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Entries For: October 2009


Professional sprint world champions

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There's been quite a few Aussies win this

I was trolling the 'net for some trivia on sprinting ..

World professional sprint champions from Australia :

1920, Antwerp, Bob Spears (Bob was also runner up in '21 & '22)

1970, Leicester, Gordon Johnson

1975, Rocourt, John Nicholson

1976, Monteroni di Lecce, John Nicholson

1988, Ghent, Stephen Pate

1993, Hamar, Gary Neiwand

1995, Bogota, Darryn Hill

2002, Ballerup, Sean Eadie


For the women, no Australian women have won the world sprint championship (yet), Anna Meares was runner up in 2004 at the Melbourne world titles.

New power rack, published in Ride ...

More equipment, fame at last ..

Yesterday Lucie and I got to play with some big bits of Meccano.  Specifically, one of these.  It's around 200kg and pretty heavy duty. It took us about an hour and a half to put together and was way more fun than any Ikea furniture to assemble.  The PowerHaus is slowly coming together.

Today Swervin Merv and I tested it, I finally had a little bit of strength and did some 180kg squats and some snatches after a terrible week of being feeble and slow.  Maybe that's not 100% spot-on, I rode ok on Sunday at DISC, my standing 125's were ok and motorpaced I was reasonably quick, but on Tuesday I was TFU at both morning and afternoon sessions at Blackburn.  Must be getting old, it's taking three days to recover from a hard session.  I haven't felt good under the bar since just before round 1, three and a half weeks ago.  Overtraining?  Maybe ... Certainly poor sleep and bad food hasn't helped.  We have an ergo session tomorrow night which I'm looking forward to, hopefully some decent wattage and torque will present itself.

Still, round 2 of the Summer Sprint Series is this Sunday, I don't feel as good as I did last time, but it's 4 days away and there's time to come good.  Speaking of the SSS, those of you that read Ride have now got THE article.  Lucie's photos, my writing (with some help from Dino).  I think it came up pretty well.

PS: Doug Reith, we need you at Blackburn.  Whatever you want, you ask for it and I'll do my best to make it happen ...



Filed Under:

heh ...

While I'm sitting here waiting for Ride to arrive and the new power rack ...

Gutted .. a lot of people say they're 'gutted' by something or other, usually reasonably minor in the overall scheme of things.  To be gutted is to have your intestines removed. It's pretty ... dramatic ... Symptom of our times that it gets used by someone who's lost a footy game, a bike race?  Hardly the same thing as gutting!


Summer DISC 1 went well

We had a good turnout for our first Summer DISC session

It's been a pretty busy week at aboc HQ.  I haven't had time to write much, but it's been hectic.  We've had many people over helping to clear the shed in preparation for the launch of the aboc PowerHaus, I've trained with Brad Robins at Blackburn, and Pat and Dino, and Dino again on Thursday on ergos.  We raced on Saturday, trained again on Sunday at DISC, very busy indeed.

I haven't lifted at all for almost two weeks.  I feel bad about it, but every time I've tried to squat heavy I've felt weak and unable to get any sets done.  So, a bit of time off to recover, and I'll hit it again next week.  A big increase in volume of track training has probably contributed to my gym training's flatness. I'm not too worried, the gym work is to go faster on the bike, not to be good in the gym all the time.

Last night was our first Summer DISC session, a healthy turnout of riders, mostly sprinters, made for a busy night - we did standing half laps out of the gate, and then revouts chasing the motorbike, the enduros did a couple of E3 efforts then some motorpaced sprint efforts and revouts.  Suffice to say that come time for chicken and chips, everyone was well toasted.  Chris Ray's overtaking of the motorbike was a sight during a revout.  He's going pretty quick ... And Em and Jamie chasing the bike on J15 gearing at close to 60km/h .. Those kids have some legspeed ..

