Had a few minor setbacks ..
After a pretty pleasing round 2 of the SSS, I've had a few setbacks, a niggling knee twinge, a week at the Oceanias, not much/any training ... And my power is down ~150 watts! Doh ... Round 4 is coming soon, and I'm feeling better, hopefully it'll be a better day at the races!
My best flying 200 at Blackburn!
SSS round 2, and close to perfect conditions, I rode a 13.079, which is a big PB for me. 53x15 gearing, I rode a low entry line and it worked. It put me into A grade. Second last qualifier, so it was going to be tough ...
I rode a good race against Nic Mark, I had a good gap and had a chance, but flatted (lucky, back wheel!) down the straight with a lap to go, lucky not to bin it, so Nic got that one. Next up I raced Dino, and again I lead it out, Dino got right on my hip passing me coming into turn 3 and I got spooked and backed off (Dino would have won anyway, this wasn't why he won!), and in the last, Kyle Muir went from 600m and I didn't bother to chase him.
So, apart from race 1 I was a gumby, but I did ride a big PB for my F200 so the day was good!
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
A quick and dirty update on where we are
Firstly, I've revised my coaching structure a little, and am waiting for Nathan to see if he wants to change his stuff, the revised structure is here. This is to better reflect my specialisation in sprint and my experience. I will still be running the Tuesday ergo sessions which are both sprint and endurance sessions, as those of you who go already know - that's just had a pricing change and is otherwise mostly unchanged. I'm not coaching endurance riders so it makes sense that I make that clear.
We had to cancel the last round of the SSS for 2011-2012. This is mainly due to clashes with so many different events and training sessions that I just couldn't see a path through, and burnout on the part of many of the guys in the squad, not just racers but also the vitally important volunteers who run it. We're fried and need a break.
Now the good news!
DISC is closed from mid April 'til the end of May to have the leaky roof fixed. Good-o! But .. yes that takes away our Sunday DISC sessions for a bit. I'm considering (read: will, somehow!) running a Sunday sprint-Ergo session during that time, maybe at Blackburn, maybe at the powerHaus, maybe at home (if Jayne agrees!). Better than nothing. We'll charge a tenner to come and suffer, BYO chunder bucket and road bike as usual. It won't be an enduro session, just sprint. If Nath wants to put together some enduro stuff we can certainly accomodate that but I will leave it to him to decide. The track time loss is more critical to sprinters than enduros during the off season, but if Nath wants to make it happen I'm happy to help.
Sprint pathways, communication ...
Not many of you will have heard of "Junior Worlds Syndrome", it's not in wikipedia that I know of, but it's a big deal for coaches and program directors who work with junior track sprinters.
What is it?
Kids come back from junior worlds, and leave the sport or change tack and go race endurance.
It's quite common.
I had a chance to have a debrief with one of the kids who did this after a recent junior worlds, and three main things cropped up from this discussion.
I'm going to focus on one.
Sprint pathways aren't clear - Once a junior comes out of J19's they have to race Shane Perkins, Anna Meares etc. Daunting, and it takes a long time (3-5 years or more for most of them) to build up to that level. Professional road racers have a defacto grading system with lesser races and second division teams etc for riders to be part of, track sprint is Olympics/World Cup or nothing, or at least, that is how it's perceived.
Interestingly burnout was not mentioned
Bearing in mind that this is essentially a brief summary of one discussion (ie: I just listened and prompted a little) It does raise some interesting points for discussion.
What can we do as sprint coaches and program directors do to alter either the process, or the communication of the processes, to our riders such that we might increase the chances of keeping them in sprint programs?
We need to provide more sprint racing. This is fundamental. We need to get event directors to put in more (some! even just one!) sprint events into track carnivals. I rant about this a lot, we need my sprint series to grow, get some real sponsors, not just me and my wonderful band of volunteers, and be a viable pathway, perhaps integrated with the Sprint Academy.
We need sprint to be taken seriously and for track carnivals to reflect this. A few years ago the Revolution races had a really good mix of sprint and endurance racing, but it has fallen by the wayside despite it being a very entertaining format. Copying it or some parts of it will help. The J19's and early senior sprinters need more than just another wheelrace to aspire to as a stepping stone. Sending developing sprinters to Asian Cups and so on is of value and needs support from the state sports institutes.
