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Entries For: May 2008


Banging on about oil

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The real problem is not that it's happening, but that everyone seems surprised.

Today's Age article.

The most worrying things in it :


The size of the challenge also puts into context this week's political scuffle over petrol excise and FuelWatch, notes one analyst as an aside. "You'd expect governments to be having a close look at what our universities are doing and trying to come up with longer-term solutions to the oil problem, instead of pissing about with a couple of cents here and there. But that's probably a big ask for politicians."

It's time I got going, S&C course starts today!



Hawthorn's 'Sunday Roast'

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This Sunday is HCC's first 'Sunday Roast' session

For anyone who fancies themselves as a bit of 'real enduro' trackie, Hawthorn's first Sunday Roast race session is this Sunday (1st June) from 2-5 pm, and is immediately followed by the aboc DISC training session.

I'm not sure how thoroughly HCC have publicised the racing, apart from their mailing list 'bicigaga', and a couple of posts on the Bicycle Victoria forums I haven't seen anything, but I haven't been to DISC to race since last winter, so maybe Stu et al have been publicising it there at Tuesday and Thursday night races?

You can download their PDF flyer for it here, or the full text of the PDF (bad HCC, bad! This should be available as a static page somewhere!) is copied here for your convenience :

Hawthorn CC
Present The Sunday Roast
on Wheels
When: Sundays 2-5pm (1 June – 28 September 2008)
Where: Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC)
What: Track Endurance Cycling
- Racing to suit road, criterium and track riders
of ALL levels of experience and ability.
- Distances will vary based on rider numbers
- YOU decide what races you want to ride
- YOU decide the racing format on the day
2:00pm: Warm up
2:30pm Support Grade 20km Scratch/ Points
3:00pm: Open 30-50km Points/ Madison (last weekend of the month).
4:00pm: Floor is open- Graded scratch/ points races for all riders,
Organise your own racing/ training.
Cost: $15 gets you 3 hours of PAIN.
Tim Watson 0404 109 152
Stuart Vaughan 0404 480 629
A fyxomatosis design

I hope it's a success for them, it's in an interesting time slot, following the masters training session (3 hours of DISC time for $10) and followed by our session ($20 for 2 hours, controlled and coached), so they might pick up a few riders from each session as well as the HCC hardcore trackies.  It'll be interesting to see how it ends up in terms of structure, they're claiming it's suitable for many levels of rider, which I don't think DISC is at all, no matter what sort of racing (except maybe ITT's) is being run, and the very open format is also interesting, with what looks like two grades of racing as a couple of scratch or points races over long distances.   I know the people running it (Stu and Tim) are very switched on, and they'll adapt their program as it goes to make it work for who's there.  They'll have problems if they get a big spread of abilities if they stick to two grades though, but I'm sure they'll work something out to solve that if it happens.

Maybe they'd benefit from a microsite for the series similar to the one we do for the TSSS?  Everyone loves photos and results and having them somewhere consistant is good for the racers and encourages more people to engage with and commit to the series.

Things we made sure we had for the TSSS : 1st aid people and properly well-stocked 1st aid kit.  PA, scorers, commissaires, general helpers, it's a big job to run a race series.  I wish HCC well in this endeavour. The TSSS started small but once word got out it grew well, I hope they have the same experience.




More records at spin

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Huge turnouts, the room was overflowing

Last night's spin session set another record for attendance, we had 21 people along, which is a far cry from some sessions when we started out two years ago, with two or three people.  Thankyou to everyone that's coming along and is part of our success at making the spin session useful and popular.

As always, we cn do better, please let me know if you have any suggestions to improve the sessions.



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Jump squats ... argh!