Speaking of going quick, round 2 of the aSSS is now oversubscribed, we've got 32 pre-entries and a rider on the standby list.  Fantastic.  Ride is due out this week, so we'll get a flurry of interest from that too I expect.

I've had signups and payments for the Hotham camp trickling in, the lodge is now paid for and we're all looking forward to it in four weeks.

I got the chance to congratulate the V-Train for his regaining of his world masters pursuit world title, he's riding at the sprint series this Sunday (round 2) so we'll see how he goes at that too, there's a bunch of new faces racing with us, it should make for some pretty exciting racing. I can't wait!


Thankyou to some of the lads!

We had a working bee yesterday at the PowerHaus

Thankyou to Swervin' Merv Tracy, Alex 'Too Cool To Sprint' Iwanov, Nathan Dux and Stuart 'Mary Poppins' Lucy for your help yesterday with the working bee in the PowerHaus.  We did a heap of work clearing stuff and moving things around in preparation for the launch of the 'Haus as a top level strength and conditioning facility.  Our new power rack should arrive this week, now we'll have room for it!

Congrats to the V-Train

Stu Vaughan regains his world title

Known to many of us as the 'V-Train', Stuart Vaughan regained his MMAS4 pursuit world title today.  The V-Train was a guest speaker at an aboc dinner not long ago, just before he went to defend his 2007 win in 2008 (he got third).  So he's now a 2 times world champion.

Results here.

Great stuff, Stu, we'll see you at the Summer Sprint Series!

Liz Randall won her pursuit too.  Awesome ...


Another level


I've (finally!) booked in to do the Cycling Australia level 2 coaching course in November/December in Adelaide this year.  I've been wanting to do it for some time and with the move to Adelaide of the course, increase in time (6 days from 5) and more sprint focus, and thus a chance to speak with and learn from the AIS sprint team there I couldn't resist.

So I'll be away from the 28th of November 'til the 3rd of December, but will be back in time for round 3 of the aSSS.

In particular I'm hoping to get a chance to spend some time with Craig Colduck, who is the author of this post from fixedgearfever, there's a few details I want to ask him about.  I'm pretty sure that a lot of the stuff in there is really only meant to apply to elite athletes, in particular the "set a personal best, go home" bit, which is, I strongly suspect, intended only for riders working near their genetic potential where overtraining is a real concern.  This is similar to some programming data in "Practical Programming for Strength Training". 

Anyway, I'll be in Adelaide for a few days without a bike during the leadup to round 3.  I'll have to see if I can borrow one of Pete's folders and train on that!

It's great to see that Liz Randall won her first event at the UCI World Masters yesterday.  I didn't know she was doing the 500m ITT, but not only did she do it, she won it.  Another world title for Liz! She's also qualified fastest for the 2k pursuit.  There's no such thing as a dead cert, but I think she'll come back with a few more than just one world title.  I'd bet on all of them for her age group.  Go Liz!  I spent a few mornings over the past month at DISC motorpacing her, I'm not her coach, but am a small part of her team, and that's a great thing, I'm very pleased.


what a busy weekend ...

Filed Under:

Racing, work (computers ...) Lang Lang corner marshall, motorpacing ... work (computers ...) sleep!

This last weekend was always going to be a big one.  We had track racing on Saturday at Blackburn, which had a keiren, and I wanted to do well in that, then I had to do some work at a client site in the evening doing part of a server migration, Sunday was up very early (5:30ish) to get down to Lang Lang to do my corner marshalling for a road race, then motorpacing Neil the week out from the Warny, home to have dinner with my Dad (60th b'day)

Or so the plan went.  Of course, it got busier.

20091017_keirin_1Saturday went well on the track, in the scratch race I did a couple of longer turns for Dino before pulling out to save energy for the keiren.  With 91.8" on for the day and racing C grade I kinda expected to win.  Doug split us up into two bunches of 4, so the first 3 were through to the final.  I drew the first heat, along with Dino and a few non-sprinters.  It was pretty windy, so the bike was the place to be.  I got the bike from the start and when it pulled off I had a junior behind me (perfect) as a buffer, I kicked hard on each straight and sat up on the corners, and won by quite a way, but did use quite a bit of steam to do so.

