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Had a few minor setbacks ..

After a pretty pleasing round 2 of the SSS, I've had a few setbacks, a niggling knee twinge, a week at the Oceanias, not much/any training ... And my power is down ~150 watts!  Doh ... Round 4 is coming soon, and I'm feeling better, hopefully it'll be a better day at the races!


If you end up on a podium

Do it properly


Spin, Summer Sprint Series etc

A quick and dirty update on where we are

Firstly, I've revised my coaching structure a little, and am waiting for Nathan to see if he wants to change his stuff, the revised structure is here. This is to better reflect my specialisation in sprint and my experience.   I will still be running the Tuesday ergo sessions which are both sprint and endurance sessions, as those of you who go already know - that's just had a pricing change and is otherwise mostly unchanged.  I'm not coaching endurance riders so it makes sense that I make that clear.

We had to cancel the last round of the SSS for 2011-2012.  This is mainly due to clashes with so many different events and training sessions that I just couldn't see a path through, and burnout on the part of many of the guys in the squad, not just racers but also the vitally important volunteers who run it.  We're fried and need a break.

Now the good news!

DISC is closed from mid April 'til the end of May to have the leaky roof fixed.  Good-o!  But .. yes that takes away our Sunday DISC sessions for a bit.  I'm considering (read: will, somehow!) running a Sunday sprint-Ergo session during that time, maybe at Blackburn, maybe at the powerHaus, maybe at home (if Jayne agrees!).  Better than nothing.   We'll charge a tenner to come and suffer, BYO chunder bucket and road bike as usual. It won't be an enduro session, just sprint.  If Nath wants to put together some enduro stuff we can certainly accomodate that but I will leave it to him to decide.   The track time loss is more critical to sprinters than enduros during the off season, but if Nath wants to make it happen I'm happy to help.





Tour de Frankston

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In case you haven't already seen it ...


Rescue rescue rescue

totally off-topic - Canoe Vic whitewater rescue training ...


My next purchase will be a dry suit ...


Keeping warm

Riding around in circles gets pretty cold

It's proving to be a cold winter, and riding around in circles on the motorbike at DISC is .. pretty chilly.  It's been around 10 degrees or so in there for the last couple of sessions, and after a few laps, one starts to shiver somewhat!

So, how do we keep warm?  I have a few layers on, but one nifty thing I got recently is a kayaking neoprene skullcap.  Yep, a rubber hat (insert gimp joke here now).  One of these, nifty!


Video from last night's DISC session

What we did ...

I'm focussing a lot of us older guys who train in the Sprint Squad on legspeed and power at higher cadences, one way to do this is to do a motorpaced drill called a "windout", where, on a small (or at least, not a big gear) gear we follow the motorbike through a flying 200 windup, then a flying 200 entry line, chase the bike for a set number of laps while it speeds up at every corner.  This doesn't use up our power getting to speed so it saves us for high cadence high power work, where we rarely get to train without the aid of a motorcycle (or, on the road, down hills).  Last night our main drill was a 500m windout with the motorbike pulling off at 100m to go, the rider then has to try and accelerate (or, at least hold speed) for the last 100 meters.


That's what it looks like from the back of the motorbike ...

Here's my power meter data for one of my efforts from this session (I did 4 of them, all on 90").  As you can see, I am not very fast or powerful (and am even worse than I was last summer, but I have some mittigating circumstances!  Injury has taken quite a toll this year so far, but I am on the mend!). Compare this to the week before, where we just did windouts without the motorbike pulling off at 100 to go (ie: chasing all the way in the draft).  The power at the last 10 seconds is the interesting part.  Here's the charts :



20110522-windout20110522-windout500m windout with rider unassisted for the last 100m
20110515-500m-windout500m windout with draft to finish


And here's the last month or so's overall power figures (it's a funny slice of a graph!)

20110523-power-chart  It's a long way down from my best (~1550 watts peak), but it is going up, and that's encouraging.  This is all post my back injury that dropped my peak power down to the sort of numbers an enduro would sneer at! (800 watts!  You must be joking!) ... As long as it keeps going up, as are my lifts in the gym, slowly but consistantly, I'm happy.  I have abot 5 months to get some speed before the next Summer Sprint Series.  Keep on trucking.


The pointy end

Why everyone defaults to enduro

How do most people get started in a sport?  Usually it's at school, or you get invited by a few friends to join a team etc.  Most of the 'sharp' sports (Olympic or other elite level, football, criocket etc) get their talent young, at schools or by blind luck and co-incidence.  Then there's everyone else who maybe missed that boat.

