25 uberbollas, 1 BBQ, and we're done!
Some stats :
150kg of mince beef
25kg of tomato paste
1.5kg of oregano(!)
50kg of canned tomatos!
That's a lot of bolla sauce!
Our busiest night had 27 people training at the clubrooms.
The hardest enduro session was the last one (it' a buildup)
It gets quiet once September starts, sprinters come en-mass, but enduros go road riding.
Very cold, wet nights seem to see attendance down a little, which is odd, because you didn't go riding that day, it was awful!
We went through a lot of deck tape on the Kurts with the sprint group using the big flywheels.
We'll be back for more in 2013, thank you to everyone that came, if you do it regularly, performance improves considerably.
What I've been up to lately
I've been pretty busy of late... Last weekend (no, sorry, the weekend before, June 23 and 24) I was looking after a bunch of VIS/Sprint Academy sprinters* at the Perth Speed-Dome on a flying visit to race a Grand Prix and the Westral, we flew in to Perth on Saturday morning, drove to the velodrome, trained, back to a motel, dinner, sleep, back to velodrome for a full day's racing, packed and drove back to the airport and flew home. Phew! I was so tired when I got back to Tullamarine I couldn't see straight, thank you Jayne for rescuing me! If I'd have tried to drive home it would have been a dangerous trip indeed.
We've also, in conjunction with Blackburn, started running Friday night training sessions at DISC. So far they've had low attendances, but hopefully word will spread and we'll get more numbers - we run a sprint and enduro session, with each group getting roughly 20 minute time slices. It's a format that works well and I've been using it for years with our Sunday sessions, but the Friday nights we have the luxury of three hours, not two on Sundays. More time! Sundays are chugging along well, it's been pretty cold in at DISC but we're doing good quality work and the guys are going faster (when they attend regularly!). Our program is always published in advance on this website, and I am more than willing to entertain requests and suggestions for additions and alterations to the program.
Also the Tuesday evening Spin sessions at Blackburn are trundling along - we've had some huge nights and some quiet ones - if you're not coming, I'd really like to know why, it will help me to improve the sessions if I know why you're choosing to do something else.
So that's Friday and Sunday and Tuesday evenings locked away. What else? Wednesdays I'm at DISC doing the Victorian Sprint Group coaching, assisting Hilton Clarke, and he's away in the US for a holiday until the 16th of July, so that's Wednesdays from ~11am 'til 7:30pm or so. This also happens on Saturdays, from ~11:30 'til 5ish. Lock away Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun. Anything else? Oh, yeah, coaching and lifting in the Powerhaus gym on Mondays and Thursdays from ~3pm 'til 8 or so.
That's, ahh ... pretty busy!
So if I've been a bit slow in getting back to anyone with emails etc, now you know why! I have to set dates for next summer's Summer Sprint Series, urgh ... Calendars ... Clash. clash clash ... Keep an eye here for dates.
* - No, I am not employed by the VIS, I was sitting in as a Sprint Academy coach for Sean Eadie while he's in Italy with the seniors in the leadup to the Olympics
I have a lot to digest
I've come back from Adelaide, and am trying to settle back into the Real World again. The week with the junior worlds guys was amazing, a huge learning curve, a lot of really good discussions with some of the best sprint coaches in the world (Gary West & Sean Eadie) and some great bull-sessions as well.
It'll take a few days for it all to sink in, I expect to be busy writing ...
It's good to be home. I missed my aboc Sprint Squad guys, and training myself (and I had FAR too much beer, 4kg worth of lard I now need to shed!). Overall, a very productive, intense time.
I love my job!
We're considering running Summer Spin at the Powerhaus
After a pleasant meal devouring many chickens at our favorite chicken-cookers last night after training, a few of the crew discussed Summer Spin, strength work and venues. Specifically, we thought, as number at Summer Spin are low (as they should be, it's off-season for ergo) we might run them in the Powerhaus instead of at Blackburn. Same time, but different venue.