20091017_keirin_2We had about 15 mins or so to recover before the final.  Wayne Arazny had made it through (no surprise there) as had Dino.  Right .. it's still pretty windy.  I missed the bike but the young junior who got it relinquished it when I made it clear that I wanted it, afterwards he told me he didn't want the bike anyway, which was why he was so easy to dislodge.  So I have the wheel again and the best sit into the headwind.  With 1.5 laps to go it pulls off, I've been watching Wayne over my shoulder and see him looming up on the blue line.  I kick moderately hard down the back straight into the wind, no-one comes over, I sit on the corner, still no-one, but Wayne is close, I can sense him there.  Where's Dino?  Up the front straight with the tailwind I kick again, still nothing, Wayne makes his move around the back straight into the wind and gets a nose in front into the last corner, I still have the lane, but I'm fading fast, and Wayne has the beans to hold his lead and get me by half a bike.  Doh!   Dino takes third after fluffing the start and having to come from a long way back.  Second will have to do! It was a pretty slow race, my powertap showed a maximum speed of only 51.5km/h. the heat was only a 52km/h race too, so the wind had a big effect.

After that we had a motorpace, but I wasn't interested and pulled out after 2 laps with no legs and no heart for it.

After that I had to go in to a client site in town and work for hours on a server build, and eventually got home around 1:30am.  Up at 5:45 to get to Lang Lang by 7:30 for the Lang Lang road race, where I was a corner marshal at my usual corner.



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I've been the corner marshal for that corner for years now, it's my home away from home at Lang Lang!  Neil Robinson hooked up with me there at around 12 and once B grade had come past for their second lap, we packed up and headed out to Modella to do a motorpaced lap for his preparation for the Warny next weekend.

I was pleased to find that Neil had ridden the Tour of Timor recently (wow!) and done pretty well.  He's always been a naturally talented rider and able to do just about everything.  I didn't know he'd been racing that well though!

Motorpacing NeilThe Modella course we used was the flat one.  It was quite windy and there's little shelter and the course we rode is essentially a square. Neil took his camera(!) and snapped a few photos while we warmed him up, but once the pace was on there was no camera use!  After a solid hour he was trashed and my wrist aching.  Time to go home.

There'd been a crash on the M1 freeway, someone had tried to see if trees move out of the way of speeding cars, and the freeway was blocked for miles.  I don't know if the driver of the car lived, but it looked pretty unlikely.  Ugly .. People driving cars really need to understand risk better than they do.  Home eventually by 5ish only to find that the client site I'd been at on Saturday night wasn't on the 'net.  Right ... In I go again, only to find that they'd lost all power to their floor (co-incidence!  Imagine ...).  After stuffing around with the fuse box, calling a sparky, finding that there was another switch box in a room we didn't have access to, the call was 'bugger it, I'm going home'.  Dropped in at Rich's for a pizza then home to sleep.  Dad was moving house this weekend and was still working on it, hopefully I'll catch up with him this week for dinner.

Phew ...



Another standing start

Filed Under:

Hoy, the best in the business ....


And the Brits team sprint ...


Cadel's book

Filed Under:

Rob Arnold from Ride has a book about Cadel Evans

Recently I got a copy of Anna Meares' book.  It wasn't any great masterpiece and didn't really offer much insight into her training and drive etc, but was a nice, easy read and quite enjoyable.  Today I've just noticed that there's a book about Cadel Evans that's being launched by Ride Media.  I have to disclose that I have a small link to Ride, I've written an article that appears in the October edition, and may write more in future... With that out of the way ...

