big Trek Fuel EX8 dualy, and he was on my old Trek 4700 (now with RockShoc Reba SL's and a front cable disk, but still a reasonably entry-level hardtail).  We spent the next few hours working on the MTB crit course through Trev's paddock (I dug, I picked and scraped, Rich testrode, and RB watched holding a beer), until I gave up around 12.  Too hot ... it was 42 degrees every day we were up there.

Later we went for a swim in the lake (riding to the lake & back, of course!), before the three of us put lights on and rode to the Bonnie Doon bridge to do the scoops and then go to the shop for ice cream (closed! at 11pm?  CRIMINALS!).  Saw 'roos, and a wombat, but no echidnas.  Three rides for the day, not bad!

Next day, RB and I rode in to town again along the river/lake bed to get a paper and some bits & pieces, and on the way back I proved you can crash a Fuel EX8.  Going up a steep ramp at around 5km/h, I hit a rut and the front wheel stopped, and I couldn't get out of the left cleat fast enough.  An inelegant topple.  Heh .. no damage.  The bike landed on me.  Rich was happy we brought him an ice coffee, shaken, not stirred.  Spent the rest of the day wilting under the ceiling fans drinking beer.  Lucie rolled up around mid afternoon and so did Trev Lightfoot.  It cooled down (35!) at about 6pm so off for a swim again, and then the boys got on the grog.  At dusk I said 'enough!' and we went up Hurt Hill again.  I was sober, the other two were not .. at least not at the start of it.  By the time we topped out (I did a 23 min, I think, ok under the circumstances) they were both stone cold sober.  We rode the rollers to Maintongoon Rd again and lights on for the descent.  Nice ride ..

Spent the next day under the ceiling fan.  42 degrees again.  No riding of note except to tootle to the lake for a swim in the arvo. I felt for the lads at the xmas track carnivals.  In that heat?  Insane ...

NYE was pretty quiet, just 4 of us and a few bottles of champers and my one remaining firecracker from the stash.  It's gone now .. RB got it into his head that we should all be nude for new years.  I think we were just drunk enough to go along with his idea for a bit.  Maybe we'll be racing at the MTB single speed worlds next year? I hear drunken nudity is de rigeur at that event?

The first day of '08 was .. hot.  Lucie & I took the Ovlov home, while Rich & RB limped home in the very sick adventure truck.

We raced at BBN this Saturday, I'm proud to record 2 DFL's in B grade, but I wasn't an idle spectator, and had some influence on the scratch race at least, and in the team sprint I managed to (as first rider) drop my second rider which was quite a surprise.  I had to back off to let them back on, and that gave Dino (riding lead for the other team) an easy first lap win over me!  I'll get you next time, Dino!  Nathan and Bev did a great job running the races, and it was great to have the V-Train along riding A grade, and also Leah Patterson was back racing after a pretty bad collar bone break in November '07.  A pretty healthy field all up, all grades had good numbers except A grade, which had only 3 (including the V-Train, who won everything!).  A special thanks to Stu, he gave his prize money to a youngster who made a bold attack in his scratch race. Stu, you're pure class mate.  Thankyou.

Tomorrow I've got an early training session at BBN doing sprint work behind a motorbike with Dino, Pat Dougherty, Emily and Simon Doran.  I'd like to specially note Emily, who had a fantastic day at one of the xmas carnivals and winning some prizemoney.  Top stuff Emily! Dino drew a dreadful mark for the wheelrace but I'm sure, knowing him, that he would have given it everything he had.

I'm organsing to do a Level 1 strength & conditioning course soon, which will fill a gap I need to fix up for training sprinters. Anything else?  The next dinner is getting close and I'm tempted to break with a short tradition and announce the speaker before hand.  It'll be a really good talk and I'm much looking forward to it.  I need more people to come! If you want to, you know what to do ...




The times, they are a changing ...

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Soon enough, the issue of cyclists on our roads will be moot.

Not because of effective advocacy, or new (unenforceable ...) laws, or bike paths etc.  But because of this :

oil prices from ’78 to ’07

Anyone who doubts that car use is going to go down, and bike use up for transport, probably also doubts that the earth orbits the sun, predicts the future with astrology and knows that PI is actually 4.

Last year's bike sales figures exceed car sales (as they usually do ...) again, but by a bigger margin, and at Cycle Science, we've had a noticeable increase in people buying and maintaining commuter bikes. The hoons hassling Cadel when he's out training, soon enough, will be riding themselves.

What's odd is that our governments seem oblivious.  They're still building freeways and tollroads. Who's going to use them?


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