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What a weekend

And I didn't turn a pedal once

I spent the weekend in at DISC helping some of the lads as aboc, and as 'virtual Hilton', coach.  Dino rode a 12.021s flying 200 which was a huge PB for him, Chris Ray rode a 1:09 kilo (also a big PB), Cam Woolcock rode the toughest points race I've ever seen and for some reason was heavily marked (did they all know he was the sprinter in the pack?) and survived it.  As "VH" I looked after Lou Pascuzzi and The V-Train on Sunday at the sprints, Lou getting a bronze and Stew a gold and the champion of champions after some carefully considered tactical riding in the sprint finals.

I missed out on going for an MTB ride with Emily, but I'm sure we'll be able to do some more of that soon.  I was pretty cranky about missing that, but it is what it is and there'll be more chances for rides, especially after Dino splashes for some ay-ups and we can go at night.

This week, I'm coaching and hopefully lifting in the 'haus tonight, coaching in the 'Haus tomorrow morning, running Spin tomorrow night with Nathan then I'm off to Adelaide for the NTID sprint conference for two days, back late on Thursday, Friday I intend to take easy and spend some QT with Lucie before Saturday I'm in at DISC again with Hilton and the NTID/VIS/CCCC guys and then Sunday is the first of our winter DISC sessions!  Gulp .. that's a big week!



Running around ...

Lucie and I spent the morning looking for an embroidery place that was open for a new logo

I've done a new logo, sort of, for our sprinters.  Here it is aboc sprint squad logo

We're going to get it on the sprinters kit.  Lucie and I spent the morning trying to find a local embroidery place that was open and had a clue.  No luck! Next week ...

This arvo some of the Sprint Squad were over in the 'Haus for training and Nath rolled over to video his bike fit to finish off his Level 1 coaching ticket.  Then Alex and I went out on the MTB's for a bit of an explore of some singletrack he'd found around Mullum Mullum.  We had a bit of fun in the dirt, so not a bad day at all, despite the morning's frustration with all the embroidery places either being closed or useless.




When it's all worthwhile

Sometimes a result is a smile, and sometimes it's a medal, when it's both it's beautiful.

On Saturday, instead of racing at Blackburn, I was looking after Emily at the Vic titles in at DISC.  The results show that she won the 500m ITT, got 4th in the sprint and got selected in the state team.  That's not the full story, of course.

My day consisted of get to DISC at about 8:30, get some space set up for Em and then Brad Robins showed up, so I helped him cart some stuff around for a little while then I helped Nathan and Rhys with their repairs to the 200m timing sensor.  Em and Dino arrived at a bit after 9, and we got her set up in her corner (the aboc s-bend we called it).  She was wired on nerves, so I got Dino to go and look after the video camera and Em & I talked junk and nothing to do with cycling until she was ready to start her warmup.  We did a thorough warmup with a few HCLR's and a couple of very short big gear starts, then it was over to the fence to wait for her start.  She was seeded third, so was third last to go.  The riders before her were mostly off her pace, but one set a good time and Em was starting to get psyched up pretty well.  Into the gate, 30 seconds to go, and she's got eyes of steel.  BANG goes the rather lame recording of a gunshot and she's off. Not the neatest of starts, but she's on top of the gear very quickly, and the two laps flash by.  42.106s.  A new PB for Em.  Excellent.  Can the two following her beat it?  No.  First up and we have one gold medal in the bag.  Em's got a huge smile and a new PB and she's the state champion for JW15 in her first year as a JW15.  She's 12. Last year she won the Vics for JW13, so far she's undefeated in the 500m ITT at any major open, she won the 2007-2008 JW13 Vics, 2008-2009 Metros JW15 and now 2008-2009 states JW15. The cheersquad (Anne, Bev and Dino) are ecstatic.

We run a  warmdown and she has a rest.

I made a bit of a mistake with her warmup for the sprints, we warmed up before the medal presentation for the ITT, she got her medal and then there was a 45 minute break, but we didn't realise there was a break.  So she'd warmed up for nothing.  That's quite a waste of precious mental and physical energy, which may have cost Em later in the day.  We then warm up again for the flying 200's and she's third seed again, and sets a pretty good time, but not her fastest. a 14.679s (49.05km/h) which is about 0.25 off her PB for the F200 that she set at the metros a few weeks ago, which was a 14.430s (49.896km/h). She's qualified 3rd fastest this time. That's ok, but it means she'll have to work harder in her quarter final to get through.

