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I was interviewed

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An article on the Cycling Australia website, no less ...



Here I am in South Korea

Today, I woke up in Gwang Myeong at the Guro Hotel (South Korea, Seoul, about 50km from the DMZ/border with North Korea) and for the first time since we got here last week, it was clear with blue skies.

It's been overcast and raining/very humid for every other day that we've been here. It's an amazing city, the scale of it is staggering. This is the first time I've spent time in a non-English speaking country (apart from the USA, which is still kinda English ...), it's a fun challenge to just buy basic things - yesterday Mikey (Michael Winter, the No.1 mechanic) and I found paint thinner to clean wheels we've been gluing tyres onto, after exploring the main road for a good hour.

It's quite a fun challenge trying to translate "do you have any kerosene?" into Korean!

Racing starts tonight, my job here is pretty simple, Mikey is the chief mechanic and I'm assisting - we pump tyres up, make sure all the right wheels are ready to go, fit them in the bikes, change gears etc so all the kids and coaches have to do it concentrate on racing. It can be challenging if there's an issue that needs sorting in a hurry, but that's pretty rare, if we're organised, things run like clockwork from our position. We're organised ...

It is a little frustrating to be out of the coaching loop, but our job is important to the team and Rik Fulcher, who is the team manager, places a lot of trust in us to do the job right.  From my own professional development, it's great experience - not only from the "see how it works at a big championships" perspective, but also, and probably moreso - getting the experience of the mechanics job.  I think a good leader (coach) needs to understand all the roles in the team that they work in, and getting your hands dirty and doing the actual work is one of the best ways to get this experience. 

Mikey only got here on Wednesday (he flew in directly from the Comm Games in Glasgow, 30-odd hours of traveling and then directy to the track to work with me, hard core!), so for the 3 days prior to that I was the only mechanic for 14 riders.  I did a lot of carrying wheels up from our storage pen, inflating tyres etc.  I was getting to the track about 2 hours before the team would, getting everything ready so when they arrived, it was relaxed and easy.  Having someone as experienced and competant as Mikey to work with is a real pleasure.  I'm learning lots about how things work at International level, it's quite an eye opener in some ways, in other ways, it's just another bike race.  The big challenges are logistics and the varying levels of respect and competance of riders while using the track for warm ups.  Think an early season NJTS round, and make it more chaotic, warm up is *the* most dangerous part of the program for the riders. 

We're one of, if not the most, organised and professional teams here, some of the teams are clearly full of kids that are here so they can say they've been to Junior Worlds, not that serious about racing it and it shows in their behaviour and organisation.  Others are deadly serious - the Russians, Germans, Kiwis, Koreans, Japanese and us are deadly serious and well organised.  We get a lot of interest in how we do things from other teams - all our efforts on track get watched.  There's no GB team here, the French only have a couple of riders.  We've seen the Polish guys and the Danes and they look pretty serious.  We'll see what they're made of in the next five days.

The Speedom velodrome is just staggering in size - it's an indoor, 333 meter concrete track with a very grippy surface similar to the Bendigo track surface.  It's about a 30 minute drive from here.  The track itself isn't that interesting, but the building around it is use awe inspiring.  It's huge, it makes its own weather!  The stands extend up for the equivalent of about 4 or 5 stories, it seats around 30,000 we think.  It's set up with huge display screens and it's mainly a venue for Korean keirin.  A lot of the seats have desks for the gamblers to fill out betting slips and read form guides.  We watched a keirin round on the day we arrived.  It was a very surreal, sterile kind of thing to watch.  There was a lot of people there, I'd guess around 5,000 or so?  But the venue seemed empty, as it is so big.  The racing was mostly pretty dull to watch and the crowd wasn't all that interested in it save for the results (gambling, that's all it is to most of them). 

