Sunday, 5 August 2012

CrossMelburn Round 2 C Grade - 3rd

Today was my 3rd attempt at CX racing and I was a little nervous. But since the past two races, I had managed to tweak my bike set up a little more and started practicing some of the key skills (dismounting, remounting, riding thru sand/mud etc). I hoped that some of the early morning CX sessions  (off the Hell Ride) around the back of Patto would pay off. The day before I had ridden my CX bike the back way up Donna Buang (see Matt's write up here) which was a stunning gravel/dirt climb on closed roads but on the descent, I managed to completely chew through my rear pads leaving me only front brakes for the last 9km back into Warbuton. After fitting new pads, I arrived early for a bit of practice but my legs felt good. Riding the course before hand paid off as there was a number of obstacles which took me a couple of go's to find the best line. These included:
- the pine bark wall of death
- the water crossing of doom (one side was deeper than the other)
- short steep rutted descent (this initially scared the crap out of  me)
- stairs (I hate running)
- and of course some mud

 I had my tyres (35mm muddies) at 40psi and this seemed a good compromise for the short gravel climbs and the other softer areas. Once released, I tried to keep at the front end of the small C grade field as the first obstacle would potentially cause havoc for the back end of the field (I had learn't my lesson after the previous races). I made it through in around 6th and then sat behind the riders in front of me. As soon we hit the first climb I powered around these two putting me in 4th overall (3rd in C Grade) but the leaders were already gone and this is how it stayed. The leaders continued to slowly pull away from me and I was slowly pulling away from the riders behind me.
I was happy with 3rd given my lack of off road skills and trouble I had initially with some of the obstacles. It was only a short race of ~30mins but the intensity made up for it with my heart rate averaging 178bpm.

Marisa Farrell took some great shots in challenging conditions which I have used above and the link to the complete album can be found here. Leigh Schilling (Hampton Cycles) made a short video of the course which can be found here. Thanks to Full Gas Promotions for a great day of racing!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New addition to the family - Cyclocross Bike

I have stepped back a little from racing over winter but have still been out and about riding my bikes more than ever. To help mix it up and get back to my roots a little, I have followed the crowd (baaa, baaa) a bought a cyclocross bike.  And boy it is fun, just look at the amount of mud stuck to the thing. I literally owned it for 10mins before getting off road and then a few more later I was laying ground still clipped in with one foot smiling at myself. There is something grounding about finding the biggest mud bog near your house and riding straight through the middle of it.



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

CCCC Glenvale C Grade - 2nd

It has been a little while since I have been in the money but given that it has been crit season and I am riding B grade in more clubs than not, this is not much of a surprise (I am more suited to hilly road races). A day at the CCCC Glenvale crits makes for a nice 100km day on the bike with the obligatory coffee at Brown Cow on the way home. In the two previous weeks, I have had decent cracks off the front but they were always pulled back before the final 3 laps.  
 (Copyright to Michael Eaddy, link)

At the 30min mark as I was moving up the bunch, the pace suddenly slowed and I decided to have a crack and gapped the bunch. Bit early than I hoped and no one had come with me, but since I was out there I might as well put the hammer down and tried not to look back. 5 minutes later after A grade had passed, I was still out by myself doubting the early move but was finally given some hope when joined by a Total Rush rider 5 minutes later. We worked well together taking turns pulling half a lap each holding the bunch steady at 20s. The longer we held the bunch steady, I figured the higher the probability that the bunch would stop working and we could increase our lead. Before we knew it, gap had suddenly blown out to 30s and then 40s by the end. Unfortunately I got out foxed on the last lap but I didn't have much left after riding on the limit for the past 20+ mins (180bpm and 41km/h avg). And most importantly, I earned myself a promotion to B grade for the final race of the season. For the official results and report, click here.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Cycling Victoria Mansfield Criterium & Mt Buller Road Race

