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Junior worlds

I'm off to Korea

A quick note, I will be away in Perth from the 26th of July (2014), then South Korea (Seoul) from the 2nd 'til the 14th of August as I am working as a team mechanic at the UCI Junior world track titles.

Sessions will run as normal, I just won't be there to run them.



Spin is done for 2013

Phew ... 162.5kg of mince beef ...

Thank you to everyone that attended our winter Spin program at Blackburn this winter.  Our last session was last night, 17 brave souls completed the grueling session and enjoyed the end of winter BBQ.

A very special thank you to our hard core regulars and long termers, Tom Leaper, Nic Mark, Mick and Bridge, Snibbo, Bev, Jarrod, Chris Dann.  And also to James Dann who ran the sprint group for me while I yelled encouragement at the enduros.

Next year, we'll be back!


Our spin, it rocks!

It's not like most other spin sessions

Many people run "spin" classes.  There's sessions done at gyms, there's general sessions done by coaches, Personal Trainers (PT's, or "cheerleaders" to the rest of us!) and so on.  The vast majority of these sessions are essentially context free.  You roll up, you do the session, get tired, feel good, go home.  Maybe there's some variables in the sessions but on the whole they're pretty general and there's no real progression or structure to them.  It feels good to be tired, so it's doing some good ... 

What's different about our enduro ergo program?

It's 26 weeks long - that's right, six months.  It's not "drop in whenever you want", it's structured.  If you do the "A" stream from the start, it builds up base in E3 then gradually inserts higher intensity intervals and more race-specific drills through the 26 weeks.  You can attend casually, and that's why we have a "B" and "C" stream to provide paths into the "A" stream, but on the whole, you get much, much more out of it if you attend for the entire 26 weeks. By the end of it you're able to do things that would have killed you during the first few weeks.  We know, we've been evolving the program since 2006.  Every year we see our regular attendees get stronger and faster.  From recreational roadies to former professionals and developing elite juniors.

Why do we do this?

Over winter the vast majority of your riding is long, slow distance.  There's not many crits, there's a little track but it's irregular or you're already doing it (Tues & Thurs at DISC).   The weather is cold and wet, the mountains are dangerously slippery etc.  You're not doing high intensity intervals much.  This program has evolved over years to fill that high intensity gap.

It's easy to go to any old spin session and get tired, but if you want structure and progression and don't want to shell out for a coached individual program, ours is pretty good. It also includes a good quaility meal after the session that's high in protein to help you recover.  For $15?  That's some seriously good value. We're so happy with it that we give it away for free to anyone that wants to do it at home but it's more "fun" to share the suffering with us and enjoy the feed afterwards.


Spin is done for 2012!

25 uberbollas, 1 BBQ, and we're done!

Some stats :

150kg of mince beef

25kg of tomato paste

1.5kg of oregano(!)

50kg of canned tomatos!

That's a lot of bolla sauce!

Our busiest night had 27 people training at the clubrooms.

The hardest enduro session was the last one (it' a buildup)

It gets quiet once September starts, sprinters come en-mass, but enduros go road riding.

Very cold, wet nights seem to see attendance down a little, which is odd, because you didn't go riding that day, it was awful!

We went through a lot of deck tape on the Kurts with the sprint group using the big flywheels.

We'll be back for more in 2013, thank you to everyone that came, if you do it regularly, performance improves considerably.


A week in the life of

What I've been up to lately

I've been pretty busy of late... Last weekend (no, sorry, the weekend before, June 23 and 24) I was looking after a bunch of VIS/Sprint Academy sprinters* at the Perth Speed-Dome on a flying visit to race a Grand Prix and the Westral, we flew in to Perth on Saturday morning, drove to the velodrome, trained, back to a motel, dinner, sleep, back to velodrome for a full day's racing, packed and drove back to the airport and flew home.  Phew!  I was so tired when I got back to Tullamarine I couldn't see straight, thank you Jayne for rescuing me! If I'd have tried to drive home it would have been a dangerous trip indeed.