We've been exploring the local part of town a bit as well.  Our hotel is right in the middle of what must be a bit of a hub of food and entertainment - imagine a cross between Brunswick street, Chinatown and very narrow alleyways.  Almost all the signs are in Korean (of course!) but some also in English.  The food is amazingly good.  I've been asking the people in the eateries we've visited to tell me what they like that's local, and just giving it a go.  The hot BBQ chicken is pretty special!  At least, that's what I think I've been asking, in a combination of mangled English, my three Korean phrases and sign language. 

The currency translation is pretty simple, the local currency is the Won, and roughly, one Australian dollar is about 1,000w.  So we just drop three zeroes and the sums are pretty simple.  Food and drinks are cheap and just up the road is an EMart, which is, as far as I can tell, the Korean version of a Kmart/Target.  While the numbers are all in Arabic numerals (same as English), they're not spoken the same way, so when something has no price tag, we can write it down or the locals write it so we can understand.  I'm sure they think we're just dumb foreigners!


Pathways update

Things are changing, for the better

About a year or so ago I wrote this article on pathways into sprint in Victoria.  Things are changing a little, Glenn Doney is the new VIS head coach and he's making some changes to how riders are recruited into the VIS sprint program.  It's now reaching down a little lower in age groups than it has in the past, watch for some interesting announcements soon from the VIS on how that's working.

The pathway is now :


Some of you may remember the sprint academy, it was a layer between the state institutes, eg VIS, NSWIS, SASI, WAIS etc and the AIS program, designed to fill a void.  It looks like the SIS/SAS layer is being broadened a little and mostly absorbing the role that the academy filled for a year.

So, how is this relevant?

We're working on setting up a layer below the VIS to develop sprinters, to feed riders into the VIS program.  A little like the old NTID program was, a layer where identified promising juniors are pulled into a sprint squad that will train seperatly from the VIS squad.  The VIS squad is now quite large, and coached exclusively by Hilton Clarke, with my assistance doing motorbike work and power meter stuff etc. I'm not directly coaching anyone in that VIS sprint group.  I think we're going to call the new developent squad the Victorian Sprint Developent Squad, or VSDS.

So the pathway will end up, as soon as we can get it all sorted :

Club -> VSDS -> VIS sprint -> AIS Sprint

There's a lot of work to do to get it running and we need buy-in from a number of groups, so the politics will be a challenge, but I'm confident that we can have it going soon and it will be a leading structure, that the rest of the country may duplicate in time.


A great quote

It's not over for us, it is just going to be different

Yep, things are changing in the Vic sprint scene, quite dramatically.  Hopefully very soon we'll be able to quash the rumours, put out the fires and show you all a new structure, with progression and direction and it will be a big win.



juniors, flying 200's, oh my

Lots of room for improvement

At the Aussies, we saw the best under 15's, or at least, the best that came through the state teams.  We saw them ride flying 200's and make poor pacing choices.  Read this article on it that I wrote.


A break?

I need one!

I just got back from the Junior Aussies on Saturday, after driving the CV Van that Rocked home.  Another big week at titles, I need a rest or a holiday or something.  At the titles the Vic boys broke (twice!) the previous JM17 team sprint Australian record, Conor, Ryan and Tom blew it to bits in qualifying, then beat their record again in the final.  All their changes were spot on - no DQ's.  Conor also managed to break the Aust record for the 500m ITT but only held the record for about 6 minutes, as Ryan Schilt and Cam Scott broke it again in the last heat.  Exciting times indeed.  Brit Jackson managed a couple of solid bronze medals in the Sprint and the TT, and missed out, with Alana Field, on the bronze in the JW17 by 4 thousandths of a second.  Everything matters in this game.

The team performed above expectations and other records that went included the JM17 team pursuit and the JW17 500 and F200, both broken by a very talented Tahlay Christie from Perth.  Tahlay had a superb titles, winning the sprint, TT and keirin and setting two Australian records along the way.  Tahlay's a great kid and a gracious, well mannered athlete.  Clay Worthington from WA is coaching her and they're a teriffic team.

