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Entries For: May 2010



Enter the Kamm-tail

Everything on bicycles is at least 10 years behind motorcycles and cars.  The Kamm Tail was originally developed in the 1930's in Germany.

Now it's showing up on bicycles!

Our distant cousins over in triathalon-land think aerodynamics matters, and they're right, but it REALLY matters at 60+km/h in sprints.  Will this technology make it into sprint bikes? 


Hilton Virtual

And other stuff

Hilton Clarke had his knee replaced on Thursday last week, and while he's away I'm looking after his NTID and VIS sprint squads (and a couple of CCCC ringins), we had our first completely Hilton-Free-Day on Saturday afternoon.  The session was all K1's which is basically a load of gate starts over short distances, the format being 3 sets of 3 reps of starts, each set has reps going up quarter, half and three quarter lap, and each set goes up a gear.

Generally they all did pretty well, I had to get a little bit cranky at the end, as the drill usually finishes with a small gear quarter lap effort, and some of the lads mucked about during it, it was pretty funny, but at the same time, they're there to train and I had to make sure they did their efforts properly.  Guys, if any of you are reading this, you can horse around between efforts, but you do your efforts at 100%, or you're wasting your time and mine.

In other news, Nathan's taking a bigger role in the DISC sessions now, he's looking after the enduro stream including programming for them, and is also doing more of that at Spin.  I'm happy that this is happening, Nathan's almost finished his level 1 and he's ready to take more responsibility for that side of things.

And we had a time trial on Sunday, run by Blackburn and with CSV looking after part of it. I was the announcer, but didn't have much of a job to do except call riders to the start, which was ok for the CSV Open, but the combine part was a mess, no-one's numbers matched what was on the starting list and the on-the-day entries didn't fit anywhere.  We need to stop the on-the-day entries altogether for TT's.

I'm glad I wasn't riding the CSV Open part of it - not because I don't like TT's (which is true!) but because the CSV guys just packed up and left with no results.  WTF?!  The results are up now, which is good, but at the time they just left.   Not good enough.  I don't know if Blackburn ended up getting the results done and having a presentation for the combine event because I had to get going, but they're not currently on the Blackburn website. It's not good enough these days.  It's embarrasing to be a part of when this happens, and more importantly, keeps happening over and over.

But .. We did run a good session at DISC on Sunday afternoon, Nathan had the enduros doing handicap starts and then some brutal efforts while the sprinters did powerjumps and then chased the motorbike around and around.  We all left well fried.  Today I was at Blackburn again coaching the DUCCs but only three showed up, so instead of doing blocking practice, we did flying 200s and match sprints.  The guys enjoyed that and learned a bit so it wasn't a waste of their time.

I did get a small bit of time to speak with Mal Sawford (CCCC president) about some inter-club stuff and in particular volunteer management, but we didn't get a chance to reach any conclusion, he had to race!  At least the ideas are on the table.  I still think that the northern combine model is worth trialing.  Here's more about how they do it. Mal is skeptical about its effectiveness in our combine because he is of the opinion that the NC races require a lot less manpower to run, but I think it's worth a try.  I guess that's up to the race committee people to sort out, but there is goodwill between the clubs and that's the main thing.




Should we nominate?

Cyclesport Vic have a "club promoted event of the year" award and they're calling for nominations

I think the Summer Sprint Series is a pretty good thing, but then, I would, it's my baby and all parents are irrational and myopic.

Cycle Sport Victoria have an award for the club promoted event of the year.  The forms and so on are here.

Should we nominate for it?  Has anyone got the time to bash out two pages of guff about it?


Power meter book redux

Training and racing with a power meter, 2nd edition ..

I'm a book junkie, really ... Can't get enough. On the bedside table (ok, my floor...) is "Supertraining" by Mel Siff and a pile of other training books and novels etc.  My latest bit of bedtime reading is the second edition of "Training and Racing with a power meter" which arrived in the mail yesterday.  Not that it matters but this was one of the first copies published and it has the author's signatures in it.  Uhuh ... Someone else scribbled in my book!  Anyway ...

I've got two copies of the first edition (don't ask ...) and one of the second.  Hopefully I won't get another copy of it soon.  A very quick summary; this remains THE book on power training for enduros.  It's not quite totally useless for sprinters, there's a chapter that talks about track for about two pages and doesn't (in my quick scan last night) mention sprint, but there's a page or two on BMX, which is very similar to track sprint.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to read it soon and try to glean something useful from it.  Dr Dan from the VIS and I have been looking at data from some of the VIS sprinters and power is a great tool, but 95% of the book is about endurance thresholds etc which we just don't care about!

I also got another power meter today for aboc, another Powertap, it's the Pro +, and will be used by Nathan with his enduro riders.


Calling all excel experts ...

I need some help!

We time sprinters, we care about the times.  A lot.  As well as power data which we don't always have, having a long term record of speeds and distances is very important to us.

