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Entries For: February 2009


Club champs day 2

Pursuits, 500m ITT and scratch race

Unconventionally, yesterday's club champs started with pursuits.  In MMAS2 there was 4 of us (I thought only 3! Didn't realise Wayne Arazny was in his 30's.  I'm up against Alex Vaughan in qualifying.  I'm on 104" for this, as a bit of an experiment.  We take off and I basically match Alex each lap, just trying to stay in front of him, and when the bell goes for the last of our 10 laps I sprint for a bit.  Afterwards, Wayne sets a faster time than I do and Martin Lama is miles quicker than everyone.  So Alex and I get a rematch for the final.  This time I resolve to catch him quickly and get it over with.  I'm still on 104".  It takes me 5 laps to get him, and I'm absolutely trashed by the effort.  The officials blew the whistle a touch early, and if Alex had decided to kick on, I'd not have been able to go with him and he'd have got me.  Still, there you go.  3rd in the pursuit. I'm going to pay for that effort today at the Sprint Series. I wasn't really planning on riding the pursuit, the plan was to qualify for the final (1v2) then do a 2 lap sprint to see if I could catch Martin unaware, but I didn't figure on Wayne being there, being fast and being in my age group!  This got me again, later ...

Next up is the 500m ITT, I've got my new Bontrager RXL shoes on, and they are the ducks nuts.  Super-comfortable. Still on 104" (51x14).  I think I rode a 42.something for the 500. Not too bad considering the monster gear, gusty wind and fatigue from the pursuits.  Not sure if that got me a second or third in MMAS2?  Martin rode a 39.something to win it.  Dino set a PB for his in MMAS4, but Mick Thomas got him by 0.15s!

Chris Dann won everything in MMAS3 as expected.

The scratch race, and there's 4 of us, Martin, the unbackable favorite, Wayne, Alex and myself.  My plan, gap Martin off the front ASAP and then race for 2nd.  A bit negative, but Martin's been winning A grade scratch races and the rest of us are riding C or D grade scratch.  I'm on Martin's wheel from the start, and as we roll turns the first time he comes to the front I crystal-crank it (now on 86", sanity prevails!).  Martin's away 20m clear in a jiffy, but ... Wayne's jumped across the gap with him.  Ok, I figure Martin will drop him soon enough and then Alex and I will be able to pull him back.  Except that Alex and I don't combine so well and they work together and get a lap on us!  Oh noes!  After they get the lap Martin kicks away and Wayne's about half to two thirds of a lap clear and Alex and I finally rolling turns smoothly and gradually pulling him back, but he's still a lap up even if we catch him.  Racing Alex now for third.  We have a gentleman's agreement of sorts and we don't sprint until the last 100m or so, I pip Alex by half a wheel at the end.

So at the end of the day's racing I have a 3rd in the pursuit, 2nd or 3rd in the 500m ITT, 3rd in the scratch race, and a 2nd in the sprints last weekend.  Is that good enough for 2nd in the club champs for MMAS2? I don't know.  Last week the results were up very quickly (thankyou Rob and Doug!).  I know this morning the pursuit effort to catch Alex is going to have an effect on my speed at the sprint series.  No matter I guess, I'm not in a position to influence the aggregate anyway, if I can do a 13.7 or less I'll be happy with my F200 and anything after that will be a bonus.  I'd better get my backside into gear, do my warmup weights and get to the track to set it all up!


Martin Lama, just too strong

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I set a PB, but Martin was too strong

Today's club champs.  MMAS2 (35-40).  I set a new PB in qualifying with a 13.37, my previous PB at Blackburn was a 13.44, good, especially with the gusty southerly blowing.  I qualified 2nd in MMAS2 after Martin Lama, who rode a 13.1-something I think - it was quite a bit quicker than me anyway.

The format for the day is a bit brief, we get a straight out final for 1st v 2nd place, 2 laps, not best of three.  Ok.  That probably suits me anyway, Martin's a lot fitter than I am so more rounds would give him more advantage.

We ride out, Martin winning the toss and leading low down.  I go up the hill at the clubrooms, he comes up covering me, then he accelerates down into the lane before the 200m line on the first lap, not really a kick, just a (noticeable!) increase in pace, and it's on.  He's leading me out for almost two whole laps!  Right ... I'm camped on his wheel into the big headwind, he keeps speeding up, ok .. I'm still here.  The bell rings, I'm still camped comfortably on his wheel, I might just get this one.  The clubroom corner, he's increasing pace but still no real big surge, the 200m line again and it's time I went, I come off his wheel and we're side by side at the end of the back straight, I've got a nose in front at the halfway point at the southern bend, but he lifts just a touch more and I can't match it, going the long way round him, and with 50m to go he's got a bikelength and that's how it stays to the finish.  Awesome ride, given the monster leadout he could just keep on at that tempo, and he's got the gold and I'm taking a silver in MMAS2 again!  I'm pretty happy, we had a good, close race and my F200 was the best I'd ever done.  Martin was just too good.

Dino and Mick Thomas raced for MMAS4 1st and 2nd, and Dino took it, Emily won the JW15 500m ITT and the sprint after qualifying fastest by almost a full second.  A good day for the aboc crew.