It's called 'Close to flying' and you can pre-order it from here.  It's 'co-written' by Rob Arnold, which means Rob wrote it based on interviews etc with Cadel, I would expect, so it's probably going to read like a long article in Ride, which means it will be literate and entertaining.  Will it offer any insight into Cadels' antics, his personality?  I'm not the world's biggest Cadel fan by any stretch, but everyone has to admit that he's a great athlete and hopefully this is an interesting, and insightful, story.  Allan Peiper's book sets a very high standard, following in the footsteps of 'Rough Ride'.    I'll be buying a copy, it's one of those 'must have' books that every bike racing enthusiast is going to have to own. I hope it's got enough meat in it to make it worthy of the sales it's bound to get.


I've been sub-par for a few days...

I felt a bit ordinary on Saturday at Blackburn's SoT opener, Sunday was worse, hayfever and generally blah, on Monday I was supposed to do a Texas Method high volume set in the 'Haus, but the warmup was bad and the lifting, supposed to be 5 x 5 @ 180kg squats, I got 1 x 2 and called it a day.  Did some press and that was about it.  Lower back, kidneys sore etc .. Hrm ..

Today (Tuesday) I'm feeling a little better.  This morning Dino, Pat and I were at the BBN velodrome to do some training, but the rain came in and I was feeling very stiff and sore, so I motorpaced the lads for a warmup and then called it a day.  Brad's Tuesday afternoon session was probably a washout too (the rain is good, I'm not complaining!) so I missed that, not that I had the beans to do it.

I'm up late tonight uploading videos for the SSS (still?!).  It's 1:45am and I'm done.  Here's Steelie giving me a lesson!



Equipment, return to sender

Unfit for purpose!

I wrote in my last blog that, amongst other things, it's not about the equipment.

Except sometimes it is ...

It is when the equipment is a limitation.

If you don't trust your equipment, especially in a sprint situation which demands 100% commitment, you cannot perform at your best, and then it is about the gear.  When your equipment is a significant limitation, change your equipment.

I have an FFWD 5 spoke front track wheel.  It is being returned to the local distributor for a refund. I don't trust it.  The first one I got about a month ago, Pete and I glued on a Tufo S3 lite tyre, I took it to DISC and jumped on after some quick photos for Ride magazine.  It immediately launched into a resonating tank-slapper as I got onto the bank.  I took it off, put on the old Bonty front and got back to training and coaching for the day.  Later, Nathan Larkin and I pulled it apart and found that the bearing/axle fit was fractionally loose, and there's no way to adjust it.  Ok, send it back to FRF (local distributor), they send me another one.  This one's still got a little bit of play, but it's better than the last one.  Glue it up, wind it up at Blackburn at round one of the aSSS for my flying 200, I'm 100% committed to this effort and am going absolutely as fast as I can in almost perfect conditions.

At full speed, it does the same thing the last one did, almost putting me over the fence.  I was very lucky not to crash.

We had a look at it afterwards and the bearing/axle interface has play, enough to allow a resonance it seems.  What a seriously brain-damaged design this is.  A ~$3,000 retail wheel which has no way to alter bearing tightness.  The Mavic iO has adjustable bearings, which means manufacturing tolerances (and wear!) can be adjusted out.  Not so this design. It's a POS.  Don't buy one unless and until they redesign the hub such that you can adjust the bearings.

Not that you probably need one anyway, I don't need it, I need something I can trust, which isn't this wheel. If you're thinking about it, think again.


Addressing your limitations

Or, what's holding you back from achieving what you want to?

This blog entry won't be the full story, but I will expand on it over the next couple of weeks (is that a teaser?!).  A few months ago Shane Miller and I were chatting about training philosophies, and the old 'train your weaknesses, race your strengths' meme was the topic.  

The gist of it, which we were in rigorous agreement on, was this.  Don't train your weaknesses, train (or improve etc) your limitations.  For example : if you're a terrible climber (like I am! My big weakness as a roady was that as soon as any sort of hill was in a race course I was rooted)  rather than waste lots of time training that and getting demoralized and giving up, accept it and look at what you enjoy racing or riding and look at what's limiting your performance in the sort of event you love to do.