Today's Power House efforts :

3 x 10 full squats, with emphasis on speed of lift and a jump with 110kg with 90s recovery.  It's a little over half my partial (quarter, technically) squat weight, and it sure makes you get a pulse.  This is training for power without doing the Olympic snatch which hurts my elbows too much to be able to do regularly at the moment.  Hopefully this weekend's S&C course will give me a chance to check with the instructor there to see what I'm doing wrong with snatches. They shouldn't jam my elbows up, so I'm doing something wrong. The jump squats took about 4 days to recover from when I first did them on Thursday (I'm blaming them for my 0.1s slower flying 100's anyway ... ) but that's all part of the 'shock the body to make it adapt' program.  After 4-6 weeks I'll need a new shocker, but also will be due for a change in emphasis - back to hypertrophy for a block.  Hypertrophy, strength, power, lather, rinse, repeat.  That's the plan anyway.  October should be the end of the next power phase, just in time for the first round of the Summer Sprint Series.

After the jump squats I did some strength maintenance - 2 x max reps at 210kg, I got 3 and then 5 out.  210kg is a new PB for quarter squats.  I may have been able to do another set but this is a maintenance drill now so I'm not worried about it and doing too much increases the risk of back injury as the weight is big and it's easy to lose concentration, arch over and blow a few disks out of the lower back.

Then I did a block of 3 deadlifts, 10 reps at 70, 80 and then 90kg with 90 seconds recovery. This is more for general hypertrophy,hook grip already fatigued by this stage so they're not going to be all that good.  Deadlifts aren't considered (as far as I know anyway, if you know better please tell me!) terribly useful for cycling, but as a balance for the squats they're worth doing.  Like arm curls aren't terribly useful but to balance up triceps they have some value.  I did the deadlifts using the Olympic weightlifting grip, it's a bit different to a normal grip on a bar, it's called the 'hook grip' and is best described here.  They're right, it does hurt at first as you basically jam the side of your thumb against the knurling on the bar and your fingers and the bar squash it hard into position.

After that a few bench presses and some pulls just to keep the upper body and core happy, you've got to brace against the bars when hammering the pedals.

Before tonight's spin session I'll have to find an hour to do my own spin sets, max efforts and HCLR's at least, time permitting.  I'm looking forward to getting some assistance at the spin sessions so I can do some of the time there myself on the bike.


MTB skills

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At aboc, we do coach MTB'ers, but don't do skills work, here's a nice bit of synergy

Jess and Norm Douglass run, by all reports, a great MTB skills development program, I won't prattle on about it here much because although I've heard good reports, and have spoken (email) to Jess, I haven't actually met them or been on one of their courses myself yet. I'd probably benefit a lot from doing one though, so will have to give it a go and maybe coin the phrase 'ungumby a gumby'.

Have a look at their site :

I'm going to refer any MTB'ers who want to do skill development to them, I think they're offering something quite unique and valuable to the MTB racing and trail riding community.


More on oil

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Is peak here? It looks like it is

Today's Age

Cherry pickings from the article :

3. OPEC can't change things. Members of the global oil cartel were the "bad guys" in the last oil crisis. This time round they seem to be making things worse by refusing to lift production, but increasingly it's looking like OPEC won't lift production because in reality it can't - the extra oil is simply not there.

In November, the International Energy Agency is due to publish a landmark report on the condition of the world's 400 biggest oil fields - it is expected to show OPEC has less oil than everyone thought.


10. The maths are scary. Back to Pickens: the veteran Texan oil tycoon says the world needs 87 million barrels and we're producing 85 million barrels a day.


So, peak oil's here?  The price charts suggest that it is.  What does this mean to us?  Transport gets very expensive, private car use will have to decrease.  Petrol gets rationed.  Air travel becomes a plaything of the very rich as the golden age of travel draws to a close.  Roads get more bicycles and less cars, so cyclists will be safer riding on the roads.  Food gets more expensive.  If you're going to watch The Tour, it'll be on TV, not by going there.  How soon does this happen?  That's the interesting question, not if, but when.  If I owned shares in anything dependant on cheap oil (travel, airlines, cars, toll roads etc) I'd be selling them while they're still worth something.  If I worked far from home, I'd be looking to change jobs.  If my car uses a lot of fuel, I'd be selling it while it's worth something.