For us, Aust masters champs are coming up and I am going to fiddle around with my new Garmin VIRB Elite and use it for some F200 pacing analysis over the next couple of weeks.  Sometime, I'll get a rest ...



Video toys on the way

Mum got me a VIRB for my birthday!

I know .. I'll be 43(!) in March, mum asked, I told her, she said yes.  I have a Garmin VIRB Elite ANT+ video camera coming.

Why is this any funkier than my collection of GoPro Hero's?

It does power.  Last week Garmin updated the firmware in the VIRB to store power meter data.  No, this isn't a substitute for a power meter computer, I'm not replacing my Cyclops Joule 1.0's for VIRB's (at 4.5x the price!), but it does make overlaying performance data onto video a lot quicker and easier than it has been 'til now.  The old way, was to use Dashware to overlay power data onto video, but it was a messy, time consuming task.  With the new VIRB update, I can get video data much more quickly combined with power and speed, so it becomes practical to do, maybe even during a training session.  Handy?  Yes, for teaching and explaining what happens in, for example, a team sprint.  We take hand splits with stop watches, but if we have video, with power and speed, we can actually see what's really happening and make more intelligent gear choices and pacing decisions.

Same sort of thing with flying 200's and the like.  I'm excited at what I think we can do with this toy.



SSS as a WSS, in Perth?

Check this out, we're spreading ...

From Clay Worthington, WAIS sprint coach :

Hello All,

Please pass word around that TCWA has agreed to run a winter sprint series in Perth. We have targeted the last Friday of every month starting in April (and with one exception … please see attached), and we think it doesn’t clash with many major events (although there are likely to be clashes with road events). The better it is attended the better the racing experience will be for everyone.

Racing format is still being developed, but we’ll start smart and let it grow. At this time we’re planning a F200 qualification to determine racing groups by ability (not age, gender, or category). We’ll run 2up match sprints, derby’s, and Keirins depending on numbers and all in sprint formats and distances (i.e. sprints 2-3 laps, derbys 2-4 laps, Keirin 6-8 laps). I’m not planning any “Coach’s Kilos”, but will keep working on DB and Muzz to line up opposite one another. J If you attend, expect to race 4-6 times plus a 200.

Registration will run through TCWA as per a typical Fri Night Racing (i.e. Tues midnight deadline, through TCWA website, or email Ken Benson), but please feel free to express your interest to me as we’ll need attendance to keep it running. Same $15 as is typical.

At this time, I’m expecting to be registration desk, session coach, commissairre, motorcycle driver, etc as it’s being listed as a TCWA Sprint Training session; but we’ll be racing for training. Warm up starts at 6p and racing starts at 7p with qualifications, and we’ll plan to finish by 9p. Electronic timing gates will be on track with hand timing for back up and to deliver splits.

If you have questions, please call/email/text me. If you know of folks who want to sprint but haven’t gotten a chance yet, please tell them their opportunity is here!

Thanks for your attention.



SRM battery replacement

Finally some batteries arrived ....

Nic Mark got himself a set of SRM cranks, powercontrol V, single reed switch job.  I've already replaced batteries in the fancier two reed switch special I got last year, which was easy once I found a supplier for the batteries, the single reed switch version is a little fiddlier, but still pretty easy to do.

Photos here.


Senior Aussies

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I'm off to the Aussies again

Tomorrow morning I'm driving to Adelaide to coach as part of the Victorian team at the Senior Australian track titles. It's game time after a year's preparation.

No live TV this time, but hilights will be on SBS. A significant percentage of the Victorian sprint team have, at some point, been coached by me and are now coached by Hilton or myself (Emily, James, John, Jaegan). Almost the entire Victorian sprint team has been through Hilton's squad. We're very proud of these sprinters. Medals or no, I know they will all do the best the possibly can, and that's the thing.

