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Entries For: 2009


On a lighter note ...

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This is my bicycle, there are many like it, but this one is mine

Spotted by Euan over on the BV forums :


The Messenger's Creed from Dan Gingold on Vimeo.

Why do you ride?

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Reflection time ...

I often think about this, as a coach to others.  Why do we ride bikes, and even more interestlingly, why do we compete?

The first one's easy and multi-faceted.  I had lunch recently with a friend, and she told me of the joy she felt riding home with a tailwind, gliding effortlessly along in a small bunch with some friends.   I think most of us who cycle will know that feeling.  The riding's effortless, the speed, the distance, the good company ... Then there's the doing something you didn't know you could do.  Another good friend comes up to Hotham for our camps up there, and I can still remember the emotion he felt when he first topped out on the big monster.  That's such an intense feeling, it's worth working hard for.  There's also the somewhat egotistical 'I can do this' side of it, back when I rode a lot of road miles, I remember riding out to watch the Bendigo Madison, from Brighton (~220km for the day).  I stopped off at some small town for a snack on the way, and the staff asked me where I was going.  Bendigo? That's 100km from here!  Sure .. Where've you ridden from, Brighton?!  heh .. It makes us feel like super people.  Of course we're not, almost anyone can do that sort of stuff, they just don't think they can, so they don't try.

There's lots of other things, but I think they're probably the big three.  There's heath benefits, transport cost savings (until you start buying expensive bikes!), environmental reasons and so on as well, but for the people I work with, I think they're the main ones.

Ok, so why do we compete?

Again, many reasons.  I can think of a few, but they're very dependant on the situation of the individual.

Some, are very promising athletes (I'm lucky to work with one and she's a potential Olympian in 10 years if everything goes well).  They're motivated to compete because they can be the best in the world, or at least, they won't die wondering if they could have.  These are the very talented juniors.  They're very rare and when you find one, and if you're really, really lucky, get to coach one or even just be close to one, it's an amazing experience.  Some of you will know who I'm talking about.   I have been incredibly lucky to have had the chance to work with this junior and am humbled by it and her trust, every day.

Then there's the rest of us.  Some juniors, some masters, some 'elite' but a bit late to get started or without massive talent.  These people are the bulk of the people I coach (99%!).  I've spent some 8 years now coaching mostly masters, and I'm a masters racer myself too.  That said, I don't really understand why 'we' race.  I can only really relate it to my own case, and I'd love to hear your comments on why you do, if you do, or why you don't, if you don't.  Ugly sentence, I'm sorry!

So I'm going to prime the pump with my own story and a guess at my reasons, as best I can, and I hope you feel like commenting too.

I race because I feel bad if I don't.  I'm too old (38 now) to consider any sort of an elite career, although I was a chance as a kid playing Rugby Union my dad was right, I didn't have enough mongrel in me to be a senior elite rugby player.  I played state representative for Victoria in the 1980's from under 12's to under 16's and I was a pretty good player (a natural, in some ways), took a couple of years off (HSC, year 12, Uni ...) and then got back into it living in Perth when I needed some family.  I got one run on in the UWA rugby club 1st grade, and played 2nd grade as captain for a few years until, at the ripe old age of 26, I blew my knee up ski-ing and that was it.  I still miss the sport, its cameraderie and the whole 'being in a team' thing.  I dabbled in ice hockey for the Melbourne Sharks for a couple of seasons, again, got one skate-on in their 1sts (but only because they were short that day and no-one else in the 2's had the balls to go out and get smashed!  It wasn't because I was good enough, that's for sure!).  Found my limits, I'm an unco-ordinated skater.  Big and strong, but a crap skater.  I worked hard at it, did an awful lot of time on the ice, trained twice as much as everyone else on the team, but was only ever going to be a struggling-to-get-a-place-in-the-team B grade player.  I didn't have the skills at a good enough level.  I had the brains for it, tactically, and the work ethic, but not the skating or puck-handling skills.

So pretty-much from the age of 10 I competed in something - while I was at Uni I player water polo, and again, got to a reasonable standard (state-league 3, and two intervarsity championships) but I wasn't a natural at it, it was all from hard work.  As a really young kid (10-14 or so years old) I won all the school swimming stuff, and I think my old under 11 25m backstroke record may still be standing, from 1977!  I raced rallies (won the Rally of Melbourne PRC1 in 1999) and so on. So I've always been a competitor.  That's the gist of the above self-indulgent paragraphs.

