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Entries For: 2009



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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!


Beating the heat?

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Or not ...

I got some pretty bad sunburn on Sunday last week when Lucie & I went kayaking at Aura Vale lake.  I was pretty dumb and didn't put sunscreen on my legs, normally not an issue, but my shins aren't generally in direct light, but sitting in a kayak back seat they were.  Funny burn lines from the wetsuit boots at least, but painful enough to stop any real training early this week. 

Today, Dino, Em, Pat and I were going to hit Blackburn at 7am instead of our usual 8am to try and beat the heat.  It was already 31 degrees at 7am though.  We did a couple of slow flying 200s and one revout behind Pats motorbike and called it a day.  Training in this heat isn't productive.


Australia Day Madison

A great day's racing

A quick summary :

The aboc boys, Cam Woolcock and Mason Austen, rode very well. They were outclassed but learned a lot and were far from disgraced.

Vanders rode in the support races and did pretty well too.

I rode the scratch race (C grade support) and DNF'd after 8 laps (CF: 0).

I spent most of the day commentating.

Tom Leaper and Ashley Hanson won the madison by miles.  The Hawthorn team (featuring the V-Train) came second and the Brunswick boys, Shawn/Sean and Ollie, were so tough and inspiring with their efforts to hold second place.  Incredible riding.

The women's madison was a non-event. One team turned up to race (The Velvet Hammer and her Rowing Olympian teammate).  Not sure what else to do about this?  I promoted the womens madison as much as I could, maybe there's just not enough women interested to do it?

It's going to be a scorcher of a week, high 30's until Sunday ... but that's ok, Sunday can cool down, it's round 4!



Ice ice baby

Yesterday I went ice skating

A long time ago I played ice hockey.  I wasn't much good, I did play one game of Senior A but that was because the Sharks A grade team was desperatly short of players to field a team and all the rest of the B graders were sooks ... but I digress ... After Dino, Em, Mason and I did a session at the Blackburn velo on Saturday morning (sprints, standing starts and match sprint tactics) I had a spare afternoon, and after dropping Lucie off at the Monash Gallery (she works there a bit) I headed to the ice rink in Oakleigh with my old hockey skates

Hockey skates are worn tight, very tight.  I wear a 44 or a 45 shoe, my skates are a 41.5. Suffice to say that they're not very comfortable.  Normally I'd wear some very thin socks but all I could find was some worn thin cycling socks.  C'est la Vie ... I skated around the rink for a total of about 35 minutes, did a few stops and fast-ish laps and was amazed that I could still skate backwards and do some of the basics (hockey stops etc).  I was pretty unco, but the basic motor still worked. I had to stop every 10 mins to take the skates off to let my feet recover, and after the last block of skating I noticed the blisters.  Ok, that'll do!  Mefix is pretty good on blisters as well as road rash, which is convenient.  Later in the day Dino & Em came over and we did a session in the 'haus to complete the day's training.  All up, pretty good.

Today Luc & I are going to hire a big kayak and do some splashing around a lake.   Tomorrow's the Blackburn Australia Day Madison and I'll be racing in some of the support races (enduro stuff, blah) and commentating on the main races.  I'm looking forward to it!



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Hot & windy, yeah!

Summer's here at last in Melbourne, we've had 41 degree days ... It's hot, damn hot! Today, it's mid 30's and blowing a howling northerly.  No motorpacing in these conditions, it's of limited use when it's so windy.

Today, Em, Dino, Pat & I at the BBN track in the morning - Em's got 3 x standing 100s to do and 1 x 400m sprint, and we've got 1 x S100 and 3 x 400m sprints (to get ready for the BSSS round 4 next weekend).  Hot .. that's all I want to write about it today.  Hot ...  Thankyou to Jono from Trek who came along and helped out.


When it's all worthwhile

Sometimes a result is a smile, and sometimes it's a medal, when it's both it's beautiful.

On Saturday, instead of racing at Blackburn, I was looking after Emily at the Vic titles in at DISC.  The results show that she won the 500m ITT, got 4th in the sprint and got selected in the state team.  That's not the full story, of course.