Last weekend I attended my 3rd C grade Cycling Victorian event (previously I have raced the Stratford to Dargo and the Tour of Bright). Photos of the event can be found here at marisafarrell.com. Overall it was a great weekend away racing with mates in perfect conditions. And no better way to start the weekend was going for a roll into town looking Euro and drinking plenty of coffees.......
Criterium 
I have raced a handful of criterium circuits in my short time racing (South Melbourne, Glenvale, Casey Fields & I  guess you could count Sandown) but none compare to the T-shaped hot dog circuit in the center of Mansfield with 180deg right turns (yep right turns, I almost had to get off my bike and lift it in the right direction). Due to the racing before hand, I was unable to ride the circuit before and only managed 1 practice lap before racing was underway. With 25 it was on from the start with the bunch strung out in a pace line, rider were already disappearing off the back with speeds averaging over 40km/h. It took me a a few laps but I started to get the hang of the course but it was too late as I was dangling off the back and had already spent a few bickies closing gaps. 10th lap in and one rider lost it on the first corner causing the last few riders (including myself) to slow and there was no chance I would be able to get back on. Race over after 15mins with a average heart rate of almost 180bpm. Packing my bike away I had a quick to Will Walker who gave my some pointers for future racers, top bloke.

Mt Buller RR
Today was my day as hill climbs/road races are far more suited to my body type and build. With around 50 riders lining up on the start line, the field was strong as is always the case with CV events. As we left Mansfield, a couple riders had opened up a small gap as I suspect a few of their mates were soft pedaling on the front. This was noticed straightaway and Tom from Uni Bikes got on the front to bring them back. From here it was fairly constant to the base of the climb with every attack being promptly brought back. Learning from my mistakes at Tour of Bright, I moved up ready for the surge as we passed the gate house at the bottom of climb. I was able to hold onto the main bunch for the first 2km of the climb which had almost halved the bunch. I regained composure and jumped onto the back of a small groupetto that had formed to help pace me up the remaining 14km's climb. With 3kms to go, a couple of riders blew up as I tried every trick I knew to prevent the cramps in my calves (or my cows). As gradients reached 10% in the last kilometer, I felt a little more at home and finished strongly in a time of approximately 1h55mins. No idea where I came, but it was somewhere mid-field which I consider a decent effort considering the quality of the riders and the 56min time up the climb. On the way back to Mansfield, I stopped with a few mates at the Merrijib pub for a refreshing ale ($25 for a jug, you have to be kidding me).

Sunday, 12 February 2012

SKCC Team TTT - B Grade

Sunday was my first Team Time Trial (TTT) and though only the odd person chose to ride a TT bike/bars/helmet/skin suit, it was on from the get go with good prize money up for offer. B grade had 7 teams entered with Canard representing strongly with 2 team. After the standard quick B grade crit beforehand, I had tried to save the legs in order not to let my team mates down. The distance was 10 x 1km laps of the crit course with the plan of trying to maintain a 45km/h average. We started off a little slow but held to our strategy and finished strongly on the last lap finishing in a time of 13min45 (only 35s behind the winners). Overall we had averaged 45km/h with my heart rate at  averaging 174bpm and maxing at 187max. 

Official Photos here
Results here

Men's B Grade TTT (10 Laps)
1. 13:10 Hawthorn Cycling Club
2. 13:32 Giant Celtic Race Team
    13:32 Racing for Canard#1
4. 13:39 The Kings Men
5. 13:42 Melbourne Uni CC
6. 13:45 Racing for Canard #2
7. 13:46 Team Wynn's

Friday, 10 February 2012

Training and more training

I have been busy training and have finally made the leap onto the Melbourne bunch rides They are fun and fast (more fun than racing). My first big race is the Mansfield crit and road race in March, until then I will keep seeing how long I can keep up 400-450km weeks. A typical week looks:

Monday - SKCC easy Monday ride
Tuesday - Either 6am NRR or 6.30pm Barkley St
Wednesday - SKCC bunch ride
Thursday - 6am NRR
Friday - rest
Saturday - Hell ride
Sunday - SKCC B grade crit + lots more easy k's

Monday, 23 January 2012

Tour Down Under 2012

A quick summary of my trip Adelaide. For the full set of photos, please click here.