I raced road for a few years, won my way up to B grade (thankyou Lorraine, I'll never forget you, and the day you told me to go up to B grade after Dunlop Road, RIP).  But, I was always a sprinter trying to be an enduro, wrong body type for hills.  So now I race track sprint and I feel like I'm racing the right thing for me.  The training feels good, the racing, I love.  I don't win much but I love the one-on-one match sprinting, can't get enough of it.  I'll never be any good at it though, if I'm lucky and train hard enough I'll achieve a few personal targets, but world masters?  I don't think I have the talent for it at any age group and I would feel bad if I pretended otherwise.  I'm just not fast enough and going 'just because I can' devalues the achievements of those who are genuinely good enough to go.  Maybe, if I'd raced bikes as a kid and burned in the motor patterns for high cadence power .. but I was playing rugby at the time and swimming and I'd do it the same again if I had my time over (but I'd train smarter and do better strength work!).

That still doesn't really answer the question of why do I race?  Maybe it's a distraction from work/eat/sleep?  Maybe it's some deeply seated psychological thing that needs competition as an outlet?  I know if I don't compete in something I can be a real grouch and I feel bad about myself.  But why?  Why get on a bike and do efforts that end in nausea and vomiting, why get into a gym and lift very heavy things, why spend a fortune on go-faster bits?  I don't know.  What's the reward at the end?  Why do relatively old men like me and many of my friends and aquaintances train so hard, modify our lives, risk our relationships and devote so much time to what is only a recreation?  We take it so very, very seriously (some to an amazing, and probably an unhealthy degree!).  But we can't do it as a career, we're only doing it for ourselves and our own vanity, or is it something more?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this ... Why do you race and train?



Chris Hoy squats

And if you're a sprinter, so should you!

Recognise this man?

Chris Hoy squatting

That's Chris Hoy.  Squatting around 225kg.  From this article.

And just for a laugh, this is how not to build leg strength.  Really, bodybuilders are a zany bunch of guys ... Zany ...


Books for sale!

Over at the Powerhaus ...

You read right, I'm selling books now.  If you've been doing strength training with me in the 'Haus, some of this will be old-hat, but it's how we do it.  Mark Rippetoe's 'Starting Stength: Basic Barbell Training' 2nd Edition is THE book on strength training techniques for beginners to strength training and for those who've wasted years in gyms doing silly BS on isolation machines, like most of us who knew no better at the time.

I'm selling it over at the PowerHaus.

That's it for the spam in my blog ... I promise!


Vale Lorraine Collings

Mal Sawford has forwarded the terrible news that CCCC legend and handicapper without equal Lorraine Collings died on Sunday.

Lorraine was CCCC's handicapper and known to just about everyone who races bicycles in Victoria and around the country.   I remember her well, and very fondly.  She knew everyone, and could spot a sandbagger at 100 paces.

One of my proudest moments in cycling as a competitor was being told by her I had to move up a grade.  I was lucky, she had to tell me twice.

Lorraine, you'll be much missed by all of us.

Getting your teeth into it

We had a very good training session last night at DISC

Thanks to everyone who came to DISC last night for our training session.  The AIS-inspired K1 drill went well for the sprinters and the revouts .. what a blast!  Em's legs were a blur! We were very happy to have Fast Eddie come and train with us, and hopefully he'll be a regular, he's looking strong and is blisteringly quick and is one of those genuinely good guys that's great to have around.

So what else has been going on?  I've been to Adelaide and done the first part of the level 2 cycle coaching course.  Mixed feelings on that.  Some of the presenters were excellent, Craig Colduck (strength coach) and Shona (AIS recovery) in particular were superb.  Some of the presenters were presenting some quite dated material and some were clearly poorly prepared and not willing to explain what they did in much detail.  To be fair, that wasn't always their faults, John Beasley was brought in at the last minute to fill a gap and even with limited preparation he was a solid presenter.

It was a pretty intense 6 days and I met some really good people and caught up with some old aquaintances as well.  There's a lot of work to do to finish the level 2 but I don't see it as being terribly difficult, just time-consuming.

