Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cnr Barkly and Carlisle St - 6.30PM Tuesdays

This had to be the most fun I had on the bike in quite a while. After a few months of serious training for Dargo and the Tour of Bright, it was good to get back to my roots of bunch riding and just smashing it. Everyone was well behaved (no one chopping wheels like half the races I have been in recently) and besides from a few extra people wide at times, was legal and safe. After rolling down to Black Rock at a relaxed pace, it was on all the way back to the St Kilda BP. We managed to average 45km/h which was nice considering I was up the front for the start and up the KOM at Rickett's Point.

Garmin File here.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Coburg National Boluie and SKCC Crits - B Grade (Take 2)

Coburg Saturday 

Same deal as last week, ride - race - ride totaling a solid 100km for the day. Jesse (also Team Canard) was basically in every break, so I was able to just sit in near at the front and hope for a opportunity to bridge the gap. I made it half way across in one of the early breaks but the bunch caught me and also the break (I may have dragged the bunch across on my wheel). The last break was set to stick and I got in a good position for the last lap but hit the front too early and got passed around the top corner. I didn't contest the sprint and rolled through in the bunch. As usual we all rolled back to Freshman's for coffees and cakes (plural, not singular).

SKCC Sunday Pictures here
I was on the front as the first small break got reeled in and kicked straight away making it clear with 2 others. I was on full gas for the entire break and was glad when another rider joined us to reduce the workload. We had a good crack and managed to get a reasonable gap but all good things come to a end. Not too long after, I punctured mid field due to a safety pin left on the track. I was able to borrow a wheel and get back into the race thanks to BikeForce team on the sideline (they also repaired my puncture). Canard had a rider clear so I was able to sit in and get used to the feel of the new wheel around corners and this is how it stayed for the rest of the race. There was plenty of yelling but no one was working together and the break stayed clear (unfortunately our rider crashed out). 1 lap to go Eddie launched on the back straight and instantly created a massive gap. Gaps appeared everywhere as the bunch blew apart (including me) but I rounded the last corner in time to see Eddie roll over the line winning the bunch kick taking 4th overall.

P.S. Due to all the rushing around changing wheels during the race, unfortunately my clean bar tape is no longer so.

Friday, 16 December 2011

New bar tape

My bar tape had got disgusting and there was significant peer pressure from my team mates to fix it. Since image is everything in cycling and I have been rolling in my new red Sidi's, it was time to get off my arse to correct the situation.
 A quick look at You Tube, a pack of bar tape, pair of scissors and before 20mins was out, it was done. It was pretty easy and if you ask me it is not such a bad job. I must be sick because I also cleaned my chain and wiped down my bike ready for the big SKCC points race tomorrow.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Coburg National Boluie and SKCC Crits - B Grade

Saturday - Coburg National Boulevard
Saturday riding out to National Boulevard there was a strong head wind meaning a nice tail wind down the main straight and a head wind up the back. This being only my 2nd time racing the circuit and identical conditions (where a break stuck), allowed hope for a non-sprinter. Not to long in, a rider jumped clear and as I was feeling good, I jumped around the top corner making it across. As I did my turn and flicked my arm, my co-breaker mentioned he did not want to ride into the wind. ?!$@? Why did he initiate a break? Two more riders joined, giving me hope of having someone to work with, but the group would not work together and it was all over with the pack chasing up down. The rest of the race had plenty of other attempts but non stuck. On the last lap, I moved up the field but ran out of legs around the top corner finishing with the bunch.

Sunday - SKCC South Melbourne - Pics here

Numbers were significantly down today with early morning rain and wind (less than Saturday). Luckily enough the rain had cleared and the track was dry as we set off. The aim of the day was to keep the pace high and not let it come down to a bunch sprint. I got on the front early to help drive the pace before the attacks came thick and fast. With team mates up the road each time, I could sit in and hope for some shelter but due to the pace line formation and wind, it was fairly tough taking its toll on the peloton making it a short day for some riders. A decent break occurred and a number of riders started disappearing up the road. I was content sitting in the bunch until I looked around and realised that most the bunch was gone (in either direction). I tried to gun it and bridge the gap but it was too late. I fell back in with the remaining riders and started rolling turns as more riders disappeared leaving 4. This was sadly how it stayed until the end, we continued to roll steady turns but the gap remained and it was time to go home.