While I'm away, Brit Jackson will be doing the Vic junior track titles, go Brit!


Is winning everything?

How important is winning?

Over the last few months I've had reason to answer the question, in a couple of different contexts, "How important is winning?".

It's a very interesting question indeed.

Ultimately, we race to win. In sprint, it's not about finishing the race, unlike most of the people who race endurance events.  Just to finish the Warny for example, is a win.  Second place in a match sprint is not a win.  Finishing a flying 200 is not a win. It sucks to lose a sprint and still get a medal.  In some ways bronze is better than silver, emotionally.  You won bronze, you lost to get silver.

How important is it?  It's very context-sensitive.  If you're a recreational sprinter racing the Summer Sprint Series, it's important to be competitive and have fun, that's why we grade it and it's a round robin format.  For development purposes, this is an ideal format, plenty of racing, plenty of chances to win, and try things and to try things that don't necessarily work the way you expect them.

If you're a coach in a government funded elite squad, winning is all-important.  Head sprint coaches at the Olympic games for Australia, Great Britain, Germany, France etc are there to win.  That's their job. It's absolutely vital that they win. They can't all win, and those that don't can get the chop by their organisations if they don't.  It's very intense and the stakes are high. It's only a bike race, but it's not!  Millions of dollars of goverment and private funding, years of dedication and sacrifice from the athletes and the coaches, there's a lot at stake. When it goes badly at that level, it's brutal. 

Compare this to Cool Runnings.  We've all seen it, it's a classic and one of the best sporting movies ever made.  Those guys won, not the race, but a battle against almost overwhelming odds to get to the start line.  If you're not at the top level, getting to the top level is a win.

Think about Lori-Ann Muenzer in our context, or Sir Chris Hoy, who was a pioneer of what is now one of, if not the, best sprint programmes in the world.  Hoy's story really is amazing.  His autobiography is a must read for anyone in sprint cycling.

From a development perspective, working with a development group like I do with the Vic sprint group (15 to 18 year olds, mostly) and some of the aboc guys, winning bike races isn't as critically important in the short term.  It'a a long term goal - we ARE training the kids to win races and it's important that they do, but it is at least as important that they develop the strength, power, speed, skill and emotional maturity to cope with the pressure to win that they will face if they make it into an elite squad.

These attributes can take time. A junior athlete with potential may not be winning much at first, it may take years of hard work for them to progress to the level where they are winning races and if winning is everything, these guys drop out.  We need them (and the seniors!) to concentrate on improvement and processes.  You'll hear a lot of "focus on the process". This means focussing on what you're doing, whatever it is, and letting the results take care of themselves.  If you're focussing on a solid start out of a gate, arms straight, head up etc and not on "I must win this race", you'll usually do a better start, and are more likely to win, or at least, give yourself the best chance you have to win. The athletes need to protect themselves from this pressure (pity the coaches!) and have sports psychs to help them with it. In order to win, they need to forget about winning.  Just like tennis in a lot of ways.  There are some very good books on tennis winning, I can recommend The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.  Get it, read it. It's good.

Back on topic, winning is, ultimately, what it's all about for us, but we must approach that with a long term plan and process and with athletes fully aware that while we're preparing them to win, we want to see focus, dedication and improvement.  Tick those boxes and the wins will come.





Track racing holder technique

How to hold and push riders


Mexico flying 200's

Records fall at altitude

Here's the top 16 mens F200's from Mexico overnight, compared to Manchester a month ago. Interestingly the standard deviation is the same, so it's consistent.  Altitude makes a BIG difference.


