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Entries For: February 2008


more weight ...

Strength training. Expensive!

I haven't had much time to get out and ride any of my bikes over the last couple of weeks, it's easiest just to say that "life happens".  But ... I have been able to steal 45 mins a couple of times a week to get into the aboc Power House and build leg strength.  After a seminar of sorts with Peter Cayley last week (Thanks Stu Vaughan for organising it) I've discovered snatches (olympic lifts) and they are hurties!  Very intense.  Good for developing power, which I need lots of.

Anyway .. the main leg strength excercise I'm doing is squats.  Not full squats, I've had a knee reconstruction and my right knee doesn't bend that far, but for cycling, that's ok .. I'm not training for olympic lifting, so don't need to go deep with squats.  Started out gradually building weight up, and am now pushing 3 x 12 reps at 135kg with 90s rest between sets.  I only have 137.5kg of total weight.  When it's time to do closer to 1RM stuff, I'm going to need more ballast.  Weights are around $2.50 per kilogram, and I think another two or four 20kg plates will be the go, so another couple of hundred dollars on weights is on the cards in a few weeks.

On other news .. aboc CC and aboc IT Consulting are sponsoring the Hawthown Cycling Club's history website.  You can see it come along here.  It's got no content yet, but should be an interesting thing for Hawthorn to use to record their club's history.  I'm expecting to see some photos of Phil Anderson there soon!

Round 5 of the Trek Summer Sprint Series is this Sunday.  I hope many of you will be there to compete and spectate. The last one was brilliant.  The weather forecast is good and there'll be a free BBQ courtesy of aboc.


61 ... a little faster ...

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slightly faster this morning

It's February, it should be hot!  But it was cold this morning - I trained in a windproof jacket and rode the motorbike in fleece and windproofs.  *brrrr*

No wind though, and dry and no broken glass or other junk on the Blackburn velodrome.  Perfect conditions for motorpacing. I rode to the track on the trusty P1 madone, then rode Pat's motorbike for Dino and his warmup (20 lap ramp, 35-50km/h).  Then my first F200 ... 56km/h and it felt really easy.  Too easy.

Next Dino & Pat did a 20 lap ramp from 35-55km/h.  Dino blew off the back at 5 to go (2nd wheel for this effort is harder than on the wheel of the motorbike) so when Pat was done we did another 5'er for him, 40-55km/h and he did it well.

Then my second F200 ... 60km/h, I think we got it.  Felt good.

Then Dino & Pat had a 20 lap sprint every 5 motorpace.  They took off at the last one really quick.

My 3rd F200, 60km/h again, but I hesitated at the drop down the bank and lost the wheel of the motorbike and probably only managed 58 or so.

Dino & Pat then had a 5 lap alternating ramp up (3 each) - each one did 5 laps from 40-55km/h then swapped over and rested - Dino loved this one and wanted to do another!

My last F200, faster than 60km/h please Pat ... we got at least 61 down the back straight and then I came out of the draft at the evil sign, and held beside the bike for ~80m or so at 61km/h.  Good!  Knackered .. but good.  86.4" gear again. 151rpm.  Good.  I'm happy with that.  Strength tonight in the Power House.

I'm looking forward to getting on to DISC and seeing what I can do there.



ring the bell!

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Bike bells are magic

From the 'only in Japan' department (maybe ...) :


Try it one day.


Oil's up ...

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From today's Age :

The price of oil in New York spiked to a record 100.10 US dollars a barrel Tuesday on supply concerns. The price for a barrel of light, sweet crude, eclipsed the record set in January of 100.09 US dollars a barrel.


If you're not using a bike to get around as much as you can, it might be an idea to consider.


60 again, need more RPM!

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This morning's motorpaced sprint session was good

Short & sharp.  Just three of us today, myself, Dino and Pat.  Pat & Dino doing enduro stuff, I get the lazy option, 3 x F200's behind the bike while they do 20 lap rampups and a 20 lap simulated points race. 