 (On the front passing D grade )

Monday, 5 December 2011

2011 Tour of Bright - C Grade

I successfully completed my first Tour of Bright last weekend and what a great event. This being my second Cycling Victoria event as I have only been racing for just over a year (and riding for less than two), I was a tad nervous the night before as I attached my transponder hoping it wouldn't move during the race (Tip #1 - always bring extra zip ties). C grade contained almost 120 riders on the original list with a only a few names I recognised and I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except that it was going to be tough. The personalised Rapha numbers and show bag were a great touch at the sign in (Tip #2 -always bring extra safety pins) which I just made it too at 8.50pm after driving up from work (never again).

The Gaps Loop Stage 1 - 91km &1040m 

As we rolled through the inflatable SRAM arches, everyone was jostling for position due to the big field and the first sprint being only 10km in. After everyone got settled, I was a back further than I would have liked but was nicely sheltered in he bunch steadily rolling along at speeds well over 40km/h. As moving up the bunch proved extremely difficult without crossing the center line, I settled into a rhythm focusing on saving energy, keeping up the fluids and staying alert for be sharp braking events that was rippling throughout the bunch. As expected, the pace kicked up going up Rosewhite gap and by the top almost 30 riders had been shelled. I too had slipped a little back the leaders crested the KOM and by the of bottom descent,  the gap had unfortunately grown. Suddenly the commisaire car had passed me and I knew I was in trouble. I worked hard with another rider and dug deep rolling turns. Finally after a eternity, we both managed to get back as the bunch sat up and the pace relaxed. From here I tried to conserve what I had left before ascending Tawonga Gap. At the feed station I grabbed a neutral drink bottle and by the time I looked up, I was already off the back. From there was nothing much I could do but ride t my threshold all the way to the finish passing an odd rider here or there, but it was too late the damage had been done. I finished 64th place in 2h48mins.

Individual Time Trial Stage 2 - 15.7km
I wasn't on till 4pm, so I refueled and watched a few of my other club members race. I am glad I went as it was a nice afternoon with temperatures in the high twenties. Suddenly I saw one rider go past wearing full head to toe skins and winter booties. The worst part was that I found out he was a fellow club member. For the rest of the trip, we renamed him CATWOMAN and at the final presentation he was presented with his own special award and checked for heat stroke. I got ready, rolled my legs out and it was finally time. I wasn't sure how I would go as my legs felt shot but I gave it everything and even passed one rider on the way out. By the halfway mark, I had thus far managed to hold of any riders passing me but it wasn't for long as Paul from Velobourne rolled on by. I held him in my sights as long as I could and finished in a time of 25m17 at a avg speed of 37.2km/h. It wasn't world record breaking, but a solid effort on a challenging undulating course moving me up a few passes on the GC.

Mount Hotham Stage 3 - 44km & 1040m (shortened due to adverse conditions)
I woke up feeling better than expected and was looking forward finishing what I had started. Due to the adverse weather conditions at the top of Hotham (wind, sleet and sub zero temperatures), the race was shortened by approx. 10km finishing just below the ticket booth. The race started very similar to yesterday, but speeds were lower due to the head wind and slight incline on the way to Harrietville. The race exploded at the second sprint as the elevantion kicked up. A couple of riders lost their chains causing a bit of havoc and by the time I had rounded the first corner, I was well back. From there, I did what I could to make up time managing to pass a number of riders but as time passed the gaps of daylight got bigger. A small grupetto formed and set a steady pace up the MEG growing larger in size with each rider we passed. At one point we were almost organised and started rolling turns, but this was short lived one rider pulling away. I had enough left in the bank to hang on and finish strongly in 1h43min finishing 53rd. 

Overall I managed to pull back a couple more GC places finishing 55th overall in a total time of 4hr56. Given that the winner of C grade and B grade had the same overall times, I was happy with my overall performance given the strong field. It was a great event that I would recommend to anyone that likes hills and multi stage races. I will definitely be back next year but perhaps arrive a day or two early instead of the late night run after work (Tip #3) and will definitely try to attend a training camp up in Bright (or two - Tip #4) to help prepare myself a little better for the larger hills.