She wins the quarter by quite a way and rides the fastest last 200 for all the JW15 quarters, a 14.756s, the other three heats were all more than 15s and won at a canter by the other girls.  These may seem small things but these hard efforts add up.  Then its the semis and she's up against Madeline Cardello from Brunswick.  None of the JW15's seem all that good at using the bank, and Em's quite good there, but she complains that the other girls all stay down in the lane and just ramp it up. She's right, they do, and Madeline does exactly that after Em lead out and Madeline took the lead.  With a big kick at a bit over one to go Em comes over Madeline to win the first heat of their semi by a whisker. That was a hard hard effort ... Warmdown, recover and race her again.  This time, it goes the other way and the heat is one all with another very close finish, this time Em wasn't quite able to get over and Madeline won by half a wheel or less.  The girls don't get much time to recover and they're the only two to have to go to a tie break.  Em gets the lead, Madeline kicks over her with a lap and a half to go and Em just doesn't have the energy left to chase her. Em comes in to the pits with her legs shaking and she's toast.  She's given these sprints everything she has physically - a few tactical things we can improve on but she's made no mistakes, she's just turned herself inside out and she's blown.

The race off for third place against Gracy Fryer is an anticlimax for Em, she's hardly able to turn the pedals during her warmup so we keep it short, in the first round Grace kicks clear and Em's never in it, in the second the tactical brief is 'have some fun on the bank, keep her guessing', and Em gets a great jump off the bank, gets a nose in front with a lap to go, but she just can't turn her legs to take advantage of it and Grace wins 2:0.  So Em finished 4th in the sprint in the end.  This is quite an improvement on her ride at the Metros where she qualified fastest but lost every sprint.  She's got a lot of tactical stuff to learn yet, but she has the legs and has the engine and she has some serious heart. She rode eight sprint efforts for the day, including 9 warmups.  That's a massive day for a 12 year old kid.  She went on to back up on Sunday with a new PB in the pursuit and got selected in the Vic squad.  Mission accomplished.

I went MTB riding with Rich again on Sunday at the You Yangs and rode like a huge wuss (no suprises there!) but had fun all the same.

What a weekend!  Phew ...



Log off!

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Or, log over .. or log! It's log .. watch out for the log!

After yesterday's fun ride at Blackburn's track racing, where I had a bit of a fun time pushing a very large gear and Krissy Dundas smoked the field in her 3 lap sprint (go Krissy!), Rich and I headed off to the You Yangs with our MTB's for some fun this morning.  The plan was to ride a few trails for a couple of hours.  We did, and it was pretty good fun.  Some steep climbs, some descents that were way too much for my wuss MTB skills, and some scoops, jumps etc ... Mostly the green trails were really good for our gumby-level skills, we both had to walk a couple of times on some of the steeper stuff, but we're wusses anyway ...

We started off at a carpark outside the park, rode up 'lumberjack trail' from Kurrajong to the Stockyard area, rode the green stockyards loop, then went back down the hill to Kurrajong.  Almost all the way home, I'm pretty tired (lazy sprinter, not good at this enduro stuff any more!), there's a little log over the trail on a slight downhill (fast!) section, it's only 20cm or so, a baby... Rich has already gone over it, I decide to bunnyhop it, but don't time the jump right and hit it  somehow, and whoop!  Over we go ... I think I landed headfirst, but I rolled with the crash and didn't do much in the way of visable damage to the helmet. It'll get replaced, it did hit the dirt, it's scratched up pretty well.  I'm not sure how fast I was going?  Maybe 35km/h?  Not enough to be a big issue, no bones broken or anything, but a decent graze on my left arm and leg.  Mefix time!

It was a good fun day, the crash notwithstanding, and we'll be back.  The lower trails we rode would be ace fun at night, and in Rich's Golf it's only about 90 mins from aboc HQ when the traffic is quiet, and his car runs on the scent of an oily rag, so it's not an expensive trip.


I did at least look at a bike ...

