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!
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.
Yep, I'm a sook!
My melodramatic shoulder saga continues. My new doctor at ASM (David Bolzonello, Sandra Mejac buggered off to Delhi to work at the Comm games and then on a holiday, hmpf! Where are her priorities?) is sending me off for another hydro after some x-rays showed no bone damage in the joint (good, I think? I don't have any spurs or arthritis, I KNOW THAT ALREADY! We wasted another week checking for that ... ). My physio there, Kay Copeland, is baffled although she delights in digging in to various bits of me with a lot of force. We get more RoM in one plane, at the expense of another. Robin Hood treatment?
Anyway, they still think I have scapular capsulitis or "frozen shoulder". I had a hydro about four weeks ago on the thing and immediately had a significant improvement (I could sleep! W00t!), but it's regressed and I can't ride a bike with any sort of power (not that I have much anyway, but even less than normal!), can't squat properly and at the moment, can't really lift much either. I'm kinda useless when it comes to doing useful "stuff" like lifting and carrying things, putting rollers away in Hiltons' loveshack etc. Not. Happy. Jan. Even just trying to do some practice skills work at DISC tonight wasn't working. I'm getting quite cranky about it, to be honest. In the overall scheme of things it's minor, it's not going to kill me or anything like that, but it is pissing me off!
Sooner or later, I'll bet they're going to get me to have an MRI on it, but they keep saying "no, no MRI needed, that's if the hydro and physio doesn't work, and don't question us, we're the experts here" (rough paraphrase). In the mean time, I'm shelling out dollars while they make guesses. I dunno... I'd like if they'd just order an MRI and stop guessing. The hydro is booked for Tuesday arvo at Victoria House (where I had the last one done, maybe they'll remember me?), and then there's another 4-6 weeks of followup physio before we really know if it's sorted. Here's hoping, eh? Bloody thing .. This winter and spring have seen some great water in the rivers, can't paddle them with a b0rked shoulder. The joys of getting old I guess.
I've been busy!
Here's what the data entry form looks like :
This is only a small part of this application, but it's the one that will get the most use - we will use it to add data into an SQL (sqlite3 at the moment) database for all our sprinters times. Yes, it doesn't do power (yet). For now my goal is to have it able to store all our training data from both aboc and NTID Sprint sessions and allow us to analyse rider performances quickly. Just getting the data into the database is the first step. Once it's in there we can query to our heart's content.
So I've been busy - the application is written in a programming language called Python, using a GUI toolkit called wxPython and a database/object orientation toolkit called SQLAlchemy. I'll be using matplotlib to generate charts and graphs, but that's another toolkit I have to learn to use and it'll take some time to get something useful out of it. I'm very very rusty as a programmer, the last time I did any even vaguely serious programming was way back in 1996 and that was a horrid mismash of code at Westpac to maintain a DNS database written in Perl. Ugly ... I'm not proud of it! Anyway, sprintTracker will hopefully scratch an itch I've had for some time re keeping records of sprint performances that a conventional spreadsheet isn't powerful enough (or I don't know enough about!) to do.
Along the way I've had a shoulder injury that's kept me out of the gym, the doctors diagnosed it as a supraspinatus bursitis, which is an inflamation of the bursa (sort of like a bearing) around a tendon in my shoulder. It's sometimes known as a subacromial bursitis. They (the doctors I saw) insisted I have a cortisone injection in the shoulder. Cortisone is on the banned list both in and out of competition, and so I need to get a TUE for it, which is a pain in the arse but must be done if I'm to keep my racing licence. Round 1 isn't that far away ....
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.
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!
I've been sub-par for a few days...
I felt a bit ordinary on Saturday at Blackburn's SoT opener, Sunday was worse, hayfever and generally blah, on Monday I was supposed to do a Texas Method high volume set in the 'Haus, but the warmup was bad and the lifting, supposed to be 5 x 5 @ 180kg squats, I got 1 x 2 and called it a day. Did some press and that was about it. Lower back, kidneys sore etc .. Hrm ..
Today (Tuesday) I'm feeling a little better. This morning Dino, Pat and I were at the BBN velodrome to do some training, but the rain came in and I was feeling very stiff and sore, so I motorpaced the lads for a warmup and then called it a day. Brad's Tuesday afternoon session was probably a washout too (the rain is good, I'm not complaining!) so I missed that, not that I had the beans to do it.
I'm up late tonight uploading videos for the SSS (still?!). It's 1:45am and I'm done. Here's Steelie giving me a lesson!
This damn 'flu!
Blergh. Taking another enforced day off (difficult when self-employed). Hurry up, immune system, and win this battle!
This time, for sure... or something damn similar to it anyway ...
Green lumps, cough cough gargle.
Spit, sneeze, cough, splutter.
Moan, whinge, sook!
Must get better soon ... Immune system, do thy job, post haste!
The Apolitos brought back some goodies from their trip
I'd like to thank Dino, Ann and Emily Apolito, they brought back some goodies that they gave to me from their trip overseas - including an aboc Sprint Squad t-shirt!.
I've just put together the 13th spin session program for this winter, the A stream riders get their first full Tabata interval session. The rest of the A stream for that evening is easier than it would be normally, but the Tabatas are sufficiently brutal that I don't think any will complain. We'll fine-tune these as we progress and any feedback is much appreciated.
I've still got lingering and unpleasant flu-cold symptoms, so may not be able to train much for the remainder of this week - generally coughing up lumps isn't considered compatible with training. Still ... these things are temporary and I'll be better soon. I'm consistently repping out 180kg squats now, and did a set of 160kg deadlifts on Wednesday in the 'Haus, so that's not too bad, and on Tues at Spin I got a 1440 watt effort, which considering I'd just squatted sets of 180kg and was (and am!) crook, I'm happy with. Last winter that would have been a PB, so being able to grind that out when tired and unwell is a good sign for this coming summer.
The 'Haus has been busy this week too, I've had the Sprint Squad, some of the DUCCs and a few friends over as well. Teaching them Rip's squat. I think they'll be moaning today. DOMS is an old friend we know well!