Tomorrow Lucie & I are going kayaking!




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A working bee at DISC!

I spent this morning helping out at a working bee at DISC, mostly up a rope on the bank with an orbital sander in a team of two with Nathan from Brunswick as we took turns sanding and taping divots and splinters etc.  I got to use my old mountaineering gear!  Prussic loops and harnesses and my old climbing rope. It was good fun and we got a fair bit done, there's a lot of gouges at the eastern end of the track there.  I think I recognised Dino's dent from when he crashed last year and broke his ribs.  It's a huge job, there was 8 of us there working from about 9am 'til around 12:30 (when I had to go, had to do 2 and a bit fits at the LBS)  and I think we only got about half to two thirds of the track done.  John Beasley's Malaysian tigers were getting ready to train when I left. 

Not much else, club championships tomorrow, match sprints. I'm a bit keyed up for them.  Will be interesting to see if I can get a medal in my age group (MMAS2, 35-40).



After the big fires, things gradually return to normal, we hope

So, fires ... the big burn happened, we all saw it on TV or up close (or up closer than we'd like to have).  It's still dry out there, no rain for 6 weeks and what hasn't burned is still primed to go up.  Last night a fire in Belgrave had Lucie's parents evacuating their home in Tecoma, and friends also evacuated.  The fire was controlled by the CFA, I think some pretty desperate controls were done, 16 trucks, the chopper dumping water everywhere etc.  Everyone in Melbourne has a fire-story to tell, we all know people who've been directly affected by it if we haven't been so ourselves.

We raced on Saturday in clearing smoke at Blackburn.  All the funds for the day went to the Red Cross appeal, as you'd expect in a time like this.  Life goes on, of course, and in good news stakes Emily took out a strong third in the wheelrace at the Junior Austral on Saturday.  Dino and Em were around last night training in the Powerhaus with me again, and we're off to Blackburn tonight to train for the club teams championships in a month.  My job is simple, I'm the leadout rider for our masters team sprint, I do one lap .. ONE LAP! of DISC and I'm done.  It's not a big distance, but I have to do it very quickly.  Last year my performance wasn't good, I want to be faster this year (but not drop Dino or Martin, not likely...).

In other news, the Blackburn club championships start this coming Saturday with the sprints (woohoo!).  We're split up into age groups, I'm MMAS2 (35-40) so I'll be racing Martin Lama and Alex Vaughan and I'm not sure who else, as I think Alan Dorin isn't back after his back surgery yet (he beat me last year).  Martin's going to be a challenge to beat, he's been a solid B grader at the BSSS this summer and just made the jump up to A grade with a very good flying 200 at round 4.  I beat him way back in October, but he beat me in round 2 I think it was when we last raced with a brutal second kick at the 200m line after I thought I had him.  It could be interesting, I hope I can have enough speed to challenge him.

Mike Goldie reports on his blog over at Carnegie Caulfield that a masters rider tested positive recently.  Some people will do anything to 'win'.  Winning by cheating is not winning.

And I hope that our clubs in our combine have managed to bang heads together such that the time trial series is recognised by the other clubs in our combine as being a valuable contribution to the combine's racing.  Last year Blackburn got a letter from Mal Sawford on behalf of the combine expressing that the combine was unsatisfied with our contribution, which I think was unfair, as a club we ran 6 ITTs on the Yarra Boulevard that took a lot of resources to run and the combine should see them as a part of the combine's available racing and count them as such.  The time trials are a valuable contribution and I believe that the combine should accept them as such and count them towards Blackburn's contribution.

I've got a pile of programs to write today!  I'd better get to it.


Doing what we can

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aboc's doing what it can to help the bushfire relief funds

As well as a cash donation from aboc, we've decided to run round 5 of the Bontrager Summer Sprint Series as a fundraiser.  All entry fees from round 5 will go to the Australian Red Cross bushfire relief fund, and aboc will donate prizes in lieu of money to the winners of the grades at the round.  It's not a lot and this isn't an unusual thing (CCCC are doing it with Sandown this week, as are the Southern Vets), but it's clearly the Right Thing To Do.



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Up close-ish

Totally off-topic.  On Sunday morning I got an SMS from a friend who runs the Lilydale airport who was trapped in Cairns, ironically, by floods.  He wanted photos of the Yarra Valley fires.  Ok, we can do it.  You can see our photos here.  His family live in the Christmas Hills and we were very relieved to see that they were safe, albeit quite shaken up by the experience.

Many of us have ridden around the Yarra Valley for training and racing, as well as Kinglake and Marysville.  It goes without saying that the people who live in these two places that have been essentially wiped off the map have all of our sympathy and support.  aboc is donating to the Salvos, but there's more that we can do.  While these towns rebuild we can make them regular destinations for rides and always stop at the local shops and help them return to normal by being good customers.


Back into it

After a couple of lazy/recovery days ...