The new years break wasn't so much fun after all

The plan was to spend 4 days up at Mt Sterling with the big Fuel EX8 and the lads, and do some relaxing MTB'ing.

It wasn't to be.  On the 30th, at about 2pm my co-location hosting provider shut down my business's main server because of a 'power emergency'.  They didn't call, they sent me an email(!).  At the time I was in a mate's car somewhere between Melbourne and Mt Sterling.  The hard shutdown broke the filesystem and myself and my colleage Sam spent the next 5 days rebuilding the box from backups etc. Not very much sleep, a lot of stress. I'm very grateful to my friends who were with me, they were very patient and the use of the eeePc and wireless Internet meant we got the main part of the system back online reasonably quickly. I was up at King Saddle Hut logged in and working!  Modern tech ... I remember seeing ads years ago for people sitting on beaches with laptops working, this was a little like that, except no smiles on anyone's faces!

Suffice to say I didn't ride the bike at all, and didn't get back into any sort of physical activity until last Sunday, where I rode in to town and back (to replace a stolen monitor!), 50km of ~E1 intensity and then yesterday (Monday) I got my usual swim in.  Today I had to re-introduce myself to the PowerHaus, no weights since the 29th (when we did a DISC session and weights).  So about 8 days off in total from weights.  I racked up for squats, 5 x 140kg, 5 x 150kg, 5 x 155 kg, felt ok.  Strength is one of those things that you lose (and gain ...) slowly, so I expect I'll be able to do 157.5kg next time for a set of 3 x 5's.  With round 4 only 4 weeks away, I have to get on the bike more.  We'll be at Blackburn on Thurs morning, I expect ... Sprinting!



Squats for christmas

More weight, more strength, time for power soon

I managed 5 x 5 @ 157.5kg squats on the 26th of Dec, which was good. They're getting really hard towards the end of the work sets.  I'm going to do one more set of 5 x 5 at that weight before moving up to 160kg.  I extimate my 1RM to be around 180kg at the moment based on doing sets of 5 and using tables from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.


According to Mark Rippetoe's charts in PPfST, at my weight, 108kg (237 lb) for the squat, 396 lb (180kg) makes me a very strong 'intermediate' lifter, close to 'advanced', so I suspect at least in terms of squats, I'm now strong enough, and need to start to really focus on power and leg speed, which means standing starts, rolling jumps and lots of motorpaced high speed work. My cleans are pretty feeble and my technique is terrible at them, I may need to shift focus onto them in the 'haus too, and get some guidance with them from Anthony Dove at the Mermet early next year.

My shoulder's improved, I did a couple of k in the pool yesterday with no discomfort, including some sprint work, so that's a good sign.

We're going to be heading off to Mt Sterling for new years with mountainbikes for fun and to check out the rumours of some new XC mtb trails. After that, it's only a month 'til round 4 of the BSSS and it'll be more training on the bike than in the gym, I'll probably drop back to 2 days a week in the Powerhaus and more cadence and acceleration work on the bike at the track.   Dino's setting himself some new goals and I have to do the same, I've done one of my season goals, which was a sub 13.5s flying 200 at Blackburn.  I'd like to be able to ride a 13.2 there and sub 13 at DISC by the end of the season, in time for the Blackburn club champs.  I'd like to win a few more (so far, only one!) rounds of the sprint series, I qualify well but haven't been successful much in actual match sprints, which is a bit disapointing, but it'll come with more speed I expect.

Everyone else is coming along very well, Em and Krissy are getting stronger in the powerhaus and it's showing with their track times. Dino's flying, Nath's off at the xmas carnivals doing wheelraces etc.


MTB skills

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

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

Have a look at their site :

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


Hurt Hill - sealed?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Trapped in Bonnie Doon

Cue the 'Castle' quotes ...

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

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

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


A very bikey Sunday

Sunday was ace!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nandos for dinner, home and sleep.


Quite possibly the bravest thing I've seen on a bicycle

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There's a fine line between courage and stupidity ... I don't know what to call this!

Mountainbiker jumps a downhill ski jump.

You have to watch this ....


PS, Neil, if you read this, did you see the sleeper in the youtube 'related' panel?


On my birthday, Vanders and I went BMXing

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Sorta BMX anyway .. neither of us have a BMX ...