I'd be getting used to riding my bike to as many places as I can.

I'd be growing veggies in the back garden.

On your bike!


First Impressions - Azzurri Primo

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I was asked to testride a new bike

On Wednesday the local Learsport/Azzurri rep came along to the LBS and showed us some bikes.  I was asked to testride the Primo, a carbon frame/Ultegra (SL?).  So today I took it for a spin.

First up I swapped off my pedals and the Powertap from my trusty '05 Trek Madone 5.2, set the saddle height and setback and off I went from the shop towards the V-Train's house to drop off a book Stu needed.  I decided to go via the Eastern Fwy path as it would make the ride a bit longer and give me a chance to see how the bike handled on some rough patches and sharp hills and corners.  First up the seatpost slipped, not a good start, but mainly my error when I set the height initially.

The bike handled the trail well enough, no twitchyness or uncertainty, the Mavic Aksium on the front didn't really impress me much, but Mavic's wheels sell well, someone must like them!  It didn't feel very lively, but it was competent and stable.  Under full torque up the little sharp rises it tracked true and the front end stayed put nicely.  It was a bit slow to respond, but not dramatically so, and certainly it rode a lot better than many other frames of the same or greater cost.

Overall, it looks reasonably good, the graphics are a bit overbearing for my taste, not as over the top as a Scott, for example, but quite loud.  But it rides above its cost, and the frame feels solid and secure.


I can't feel my toes!

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Cold ... brrrrr

Last night's ride to Chez Grace was good - I was rugged up for the milder than expected ride, just knicks, thermal and a windjacket and light beanie under the helmet and some 'batgloves' (Cannondale ones, quite good).  My good battery for the AyUps lights, and felt quite comfortable despite the generally downhill nature of the ride in to town.

But this morning ... cold and foggy at 9:30am.  Up the hill, I elected to take it very easy and ride up the Eastern Freeway trail rather than the road, which compounded the coldness, it's always colder away from builtup areas.  I'm currently regretting not having taken at least toe covers, I lost feeling in my toes by about Doncaster Rd.  Leg warmers might have been a good idea too ... C'est la Vie ...

I'm rugged up now in a 'Hugh Hef' and ugg boots (pure foot luxury!) - I'm afraid to get in to the shower though, the sharp pain of hot water on frozen feet is pretty special, and I want to warm up a bit before I get in. Rumour has it it was about 4 degrees in town this morning, and I'd believe it.

Back in the Powerhaus!

After a week away, it's time for a change in routines

Today's my first day back in the powerhouse after a week's R&R and a couple of easy (ok, one very easy and one very hard, but they average out at easy!) rides.  New routine today to concentrate on power.

A ramped up warmup set of deeper (thighs parellel to ground, ish) squats, and then 3 x 10 @ 110kg with 90s recovery.  That's 90kg less than last week's 3 x 5 at 200kg (2 mins recovery), but they were partial squats and done reasonably slowly.  This lot are deeper full squats and the lifting phase is to be done as quickly as I can - I should end up almost jumping at the end of the lift phase.  The bar does get a little airborne at the top so the wise lifter has to be careful not to move much or throw it around.  Not bad, I did the 110kg lifts reasonably well, I certainly felt the deeper lifts.

After that, some deadlifts, again done quickly in the lift, light weight, 3 x 10 at 70kg with 90s recovery.  I haven't done deadlifts for a month or so, when I was concentrating on strength with the squats the deads were dropped out of the program.  They're back in now and I can feel them.   My office is up the stairs at aboc HQ and walking up afterwards is quite special. 

I rounded out the session with bench (10 x 70kg, 5 x 80kg, 12 x 70kg) as a little variety - I'd stagnated on bench but wasn't terribly worried, it's not vital to have a big upper body, just need enough to keep my hips in place, and pulldowns (wide, 15 x some weight I don't care so much to count) and some seated rows.  I should be doing bent over rows but don't have a heavy enough dumbell set up yet.

