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 ...
At DISC, on the motorbike
Here's a headlight-view of a flying 200 at DISC that I shot yesterday from the indicator mount of the motorcycle at DISC. Speed is around 70km/h for the actual 200 metres.
It was shot with a GoPro Hero HD in 720p mode mounted to the right indicator stalk (so the chrome thing is the side of the headlight).
Back on the (old concrete) track
Sunday last (3rd Oct) was the practice day for the Summer Sprint Series. I'd spent a bit of time at the old Blackburn roundy-roundy-drome doing some weeding, burning weeds, chopping weeds, sweeping etc over the last fortnight but hadn't done a lap as any sort of speed since the last round last summer.
With a pesky shoulder injury keeping me seated and spinning, I did a couple of demo rides of the two most common flying 200's with a funky little "GoPro Hero HD" video camera attached to my trusty track bike. These little cameras are brilliant. Cheap enough to not worry too much about if they get damaged, waterproof, high-def (can do 1080p at 30 frames/second!) and with a stack of clever mounts. I slapped the camera under my stem, popped on an 86" gear and did some demo laps for the camera.
Here's the video from those two lines
After that, and a warmup sucking the wheel of the ubersprinter for a few laps, it was time to do some practice. I figured I wasn't good for much, so dropped my gear down to 82" and cranked up the cadence. I rode a 14.4s flying 200, which was about a second off my best at Blackburn, but it wasn't a full gas effort and was way off the sort of gear I'd normally ride (when I can get out of the saddle to get over a bigger gear anyway, bugger it!). I'd probably ride 92" or so if everything was working well, and bigger if I felt good and there wasn't much wind. As it is, I'll be happy if I can hold 86" next week without pain interfering with my ride. We all did a few flying 200's, most of us were way off the times we'd been riding last year. With no aero fruit, fancy wheels or helmets etc and a strong nor-easter blowing it wasn't all bad.
I did two practice races against Emily, and one against David Thomas, we were all getting the feel for the slacker banking at Blackburn after a winter's training indoors and on the 42 degree timber banks of DISC. It went well, everyone did improve through the session and I'm looking forward to next Sunday.
I was very much looking forward to round one of the aSSS yesterday. On Saturday I was jumping out of my skin, but I woke on Sunday feeling a little flat and lethargic. Lucie and I did all the making of the rolls for lunch etc and I did a warmup set in the 'Haus to kickstart my legs. The warmup felt heavy. Hrm.
Anyway .. We got to Blackburn, John Lewis and I set up the timing tapes and people started arriving. I slapped on the replacement FFWD 5 spoke front and the disk rear wheel onto my T1 and did a few warmup laps and one surge, that felt ok. 98" was the gear for the day, not much wind and I should be strong enough to push it.
A bit of background on the 5 spoke. I got it initially about 3 weeks ago, and tested it out at DISC only to find that it had loose bearings and shook uncontrollably at around 30km/h, so we sent it back to FRF (Aust importer) and they sent me another one which we got just in time for round 1. Pete from CS-M glued it up during the week. On Saturday I bolted it into the bike and it didn't feel 100%, but was a lot better than the first one.
Flying 200 time, and I'm psyched for a big one. Wind it up with a very light northerly breeze blowing (< 5km/h, perfect conditions), the front end twitches just a little up the front straight during my windup but seems ok, I hammer it into the clubroom corner to get up to speed, drop down following the Nicko-Line and feel fast crossing the start line ... then I hit the corner and the front end goes ballistic. In motorcycling terms it did a tank-slapper. The front end of the bike shook uncontrollably and I was heading for the fence with no control over the bike, frantically backpedaling to slow down and wash off some speed. I managed to get around the corner with the front still wobbling all over the place and record a 15.something time. I ask for a rerun and Sue approves. The 5 spoke is swapped out for my older Bontrager carbon front wheel (that I trust!). The FFWD 5 spoke is going back, and I don't want another one. A $3,000 wheel should have better quality control than these things have and as far as I'm concerned they ran shove it up their backsides and I want my money back!
I get about 30 mins to recover to do my second run. I'm still a bit shaken (and fatigued from the first run!) and I only manage a 13.802 (52.17 km/h). That's pretty slow. It qualifies me as the second seed in B grade, Rob Tidey was 0.4 faster and he's the first seed in B grade. Dino's made the cut into A grade as has Neil Robinson (his first time in A grade!). Chris Ray and Gary Jackson are the fastest two in A grade, being the only riders on the day to get into the 12 second box.