Drawing something useful from that as a quick summary - Find the events you love to do, work out what your limiters are in that event, and work on them.  Forget the stuff you suck at, it's not fun, pick the things you love to do and concentrate on making them as good as you can.

A small tangent, for 99% of us, it's not about the gear.  It's probably not your bike that's holding you back.  Here's an extract from a posting I put up on the BV forums recently that I think explains what I mean :

I coached a guy who won his way up to A grade on a $800 entry-level Learsport roady. The only real difference once he splashed for something fancier is that more people would talk to him (roadies are a funny lot ... when I splashed for my Madone I noticed a lot more people saying 'hi' at Glenvale ... I hadn't changed ...). Tommy Leaper set a very fast ITT time on the 'Boule last winter on a fixed gear cheapy trackbike, beating many on ITT rigs. He also won his way to an Austral final on an ancient steel dunger track bike about two or so years ago, everyone else was on BT's, Teschners etc ... Andrew Steele set the fastest F200 time at BBN on a steel frame that these days no-one would buy except some hipster fixie d00d to do skids on, but no-one's beaten his record yet ... It ain't the bike that wins the race. If you think you need ceramic bearings, you're wrong. If you think you need Dura-Ace, you're wrong.

When I was a kid, I did a lot of rock climbing at Mt Arapalies, I'd spent 3 weeks sieging my way up Little Thor (21). I had all the fancy stuff you could have at the time (mid to late 1980's), the sticky boots, lycra pants etc, I was a card carrying gearfreak. A guy came along who I knew more by reputation than anything else much and solo'd up it in a pair of Dunlop KT26's and he was wearing jeans. Lesson learned .. It's NOT the gear. Racing D, C, B grade, and even most A grade, it's not the gear that's holding you back.

Ob disclaimer: I work at an LBS and would love to sell you a flash bike with pose value and a big markup, but I won't lie to you and say it'll make you faster or that you need it to race ... it might make you more 'friends' at Cafe w4nk3r though Smile I have some very nice and expensive bikes and bits, but they don't make me any faster, they're nicer... sure, and IMO very pretty, but the bike is not what's limiting my performance. I wish it was, then I could spend my way to glory and race the sprint at the 2012 Olympics Smile heh ...



A win on video ...

Leon Sims jumps and gaps me, but I have a big gear ...

Turn down the volume, Alex Vaughan is commentating!



Round 1 report

Mixed feelings

I was very much looking forward to round one of the aSSS yesterday.  On Saturday I was jumping out of my skin, but I woke on Sunday feeling a little flat and lethargic.  Lucie and I did all the making of the rolls for lunch etc and I did a warmup set in the 'Haus to kickstart my legs.  The warmup felt heavy.  Hrm.

Anyway .. We got to Blackburn, John Lewis and I set up the timing tapes and people started arriving.  I slapped on the replacement FFWD 5 spoke front and the disk rear wheel onto my T1 and did a few warmup laps and one surge, that felt ok.  98" was the gear for the day, not much wind and I should be strong enough to push it.

A bit of background on the 5 spoke.  I got it initially about 3 weeks ago, and tested it out at DISC only to find that it had loose bearings and shook uncontrollably at around 30km/h, so we sent it back to FRF (Aust importer) and they sent me another one which we got just in time for round 1.  Pete from CS-M glued it up during the week. On Saturday I bolted it into the bike and it didn't feel 100%, but was a lot better than the first one.