Tonight's a very easy ride on the roady in to the city (boys night this week is at Chez Grace in Clifton Hill) and back out again tomorrow morning, then I'll do some high cadence stuff on Friday evening, and I've been asked to testride and review an Azzurri roady over the weekend.  It's a cheapy generic carbon frame, but it might ride ok, I won't know 'til I ride it.  Their (Azzurri) carbon track frame looks quite well sorted, their rear axle dropouts are maybe prone to the same problem that the Apollo/Raceline Record has, but the one I looked at was a prototype and had what looked like a glued in stainless steel rear dropout.

Sunday will be another sprint-fest at DISC, I'll have to start doing some races/leadouts with the lads to push us up a notch in the committment department.

I've been reading this :

new rules of lifting

and it's quite good - it doesn't talk about power much, so I've got this one to read next :

Explosive Lifting for Sports

Next weekend is my Level 1 S&C course. Power on!


Does anyone still doubt peak oil?

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Today, oil, $133US/barrel.

Have a look at the graphs for today's oil price :


And at the bowser, $1.60 or so a litre.

On yer bike ...

updated: According to The Age, Indonesia is soon to be rationing petrol :

Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister recently announced that all petrol consumption by all motorists will be limited from September, with exact figures to be released later this year.


Hurt Hill - sealed?!

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On Monday, I had to have a ride ...

Monday, and the old Volvo is kaput, Rich isn't due to arrive until 10pm-ish or so to tow it home, so we have another day of R&R.  I did have to go for at least one ride on the (now very long) weekend.  Ok, Hurt Hill it is ... I have the big Fuel EX8 with low gearing, so even in my 'endurance? That's 3 laps of the velodrome!' state of mind, I figured I'd better ride the thing to prove I can still do it. HTFU, right?

It's been pretty cold, hovering around 9 or 10 degrees during the day, so I'll use the warm jacket.  The ride to the base rolls a bit and has one sharp, short pinch at the four-way intersection of Maintongoon, Sonn Berg and some other road that goes to the rest of Peppin Point.  Ja .. can still grovel up hills ..

The climb proper starts just around the corner from a CFA watertank, where the road turns to gravel.  Or did ... it's sealed!  We'll need to redefine the start for timekeeping (ok! I have the current record! Vanders, beat 24:30 ... ).  It's sealed up until the point where the nasty bit starts just as you enter the trees and turn right.

Groveling up at between 7 and 5.5km/h I make it to the top in around 24 minutes.  Slow, but I didn't stop and that was the main thing.  The rest of the loop is fairly uneventful, I'm underdressed for the long descent down Maintongoon Rd though and get pretty cold, and the Bontrager tyres are not suitable for the heavy wet clay (veeerrrryyyyy slippery!).  Back to the house for a BBQ dinner (all we have left is bacon and eggs), and wait for Rich to roll up.  He arrives at around 10:30 and decides to stay the night, we'll head back on Tues morning, we're all tired, but also it's cold, dark and we need fuel for the Adventure Truck, but every servo is shut.

Today (Tuesday) we load the Ovlov onto the trailer and truck it home.  It takes about 4 hours all up, and the old Adventure Truck chugs along cheerfully - we're a bit anxious about the descent down Mt Slide on the Melba highway as it's raining heavily when we get there, but Rich handles the old girl like a champ and we're down safely.

Now the spag boll is cooked and ready for tonight's spin session, and I hope I'm not too tired to run it well.  I'll have to do my ride tomorrow, today, no time.


Trapped in Bonnie Doon

Cue the 'Castle' quotes ...

So Lucie & I have been up at Bonnie Doon for the w'end, it's rained the whole time (good!  we need rain) and we've planted more trees, but I've been uber-soft and haven't ridden a bike all weekend.  And, we're trapped here... Lucie's Volvo has decided it's had enough and wants to be towed home.  Right ... So I've called in a big favour from Rich, who's going to come up here tonight with the old Adventure Truck (Series III Land Rover!) and a trailer and tow us back to Melb to get it fixed.