  2013 – 2014 manchester world cup 2013-2014 Aquasuentes world cup
  9.799 9.347
  9.871 9.459
  9.936 9.558
  9.944 9.563
  9.945 9.573
  9.947 9.609
  9.957 9.634
  9.964 9.637
  9.976 9.640
  10.015 9.643
  10.046 9.658
  10.068 9.668
  10.106 9.678
  10.111 9.681
  10.112 9.683
  10.115 9.692

fastest 9.799 9.347
mean 9.995 9.608
SD 0.093 0.093
fastest vs mean 0.196 0.261

At Mexico, it was around 24 degrees C, 15% humidity and 900hPa. I don't have the data for Manchester, but Manchester is at sea level (so around 1024hPa on average), Mexico is around 1900m above sea level.  If you apply the AIS's environmental correction tool, the fastest time at Mexico ends up at ~9.7s, which is roughly the fastest at Manchester.


How accurate is hand timing?

On the weekend at the Vic track cup, I did some hand timing

At the Vic Track cup, I did some hand timing, it's interesting to compare to the electronic system - my average error was 0.04s, the worst was 0.13s (I was distracted for that one by people in front of the start line).

Touted around is that hand timing is no better than 0.1s, I say "rubbish", if you're concentrating and not having your line of sight blocked, you can be around 0.05s or better pretty consisantly.  Here's the raw data, electronic timing rounded to hundredths.



Hand Electronic

12.48 12.39 0.1
11.44 11.40 0.04
11.63 11.60 0.03
11.15 11.09 0.06
11.96 11.90 0.06

12.35 12.34 0.01
11.47 11.50 0.03
13.76 13.71 0.05
11.93 11.90 0.03
13.12 13.08 0.04
13.05 13.01 0.04


12.35 12.31 0.04
12.40 12.37 0.03
11.54 11.50 0.04
10.77 10.77 0
11.26 11.22 0.04

11.63 11.61 0.02
11.24 11.22 0.02
10.87 10.88 0.01
10.91 10.92 0.01
11.37 11.39 0.02
12.00 12.02 0.02
11.42 11.41 0.01
11.40 11.35 0.05
10.94 10.81 0.13


A little number crunching

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Olympic flying 200's, vs Manchester world cup

Some data for your enjoyment :


2000 2004 2008 2012 2013 – manchester world cup
10.166 10.177 9.815 9.713 9.799
10.243 10.214 9.857 9.952 9.871
10.277 10.230 10.064 9.987 9.936
10.287 10.264 10.098 10.072 9.944
10.343 10.271 10.123 10.088 9.945
10.370 10.381 10.199 10.123 9.947
10.459 10.441 10.272 10.144 9.957
10.520 10.446 10.314 10.155 9.964
10.526 10.454 10.318 10.201 9.976
10.530 10.462 10.337 10.202 10.015
10.540 10.515 10.346 10.226 10.046
10.556 10.565 10.362 10.247 10.068
10.595 10.597 10.373 10.311 10.106
10.603 10.646 10.391 10.323 10.111
10.649 10.673 10.470 10.350 10.112
10.745 10.758 10.497 10.604 10.115

10.166 10.177 9.815 9.713 9.799

10.463 10.443 10.240 10.169 9.995

0.164 0.177 0.200 0.197 0.093
fastest vs mean        
0.297 0.266 0.425 0.456 0.196


So what is all this? this is the top 16 times from the Olympics in the era of indoor 250m "standard" velodromes for the flying 200 for men.  From Sydney to London (yes, Athens was "outdoors", but it had a roof!), and finally the data from the Manchester world cup last week.

Here's the women, I've used the top 12 to be consistent with the Olympic qualifiers since Sydney :


2000 2004 2008 2012 2013 – manchester world cup
11.262 11.291 10.963 10.724 10.874
11.439 11.364 11.106 10.805 10.900
11.494 11.364 11.140 11.020 11.019
11.512 11.380 11.167 11.027 11.065
11.526 11.400 11.222 11.080 11.103
11.545 11.430 11.365 11.109 11.161
11.548 11.456 11.372 11.203 11.183
11.649 11.597 11.400 11.234 11.211
11.650 11.622 11.462 11.241 11.261
11.792 11.646 11.533 11.319 11.266
11.803 11.655 11.544 11.322 11.309
12.194 12.457 12.134 11.347 11.345





11.262 11.291 10.963 10.724 10.874

11.618 11.555 11.367 11.119 11.141

0.234 0.311 0.302 0.201 0.153
fastest vs mean        
0.356 0.264 0.404 0.395 0.267


I'm going to draw some graphs later, this is just for you to have a quick look at. I've hilighted the standard deviation for 2013 Manchester world cup for both the men and the women, it's ... very interesting ... 