Why did you start riding your bike?  Most of the people I speak to (and after almost a decade of coaching, that's quite a large sample) started out wanting to get fit.  They're mostly older (not juniors, most of my coaching clients have been masters age or mid 20's starters), mostly got a bike, went off and rode Beach Road, did maybe a few things like the Bay in a Day or the Alpine Classic (or wanted to but didn't think they could). They saw Glenvale, got interested and had a go (it's easy to start with crits).  Kids do it a bit differently, maybe it's a school around the bay program, or they pick it up from their parents, who maybe raced or are racing.

What do they do? Endurance racing.  It's all endurance.   Crits, 90% of track racing (certainly Blackburn's track program is endurance based, I expect most other clubs do the same or similar), road racing ... everyone's doing endurance.

The same thing with running, there may be a few sprint races at schools and a couple of the fast kids go off and get popped into little aths or similar if they're lucky enough to have a PE teacher who notices and is well enough connected to get them started, but everyone does the cross-country run, adults train for half marathons or triathalons.  Who trains for sprints?  Who even thinks they could?  Very few people, in my experience.

I want to change this.  I want sprint to be big.  I want YOU to have a go, and if you've got kids, to have your kids exposed to sprint. It's the pointy end of the sport and it is not inaccessable.  We're making more sprint races, we run a sprint series, we want YOU to have a go.




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3 weeks in a paragraph

Drove to Sydney- worked at Junior Aussies.  Long drive not good for niggling back injury.

Drove back from Sydney, long drive really not good for more acute back injury.  Back got worse.  Back got worse, sciatica!  Ouch!  Missed round 6 of SSS due to back injury (argh!).  Sitting at computer very bad, no typing!  Seeing another doctor today for second opinions on best treatment.  Been working a bit on The Book while lying on front using drugs that are well and trully on the banned list to manage pain and inflamation.  Also did flatwater kayaking instructor assessment (passed ... before it got bad enough to stop that sort of thing!).  Will blog more once able to sit still-ish - now using swissball as a chair - don't tell Rip! (injoke ... ) but it helps to keep things moving.

Off to get CT scan results etc now ... Hope motorbike is ok to ride in this state!

Spin 1 for 2011 last night - good turnout, thanks to Merv and Bev for their help, thanks to Lucie for cooking the UberBolla.  It was much missed over summer!

WILL get better.

WILL ride <13s at BBN next summer!

WILL get a 2x bodyweight squat!

WILL stop whinging and making excuses!

WILL go now and get stuff done!


I'm back (ish)

Not displeased with how I went at SSS r4

It could have been better, I might have been able to train consistantly, but that's life and we all have reasons/excuses for why we perform how we do on race day.  I'm lighter (~100kg vs 113kg) than I was at this time last year which has helped my jump.  My jump still sucks, but it sucks less than it used to.  Now I'm only having to bridge up 10m, not 40m and that's a significant improvement.  I'm back in the gym as of last week doing consistent lifting after a layoff of some 10 months so I'll get strong again.  The week in the pressure-cooker at Dunc Grey didn't help my preparation, excuse, excuse, excuse ... !

ENOUGH!  Get on with the damn racing!

Ok ..

I warmed up on 50x17, light easy gear.  Did a couple of revouts, one chasing Neil, just to get things moving.  On Saturday I'd done some short efforts at Daryl Perkins' session at DISC just before our NTID session and I felt ok.  Hitting around 1400 watts peak doing jumps.  Ok, that's not too bad for an old guy who's missed a lot of ENOUGH WITH THE EXCUSES! .. it was a good session yesterday!

20110213-f200Flying 200 time.  I rode a 13.5, not that far off my PB (around 0.2 I think, slower than it) - I didn't use the disk wheel, I kept the powertap wheel on all day, so here's the evidence for the flying 200.  Conditions weren't ideal, a southerly and pretty cold. I'm pleased with that time.  I still want to get down into the 12's but I think that will have to wait 'til next season.

Draw done, and I'm to race James Dann, Ian McGinley and Aaron Christiansen in the rounds.  I was the fastest qualifier in B grade (again!).  6 of us in the grade.  Being fastest qualifier helps later, as you shall see ...

20110213-vs-jamesJames is a junior invitational rider, I coach him and he's got a kick.  But, he's restricted to 82 gear inches.  I'm on 90".  How do you take the jump out of the picture?  Keep the speed up and burn him off.  That's the theory, at least.  I lead out, jumped coming out of turn 4 (should have gone at the entry to turn 3 ...) just before the bell, James kicks and is in front of me.  Right ... chase chase chase, on the wheel, coming past but left it too late.  James bags his coach.  I'll fix him later!  Our last 200 was done in 13.4 seconds and he was in the front all the time, James was really moving.  Watch for him next summer.

