Entries For: November 2010
International competition, oh my
5 days in an insulated-from-reality-bubble. Wake up, go to velodrome (via shops) - assist Hilton, assist Sean Eadie, push riders, council riders, congratulate/commiserate riders. 12-14 hours later, go back to motel, take 3 hours to unwire enough to get some sleep, repeat ...
My first taste of real international elite competition and I'm hooked. Sprint camp was one thing, this was a step up. In a way it was more of the same, we had a lot more support - mechanics (Ian, Gary, Tony, thank you!), to look after all the bikes, wheel changes etc, support staff to handle all the odd jobs (Josh, Emily, thankyou! you guys were great). Hilton ran the warmups from his throne in the pits and we both looked after the riders during racing. We had a squad of 7 core riders and a few we helped out, at some points we were over-supplied with people to help, at other times there wasn't enough of us. We did good things, we made mistakes, we learned. We learned and we learned ..
Our sprint guys did very well, we got some medals to bring home and everyone learned a lot. A highlight was seeing Imogen and Taylah racing in the Keirin final with Anna Meares (and Immy's ride to qualify for it, glued to Anna's wheel!), Nathan's storming first lap in his team sprint and Jaron's jammed in the middle of a 4 wide sandwich in the J19 keirin final. As a first year senior Nath was always going to be behind the 8 ball, but he rode well and has a good picture now of where he has to be (and he can be!).
Some talent to watch out for, a Kiwi girl, Stephanie McKenzie. She won the J19 500m and the sprint, and her 500m start was the best 500m start I've ever seen from a girl. Girl's don't rattle the start gate, Steph did .. Wow. Watch for this one in the not too distant future. Guess what her background is? Gymnastics (explosive power and strength) and Olympic weightlifting. Is there something in this "get the girls strong" idea after all? Anna didn't ride the 500, but any time you get to see her racing is great, she won the sprint and the keirin in the style that we've come to expect. She's a class above the rest at the moment. The world cup will be interesting indeed.
I'm not going to fill this page with details, 5 days of living and working in a surreal bubble has fried my head and I'm still catching up on sleep, but suffice to say it was an amazing experience and a lot of good will come of it. I have a tentative agreement now to be able to do over to the AIS for a couple of weeks and hold Gary West's stop watches etc (learning, learning ...) at a date to be determined and Sean Eadie and I did a little work on The Book. Hilts and Josh (NTID manager) and I had a meeting about how my work with Hilts is going and I got some good constructive critism, there's a few things I need to really concentrate on which is good.
In the mean time, It's round 3 this coming Sunday. Hrm, I think I've been on a track bike once since round 2? If I'm lucky ... I don't think I'll be riding any PB's! heh ...
A huge weekend
Last week I had a bit of a cold, which meant I stayed away from the NTID training session on Wednesday (didn't want to give anyone my bugs) but by Thursday I felt ok. By Friday, my voice was getting pretty croaky, and by Saturday I'd almost totally lost my voice. Now, I'm not a shouter like Hilton, but I do shout at my riders, and every attempt I made to shout encouragement was a feeble squeak! Not ideal for coaching at a championship ... Quite amusing for everyone there though, I'm sure!
The Metros ...
It was a hectic weekend, I had the aboc'ers to look after as well as the VIS and NTID riders. Saturday morning was pursuits and I didn't have too much work to do then, I did walk the line for a couple of riders, including aboc'er Cam Woolcock who got himself a medal, Liz Randall (also a medal, gold!) and Emy Huntsman (NTID endurance) - I made a mistake while giving Emy her pacing, a bad one that may have cost her a gold medal. I need more practice if I'm to do this again at a championship - In my defence, it's not what I'm concentrating on, but I probably shouldn't have done it for Emy. Emy, if you're reading this, again, I'm sorry.
In the afternoon it was time trial time (sprint!) - the aboc Sprint Squad was there in force, Dino, Emily, James, Chris, Cam, Yasmin. All of them rode well, we got a couple of gold medals, a silver or two and a load of PBs on a slow day (thick air and cold). The NTID and VIS girls I was also looking after (although mainly just carrying bikes, Hilton had the floor) rode solid races and as you'd expect, won or placed in everything. That sounds like a big deal, but it is what we expect. The NTID and VIS program cherry picks the best talent, if they don't win everything we're not doing our job.