After Sunday's round of the BSSS, I was pretty trashed, I think the Saturday's kayak trip didn't help much either (6 hours in a boat!).  I got a good swim in on Monday night (2km, 500m w/up, 10 x 25m sprint,25m cruise on the minute, 200m tempo, 6 x 25m sprint,25m cruise on the minute, 500m w/down), but when I got into the PowerHaus on Tuesday night to do heavy squats I could only do one set of 3 at 160kg.  Still pretty fatigued I expect ...

Took an easy Wednesday, with just a doddle-ride to the LBS and back.  This morning we were back at Blackburn doing efforts though.  Dino, Pat, John Lewis and I had a good session.  The sprinters (Dino, Pat & I) did 3 x standing 150's in big gears for strength work, I used 105" (51x13), not sure what the others were on.  I was getting up to ~48km/h from a standing start over the 150m.  John has turned to the dark side and is pursuiting, so we did a couple of pursuit-specific things for him, a 3 lap 'settle in' start effort and then a couple of 2 laps on/2 laps paced for 8 laps efforts to get his pacing underway.  The sprinters finished off with 5 lap revouts - chase the motorbike in a little gear for 5 laps as it goes from 35km/h to around 55km/h.

Tonight Dino & Em are coming over to join me in a session in the 'haus, then I might see if I can go for an MTB ride with Vanders for fun.  Saturday's forecast is 43 degrees, so Blackburn's track racing will most likely be cancelled (good!).  On Sunday I might be kayaking again, it's good fun and good cross-training!


Round 4 quicky

While I edit video & upload photos etc ...

A very quick report.  Went for a 6 hour kayak on Saturday down the Yarra from Reserve Rd to Warrandyte (some rapids, some flat water)

- probably not the ideal preparation for Sunday's racing!  Woke up on Sunday aching everywhere!  It was a good kayak trip though ...

To loosen up, I did a warmup set of squats, 12 x 20kg, 8 x 60kg, 5 x 100kg, 2 x 140kg.  Felt ok after that.  Packed everything into Lucie's volvo and got to the track, set everything up with help from Dino, Em, Alex, Ann, David (thankyou for the cable ties!) and then everyone else that showed up.  Warmed up on the track on 91.8", did a couple of windups to get the F200 line dialed in.  Rode a reasonably good F200, it was a howling and gusty sou-easterly and everyone was slow, but I cranked out a 13.76 (52.33km/h), second fastest in B grade once the grading was done. Dino was down on his normal times, he only(!) rode a 13.75 (0.01s between us!), all of B grade was split by less than 0.4s - Dino fastest on 13.75, Peter Vlahos slowest with a 14.07.

I drew Peter Vlahos first, he's a track pursuit/enduro rider and a very promising junior (J19) who trains with Brad Robins, I knew what he wanted to do, go early ... I won the toss and lead, and did my best to keep him jammed up for the first lap, but I gave him too much room and he seized the opportunity at about 1.5laps and got a decent gap, I chased and caught him up the front straight but the damage was done and he had enough to hold me off, a close, but not close enough, finish, and he won very well. It was a long, long sprint and it hurt! Last 200, 14.08s (51.14km/h)

Next up I'm against Dino. Why are 1st and 2nd qualifiers racing in the heats? We need to fix the draw system so this doesn't happen, we're not exactly Federer and Nadal, but it should be such that if possible, the fastest two qualifiers in a grade don't race until the final, assuming they make it there of course ... The draw is done under a lot of time pressure, Dino and I need to get together and grind out some code to do it automatically for future, and build in some of these parameters.  I think it's just too much to ask of a hand-draw that has to be done in 10 minutes, we need to improve the system for our volunteers who do that very difficult job. 

Anyway, the race ... Dino's F200 was an aberation, I know he's faster than me by more than 0.01s.  Take a punt and keep him guessing.  Dino's got the lead and I initially move quickly up the bank to see if he'll let me take it off him, but he knows better than that, and so as we get to the southern bend I slow right down and Dino slows with me.  At that point the plan was to either get him to jump early and tow me into the southerly headwind, or to steal the lead and hook him up for a drag race, his jump isn't dramatic so that might work.  He slows too, and then we're side by side, I'm up the hill and he's given me room, coming off the bank we both jump at the same time, coming around the bend into the wind I drop onto his wheel to get out of the wind and I have a good draft, I've saved some matches, but I left it a little late to come off his wheel after almost ramming it as he came into the bend and I swerved a little sharply and wash off my precious momentum.  Dino's still at full power and I know I can't catch him so I sit up and watch with 50m to go.  Final 200m : 13.54s (53.18km/h)

Last race and I'm up against Jason Plowman. Jason's F200 was 13.96, but he rode a very unusual line and is faster than that.  I had the lead and we rode slowly for most of the first lap.  I gave Jason way too much room and he rode up and over at the southern corner, and he stayed high, I got onto his wheel into the wind, but again left it too late to come past and he got me by half a wheel.  Final 200 : 13.72s (52.48km/h)

So, the summary (all to familiar!) - I got a F200 time I was happy with, but lost all my match sprints. Dino went to to win B grade comfortably from Jason, and Peter Vlahos got a solid 4th. Lucie got some great photos, the team running the day worked brilliantly and everyone left happy.  All I need to do is win a sprint every now and then!

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