Not long ago, when dropping off a DVD or 5 at the local DVDory, I noticed a little BMX track, and noted it for future reference.  Finally, Vanders and I had a chance to get down there to ride it.  We're both wusses on jumps, big time.  Scared, chicken etc ... You name the insult, it fits! We'd ride jumps in skirts if they made them big enough .. Anyway!

Hot day (37 degrees was the forecast, and I'd believe it), lazy afternoon, time to try the park out.  We drove(!) to Cycle Science to pick up the big Trek Fuel EX8, and Vanders had his Generalised Rumphumper or whatever it is, and down we go.  The park is about the size of a quarter acre block.  A mound, a few berms, some little jumps etc.  Nothing too drastic. Good for clueless gumbies. We had fun for about an hour and a half before getting tired and wanting dinner. Here's photos :

vanders jumps at the local bmx track

Vanders getting some early air

carl jumping at the local bmx park

The calves of a lazy sprinter

vanders almost falling over on the jump

Vanders almost came a cropper, tired, not concentrating ... almost ...

the big fuel ex8 can fly!


Yeah, I really should get around to taking off the reflectors, but it's still a demo bike at the shop, so they stay for a little longer.


Cool stuff - maps!

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Ever wanted to update a map you know is wrong?

Google maps is nice, but not every trail you know about shows up on it and you can't update it.  Want to add a trail or an unmapped road?  No luck ... but this new toy may be a good alternative.

Have a look, MTB riders ...

It looks like it has a lot of potential - the singletrack by the Yarra, Sonn Berg Drive (Hurt Hill) etc ... Now you have your chance to update maps.


My 'holiday'

With a change in employment, holidays are now sparse, so I made this one count .. sorta!

Everyone keeps asking 'how was your christmas?'.  Coming from a post-nuclear family, my ideal xmas is a non-existant one.  I used to hide at my surf life saving club when I was younger, but that's not an option anymore (I don't have time to be a lifesaver anymore).  This xmas was Dad's place on xmas eve and overnight (and a bizarre experience, sleeping on the floor in his bedroom ... ) and then riding back to Vermont on xmas morning (via the uberbikepath known as Eastlink! - this has been blogged earlier).  Then Lucie & I spent the rest of the day doing nothing and ended up having Chinese take away for dinner.  Bliss.  Boxing day was a mums-family lunch that I couldn't ride to (had to take a ... car ...!), but next year that'll be better once Lucie's done with all her chemo etc.  Might take the tandem... It needs to be ridden more, it cost me a fortune and I've hardly ridden it at all.

Anyway .. enough of that.  The rest of the gap between xmas and the turn of the year was spent up at Bonnie Doon, or. specifically, Trev's place at Peppin Point.  Myself, Rich and Lawrence (rocketboy) took MTB's and beer.  A dangerous combination! The trip up was eventful.  Rich's old Landrover (aka The Adventure Truck) is ... old ... (1973) and it has some issues.  We had a puncture just outside Yea, the jack collapsed so we had to wave down a passing car for help (can we borrow your jack for 5 minutes)!, and then the old adventure truck had carby problems, meaning that it basically took us a day to travel the 160km to Bonnie Doon from home.  I've ridden it on my roady in around the same time (but, with a lot less luggage!).  The next day RB and I rode Hurt Hill in the morning before it got too hot.  I was pretty slow up it (25 mins I think?) and RB wasn't far behind.  He rode it really well, but suffered on the descent down Maintongoon Road - I had the big Trek Fuel EX8 dualy, and he was on my old Trek 4700 (now with RockShoc Reba SL's and a front cable disk, but still a reasonably entry-level hardtail).  We spent the next few hours working on the MTB crit course through Trev's paddock (I dug, I picked and scraped, Rich testrode, and RB watched holding a beer), until I gave up around 12.  Too hot ... it was 42 degrees every day we were up there.

Later we went for a swim in the lake (riding to the lake & back, of course!), before the three of us put lights on and rode to the Bonnie Doon bridge to do the scoops and then go to the shop for ice cream (closed! at 11pm?  CRIMINALS!).  Saw 'roos, and a wombat, but no echidnas.  Three rides for the day, not bad!