We'd still run our winter ergo sessions at Blackburn (I can't fit 20+ people in the 'haus, or provide parking and it would be bad for the Blackburn club to move it also).
I'd appreciate your thoughts on this, if you're one who comes to these sessions or you might be.
Please let me know.
SSS r1, it's run, won and done
The day was perfect. On the Saturday Nic Marc, Merv and I repainted the lines at Blackburn. We went through 6 or so cans of red line paint and around 400 metres of masking tape! The lines look great, for now. The paint fades pretty quickly though. I gave it two coats, maybe that'll buy us some more time before having to do it again.
The team, led by Sue Dundas, did a great job. I'm always very proud of them, Jodie does such a hard job with the videoing, the concentration it takes to do it well is pretty full-on and Krissy looks after all the misc running around jobs that everyone forgets about until they don't get done. Lucie and I made food for the team (salad rolls!) and we had new volunteer hats as well. I'm not sure Anne Apolito used hers much, her job is to sit inside and record everything. A vital job!
John 'star trek' Lewis ran the timing again, Alex Vaughan cooked the snaggers, Fast Eddie Wilson took over commentary, saving everyone from my verbal dribble!
So, the racing ...
I was stuck on 86" and wasn't even sure if that would go ok. I rode an ok flying 200, a 13.6-something which I wasn't displeased with. Dino PB'd (again ... and sooked about it, again ...), Emily PB'd (by 0.6s!), the rest of the aboc SS rode well, Nic Marc did as well as I expected he would (very well indeed!) and despite a winter broken up by various distractions Stewart Lucy made it into A grade and wasn't disgraced. Chris Ray has a new nickname - Chopper Ray! When you see the videos you'll understand why. Don't undertake Chopper Ray!
Not much in the way of photos, Lucie normally does them but she had a very important uni assignment due in on Monday morning and had to get that done, so I don't have any photos to put up from this round that we own.
I rode badly, not really able to jump, and matched up against two kids with whoppers (Ed Osbourne and Sean Bourke), both of whom smacked me good! My last race was against Nic, I probably should have got this one, I had a good sit on his wheel up the back straight but hesitated before overtaking when I made the catch, lost momentum and lost the race. Split second decisions cost races ... C'est la Vie!
More fun and games with my shoulder today at the physio, but I won't bore you with the details. I just wish they'd work out what was wrong with it so we could fix the damn thing.
Round two is coming up soon ...
Also posted to the aboc mailing list
It's the second last Spin for winter of 2010 tonight. We've had a bumper year with big turnouts and lots of 'fun' (if you can call being flayed on a trainer fun....) through the winter. Lucie and I have cooked an enormous amount of the aboc bolla over the year. There will end up with a total of 25 sessions this winter, 4.5kg of beef in each session, that's 112.5 kg of beef!
Details of the session are, as always, here
Thank you to Nicole Holt who initially suggested we publish the program online way back in mid 2009, we've done so ever since so you can see what we're doing (there are no secrets at aboc!) and we're always open to questions and suggestions for improvements to the spin program.
We've also had a pretty good winter in at DISC, in the past Spin has subsidised DISC to a significant extent. This winter that wasn't necessary, again, we're doing something right because you keep coming back. We can always do better and I always want to hear suggestions for improvements to the sessions at DISC as well as Spin. We introduced an early warm up for the sprint stream midway through this winter which has worked well and our enduros, under Nathan's guidance, have learned skills and become more confident on the track.
We're running the Summer Sprint Series again this summer at Blackburn, the details are on the series website
That will be a lot of fun and some pretty good competition. Andrew Steele from Avanti Plus Croydon and Gary Jackson from Riviera Cycles are sponsoring the series again and we'll have some good prizes. Sue Dundas and the team will be back to make it work seamlessly and efficiently again.
What else is coming up?
We're going to run fortnightly Spin sessions over summer, probably again on Thursday evenings. Last year these worked well and a small core group of you kept coming to them, maintaining the rage, so to speak. We'll also run fortnightly DISC sessions or Blackburn track sessions on Sunday afternoons. I am yet to set a date for our Hotham trip, the calender is so full this summer that it's quite difficult to squeeze anything in.