20110213-vs-ianSecond race and I'm up against Ian.  He's mainly an enduro but can sprint a bit. A decent all-rounder.  He jumps me, I chase, I go to pass on the back straight but he uses a second kick and stays clear.  Doh!  Ian's a good racer and his flying 200 doesn't reflect his ability.


20110213-vs-aaronThird heat and I'm racing Aaron.  Aaron's done very few match sprints but he's a very fit rider and has ridden faster flying 200's than I have at DISC.  I can't take him for granted, that's for sure.  Again I get gapped at the jump but this time I find a bit more speed and manage to catch Aaron just in time to bag a win.  That hurt.  Lots. I'll pay for it if I make the finals.

20110213-vs-nicholasAt the end of the rounds there's a few of us tied on 9 points.  As the fastest qualifier I get the forth spot, racing against Nicholas Cockerell (another newbie).  Three laps.  I'll have the lead thanks, and I hold him tight up against the fence for a lap and a half, I don't want a long race, but I need the speed high to reduce the impact of his jump.  He gets around me, I get up to his wheel but not enough and he wins, I get 4th overall (again!).  Interesting fact, I've never been on the podium at an SSS round.  As the guy who runs it I think that's probably appropriate, but I'll get on the damn thing one day and shake my own hand!

Video to come ...

Thankyou to :

Lucie Akers (photography)

Jodie Dundas (videography)

Krissy Dundas (general help)

Anne Apolito (race entry and results)

John 'Star Trek' Lewis for race timing

Sue Dundas (commissaire)

Chris Dann (commentary)

Alex Vaughan (sausages!)





Yeah, we got frozen ...

Pictures tell a thousand words .. (Thank you Dino for the photos, Emily & James for braving it)

colderclose up of icefrozen carlem in the ice

Ice ice baby

I never ask my guys to do something I'm not prepared to do myself ...

And so we trained tonight at Blackburn, a solid session, the two who are off to the Junior Vics next week did some gate technique practice and some short, sharp but low volume stuff as part of their taper.  I did the same as them.  It was pretty warm, so afterwards it's off to the aboc powerhaus to do some recovery ... The AIS recovery protocol for sprint is 10 mins at 15 degrees in an ice bath standing up.  Cue one big green wheelie bin, two bags of ice, a ladder and three hot sprinters.   

I never put my charges through something I'm not prepared to do myself.  Brrrr!

Dino got photos, I'll put them up when I get them.  Dino .. send photos, the people demand proof!


It's downhill from here, all the way

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When one of the options listed is "shoulder replacement" you're not having a good day.

I don't generally like to write about bad stuff, and in the scheme of things, this isn't that bad - I'm not going to die ad I can do most things.  As some of you who read this know, I've had an ongoing shoulder problem for some 6 or so months (maybe longer, I can't remember now).  Anyway, it's pretty-much always painful, it catches, I can't rotate to squat properly etc etc ...

I've run the path through general GP's (NFI ...), misdiagnosis through GP's that should have done a referral straight away, to fixing a symptom; frozen shoulder, had two hydrodilations, that fixed the frozen shoulder, and lots of accompanying physio. 

Finally last week we had an MRI done.  Today I got the results.  I have a labrum tear, a reasonable size one.  May have been caused by any number of crashes, spills and other such rough and tumble stuff in the last year or so.  They won't operate to fix it because it's in a shoulder that's got osteoarthritis.  Ie: it doesn't get better and there's no point - rehab for the surgery is ~6 months and there's less than even odds that it would be any better.  Other things listed include a bunch of placebos and "this might work" stuff and various painkilling drugs, and a shoulder replacement.

Basically I'm paying the price now for playing contact sports for 20 years.  C'est la Vie.  I'll be 40 this year.  Wear and tear is catching up.





Next week I'm off to assist the NTID and VIS guys at the Oceania track championships in Adelaide.  That's why we moved Spin forward a week.  I'll be carrying Hilton's bags mainly, but it's another great opportunity to gather experience at elite level, even if all I do is carry heavy stuff and push buttons on stopwatches I'll be soaking it all up and learning as much as I can.  It'll be quite different to the NTID sprint camp I went to way back in July, where I pretty-much ran the show for all the NTID sprinters for two days, it'll be a good intro to how it's done with more coaches present etc.

I'm supposed to be in at DISC today with the squad (my usual Wednesday, 11am -> 9:30pm or so), but I've got a bit of a cold, it's not enough to stop work etc, but it is probably contageous, so I've pulled the day off so I don't share the bugs with the guys in the squad who are racing the Metros this weekend and/or are going to Adelaide.