We had the third round of the SSS just after I got back, and I rode a shocker of a flying 200 (despite near perfect conditions!), a 13.8-something.  I knew I'd be flat after the 6 days in Adelaide doing bugger-all, sitting down a lot and eating sugary food too much.  My warmup in the 'Haus on the Sunday morning was no false alarm, I was flat and weak!

But I did manage to win a couple of races, despite being in a hole.  I'd qualified slowest in B grade, which wasn't a good sign, but Leon Simms didn't bring his race-face and I got him in the first heat :


But in the second, Ed Osbourne has a savage jump and he used it to smash me to bits!


Too easy, Ed!  Well done!

In the third heat I was up against Wayne Arazny.  Wayne has a habit of racing Glenvale in the morning, which means he comes tired and hasn't the snap I know he's capable of.  After a f200 and two sprints, he's toast, and it shows :



So two wins, but with a bad F200, I'm not in the finals this time.  C'est la Vie.  Next time ... There's two solid months of training between now and round 4.  I'm a bit burnt out, but with an easy week I'll be right, and I'm gunning for a 13.2-something at Blackburn this season.  That's the goal.  I've done a 13.4, I can find another 0.2s ... Somewhere!


The round went really well, our team was superb (Thanks Sue and Jodie and Anne and Lucie) and everyone had a ball.



Wattage figures for the night

Tonight's last Spin for 2009 went well

I'll write more tomorrow when I'm feeling less nauseus after a smashing at Spin tonight.  The data (after a heavy set of deadlifts yesterday) - Ppeak : 1459w, Torque : 202.9 N-m.  Peak cadence (using the wild guess Powertap, but the graph shows it might be right) 198rpm.

That'll do.  Sleep .. trashed now ..

I appologise for being a bit quiet, after I got back from Adelaide I've had a lot of real-world work to do to keep the debt collectors away and also we had the (fantastic!) SSS round 3,  that sucks a lot of time.  Things will be 'normal' soon.


Edging closer to a brave new world

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Gene doping, for real ...

Remember the super-kid from a few years ago?  A genetic mutation that allowed a lot more muscle growth than a normal human can grow.

Well, sure enough (and maybe this isn't a bad thing overall?) it's soon going to be available to all of us, sorta ..

Read this.

If it's not happening already, this is going to be used by athletes to get an edge.  Superman?  Here we come ...



Anna to race the boys

Not the men, the boys

Revolution is back (after the cancelled round this winter due to some sponsor pulling out at the last minute ...).  If you haven't been to one, it's a track race night, at Melbourne Park (sometimes called Vodafone, or Hisense).  It's like a world cup but all rolled into one evening, with, so far, an emphasis on sprint events (ace!).  It's a bloody good night's entertainment if you're into track sprint events.

It's not strict UCI format, which can make for a more entertaining format at times (like the Summer Sprint Series isn't UCI format either).  There's a keirin being run there, not unusual .. what's unusual is that this time, it'll be mixed.

Mixed.  Girls and boys.  Sprinters.

Hold on a minute, how does that work?

Elite female sprinters do flying 200's in low 11 seconds, elite men are breaking 10's (Hoy rode 9.8s in Manchester recently).  So the women can't race the men, but they can race the boys.  There's not a lot of depth in the female sprint ranks.  At the recent UCI world cup there was 4 or 5 women who were competitive, the rest were a lot slower, so the women don't have a lot to race against.  Until they race junior men, who are also doing low to mid 11s flying 200's.  There's a bold thought (we do it at the SSS ... no gender seperation, grading on performance and we're not the only ones).  So at Revolution 5, Anna Meares and co will be racing 17 boys in a Keirin.

Good on 'em.



Adelaide ...

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I'm in Adelaide for a week

In case anyone's trying to get in touch with me, I'm in Adelaide from the 28th Nov until the 4th of Dec doing a level 2 cycling coaching course.  I don't expect I'll get to blog much, there's 6 jam-packed days to work through.

I'll get your emails, eventually!


More on the evils of sugar

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I'm starting to sound like a conspiracy nut ....

From this article.

