Friday, 25 February 2011

Saturday morning training - the 90km Stockdale Loop

 After completing numerous training laps of the RAAF base in Sale and the more recent stints on Melbourne's Beach Rd, it was good to do a completely new ride with a new group. Today I ventured out with the SEMC (Sale Early Morning Crew) on the 7am ride leaving Sale through to Stockdale, stopping for a coffee at Stratford before rolling back into Sale.

As the Wellington Cycling club has its criterium championships on Sunday, I was told the pace was more subdued than normal. The key sections of the ride are Sale to Chins bridge (friendly), onwards to Munro and Banana Hill ( faster), downhill back to Stratford (fastest) and finally back to Sale (friendly again). Once the fog lifted, the day turned out to be a stunner with joyous times had by all. Banana Hill turned out to be a slight disappointment as I had already completed it without realising.

This is a great ride I'd recommend to anyone with a good amount of undulations on virtually car free roads. If this wasn't enough, here is my full Garmin summary of the ride

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The new toy...........

After a year of road cycling, almost 10thou kilometers on the red bike (rounding up of course), a week in Adelaide bike gazing and purchasing my first yearly CSV license -  it was a good time a upgrade. Now, it wasn't too hard to upgrade over an alloy bike with the trusty shimano 105 fishing reel running gear.  My main constraints being monetary and hedging bets where the bike will reside (and therefore which is the closest LBS - local bike shop).

1) Dollars - I couldn't justify spending  the price of a new small car on a hobby and racing the lower grades on a brand new 8k Quantum Team with Dura-ace and Zipps. 

2) LBS - The key to buying a new bike is too buy local as the LBS will support any issues going forward. Otherwise, everyone would buy online and save money upfront.

After a few weeks of research, I ended up finding a new older model Avanti Quantum 3.0 running Ultegra and carbon wheels from the LBS down the road. After purchasing it on a Friday after work, I raced a crit on Sunday. The bike felt feather lite and I noticed the cornering improvements straightaway. From here, I just feel sorry to the other people who I race and train against cause I feel like a million dollars on this new beast.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Another week, slow but sure progression. SKCC D Grade Crit, South Melbourne.

After another decent week of training, I felt slightly confident entering another D grade SKCC South Melbourne criterium. After a windy 60km ride down beach road yesterday, my legs had recovered and I was raring to go. 10 minutes into the race, I was feeling good and moved to the front to try and get into a breakaway - if only these ever succeeded into D grade. Nothing stuck, but the pace of the race had increased and their were some early victims. Even though these are unlikely to stick, there were a few people starting to work together in the hope that one may finally stick. Today wasn't the day.

Resting up at in the pack, I was ready for the final 3 laps and a fast sprint finish. Recently, I have started to focus on my sprinting skills. The one thing I learned in Adelaide from 'Dasher' Dove (former Austral & Melbourne to Warrnambool winner), is that everyone is a sprinter and to practice my 3 sprints out and 3 back. As the jostle for position started, I had found a great wheel 2 laps to go but managed to lose it after the leaders decided to cut the pace and I was stuck in the middle. 1 lap to, I gave it my all and fought hard to get back in contention overtaking a few riders before the last corner. Sprinting to the finish, I managed to roll through 5th with a gap behind me.

Overall, I was happy to crack the top ten for the first time in a large field and started to feel a bit more confident in my abilities. Next time I race, I be aiming for a place.