Personally, I've moved to more specialisation with the sprint squad and Nathan's looking after more of the endurance program that we run so everyone's getting well looked after, but as I mentioned earlier, we can always do better. We do best when we receive feedback, so please, if there's something we can do better, let us both know!
Lucie and I cook the sauce for Spin on Monday
One of the reasons aboc Spin is successful is that we provide dinner afterwards. For a tenner you get your legs and lungs smashed to pieces and a solid feed in the company of like-minded fools. No-one has better value than us! Enough of the one-eyed advertising... I don't promise you 45.985% improvements or a shower and some mysticism, I promise you a good feed and a solid session over winter when it's cold, wet and disgusting outside.
The enduros load up on pasta, the sprinters eat more sauce.
A quick report from our Hotham trip
In a word .. Wet!
It rained. Lots.
After a week in Melbourne of high 30's (in November?!) the forecast for the brave souls heading to Hotham for the aboc Climbing Camp was cooler and some rain. The BoM, masters of understatement, got that right.
It started raining on Friday afternoon and didn't stop much all weekend. That didn't deter the crew. Some elected to ride the safer drop to Omeo and back, Don Noble doing the full trip with Rich and Alex Vaughan going part-way with him, and the rest decided to go to Bright, some descending the Harrierville drop in cars, others riding down. A very cautious descent even by Neil meant no crashes.
Jim Crumpler elected to ride straight back up from Harrietville and kindly lent his car to me to use as a safety/sag/shopping truck.
Some of the lads hooked up with some other cyclists and we had two bunches into Bright from Harrietville, Neil and Andy with the strangers, Hari, Jason Kennedy, Ash Milne and Jason Ellis in the main group. Sprints were contested in both, although Neil's first win was unopposed.
Carmen met up with us at Bright for lunch as she and Jon and Susan had been late up on Friday and had stayed at Benalla on the way up. She rode a solid ride, managing the climb on a 23 tooth sprocket with no dramas at all, even nursing a mild hangover.
As the only female to ride this time, she was the unopposed Queen of the Mountain.
The weather for the ride down had been mild, no rain after around 10am made the descent less tricky than we'd feared at first, but that all changed after lunch. Light intermittent drizzle changed to rain. Solid, steady rain. Just what we need in drought-stricken Victoria of course, but sub-optimal for riding the big hill. No-one piked out, Hotham from Harrietville isn't a dangerous climb in the wet, even with poor visibility and everyone took off from Harrietville in good spirits despite the report from Alex Vaughan at the top that it was 'cold, wet, blowing a gale and horrible' at the top. Alex wasn't wrong, but these riders are made of sterner stuff than that which would be deterred by such a warning. Onwards and upwards!
On the way up a tree had come down over the road and I stopped at it and directed traffic around it until the Vicroads crew came and tidied it up so I missed a lot of photo opportunities, but did tail Jason Kennedy up the hill. It was his first Hotham ascent and he rode with wisdom and a solid tempo. All of us who've ridden up this monster hill will know the feeling that's best described in a photo.
Jase Ellis was the lantern Rouge for the climb from Harrietville, Andy Dorman took KoM with style.
Dinner was the usual spag boll and fruitcake with custard desert. The garlic bread was wolfed down pretty quickly, but we must warn you, the chilli bolla is HOT. We're not joking. As usual we'd made four mixes of bolla sauce, and the hot one was challenging. We did warn you!
On Sunday the weather was even worse and everyone packed up and left before 12, even our traditional Dinner Plain breakfast wasn't attempted. Despite the weather everyone reports to me that they had a good time and will be back for the next trip. What will it be like in February or March?
For the photo gallery for this trip, click here.