Sunday ... Sunday's the biggie for me. I love match sprinting. Also coaching the 500 (Emily & Yas, don't worry, the 500 is a very high priority!) but match sprinting stuff is where there's actually something to do on race day, the TT's are all won in the weeks and months leading up to them from the point of view of a coach, match sprinting has a lot more on the spot coach involvement, at junior level in particular. For the TT, all a coach has to do is make sure the rider is at the right brain-space at the start and warmed up well. Match sprinting is another level.
Hilton was going to be busy loading vans to take over to Adelaide, so I was left on the floor to run the show for all the guys. I think I had about 15 or more riders in my care : Dino, Emily, Ruby, Courtney, Madeline, Adele, Caitlin, Yasmin, Stuart (V-Train!), Clint, Emerson, Jacob, Luke, James, Chris. I think that's it? Anyway, Hilts had the NTID and VIS guys do their warmup, I had the aboc'er do theirs (different! but all coaches do things differently).
Then things got messy. It started when the organisers decided (but didn't tell us) that they'd changed the flying 200 from 3 laps to 2. This is a big deal for the 15's and up, they train for 3 laps and last minute changes like this are simply not acceptable, it stuffs up their timing. We made a fuss about it and Hilts managed to get them to change it back for the 19's and above, but it was unfair and caused a lot of angst and slow times by our riders, save for Courtney, who unofficially (the electronic timing didn't work ... I'm not joking, it was a bloody disaster) smashed the JW15 Australian record.
Then some of the races got dropped from the program. I'm not going to mince with words, this is unacceptable. The kids that show up to race care about their racing. They train and they work hard. To have their races chopped from the program to save a few minutes is not on. I'm still very angry about this. One of my guys was heartbroken and there was nothing I could do about it.
After that, the rest of the day went well. My job was to council the guys on tactical decisions and hold them on the line. It looks like I have a conflict of interest when I'm involved in coaching multiple riders who are racing eachother, but I'm careful not to tell one rider anything confidential about the other and I think they all trust me to be ethical in this area - it's important that they do, and that I am 100% on this. If any of you read this, I assure you I will never tell your competion anything about you and I will never tell you anything you don't already know about them either. My main job while in the thick of it is to get the riders feeling confident and motivated (a challenge indeed sometimes!) and to encourage them to be assertive and aggressive on the track, to make their move and commit to it. The older, more experienced sprinters need less tactical guidance and I mostly left them to themselves except to check if they needed anything and give them an ear to talk to if they needed it.
Again, everyone rode well and the NTID/VIS combo swept the field, as they should. My aboc'er did well, with another bootload of medals and a lot of very valuable experience gained for the Vic titles coming up soon.
At the end of the day, Speed is the best tactic. 90% of the races will go to the faster rider, but the thrill is in getting a slower rider over the line first. It happens, and we did it a few times on Sunday.
Leanne Cole got some good photos, go have a look.
Phew .. that's done. I'm off to the Oceanias tomorrow, back on Sunday. More of the same. Bring it on!
PB's all round, medals ...
Saturday at the, and the aboc Sprint Squad is out in force.
It's the day for the time trial (500m ITT, 750m ITT and kilo).
In JW19 Yasmin Gugel rode her first 500m ITT in a long time and set a good starting point for her development, James Dann rode a big PB in the JM17's, Emily Apolito won the JW17's with a new PB at her first major meeting in JW17, Chris Ray took home a medal in the Kilo and Dino Apolito won the MMAS3 750.
More details to come....
What were the Chinese guys doing?!
Congrats to John Beasley and Josiah and "the rocketpocket man" heh!
Next week I'm off to assist the NTID and VIS guys at the Oceania track championships in Adelaide. That's why we moved Spin forward a week. I'll be carrying Hilton's bags mainly, but it's another great opportunity to gather experience at elite level, even if all I do is carry heavy stuff and push buttons on stopwatches I'll be soaking it all up and learning as much as I can. It'll be quite different to the NTID sprint camp I went to way back in July, where I pretty-much ran the show for all the NTID sprinters for two days, it'll be a good intro to how it's done with more coaches present etc.
I'm supposed to be in at DISC today with the squad (my usual Wednesday, 11am -> 9:30pm or so), but I've got a bit of a cold, it's not enough to stop work etc, but it is probably contageous, so I've pulled the day off so I don't share the bugs with the guys in the squad who are racing the Metros this weekend and/or are going to Adelaide.
