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Entries For: June 2008


Carrots and peas


I got my strength work done this morning and was happy with it and looking forward to going up a gear tonight at DISC.   Then, time to do some coaching. Just after I had my human guineapigs in the Power House doing squats, dumbell presses and lunges (and they did evry well, both are rapidly improving their technique), I had to go and feed my real guineapigs.  I have two runs, one out the front and one around the back.  I had a big bowl of chopped carrots for them.  I usually feed the front ones first.

I stepped off the edge of the porch and rolled my right ankle, quite hard on what was maybe a loose brick.  I thought I'd broken it at first. I called Lucie and she came out and helped me up and upstairs, and we've compressed & iced (peas!) it, but it's quite painful on one side, I might have torn something, if it's not healing in a few days I'll have to go see a doctor.  No cycle training for me tonight at DISC. I'll have to hobble around on crutches shouting at people.  I can do that.  Enforced rest, not what I wanted right now, but C'est la Vie.

I'm going to have to do something about the front run, I might have room to put them all in the back run, which is very big and has easy access, with no big stepdowns onto uncertain ground.  This is the second time I've fallen off the edge, last time I got a scare, this time, an injury.


It was supposed to be an easy tootle

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I had a 1 hour E1 ride to do today, planned to be a tootle just to turn the legs over ...

Tomorrow's an intense day.  Weights and velodrome sprint efforts, so today was an easy E1 cruise for an hour just to tick over the legs and burn off last night's pizza.  That was the plan anyway ... I took off from aboc HQ with the idea of having a look at the Eastlink path, seeing how it went from the Mitcham Rd crossing and on.  I got on at the bridge over Eastline at Mitcham Rd, and found that it was closed off firmly at Park St, so followed a fit climber-type along the Mullum Mullum creek road.  That sucker is hilly!  So much for E1/easy cruising, it was roll down, granny gear grovel up, repeat!  Once I got onto the path again, it was nice, not very practical for training or commuting as it's full of sharp bends and has poor sight lines, but a pleasant amble to Ringwood, then down to Canterbury Rd, jump the fence and then to Burwood Hwy before coming back home along the road.  All up I got my hour and my HR average was at the top of E1, but that hides the frequent E3 and above efforts.  Hrm....



Skinsuit pattern

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The skinsuit to be seen in this summer and winter

Here it is, the first aboc skin suit.  I hope to have them in production in a week or two.

skinsuit v3 top

Tonnage for today

Today's lifting in the Power House

After a decent night's sleep (relatively) and a paltry 3km on the bike commuting to Cycle Science yesterday, today's weight session was good.  I managed to get reasonably good form on 5 x 5 squats at 140kg. Rightey-oh, I'm now pushing more with full squats than Anna Meares is.  In a way that's a bit of a mark, she's one of the best track sprinters, and while she's a girl, she's still faster than anyone I know who's riding today.  I think she'd give Big J a run for his money and also Fast Eddie and The Wizard.  For the benefit of those who haven't been reading this and also coming to the Bontrager Summer Sprint Series, Big J is Jeremy Mclay, Fast Eddie is Eddie Wilson and The Wizard is Barry Woods, who didn't race the sprint series last summer, but assures me he'll be there to mix it up this coming summer.

Tonnage for today, squats :

3,500kg (25 lifts of 140kg) not including warmup etc.

Leftover spag boll for lunch was yummy!  Go you molecules of protein'y goodness, build more strength such that I may ride faster!

I'm taking some guineapigs (people, not my oinkers in the garden) to the Mermet center tonight to do my first supervised strength coaching session with Peter Cayley.  I think I have it sussed out.



Watt was that?

Another PB on the power meter tonight

This morning, 5 sets of 5 @ 135kg deep squats, then some bench and a set of deadlifts, then eat and recover.  Tonight at Spin, a new PB, 1358 watts. It's up 10 on my previous.  I'm happy with that.

Let's see if it can translate into faster times at DISC on Sunday at the aboc DISC session.  Time to push a bigger gear and see how it goes.

In other news, you can see Anna Meares squatting 4 @ 140kg here.


The times they are (not) a changing!

