Saturday, 17 September 2011

Casey (Windy) Fields World Championships - 1st Place C Grade

Ok, today I came in with a bold strategy - sit in and save myself then break 15mins to go. They said it couldn't be done, but I proved them wrong. The aim was to get on the front, pull a hard turn and ride casually away (as I have accidentally done in previous races) not alerting the group and once clear, put the hammer down. Today the field was slightly smaller than other weeks but it still contained a number of strong riders. The pace was on in the 2nd lap which was enough to split the bunch into two groups leaving 12(ish) riders in contention. Looking back over my Garmin data, judging from my heart rate there was another 4 break attempts before it all settled down into a steady rhythm. 
I was able to sit in up the back conserving myself for the big move while other riders jostled hard for position and a couple of the stronger riders continued to pull hard turns and make multiple break away attempts. Just past the 30min mark, there was a double attack (one attack followed by another) which tested my legs a little more than I would have liked, once completed I sat in and watched my heart rate reduce before making my way to the front. The key here was to pull a hard turn in the cross winds, form a gap between myself and the second rider and gradually pull clear. I was hoping for call back in the peloton to let him go, and once I had 50m I let my legs do the talking.
This was the point of no return. I just had to harden up and keep the pedals turning no matter how hard it hurt. I watched my heart rate climb to my lower VO2 zone and that's where it stayed for the remaining 15 minutes just as I have done previously at Kew Boulie ITT. There was plenty of confusion with multiple groups on the circuit passing each other, passing me and me re-passing them (including B grade). But this played to my advantage as I was unsure how far the C grade was actually behind me so I kept pushing hard. One lap to go I was joined by another solo C grade rider and we held it all the way to the finish 400m or so ahead of the remaining riders. I sat in behind the other rider approaching the line, and once he looked back around I made my move at the last minute leaving it for the judges to decide. The call fell my way and I was rewarded with my 2nd C grade win. Bring on B grade I say and crit season is only a few weeks away.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

King Lake 2011 - The worst day of riding is better than the best day of work

Today was one of those rides which was just great to finish. It was cold, windy, raining and I think it even hailed at one point. The first and major climb is designated as a Category 2 on Strava gaining 350 vertical meters over 7.3kilometers. I gave it a solid attempt averaging 19km/h but was no where near Will Walker's attempt. But, I will be back with some more training to give it another crack later in the year. Resting at the top of the first climb waiting for the bunch to regroup, I realised I was soaked through and shivering. After a quick snack and drink, it was time to get back on the bike. 

The weather didn't let up at all with the rain streaming down making for a very cautious descent on my behalf. A little further on I was thinking that we had made the wrong decision continuing with the full ride and from what I hear, quite a few of 120km riders opted out and took shortcut home. The next 40km's were uneventful with a strong wind appearing as the rain disappeared but the road remained wet. The sun finally poked its head out making the final few category 4 climbs a little more pleasant and by the time I finally started the descent into Whittlesea, I was relieved and finally starting to dry out.
Crossing the line on the four hour mark, I personally gained myself 30min over my previous and first attempt last year. From there, it was into a set of dry clothes and off to the pub for a parma and a beer. Overall, the King Lake ride was a success with the weather throwing in additional challenges making it a tough day in the saddle and I was glad to get the job done. Now to clean all the muck off the bike..........

Saturday, 10 September 2011

My prep for a big ride - King Lake

Tonight I am preparing for a big ride at King Lake early tomorrow morning. Having completed a number of larger rides and races I have got better at preparing which makes the day a lot more enjoyable and the ride a lot easier. The list is solely based on my experiences and hear say and may not contain any actual benefit:

The Day Before
  • A easy (E1) coffee ride of 40k's down Beach Rd. This helps loosen the legs without wearing them out. They key here is letting all the other riders go past and not engage in any activity that raises the heart rate too high (this is hard, I have to think about future pain I will cause my friends)
  • A big dinner of pasta with a only a can or so of scotch and coke
  • A early night 
  • A final check and clean of the bike (if my tires are old and the ride is important, I may even put a new set of rubber on and relegate the old tires to my training bike)
  • Additionally, I lay out all my kit so I can just basically get up and go in the morning 
The Day of the Ride 
  • A decent breakfast of carbs that are easily digestible and a caffeine fix to assist the early start
  • On the way there, I have bidden of sports drink and a muesli bar to top up the tank 
  • A hydration plan of 1 bidden per hour of riding. I normally carry 1 of sports drink and 1 of plain water
  • Plenty of food that you have tried before. I prefer muesli bars and the occasional gel or lollies. I have tried multiple products and there is nothing worse than a dry sports bar that is hard to get down and when the pace picks up.
  • Clothes are important and the more layers the better especially if the ride is long and there is a chance of rain. Rain jackets, arm & leg warmers, under shirt and sometimes double knicks are recommended.
After the ride 
  • I normally smash lots of food and water to assist recovery. But sometimes to celebrate I may have a beer but I do not condone this practice especially if your driving. 
  • If it is a really big ride, there is nothing better than a afternoon nap and some couch time with your legs elevated followed by more scotch and cokes 

Friday, 2 September 2011

National Boluie C Grade - 5th

Today was my first time racing at National Boulevard in Campbellfield and boy was it windy. Riding the course before the race showed that the surface was nice and smooth with nice corners and only one intersection. Winds were up to 40km/h which mean it was quick down the main street but the pace up the back was closer to a snails. Conditions were not going to be favorable for a small breakaway but it is always worth a try. Photos can be found here and yes I was going way too fast for the camera too focus.

Early on there was a man solo off the front but the pack kept him in site and slowly wound him in over a number of laps. After that it all settled down and was almost getting a little boring. I was sitting protected near the back when suddenly, a decent break was starting to form and a gap beginning to open so I put my head down and made it across. To my surprise no one was on my wheel and there was 6 of us away. I tried to work especially hard on the front as good training for future events knowing full well this would hurt me in the final sprint. Most people were working with only one or two riders sitting on and we were able to stay away.

As the bell went signaling the final lap, I was unfortunately on the front and decided I might as well have a early crack and make the others work to catch me. Suddenly another rider shot past and it was on all the way to the line. Around the last corner, I had unfortunately had already spent to much energy and there was not enough left in my legs for the final kick managing to roll over the line in 5th place. I felt strong overall and it is only a matter of time until I sort my timing and get on the podium.