We need the various event directors to understand that the modern sprinter is a specialist, they wouldn't put Usain Bolt into a 800m running race, why would you put a cycling sprinter into the equivalent except to embarras them?
We need the National Junior Track Series to allow sprint to feature more. I've spoken with the organisers and hopefully the next season will showcase more pure sprint events. We need clubs to "get" sprint as a seperate part of the sport and to be a bit passionate about it.
At last ...
A long long time ago I posted that I wanted to ride 12.5 for a flying 200, not a terribly ambitious target, but for me, I though a pretty challenging one.
Today, at the Vic Masters, I clocked 12.428s. I certainly didn't expect to go that fast (ok, slow, but for me, that's fast!) - I'd been in Adelaide for a week, doing nothing, had done some longer efforts on Friday night, generally about the worst preparation you could have - but there you go. Goal achieved. That makes 2011-2012 a successful season. I won a couple of rounds of the SSS (r1 and r2, B grade), rode a target flying 200, and there's still a couple of rounds to go. Peak power is still down, but that's on its way up again, slowly.
Got to be happy with that!
The guys did well today, I'll pop up a few photos that are already on facebook of the team, but there's a haul of medals of every colour (including my bronze in MMAS3 for coming 3rd/last).
Or putting the shoe on the other foot.
I was going to write about SSS round 2, which went pretty well (ok, it was great!) but that can wait a bit. You can see all the videos and results over at the SSS website if you want.
I want to write briefly about learning, learning new, alien skills and the art of excellent teaching.
I'm lucky enough (wellll ... pretty lucky, wellll ... extrordinarily lucky ...) to be being exposed to a new skillset by a teacher/coach with some of the best teaching skills I've ever experienced. Learning new skills is hard, especially in an environment where you're way outside your comfort zone.
In a really fortuitous twist to this tale, at the same time as I am being taught new skills, I am in parallel, teaching new skills to the teacher who's teaching me (a swapsie, you might say). I am teaching whitewater kayaking and basic track cycling, I am being taught .. wait for it ... Ceroc modern jive (I think that's what it is anyway? All I know is I keep tripping over!). Yes, dancing. Me .. Dancing .. You want to push my comfort zone, that is IT! I can fly a plane, SCUBA dive to 55m on mixed gasses, play violent contact sports, climb rocks and ice, race sprints, paddle down rapids, kill spiders and ward off snakes .. you name it, no worries, but dance? Ohhh ... I'm game enough to admit to being petrified of dancing.
This is a very interesting position to be in, when teaching skills a teacher needs to know when to back off, say nothing, let the student experiment and make (harmless) mistakes, and when to intercept and cut off any frustration or danger with the right cues. Timing of this is critical or the student either doesn't get the chance to learn (over teaching is waayyyyy too common, just SHUT UP, STEP BACK AND LET ME WORK THIS OUT FOR MYSELF!) or gets hurt and/or frustrated to the point that they can't learn (spit the dummy time or get injured!).
The teacher must have the absolute trust of their student that they are looking after them. I'm putting my student into dangerous situations in whitewater rapids and on steep banked velodromes. I'm being put into a social context that I am deeply unfamiliar with as well (who wants to look like a dickhead in front of your partner's peers?). Trust is vital. Having a teacher or coach that you trust gives you the backing to be able to push you limits.
I also think it's important that the teacher not pretend that a new skill is easy - track stands are not easy, eskimo rolls are not easy, swan drops are not easy (really! I threw that in because I tried to learn that last night and last week and it's tricky!), power cleans and proper squats are not easy. None of these things are natural, they need to be learned and pretending that they're easy harms the trust relationship between a teacher/coach and their students. They're worthwhile to learn and will take time and effort and will be rewarding when learned. They are not easy to learn.
To cut a long story short, I think it's a great experience to be taught something new and totally alien and I'm not just (slowly!) learning how not to bowl over dance partners, but more importantly, I'm learning a lot more about how to teach and coach, by being a total novice student all over again in the hands of a brilliant teacher.