We had a working bee yesterday at the PowerHaus
Thankyou to Swervin' Merv Tracy, Alex 'Too Cool To Sprint' Iwanov, Nathan Dux and Stuart 'Mary Poppins' Lucy for your help yesterday with the working bee in the PowerHaus. We did a heap of work clearing stuff and moving things around in preparation for the launch of the 'Haus as a top level strength and conditioning facility. Our new power rack should arrive this week, now we'll have room for it!
I found a cycling film I'd never heard of!
Normally I wouldn't write about something as trivial (you could make the case for this blog being trivial, and to everyone but me it is, but you're reading it ...) as my local video library shutting down. My local video library is shutting down. It's a shame, they were a great independent library with a lot of interesting stuff. Still the days of the video library are numbered and once there's nothing left but the big chains, I won't shed a tear to see them go. If only McDonalds would die the same death ... Anyway ... To cut a dreary and long story short, they're flogging off all their stock. So Lucie and I, while waiting for a souvlaki, had a bit of a poke around. I found something quite unexpected in the video tape section. Tracks of Glory. Never heard of it? Neither had I. We've all seen Breaking Away, American Flyer, Overcoming (yes, Bjarne, it is a hard sport ...), Hell on Wheels and Triplets of Belleville, but I'd never heard of this one.
It's a story about Major Taylor, who was a black American track cyclist at the turn of the century (1900's, not 2000's!) and Don Walker racing in 1903. So I bought it. I don't have a VCR anymore but I'll find a way to rip it to DVD and then we might have a video night at the clubrooms soon. I think it's quite an important film to see.
I spent this morning with the DUCC's at the 1:20, pacing one of the guys there and back and observing his ride up the hill. He was a bit off his time, but we looked at the graphs afterwards from the power meter and next time it'll be a much faster ride.
In other trivia, the track Powertap wheel is currently in Honolulu according to FedEx. I expect to have it for our DISC session next weekend.
26 spinners (28 if you count myself and Nath!)
In a winter that keeps breaking records, we've just notched up our biggest Tuesday Spin Session yet. It seems the harder we make the sessions, the more people come. We had 28 in total last night, 5 sprinters and the rest doing various enduro streams and it was huge. The Blackburn clubrooms are proving to be TARDIS-like, we can keep finding room for more spinners. I'm glad I made a big bolla, it all went! The A stream had 3/4 Tabatas to do and mostly survived intact, we haven't been able to break Tom Leaper yet, but next week, maybe ... We missed Andrew Jordan, and wish him all the best for a rapid recovery and also wish Bridgette Thomas good luck and good speed for the Vics this weekend.
We didn't have any takers for the Tuesday night Tour watching, but it was a school night. Sitting at home watching it on the little TV afterwards Lucie and I were amazed and thrilled at the plays up the final climb and the stunning descent. When Armstrong bridged up to the leaders after getting dropped ... wow! Class. Our last Tour night will be Ventoux, the beast. This Saturday. It should be brilliant.
This morning the mighty DUCCs trained at Blackburn and we worked on leadouts and started learning how to throw the bike, before finishing with a couple of 2 on 1's to get them thinking race tactics. The weather was good, cold and a bit windy at first but it soon warmed up once the sun poked over the clouds and a good session was had by all.
Tonight most of the Sprint Squad will be over in the powerHaus for their usual Wednesday strength training session too, so as usual, it's all go at aboc HQ!
Last night was our first Tour on the Big Screen Night (TotBSN!)
We're running 4 Tour de France watching nights at Blackburn this Tour, as I was lucky enough to stumble onto a projector that could be convinced to work without too much expense and Lucie has a screen and my lappy gets SBS2. Last night was our first. Lucie's struck down with a bug, so it was just me rolling up with a carload of popcorn, fruit, nuts, laptop & projector etc. Fortunately, Stew Lucy was there and gave me a hand to set everything up. Thanks Stew!