Also interesting is the SD for the Melbourne Worlds in 2012, which was even tighter in the top end than Manchester, but it was a world championship.



On the mend and reflections on Manchester World Cup

This time last week I was lying on a bed at the Austin hospital doped to the eyeballs on morphine waiting for surgery to repair a hernia.  Today I'm home, with a new belly button that looks like something out of an Alien movie (it will get better!) after spending the weekend doing what little I could to help at Hilton's sprint camp that we held at DISC.  I'm pretty tired, but am well and trully on the mend.  Jayne has been awesome, but I feel terrible (and you should see the looks I get!) when she loads up with rollers, backpack, bags etc and I saunter along with her, carrying nothing ... It won't last, in a few weeks I'll be carrying stuff again.  Live it up, eh?  heh ...

It's been a very interesting week in sprint cycling.  At the track world cup in Manchester, the mens sprint qualification times were simply stunning. Manchester is not Moscow, it's not a track where times need to be asterisk'ed out, it's a "real" track.  It's not summer there, it's coming into winter, so the conditions would not have been amazing for speed.

Have a look at this :


Place Number

F200 speed 100 100-200
1 193 FÖRSTEMANN Robert GER 9.799 73.48 4.838 4.961
2 254 DAWKINS Edward NZL 9.871 72.94 4.905 4.966
3 293 PHILLIP Njisane TRI 9.936 72.46 4.924 5.012
4 106 GLAETZER Matthew AUS 9.944 72.41 4.911 5.033
5 222 PERKINS Shane JAY 9.945 72.40 4.919 5.026
6 169 D'ALMEIDA Michaël FRA 9.947 72.38 4.938 5.009
7 221 LEWIS Peter JAY 9.957 72.31 4.944 5.013
8 195 NIEDERLAG Max GER 9.964 72.26 4.905 5.059
9 276 DMITRIEV Denis RUS 9.976 72.17 4.944 5.032
10 179 CRAMPTON Matthew GBR 10.015 71.89 4.955 5.060
11 134 NAKAGAWA Seiichiro CCT 10.046 71.67 4.986 5.060
12 164 GASCON Juan ESP 10.068 71.51 4.987 5.081
13 306 CANELON Hersony VEN 10.106 71.24 5.003 5.103
14 288 SAVITSKIY Valentin RVL 10.111 71.21 5.027 5.084
15 153 PTACNIK Adam CZE 10.112 71.20 5.003 5.109
16 160 LEVY Maximilian ERD 10.115 71.18 5.034 5.081
17 315 AWANG Azizulhasni YSD 10.115 71.18 4.979 5.136
18 129 BARRETTE Hugo CAN 10.118 71.16 5.006 5.112
19 206 ARCHIBALD Matthew HPS 10.125 71.11 4.981 5.144
20 152 KELEMEN Pavel CZE 10.136 71.03 4.999 5.137
21 158 BALZER Erik ERD 10.137 71.03 4.994 5.143
22 258 WEBSTER Sam NZL 10.143 70.98 5.000 5.143
23 265 ZIELINSKI Damian POL 10.152 70.92 5.022 5.130
24 183 KENNY Jason GBR 10.154 70.91 5.029 5.125
25 104 BULLEN Mitchell AUS 10.160 70.87 5.012 5.148
26 281 SHURSHIN Nikita RUS 10.167 70.82 5.048 5.119
27 208 MULLEN Eoin IRL 10.199 70.60 5.068 5.131
28 207 VELTHOOVEN Simon HPS 10.210 70.52 5.086 5.124
29 248 HOOGLAND Jeffrey NED 10.234 70.35 5.060 5.174
30 142 XU Chao CHN 10.239 70.32 5.064 5.175
31 235 NG Josiah MAS 10.247 70.26 5.056 5.191
32 311 OLIVA Alexander WAL 10.270 70.11 5.072 5.198
33 133 KAWABATA Tomoyuki CCT 10.284 70.01 5.064 5.220
34 269 ESTERHUIZEN Bernard RSA 10.294 69.94 5.116 5.178
35 264 SARNECKI Rafal POL 10.300 69.90 5.088 5.212
36 204 BRETAS Sotirios GRE 10.390 69.30 5.163 5.227
37 163 MORENO Jose ESP 10.395 69.26 5.138 5.257
38 246 BUCHLI Matthijs NED 10.405 69.20 5.130 5.275
39 308 PULGAR Angel VEN 10.437 68.99 5.155 5.282
40 213 CECI Francesco ITA 10.548 68.26 5.200 5.348
41 173 SIREAU Kévin FRA 10.573 68.10 5.103 5.470