In the mean time I've got 'net access so I can work, but I hate to think what the phone bill will be, Telstra are thieves when it comes to data charges.

The DISC session run by the V-Train went well I hear, but Kym Dundas had another slip, I'm putting my spare veloflex records on her bike for next time.  Note to anyone thinking of riding at DISC - if the tyre says Michellin anywhere on it, do NOT bring it to DISC!


200 ...

200kg squats done

200kg fingertips

Here ends my current strength phase, and I ended up stronger than I expected, today 4 x 5 reps of 200kg partial squats.

I'm happy with that. Look how much the bar bends!

squatting 200kg

Last night's Blackburn AGM was very poorly attended (I think all up there was 12 or 13 people?).  This is pretty poor given the membership of the club is something like 150 members.  I had way more food than we needed.  Last year's AGM was reasonably well attended, but last night really was pretty disgraceful.  I think part of this is a failure of the club to communicate well enough with its members that they are part of something, not paying customers of something.  I don't know how to address it though. 

As it is I fear that the club may lose Brian Harwood, who is the current race committee chair, and by the sound of it, he is the race committee.  Anyone reading this who races and is a Blackburn member, you have an obligation to be involved.  Many of the aboc people are, but many other Blackburn members are not, and frankly, excuses are pretty lame.  The club is the sum of its members, it is not a commercial organisation which you pay once a year to run things for you and then events just happen.  That's not how it is.  Showing up on race day and racing is not enough.  If you think you can't take time off from training, or something, or skip the occasional race to help out, you're wrong. We all have an obligation to be involved, or all that training's no use, if there's no races because everyone's taking and no-one's giving anything back.

Anyway .. Nathan Larkin was elected vice president, and Alan Barnes moves on to spend more time with his young family, and the other significant change was Karen Wiggins was elected as the club captain.  The role of the club captain is to be the representative of 'the riders' at the committee, and as Karen is at just about every race riding, she's in a great position to be available to all riders who race from Blackburn and I think she'll be a real asset to the club in that role. Also Rob Monteath is the new club secretary I think, and he'll also be a fantastic part of the club executive.  I'm hoping that we can move the club onwards to do a better job of engaging our membershipo and forging closer relationships with the other clubs in the Eastern Combine.

And we got the club's formal ok to run the Summer Sprint Series on the dates I wanted, and they'll tie in neatly with the regular Saturday race program over summer.

Rant ended!

Stu Vaughan is guest coaching at DISC on Sunday, I'm going to Bonnie Doon to plant trees and ride my mountainbike for a few hours up Hurt Hill etc.


Changing phases

I'm about to end this block of strength and work on power ...

After about 6 weeks of strength (squats, big gear starts etc) it's almost time to switch to a power phase of training.  I'm partial squatting 190kg (today, 4 x 6 @ 190kg) and will have a crack at 200kg on Thursday, then a few days off over the weekend (we're going to Bonnie Doon to plant trees and have fun on the MTB), and then it'll be a power phase for 4 weeks or so -  time to do lighter weights and high speed work.  Then a bit of recovery, and repeat the hypertrophy, strength, power cycle.  I'm doing about 6 weeks hypertrophy, 6 weeks strength and 4 weeks power at the moment, so that's around 18 weeks so about 4 months, which should drop me off at the start of the summer track season quite neatly.

I need to start doing some races at DISC on Thursday nights soon too, in little gears so I have to spin my legs off to keep up, which will help endurance (what's that?!) and also leg speed and poise on the bike.  Just .. no crashes!  DISC's a dangerous place in C and D grade ... I lost last summer because of a crash at the start of the season which pretty-much cost me the whole summer, not again!

I'm interested to see what sort of flying 100 times I can manage once I start showing up at our Sunday DISC sessions fresh, at the moment I'm doing them after a heavy weights session in the morning or mid afternoon and using a reasonably small gear (91.8"), and dead legs don't sprint too well. I'll be happy if I can get a F100 below 6.5 seconds for starters, which works out to a ~13s F200.  I'm doing 6.8's at the moment, 0.3 of a second isn't much, is it?  In the overall scheme of things it's still dead slow, but this is a long term project and I have no idea of how fast I can go yet.  It's a long way before I can put any pressure on Fast Eddie Wilson or Big J, but slow progress is progress.

