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Entries For: October 2010



The countdown sample on FGF is crappy ...

Anyone who practices standing starts wants to 'sync their clock', which is to say, to get your timing spot-on.

At championship events, you get a beep at 10s to go, then 5,4,3,2 & 1 are beeps, then a different tone beep for 0.

There's a recorded sample of this over on Fixedgearfever, but it's full of background noise and is generally a bit ordinary.  So I sat down for 15 mins or so with Audacity and made a new one.  Here it is.  Feel free to use/abuse/distribute as you see fit.

She'll hold together

You hear me baby? Hold together!

Totally off-topic, sorta ..

I had another hydrodilation on Tuesday, which was quite different to the first one I had a month or so ago - it felt very different anyway, although the procedure was the same. I now have almost a full range of motion, which is great! I did an ergo session on Thursday and put out a peak power value that was the best I've done since January, so that's good. The things you can do when you can actually pull hard on the bars!

But... Today Lucie and I, tipped off by Stewart Lucy, took one of my kayaks down to the Box Hill rugby ground!

While the joint sounded and felt like a bag of ball bearings being rattled around, it didn't hurt.  Good! So this arvo I'm off to paddle the Homestead Loop on the Yarra, it'll have some big water in it after all this rain.  That'll test out the joint!



Training for the 500

I have a few riders now who specialise in the 500m ITT, some info on how we train for it (33.295)

The 500m ITT is a classic sprinter's time trial. It's a shame it's no longer an Olympic event, but it is a world championship event and is very important.  A few members of my squad love this event and it's their pet.

So, what does it take to be good at it? Let's look at some not too far out of date data from one of the very best at the 500.

anna_meares_500m_33.9s_poweranna_meares_500m_33.9s_powerWhen Anna Meares set a world record (33.944) in it back in 2006, she went from 0 to ~145rpm in about 15 seconds, her peak power output was ~1400 watts at about 120 rpm and 8 seconds into the event.  She got to about 63km/h 15 seconds into the ride and held around 145rpm/62-63km/h for a further 19 seconds.  By the time she crossed the finish her power had dropped to about 500 watts.  An important part of this is the second 8 seconds, Anna went from 80rpm to 145rpm in 8 seconds.

So, how can we train for this?

We need to accelerate from 0 to ~145 rpm in around 15 seconds.

We need to have a solid peak power output of somewhere around 1400 or so watts

We need to hang on to the effort for 34 seconds.

With riders preparing for this race, one of my favorite drills is on an ergo.  We use Kurt Kinetic Road Machines at aboc, Hilton prefers the BT ergo, but they both do the same thing.  Hilts uses the ergos as a fitness tool doing short high intensity intervals, I like to use them also as a specific, targeted training tool for specific events.

We want to come at the 500 from both ends - the power at speed is important, but so to is being able to work up to that speed with acceleration.

So, we do acceleration efforts on the KKRM, scaled to the rider's current strength.  How?

One tool is my RGRS(80:8) effort.  What's that?  RG is "race gear", RS is rolling start, 80:8 is the starting cadence and the duration of the effort.  How do you know what RG is?  On the KKRM we do a race gear calibration drill where we start in a small gear (60" or so), from a rolling start (~80rpm), and go all out for 8 seconds.  If we get up to 160rpm, we rest for a few minutes, increase the gear by a couple of inches and go again, until we can't get to 160rpm anymore.  That gear, where the rider can't quite get to 160rpm, is their RG for this drill.  Then we use that gear to work on ergo standing starts, ergo efforts etc when we start getting specific about the 500.

Every few weeks we repeat the calibration drill, the gear should be getting bigger, or something's going wrong.



More whinging!

Filed Under:

Yep, I'm a sook!

My melodramatic shoulder saga continues.  My new doctor at ASM (David Bolzonello, Sandra Mejac buggered off to Delhi to work at the Comm games and then on a holiday, hmpf! Where are her priorities?) is sending me off for another hydro after some x-rays showed no bone damage in the joint (good, I think? I don't have any spurs or arthritis, I KNOW THAT ALREADY! We wasted another week checking for that ... ). My physio there, Kay Copeland, is baffled although she delights in digging in to various bits of me with a lot of force.  We get more RoM in one plane, at the expense of another.  Robin Hood treatment? 

Anyway, they still think I have scapular capsulitis or "frozen shoulder".  I had a hydro about four weeks ago on the thing and immediately had a significant improvement (I could sleep! W00t!), but it's regressed and I can't ride a bike with any sort of power (not that I have much anyway, but even less than normal!), can't squat properly and at the moment, can't really lift much either.  I'm kinda useless when it comes to doing useful "stuff" like lifting and carrying things, putting rollers away in Hiltons' loveshack etc.  Not. Happy. Jan.  Even just trying to do some practice skills work at DISC tonight wasn't working.  I'm getting quite cranky about it, to be honest. In the overall scheme of things it's minor, it's not going to kill me or anything like that, but it is pissing me off!