Round 1 and I'm up against Nathan Fraser (14.174). I should be able to get this, Nathan goes very early, very hard. I'm on a big gear (98") and it takes a while to wind it up and I chase like a madman for a lap and a half before catching him just before the final bend, he's blown and I fly past and take a win first up. That took a lot of energy to do! I had to ride a 550m ITT to catch him. Ouch. I'll pay for that (and the extra F200) later. Final 200 : 15.036
Round 2 vs Leon Sims (14.124). Similar race, Leon jumps around 450m so to go and gets a gap, again I'm chasing but once I get on top of the 98" I have speed and get him by a bit over a bike length. That hurt too ... Still, two from two is the best I've ever had at an SSS round. Final 200 : 14.121
Round three and I'm up against Andrew Steele (13.921). Steelie's the flying 200 record holder at Blackburn, before he had a long break from the sport he rode an 11.94s. He's a very smart sprinter. Certainly he's not in the best shape of his life, but he's still got a lot of power and a hell of a lot of race smarts. If I'm not in front of him with 200m to go I'm toast, I figure. Jokes at the start line about the combined weight of the field in this race being close to 300kg! I get schooled in how to ride a sprint and Steelie wins it by half a bike length after sitting up once he knew he had the win. He has this amazing surge and back off which he kept throwing at me and I'd never raced anyone with that in their toolkit. A really good lesson and I'm thrilled to have been able to race against him. When he gets into some better shape he'll be very fast again. Final 200 : 13.789
Finals, I'm in the 3v4 ride off against Marc Wilson (13.905). This is over 3 laps and he draws the lead. I go under him and take it off him and hold him up high, I don't have the energy for a long sprint and I want this one to be a last lap drag race, I'm persisting with the 98" gear. I haven't had a chance to watch Marc race much, he gave Rob Tidey a decent race in round 3 which I did see. We jump around about together and it's a good race, but Marc gets it by half a bike.
So, two flying 200s, Four match sprints. Two wins and two close losses. I shouldn't be unhappy with that. I'm very unhappy with the (very expensive!) FFWD front wheel though!
The day itself went just about perfectly. A full field, some brilliant racing and the series is everything we dreamed it could be. Lots of positive feedback, the team did an amazing job (again!) - Sue ran the races with the right level of control and authority, it was all run in good spirit and we have hundreds of photos (thank you Lucie and Nathan) and loads of video for me to edit and upload over the next few days. The electronic timing was great, thanks to John Lewis and Nathan Frazer.
Next round, I think I'll drop down to 94" or so, the 98" was too much to accelerate and while I had loads of speed on it, tactically it was the wrong gear for the day.
I'm stuck at 185kg!
The last three times I've gone to squat heavy I've not been able to finish the sets. I'm stuck on 185kg. I got 3 x 3 @ 182.5kg out ok a week or so ago, repeated it a few times to bed it in, then went for 185. My three attempts over the last week at doing 3 x 3's :
2 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps (almost!)
Argh! It may still be a bit of the 'flu floating around, I'm not 100% and to lift heavy takes everything I've got, so maybe that's not helping. I might have to back off to 180kg again and start from there. I'm not all that concerned though, it's time to really swing the emphasis from raw strength to strength and power on the bike. Time to get the watt meter to tell better stories!
I'm ashamed to admit it, I watched an episode of 'reality tv'
This last two days have been mainly easy days, I lifted moderately heavy on Wednesday in the 'Haus (5 x 5 @ 150kg squats, 1 set of 10 130kg deadlifts, total tonnage 5,050kg) after Tuesday's spin session and on Wednesday night had a couple of short E1 rides for a total of about an hour and a half's riding. Thursday was just an easy tootle to the LBS and back, no lifting and today was again around 45 minutes all-up E1 stuff.
Tomorrow I'll lift heavy when I get back from the Baw Baw if I'm not too knackered from riding the motorbike out there. It's time to bump it up to 162.5kg squats again. I'll be trying for 5 sets of 3 reps, and depending on how that goes will up the deadlifts to 140kg. 130kg was hard, but I think I can manage 140kg for 10. We'll see about that anyway. If it's not done on Saturday I'll do it on Sunday after Lucie and I go for a kayak paddle ... My arm's slowly getting better after the bursitis incident on Monday, I guess I'm starting to get old though, injuries take a bit longer to heal and mystery injuries crop up without explanation.