The good news, exercise, in particular resistance training, is really good for you, even though for basic energy level control it's not that good it's own :

Exactly, in fact exercise is the best treatment. The question is why does exercise work in obesity? Because it burns calories? That's ridiculous. Twenty minutes of jogging is one chocolate chip cookie, I mean you can't do it. One Big Mac requires three hours of vigorous exercise to work that off, that's not the reason that exercise is important, exercise is important for three reasons exclusive of the fact that it burns calories.

The first is it increases skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, in other words it makes your muscle more insulin sensitive, therefore your pancreas can make less, therefore your levels can drop, therefore there's less insulin in your blood to shunt sugar to fat. That's probably the main reason that exercise is important and I'm totally for it.

The second reason that exercise is important is because it's the single best treatment to get your cortisol down. Cortisol is your stress hormone, it's the hormone that goes up when you are mega-stressed, it's the hormone that basically causes visceral fat deposition which is the bad fat and it has been tied to the metabolic syndrome. So by getting your cortisol down you're actually reducing the amount of fat deposited and it also reduces food intake. People think that somehow exercise increases food intake, it does not, it reduces food intake.

And then the third reason that exercise is important, which is somewhat not well known, but I'm trying to evaluate this at the present time, is that it actually helps detoxify the sugar fructose. Fructose actually is a hepato-toxin; now fructose is fruit sugar but we were never designed to take in so much fructose. Our consumption of fructose has gone from less than half a pound per year in 1970 to 56 pounds per year in 2003.

The next thing is our old 'friend' fructose again.  Fructose really is a killer....

high fructose corn syrup came on the market after it was invented in Japan in 1966, and started finding its way into American foods in 1975. In 1980 the soft drink companies started introducing it into soft drinks and you can actually trace the prevalence of childhood obesity, and the rise, to 1980 when this change was made.

Correlation isn't causation, of course ...

the only organ in your body that can take up fructose is your liver. Glucose, the standard sugar, can be taken up by every organ in the body, only 20% of glucose load ends up at your liver. So let's take 120 calories of glucose, that's two slices of white bread as an example, only 24 of those 120 calories will be metabolised by the liver, the rest of it will be metabolised by your muscles, by your brain, by your kidneys, by your heart etc. directly with no interference. Now let's take 120 calories of orange juice. Same 120 calories but now 60 of those calories are going to be fructose because fructose is half of sucrose and sucrose is what's in orange juice. So it's going to be all the fructose, that's 60 calories, plus 20% of the glucose, so that's another 12 out of 60 -- so in other words 72 out of the 120 calories will hit the liver, three times the substrate as when it was just glucose alone.

That bolus of extra substrate to your liver does some very bad things to it.

Ok, so sucrose, or common table sugar, is 50% fructose and 50% glucose (glucose is ok, by the way, and it's the sugar in Staminade, but not in Powerade or Gatorade ... which is why we use Staminade in aboc C4P!).  Sucrose is just as bad as high fructose corn syrup.

fructose is famous for causing hypertension

And here we go :

Robert Lustig: There's clear scientific evidence on the fructose doing three things that are particularly bad in the liver. The first is this uric acid pathway that I just mentioned, the second is that fructose initiates what's known as de novo lipogenesis.

Norman Swan: Which is fat production.

Robert Lustig: Excess fat production and so VLDL, very low density lipoproteins end up being manufactured when you consume this large bolus of fructose in a way that glucose does not, and so that leads to dyslipidaemia.

Norman Swan: And that's the bad form of cholesterol.

Robert Lustig: That's correct. And then the last thing that fructose does in the liver is it initiates an enzyme called Junk one, and Junk one has been shown by investigators at Harvard Medical School basically is the inflammation pathway and when you initiate Junk one what happens is that your insulin receptor in your liver stops working. It's phosphorylated in a way that basically inactivates it, serum phosphorylation it's called and when your insulin receptor doesn't work in your liver that means your insulin levels all over your body have to rise. And when that happens basically you're going to interfere with normal brain metabolism of the insulin signal which is part of this leptin phenomenon I mentioned before. It's also going to increase the amount of insulin at the adipocyte storing more energy. And you put all of this together and basically you've got a feed forward system of increased insulin, increased liver fat, liver deposition of fat, increased inflammation -- you end up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. You end up with your inability to see your leptin and so you consume more fructose and you've now got a viscious cycle out of control.