The top 27 riders rode faster than 10.2s flying 200's.  To qualify in the top 16, you had to ride 10.115 and even then Azizul missed out.  9.9 didn't guarantee top 8!  This is not the Olympics or the world champs, this is just a world cup.  Jason Kenny, the 2012 Olympic champion, rode 10.154 and did not quailfy.  Marty Nothstein, who won at Sydney in 2000, with a 10.166s (fastest qualification time) would not have qualified for this world cup.  He wouldn't have made the cut.

I discussed this somewhat with John Beasley on the w'end (Malaysian track coach).  He's got Azizul up to 10.115 and Josiah at 10.247 over the last few months.  What's the huge change?  It's big gears.  The guys are so much stronger than they've been before and the obsession with small gears and high cadences is over.  I've personally seen Josiah riding very low 10's flying 200's at DISC recently on training wheels with minimal tapering, and he's mid 30's, he's the strongest he's ever been and also the fastest he's ever been. 

No-one is riding 90's anymore, they're all up in the high 100's or bigger.  We know Forstemann rode 114" at Cottbus when he rode 9.7 there a few months ago (~148rpm average for the 200m, outdoors on concrete).  This is a far, far cry from the "old" days of 160+rpm.  Why is this?  Is it a recent discovery?  I suspect a lot of it is increased specialisation, modern sprinters aren't doing the road stuff they used to do, at least, not nearly as much.  They're getting stronger in the gym, stronger on the bike and riding lower cadences where there's less overall contractions, so greater endurance.  It's possible to hit 73km/h on smaller gears, it's certainly been done, but it's very very hard to hold the speed on small gears, you just run out of neural capacity, or "too much revs!".  Put on a bigger gear, and as long as you're strong enough to get it going, you can go further at the same speed.

Very interesting indeed.

Will anyone break the world record, which was set at Moscow (9.572) at a normal track?  They're getting pretty close now ... and not as a one-in-a-million freak, but dozens of riders look capable of it.



Even when they have it all

They want more!

Minor rant time.

Sprint is starved for competition.  Famished.  We get next to nothing.  Until the NJTS came along (and I, and a few other coaches, lobbied like mad to get more sprint-ish races included in it, thank you Max Stevens for listening) if you were a sprinter as a junior, you get two, maybe three or four if you're in Melbourne, chances a year to compete.  Club championships, state titles, metro/country/Vic Track Cup and nationals if you made it that far.  I'm going to take credit for my Summer Sprint Series as well, but that's only club stuff and we have 5 rounds a year.  So maybe, if you're in Melbourne, not including NJTS, you can, at most, have 9 chances to race sprints per year.  Nine.  Count them.

