Friday, 26 August 2011

The 'nongs - Round 1

Since I have committed to race two Cycling Victoria events later in the year, it was time to head to the hills to get some training in and give racing a miss for once (it was a sprint based point competition anyway). The two big events I have highlighted for myself are the Tour of Bright (ToB) and the Stratford, both contain significant climbs. As I am still recovering from illness, I was happy climbing the 1:20 twice and the Wall once with a few descents in bewteen. According to Strava, completing these 3 Cat. 3 climbs totalled 1100m vertical climbing. I have a King Lake ride planned coming up but will be back to the 'nongs in a few weeks to really attack the 1:20 with the aim for a 16min time.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Casey Fields - C Grade 6th

Today  I opted to give Casey Fields a go for the first time. I have heard mixed things about the dedicated criterium course but in general it was all positive except for the wind, I have heard it being called Windy Fields. The three main benefits of choosing the criterium today over a road race was firstly a sleep in (plus breakfast out to keep the missus happy), secondly a lot shorter drive (didn't need to drive out past woop woop for the Northern Combine) & finally it only only lasted an hour ( I am still sick with no voice). As with all criteriums, the pace was on in the first 10 minutes until it relaxed shedding any riders not ready for C grade. There was a few break away attempts through out the day (including a few by myself), but due to the windy conditions it made it extremely difficulty and the race was to be decided by a sprint.

On the second last lap I was on the front and starting to overtake B grade until they suddenly shot off like a rocket, just to be passed by us on the next lap. The last lap had a average speed of  43km/h and I was in a good position on the back of the Melbourne Uni lead out train, Unforgettably I didn't have enough closing speed to come around any body on the way to finish rolling through 6th. Overall it was a great circuit with smooth corners, smooth surface and no gutters which made it great for racing. The windy conditions made it hard work up the back so I chose to put myself consistently in the top 10 even though it meant occasional turns on the front. I will be back with the goal of setting up a breakaway for the win. Who wants to come with me?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Kew Boulevard ITT C Grade - 1st Place

I felt surprisingly strong after yesterday's 96km handicap rolling around the streets of Kew before the race. I had made the last minute purchase of a set of TT bars at the The Freedom Machine in Port Melbourne with the goal of setting myself a new PB. I have never ridden with TT bars before and it felt a little weird but the position was at least comfortable. I decided on the Vision mini clip on bars with the help of the friendly staff with the basis that I didn't have to change my riding position between stages in the Tour of Bright and I can't justify a shiny new TT bike (well just yet).
I had slight issues with the chain slipping at the start but this wasn't going to be an issue as I had planned to leave it in the big ring for the entire race (by the way I had a over generous 28 on the back. On the line, I was off like a shot working my way into the 53 x 11 on the downhill hitting 60km/h with fresh legs. I was flying  past the Sunday riders and felt pro using TT bars. By the end of the first lap, I had passed the first three riders ahead of me and I was on target for a PB. At one point I was starting to over cook it a little and used the downhills to recover. At mid point of my second lap, I had a minor scare with my back wheel slipping out while going around the roundabout. But I kept the rubber side down and my composure ready for an all out 5km ride to the finish. The plan was to use up everything I had left and then roll over the finish line destroyed but satisfied I had given it my all. In the last two k's I kept the pedal down and was deep in the hurt locker driven by the clock slowly ticking over with the finish line in site. I had smashed my previous time from two weeks ago with a lot of the credit going to the new TT bars, some to the extra experience riding on the boulevard (my 3rd outing) and a little to myself as I had managed to go marginally harder according to my average heart rate.

CCCC Les O’Mara Handicap

After having success at the last Modella handicap, I decided to give it another go. As always I wasn't highly confident as my legs were still store after ripping apart the Thursday night bunch ride in Sale. There was large numbers all round and my bunch off at 12min was exceptionally big. Conditions were great with no wind and for once it wasn't even that cold (Garmin showed 14degC). The group worked fairly well together given the size with large rest times between efforts which assisted recovery. It didn't take too long for us to catch the 16min group which had some strong riders including the infamous hard man Tommo from Warragul (Geoff Thomson) who won the Gippsland 3 Day Tour back in 1977. He was riding his stealth black Parlee which was easily one of the nicest bikes there. The now combined 12 & 16 min group continued on rolling consistent turns but it wasn't to the 2nd lap where we picked up the last remaining riders becoming the front of the race.

Entering the final 20km's we were told that there was only a 60sec gap on the bunch behind. A few k's down the road, the gap was down to 40secs and a majority of riders decided it was time to sit up and recover before being caught. Once caught, the large Lycra train of men (and one woman) steamed forward towards the finish line. With 5km's to go, the pace was high and the road was full riders making it hard to move towards the pointy end of the bunch. 1km to go, the pace had increased to near on 50km/h and was starting to turn into mayhem with a few riders slowing down mid bunch. I was too far back and content to roll though in the winning bunch. I had felt surprisingly strong and had made a big improvement over my race there previously. Overall the 12min bunch averaged just over 41km/h with Tommo taking out 2nd. Now time to focus on my recovery in preparation for another ITT tomorrow at Kew Boulevard.