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Entries For: August 2009


190's, DISC ...

Slowly adding more weight, musings re DISC

This week I got unstuck doing squats, I'd been bogged down at 185kg for about 3 weeks, not able to consistently get three sets of three with any sort of form.  This week I bit the bullet and got up to 190kg, and have now done two sessions of 190x3x3's.  That's ok ... Tuesday's turnout at Spin was healthy despite the dreadful weather that kept a number of people home, wisely choosing not to travel.  Tonight at DISC I suspect I'll be pretty slow - Yesterday's squats have significantly disrupted homeostasis and I'm feeling very flat!  Thanks to Hans Seyle ...

I've seen a draft of the full article for October's Ride Cycling Review and it looks pretty snazzy.

We have to plan ahead to summer now.  Our DISC and spin sessions will be winding up at the end of September and two of the DISC sessions in September won't run, the 6th because it'll be father's day and many regulars won't make it and the 20th because that's the practice day for the 2009-2010 SSS.  So what'll we do over summer?  Last summer we did some unstructured sessions at Blackburn on Sundays and also at DISC on occasion, but this summer there seems to be a bit more demand.  We also ran a Tuesday morning session at BBN last summer which worked well, and we may revive that one.

We've built some really good momentum at Spin over winter with, as mentioned, huge numbers (peaked at 31!) and it would be a shame to lose all that, but I'm not sure how we'd fit anything in.  Over summer there's crits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays where most of the racing riders will be, and the trackies will be doing afternoons at Blackburn or evenings at DISC if they're not doing more endurance stuff on the road, but the DUCCs and a few of the non-racing people want to keep going. I'm welcome to your suggestions please.  Remember Blackburn's Summer of Track on Saturday afternoons and of course (how could you forget?!) the Summer Sprint Series for the sprinters.

I'm thinking we might do a race skills (road bikes and/or track bikes) on Saturday mornings again.  Maybe once a fortnight?  It's a trip for some, but for others it might be worth doing and maybe we can sell the idea a bit - I have a basic syllabus that I developed for the DUCC sessions that can be expanded on and fine-tuned and with some marketing may be worth doing more of.  No-one actually teaches race-craft that I'm aware of except us and that's a possible way to not only keep the regulars involved over summer if they're not racers, but also to allow more honing of race skills for those who do race but want to work on tactical development.  Again, if you're interested or have any suggestions, contact me please!



The DUCCs start again soon

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After a layoff due to Uni commitments, soon the DUCCs will be back on the track

The DUCC's have had a brief layoff due to most of them being teaching students and they're all off on teaching rounds.  They'll be back soon! I've missed them ...

aboc and the Mighty DUCC's


Warming up for DISC tonight

Alex tried to kill me!

Last week was a busy one with real-world work, but I did manage to consolidate my 185kg squats on Wednesday with the Sprint Squad which I was happy about, but it does mean I have to increase volume or intensity (work up to 3 x 5's at 185kg or go to 187.5kg for 3x3's) which is going to be bloody hard!  It's now only about 7 weeks until the first round of the Summer Sprint Series for 2009-2010, so it's time to switch from an emphasis on strength and power to endurance - not the sort of endurance that gets trained when riding for 90 minutes through Lysterfield on a mountainbike though.

Which was what I did yesterday with Alex Vaughan!  Alex, 60 minutes MAXIMUM and EASY!  I don't want to get out of E1 unless it's to go below it! Not up and down bloody hills for an hour and a half!  Alex has become quite a good MTB rider in the last few months, and I am a complete gumby on mine (yes, I get off and carry the thing over log jumps!) and he gave me a royal flogging through his favorite bits of Lysterfield!  Argh! 

Today I'll be doing a light set in the 'Haus, a warmup squat set then some snatches or power cleans at a light weight just to remind my legs that they have a job to do tonight at training at DISC.


The track powertap is fantastic

I'm very happy with this piece of equipment

I know I've banged on about this before, and I'm going to bore you again with it.  We debut'ed the new powertab wheel last night at DISC.  I'm no stranger to training with power, I've had a Powertap SL 2.4 in a road wheel for a couple of years now and it's a great tool there, but my emphasis these days is track and once you've trained with power, it's very frustrating to not have it.  

After a bit of show and tell as a few of the Sunday Roast diners had a look at it and asked me a bunch of questions I either didn't know the answer to (How much will it cost? How does it work? "same as all the other PT's!" Is there a Zipp 1080 option? How much is that doggy in the window etc) or wasn't at liberty to discuss (How much did I pay for it?!) or wasn't going to answer yes to ("Can I borrow it next Sunday?" No, but you can hire it!) Nath showed up with the valve extender and we put air in it and I slapped on a 17 tooth sprocket.