Oh, I won B grade on Sunday at round 2, undefeated (although Ian McGinley and I were very very close) and rode a PB flying 200, I'm only a 10th off breaking into 12 seconds at Blackburn. I think it was world Vegan day on Sunday, I had a couple of steaks to celebrate.
I'm off to Dunc Gray for a day ...
Quick recap of round 1 of the SSS. I qualified ok, no PB (13.4) but given the gusty southerly that was ok, and given I was using a new 5 spoke front wheel for the first time at Blackburn, in a gusty wind, and it took me off the line quite a bit around turn 3, I'm not displeased with the time. I'll go back to my normal front wheel for races ...
Racing - first up Ian McGinley beats me, I rode like a chump and didn't dig hard enough to keep the lane when he passed me, probably should have won it, but mistimed a lay off and run due to some confusion with Ian staying up out of the lane.
Second time and I'm up against Nic Marc, I got him, too easily, he gave me way too much gap at turn 3 on lap 1 and I escaped. Learning experience for Nic, who made me look like a goose at DISC a few weeks ago, now we're 1-all!
Third race and I'm up against Tyler Spurrel, who qualified badly but races well and can out-jump me. Sure enough, he does and he wins, I almost chopped him into the infield when he jumped under me out of T4, Mea Culpa.
By virtue of fastest qualifying time in B grade I'm through to the 3v4 final, against Ian again, this time he leads out and I duck around behind him for half a lap seeing if he has his radar on. He doesn't seem happy riding while looking behind so I take a chance and go pretty early, get a small gap and gamble on being able to vary my pace and break his timing when he tries to pass. This works, he tries to pass on T3/T4 but I lift a bit (kept a bit in reserve) and take a win.
So I win my entry fee back!
Standout performances from the J17 lads I've been working with, James Dann (15y/o, on 82") rides a 12.6, Jay Castles is a tiny bit behind him and John Cochrane also right up there despite a bit of a bug. A mixed day for everyone else, first race back after winter is an interesting one, especially since we've been indoors at DISC all winter and outdoors at Blackburn is different. A lot of the Sprint Squad guys are peeved with their times, but it's early days yet ...
Tomorrow I fly up to Sydney with the Blackburn under 17's who are racing the first round of the new National Junior Track Series (NJTS). Three sprinters, Emily, John and James, and three enduros, Chloe, Michael and Pierce. I'll be back first thing on Saturday morning - hopefully while I'm up there I'll get a chance to catch up with Sean Eadie again, I have much to discuss with him!
It's racing time!
We've done our strength blocks, our capacity work (ouch ....) and this is a taper week, because on Sunday it's round 1 of the 2011-2012 aboc Summer Sprint Series. The weather forecast is good (enough!) - the team is ready, and my sprinters are ready!
So here I am in Adelaide for another week
I've been very lucky in this sprint coaching caper. Right from the start. So here I am in Adelaide again, after a weekend's assisting Hilton with the Vic VIS and TID kids at a sprint camp. Now I'm spending this week (I'm here for the first week of a three week junior worlds preparation camp) with Sean Eadie, assisting him as much as I can, working on The Book some more. Amazing opportunity to learn and develop, and hopefully be a tiny bit useful to Sean for the week too.
The water here still sucks, and finding an open supermarket on a weekend is a challenge, but that's Adelaide for you!
The weekend's racing was good - everyone learned a lot and developed skills and confidence. The format was similar to the SSS, which as we know, works!
Watts, that is ...