We've also, in conjunction with Blackburn, started running Friday night training sessions at DISC.  So far they've had low attendances, but hopefully word will spread and we'll get more numbers - we run a sprint and enduro session, with each group getting roughly 20 minute time slices.  It's a format that works well and I've been using it for years with our Sunday sessions, but the Friday nights we have the luxury of three hours, not two on Sundays.  More time!  Sundays are chugging along well, it's been pretty cold in at DISC but we're doing good quality work and the guys are going faster (when they attend regularly!). Our program is always published in advance on this website, and I am more than willing to entertain requests and suggestions for additions and alterations to the program.

Also the Tuesday evening Spin sessions at Blackburn are trundling along - we've had some huge nights and some quiet ones - if you're not coming, I'd really like to know why, it will help me to improve the sessions if I know why you're choosing to do something else.

So that's Friday and Sunday and Tuesday evenings locked away.  What else?  Wednesdays I'm at DISC doing the Victorian Sprint Group coaching, assisting Hilton Clarke, and he's away in the US for a holiday until the 16th of July, so that's Wednesdays from ~11am 'til 7:30pm or so.  This also happens on Saturdays, from ~11:30 'til 5ish.  Lock away Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun.  Anything else?  Oh, yeah, coaching and lifting in the Powerhaus gym on Mondays and Thursdays from ~3pm 'til 8 or so.

That's, ahh ... pretty busy!

So if I've been a bit slow in getting back to anyone with emails etc, now you know why! I have to set dates for next summer's Summer Sprint Series, urgh ... Calendars ... Clash. clash clash ... Keep an eye here for dates.


* - No, I am not employed by the VIS, I was sitting in as a Sprint Academy coach for Sean Eadie while he's in Italy with the seniors in the leadup to the Olympics



Soooo close ...

A new peak power PB!

Last night at Spin, I set a new power PB of 1,597 watts.  I had a goal of 1,600, how close is that?  Given that it's a Powertap and not 100% accurate, I could stretch the truth and say I got it, but that's bollocks!  Anyway, power is going up reasonably consistently, it's amazing what a bit of unbroken training can do.  There's a hint - consistent training ... Keep working ...


Details for Spin 2012

Some changes - we're charging more!

This is for those of you that come to aboc Spin over winter, we've made a small change - we're charging more!  Just what you wanted to hear!  But it's not all bad, we kept the fee at $10/head for 5 years, which is pretty good, but everything's more expensive now than it was in 2007, especially food.  We've also decided that a season pass is a good option. 

The fees to attend are now :

$15 per person on a casual basis
A "season pass" is $340, there's 26 sessions over the winter, which would normally cost (at this year's rate) $390, but you can save $50 if you pay up front, so a season pass is $340.  You don't get a refund for missed sessions though (so you'd better show up, eh?!).

Also, we very much understand that for a few of you, this is a family thing, so we're offering a family discount as follows (casual only, but may be applied to family of someone with a season pass).

$15 for the first person
$12 for the second
$10 for the third
$8 for the fourth or any more (you have 3 kids?  they all want to train?!)

(and no rorting this, Nic, Dino is not your defacto!)

so that's only $45 for 4 people, which is only $5 more than it would have been last year. I think that's pretty fair!

We have also done away with the $5 just to train option, just about everyone stays for dinner, and that's how we want it to be.   If you have special dietary requirements let me know and we'll look after you.


You say you want a revolution

Well, you know, we all want to change the world ...

Tonight at Spin we tested the Lemond Revolution under Dino.

To paraphrase :

It's much harder to spin up than the Kurt Kinetic, but it's too easy once it's going.

That's Dino's thoughts - given that we care about the acceleration phase, this might be a good thing.  It's noticeably less stable than a KKRM, and a LOT noisier (as you'd expect, it's a wind trainer after all, albeit a fancy one).  I will try it under a few other guys and see what they think.