Speaking of lifting ... I'm a bit ashamed to say I was a bit bored on Thursday and watched a bit of 'the biggest loser' (the biggest loser is the person watching that rubbish... never again). They had the punters all lined up in a semi circle with Olympic bars on their shoulders - except they weren't on their shoulders, they were way back off their necks on padding. A big no-no when squatting heavy - it increases the moment arm around the lower back and increases the risk of lower back injury because to keep the weight over the lifter's feet they have to lean further forward, and they'll slump sooner or later and put a huge dynamic load on the lower back. To make matters worse, they were doing it to failure and they were loading up the weights while the punters were holding the bars. This made for asymetrical loads and twisting on the lower back as the 'trainers' (dangerous idiots) pushed the weights around while the punters were holding them up. You wouldn't dream of doing that to experienced and strong lifters, let alone this bunch of untrained gumbies.
Could they do it in any more of an unsafe manner? I'm not sure ... That was a pretty comprehensive catalogue of things not to do when holding a bar on your shoulders. They got away with it ... But it was terrible. So very irresponsible. They should have had them progressively deadlift greater weights or something if they wanted to do something like that, at least a failure wouldn't risk blowing a back to pieces so badly. They'd just not be able to pick the bar up. Shame on you, whoever came up with that stupid and dangerous stunt. Lifting isn't a dangerous activity if it's done properly with good instruction from people who know what they're doing and with progressive and managed overload. These idiots, on the other hand, threw essentially untrained people (who were no athletes) into a situation where they had to hold a (relatively) heavy weight in a biomechanically poor and dangerous position (padded out from their traps) while it was loaded up to a failure and twisted and pulled while they were doing it. If I did that to anyone I was working with I'd expect to go to gaol for gross negligence when they got hurt.
Anyway ... Tomorrow I'm off to take photos of the lads racing the Baw Baw, I'll be at Winch Corner where it's an ~20% gradient. Good luck to you all doing it. Pay no attention to the chalk writing on the roads! I've also been in touch with the bloke who built one of the AIS's sprint training ergos (the 'Wombat') and arranges wind tunnel testing - watch this space, we may have some slots to get into the tunnel and test sprinters for aerodynamics.
Totally off-topic. On Sunday morning I got an SMS from a friend who runs the Lilydale airport who was trapped in Cairns, ironically, by floods. He wanted photos of the Yarra Valley fires. Ok, we can do it. You can see our photos here. His family live in the Christmas Hills and we were very relieved to see that they were safe, albeit quite shaken up by the experience.
Many of us have ridden around the Yarra Valley for training and racing, as well as Kinglake and Marysville. It goes without saying that the people who live in these two places that have been essentially wiped off the map have all of our sympathy and support. aboc is donating to the Salvos, but there's more that we can do. While these towns rebuild we can make them regular destinations for rides and always stop at the local shops and help them return to normal by being good customers.
My day today - helping CRS fix our velodrome!
This morning (today, all of it!) I spent at the Blackburn velodrome, assisting (feeding, giving beer to etc!) the guys from CRS who were fixing the two big cracks in the track.
I won't bore you with the details, save to say that it was a privilege to watch a master concreter at work, and the CRS people were very professional and did a great job.
Photos of the job are here.
I'll be back there first thing tomorrow to take the signs etc off the track - I hope no-one nicks the signs or vandalises the concrete overnight ....
Youtube, powerdirector .. fast!
Here's a video I shot at the Blackburn ITT on Sunday morning.
Last night's DISC session was like riding through soup
Very cold, very heavy air. Everyone was slow slow slow! The enduro's worked hard, but the lazy sprinters (except one!) were all way off the pace. A productive session, but not one to post the times from.
I used the new video camera at the Blackburn ITT in the morning, and once I get my head around the editing software I have, I may be able to put some stuff here or on youtube (use their bandwidth not mine!). I got a lot of shots of concrete and bitumen, but some ok stuff of people riding their bikes.
A couple more people have signed up to go to the dinner, we still have around 10 places left, and it's getting close!
Tour lag ... *yawn* It's only day 2 ...
Happy new financial year
I'm relieved, after a couple of quite painful days hobbling, today my ankle felt ok, ok enough to consider a strength session. In the mail on Monday I received my new video camera (Sony VX2100), and then today, a tax refund cheque, a new book (Might as well win, by Johan Bruynell, famous for directing US Postal and Discovery to 7 Tour de France wins with Lance Armstrong and one with Alberto Contador) and an invite to my old school's 20 year reunion. Along the way a very frustrating SCO UNIX install in VMware finally started to behave itself a bit. Not a bad couple of days, despite the hobbling around and missing training at DISC on Sunday.