As with any new toy, I was a bit mesmerised by it, doing the warm up on a damp track (yes, DISC still leaks .... the irony of an indoor velodrome that gets water on it when it rains!) we had to dodge a wet spot (cue the jokes, now ..) at the end of the finishing straight and I had to pay attention to riding, not looking at the computer all the time. I wasn't going to be the first to test the hub in anger though, that was Emily's job.  After we warmed up she was set to do a 500m ITT and we popped the gate on the track and the wheel in her bike (and the computer up her sleeve!).  A 10 count, and she's away at full torque for 500m (two laps of DISC).  She rides a great time on it which would have won her last summer's JW15 state titles again, but by more (2 tenths faster than her Vics winning time last summer).  No worries. 

My turn.

Our sprint training for the day is low speed jumps.  This'll show if the guys over on FGF's fears about axle slip are real.  I'm matched up with Rob Tidey, on 91.8".  From 6km/h to 50km/h in 10 seconds, peak power 1501 watts, peak crank torque 199.6nm.  No movement.  No worries!

To be sure, we did this 4 times.  Still no movement.  I'm very far from the strongest track sprinter around, in fact I'm a 'never was' and a hack at best,  but that was a pretty good test and it passed with flying colours. Arr, it's nice to have power again!

The rest of the session went well, except we cut short the finish as the track was slippery and damp and we had a tumble during a practice sprint.  Everyone was toast anyway so no-one felt like they wanted more track time.

I took the laptop to Nandos and grabbed the data.  Here's what my 4 low speed jumps looks like

4 jumps with power

I can't show you Em's data, that's confidential, but I can say that the meter allows us to see where she's really strong and what we need to target to get her faster much more than we've been able to with simulated stuff on the road Powertap on an ergo.

The device isn't perfect though - rare indeed is it to have a version 1 of something that's 100% sorted.  It comes with bolts instead of the more standard axle and nuts and these can be a bit fiddly to do up when setting chain tension.  I spoke with Rich from Wheelbuilder today and he's going to address this with a set of studs and he tells me we'll have the first ones to test out. Also, and this is nothing to do with the track adaptor Rich made, Powertaps do tell you cadence, but in the same sort of 'random number generator' sort of way that Polar and iBike do power - ie: not reliable.  If you're interested in cadence and can't be bothered working it out from speed and gear, get the Cyclops cadence sender as well.

I'm not going to make a fuss about the rest of the wheel, it's an Edge Composites 68 carbon clincher laced with 32 Sapim CX-Ray spokes by Wheelbuilder as per our spec (build it strong, Rich, it's going under heavy sprinters!).  As I'd expect it was stiff and felt fast.  With a Veloflex Record at 140psi it felt just as good if not better than the tubulars I run on my regular indoor track wheels (Bontrager carbon track rims with Tufo S3 Pro's).  It may be faster, it certainly looks fast and feels as stiff as anything else I've ridden except the disk wheel. The White Industries sprockets look solid and feel reassuringly heavy.

So, overall, I'm very happy with this device.  At its first outing it's providing us with very valuable information which will help us all to go faster and that's what we want to do, and it's around half the cost of an SRM crank system here in Australia.  For us, this is a win, thankyou Rich Sawiris!



And the hipsters think they've got some tricks when they skid on their fixies ...

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This is where female gymnasts go, I'm sure, once they've grown too big for Olympic gymnastics

 It's called "Artistic Cycling" or "Kunstrad" and it's a cross between figure skating and track cycling.  It's been around for almost as long as bikes have as a sport.  So the next time some hipster fixie rider gets you up against the wall telling you how skillful they are with their skids, show them this and watch their jaws drop.  Then. suggest they get themselves a leotard!




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Very ...



Track Power!

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At last

The Powertap track wheel has arrived.  It's the only one in Australia at this time and one of the very first of this version in the world.  Wheelbuilder did a fixie adaptor for the first generation of Powertaps but they've been unavailable for quite a few years now.Track powertap wheel

Now we can swap wheels on track bikes and get power readings.  From now on, a laptop comes to every track training session and we're no longer guessing.  I need to work out a hire price structure for it.  It's a very nice wheel, Edge 68 clincher rim (60mm deep carbon clincher), Sapim CXray spokes (32), Powertap SL+ hub with Rich Sawris's fixed gear modification and White Industries sprockets and carrier.  We chose a clincher so that we can quickly and painlessly swap tyres for indoor and outdoor use, it'll have a Veloflex Record for DISC and probably a Bontrager Race-Lite for outdoor use.


185's - at last

Old news ...

Last Saturday (8th August) while training in the 'Haus with the Sprint Squad guys, I managed to grind out 3 x 3 @ 185kg squats at last.  I stuttered on the second set and had to revisit it (repeat it!) because on rep 2 I lost control of the bar and had to regain balance, but I got the lifts. In the end it was 3, 1(stumbled on 2), 3, 3.  So I'm happy with that.  

We had a solid session at DISC last night, it got cold very quickly after it being quite warm at 4:30pm, but by 6 it was an icebox and we all rugged up a lot.  Come 7pm and everyone was pretty-well shattered, so job done for another Sunday.  Our 1/2 lap chase onto the bike, 1 lap paced 1/2 lap sprint drill is starting to get challenging and we'll keep making it harder (the bike goes faster!)