So who's doing this?  the food industry .. Sell more! Make more profit.  Unregulated capitalism at work ...

We can only eat 1,800 calories per capita per day. In other words the American food industry makes double the amount of food that we can actually use. Who eats the rest? We do, through this mechanism, they actually know that by putting fructose into the foods that we eat, for instance pretzels -- why do you need fructose in pretzels, why do we need fructose in hamburger buns?

Fructose makes you eat more, and makes you fat.  It's perfect for making people buy more food.

How do we avoid this nasty stuff?

Norman Swan: Well given that you're not going to come to harm by reducing the fructose in your diet -- somebody who's listening to this -- what's the ingredient on the packet, or the jar, or the back of the tin that tells you there's fructose in there because it won't always say fructose will it?

Robert Lustig: Well high fructose corn syrup, it should say that, now in Australia for instance the sodas don't have high fructose corn syrup they have sucrose. Well sucrose is half fructose. You know a lot has been made over this high fructose corn syrup being particularly evil. In fact high fructose corn syrup is either 42% or 55% fructose, the rest is glucose. Well sucrose is 50% fructose the rest is glucose. In fact high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are equally problematic.

Norman Swan: Basically table sugar.

Robert Lustig: Table sugar -- that's right. We were not designed to eat all of this sugar, we're supposed to be eating our carbohydrate, particularly our fructose, with high fibre. Well the fact is we have 100 pound bags of sugar that go into the cakes, and the donuts.

So don't drink orange juice, eat oranges :

Juice is part of the problem and there's plenty of data, not just mine. Miles Faith had an article in Pediatrics, December 2006 showing that in toddlers, in inner city Harlem in New York, in toddlers the number of juice servings correlated with the degree of BMI increase.

Toddlers drinking orange juice makes them obese!

And anyone who works for a soft drink company should be thrown in gaol.  Coke, Pepsi, Schweppes ... These evil bastards are loading drinks with salt to make you thirsty, sugar to hide the taste of the salt and spike your insulin levels to make you hungry, and the side effect of this increased sale of their crap is obesity.  Same with my favorite, Big M.  Whole milk is great for you, flavoured milk is chock-full of sucrose, which is 50% fructose, and that's the bugbear.  Damn you to hell, Big M!






John Nicholson vs Nakano!

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A video retrospective on Nakano, one of the greatest track sprinters, including a race against Nicko




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Don't do it ...

Well, sometimes it's ok ..

Check this out :



It's 90 minutes long. You're likely to not watch it although I'd really love it if you did  ... a potted summary :

Soft drinks and fruit juices are bad.  Very bad.  High fructose corn syrup is a poison.

Fibre is good


Milk is good, usually, but not always.  Whole milk is good.

Life has two choices, fat or fart!

Fast food is evil.


So for cyclists, what does this matter?

Only touch sugars during the glygogen window (30 mins-2 hrs post training).

Cook your own food.  Avoid soft drinks as much as possible.  Yes, Coke is really bad for you.


Hotham report

A quick report from our Hotham trip

In a word .. Wet!

It rained.  Lots.

After a week in Melbourne of high 30's (in November?!) the forecast for the brave souls heading to Hotham for the aboc Climbing Camp was cooler and some rain.  The Yeah baby! I did it!BoM, masters of understatement, got that right.

Support VehicleIt started raining on Friday afternoon and didn't stop much all weekend. That didn't deter the crew.  Some elected to ride the safer drop to Omeo and back, Don Noble doing the full trip with Rich and Alex Vaughan going part-way with him, and the rest decided to go to Bright, some descending the Harrierville drop in cars, others riding down.  A very cautious descent even by Neil meant no crashes.

Jim Crumpler elected to ride straight back up from Harrietville and kindly lent his car to me to use as a safety/sag/shopping truck.


Neil won the first sprint unopposedSome of the lads hooked up with some other cyclists and we had two bunches into Bright from Harrietville, Neil and Andy with the strangers, Hari, Jason Kennedy, Ash Milne and Jason Ellis in the main group.  Sprints were contested in both, although Neil's first win was unopposed.

Ash charges at the Freeburg sprintFrom there a number of sprints were had at the traditional town signs of Smoko, Freeburgh and Bright.