Offtopic, I had an interesting chat today with David Heatley from Cycling Inform, it's good to have a bit of a chinwag, he's done a lot of good work with his riders and has a similar philosophy to the aboc way of doing things.  His website's very good, with lots of interesting articles and his riders do very well.


Congrats to Carnegie-Caulfield

Filed Under:

CCCC can really run a race ...

Congrats to CCCC for their Phillip Island race.  What a great turnout :

Rider numbers :

147 : teams
15 : A
75 : B
56 : C
47 : D
10 : E/novice
350 entries

That's incredible, and shows what a well promoted and interesting race can attract, one that works for all grades.  Many open promoters could learn a lot from CCCC's race program and methods.


A very bikey Sunday

Sunday was ace!

Picture this, it's around 9am on a Sunday morning.  I'm a lazy sprinter, and like to sleep in, no more of those 5:30am getups to go ride the North Road loonyride.  No way!  Sunday's plan is sleep in a bit, do some weight training in the morning after visiting mum briefly (it's 'sell a lot of flowers and cards day'), muck about for a bit on some training programs etc, then head in to DISC to train on the bike.

The phone rings.  Neil?  What's he want on a Sunday? Isn't he at some MTB enduro with the aboc MTB team (a bunch of c-nuts)?  Yes ... but he's in need of a jersey, very quickly!  Why is left to the reader to speculate on!

Ok .. I drag the lazy body out of bed, find that I have a jersey his size in stock, crank up the aboc motorpacer and head out to Lysterfield.  I take a wrong turn (it's been a while ..) and end up on the wrong side of the park, ok ... no breaking the speed limit!  I find my way to the part of the park where they are.  Motorbikes are good, I manage to thread through the maze of parked cars, vans, tents, fences etc down to where everyone is, and hand Neil a nice new aboc jersey.  He's very happy, and we'll leave the details at that.  This is the second MTB enduro race I've been to for a look and I have to say I'm very impressed.  It's laid out well, they cater for the needs of teams who are waiting for their riders to swap over very well indeed.  Imagine a huge outdoor velodrome, tents, a portable coffee shop, loads of (at least 2 anyway ...) shop displays, PA, music, it's a real carnival atmosphere.  Road can learn a lot from this.  It's all done in good humour and is very relaxed and everyone's having a ball.  It's almost possible to forget it's a race. 

While there I catch up with some old friends (g'day Simon!) and some virtual friends become real (Euan! good to meet you at last).  Cheer on Byron who's doing it solo, and the aboc team (Cam, Vanders and Neil).  I'm tempted to see if Rich and I can make a team of two to do some at 'participation level' (we're gumbies, but it looks a lot of fun).  Good bit of cross training and base fitness.

After hanging around for way too long I scoot over to Mum's for a very late breakfast, then home and into the PowerHouse (or as Vanders would have it, the PowerHaus, Arnold!).  I'm taking it a bit easy, last Tues I strained a back muscle or two, but I still manage to do 3 good sets at 190kg with partial squats.

Then Lucie and I throw all the kit for the training session into her car and we drive into DISC.  Nath's doing a course there and we're somewhat bemused by seeing a bunch of people in the infield warmup area riding around on a mixture of bikes leaning over picking up water bottles off the ground.  Ok ... I'm sure it has some relevance!  We set up, a healthy crowd comes to my session and it works well.  In particular Karen rides well and Hari Gopu, second time ever on a track bike takes to DISC like a duck to the proverbial.  He's a natural.  I think he'll be sore today, but he rode very well indeed.  Alex Vaughan is improving at a great rate, and Claire's back, no obvious signs of harm from her broken ribs.