My day consisted of get to DISC at about 8:30, get some space set up for Em and then Brad Robins showed up, so I helped him cart some stuff around for a little while then I helped Nathan and Rhys with their repairs to the 200m timing sensor.  Em and Dino arrived at a bit after 9, and we got her set up in her corner (the aboc s-bend we called it).  She was wired on nerves, so I got Dino to go and look after the video camera and Em & I talked junk and nothing to do with cycling until she was ready to start her warmup.  We did a thorough warmup with a few HCLR's and a couple of very short big gear starts, then it was over to the fence to wait for her start.  She was seeded third, so was third last to go.  The riders before her were mostly off her pace, but one set a good time and Em was starting to get psyched up pretty well.  Into the gate, 30 seconds to go, and she's got eyes of steel.  BANG goes the rather lame recording of a gunshot and she's off. Not the neatest of starts, but she's on top of the gear very quickly, and the two laps flash by.  42.106s.  A new PB for Em.  Excellent.  Can the two following her beat it?  No.  First up and we have one gold medal in the bag.  Em's got a huge smile and a new PB and she's the state champion for JW15 in her first year as a JW15.  She's 12. Last year she won the Vics for JW13, so far she's undefeated in the 500m ITT at any major open, she won the 2007-2008 JW13 Vics, 2008-2009 Metros JW15 and now 2008-2009 states JW15. The cheersquad (Anne, Bev and Dino) are ecstatic.

We run a  warmdown and she has a rest.

I made a bit of a mistake with her warmup for the sprints, we warmed up before the medal presentation for the ITT, she got her medal and then there was a 45 minute break, but we didn't realise there was a break.  So she'd warmed up for nothing.  That's quite a waste of precious mental and physical energy, which may have cost Em later in the day.  We then warm up again for the flying 200's and she's third seed again, and sets a pretty good time, but not her fastest. a 14.679s (49.05km/h) which is about 0.25 off her PB for the F200 that she set at the metros a few weeks ago, which was a 14.430s (49.896km/h). She's qualified 3rd fastest this time. That's ok, but it means she'll have to work harder in her quarter final to get through.

She wins the quarter by quite a way and rides the fastest last 200 for all the JW15 quarters, a 14.756s, the other three heats were all more than 15s and won at a canter by the other girls.  These may seem small things but these hard efforts add up.  Then its the semis and she's up against Madeline Cardello from Brunswick.  None of the JW15's seem all that good at using the bank, and Em's quite good there, but she complains that the other girls all stay down in the lane and just ramp it up. She's right, they do, and Madeline does exactly that after Em lead out and Madeline took the lead.  With a big kick at a bit over one to go Em comes over Madeline to win the first heat of their semi by a whisker. That was a hard hard effort ... Warmdown, recover and race her again.  This time, it goes the other way and the heat is one all with another very close finish, this time Em wasn't quite able to get over and Madeline won by half a wheel or less.  The girls don't get much time to recover and they're the only two to have to go to a tie break.  Em gets the lead, Madeline kicks over her with a lap and a half to go and Em just doesn't have the energy left to chase her. Em comes in to the pits with her legs shaking and she's toast.  She's given these sprints everything she has physically - a few tactical things we can improve on but she's made no mistakes, she's just turned herself inside out and she's blown.

The race off for third place against Gracy Fryer is an anticlimax for Em, she's hardly able to turn the pedals during her warmup so we keep it short, in the first round Grace kicks clear and Em's never in it, in the second the tactical brief is 'have some fun on the bank, keep her guessing', and Em gets a great jump off the bank, gets a nose in front with a lap to go, but she just can't turn her legs to take advantage of it and Grace wins 2:0.  So Em finished 4th in the sprint in the end.  This is quite an improvement on her ride at the Metros where she qualified fastest but lost every sprint.  She's got a lot of tactical stuff to learn yet, but she has the legs and has the engine and she has some serious heart. She rode eight sprint efforts for the day, including 9 warmups.  That's a massive day for a 12 year old kid.  She went on to back up on Sunday with a new PB in the pursuit and got selected in the Vic squad.  Mission accomplished.

I went MTB riding with Rich again on Sunday at the You Yangs and rode like a huge wuss (no suprises there!) but had fun all the same.

What a weekend!  Phew ...



Around, and around ...

DISC this morning, then the 'haus!

We decided to train at DISC this morning instead of Blackburn.  Partially because when the decision was made the forecast was for rain, but also because it would be good to get Emily doing some efforts there in preparation for the Vic titles this weekend.  We got there a little early (thanks Pat!) and had a good warmup. 