Last weekend I was given one of the most enjoyable jobs in cycling, I was asked to commentate at the Country Track Championships.  This was heaps of fun, I hope I added some value to the event and didn't make too many mistakes.  Two days in a row of full-time commentating is not as easy as it sounds.  The next time you get cranky with Phil and Paul, just try doing it yourself!  Maybe it's the non-stop yapping that's brought on this cold?

Anyway, I'll be right in a day or two.  I spent some of today getting equipment for the 'haus, we now have a pair of 20 and a pair of 25kg bumper plates.  These are expensive things, some of the guys are strong enough to need them now (good!).  I had another visit to the physio which was positive - my cranky shoulder is slowly improving (about time!) - I got out on the water on Monday evening and surfed some standing waves and felt very happy in whitewater, so that's good.  I hope to be able to get some heavy squats done soon.  It'll be a long rebuild, I reckon I'll be pretty happy with a 120kg squat to start with!  But .. slow progress is good.




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!



More whinging!

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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.


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 ...




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




This white man can't jump

That is, until my shoulder's sorted, I have to be careful

I've got a tricky shoulder injury I've had for about four months now.  Had a few things done to it by doctors and physios, and on the whole I'm confident that it's on the mend.  Can't say I recommend having a hydrodilation done for fun, but it did seem to work!

Anyway, one of the issues with it at the moment is that it's somewhat unpleasant to ride hard out of the saddle.  Ie: jumping to accelerate is not a good thing to do.  Given that there's something else I need to be concentrating on in my own riding more than I have, this is somewhat of a silver lining to the cloud.  I've restricted myself to tiny gears and am concentrating on spinning like the clappers.  As well as tweaking my position on the bike a bit (up higher, out further at the front) due to a bit of body shape changes (not as much guts in the way!) I can get into a better position which has helped my spin. 

Yesterday evening at DISC Em and I teamed up and did leadout entries.  She'd done some big gear K1 work on Saturday and was dog tired so we just worked together on leg speed in little gears.  I got up to 159rpm doing one of them, at around 58km/h.  That's not super-fast by any stretch of the imagination (the kids go faster!) but I'm pleased with it. I was putting out around 640 watts at that cadence, so also a good sign.  We were only doing entries plus 50 metres, so there was no endurance in the picture, all just a dive off the bank on the flying 200 line and then hold speed for 50 metres, but I don't think I could have done that this time last year. On all but two of my efforts (we did 6 in total, 1 E+100, 3 E+50's and 2 E+150's) I hit over 150rpm, also an improvement from last year.

My best flying 200 time at DISC is a 12.916, which was done on 98.4" or so with a disk wheel and all the fancy aero fruit, that's 119rpm and 55.7km/h, if I can get that tiny gear going at 58km/h, I reckon once I'm recovered from this shoulder problem I should be able to go a bit quicker than that.  My goal for this summer is 12.5s at DISC (57.6km/h) which would be 131rpm on a 92" gear.  That's not outside the possible.  We'll see ... Long term I want to be able to break 60km/h at DISC (12.0s flying 200).  Again, we'll see ...



I've been busy!

On Sunday at our regular DISC training session, we did K1's for the sprinters.  I had a little help from Rachael Matties who started putting data into sprintTracker for me.

Here's what the data entry form looks like :


 This is only a small part of this application, but it's the one that will get the most use - we will use it to add data into an SQL (sqlite3 at the moment) database for all our sprinters times.  Yes, it doesn't do power (yet).  For now my goal is to have it able to store all our training data from both aboc and NTID Sprint sessions and allow us to analyse rider performances quickly.  Just getting the data into the database is the first step.  Once it's in there we can query to our heart's content.

So I've been busy - the application is written in a programming language called Python, using a GUI toolkit called wxPython and a database/object orientation toolkit called SQLAlchemy.   I'll be using matplotlib to generate charts and graphs, but that's another toolkit I have to learn to use and it'll take some time to get something useful out of it.  I'm very very rusty as a programmer, the last time I did any even vaguely serious programming was way back in 1996 and that was a horrid mismash of code at Westpac to maintain a DNS database written in Perl.  Ugly ... I'm not proud of it!  Anyway, sprintTracker will hopefully scratch an itch I've had for some time re keeping records of sprint performances that a conventional spreadsheet isn't powerful enough (or I don't know enough about!) to do.

Along the way I've had a shoulder injury that's kept me out of the gym, the doctors diagnosed it as a supraspinatus bursitis, which is an inflamation of the bursa (sort of like a bearing) around a tendon in my shoulder. It's sometimes known as a subacromial bursitis.  They (the doctors I saw) insisted I have a cortisone injection in the shoulder.  Cortisone is on the banned list both in and out of competition, and so I need to get a TUE for it, which is a pain in the arse but must be done if I'm to keep my racing licence.  Round 1 isn't that far away ....

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