Thank you Claire

Claire Campbell is contributing to Spin programming

Those of you that come to our ergo sessions on Tuesday and who are doing the enduro streams will have been shouted at by Claire over the last couple of weeks.  Claire's doing her level 1 strength & conditioning qualification and I've been mentoring her through it.  As part of giving her more responsibility she's now designing the enduro program as well as running it.  You can see this coming week's session here.  It looks good, Claire, I'm sure the guys will enjoy the suffering!


Ergo sessions to move?

We're considering running Summer Spin at the Powerhaus

After a pleasant meal devouring many chickens at our favorite chicken-cookers last night after training, a few of the crew discussed Summer Spin, strength work and venues.  Specifically, we thought, as number at Summer Spin are low (as they should be, it's off-season for ergo) we might run them in the Powerhaus instead of at Blackburn.  Same time, but different venue. 

We'd still run our winter ergo sessions at Blackburn (I can't fit 20+ people in the 'haus, or provide parking and it would be bad for the Blackburn club to move it also).

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this, if you're one who comes to these sessions or you might be.

Please let me know.



New stuff

I like their new stuff better than their old stuff

I don't know how many of you bother to look, but today is Summer Spin #2.  The astute and observant will notice that there's now two sprint streams.  As we're getting closer to crunch time for a lot of you who race Metros, Vics etc, some need more of a focus on short, sharp stuff, others on more speed-endurance.  So there's now two formal sprint streams.  Kilo riders, 750 riders, you guys get to do the Speed Endurance stream, match sprinters get to do the Power stream.

I think we'll be able to keep track of it tonight.  Time will tell.  If anyone wants to do the power stream with me, early, I'll be at Blackburn at around 6:15pm, hopefully started by then.  Otherwise, it's the usual 7 for 7:30pm start for you all.

In other news at the Country track champs I've been asked to commentate, which should be good fun.  They're being held at DISC, which given the weather forecast means they might actually go ahead.


Almost the end of winter

Also posted to the aboc mailing list

It's the second last Spin for winter of 2010 tonight.  We've had a bumper year with big turnouts and lots of 'fun' (if you can call being flayed on a trainer fun....) through the winter.   Lucie and I have cooked an enormous amount of the aboc bolla over the year. There will end up with a total of 25 sessions this winter, 4.5kg of beef in each session, that's 112.5 kg of beef!

Details of the session are, as always, here

Thank you to Nicole Holt who initially suggested we publish the program online way back in mid 2009, we've done so ever since so you can see what we're doing (there are no secrets at aboc!) and we're always open to questions and suggestions for improvements to the spin program.

We've also had a pretty good winter in at DISC, in the past Spin has subsidised DISC to a significant extent.  This winter that wasn't necessary, again, we're doing something right because you keep coming back.  We can always do better and I always want to hear suggestions for improvements to the sessions at DISC as well as Spin.  We introduced an early warm up for the sprint stream midway through this winter which has worked well and our enduros, under Nathan's guidance, have learned skills and become more confident on the track.

We're running the Summer Sprint Series again this summer at Blackburn, the details are on the series website

That will be a lot of fun and some pretty good competition.  Andrew Steele from Avanti Plus Croydon and Gary Jackson from Riviera Cycles are sponsoring the series again and we'll have some good prizes.  Sue Dundas and the team will be back to make it work seamlessly and efficiently again.

What else is coming up?

We're going to run fortnightly Spin sessions over summer, probably again on Thursday evenings.  Last year these worked well and a small core group of you kept coming to them, maintaining the rage, so to speak.  We'll also run fortnightly DISC sessions or Blackburn track sessions on Sunday afternoons.  I am yet to set a date for our Hotham trip, the calender is so full this summer that it's quite difficult to squeeze anything in.

Personally, I've moved to more specialisation with the sprint squad and Nathan's looking after more of the endurance program that we run so everyone's getting well looked after, but as I mentioned earlier, we can always do better.  We do best when we receive feedback, so please, if there's something we can do better, let us both know!