Last weekend I was given one of the most enjoyable jobs in cycling, I was asked to commentate at the Country Track Championships. This was heaps of fun, I hope I added some value to the event and didn't make too many mistakes. Two days in a row of full-time commentating is not as easy as it sounds. The next time you get cranky with Phil and Paul, just try doing it yourself! Maybe it's the non-stop yapping that's brought on this cold?
Anyway, I'll be right in a day or two. I spent some of today getting equipment for the 'haus, we now have a pair of 20 and a pair of 25kg bumper plates. These are expensive things, some of the guys are strong enough to need them now (good!). I had another visit to the physio which was positive - my cranky shoulder is slowly improving (about time!) - I got out on the water on Monday evening and surfed some standing waves and felt very happy in whitewater, so that's good. I hope to be able to get some heavy squats done soon. It'll be a long rebuild, I reckon I'll be pretty happy with a 120kg squat to start with! But .. slow progress is good.
I can't name names ...
Chris Hoy shows how it's done, and then, how to not do it
Hoy rode a 9.999 at the European championships :
And then, lost in the elimination round. Is there a lesson here? I think so ...
I like their new stuff better than their old stuff
I don't know how many of you bother to look, but today is Summer Spin #2. The astute and observant will notice that there's now two sprint streams. As we're getting closer to crunch time for a lot of you who race Metros, Vics etc, some need more of a focus on short, sharp stuff, others on more speed-endurance. So there's now two formal sprint streams. Kilo riders, 750 riders, you guys get to do the Speed Endurance stream, match sprinters get to do the Power stream.
I think we'll be able to keep track of it tonight. Time will tell. If anyone wants to do the power stream with me, early, I'll be at Blackburn at around 6:15pm, hopefully started by then. Otherwise, it's the usual 7 for 7:30pm start for you all.
In other news at the Country track champs I've been asked to commentate, which should be good fun. They're being held at DISC, which given the weather forecast means they might actually go ahead.
An acceptable F200, some bad decisions but one win
My day at round 2... I won't bore you with shoulder injury details, but the damn thing has regressed again, so it wasn't going to be pretty... Anyway ...
A big northerly, I decided to use 90" to qualify, figuring I'd get the fist of (deity of your choice, FSM, fairies in the garden etc) up my backside for most of the run and momentum would carry me home. 13.528s 53.223 km/h. I left my run a little late and should have gone faster, but under the circumstances I was happy with it.
After that I was 3rd fastest in B grade (again ....). I'm up first against Chris Dann, who is terrble at qualifying but very fast in racing. I went down to 84" (50x16) to try and improve my jump. It didn't work. Chris SPANKED me! Our last 200m was done in 13.0-something, we were flying, but he was flying far faster than I was! C'est la Vie.
Next, I was up against a newcomer to the series, Peter Ballas. Big guy, heavy, strong. I went back up to 90" and decided to keep the pace high and remove the jump from the equation. I made the first move with about 400m to go, got the lead into the lane at the 200m line with Peter camped on my wheel, I soft pedaled down the straight to lull Peter into a false sense of security, and then I booted it into the corner just as he started to come around. Ended up with a comfortable win. Cost me quite a few bikkies, but I did win it.
Round three against Greg Brunt. Greg's an enduro, while I play at being a sprinter, but he's no slouch. He also got me with the same trick he used against Neil (I shoulda been watching!) - He jumped, I reacted, he slammed on the brakes, and SO DID I (STUPID!). Boiled off all my hard-won momentum when I should have taken advantage and tried to gap him. Then he kicked again and I was blown off the back.
But, because I'd qualified well and there was a lot of us on equal points, I had to race Neil for 3rd, over three laps. Neil's a machine, FAR faster than me, and with a much better jump. He was dog tired from riding a 12 hr MTB race on a single speed on Saturday, and he'd qualified like a gumby (for him, that is), but he'd found some legs through the day and I knew I was in for it, especially as I was already pretty smashed. Sure enough, he went early and ramped it up, I was doing my best just to hold his wheel, then when he jumped, see ya! Save me a snagger ... I'll ge there eventually. 4th place for the day. That, under the circumstances, isn't too bad.
Monique is on the board
Last night, as well as our usual scheduled NTID/VIS training session at DISC, was also the CSV AGM. To cut a long story short, Monique Hanley had stood for election. Monas is Good People, she's Been There and Done That as a genuine elite level rider, she's fought some amazing, courageous and determined battles to get where she is, she's honest and passionate and she's got her feet well planted on the floor. She has a vision that I agree with with regards to growing teams riding as well. She's been elected to the board. Good stuff Monas!