So when I finally got a spare 30 minutes, I put on the lifting shoes and headed out to the Power House. I've put some lights in at last, and can use it when it's dark. I had a go at some unweighed squats, and felt ok. Warmed up on a few sets of 20kg, 60kg and 100kg. Felt good. Ok, we'll try for 5 x 5 @ 142.5kg .. got 'em! Work set tonnage was 3,562.5kg. My form wasn't 100%, so I'll repeat the lifts at the same weight on Thursday, but I'm happy with that. I didn't have time for any other lifts.
I didn't leave myself much time to recover from the squats before tonight's spin session, I finished in the Power House at about 5:50, and got picked up to be at Spin at 6 (thanks Bev!). An hour later, warming up on the bike with a healthy turnout at the spin session, we had 18 of us tonight, that was good. I quickly found that while I could clip in, clipping out was not so pleasant, twisting out of cleats with an ankle sprain .. heh .. ouch. Enough moaning .. I managed to hit 1332 watts in the first 10 second max effort, not a PB, but ok, given the closeness of the squat session. I might have a play with timing of that, to see if different times between strength work and bike work has a significant impact on peak wattage. Had a bit of a chunder at the end of our lactate efforts, but more of a retch than anything chunky. No carrots anyway. They hurt, those efforts, lots of blood lactate, very high heartrate ... We had a good session, the enduros all enjoyed, if you can call it that, their work for the night and there was enough food to keep even Tom happy. Luckily Vanders is overseas .. he normally eats everything! I'm sure he's a latent sprinter hiding in an enduro's body.
Everyone's gearing up to watch the Tour, there's a lot of home town expectations on Cadel Evans, who is going in as a favorite to win it. It's pretty exciting to have an Australian ranked so highly as a possible winner, whatever happens I'm sure he'll ride as well as he can and if the recent press is any indicator of the truth, he'll be graceful and decent no matter what the final result. Many years ago now I was lucky enough to ride with Cadel for a few k's and while we didn't speak much, he was polite and a decent sort of bloke. Camster and I were riding to watch a Bay Crit and tootling along Footscray Rd towards Williamstown, when we met up with Cadel and we rode the rest of the way together, as four of us (Cadel was riding with a friend). Back then I was a half-decent B grade flatland roady and we (Cam & I) worked the front of our little bunch to speed Cadel to the crits as he was running late. It was kinda fun to be his domestiques for a few k. We'll be camped on the couch for the tour, cheering him on and also seeing how well the other Aussies go, Robbie again, who seems to have hit some form just in time, O'Grady of course, and even Baden Cooke is back, one to watch for as a bit of a dark horse in the sprints. Bring it on, and go Cadel!
aboc photos from Revolution 3 on cyclingnews.com
A selection of the best shots we got from Revolution 3 are on Cyclingnews.com. Check it out here.
I've ridden Baw Baw, once is enough ...
A couple of years ago now, Byron Davy and I rode up Mt Baw Baw from Tanjil Bren. We didn't race it, but he wanted to see what it was all about and I did too. Let's just say it's bloody steep, and unlike Hotham, which while long is generally climable by anyone fit enough to ride 100km and with low enough gearing, Baw Baw isn't climable unless you're very fit. I was pretty fit (but still heavy at ~88kg) when I did it then and it took me 55 minutes to do the last 6km. Byron did it in about 45 with a break to fix a broken rear derailer.
Anyway .. to the story. I go back every year to take photos of the Baw Baw Classic. Baden Cooke, the year he won the Tour green jersey, said that it was the hardest hill he'd ever raced up, it was just a survival ride. Maybe ... but every year Warrigal Cycling Club run the Mt Baw Baw Classic, and it does get raced.
Here's my lot of photos from Winch corner this year. winch corner is ~20% gradient and is about 3km into the main part of the climb. It's the steepest part of the race and a good spot for photos, riders are going slow enough that you can get several shots of each rider.
In other news, Oil today, $116 per barrel. Almost doubled price in 12 months. The graph tells the story, on yer bikes ....
In the PowerHouse today I managed to squat : 6 @ 170kg, 6 @ 175kg x 3, 5 @ 175kg all with 120s seconds recovery. I probably could have made the last one 6, but let the bar go a touch low and didn't want to blow my back out trying to get it up while out of balance.
A great night's racing!