I stuck in 86.4" for the morning, it was windy (very!) and I'm still quite drained from Saturday's Hotham slog, and while I'm building up in the gym, I need to keep my spin (or, get a spin!).  The first run at 55 felt good, I came past the bike with no real problems. Second run, we're at 59km/h for the last 100m and I came off the wheel at the evil fast food sign, didn't come over the bike, but didn't lose any ground either.  Ok .. run 3, 60km/h please Pat.  No worries.  148rpm again.  That'll do for today.  Off to the Power House to build muscles!

To Llama and Hippy, yes we need power meters on our track bikes! I'm saving up for one ...

Update: I need more 20kg olympic plates!  Squats require the movement of a lot of weight ... more than I bought, it seems ... that's good! 


Hotham, 13th ...

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My 13th ride up Hotham, it keeps getting steeper

mt hotham - the end is in sightI think it's my 13th climb anyway ... I've done it at least once every climbing camp (8 so far), once before then with Jim Crumper many moons ago, and a couple of the climbing camps I've done it twice.  This was my worst time (3:30 something!) - but given my preparation, which for the last 6 months has been sprint strength training and naff-all endurance, getting up the beast at all makes me pretty satisfied.  Shane 'teh Llama' Millar got KoM with a 1:27 or so (and he won all the sprints on the way to Bright too!  Argh!), Andrew (Ess) did a great time for his first attempt (1:31 I think?) and Karen Wiggins got QoM, and young Jamie is hooked on the hill!  Everyone made it up who set out to do so and everyone who went achieved their goals for the w'end. No crashes, no injuries, very positive feedback from everyone who came.

We had a small turnout for this camp, 14 riders took it on this time after a few late cancellations, which meant we had lots of room in the lodge and no-one complained about snoring.  The weather was perfect.  No rain, not much in the way of wind, but not baking hot either.  We put an esky in the shade behind the tollbooth this time loaded with drinks so riders on the way up could get more to drink (and cold drinks with ice! Excellent!) before the hellish part of the climb begins.  This was a success and we'll be doing it again.

Neil and his chums made it a bit harder for themselves, they went up Buffalo on Saturday for a 180km two summit day out.  They all made it back for dinner, and were well and trully trashed!  Where was Byron?!

My experiment to see if it was possible to roll from the tollbooth all the way to Harrietville was inconclusive.  I didn't manage to roll all the way, having to pedal on 4 occasions, mostly for only 10m or so, but in one instance for about 50m, but I think a rider who didn't stop at the tollbooth would have got over the first few and maybe the longer bit also, especially if they were drafting.  The power chart from the PowerTap is quite amusing at least!

I'll be doing a full writeup in the next couple of days. For now some photos are mixed in here.

Also be sure to check out the Llama's blog entry about it, and don't skimp on his photos.


Deadlifts ... gak!

Who'd have thought .. weight training is hard!

I'm almost four weeks into using the aboc Power House for sprint strength training - it's been mainly a foundation phase, doing 3 x 12 rep exercises with about 2 mins rest between sets and gradually increasing the weight until I find a limit.  Last week Nath and I started on deadlifts, as they take a bit more technique than many other lifts and require some more core stability.  I've been working squats up to 130kg so far (3 x 12, 2 mins rest), but only reasonably shallow squats, about 80 degrees knee flex - don't need more, I'm training for cycling, so the weight is a bit heavier than if I was doing deeper with them, and with a reconstructed right ACL, I need to be careful!

Anyway ... the gist of it ... deadlifts are hard.  Mind-bogglingly hard.  Nath and I did 3 x 20 at 60kg, and they're 'I'm going to faint' hard.  The first 10 are easy enough, but the last few... pause, gasp, drop bar, pick up again, go again .. argh!  And the deep burn in the quads, which is what we're chasing after .. I can only imagine what they'll be like once we're getting close to 1RM.  Need to do a lot at the lighter weight first or we'll blow our backs out.  I'm mixing in high power and high cadence riding with the weights, at the moment I'm doing cycling power then weights on the same day Tues, Thurs, Sun) but I think once we start doing more strength training than foundation, that will need to change.  I should have a chat to John Beasley about it soon and see what he recommends.