The track wasn't just ours, Paul Parker was there as well as a DeVers kid and another random.  No worries and we all shared nicely.  We did a couple of F100's each to get lines sorted, Camster did a couple of (very good!) pursuit efforts. We did some standing 500's, except Dale who dug into the suitcase of pain for a kilo effort, and a good one at that.  Finally Dino and I finished off with a match sprint on little gears.  Yes, he won, again!

All done by 11ish, and then home.  Time for my appointment with steel.  I hadn't done any weights since Saturday last week, as the skin damage from the MTB crash on Sunday wasn't condusive to good lifting.  The target today, 3 x 5 @ 160kg (352lb).  Got 'em! I don't know if my depth was very good, no video and no observer, but they sure felt hard! Then the phone rang and I ran out of time to do my cleans.  No hassles, I should get them done tonight.

Tomorrow, easy day, I might be able to squeeze in a swim in the morning if I'm lucky.  I'll be at DISC on Saturday coaching so won't be at Blackburn's regular races, which is a bummer, it's a Keirin round, but Em's a higher priority!


Log off!

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Or, log over .. or log! It's log .. watch out for the log!

After yesterday's fun ride at Blackburn's track racing, where I had a bit of a fun time pushing a very large gear and Krissy Dundas smoked the field in her 3 lap sprint (go Krissy!), Rich and I headed off to the You Yangs with our MTB's for some fun this morning.  The plan was to ride a few trails for a couple of hours.  We did, and it was pretty good fun.  Some steep climbs, some descents that were way too much for my wuss MTB skills, and some scoops, jumps etc ... Mostly the green trails were really good for our gumby-level skills, we both had to walk a couple of times on some of the steeper stuff, but we're wusses anyway ...

We started off at a carpark outside the park, rode up 'lumberjack trail' from Kurrajong to the Stockyard area, rode the green stockyards loop, then went back down the hill to Kurrajong.  Almost all the way home, I'm pretty tired (lazy sprinter, not good at this enduro stuff any more!), there's a little log over the trail on a slight downhill (fast!) section, it's only 20cm or so, a baby... Rich has already gone over it, I decide to bunnyhop it, but don't time the jump right and hit it  somehow, and whoop!  Over we go ... I think I landed headfirst, but I rolled with the crash and didn't do much in the way of visable damage to the helmet. It'll get replaced, it did hit the dirt, it's scratched up pretty well.  I'm not sure how fast I was going?  Maybe 35km/h?  Not enough to be a big issue, no bones broken or anything, but a decent graze on my left arm and leg.  Mefix time!

It was a good fun day, the crash notwithstanding, and we'll be back.  The lower trails we rode would be ace fun at night, and in Rich's Golf it's only about 90 mins from aboc HQ when the traffic is quiet, and his car runs on the scent of an oily rag, so it's not an expensive trip.


I did at least look at a bike ...

The new years break wasn't so much fun after all

The plan was to spend 4 days up at Mt Sterling with the big Fuel EX8 and the lads, and do some relaxing MTB'ing.

It wasn't to be.  On the 30th, at about 2pm my co-location hosting provider shut down my business's main server because of a 'power emergency'.  They didn't call, they sent me an email(!).  At the time I was in a mate's car somewhere between Melbourne and Mt Sterling.  The hard shutdown broke the filesystem and myself and my colleage Sam spent the next 5 days rebuilding the box from backups etc. Not very much sleep, a lot of stress. I'm very grateful to my friends who were with me, they were very patient and the use of the eeePc and wireless Internet meant we got the main part of the system back online reasonably quickly. I was up at King Saddle Hut logged in and working!  Modern tech ... I remember seeing ads years ago for people sitting on beaches with laptops working, this was a little like that, except no smiles on anyone's faces!

Suffice to say I didn't ride the bike at all, and didn't get back into any sort of physical activity until last Sunday, where I rode in to town and back (to replace a stolen monitor!), 50km of ~E1 intensity and then yesterday (Monday) I got my usual swim in.  Today I had to re-introduce myself to the PowerHaus, no weights since the 29th (when we did a DISC session and weights).  So about 8 days off in total from weights.  I racked up for squats, 5 x 140kg, 5 x 150kg, 5 x 155 kg, felt ok.  Strength is one of those things that you lose (and gain ...) slowly, so I expect I'll be able to do 157.5kg next time for a set of 3 x 5's.  With round 4 only 4 weeks away, I have to get on the bike more.  We'll be at Blackburn on Thurs morning, I expect ... Sprinting!


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