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A quick look over my flying times for the last few months

Date distance time speed
25/03/07 200 14.13 50.96
13/04/08 100 7 51.43
13/04/08 100 6.97 51.65
13/04/08 100 7 51.43
20/04/08 100 6.81 52.86
20/04/08 100 7.06 50.99
04/05/08 100 6.9 52.17
04/05/08 100 6.81 52.86
11/05/08 100 6.79 53.02
11/05/08 100 6.81 52.86
01/05/08 100 6.75 53.33
26/05/08 100 6.78 53.1
15/06/08 100 6.78 53.1
15/06/08 100 6.93 51.95
22/06/08 100 6.9 52.17
22/06/08 100 6.89 52.25

I think it's time I switched gears, 91.8" is too little for me I think, but 53km/h is only 123rpm.  I should be able to spin faster than that. I think I need to do more spinning drills to get my leg speed up.  All this weight training may be good for strength but it's important to keep spinning.


One of the ways to measure weight training is tonnage

Today, after finally finishing "Practical Programming for Strength Training" Mark Rippetoe And Lon Kilgore, and lessons learned from the AS&C course, I've changed my lifting program.  I'm basically a 'novice' in terms of strength development (not surprising, I've only been in the Power House for 4 months).  They define a novice as someone who's still able to improve at every workout (subject to a few backoffs and unloads every few months when you plateau), an intermediate who needs a structured week to improve, and advanced as needing month blocks or more as you approach your genetic limits it's harder to improve.  They say do 5 sets of 5 until you're no longer a novice lifter, as it's the most efficient way to use the time lifting and is a good balance of strength and hypertrophy.

The basic idea at this point is to keep it simple,  I'm doing squats every session, in 5 sets of 5 reps, with the aim of the final set being very hard to complete.  If I get all 5 sets of 5, next session, the weight goes up.  These are full (as full as I can on a reconstructed knee anyway) squats.  Today, 5 x 5 @ 130kg.  That's a tonnage squatted of 3,250kg. When you look at it like that, it's quite a lot of weight.  Anna Meares did 4 reps at 140kg the week before she rode an 11.178 flying 200 at Vodafone, I know I can do one set of 140kg 5's because I did that last week, so I'm stronger than Anna at squats! She's a little faster than me though...  A predicted indoor F200 time for me at the moment based on flying 100's is around 13.7s, and that's waaaaay too slow.

I'm doing jump squats every second session, deadlifts every second session (alternating them, basically) and lunges every second session.  That doesn't quite add up yet, I'm still working on the details.  Also doing bench every session, and either wide arm pullups or bent over rows every second session, so each session is around 4 exercises with a mix of pushes and pulls on the major groups.  Three Power House sessions a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. This meshes in with ergo sessions on the bike and DISC on Sundays over winter.  Over summer we'll be doing a lot more work at the Blackburn velodrome.

One of the key things to remember is that the Power House training is a means to an end, not an end in itself.  If I can end up deep squatting 200kg or so, that'll be great, but what I really care about is riding faster.  It's going to take time and patience, and I may end up being dog-slow at the end of it anyway, but there's only one way to know, and that's to give it a go.


Working with Peter Cayley

I'm very lucky, Peter Cayley is going to supervise my time for AS&C

I spoke briefly with Peter Cayley today, who is one of the top strength training people in this country, a member of Hawthorn Cycling Club and the Victorian Weightlifting Association.  He's agreed to supervise my training sessions for 10 hours for the requirement for my level 1 AS&C qualification.  I'm lining up some of my riders to come along and be my 'BYO trainees'.  We'll be at the Mermet Center in Hawthorn on Thursday nights for a few weeks while I rack up the required 10 hours under supervision.

Thankyou Peter!


More pennies dropping

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In today's Age, more people see reality.

The article.

Relevant quotes, Tracee starts with :

BRING on the price rise. I know that I'm supposed to be worried about petrol going up, but something about the hysterical predictions that we'll be paying $2 a litre for it by the end of the year has been strangely exhilarating. It's like a great, big penny has finally dropped. Except I don't feel panicked, I feel relieved. Relieved that we'll be paying more realistic prices for such a finite resource. Relieved that short-sighted government policies over the past decade have been exposed. And relieved that it's forcing so many people to rethink how and when they use their cars. Including me.


She rabbits on a bit about helmets, hair and lights, but then adds :

So now I'm about to enter a whole new phase of commuting. Well, at least I hope I can stay committed to biking it to work as often as possible. I figure that even if I relent on one or two days a week, I know I'll be doing more than I was when I was driving to work every day.