What I'd like to be able to do :

select a rider (or very quickly create a new one)
select a discipline : eg entry + 100, standing start 1/4 lap etc
select a gear in inches
enter a total distance, and split distances if easy enough/practical
enter a time, or a series of times (splits) and have some way to tell it what the splits represent - eg distances, with the ability to do special cases, eg we sometimes do a standing lap, where we want the first 65m, the second 65m then the last 125m

See a chart of this time and splits vs previous times for this rider for the discipline

For the purposes of rapid data entry we'd want to be able to select a rider, then have most of the stuff set as a (quickly alterable!) default and then bang the times in so we can get data into a spreadsheet or some other sort of database very quickly.  We're under a lot of time pressure when we do these.  Doing them after the fact is unlikely to happen as there's just too much data do double-handle.

Does anyone who reads this have any suggestions? Can it be done in a spreadsheet or will we need something fancier?

DISC standing starts

We took the video camera ...


We've got carpet!

Last Friday Rob Monteath, helped a little by Nicko and I as furniture removalists, got new carpet (at long last!) in the Blackburn clubrooms.  This has been a longstanding thing that we've been (more stridently of late) agitating for at committee meetings since the old carpet was removed way back in October last year!

It's done now, and those of us that use the rooms owe Rob a big thankyou for making it happen.

This will make spin a lot quieter!

Also, we had a couple of people from the Whitehorse council come along and have a look at the state of the track.  Nicko, Rob and I gave them a tour of the track and showed them the various faults that need fixing.

In the long term (next 3 or so years) we're hoping that we'll get a new track built. In the meantime there's no budget available for much maintenance work, so the club will have to pony up for any tactical repairs that need to be done.  That's ok, as long as we know about it we can be prepared.


DISC motorcycle

It's still b0rked

So anyway .. on Monday, Luke Mason from CSV and I took the DISC motorcycle in to Gassit Motorcycles to get fixed up, it had a list of issues that need resolving.  The most critical being the starter motor being flakey.  There was four things in total that needed fixing :

1. Starter motor/battery (make it start reliably)

2. Fix the gearbox/clutch so it will select neutral when hot

3. Fix the cruise control

4. Service & fix oil leak

I picked it up on Wednesday during the NTID sprint training session.  They hadn't fixed the cruise control so I hung around for 30 mins or so while they tried to, then gave up.  (3) not fixed. 

Rode it back to DISC - the trip is about 2.5km, checked the log, 5km since I logged it out on Monday.  Uhuh .. It hasn't been testridden.  And .. IT WON'T GO INTO NEUTRAL!


They did change the oil, clean up the engine casing (presumably they fixed the oil leak) and replaced the starter motor.  It cost around $1,100 I think, but it's NOT FIXED!

I've sent Rhys at CSV an email suggesting he tear the guys at Gassit a new one and I'm mightily annoyed, I've spent about half a day of very precious time riding it back and forth from DISC to Gassit etc, and the bloody job is not done.



SSS in Sydney

They even called it the same (acronym) name!

Check this out :,181.0.html

Yep, the folks up in Skiderknee copied our series, right down to the acronym.  They called it the Sydney Sprint Series.

This is a Good Thing, but also a little disappointing in a way.  It would be nice (polite etc) if Paul Craft had told us he was doing it.  We have a long term plan for the series to integrate it into some sort of national series (similar/same rules etc at the various locations it can run at) and I think it would benefit all of us (sprinters, and wannabe sprinters) if we work together on this stuff.

Paul, I'm very easy to get in touch with ... Just in case you or any of your minions stumble onto this blog post.  Let's work together with this and make it something bigger.


The rumour mill

Filed Under:

It runs hot ...

Trek carbon track bike?  We've seen pictures of Tyler Phinney on one.  Word on the street has it that it may end up in production....

Blackburn club rooms finally getting some new carpet?  Rumour has it it'll be done on Friday!

Fun times!


Movement at the stable

For the word had got around ...

Well, there's no men from Snowy River here, no dueling banjos either, but I've been out to Bonnie Doon with Lucie for my last weekend away for a while, where we went kayaking on the Goulburn and then just chilled out for a day.  Nathan ran the DISC session for me on Sunday.

Coming up very soon Hilton Clarke has a knee operation that will have him out of action for a month or more and I have to fill his shoes with the NTID and VIS guys.  This means every Wednesday from roughly 2pm 'til 10-ish and Saturdays from midday 'til around 5:30 I'll be at DISC, either on the motorbike or on foot, shouting at people to ride faster, keep going etc.  It's going to be pretty challenging and exciting and I'm looking forward to it.

Combine that with our Sunday DISC sessions and Spin on Tuesdays, and a bunch of people training in the 'haus and there's not much time for anything else except a bit of IT work to pay the bills and sleep. If this keeps up soon I'll be a full time coach.  Nifty ...

Today I spent some time faffing around at DISC while we sorted out some issues with the DISC motorcycle.  Over the last couple of weeks it's become unreliable; the starter doesn't work all the time (which is how I came to have a burn on my calf, pushstarting it), there's an oil leak, the chain is worn out, the cruise control is broken and it won't go into neutral when hot a lot of the time.  It's in at Gassit Motorcycles now getting repaired, I hope.  We also had a good turnout at the DUCC's session, where the squad learned about laying off and attacking into a gap and did some more group tactical skills stuff.  They're a great bunch and are keen and motivated to learn, which makes them a pleasure to coach.

In a few moments some sprinters will be here to do some lifting in the 'haus with me, I'd better get some motivation, it's time to do some heavy lifting!

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