Carmen met up with us at Bright for lunch as she and Jon and Susan had been late up on Friday and had stayed at Benalla on the way up.  She rode a solid ride, managing the climb on a 23 tooth sprocket with no dramas at all, even nursing a mild hangover.

As the only female to ride this time, she was the unopposed Queen of the Mountain.

Jason Kennedy is in the fogThe weather for the ride down had been mild, no rain after around 10am made the descent less tricky than we'd feared at first, but that all changed after lunch.  Light intermittent drizzle changed to rain.  Solid, steady rain.  Just what we need in drought-stricken Victoria of course, but sub-optimal for riding the big hill.  No-one piked out,  Hotham from Harrietville isn't a dangerous climb in the wet, even with poor visibility and everyone took off from Harrietville in good spirits despite the report from Alex Vaughan at the top that it was 'cold, wet, blowing a gale and horrible' at the top.  Alex wasn't wrong, but these riders are made of sterner stuff than that which would be deterred by such a warning.  Onwards and upwards!

On the way up a tree had come down over the road and I stopped at it and directed traffic around it until the Vicroads crew came and tidied it up so I missed a lot of photo opportunities, but did tail Jason Kennedy up the hill.  It was his first Hotham ascent and he rode with wisdom and a solid tempo.  All of us who've ridden up this monster hill will know the feeling that's best described in a photo.

Jase Ellis was the lantern Rouge for the climb from Harrietville, Andy Dorman took KoM with style.

Dinner was the usual spag boll and fruitcake with custard desert.  The garlic bread was wolfed down pretty quickly, but we must warn you, the chilli bolla is HOT.  We're not joking.  As usual we'd made four mixes of bolla sauce, and the hot one was challenging.  We did warn you!

On Sunday the weather was even worse and everyone packed up and left before 12, even our traditional Dinner Plain breakfast wasn't attempted.  Despite the weather everyone reports to me that they had a good time and will be back for the next trip.  What will it be like in February or March?

For the photo gallery for this trip, click here.

Jason Kennedy tops out at the summit





Emily is on the mend

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Em had a nasty crash on Saturday at Blackburn, but she's ok

On Saturday at Blackburn's regular track racing Emily had a spectacular tumble which resulted in a loss of a lot of skin and a trip in an ambulance.  Those of you that read this and know her will be relieved to know that she's not too badly banged up.  She's lost some bark and got some pretty impressive bruises and isn't the happiest of little Vegemites but so far, nothing major's shown up and she's in good spirits.  We're all very relieved for her, she's still gunning for the Vic Championships and the aboc family is united in supporting her.  Em's a very tough and motivated young lady and strong people are harder to kill.


Watt? Woot!

A new PB last night on the Powertap, and a crash of sorts

Yesterday morning Dino and I trained standing starts at Blackburn.  We did a warmup, then 6 x ~80m starts.  A good session, Dino improved his starts quite a lot.

I've still got this damn cold, which is filling my head with fluff and my ears with cotton, not to mention reduced breathing ability, so it's strictly short, high intensity stuff at the very anerobic end of the scale.  I simply can't breathe enough for anything longer than around 20 seconds or so.

In the evening, we trooped along to Brad's Blackburn session.  I did a very truncated and weak warmup (breathing ... not good!) but did 3 accelerations as part of it, and hit a new PB on the power meter in the process.  1567 watts.  That's a new PB by about 60 watts.  Surprising, but I'm not complaining!

We then did some motorpaced jumps, my first one went ok, the second and I just couldn't breathe enough to hold the wheel of the motorbike, so it was pretty feeble.

After that, we did a couple more standing starts, 1/2 laps (around 150m at Blackburn).  My first one was good, on the second, I pulled back hard with 1 to go and Viv wasn't holding the brake hard enough, which allowed my bike to come out of the gate, and over I go!  I got a bit cranky about it (not to anyone there, just inside) and did one more, and hit 203 nm of torque.  Motivation ...

If I can throw this cold off, I'll be in good stead for round 3.


Good coaching practice

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What matters ..

I'm learning a lot (and reinforcing a lot!) from some Crossfit videos, in particular Blauer.  He says, amongst other things, 'Don't confuse the trademark with the truth'.  What does this mean?  There's some enormously talented athletes out there, just because they do something and they're successful, does not mean that what they're doing is the best or most appropriate thing.