Day 1 (36km)

After making the drive over from Melbourne, it was nice to unpack the bike and go for a easy roll from Glenelg down the Adelaide's equivalent of Beach Rd to Semaphore. From there it was time for happy hour on the balcony while the sun set.

Day 2 (100km)
The Down Under Classic was not to the late arvo which gave me plenty of time for two laps of Glenelg to Outer Harbor (a little further down the Beach Rd). After the first lap, it was time for the traditional daily coffee at Cibo's. I even attempted a ZABACCINO (Marsala and egg flavoured cappuccino) which surprisingly tasted better than I thought. After the second lap, time to cool off at the beach before catching the tram into the city for the team presentations (SKCC's own Matty Lloyd on the left) and the Down Under Classic. 

Day 3 (80km)
As there was no racing on Monday, the plan consisted of more coffee at Cibo's and riding along the beach. In the arvo, we drioe to Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills for a great lunch at the German Arms Hotel. The servings were huge, the beer cold and the wursts perfectly seasoned.

Day 4 (0km)
I finally gave into my body and had a day off the bike after. I drive to Stirling and had found a nice spot 150m from the finish. With the race pacing by 4 times, Stirling is a great stage and the only thing that would have made it better would having been riding to and from the stage. It is a nice climb up to Crafers and the way home is pretty much all downhill. William Clarke had an amazing ride managing to stick a solo break after being away for the entire race. One of our party ended up chatting to Will's nervous parents trying to play it cool and control their nerves with the peleton hot on his heels. 

Day 5 (85km) 
I was back and today was going to be a tough ride with a head wind all the way to Victor Harbour. I rolled out of Glenelg on the back of the Hampton cycles bunch with 100 riders. The size of the pack was quickly halved with a solid effort up the Hellacove KOM giving me 6th overall on Strava (I did get relegated later that day after the others uploaded their files). With a quick stop at a BP for some much needed Powerade, it was on again to the actual KOM for Stage 2. It always brings me so much pleasure passing 3km worth of stationary cars at the top of the hill making the long hot ride into a head wind worthwhile. After the race passed through, I took it a bit easier rolling the last 30km to Victor Harbour and was greeted by great oceans views. I took the easy way home in the passenger seat of a car.
Day 6 (110km)
Today had a slightly different ride planned involving bike paths from the coast to city followed by a quick smash up Norton's summit (Adelaide's equivalent of the 1in20). I attacked my bunch 500m in and had made a good gap half way up. Out of nowhere I was overtaken by a bunch of 10 Hampton riders (from the day before) and then another 10-20 strugglers before the summit. They all kept going on another epic ride and I descended back down to Norwood to see the start of Stage 3. From here, more bike paths back to the coast and a easy roll back to Glenelg. Later in the arvo, I squeezed 36km worth of beach cruising before happy hour followed by karoke night TDU tradition of karoke at the Jetty bar. 

Day 7 (100km)
Today was the Queen stage up Old Willunga Hill which was another perfect stage to ride too. We managed to get on the back of a bunch of SKCC riders (which were a little lost) but they towed us to Aldinga where we stopped for a ice coffee and watched the race pass through. Back on the road to Willunga itnto a block, we came across a female Green Edge rider and we all rolled turns sharing the work load. We made it just in time to see the race pass through the town before we ascended up the 3km climb (avg ~8%). The crowd cheering as we rode up makin it a great experience. We found some shade just past the finish to watch the race come up for the first time with Nathan Haas solo of the front. The second time up with the bunch blown apart we saw the riders finishing in all conditions before riding back down and back to Glenelg. 

Day 8 (50km) 
With the finale in the arvo and the previous day rides, it was back to cruising along the beach with more coffee at Cibo's and more time at the beach.
Day 9 (0km)
Post tour depression and a 730km drive home. I still made time for one last coffee at Cibo's and was sad to see only one bike out the front. Overall a very successful trip with almost 650km's ridden and I could think of no better place to stay than on the waterfront at Glenelg with the beach and nightlife only 100m away.