I managed to swing a couple of media passes to Revolution No.2 last night courtesy of a few photo sales and asking the right people the right questions, and I now have a swag more closeup racing photos and fan shots (Kerrie Meares, you are wonderful!). It very challenging conditions for photography at Vodafone, I like to get in close with at most a 70mm lens rather than shoot from a long way out with a long lens, and running my camera at 1600asa in the dark makes for a very unforgiving depth of field with any sort of reasonable shutter speed. My camera, even at 1600asa, gets quite grainy so 3200asa isn't a good choice, and I don't like using flash, it flattens things out too much. So I got a lot of miss-hits and blurry photos, but I did get a couple that may be worth selling, so that's good.
The racing was very good, I'm still somewhat bemused at the inclusion of the derney race, it's kinda pointless, which isn't to say it's easy (far from it!) but that it's really a bunch of motorpaced ITTs going on at the same time. The only way to make it interesting from a tactical perspective is to see what Graham Brown did, when his derney was too slow (!) he jumped from it to Alan Davis' derney, and then proceeded to leapfrog from derney to derney trying to make places. I'm not sure that's legal in that race, it's certainly a novel tactic and one that ultimately brought Browney unstuck as the effort took its toll and he DNF'd, but he earned the admiration of the very full crowd. Stuart O'Grady won that particular event, some were heard to say that he had the advantage of having the biggest derney and biggest derney rider to draft, it may have helped somewhat, but the result was a popular one and the crowd was thrilled.
The night was marred by a nasty almost all-in crash in the junior mens scratch race, one rider hooked up close to the front going for a gap as another came down into it, and they wiped out almost the entire rest of the field on the back straight. One unfortunate lad even went over the railing and almost into the crowd. Very luckily no-one was badly hurt but a lot of bikes were broken and the field for the rest of the junior mens racing was quite sparse.
Anna and Kerrie Meares predictably dominated the womens sprinting, they're a class above the other women that were there, that doesn't mean the racing was boring, it was fantastic seeing them when they really jumped hard and just how fast they are. Like watching Lance Armstrong win a Tour, but in about 30 seconds, not three weeks. A great exhibition and superb to watch.
Rochelle Gilmore had a pretty quiet night, she's one of the stars of women's track enduro but she didn't feature much, it's off-season for a lot of European pros and maybe this is just a bad time of year for her?
I had a friend in the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, big Stu Vaughan (the V-Train), the current masters world champion pursuiter and general track gentleman (until he kicks, and then everyone's in a world of hurt!) was off 170 metres with a reasonable group for the major race of the night, his quartet stayed clear of the big group of backmarkers for almost long enough, but then with a lap and a bit to go they were caught and no-one had an answer to Leigh Howard's sprint (not even Browney, despite some ... assertive ... riding near the front with 100m to go, would you like any mint sauce with your chops, Graham?) and Leigh was a deserving winner of his second MCOW.
There was loads of match sprinting and a couple of kerins, and the Jayco/VIS boys did well in them, Ryan Bailey seemed a bit off but still managed to win the sprints in his usual 'monkey humping a tennisball' style. It looks awful, but it's very effective. I felt a bit sorry for Shane Kelly, he's a great champion and still has a lot of speed, but he wasn't quite there and it must have been frustrating sometimes to have the kids blow past him. I hope he'll be at the Bendigo Madison again this coming March, watching him race is a joy, he's one of the best and a great ambassador for the sport. He's not far off masters and I hope that he's one of those people that races for the love of racing, and that he'll keep on for a long time yet.
All my photos are here.
One of my photos is in the '08 Avanti catalogue
After yesterday's debarcle chasing hats, when I got home there was a big envelope waiting for me (my copy of GEB also arrived, bedtime reading for the next week or three ...). With my new hat on, I opened it, and it's a couple of '08 Avanti catalogues. I'd been contacted by one of their people a few months ago asking for permission to use a few photos I took at the Bendigo Madison last summer, we did a deal and they bought one of my photos (w00t!). Anyway, it's now gracing their catalogue, if you get hold of one, it's the photo of Brett Aitken opposite their carbon track bike.
Avanti's got quite a few track bikes on offer, which is unusual for a major manufacturer, they do three, one high end carbon and two aluminium alloy. Their new carbon bike looks nice - no idea how it rides of course, but it was being tested at the Bendigo Madison last summer and I got a couple of photos of it in use. I don't know if it's a BT, Bridgestone, Look or Teschner challenger, but that's probably what they're aiming for. It's not on their website yet and most of my BM photos aren't online yet so I can't show it to you. Some of my photos should also be in a Jayco thing I think, but I'm not sure if that happened, I should chase it up.
This arvo, we're trooping off to the BBN velodrome to do some sprint training. Hopefully I've thrown this 'flu off well enough to get some quality work done chasing Pat's motorbike.