Tonight was the second of the Blackburn "aboc" (but not run by us) sprint nights over winter. It was a bit of a messy night, some things took far too long to happen (we sat around for ages after the first race before we did the team sprint). But .. I was pleasantly suprised by my peak power, I hit 1400 watts for the first time in a long time, which is promising. I raced ok, in the two races I had against live oposition, Caitlin "the flicker" Ward was too fast (and a little too hard to pass!) for me and in the B grade keirin final I was baked and pulled out after 2 laps, no legs left at all. I was reasonably happy with how I went, considering the recovery from my injury, I'm not unhappy with my progress. Yesterday in the 'Haus I squatted (singles) 150kg and deadlifted 175kg (again, just a single rep) and the deadlift was a struggle but I got it without too much rounding, but the squat was easy. The deadlift isn't that far off my previous PB (185kg for a double), the squat is still way down, but it's getting there slowly. Don't rush it ... the summer sprint series is still months away.... I did have to race in front of most of the VIS and NTID kids we coach, I think they got a laugh out of watching an old, slow, talentless bloke, it was all in good humour and I think most of them had fun.
The series needs work to make it run better, but as Richard Stringer and I discussed afterwards, we'll chip away at it until it works. Tonight we got to nominate our team sprint teams which was an improvement, little steps ...
Really! Not for me .. for the series ..
Also, I'm considering a minor rule change - We have J17's as junior invitees, in the past they have been ineligeable for the series aggregate and I'm thinking of changing this so they are able to win it. This will, as well as give them a chance to win a big prize, simplify the aggregate points calculations. In the past if a JI rider got aggregate points I "slipped" them out of the results and moved everyone below them up - so for example if Emily won C grade and a senior got second, the senior was credited with points for the win (10) instead of second (7) and so on. In hindsight I think that was wrong and it will be better to just have the JI's able to win, if they can.
So, who wants a JI entry?
You know what to do if you do ...
What I'd like to do next time
As I mentioned in a blog entry last week, I only did the flying 200 (rode a reasonable time, considering, 13.05, not that far off my PB), the team sprints and the keirin (I was rubbish in the keirin! Totally pissweak effort! anyway ....)
At the end of the night I was asked for some feedback. Here it is :
Do flyng 200's every time to start and grade everyone - these are an important sprint discipline and practicing them (and racing them!) is important. Do them over the full 3.5 lap distance, not 2.5 laps. It's what we train for, and how we race. The juniors whop are along to have fun should get exposed to this properly.
Team sprints - we did them in teams of 2 (good) but with the fastest and slowest combined, second fastest with second slowest and so on. This meant that it wasn't really a race and the kids felt bad for holding up the seniors they were teamed with, despite our best efforts to encourage them. They did learn, but I'd suggest we do two team sprints - one like this, and one graded with nominated teams that we can be a bit more serious about.
Keep the keirins, and keep them at the end of the night. To give the sprinters time to recover, run scratch races between the sprints for enduros (or enduros that want to also sprint, go for it guys ... who needs recovery?!).
If numbers are low, match sprints, if numbers are high, more keirins.
What we did ...
I'm focussing a lot of us older guys who train in the Sprint Squad on legspeed and power at higher cadences, one way to do this is to do a motorpaced drill called a "windout", where, on a small (or at least, not a big gear) gear we follow the motorbike through a flying 200 windup, then a flying 200 entry line, chase the bike for a set number of laps while it speeds up at every corner. This doesn't use up our power getting to speed so it saves us for high cadence high power work, where we rarely get to train without the aid of a motorcycle (or, on the road, down hills). Last night our main drill was a 500m windout with the motorbike pulling off at 100m to go, the rider then has to try and accelerate (or, at least hold speed) for the last 100 meters.
That's what it looks like from the back of the motorbike ...
Here's my power meter data for one of my efforts from this session (I did 4 of them, all on 90"). As you can see, I am not very fast or powerful (and am even worse than I was last summer, but I have some mittigating circumstances! Injury has taken quite a toll this year so far, but I am on the mend!). Compare this to the week before, where we just did windouts without the motorbike pulling off at 100 to go (ie: chasing all the way in the draft). The power at the last 10 seconds is the interesting part. Here's the charts :
|500m windout with rider unassisted for the last 100m|
|500m windout with draft to finish|
And here's the last month or so's overall power figures (it's a funny slice of a graph!)
It's a long way down from my best (~1550 watts peak), but it is going up, and that's encouraging. This is all post my back injury that dropped my peak power down to the sort of numbers an enduro would sneer at! (800 watts! You must be joking!) ... As long as it keeps going up, as are my lifts in the gym, slowly but consistantly, I'm happy. I have abot 5 months to get some speed before the next Summer Sprint Series. Keep on trucking.