Flying 200 time, and I'm psyched for a big one.  Wind it up with a very light northerly breeze blowing (< 5km/h, perfect conditions), the front end twitches just a little up the front straight during my windup but seems ok, I hammer it into the clubroom corner to get up to speed, drop down following the Nicko-Line and feel fast crossing the start line ... then I hit the corner and the front end goes ballistic.  In motorcycling terms it did a tank-slapper.  The front end of the bike shook uncontrollably and I was heading for the fence with no control over the bike, frantically backpedaling to slow down and wash off some speed.  I managed to get around the corner with the front still wobbling all over the place and record a 15.something time.   I ask for a rerun and Sue approves.  The 5 spoke is swapped out for my older Bontrager carbon front wheel (that I trust!).   The FFWD 5 spoke is going back, and I don't want another one. A $3,000 wheel should have better quality control than these things have and as far as I'm concerned they ran shove it up their backsides and I want my money back!

I get about 30 mins to recover to do my second run.  I'm still a bit shaken (and fatigued from the first run!) and I only manage a 13.802 (52.17 km/h).  That's pretty slow.  It qualifies me as the second seed in B grade, Rob Tidey was 0.4 faster and he's the first seed in B grade.  Dino's made the cut into A grade as has Neil Robinson (his first time in A grade!).  Chris Ray and Gary Jackson are the fastest two in A grade, being the only riders on the day to get into the 12 second box.

Passing Nathan Frazer

Round 1 and I'm up against Nathan Fraser (14.174).  I should be able to get this, Nathan goes very early, very hard.  I'm on a big gear (98") and it takes a while to wind it up and I chase like a madman for a lap and a half before catching him just before the final bend, he's blown and I fly past and take a win first up.  That took a lot of energy to do!  I had to ride a 550m ITT to catch him.  Ouch. I'll pay for that (and the extra F200) later.  Final 200 : 15.036

Chasing Leon

Got him!Round 2 vs Leon Sims (14.124).   Similar race, Leon jumps around 450m so to go and gets a gap, again I'm chasing but once I get on top of the 98" I have speed and get him by a bit over a bike length.  That hurt too ... Still, two from two is the best I've ever had at an SSS round.  Final 200 : 14.121


Round three and I'm up against Andrew Steele (13.921).  Steelie's the flying 200 Vs SteelieSteelie takes the winrecord holder at Blackburn, before he had a long break from the sport he rode an 11.94s. He's a very smart sprinter.  Certainly he's not in the best shape of his life, but he's still got a lot of power and a hell of a lot of race smarts.  If I'm not in front of him with 200m to go I'm toast, I figure.  Jokes at the start line about the combined weight of the field in this race being close to 300kg! I get schooled in how to ride a sprint and Steelie wins it by half a bike length after sitting up once he knew he had the win.  He has this amazing surge and back off which he kept throwing at me and I'd never raced anyone with that in their toolkit.  A really good lesson and I'm thrilled to have been able to race against him.  When he gets into some better shape he'll be very fast again. Final 200 : 13.789

Marc by half a bikeFinals, I'm in the 3v4 ride off against Marc Wilson (13.905).  This is over 3 laps and he draws the lead.  I go under him and take it off him and hold him up high, I don't have the energy for a long sprint and I want this one to be a last lap drag race, I'm persisting with the 98" gear.  I haven't had a chance to watch Marc race much, he gave Rob Tidey a decent race in round 3 which I did see.  We jump around about together and it's a good race, but Marc gets it by half a bike.

So, two flying 200s, Four match sprints.  Two wins and two close losses. I shouldn't be unhappy with that.  I'm very unhappy with the (very expensive!) FFWD front wheel though!

The day itself went just about perfectly.  A full field, some brilliant racing and the series is everything we dreamed it could be.  Lots of positive feedback, the team did an amazing job (again!) - Sue ran the races with the right level of control and authority, it was all run in good spirit and we have hundreds of photos (thank you Lucie and Nathan) and loads of video for me to edit and upload over the next few days.  The electronic timing was great, thanks to John Lewis and Nathan Frazer.

Next round, I think I'll drop down to 94" or so, the 98" was too much to accelerate and while I had loads of speed on it, tactically it was the wrong gear for the day.

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