Thank you


Stopping the slip

Doing big gear starts on a Kurt Kinetic Pro with the big flywheel

We do a lot of high strength work on Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainers.  I'm a big fan of these, they work, they're (compared to the BT and Wombat etc) affordable while not being cheap and nasty and there's an option to have a very heavy flywheel.  We use the big flywheel for strength work.  It fits on the "pro" version of the KKRM.  With the Uberflywheel, the total flywheel weight is 18.25 pounds, or a bit over 8 kg. This takes some effort to get going.  The Computrainer that all the enduros rave about would blow to bits with the sprint stuff we do, it's limited to about 1500 watts of electro-magnetic braking and I doubt it can cope with high torque applications.  The only other thing that comes close is the WattBike, but that's not a cheap bit of kit and it's got its own flaws, most glaringly the wrong Q factor for starters, and yes, that can be fixed, but a $3000+ bit of gear should be right from the start!

Like everything, the KKRM is not perfect.  For strength work, we load up with a big gear, for example we sometimes use 53x12 (119") for some efforts.  This isn't really what the KKRM is designed for,  but it is the best simulation of a standing start I've been able to find.  With the superflywheel, it's harder than getting out of the starting gate.  Ie: it's good specific strength training.  BUT the rear wheel of a bicycle, no matter how tight we do up the tensioner, slips.

Until now ...

When I was over in Adelaide at the NTID sprint camp a couple of months ago, I had a look at what the AIS guys use, one of them has a KKRM, but he'd modified it, presumably for the same reason I have now modified mine.  Skateboard deck tape around the roller.  This might shred tyres, but it now means next to no wheel slip and a much better initial first three pedal strokes, as the roller starts turning rather than slipping ,which was the big advantage of the BT and the Wombat etc which are directly chain driven.  I ducked up to Ringwood and bought a sheet of glorified sandpaper from Ballistyx (which is all deck tape is, it's a sticker combined with sandpaper), cut a bit to wrap once around the roller, stuck it on and trialed it last Tuesday at Spin.  Wow.  It works really well.  We'll happy cope with more tyre wear for this improvement in resistance.

So now my kilo and 500m ITT riders (and team sprint starters, ie: me!) have a harder session when we do big gear standing starts on the ergos.

Good stuff!


Life starts to return to normal

The Aussies was huge ...

I'm relieved that the Australian Junior Titles are run and won.  We (aboc people) had Emily, as you know, who Hiltsrode her socks off and did everything she set out to do.  Dino and I also video'ed all the Victorians, I wasn't in any way part of the coaching team for the Vic squad, but I wanted to help out in some way so I took the camera and video'ed everything.  It's not much of a contribution but it's something and it's good for the kids and their parents.  It meant I didn't have time to get many stills but Leanne Cole was one of the official photographers and she got some rippers.  You can see her work here.  My videos are being uploaded to youtube and you can see them all as they go up here.  I got almost every Victorian ride except the JW17 500m ITT and a couple of qualifying rides. I got a good photo of Hilton doing what he does best, which I'm happy with.

And so now things will return to normal for a bit.  Which is to say, busy, but not overwhelming.  Yesterday we had our DISC summer session which was well attended, I didn't have Nathan as he's got transport issues so I did all the motorpacing for the sprinters as well as the enduros and they all left well toasted.  This coming week I'll be training and coaching on Tuesday morning at Blackburn, coaching on Wednesday afternoon and evening with Hilton and the NTID/CCCC mob from probably 3pm-ish 'til around 10pm, Thursday sees us running Summer Spin at Blackburn, Friday we head up to Hotham for Climbing Camp #12 for the weekend and on Monday morning next week the first of the DUCC skills sessions at Blackburn.  Along the way there's a few strength sessions in the 'Haus and a pile of training programs to write.  You should see my calender! Phew ...



Not bad, considering!