Sooner or later, I'll bet they're going to get me to have an MRI on it, but they keep saying "no, no MRI needed, that's if the hydro and physio doesn't work, and don't question us, we're the experts here" (rough paraphrase).  In the mean time, I'm shelling out dollars while they make guesses.  I dunno... I'd like if they'd just order an MRI and stop guessing.  The hydro is booked for Tuesday arvo at Victoria House (where I had the last one done, maybe they'll remember me?), and then there's another 4-6 weeks of followup physio before we really know if it's sorted.  Here's hoping, eh?  Bloody thing .. This winter and spring have seen some great water in the rivers, can't paddle them with a b0rked shoulder.  The joys of getting old I guess.

Let's go to the video!

Small cameras .. Nifty

Recently I added an extra video camera to the video arsenal. My workhorse is a standard def Sony VX2100. These babies are the ducks' nuts of SD video cameras, the documentary film makers camera of choice up 'til HD took over, thank you Nick Bird for the recommendation!  I got myself a little GoPro "Hero HD" for a bit of novelty value after seeing some really good kayaking videos shot with one.  If you're into whitewater 'yaking, this is brilliant, these guys have done some good videos but this one's their best ... 

Anyway .. To cut a long story short, I've used the little thing a few times at DISC and at Blackburn to record some tutorial-ish video, flying 200 lines mainly, from a rider/handlebar PoV.  Today I did some rear-facing stuff on the motorbike at DISC so I could see what the guys in the squad were doing while at speed.  My editing is very crude, rough and ready using PowerDirector and I don't spend much time making it pretty, but it's still handy stuff, I reckon.

The lens is a very wide angle (170 degrees in most modes including the default 960p/30fps) so there's some distortion when the subject is close (as they should be when being motorpaced, but SOME OF YOU SIT WAY TOO FAR OFF THE DAMN BIKE! The roller is there for a reason, YOU CAN TOUCH IT!) but even so, it's been quite revealing.  We don't often get to look closely at sprinters under load at speed and everything happens pretty quickly.  The video I'm getting isn't going to make our coaching service 107.65% better, make you 30-40% faster or any of that other marketing bull, but it's a pretty handy thing to have and I'm going to use it quite a bit, I think.


Making it happen

If you want something ...

Check these guys out ...

They didn't have a track, so .. They made it happen.  There's a lesson in that for many of us.



About last week (Sunday)

SSS r1, it's run, won and done

The day was perfect.  On the Saturday Nic Marc, Merv and I repainted the lines at Blackburn.  We went through 6 or so cans of red line paint and around 400 metres of masking tape!  The lines look great, for now. The paint fades pretty quickly though. I gave it two coats, maybe that'll buy us some more time before having to do it again.

The team, led by Sue Dundas, did a great job.  I'm always very proud of them, Jodie does such a hard job with the videoing, the concentration it takes to do it well is pretty full-on and Krissy looks after all the misc running around jobs that everyone forgets about until they don't get done.  Lucie and I made food for the team (salad rolls!) and we had new volunteer hats as well.  I'm not sure Anne Apolito used hers much, her job is to sit inside and record everything. A vital job!

John 'star trek' Lewis ran the timing again, Alex Vaughan cooked the snaggers, Fast Eddie Wilson took over commentary, saving everyone from my verbal dribble!

So, the racing ...

I was stuck on 86" and wasn't even sure if that would go ok. I rode an ok flying 200, a 13.6-something which I wasn't displeased with.  Dino PB'd (again ... and sooked about it, again ...), Emily PB'd (by 0.6s!), the rest of the aboc SS rode well, Nic Marc did as well as I expected he would (very well indeed!) and despite a winter broken up by various distractions Stewart Lucy made it into A grade and wasn't disgraced.  Chris Ray has a new nickname - Chopper Ray! When you see the videos you'll understand why.  Don't undertake Chopper Ray!

Not much in the way of photos, Lucie normally does them but she had a very important uni assignment due in on Monday morning and had to get that done, so I don't have any photos to put up from this round that we own.

I rode badly, not really able to jump, and matched up against two kids with whoppers (Ed Osbourne and Sean Bourke), both of whom smacked me good!  My last race was against Nic, I probably should have got this one, I had a good sit on his wheel up the back straight but hesitated before overtaking when I made the catch, lost momentum and lost the race.  Split second decisions cost races ... C'est la Vie!

More fun and games with my shoulder today at the physio, but I won't bore you with the details. I just wish they'd work out what was wrong with it so we could fix the damn thing.