Not quite what I had in mind, but they are sprints ...
aboc, ie: me, is sponsoring this; Blackburn's running five sprint nights at DISC over "winter". The rough program is this :
Flying 200 for grading.
1.5 lap dashes (4 riders at a time I think)
Team sprints (graded by your f200, not able to nominate your own team - this is still being 'discussed', I am not happy about not being able to nominate my own team or starting order). These at least will be no longer than 3 laps (they originally wanted 4 laps, huh? What 'team sprint' has 4 laps? And then expects the poor bugger that rode 4th to race again in 15 minutes?!)
1k handicap, held start, no push (The kilo is dead, no-one trains for it anymore ... why is this in the program? To embarras sprinters?)
Scratch races for the leftovers
If there's enough time, keirins to finish.
I will only be racing the F200, team sprint (assuming an acceptable team and I'm lead rider) and the keirin, assuming the program doesn't have to be cut short because there's too much going on. The other stuff is just silly and I'm not doing it.
Those of you who were at the last round of the SSS will know that the above is not what I planned, but since I'm not running this, it is what it is and it's better than a night of scratch, points, h'cap and/or motorpaces. It's a start. If it's a bit successful, we can lobby to make it different for later rounds or next year etc.
So that's tonight's festivities at DISC.
I've been pretty busy with the NTID squad and helping Hilton for the last few weeks, as well as coaching in the 'Haus a lot, running Spin, Sunday DISC sessions, and that's my excuse for not writing much here in May. I have loads ot writing to do for The Book too ... lots of gaps to fill!
I had a pretty good weekend!
Summer Sprint Series round 5. Beautiful day, near perfect weather. PB's in flying 200's for almost everyone (including me, which was a big surprize, 13.212s) and my first ever podium at the SSS in 4 years of trying. I also rode my fastest ever last 200 metres, 13.049s, during a heat racing with Aaron Christiansen. I think I'm capable of getting into the 12's if everything goes right.
We had a decent turnout of riders, especially considering that three regulars were out, Dino with a busted collarbone, Ian McGinley with a matching busted collarbone and Emily at Vic team training. 17 riders took the track in the end and we had Jamie Stockland from Canada, who gave Chris Ray a real run for his money and Alissa Maglaty from San Fran. I'm not yet sure how they heard about our racing but we were thrilled to have them with us. The organising team was, as always, brilliant and everything went smoothly. Chris Ray was very close to breaking the magic 12 second barrier with his 12.068s flying 200, which is a record for the SSS, but not quite for Blackburn. Neil beat his target time and whooped it up to his and everyone else's delight.
A top day's racing!
Or, some days you're the hammer, other days, the nail.
Saturday, Blackburn club championships sprint day. It's blowing a healthy nor-westerly (fast if you know how to use it). 500m ITT first, I use 90". Held starts (we HAVE GATES FFS! USE THE DAMN THINGS!). I ride a 40.03 (hand timed) which I think is a PB. It's fast enough to win MMAS3 and would have gotten me a bronze in JM17(!). Good-o, one in the bag, big fish in a little pond, the other guys I'm racing against are enduros. The Wizard rides 38.something to win MMAS2. Dino wins the 750 at DISC at the Vic Masters on the same day (clashes with BBN's club champs). This will be the last bit of really good news for Dino, who is clearly the fastest MMAS4 in the state of Victoria (big fish, big pond). Emily has no competition, not a single JW17 has shown up to race with her. She rides a pretty good 500 in the circumstances. I'm pleased both for her (win, you can only beat the people that show up to race) and also proud of her. I believe strongly that elite riders should make the effort to race club races when possible, especially things like club championships. It shows the younger kids where they can go and they're part of something and it keeps the elites grounded. Likewise I'm proud of Emerson Harwood (NTID) who also raced.