I got carried away in the 'Haus but still managed a decent output at Spin

After Lucie and I spent a very relaxing weekend at Bonnie Doon, planting trees and burning weeds, no bikes, no Internet, no weights ... It was back to it yesterday.  I got a bit carried away in the 'Haus, and did 3 sets of 5 squats at 165kg, the last two of the third set were really really hard!  I had to sit down for some time to recover!  It's not often I see 157bpm or more when doing strength work.  Finished off with three sets of three cleans at 60kg.  Pretty weak, but I was well shattered from the squats.  My form was ok, they were definitely power cleans, not squat cleans!  Throw the bar up, there's no way I'm going to squat to get under it, if it doesn't get to sternum-height, it can just hit the floor...  Oh, it's 5:15pm, I start spin at 7 ... Um ... Food, fast!  Bolted down some chocolate Big-M.  Ok ....

Bev picked me up at 6 as usual, we loaded the car and I was lethargic indeed.  Very dead legs.  A slow start, at 6:30 there was just a few people, but by 6:40 we had 18 people packing the rooms, not including Ratty Rattus, who has found a home in the kitchen, it seems.  Warmup started at a shade before 7 so about 10 mins of E1, then a couple of 5s HCLR's on the minute to get the legs moving.  Ok, they went alright.  The next block was 3 x 10s big gear sprints from a very slow start on 5 minute blocks.  The first one, 1471 watts.  Ok!  After the heavy squats I thought I'd be lucky to crack 1400, but 1471, I'm happy with that.  The next two were a bit weaker, 1413 and 1369, so the squats and power cleans had some some damage, but that's ok.  Quality's dropping off, time to change exercises.  The next effort was a chunder-drill, a 30 second sprint.  These are spectacularly painful.  Phosphagen runs out after 6-8 seconds, fast glycolysis at around 25 seconds, the last 5 seconds is desperate indeed.  Only the one to do, and I got it, started at 1158 watts, by the end of the 30 seconds, down to 610! HR up to 182bpm though.  Ouch.  Big time.  Last effort for the night is a pair of 15 second HCLRs just to do a bit of final leg speed stuff.  They're not too bad.  Happy with the night's work. 

I'm supposed to squat heavy again today.   Um ... maybe!  Going for a swim at lunchtime to see if that opens things up a bit first!

For anyone curious, here's the 30 second max effort graph :

30 second max effort



Filed Under:


I wasn't watching the Roubaux last night, I was sleeping.  I woke up at about 2am, with a very painful left elbow. Painful enough to wake me up and I sleep through anything!  Huh?  I don't remember hitting it on anything or doing anything odd or unusual.  The kayaking wasn't hard and doesn't involve much elbow bending anyway.  It felt like a nasty bruise on the outside of my elbow (the bit you can't see).  It was hot and very tender to touch, and no matter how I moved it would not stop hurting.  Hrm.  Got up, checked the 'net for a local doctor who was open on a public holiday. While I was at it I checked cyclingnews for the result, no luck again for Big George Hincapie, but Tom Boonen ... wow.  Three wins for Tom. This morning I trundled off to see the local quack (open on a public holiday, good-o).  He takes one look at it and says 'Bursitis'.  Huh?  What's that?  He gave me a script for some anti inflams and an antibiotic (the heat, probably an infection).  It's ok to use it, he says, but not if it's painful, and it should be ok in a week.

Not a bad time to get an injury I guess, next weekend I'm going to take photos at the Baw Baw and this is mainly a strength phase of training and I think I'll be able to squat and deadlift without too much trouble. It's more annoying than anything.  On the way back from the quack Lucie and I stopped in at the local stupormarket and grabbed the ingredients for tomorrow night's first spin of the winter.  The clubrooms are probably still jam packed with junk that we'll need to move out to make room for everyone. At least with a dodgey elbow I can get everyone else to move things!  Small victories .... Ha!


1362 ..


After an aborted training session on Sunday, I got back into the gym this arvo, 5 x 5 @ 145kg deep squats (3,625kg total), then after an hour, Alex came over and we did a sprint ergo session. I managed to push out 1362 watts in one effort, peak 5s was 1311 watts which I'm very pleased with, not far off my best over the last few months, and given the fatigue from the squats, I'm happy with that.  My right knee (the reconstructed one) is quite swolen and stiff, so it's icepacks and rest for a few hours to stabilise it tonight.  Waiting to get a report from the crew racing at DISC tonight.  It'd be hot and sticky in there tonight.