I manage some consistant times for my flying 100's, still too slow, but at least consistant.  6.79, 6.81 etc for 100m, which is nowhere near fast enough (around 52-53km/h) but is slowly improving - I should arrange to do a session there where I'm actually trying to see how fast I can go, use a bigger gear and not do a gym session an hour before the bike.  We're concentrating on pedaling and I'm pushing about a 92" gear, so am doing about 130rpm, so that time is still pretty slow. I should be getting around 150rpm I think.  Might have to try some overspeed work with the motorbike, but who's going to drive it?  Maybe if I can get Big J to lead me out?!

Nandos for dinner, home and sleep.


How lucky we are?

After a stunning piece of driving in Sydney, it's time to reflect on riding in Melbourne, human nature and why bikes are good for everyone

I'm sure many of you will have heard about the crazy in Sydney who harrassed and then caused a multi-bike pileup in Sydney this morning.  If not, you can read about it here.

There's an old argument that pops up every now and then concerning cyclists and the use of the roads, and where it's appropriate, where it isn't, and how dangerous it is.  The above incident needs to be taken in perspective.  Immediate knee-jerk reactions abound, from the car-obsessed 'all cyclists off the road, get outta my way!', with the borderline psychotics writing things like 'I am sorry, but i HATE CYCLISTS ON THE ROAD. pain in the butt. i totally see where that guy was coming from, i just dont have the guts to run them down. good on him.' (sic) courtesy of a certain individual who hides behind the pseudonym 'Laurabot'.  There's some classy people out there, that's for sure.  These reactions, and the lighting up of the responses in various newspapers, from the bogan-news to more considered papers, show that to many, cyclists and road use is a hot topic.

Why is this? And why does it seem to be happening more often?

An obvious answer is that traffic density is higher and our road system can't cope.  There's an element of truth to that, for sure.   The irony being that those that complain about cyclists on 'their' roads are missing the point that they (the car users) are the problem.  There's too many people driving.  Take a look at the Eastern Freeway or the South Eastern, both roads are off-limits to cyclists, but they're clogged all the way.  More freeways just means more people encouraged to drive, and that just makes the problem worse.  The funny thing is that bikes and bikes used as transport are part of the solution to this.  Bikes used as recreation and sport are also part of the solution.  Bikes take less space on the roads, in urban environments bikes are often faster than cars to get from one place to another (so who is holding up who here?).  Bikes are greener (not perfect, but orders of magnitude less environmentally destructive than car use), bikes keep people healthier, and if 20% of the people who drove cars rode bikes to where they're going, the rest of the car-behooven would have an easier time of it, even if the bikes swamped the road system.  Bikes take up way less room on the roads.  The space used by one car is a whole lane, in that space two or three bikes can safely ride side by side, flowing along.  The car has, usually, one person in it.  It's nuts. Where the drivers get 'ragey' is in high density areas where they're not going anywhere fast, and cyclists, who are doing the drivers a favour, sometimes receive abuse for their troubles.

Funny animals, people.

Oil today, $123/barrel.  How much longer will these people be driving their cars anyway?

More fun, if the 50 bikes that were knocked over were ridden by mostly elite level riders, they'll probably be averaging around $5,000 per bike.  If 50% of them are badly damaged, that's going to cost our hero something in the vicinity of $125,000.  I doubt that'll be covered by insurance.  Maybe he'll have to sell his house to pay for the damage?

I'm going to write an article on bike paths and their merits, or rather, why I think they're bad in many cases and can make things more risky for those of us that ride for transport - watch this space.  In the mean time, remember we have a right to use our roads, take the lane and be assertive.




Sunday at DISC was a mess

Filed Under:

The Sunday aboc session was bad, I need to do better!

Sunday night's DISC training session ended up a bit of a schmozzle.  We had to start an hour late due to a heap of 'come & try' sessions, which is fine, and wasn't the problem, and it was great to see how well the sessions were attended.  Lots of enthusiasm, that's for sure.