Next day, RB and I rode in to town again along the river/lake bed to get a paper and some bits & pieces, and on the way back I proved you can crash a Fuel EX8.  Going up a steep ramp at around 5km/h, I hit a rut and the front wheel stopped, and I couldn't get out of the left cleat fast enough.  An inelegant topple.  Heh .. no damage.  The bike landed on me.  Rich was happy we brought him an ice coffee, shaken, not stirred.  Spent the rest of the day wilting under the ceiling fans drinking beer.  Lucie rolled up around mid afternoon and so did Trev Lightfoot.  It cooled down (35!) at about 6pm so off for a swim again, and then the boys got on the grog.  At dusk I said 'enough!' and we went up Hurt Hill again.  I was sober, the other two were not .. at least not at the start of it.  By the time we topped out (I did a 23 min, I think, ok under the circumstances) they were both stone cold sober.  We rode the rollers to Maintongoon Rd again and lights on for the descent.  Nice ride ..

Spent the next day under the ceiling fan.  42 degrees again.  No riding of note except to tootle to the lake for a swim in the arvo. I felt for the lads at the xmas track carnivals.  In that heat?  Insane ...

NYE was pretty quiet, just 4 of us and a few bottles of champers and my one remaining firecracker from the stash.  It's gone now .. RB got it into his head that we should all be nude for new years.  I think we were just drunk enough to go along with his idea for a bit.  Maybe we'll be racing at the MTB single speed worlds next year? I hear drunken nudity is de rigeur at that event?

The first day of '08 was .. hot.  Lucie & I took the Ovlov home, while Rich & RB limped home in the very sick adventure truck.

We raced at BBN this Saturday, I'm proud to record 2 DFL's in B grade, but I wasn't an idle spectator, and had some influence on the scratch race at least, and in the team sprint I managed to (as first rider) drop my second rider which was quite a surprise.  I had to back off to let them back on, and that gave Dino (riding lead for the other team) an easy first lap win over me!  I'll get you next time, Dino!  Nathan and Bev did a great job running the races, and it was great to have the V-Train along riding A grade, and also Leah Patterson was back racing after a pretty bad collar bone break in November '07.  A pretty healthy field all up, all grades had good numbers except A grade, which had only 3 (including the V-Train, who won everything!).  A special thanks to Stu, he gave his prize money to a youngster who made a bold attack in his scratch race. Stu, you're pure class mate.  Thankyou.

Tomorrow I've got an early training session at BBN doing sprint work behind a motorbike with Dino, Pat Dougherty, Emily and Simon Doran.  I'd like to specially note Emily, who had a fantastic day at one of the xmas carnivals and winning some prizemoney.  Top stuff Emily! Dino drew a dreadful mark for the wheelrace but I'm sure, knowing him, that he would have given it everything he had.

I'm organsing to do a Level 1 strength & conditioning course soon, which will fill a gap I need to fix up for training sprinters. Anything else?  The next dinner is getting close and I'm tempted to break with a short tradition and announce the speaker before hand.  It'll be a really good talk and I'm much looking forward to it.  I need more people to come! If you want to, you know what to do ...




Dualies - wow!

My first real bike-filled weekend in a while - BBN track and a day at Bonnie Doon on the EX8

I managed an almost-decent 50km on Friday on the roady without too much discomfort, so I figured I should have a bit more of a fair dinkum go on Saturday at the Blackburn races.  The Besse Pool wheelrace (h'cap) was the feature race of the day, and I'm no handicap racer, nowhere to hide, just 6 laps flat out, urgh. I don't like 'em much, but it's a feature race on the BBN calender so I'd better have a go.  The races for the day was scratch, h'cap and progressive points, before the all-in.

I managed to finish the scratch race and although I was off the back with a lap and a bit to go, felt ok and didn't need to pull out - good!  I saw Dino lead Mick Thomas out for a win, so they rode well together.  The wheelrace was split into 3 divisions (A&B, C&D and E&F) and I was off 180m with Dino.  Knowing that my endurance for h'caps is junk at the best of times, and after three weeks of next to no riding, it's not going to have improved, I figured I'd just do a longish turn for Dino and then see how he went.  Job done, did about 1.5 laps on the front before peeling off, Dino just missed out of qualifying for the final, but I don't think either of us were too concerned about that!  Emily won her heat but spent too many pennies qualifying and didn't have quite the same dominance in her E & F grade final.