I had two people pull out of the climbing camp, I was prepared to run it at a loss, but not a huge loss, it looks like I'll have to cancel this camp unless I get a few more keen to come in the next couple of days, which is a bummer.  I think November is just too full this year.  We'll run one in February....




Today's training

I was caught up in work stuff, so had to have a very short session in the Powerhaus just before heading in to the last aboc Spin Session for 2008.  I did squats only, 5 x 5 @ 150kg, for a tonnage of 3,750kg. I'm really feeling 150kg, it's bloody heavy!

Then it was a quick grab of everything before scooting in to the last spin session we're running this year.  A good turnout of 18 people, which was great, we threw on a free session and a BBQ afterwards.  The sprinters did :

2 x 10s max sprints (big gear, low speed start) on the 5

4 x 30s sprints (medium gear) on the 5.

Then we're done ... after the 30 second efforts everyone wants to lie down and crawl into a hole for a bit. The KK trainers really make you work very hard indeed and the power meter keeps riders honest!

My peak power was down a bit, 1331 watts, but interestingly over the last 4 weeks, my 5s power has been gradually creeping up, which is a good sign. I haven't hit the magical 1400 watts yet, but I think that's not too far off, if I do a test without heavy squats first!

We're all fired up and dead-keen for round one this Sunday! Bring your racing legs, lads, it's ON!


198rpm will do

Not quite a PB on the powertap, but good cadence

Tonight's drills : 10s max sprint in a big gear (53x12) from a slow rolling start, then 2 x 15s HCLR on the two minutes, then 4 by 30s sprints on the 5 minute. I wasn't feeling too good for the max effort and only managed 1341 watts, after heavy squats earlier in the day, but the HCLRs I was happy with, the powertap reporting a peak of 198 rpm.  That'll do.  The 30 second efforts are just horrible to do, the last couple are nausea-town, but we all got through them ok.

Next week is the last ergo session aboc is running for the winter, free BBQ and free entry to all who've come through the year to thank you all for your support and patronage.  It's been a very successful winter and everyone who's come along is part of that success.


How strong is strong enough?

Just how much weight do I need to be able to lift anyway?

I'm not training for olympic weightlifting or 'power'lifting, but for track sprinting - I do quite enjoy weight training and learning olympic lifts is challenging and fun and I've found I like lifting properly (after years of the wrong sort of training when playing rugby etc, if I'd known then what I know now .... ).  That being the case, the real goal is faster sprinting and a better jump.  Ie: peak watts and peak torque on the bike. Along the way I'm now qualifed as a strength & conditioning coach, and am working with athletes in at the Victorian weightlifting center (Mermet). It's been a lot of fun and very rewarding.

So just how strong is strong enough?  I just did 3 sets of 5 lifts squatting 150kg (proper full squats, or as full as I can on a rebuilt knee anyway).  I've built a lot of strength over the last 6 months, given that I started training in the Powerhaus way back in February or March and have been in it three times a week without interuption since, focussing on the big core lifts, mainly the squat.  My legs are bigger and stronger, that's for sure, and if you poke them they're rock-hard.  I'm also heavier by a few kilos, but not that much, about 108kg at the moment, I was around 100kg late last year I think.  I'm certainly not lean, but I don't think I'm carrying much more fat than I was then.  Just, bigger legs and upper body.

I think it'll be interesting to have a chat to some of the riders who come along to the sprint series and see what they're lifting, just to get a rough idea, I'm interested in Fast Eddie and Big Jeremy in particular, but it'll be worth talking to John Beasley and Rick Leonard if I get a chance in the not too distant future also, and next time I run into Brad Robins I'll pick his brains also.

Until then .. we're three weeks out from the first round, and it's time to really get into power and speed-endurance stuff - tonight we'll be doing one 10 second max sprint effort, then 5 30 second efforts.  Vomit-time!

In other news, I spoke to the concreters today, and assuming we get the go-ahead on Friday, they'll have the two big holes in the track fixed by round 1!




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