She'll save herself a fortune, and it's good for all of us. She finishes with this hopeful paragraph :

I just hope this petrol crisis has the right kind of outcomes. More personal responsibility, firmer buttocks and some real government vision on public transport and sustainable energy supplies — not a mad dash to keep plundering the planet's ever-diminishing fuel resources.


It's interesting that while many of 'us' see this coming, our govenments seem so keen to hide the scary truth from the great unwashed suburban mcmansionites.  Rudd, Brumby etc must be aware of peak oil and the issues it's bringing to the fore, very very quickly.  You could kinda forgive Howard, he was so blinded by obedience and cowtowing to the yanks that he couldn't see the elephant in the room (and with the baby bonus?  MORE people?  BRILLIANT! That's just what we need ... not enough water, not enough fuel, hey! let's encourage the punters to breed more, that'll be a great solution ...) But Rudd knows about peak oil and he knows what's coming (or his advisors are totally stupid).  What's happening in Oz at a government level to reduce the harm?  More of the same? It won't work, Kevin.


Good News! Powertap to go ANT+Sport

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And they'll be upgrading older PT SL 2.4's to ANT+Sport too ...

From today, the good news is Saris are updating the Powertap SL 2.4's to use full ANT+Sport wireless (previously only ANT with their own propriatory protocol).  This means that you'll be able to use a PT hub with a Garmin 705, Qranium etc.  They'll be releasing an update to the older PT SL 2.4's to talk ANT+Sport 'soon'.

They've also seen some sense and got one with a steel freehub, so no more dig in.

Read about it here.

Looks like they're also throwing down the gauntet at Kurt Kinetic with an updated line of trainers.  Their older Fluid 2 is inferior to the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, I wonder how the new one will go?  I'm keen to get my hands on one for a look and a play. They do say 'the PowerBeam Pro resistance unit offers sustained resistance of over 1300W', so reading between the lines it's not a sprinters toy (1300 watts? pah!), but for enduros, maybe it's competitive with the KKRM or some of the TACX mag trainers.

In other news, Nath and I will be at DISC tonight for our first races since last summer.  No promises of any sort of form, I expect to be flat and slow, especially as I have a strength session to do this afternoon before I head out to DISC.


Another record night at Spin

We keep getting more people coming ...

Tonight, despite a few regulars being missing, we had 22 people attend our spin session at the Blackburn velodrome.  This is a new record, I'm glad I made a big bolla sauce and brought extra pasta this week, as no-one went hungry at the end of the night.  We had a slight problem with missing whiteboard markers, but thanks to Alex, that was quickly sorted.

We must be doing something right, more people keep coming and they keep coming back.  Compared to last year, where we had an average of 8 or 9 per session, this growth is amazing.  I'm not counting myself and Nathan as we're coaching the session, but also doing the 'sprinters stream' which is a 40 minute block, while the enduros generally suffer for 90 minutes.  Nath and I are tagging at half time, with him taking the warm up and I take the main body of the session, and we do our ergo sets when the other is looking after the session attendees.

I'm amazed by how well it's all going.  So far the Sunday DISC sessions have been sustainable, they're just at break-even point and we have a good core of trackies who make it regularly, it's not growing as quickly as Spin, but it's growing and we're happy with it so far.

In other news, my new weight training shoes arrived, and I was keen to use them, squatting (full) 3 x 10 @ 130kg (2 mins recovery between sets), then a couple of sets of jump squats (2 x 10 @ 90kg, 2 mins recovery), then some very feeble chinups and finishing with lunges.  The reason for the 3 x 10 for the full squats is that I'm still finding my limits.  I can 1/4 squat 5 x 210kg, but full squats are harder and I wasn't sure where to start.  Once I find some sort of limit the reps will drop and the sets will increase to work on strength.  This fairly hard leg session did steal a bit of thunder from my ergo set at Spin, peak power was down at 1318 watts from last week's PB of 1348, and I was stuffed for the last 15 seconds of our 45 second HCLR's (on the 2, quick, find HRMax!) so my power dropped away quite quickly during those efforts.