And, even better, as a coach : Do not show your students what you can do or brag about it, show them what THEY can do!


Tribute to a young man

Will Thomas

The week before round one of the Summer Sprint Series we had a working bee at Blackburn.  There's a lot to do, the track was covered in litter, the clubrooms dirty and full of junk and detritus.   A bunch us adults were there to clean up, some of the kids were there, a few sat down at the other end of the track and watched us working.  With a bit of prodding these kids reluctantly did a tiny bit of work before finding some way to skive off and hide. A bit too important to help out, it seems ...

Then Mick Thomas arrived and the first I knew of it was Will, his son, coming up to me and asking how best he could help.  Will's a great kid, he's a hard trainer as anyone who's been to a spin session knows, he loves Tabatas and loves to train, and he gets results.  He works very hard and loves his sport, and he sees his part in the big picture.   Mick can be very proud of young Will.

Will's had a bit of a setback and can't race for a few months, but instead of whinging and carrying on like most of us would, he's seeing this as an opportunity to work on some of his limitations.   Mick and Will have signed up for 12 weeks of PowerHaus training and ergo work.  Today, while Mick is up in Shepparton with Bridge, Will trained with me in the 'Haus.  He's a fast learner and will get strong quickly, he listens, he wants to learn and to understand and he asks intelligent questions.  The best thing, at the end of the session, when we were both trashed by it, he said he wanted to come along to Blackburn and help out at the races this afternoon.  Now that's a good kid. He's going to be a bit embarrassed by this, but Will, you're a shining example of a decent young man and I'm very privileged to be able to work with you and am proud to be your friend.

Slowly starting to feel good again

I've been off for about 5 weeks, but am slowing inching back ...

After round 1, I felt crap for weeks.  Really weak and lethargic.  Every time I tried to lift heavy or sprint hard, nothing .. Flat and empty.  My diet, sleep and work had been out of kilter and nothing felt right.  To top it off, Lucie got crook and now we both have a cold.  Anyway .. Round 2 went ok, I qualified reasonably well with a 13.7 something, I was glad to be under 14 at least, given how I' been feeling that was pretty good.  The bye was a stroke of luck, I dealt with Wayne reasonably easily :


And Chris Hickey and I had a very very close finish


Both Chris and I though I won it, the photo was ambiguous and Sue and Kim in the middle thought Chris, so Chris got the win, and thus, I was to race for 3rd against Peta Stewart.

Peta's no slouch, that's for sure, and while I'd qualified faster and was probably a bit quicker, she drew the lead and I (foolishly) let her keep it.  She did a great job of boxing me up when I wanted to go and held off for a good win, so I got 4th again!



On Monday the cold really started to kick in and for this week I've been in and out of bed whilst setting the world record for litres of snot expelled by a human.  Hrm.  Anyway .. I have been able to do some anaerobic work, my squat strength is coming back, I ground out 3 x 3 @ 185kg this morning and got 1 x 5 170kg deadlifts, the deadlifts was a new personal best for me, so that was gratifying, and I pressed 3 x 5 @ 57.5kg, my press isn't my best lift by any stretch but that was a PR too, so despite being a snot-generator it was a good session, and young Will trained with me and did well as he learns the art of black iron training in the 'Haus

This arvo is keirins at Blackburn.  I still can't breathe too well, so I doubt that I'll be able to do well, but I'll have a crack at them. Once I shell this virus for good, round 3 will be a scorcher.  I'm going to go 13.2 for a flying 200 outdoors soon, I can feel it ...

And Em just rode an excellent time at Shep today (500m ITT) in windy conditions she's 2.2s faster than this time last year.  Go you good thing!



The Big Merv

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I'm doing Movember this year ...

If not shaving worked for Sean Eadie in the leadup to the 2002 worlds, I figure I'd better do my bit for the third round of the aSSS.  So far I've made two finals (3v4) and lost both, to take the next step doesn't involve training, eating smart, riding smarter, it involves the one thing all great Australian champions have, a dirty great Mo and there's only one real mo, and that's the Big Merv.

If you want to chip in, here's my donation page.  The lucky aggregate winner of round 3 at the aSSS gets to shave it off me. Now there's a prize worth winning!  Mal, you're tempted, you know it ....

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