At the moment, according to FedEx the track Powertap wheel is in Australia!

In other news I'm pleased to see that Alan Dorin won CCCC's Lenny Hammond handicap on Saturday down at Modella.  This year it was their hilly course, way back in 2004 I won it, when it was flat!


"Tracks of Glory"

I found a cycling film I'd never heard of!

Normally I wouldn't write about something as trivial (you could make the case for this blog being trivial, and to everyone but me it is, but you're reading it ...) as my local video library shutting down.  My local video library is shutting down.  It's a shame, they were a great independent library with a lot of interesting stuff.  Still the days of the video library are numbered and once there's nothing left but the big chains, I won't shed a tear to see them go.  If only McDonalds would die the same death ... Anyway ... To cut a dreary and long story short, they're flogging off all their stock.  So Lucie and I, while waiting for a souvlaki, had a bit of a poke around.  I found something quite unexpected in the video tape section.  Tracks of Glory.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  We've all seen Breaking Away, American Flyer, Overcoming (yes, Bjarne, it is a hard sport ...), Hell on Wheels and Triplets of Belleville, but I'd never heard of this one.

It's a story about Major Taylor, who was a black American track cyclist at the turn of the century (1900's, not 2000's!) and Don Walker racing in 1903.  So I bought it.  I don't have a VCR anymore but I'll find a way to rip it to DVD and then we might have a video night at the clubrooms soon.  I think it's quite an important film to see.

I spent this morning with the DUCC's at the 1:20, pacing one of the guys there and back and observing his ride up the hill. He was a bit off his time, but we looked at the graphs afterwards from the power meter and next time it'll be a much faster ride.

In other trivia, the track Powertap wheel is currently in Honolulu according to FedEx. I expect to have it for our DISC session next weekend.


A little bit of progress

More weight, sorta

Over the last two days I've lifted :

3,2,3 squats at 185kg (one more rep than last week's best effort) on Tuesday just before Spin.

10 x 150kg squats yesterday and then 5 x 162.5kg deadlifts.

Today, easy spin to CS-M and back on the bike and maybe some ergo time tonight if I get the chance. It's windy, the ride to CS-M will be directly into a big headwind! Lucky it's only 2km!

Got to go, or I'll be late for work!


Craig van der Valk, HAF!

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Vanders, despite a freshly broken arm, trained last night

At last nights (record again, 31 people!) Spin, Vanders (that's Angles to the 9:23-am'ers out there, if any of you read this) came to train.  Not much of a big deal, he's a regular, but the difference, a few days before he'd binned it snowboarding and broken his arm.

I'm certainly not one to say train when you're injured if it'll impede your recovery at all, but that's a pretty HAF effort from Vanders!

We had a huge night, I'd had some bizarre premonition that we'd have a big turnout, despite the A stream having two Tabata intervals to do (they were warned!), so Lucie and I had arranged an extra-big pot for pasta and I'd made the biggest bolla I've ever made on Monday, 3kg of mince beef, 4 big cans of crushed tomatoes, 3 big jars of tomato paste, 2 kg of mushrooms... It was heavy ... anyway ... A few regulars weren't coming, but a few newbies came along and most of the regulars were there too .. so thirty one people.  No need for a heater, we had to open the big sliding door to keep the place cool and make room for them all. Nathan and I were stuffed at the end of the night, even with the megaphone it was hard to communicate.  The noise during the final E3 rampup was ... significant!

I wonder how many we'll have next week?

The DUCC training session this morning went well too, they quickly got the point of blocking and how to spot blocking, when to use it and how to do it such that it's harder to detect than just soft pedaling on the front.  They're a good crew and very keen to learn, working with them is a real pleasure.


Summer Sprint Series - a hint

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A big announcement is coming soon

No, it's not a sponsor (yet ...) but we've been in touch with some people and this summer's Summer Sprint Series will be a bit special.  I'll make an announcement as soon as it's formal, but it will be pretty snazzy!


Stalled on squats

I'm stuck at 185kg!

The last three times I've gone to squat heavy I've not been able to finish the sets.  I'm stuck on 185kg.  I got 3 x 3 @ 182.5kg out ok a week or so ago, repeated it a few times to bed it in, then went for 185.  My three attempts over the last week at doing 3 x 3's :

1 rep

2 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps (almost!)

1 rep

Argh!  It may still be a bit of the 'flu floating around, I'm not 100% and to lift heavy takes everything I've got, so maybe that's not helping. I might have to back off to 180kg again and start from there.  I'm not all that concerned though, it's time to really swing the emphasis from raw strength to strength and power on the bike.  Time to get the watt meter to tell better stories!

Lucie took some ace photos of the last DUCC training session we did on Wednesday too.  They're a great bunch of kids, very keen and switched on.  A real pleasure to work with.

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