For anyone interested, here's my graph from Cycling Peaks


To make sense of it, what we did tonight was :

  1. 10 min E1 warmup
  2. 2 x 10s big gear slow start sprint on the 5 (the two big peaks, this is where we're hitting Pmax)
  3. 5 x 10s sprint on the minute, these are in a medium gear from a rolling start
  4. 5 min E1 recovery
  5. 2 x 45s HCLR on the two
  6. E1 warmdown

And that's the sprint session for the night. I wish we had some way to incorporate weight training and non-power work (the track bike has a Polar S720 and a speed sender so I get time, HR and speed, but not the great god, watts!) completely into Cycling Peaks. My charts for TSS etc are feeble, but it's not because I'm not training! 

Finally (I can't sleep for hours after running Spin ...) my accountant says I'm getting a tax refund for '06-'07 which I did not expect, so I might be able to spring for a good video camera to use for the Summer Sprint Series and for pedaling and weight training analysis.  I'm looking at a Sony VX2100 which is a good quality camera with all the fruit as recommended to me by Nick Bird from Media Production House/Waterbyrd Filmz.





Wikipedia defines hero as

A hero (from Greek ἥρως hērōs[1]), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, the offspring of a mortal and a deity,[2] their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion.

Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters that, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice, that is, heroism, for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.


What do we use heros for?  Inspiration I think.  So who, or what, inspires us? Lance Armstrong?  Sure, he fits the classical definition, adversity, certainly he had to overcome cancer, which is one of the biggest hurdles anyone could overcome and that's something many of us have been close to in some form or other. Lance represents hope, survival and the will to sieze the day. I'm still wearing my Livestrong band. I don't expect I'll ever stop doing so.

But anyone 'real'?  I think so.  I'm not inspired by Cadel Evans or Ryan Bailey or Anna Meares, because they're not people I can really relate to. They're born gifted athletes, and I have much respect and admiration for them, and I'm a fan, when Anna set that blistering time at Vodafone on Thursday last week I had a lump in my throat and couldn't stop cheering her on, and watching Ryan Bailey kick so hard it's almost inhuman to win sprints is incredible to watch, Cadel's endurance and courage ... Amazing stuff, but it's far removed from where I am.

The people I work with, those of us not born with genetic advantages that put us miles ahead before we start, but those for whom finishing mid-field in a D grade tour is a major achievement, for those who being promoted to B grade is the highlight of their cycling, for those who started off tootling on hybrids who can now rattle off a 100km ride without drama, or who have had serious injuries but who commit to taking the risk of training and aiming for goals, and putting everything they can into achieving those goals.  You all know who you are, you're my inspiration.  Thankyou.




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We're getting close to having aboc skinsuits at last

It's been a long time coming (I think over a year) but we're finally almost ready to get the aboc skinsuits done.

richard’s skinsuit findRowbust have got a PDF template for me, and I've been hacking away with Illustrator to come up with a design roughly based on Richard Grace's suggestion, pictured on the left.

We're at the stage of firing around drafts, the current (v2) draft is a pattern, so you'll need to do some mental jigsaw rearrangements to visualise the suit, but here we go :

skinsuit v2 top

The bottom half :

skinsuit v2 bottom

I hope to have a test print of this in the next week or so and then we'll take orders.  I will need a minimum of 10 to get an order in. I expect they'll be around $160 for the suit. Expressions of interest? email me!



Blackburn promo video

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Nick Bird and Eleanor Sharpe have made a film

Nick and Eleanor from Waterbyrd Filmz have just released a promo video for Blackburn.  Check it out (tip: watch the high res version) :



Published photos again

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aboc photos from Revolution 3 on

A selection of the best shots we got from Revolution 3 are on Check it out here.


Anna Meares blows everyone away

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At Revolution 3 tonight, Anna Meares was the main event, and did she deliver the goods? Yes!

Anna's ask to get to Beijing, a 11.77 flying 200.  She's coming back from a broken C2 in a fall early this year.  She's been lucky with a world cup result earlier in the year that saw her keep a chance alive despite no competition for months.

Can she do it?anna meares crosses the 200m line

A packed Vodafone Arena, drums beating, heated air to make it less dense.  She's away.  Hitting the line at full speed, 200m done in 11.189 (64.35km/h).  The crowd goes wild.  She made it look easy in the end.

anna meares and the blackburn sprintersAfterwards she has time and the grace to give a couple of starry eyed junior sprinters a photo and encouragement to follow their own dreams and aim for the sky.

There was other racing on the night, but Anna was the main event, and she showed again what a champion she is. Go Anna. Go go go!