Next up, flying 200's. It's still blowing a gale, I keep the 90" on. I ride a 13.20, another PB (by 0.1s). That'll do, I'm 0.4s faster than the second qualifier, Richard Stringer, in MMAS3. Emerson breaks Andrew Steel's long-standing track record, with no aero fruit. He rides 11.8 seconds. At Blackburn, that's very fast. Emily rides a much better time than she rode last week at round 4 of the SSS. James Dann rides another PB and qualifies third in JM17.
Race time, I get to watch as Alan Dorin and Ben Schofiled fight it out for the chance to race me (4v5). Alan wins that, has a rest and then I race him. I've raced Alan many times over the years, almost always in endurance races and he has almost always been able to beat me. Not today. Sprint is my game and he goes later than I expected him to, gets a small gap which I use as a lay off and I zip past him to take an easy win. Easier than I thought it would be, the standard mode of attack is for these guys to go early and keep jumping (how to beat a sprinter in one easy lesson). Maybe he wasn't 100% fit? I don't know. I'm though to the final. Richard Stringer races Rob Monteath for the other chance to race for first, Richard wins it. So I'm up against Richard in a best of three for the gold.
The first one, I have the lead (I think!), Richard takes it at a jump, gets a small gap but I catch and pass him. One down, that wasn't too bad. He can accelerate and handle the bike well, but doesn't have the top speed to pass me. Good to know ...
Round two and he's got the lead, and jams me right up hard into the fence at 2.5 to go. Jammed so hard I had to grab the fence to avoid falling over! As I grab the rail he jumps and is gone. I chase (it's now a 700m ITT!), wind him back a little, while watching him swerving around a few times (huh?! he's 40m in front and almost in the grass?!) but the gap is just too big and I can't reel him in, I concede and it's 1:1. I'm not pleased about it, but this is club racing and I don't think he meant to jam me so hard into the railing. I'm not going to protest, I do mention it to Doug but he didn't see it, no-one did, it was at the far end of the track and obscured by how we were positioned. I don't think even Richard realised what he'd done.
Round three, this time I resolve to take this one from the front. I have speed on Richard, I don't think he'd be able to pass me at full gas. I have the lead, every time he moves I ramp it up a little, pulling him down off the bank and keeping him under control. No low speed, sudden jumps this time and no way I'm letting him in front to push me around this time. With a bit over a lap to go I accelerate, not 100%, but around 80% or so, not looking back any more, but I will kick up the back straight and again around the final bend, that's the plan anyway. I know he's hard on my wheel but I'll break his timing by changing pace. Up the final straight and I kick again with 40m to go and just wobble a fraction out of the sprinters lane for a brief moment, it's entirely accidental, I think (I didn't see it) it made Richard move off his passing line, I cross first and record a win. There's some discussion about it, I did leave the lane, if the judges think it affected the results I will not be upset and I tell Richard if he wants to protest I will not be upset with him about it (I didn't see if it made any difference but I did do it). He decides not to protest and the result stands.
Ok, club champion for MMAS3 in the TT and the sprint. My first ever. I am pleased!
Sunday, different story. Vic Masters. I'm now the little fish. Here be real sprinters. One guy in our division is a masters world champion and has come down from Sydney to teach us all a lesson. In my opinion, DFL trumps DNS every day. I'm going to put that to the test. My flying 200 is a PB again on 96", at DISC, I ride 12.8something. Beats my previous best by a whole 0.1s! Heh! Anyway, I'm pleased with that, but Gavin (the guy from NSW) rides 11.1 Uhuh .. and He's qualified 1st, I've qualified last (8th) - 1v8. Good-o. This will be ... entertaining ... I have the lead, tactically I do it all as well as could be expected, I keep watching him the whole time, using the bank and speed changes to control position, do the hook-and-drop at turn three with one to go, but Gavin just hits the accelerator and goes whoosh past me. He did everything right, was patient. I'm out 'til the keirin in the afternoon. Still, one better than last year when I didn't get a ride except for the flying 200.
Dino's on fire, he's qualifed fastest and is up against a bloke who's flying 200 suggested his experience at this track was marginal. Dino's lined him up to pass on the finishing straight when he (the guy Dino's racing, loses control and turns right, straight up into Dino with 40m to go. WTF?! Dino comes down hard and breaks his collarbone. I'd like to remind everyone reading of a rule, an important rule. These things happen but that should not have. Dino's put his heart and soul into training for this event and this was just horribly cruel. He gets bundled off in an ambulance with lots of strong drugs.