Enduros - HUNDREDS!  Clubs fall over themselves to offer junior tours, there's track racing two to three times a week or more for enduros, more road races, crits and other stuff than I can count.  Hundreds of opportunities to race.  The "sprint" races at the NJTS are not match sprints, they're short (2 laps) events and baby keirins that enduros can be competitive in.  The NJTS gives us (sprint coaches and talent ID people) a chance to see potential sprinters if they pop up from the default endurance setting that all clubs impose and maybe we get a chance to rescue these kids if we're lucky.  It gives the kids born with some sprint talent a chance to actually stand out in some racing before they give up and go play footy because they're all fast twitch and can't hang on up some hill somewhere because that's not how they're made. 

The NJTS program is weighted to the advantage of the sprinter? Take a step back and look at the big picture. Our sport is so massively, overwhelmingly biased to endurance that the suggestion is absurd.








Finding the girls

Success should not be by accident

Over the last few weeks I've had some time to think(!) and also some interesting discussions with parents, kids, fellow coaches etc on the topic of finding more girls and getting them racing.  In my case, sprint, but in general as well.

The few girls we have (who, lucky, are very talented) have been found mostly by accident or it's been a struggle for them to get involved.  I've had parents tell me that they've been to come and try days at DISC then mostly given a runaround when they expressed interest in going further by calling Cycling Victoria.  This is not CV's fault, the structure as it stands at the moment is that CV has to tell parents (or adults!) to "call your local club".  This can be quite a hit and miss approach, some clubs have better responses than others and it's then down to volunteers who may or may not have female cyclists as priorities.  So we miss some kids.  I suspect we miss a lot of kids. If we want a high peak and consistant international success, it is fundamental that we have a broad talent base.  We can't just bumble along hoping that volunteers will have the time and the motivation to do right by people who have already expressed an interest.

In retail, if someone walks into a shop, the battle is 90% won.  Sales people are just finishing it off.  We need to learn from this.  If a kid goes to a come & try day, or schools racing, or HPV racing; they're already interested, they've walked into the shop.  All we need to do is make eye contact and talk to them.  But to do that, we need to be there.  If you walk into a shop and there's no staff to help you, or if there is, they ignore you or wait for you to come to them, you're much more likely to walk out and go somewhere else.  The same applies to us and recruiting junior female cyclists (and male, but there's so many more of them that it's not such a critical issue).  I think we need a visable, friendly club representative, preferably female (because CV can't do it, politically and resourcefully) at every C&T at DISC, and where possible, at school cycling championships and major HPV events.  We shouldn't get lucky every now and then, we should structure for success.  It needs to be deliberate and planned and resourced.  We are letting kids slip through our fingers.  We need to stop it happening. 

Building development squads for kids already in the sport is the easy, sexy thing to do*.  Converting the kids who have shown an interest into kids who will have a go is the vital part. Not sexy, no big public relations coup for sponsors, but MUCH more important to the long term success of our sport locally and internationally.


* - not that it's not valuable, it is, but it's not going to get girls started in the first place.




Adelaide with the AIS

Here for a week, picking brains!

I'm very lucky this week, Cycling Australia have invited me to spend a week with Gary West and the AIS High Performance sprint program.

I spent today with the squad in the SASI gym with Scott Baker, had some very productive and interesting discussions with Scott, then in to the Superdrome to watch and assist a little with the training session.  It's going to be a very productive week! I've caught up with Jacob Schmid (former VSG rider, now AIS sprint) and should see Emerson Harwood in a day or so too.

This is on top of last weekend in Sydney at a sprint camp.  Busy times!


SSS major sponsor for 2013-2014

Filed Under:

Thank you Steve Hassett/Foundation Technologies Australia

A Huge thankyou to Steve Hassett from Foundation Technologies Australia, he's agreed to be the major sponsor for the Summer Sprint Series for 2013-2014.

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