Go Monna, go Anna, gone Shane

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Exciting times and great champions

Monique Hanley, who was the guest speaker at the last aboc dinner, starts her defence of the Race Across America today.  Details here.

Tonight Anna Meares has her chance to get to Beijing.  She can't defend the 500m ITT she holds because it's no longer an olympic event, but she can race the sprints if she can do a flying 200 in less than 11.77s (61.172km/h).  At that time, she'd be about as quick as big Jeremy Mclay at the Bontrager Summer Sprint Series was (12.16s, on a slow outdoor track).  We'll be there to cheer her on at Revolution 3 tonight at Vodafone.

Yesterday at a closed session at DISC Shane Kelly and Ben Kersten had a race of sorts (645m ITT) to decide the final place in the mens sprint team for Beijing.  Shane Kelly was about 0.5s faster than Ben, and he is now going to his fifth Olympic games.  I've briefly met Shane and I count myself as a fan of him, he's a real gentleman of the sport and all I can say is 'top stuff, Shane' and good luck in Beijing.



Sizing bike

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I want one ...

Greedy, I know ...

Nice bit of kit.


Another PB

Another surprise.

After a reasonably light weights session around midday today (full squats, 3 x 10 @ 100kg, some bench strength work and 3 x 10 @ 100kg deadlifts to finish, so no real strength efforts, mainly hypertrophy) and feeling some achillies twinges during the squats if I wasn't very careful to keep my feet flat, and a distinct limp while walking, I wasn't expecting anything much at Spin tonight.  But, I managed to push out two 10s efforts above 1300 watts, including another PB.  1347 watts.  Still a long way to go before anything really worth getting excited about, but it was a pleasant surprise.  I only seem to get achillies pain when walking or climbing or descending stairs, on the bike with rigid shoes I don't notice any effects, and if I keep my feet flat on the ground no pain there either.

Nath and I are running half the spin session each, so we both get a sprint set in and the enduros get their full 90 minutes of pleasure.  We had a couple of enduros who switched over to the sprint group for some strength work, and while no-one chundered, it was close ... We might not train for very long, but it is intense and I think (and you know who you are if you're reading this!) it was a surprise to see just how hard a solid sprint session can be.  We do some high strength/power work, then a short high intensity endurance set of sprints and finish off with lactate work.  I almost brought up my lunch at the end of the second lactate effort .. urghhh

On the 'new gear' front, I've just ordered a set of Adidas "Ironwork II" lifting shoes from an interesting chap on ebay.  They're not cheap, $200 a pair, but they should be a lot more stable than runners when doingadidas ironwork ii shoes heavy lifting. The key thing about them is the firm sole, I think it's wood.  No 'squish' in them so when you lift your feet stay firmly planted.  I've read some recommendations to lift in bare feet, but the Power House isn't really set up for barefoot training and something in me likes the idea of token protection from dropped weights etc.

Tomorrow night is the first Blackburn club meeting with the new committee.  I'm catering for it if all goes well and it should be interesting.  Some of the club members aren't too happy about the roster for helping at races.  I hope the club sticks to its guns and makes sure it's enforced.  We have carrots, but also need sticks.

In other news, Tom Bonnen has reportedly tested positive for cocaine in an out of competition test.  Not good.  It's not something the UCI will sanction him for, but if it's true it's a shame.

On the good news front, Anna Meares will have a big contingent of aboc'ers cheering her on to do her best to qualify for Beijing at Vodafone on Thursday night. Her diary entry on Cyclingnews is a good one. Well worth a read.


Revolution 3

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The program for Thursday night's Revolution 3 racing at Vodafone

My media passes arrived in the mail today. w00t
The program for the night :

Thursday 12th June :

EM : elite male
EW : elite female

racing starts at 7pm
1 : elimination 20 laps EM
2 : Anna Meares F200
3 : Keirin heats EM
4 : 2 k dash M17
5 : 2k dash W17
6 : sprint heats EW
7 : keirin final EM
8 : scratch 30 laps EM
9 : points 15 laps W17
10 : sprint heats EM
11 : 4k IP EM
12 : sprint derby consolation final EW
13 : sprint final EW
14 : sprint rounds EM
15 : points 15 laps M17
16 : team sprint Oz vs Malasia EM
17 : Keirin final EW
18 : 20 lap motorpace/20 lap points (?) 40 laps total EM
19 : sprint final EM

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