Round two is coming up soon ...



They woz right

I was wrong!

On Saturday night Blackburn ran a sprint program at DISC. I was pretty unhappy with this on two fronts, one, it clashed with the SSS round 1, but that wasn't really BBN's fault, and two, I thought the program was too much racing.  I was quite outspoken about point 2.

It turns out I was wrong and the night was a big success.  My apologies to Brian Harwood and his team for my skepticism.  You were right and I was wrong.





Are not made to be broken

I take my responsibility as a coach pretty seriously.  I believe that the example set by a coach and the culture that a squad adopts is pretty important.  I haven't been coaching kids for long. For a long time I swore off coaching kids, this junior thing is pretty recent for me.  So perhaps I'm off the track here, but I want to draw your attention, my reader, to the tech regs of racing in Australia.  In particular, to this section :

3.6.01 Gearing - roll out distances
 For all junior categories, male and female, the following maximum roll out
distances shall apply for:
Road Events Track Events
1. Junior U19 7.930 metres
2. Junior U17 6.5 metres Junior U17 6.5 metres
3. Junior U15 6.0 metres Junior U15 6.0 metres
4. Junior U13 5.5 metres Junior U13 5.5 metres
5. Junior U11 5.5 metres Junior U11 5.5 metres
3.6.02 If, for what ever reason, a junior rider has been granted approval to
compete in a higher age division event, the maximum roll out distance
applicable to the rider’s age division must be maintained 


The emphasis (bold face) of 3.6.02 is not mine, it's in the document.

What does this mean?  It means, any junior MUST RIDE THEIR JUNIOR GEAR IN COMPETITION.  No matter what the race is.  If it's Glenvale, or Sandown, or the Saturday night spring sprinting at DISC tonight.   We as coaches, and the race organisers, don't have a choice.  The rule is clear.  We can campaign to the rule makers to change it, but we can not encourage our riders to break it and if we see it being broken we have a duty to see that it's enforced.

The culture I'm concerned about is one of selectively breaking rules.  If we, as coaches, commissaires and parents, say to the juniors in our care that it's ok to break some rules that we find inconvenient, then we set a pretty poor example and we foster a culture that encourages rule breaking.  The junior riders I'm working with now are on the cusp of elite programs and will be exposed to doping and other rule breaking in the near future.  If we want them to play fair and stay clean, we know what we have to do. We have to treat the rules with respect.



More on food

Hehehehe "more on"

Today my copy of Robb Wolf's new book arrived in the mail.  It's another book on Paleo eating (and a little on exercise etc).  His style of writing grates on me, but the content is excellent.  Many months ago I read Gary Taube's Good Calories Bad Calories, and the whole 'paleo thing' is really an offshoot of, or an implementation of, much of the material collected in Gary's book.

I'm not pure paleo at the moment, but on the whole (80-90% at a guess) I probably am, and it's certainly working for me as it does for many others.  I think, as an eating philosophy for sprinters, it's ideal.  Unlike our enduro cousins who need lots of carbs, we're not chronically glycogen depleted and we don't need mountains of pasta, jelly lollies and the like.  Quite a few of my sprint squad people are going down this path with some significant body-composition changes happening to them.  They might call it "low carb", or say "you've turned me into a carnivore!", but it's working for them too.

And after all is said and done,  steak .. it's just plain yummy!

Round 1 in 2 days.  I'm getting excited!  My new tyre is glued up and will be ready, tomorrow we're painting the lines on the track and doing some very short efforts to get our gearing sorted and lines 100% set. It's all good!


Sprint training is too easy?!

Filed Under:

Only if you don't 'get it'

The purpose of training is not to get tired, it's to improve performance. Sometimes, our sprint training sessions will seem too easy to many who are hooked metcon junkies because they're not vomiting or totally smashed at the end of it. The proof is on race day, not at the end of the training session.

It's trivially easy to program a training session to make you tired at the end of the session and aching for days afterwards. Is it going to improve your performance? THAT is the million dollar question


Example flying 200's

At DISC, on the motorbike

Here's a headlight-view of a flying 200 at DISC that I shot yesterday from the indicator mount of the motorcycle at DISC.  Speed is around 70km/h for the actual 200 metres.




It was shot with a GoPro Hero HD in 720p mode mounted to the right indicator stalk (so the chrome thing is the side of the headlight).



Who wants to help me paint lines at Blackburn on Friday morning?

“Say - I’m going in a -riding, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work

- wouldn’t you? Course you would!”


Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

 “What do you call work?”

 “Why, ain’t that work?”

 Tom resumed his velodrome line painting, and answered carelessly:

 “Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know it suits Tom Sawyer.”