We were a bit nervous, Blackburn has a history of not running these sorts of things with great attendance and despite my asking a few times, no publicity had gone out on the Blackburn mailing list (if they don't know, there's no way they'll go). Stew and I settled in to watch it on our own, but we were soon not alone! A total of 7 brave souls came along and ate fresh real popcorn, heckled Graham Gate from Airport West, moaned about the laptop screen saver misbehaving at inopportune moments and saw a great attack by Alberto and some disciplined team riding by Lance when it happened. A very entertaining evening with some great bike racing, and no Sniff and Stiff ads this year! Woo Hoo!
A pretty good night! The next one is on the 19th. Details here. We'd love to see a few more come along. $5 gets you all the popcorn you can eat and I promise not to do any more hand puppet stuff when Graham Gate poses at Southbank. Maybe ...
By proxy, that is ...
Recently I had a lucky break with my real job, a disposed of video/TV/computer projector, with a bit of fiddling around, started to work again, so I have a 'big screen' TV of sorts, when hooked up to a laptop anyway. It's not HD, but it's pretty good all the same. I also have a TV receiver card for my lappy - mobile SBS ... And SBS, as all who read here will know, do le Tour, mostly live. Good-o. They're responsible for many many sleepless nights over July for the last few years.
Anyway ... enough with the preamble. The Tour this year promises to be one of the best ever. A super-team clash, Saxobank (formerly CSC), with Sastre (maybe blown after the Giro?), the Schlecks coming into form, vs Astana's powerhouse team who have 8 TdF wins in their starting line and a second place or two (Armstrong, Contador and Leipheimer) as well as Popovich and the master of tour tactics calling their shots (Johan Bruneel). Add to the mix Cadel Evans who's hitting form right on time as well, but with a suspect team (again!). Can Cadel benefit from the struggle between the two superteams? Who knows? It'll be fascinating, that's for sure.
So we'll all be watching. I have a big screen, Blackburn has clubrooms with a gas heater, a big fridge (or just put your drinks outside, it'll be cold enough ...) and an oven and stove for the making of fresh popcorn etc. Who's in?! I'm going to confirm with the club tonight at the committee meeting, but I'm proposing the following nights :
Friday 10th July : stage details.
Sunday 19th July : stage details.
Tues 21st July : stage details.
Sat 25th July (Ventoux!) : stage details.
These will be open to all Blackburn and aboc people. $5 to come along and we'll provide the popcorn and snacks.
We keep getting more people at our spin sessions. Last Tuesday we had 24 spinners, a new record for our sessions. People are overflowing out the door and more want to come. If everyone shows up we'll need a bigger venue and I'll need a bigger pot to make the dinner in. We're already up to a 2.5kg mince beef and 2kg of mushrooms feed and that's about the limit of my big cauldron.
Yesterday we had the Sprint Squad in the 'Haus and it was heavy strength day. Everyone set new PB's in their lifts and I felt good, so went for 3 x 3 @170kg squats, and I got 'em! Woo hoo! We also did benchpress and deadlifts to finish off, I got 5 deadlifts at 150kg too, which was a new PB for that lift as well. The others all PB'd in everything too. A very solid session.
Afterwards we had a thankyou BBQ for all those that helped out at last summer's Sprint Series. aboc put on the bangers and bread and some chilli chickenwings and a good time was had by all who made it. It was particularly good to see the Dundii again and to get a chance to thank Ann Apolito and Sue Dundas for their work last year and of course Lucie for her photography, my Dad came too (he was a photographer at one round) and had a good time.
Today we had the first round of the Blackburn time trial series for 2009. I was pretty anxious about this, we'd had some 60 pre-entries and were expecting more to roll up and enter on the day. Blackburns' reputation for running time trials is .. unfortunate .. over the years a number of high profile events have gone awry and with a huge field I was pretty concerned that things would go wrong, but Richard Stringer put together a great team and everything went faultlessly, or at least appeared to, and that's all that matters! In the end some 110 riders raced the time trial and the results were done within 10 minutes of the last rider finishing. Fantastic. They need to be put up on the club's website ASAP too (very important these days!). Hopefully that will have been taken care of also.