Other stuff, Emily had a nasty prang at DISC during the week, got a bruise and a gash over the eye (Dino tells me a boxer would be proud!) for her troubles, but she's chomping at the bit to get back on the bike, and according to Dino, she looked at Saturday's program and saw Scratch, Points and Progressive Points and said "No, thanks - I'm a sprinter!".  How about that?!  she won the 3 lap div 3 h'cap last week in great style, riding away from everyone and doing it solo in a great display of power.  Strong kid ... very strong kid.

Today we leave for Hotham for Climbing Camp #8.  Still got loads of stuff to organise, get the food, get the prizes, get the paperwork ... I have the keys at least.  We're down on numbers, I had a few people pull out at late notice (life happens ...) but I think I still have 15 people coming, which is enough to make it a good trip.  I know I'll be the slowest up the hill this time (again!) but I'll get there, Hotham hasn't beaten me before, and it's not going to tomorrow. The forecast is perfect, the BoM says

Saturday     Fine. A mostly sunny day with moderate southeast to east winds.



Cool stuff - maps!

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Ever wanted to update a map you know is wrong?

Google maps is nice, but not every trail you know about shows up on it and you can't update it.  Want to add a trail or an unmapped road?  No luck ... but this new toy may be a good alternative.

Have a look, MTB riders ...

It looks like it has a lot of potential - the singletrack by the Yarra, Sonn Berg Drive (Hurt Hill) etc ... Now you have your chance to update maps.


It's good news week?

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In today's Age, another article about bikes, and it's positive


What's going on?  I wonder if the Melbourne Daily Astonisher has a 'ban the scourge of bikes, give us more freeways!' today? 


A new torque PB!

Standing starts and surges require torque ... lots of it

Today, doing standing 150's on the roady rather than the track bike (so I have a power meter!) at the BBN velo.  I didn't feel all that strong, and only hit around 1130 watts (last week I was getting 1300-odd on the trainer), but after grabbing the data and looking at it, I hit a new PB for hub torque, 203.6 n-m.  I'm pretty happy with that.  Not much power when I did high cadence stuff, but that will come ... This is a long term project, turning a reasonably weak B grade flatland roadie into a track sprinter will take some years. 1300 watts is several hundred less than I need to even be second rate, so it'll be a while before I get the big numbers and the speed that comes with it, assuming I can ... and there's only one way to find out. Suck it and see!

In the gym I'm gradually increasing the load on squats etc, at the moment I'm doing general strength stuff, squats, benchpress and a mix up of upper body stuff to keep some sort of balance, nothing spectaculatly focussed at this time, I've only had the power training gear for a couple of weeks and it takes time to be ready for the big weights and serious strength training.  Patience, grasshopper ... I'm doing 3 sets of 12 reps at the moment and gradually increasing load - got up to 120kg on the squats today, after starting at 50kg two weeks ago, but bear in mind that that's not an increase in strength, it's just finding out what I have at the moment. these are pretty low numbers, but it's not currently about big weights, that's later on.  For now this is 'base miles' for sprinting.



If they can do it in London

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London's council to build bicycle highways!


petrol taxes! More please ...

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Not everyone is clambering for cheaper petrol


Dino forwarded this to me this morning :

In there is the mention of bicycles, so it's not totally off-topic for this blog!



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Some progress with the motorpacing

This morning, rather than do 2 paced flying 200's at 55-58km/h on 86.1" and then 2 on 98.4" at ~60km/h, I thought I'd concentrate on more spinning, and try the 60km/h stuff on the 86" gear.

A bit drizzley, but the track was safe.  Pat and I took our usual turns pacing eachother, as he did enduro work and I slotted in my sprint training.  First up we warmed him up with 20 laps from 35km/h -> 50km/h (84" I think he was on).  Then I did my first paced F200, at 55km/h and it felt slow (ie: too easy).  By this time Simon had arrived and he jumped in with Pat for his second set of 20 laps, this time taking them gradually up to 55km/h.  Pat rode very well, Simon's learning to follow wheels better and how to overlap and help his motorpaced fellow riders.

Next up my turn again, and 56km/h on the 86" again.  Felt too easy.  Maybe this is starting to work?  Then Pat and Simon again, this time Pat ends up with 2 to go, shouting 'faster' over and over, so I bring the bike up to 55, and he wants more ... 60km/h around the last bend .. and he's still there.  Pat's chuffed (and puffed!). He'd moved up to 91" for that effort.