 “Oh, come now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

 The brush continued to move.

 “Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. does a boy get a chance to paint lines on a concrete velodrome every day?”

 That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth - stepped back to note the effect - added a touch here and there - criticized the effect again - Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me paint a little.”

Tom Considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No-no-I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Nicko’s awful particular about this velodrome - right here on the street, you know - but  if it was DISC, I wouldn’t mind, and he wouldn’t. Yes, he’s awful particular about this 'ol track is ; it’s got to be done very careful; I recon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”


“No-is that so? Oh, come now - lemme try. Only just a little - I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

 “Ben, I’d like to, honest injun; but Ol' Nicko - well, Studog wanted to do it, but he wouldn’t let him; Lucie wanted to do it, and he wouldn’t let Lucie. Now, don’t you see how I’ fixed? If you was to tackle this track and anything was to happen to it --”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say - I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

 “Well, here - No, Ben, no you don’t. I’m afeared --”

“I’ll give you all

of it!”


Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to paint lines. By the time Ben was fagged out, Tom had traded the next chance to Billy fisher for a kite in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to sing it with - and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling wealth. He had, besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, part of a jew’s-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spoon cannon, a key that wouldn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar-but no dog - the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated window-sash.

And after all that, the Blackburn Velodrome had new lines!

But seriously, I need two people to help me paint the track at Blackburn, it will take about two hours and it's easy work.  I want to start around 7am and have it done by 9ish.  The other possible time is early on Saturday morning.  So, who's wantin to whitewash my Aunts fence now?


Our HC drills are starting to work

Tonight's ergo session :

6:00    2 x 6s HCLR:1
6:05    7s HC (60 seated)
6:08    7s HC (60 seated)
6:11    7s HC (80 seated)
6:14    7s HC (80 seated)
6:17    8s HC+1 (70 seated)
6:21    8s HC+1 (70 seated)
6:24    7s HC-1 (90 seated)
6:27    7s HC-1 (90 seated)
6:30    10s HC (0, seated, L)
6:33    10s HC (0, seated, R)
6:39    30s HC r/up 10:110, 10:130, 10:max

The first number in brackets is the starting cadence.

My "HC" gear is (or, was ...) 75" - that's a gear that we can get up to 160rpm on on a Kurt Kinetic in 7 seconds from 80 rpm.  I'd been using the super-flywheel version, I switched back to the normal one today, on 75" I'd been able to get it up to about 150rpm from 80rpm in 7 seconds, with the light flywheel I got up to 160+ in about 4 seconds.  Ok!  I don't think I'm significantly stronger, so I'll put that down to the lighter flywheel being easier to accelerate.  I was happy with power at cadence, at 160rpm I was still putting out over 1,000 watts, so that's good, for me at least!

Off to the physio tomorrow morning for more shoulder-bashing, with a tiny bit of luck I'll be able to get out of the saddle on Sunday.  Here's hoping!



Back on the (old concrete) track

Sunday last (3rd Oct) was the practice day for the Summer Sprint Series.  I'd spent a bit of time at the old Blackburn roundy-roundy-drome doing some weeding, burning weeds, chopping weeds, sweeping etc over the last fortnight but hadn't done a lap as any sort of speed since the last round last summer. 

With a pesky shoulder injury keeping me seated and spinning, I did a couple of demo rides of the two most common flying 200's with a funky little "GoPro Hero HD" video camera attached to my trusty track bike.  These little cameras are brilliant.  Cheap enough to not worry too much about if they get damaged, waterproof, high-def (can do 1080p at 30 frames/second!) and with a stack of clever mounts.  I slapped the camera under my stem, popped on an 86" gear and did some demo laps for the camera.

Here's the video from those two lines




After that, and a warmup sucking the wheel of the ubersprinter for a few laps, it was time to do some practice.  I figured I wasn't good for much, so dropped my gear down to 82" and cranked up the cadence.  I rode a 14.4s flying 200, which was about a second off my best at Blackburn, but it wasn't a full gas effort and was way off the sort of gear I'd normally ride (when I can get out of the saddle to get over a bigger gear anyway, bugger it!).  I'd probably ride 92" or so if everything was working well, and bigger if I felt good and there wasn't much wind.   As it is, I'll be happy if I can hold 86" next week without pain interfering with my ride. We all did a few flying 200's, most of us were way off the times we'd been riding last year.  With no aero fruit, fancy wheels or helmets etc and a strong nor-easter blowing it wasn't all bad.

I did two practice races against Emily, and one against David Thomas, we were all getting the feel for the slacker banking at Blackburn after a winter's training indoors and on the 42 degree timber banks of DISC.  It went well, everyone did improve through the session and I'm looking forward to next Sunday



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