Chris Ray wins his sprints and wins Gold. Dino gets a silver by virtue of a disqualification. Not what he wanted and it's awful. Emily collects his medal for him later.
Keirins, I've drawn number 1, I get the motorbike. I'm on 96". Safely on the bike, I lead it out, with one to go the boys behind me kick and I don't have the legs to go with it, first three (of the four in our heat) go through to the final, and they all cruise over the line. Outgunned? uhuh ... anyway, DFL trumps DNS.
Mick Thomas wins the MMAS4 (or 5? Mick?) scratch race AND the keirin!
After some running around with Emily (Dino's not driving anywhere today!) and a solid state team training session in the evening it's time to go home. Phew. A big big weekend ...
A couple of solid days training
This weekend is the Blackburn club championships on Saturday (sprint and 500m time trial) and on Sunday it's the sprint and keirin Vic Masters championships. A busy couple of days. I'm MMAS3 this year (40-44) which is new for me. The standard is pretty high at the Vic masters, there's a few riders there who are orders of magnitude faster than I am. So beit. I'll do my best. in the lead up, I've had a good fortnight's training. As mentioned earlier I'm back in the gym able to squat and getting some good quality track sessions done both at Blackburn with Dino, Pat and Nic, and at DISC. Hilton did a set of four MACCs for me yesterday before the mani training session. I found a new top speed on my track bike. 66.1km/h. We have kids that go that fast, but still, for me, that's moving.
So the last couple of days, trained on Saturday, raced SSS round 4 on Sunday, lifted in the gym on Monday, MACC's and rider pass efforts on Tuesday at Blackburn, MACC's at DISC on Wednesday, today (evening) we're in the gym again and Friday will be a rest day. Then the fun begins. Good-o.
Not displeased with how I went at SSS r4
It could have been better, I might have been able to train consistantly, but that's life and we all have reasons/excuses for why we perform how we do on race day. I'm lighter (~100kg vs 113kg) than I was at this time last year which has helped my jump. My jump still sucks, but it sucks less than it used to. Now I'm only having to bridge up 10m, not 40m and that's a significant improvement. I'm back in the gym as of last week doing consistent lifting after a layoff of some 10 months so I'll get strong again. The week in the pressure-cooker at Dunc Grey didn't help my preparation, excuse, excuse, excuse ... !
ENOUGH! Get on with the damn racing!
I warmed up on 50x17, light easy gear. Did a couple of revouts, one chasing Neil, just to get things moving. On Saturday I'd done some short efforts at Daryl Perkins' session at DISC just before our NTID session and I felt ok. Hitting around 1400 watts peak doing jumps. Ok, that's not too bad for an old guy who's missed a lot of ENOUGH WITH THE EXCUSES! .. it was a good session yesterday!
Flying 200 time. I rode a 13.5, not that far off my PB (around 0.2 I think, slower than it) - I didn't use the disk wheel, I kept the powertap wheel on all day, so here's the evidence for the flying 200. Conditions weren't ideal, a southerly and pretty cold. I'm pleased with that time. I still want to get down into the 12's but I think that will have to wait 'til next season.
Draw done, and I'm to race James Dann, Ian McGinley and Aaron Christiansen in the rounds. I was the fastest qualifier in B grade (again!). 6 of us in the grade. Being fastest qualifier helps later, as you shall see ...
James is a junior invitational rider, I coach him and he's got a kick. But, he's restricted to 82 gear inches. I'm on 90". How do you take the jump out of the picture? Keep the speed up and burn him off. That's the theory, at least. I lead out, jumped coming out of turn 4 (should have gone at the entry to turn 3 ...) just before the bell, James kicks and is in front of me. Right ... chase chase chase, on the wheel, coming past but left it too late. James bags his coach. I'll fix him later! Our last 200 was done in 13.4 seconds and he was in the front all the time, James was really moving. Watch for him next summer.