My turn, this time, I ask for high 50's again and keep the 86.1" on (51:16).  Wind up, still feels too easy but holding the line around the final bend gets tricky at that speed (Blackburn's not very banked, it's about 25 degrees I think).  I want Pat going faster... We roll around, and he tells me we hit 60 around the corner and held it to the line.  That's, according to Analytic Cycling, around 148rpm.  Not stupidly fast, but getting up around the sort of cadences I should be able to turn without much problems.  180rpm is still a way away, but this is good progress, I think.  It's an improvement and I'm finding that I'm able to stay with the bike at higher speeds with less perceived effort.

Simon and I roll easily back to aboc HQ and we do a weights session in the Power House.  Done for the day.  Feeling good.

To keep things in perspective, the kids at the Vic titles (indoors at DISC) on the weekend, Maddison Hammond, who's 16 or 17, did an 11.6s F200 without the benefit of a motorbike to draft, and that's ~62km/h. DISC is a lot faster than Blackburn, but that kid is flying, and I'm an old hack!  The TSSS on Sunday, with a southerly blowing saw the fastest time around Blackburn of 12.10 by Eddie Wilson in the first round, and the fastest F200 on its own was by Jeremy Mclay (12.16).  No doubt that Blackburn is slow, but I've got a -long- way to go before I can do 60km/h F200's undrafted! I want to get a power meter on the track bike, guessing wattages sucks once you get used to a power meter and the data it provides.


SPD-SL's and straps

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I stumbled onto a really good howto for SPD-SL's and toe straps.

Check this out :


Now that's a neat solution!

In sadder news today, I learnt of the death of Sheldon Brown. I never met him in the flesh, but had a few email and newsgroup conversations with him, and he was a very good bloke.  Sheldon will be missed.


The Trek Summer Sprint Series - vindication!

We get a good field and brilliant racing!

After the first few rounds of the TSSS were poorly attended, due in no small part by my lack of promotional skills and available time to promote the series, we finally got the sort of field we wanted.  17 riders in total or 18 if you count Steve Martin, who couldn't stay for the racing but did a pretty decent F200, and this was with Dino and Rob MIA (Dino's in the USA and Rob has a new family member to look after).

We had a good spread of riders, from some classy A graders (Eddie Wilson, Jeremy Mclay, Stuart 'V-Train' Vaughan, Jamie Goddard), some beginners (Mason Austen, Megan Marsh, Shane 'The Llama' Millar, Neil Robinson, Cam 'Gerbil' Woolcock all having their first go at match sprinting), some experienced riders in John Hunt, Leah Patterson etc, too many for me to name everyone, but enough riders and a good enough spread of flying 200 times to let us have three grades with close racing across the grades.

No crashes, some very exciting races (the A grade final was just brilliant) and all the feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive.

Our race system performed well, Bev and Ann had all the entries sorted, times recorded, points tallied etc and the only delay we had was while we (I!) worked out the draw.  That's something we still need to improve and I think as fields grow we'll have to have some sort of seeding per grade to do our best to have the top qualifiers have the best chance to get to the finals.  We had (randomly!) Eddie and Jeremy racing eachother in the heats, and while it's not an elimination series it did mean that one of the two fastest A grade qualifiers did run the risk of not making it through.  I'm considering whether to have a point or 3 allocated for fastest time in grade, or just trying to make sure that the fastest two F200 riders per grade don't race eachother until finals.  That's one to think over before round 5 and suggestions are welcome.

If you want to see the photos, read the report etc, you know what to do ...

In other news, Kym Dundas is mostly unhurt after her big crash at Blackburn on Saturday, concussion and some amnesia, but she's a tough cookie and will be back.  She turned her front wheel into a taco shell, so we'll get her a Mexican cookbook, so she can learn to make buritos, enchiladas, chilli con carne ... Merv has some bone damage and we don't yet know the full extent of his injuries.

Climbing camp in 2 weeks.  No time for blogging, there's invoices to send, bills to pay and training to do!


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