Em and I rode the big aboc Trek T1000 tandem in the time trial and I'm pretty sure we came dead last, but we did win the tandem division. My alarm didn't go off and I was lucky that I woke up at 6:55, but I didn't have time for breakfast, having to fly out the door. I rode the tandem solo to the city, along the way hooking up with Bev and Karen who both delighted in dropping me on every hill! Hungry like the wolf but no food, I rode the ITT with Em and we did a solid E3 effort, then on the ride home (again solo on the tandem) I bonked ... Groveling up Whitehorse Road at 15km/h wasn't fun. The refueling process was started as soon as I got home, we're training at DISC tonight and I need some matches to burn!
Last night's spin confirmed that my previous PB on the ergo was no fluke, and tonight in the 'haus I have to lift more
1466 watts last night at the second spin session of the year. That backs up on the last week where I got 1473 watts. That's good, it shows that the improvement isn't a fluke.
We had 17 at the spin session I think - a few regulars from last year aren't coming and I'm going to give them a call and see what we're doing wrong and try and fix it. Other than that it's going well, apart from everyone else having terrible taste in music. That can't be helped sometimes.
Today I have to duck down to DISC to pick up the keys to the motorbike so we can motorpace at our sunday sessions, which start this Sunday. I've got 4 people coming so far! Anyone else?! The dinner is getting closer too, please let me know if you're keen to come by email. I might set up a signup sheet for it but for the dinner I'm happy to keep it informal but I need an email so I can keep track of it.
Tonight's the night in the 'haus when I'm going to be attempting 165kg squats. It's only 2.5kg more than I did on Sunday. That's not a lot more weight, really. We'll have a full 'haus too, the Apolitos and Merv are coming to train. After that it's off to Blackburn for the AGM for the club. I've got all the food except pita bread there already. Hot dogs, dips, spring rolls, ricotta triangles etc. Hopefully more than 5 people turn up!
We had a great time up at Hotham
The weather was perfect. Cool overnight, around 4 or 5 degrees, days were sunny and cool, which made for perfect riding conditions. Flinty, our Darth Vader crossover rider from the 11:53am-ers was the hard-arse of the weekend, he rode from Marouka to the summit of Mt Buffalo and back on Saturday, and PB'd Hotham from Harrietville on Sunday while the rest of us were flexing back at Dinner Plain basking in the glory of the day before. HAF! Shane Miller got KoM with a 1:25 climb, Karen Wiggins was QoM with a new pb by some 30 minutes. No-one rode to Omeo, no-one hit any cows, no crashes, no hangovers and all smiles for the weekend. We missed you, Neil! No-one cracked 100km/h.
Photos from the trip are here, thanks to Dino for taking most of the climbing shots.
I drove Dino's and Bev's cars for support for the weekend but did do some sprint work in the morning on Saturday and rode to Dinner Plain and back on Sunday, so got some use out of the bike I took up. We also did some cross-training on Saturday evening with the sprinters who came up, bounding up the Marouka stairs to the amusement of the enduros sitting inside after their climbs.
Special thanks to Bev and Donna and Rich and Alex for your help on the weekend with logistics and cooking and cleaning up!
We're off to the big mountain tonight
The 10th aboc Climbing Camp is this weekend, Rich and I have just done the shopping for the usual aboc mother of all bollas, and his car and my kitchen are full of food for around 17 people. It's the 10th one of these I've run, aboc's in its 6th year of coaching and I'm amazed it's been going for this long. No time for typing, got stuff to pack and then I have to work at the LBS until 5ish before we hightail it up to Marouka for the weekend.
The Hotham camp was small, but good
As mentioned, I didn't ride Hotham this time, I did take a bike and did some sprint work on Sunday and rode (groveled!) to Dinner Plain and back on Sunday after the sprints (mistake!).
But the trip was good. We had hail, warm weather in the Ovens valley, some great performances by everyone that came along and no-one went hungry. Photos are here.