Rob M rode well, learning quite a bit as he went along (and learning not to do all the work!) taking a couple of really good results from the C grade races.  Tom Leaper kept Stevie Martin honest but neither of them could contain a rampant Barry 'The Wizard' Woods in A grade.  Bazz was on fire. No sign of Jamie Goodard, which was a shame, maybe he was up doing the Scott People's race?  Tom was still trashed from his ride the week before at the Tour of Bright but rode with courage.

Last up was the progressive points, and my plan was 'win the first lap, then finish'.  Done .. 1 point.  The last one of these, that would have got me 2nd place(!), but not this time, no-one escaped to mop up the lot, so I got 5th I think ... anyway, it was fun.  We finished off with the usual All In, and I was paired up with Katherine from F grade, who rode well and we only got lapped once (Who put Mick Thomas with Will?!).  Well done Katherine, you'll get stronger and stronger.

Then we threw the big armchair (Trek Fuel EX8) on the roof and drove up to Bonnie Doon. Junkfood for dinner en-route.  Got up, and felt ok, and then did a lap of the Hurt Hill Loop.  I think I set a PB up it, 21:45, then the rest of the rolling climb was quite slow (trashed legs from the climb), but the descent down Maintongoon Road was a delight (once I dropped the saddle 1cm anyway ...).  On the old 4700 hardtail the last few k's of the descent is a "I wish this was over" experience, it's rocky and rough road, but the big dualie just rode down it like it didn't care.  I made plenty of errors, bad lines through corners etc .. it just didn't give a stuff what I did, it was going to get down quickly and upright the whole way.  Wow. It's so much fun to ride and incredibly forgiving (and .. comfortable! I felt like I could ride it again, if I didn't have to go back up Sonn Berg Dve again to get there, that is ...)

Went back to the house, bacon & eggs for lunch, ducked in to Mansfield and got some more trees, came back, planted them, then it was time to start building the MTB crit track through Trev's Paddock.  I started with the jump.  I made it a bit big to start with, and when Vanders finally arrived to test it, he baulked at it and we had to make a smaller one next to it, we then had heaps of fun jumping the little jump for around an hour or so, getting timing and confidence, before at the end, we both had the balls to jump the big jump.  I did a terrible jump, landed front-wheel first, but the big EX8 just said 'heh .. you stuffed it up, but I'm not getting my paint scratched .. we're not going to fall over' and sure enough .. no worries.  I'm beginning to really enjoy riding it.  It caters for my MTB gumbieness very well indeed.

Dinner (chilli chicken wings!), then a few beers, and vanders and I decided one more ride .. down to the Bonnie Doon Maroondah Hwy bridge where there's some scoops to play in - we rode out at night with lights along the 4wd tracks along the lake, did the scoops a few times then rode back.  Along the way back the EX8 (hereafter known as my saviour) hit a cunningly concealed 45 degree rut and before I knew it I was 1m left of where I started, but .. still upright!  This bike just won't fall down! It carries on with arrogant aplom over everything my clueless handling could throw at it.

So for the w'end, 3 races and 3 MTB rides (including a PB up Hurt Hill) .. today (Monday) is a well-earned recovery day!


The cranks! At last!

mmmm, shiny ....

It's only taken 3 months ... but my new Truvativ Omnium track cranks have finally arrived.  Just in time for me to not be able to use them this w'end (injuries .. doh!).

I might fit them, and at the BBN track races this Saturday, start each race and pull out (the things we do for aggregate points ....).  I doubt I'll be able to ride much, but I can start each race.

Offtopic, I voted yesterday at the local AEC office.  It's always good to get that out of the way before the election. Last minute desperate political ads? Meh ... I've already voted ...

On the injury front, my skin is healing well under the Mefix, ribs are taking a while (it's only been 4 days I guess) - it feels like I've torn something soft, there's no pain except when I have to move or use the muscles on my left side.  Then, a very sharp pain.  If it was a break or bruising it would ache all the time as well.  A couple of weeks, I hope, and all will be well. 

The Fuel EX8 has been delayed - Trek are now quoting the 27th of Nov.  Just in time to be able to ride it, maybe ...

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