We had a range of abilities at the track, also not a problem, but for my enduro sessions I tried to run a drill we call 'two teams take half a lap' that just didn't work.  You have the enduro riders split in half, a bunch on each side of the track lapping at E1 effort (generally 30km/h, recovery pace), on the whistle, the rider in front has to jump across to the other group (thus 'take half a lap').  It's usually a good interval session for enduro riders, but it just didn't work last night.  The groups ended up split up quite badly and in the end we had to consolidate it down to one group and take a full lap, but that was too far for most riders and the 20 minute block was awful to watch!  I felt quite bad for the riders who while I'm sure they got a good working over in terms of fitness, probably didn't enjoy the block or gain any skills from it.

I might have to use the motorbike next time to control the pace and to be one 'team', and also try and make the drill appropriate for some of the less experienced riders.

Our final enduro block was a 10 minute 'take a lap grandprix' and that worked well, I managed to recover enough from my flying 100's to take a lap or two with Dino, while watching Shane 'teh Llama' and Jonathon blasting their laps at 'scare the v-train' speeds.  I think with a bit more time on the boards Shane could be a very good pursuiter - possibly nationals or world masters level.  He's got a great ability to drive through pain that you need for that discipline.  Jonathon's done a lot of racing at a high level, but we need to coax him into being a bit more generous with space for the less experienced riders!

The sprint blocks went well, in particular it was great to see Emily Apolito riding the track banks like a veteran, showing one of the Dundas girls the ropes for how to ride a flying lap.

Stu 'V-Train' Vaughan has volunteered to run a session soon so I get a weekend off.  Good-o!


Lifting on a Sunday

More weight ..

Today, 190kg partial squats. The session runs like this :

Warm up with 12 x 60kg

1 set at the previous sessions' max (in this case, 6 x 185kg), 2 mins rest then up to 190kg

4 x 6 @ 190kg with 2 minutes recovery.

Hurtees ... 190kg is heavy. Grunts and roars abound for the last couple of reps.  The neighbours must think I'm up to something very odd in the shed.

This takes about 20 minutes all up.  The warmup, loading the bar, each set takes about 2 and a half minutes (about 30 seconds under the weight).  Sitting down afterwards and trying to stop shaking...

Then I do a set of 3 x 12 benchpress with 90 seconds recovery, and then an upper body quick and dirty set of wide grip pulldowns, arm curls and narrow grip pulldowns.  I should be doing some upright rows etc, but for now that'll do.  All up, about 45-50 minutes.

This arvo we have DISC training, where the emphasis is on pedaling speed and power at the moment - we'll be doing standing 100m start efforts (strength and power) and then after a break, flying 100's in low gears (leg speed).

I hope the Blackburn crits went well down at Casey, I feel a bit bad for not going to race them, but 150km days are not on the menu for me.  It's a 45km ride there, race for an hour and warmup/warmdown, and ride back works out to about 150km, finishing with a grovel up the Boronia Rd hill.  If I was training for the warny again, I'd be doing it... But not this year!


Healthy competition

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There's more coaching businesses cropping up in Melbourne

aboc's been reasonably unique for some time (started in 2003) in being aimed primarily at recreational racers and beginning event and racing cyclists at a realistic and affordable price.  There's a few more starting to crop up, a newish one is David Heatley's Cycling-Inform.  I'm guessing he's mainly competing with Simon Quick's Quickcycle (price is about the same anyway), and is charging $97p/m at the moment according to his site.  I think this is a good thing, but am a little disapointed at the marketing spin he's chosen to use on his site, and I quote :

Finally a cycling coaching program that is specifically geared
for a busy cyclist that has to fit their training around family
and work commitments.

I think that's a little misleading.  aboc has been specifically working with balancing life and cycling for 'the rest of us' for five years or more and making a point of it.  No problems with the competition at all, the more the better, and it's good to see everyone else running camps in the mountains too (what took you so long?!).  I'm all for it, I'm confident that aboc is great value and despite some encouragement to raise our charges, aboc will remain very affordable and will not be focussed on elite riders at the expense of the rest of us.

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