Over the w'end some other aboc'ers were racing the Metro championships. I've posted a news article about it, but it bears repeating here too, as I'm very proud of the team. Dino got a bronze in the MMAS4 sprint, Mick Thomas had a cold but still managed a bronze in the MMAS4 pursuit and a silver in the MMAS4 scratch race, Emily swept the track to win gold in the JW15 500m ITT and qualified fastest by more than half a second in the JW15 sprint. She got eliminated in the rounds though, but she'll learn from that and the experience she'll gain for later in her career will be invaluable. The Dundas girls did well, Krissy and Jodie both went home with bronze medals (Krissy in the JW17 sprint and Jodie in the JW17 pursuit) and Mick Thomas's kids, Will and Bridget both had good days out, with Will setting a PB and Bridge getting a bronze in the JW15 scratch race. Simon Quick from Quickcycle coaches Will and Bridge and he's got them going pretty quick.
Round 3 of the BSSS is this Sunday. In A grade, watch out for Dino!
Climbing camp #9.
This will be a first, I'm not going to ride the big hill! I figure after some 14 or so ascents of it over the last 4 years I don't need to do it again, expecially one week out from a sprint series round. This camp was touch and go as to it going ahead, but we had a couple of late entrants so it's all going to work out ok for everyone. Phew!
Gear to pack : my bike, ergo, spares for everyone, food, prizes, laptop, movies, clothes (it may be quite chilly up there!) etc. I'm going to squeeze in a session in the powerhaus before I go too.
The BoM says :
Forecast for Saturday
Cloudy. Scattered showers. Winds south to southeasterly averaging 20 to 30 km/h tending south to southwesterly 20 to 35 km/h around midday. Overnight temperatures falling to between 5 and 10 with daytime temperatures reaching between 10 and 16.
Forecast for Sunday
Cloudy. Isolated showers until late afternoon. Winds southwesterly averaging 15 to 25 km/h tending westerly up to 45 km/h later in the evening. Overnight temperatures falling to around 5 with daytime temperatures reaching between 11 and 17.
Good luck to all the aboc'ers racing at the Metro's this weekend. I'm sure I'll get SMS updates as they get their results!
He's not ideally placed, but is still in with a fighting chance, and the aboc dinner was great!
Firstly, I'd like like to thank everyone that came to the aboc dinner earlier this week, we had a record attendance (29 in total) to hear a fantastic talk from Stu 'V-Train' Vaughan, as he showed us his 'Cycling Journey' from 125kg couch potato to world masters pursuit champion in 4 years, by way of marathon running, cross-country ski-ing and triathalon, before Stu finally settled on bike racing as his sport. In particular, I'd like to thank Bev who did a heap of the organising for the dinner which made my job a lot easier, and Dino for taking some photos for me.
I've had a lot of positive feedback for the dinner and Stu's talk, so thankyou V-Train for taking the time to tell us your tale. It'll be a hard one to follow.
And to le Tour. Wow .. CSC did what everyone expected, ah-la Lance Armstong in the past, but with a two-pronged attack in the end, with Carlos Sastre launching up l'Alp de'Huez at the very start of it, and gaining a lot of time on Cadel (and everyone else). Cadel bogged down in a flurry of false attacks and stutters driven mainly by Valverde (being paid by CSC?) and Andy Schleck which conspired to keep the chase group's pace low (attack and recover is always slower than a tempo effort up a climb). Sastre remarked afterwards that he knew it's faster to climb at his own pace than it is to attack and surge etc, it was unfortunate to see Evans get caught up in that, maybe he'd have been better just riding his own tempo up the climb and if he towed the rest up and they attacked him at the end, it wouldn't have mattered, he needed to limit his losses to Sastre more than he needed a stage win. The fact that Menchov managed to get back into the bunch just by riding tempo shows that it's sometimes better to get dropped by a surge and just ride your own pace than it is to go over threshold. Ullrich used to do that, he'd get dropped by surges, but would catch back because the surging riders would, once they settled, drop to a lower speed than Ullrich's tempo.
The final time trial on Saturday night will be a nailbiter.