Second race and I'm up against Ian. He's mainly an enduro but can sprint a bit. A decent all-rounder. He jumps me, I chase, I go to pass on the back straight but he uses a second kick and stays clear. Doh! Ian's a good racer and his flying 200 doesn't reflect his ability.
Third heat and I'm racing Aaron. Aaron's done very few match sprints but he's a very fit rider and has ridden faster flying 200's than I have at DISC. I can't take him for granted, that's for sure. Again I get gapped at the jump but this time I find a bit more speed and manage to catch Aaron just in time to bag a win. That hurt. Lots. I'll pay for it if I make the finals.
At the end of the rounds there's a few of us tied on 9 points. As the fastest qualifier I get the forth spot, racing against Nicholas Cockerell (another newbie). Three laps. I'll have the lead thanks, and I hold him tight up against the fence for a lap and a half, I don't want a long race, but I need the speed high to reduce the impact of his jump. He gets around me, I get up to his wheel but not enough and he wins, I get 4th overall (again!). Interesting fact, I've never been on the podium at an SSS round. As the guy who runs it I think that's probably appropriate, but I'll get on the damn thing one day and shake my own hand!
Video to come ...
Thankyou to :
Lucie Akers (photography)
Jodie Dundas (videography)
Krissy Dundas (general help)
Anne Apolito (race entry and results)
John 'Star Trek' Lewis for race timing
Sue Dundas (commissaire)
Chris Dann (commentary)
Alex Vaughan (sausages!)
A new year!
Forgive me for not having written much in the last fortnight. It's been pretty busy. We've got our next lot of aboc kit all done, thank you to Dino for making that happen. The new stuff is made by Giramondo and it's very good. Locally made (not in some anonymous overseas sweatshop) and top quality. That's not a sales pitch, I'm not trying to sell you this stuff, I'm just very pleased with it.
I've also done a bit of work on The Book, nothing worth writing about, but more background reading more than anything else. What else? Oh, yeah, xmas and new years are all out of the way and they (finally!) put me in the noisy tube to try and see what's going on with my cranky shoulder. I'm off to see my doctor again on Thursday to discuss the results. I've been asking them to do this for probably 6 months now, FINALLY they agreed! Anyway, hopefully we'll have some answers on Thursday. My power uotput is hovering around 1350 or so watts (peak) from small gear efforts, I haven't pushed anything bigger than 84" for some time, but my cadence is good so I'm moderatly pleased with how that's all going. I still want to try and get a 13.2s flying 200 at Blackburn this summer and 12.5 at DISC at the Vic masters would make me happy, although just a 12.9 would be acceptable, given the injury-disrupted year I had, maintaining the status quo is an OK result.
Summer Sprint Series round 4 is coming up soon (13th Feb) but before that is the Vic junior track championships (29th & 30th of Jan) and the Australian senior track championships (1-6 Feb) in Sydney, which as far as I know, I'm going to as an assistant coach. More chances to learn from some of the best.
At DISC, with the weather being warm, I'm finding a lot more confidence on the motorbike. Over winter I was unhappy at anything much over 75km/h around the bends, now I'm comfortable at about 83km/h which is about as fast as we ever need to go. The DISC motorbike's speedo reads around 5% over, we think 83km/h indicated is probably about 78-79km/h actual speed, which is faster than anyone can race, so at least in terms of speed, I'm now able to ride the motorbike fast enough for just about anyone. I still need to get better at a skill that Hilts is a master of, riding at speed around the track while looking over my shoulder. It takes a lot of practice to get good at that and I've not yet gotten to a stage that I think is acceptably good but I'm better at it than I was this time last year! It (the motorbike) skips around at high speeds especially when you cross the painted lines, but I'm used to it now. Hilts has been very patient with me learning this skill, it's not as easy as it looks to get good at.
Dino and Pat and I have been doing our Tuesday morning sessions at Blackburn and enjoying a good solid flaying, we've had low (one last time, just me!) turnouts to Summer Spin but it's been holiday season and everyone's off riding outside as they should - it's really only the pure sprinters that need the uber-high intensity work on the ergos over summer, the rest of you, On Yer Bikes!