My thoughts and experiences, from road to track, and back!
I went to a funeral last Thursday.
How is that relevant?
Because as much as I'm hurting now and as angry and disappointed as I now feel, I'll get over it and life goes on.
A classic quote from Emily
What do track sprinters do in the off season? Go mountain biking of course!
Only a matter of hours after my track season finished, Emily and I undertook our first mountain bike adventure. Let me tell you for me it was big shock going from a silky smooth velodrome, a light carbon frame track bike with disc wheel pumped up to 170psi to a heavy mountain bike with fat wheels on a dirt track with lumps, bumps and tree roots everywhere!
We are lucky to have the Yarra bike trail virtually at our doorstep and while the smart thing to do might have been to just stick to the main bike path and dodge the walkers, dogs and tricycles, we instead chose to go on the single track which starts at the Banyule Tennis Club. (I wish I could use google earth right now so I could show you).
We went as far as Bond's Rd on the way to Westerfolds Park and were pretty slow going over and through the said obstacles but on the way back we had a little more confidence and had a ball.
It was just after we bulldozed our way over some tree roots, through some ditches and plowed through some mud holes that I heard Emily yell out in joy ... "I feel invincible on this bike"
If only it were that simple
"Time is a traveler ...la la li la la. " I don't remember the words of the song and I don't like the song anyway so why did I use it's opening lyrics to open my blog?
Well I was thinking about my times lately and how I have gone faster on every occasion I've done a flying 200 this summer. At the summer sprint series I went about 0.1 seconds faster each outing finishing the series with 13.0s.
At DISC, a fast indoor velodrome, my best before this summer was 12.80. This summer I did 12.60 at the metro championships then 12.554 at the Victorian Masters then 12.021 yesterday at the Australian Masters.
So where will it all end? Let's have a bit of fun with this. At the current rate of improvement I should be the world record holder in my age group in about three years time. Then in the year 2018 Iook out Chris Hoy and Kevin Sireau because I'll be going under 10 seconds. I could be the first person to make their Olympic debut when they're 60!
OK, I'll get out of my tardis now and step away from the world of dreams. But whichever way you look at it, this summer has been good to me culminating in that time yesterday (12.021 - Yes I'll keep saying it because I'm damned proud of it). What a bummer I didn't actually get to race a sprint. Damn those scratchings. I can still claim to be the 5th fastest in the country and I know I would have been competitive had I raced.
So let's review some of the summer's highlights. (This is the new positive me - talking about highlights instead of negatives)
- Improved F200's with every outing on every occasion at every event
- Qualified in A grade for all but one round of the Summer Sprint Series
- Blackburn Club Champion and gold medalist for the sprint and the 500m ITT
- Metro Champion and gold medalist for the sprint
- Silver medal at the Metro Championships for the Time Trial
- Silver medal (best Victorian) at the Victorian Master's Championships (beaten by a Tasmanian - why was he there? grrr...)
- Massive PB (12.021 secs - there it is again) and 5th fastest at the Australian Master's Championships. Best of the Vics.
I think that's it for highlights. And I haven't even mentioned Emily yet! But for now I'll go back into the Tardis and the world of dreams and write about that some other time ....
So I guess I better do the Aussie Masters as well ...
I didn't win on Saturday but I came close. Silver in the Masters 4 Sprint at the Victorian Masters Championships and I was beaten for Gold by a Tasmanian so I guess that makes me the best Victorian in that event in that age group. It also entitles me to wear the Victorian skin suit should I choose to enter the Australian Masters in a months time so I guess I better sign up.
Boy it was a long day, coming off an especially long and stressful few weeks. (And this week is going to be VERY stressful and you know why).
It started about a month ago when I picked up a new carbon fibre track frame from Gary Jackson at Riviera Cycles. Carl and Nathan put it together for me, I had a ride on it then proceeded to write it off completely - almost snapping the frame in half. How? Not in some glorious crash on the track going for gold but by driving into the roof of my garage after forgetting it was on my roof racks. Insurance won't pay so that was one expensive mistake. Enough said.
On to the Vics. Last year I couldn't do them because I was in Adelaide with Em so I was a little nervous. Did a PB in qualifying, 12.5 something. It was just a PB but a PB nevertheless. And on a cold morning when many riders were struggling to post good times it was a very pleasing result.
About 10 of us in MMAS4 which meant we had a knockout quarter final as well as the best of three semi finals and finals. I negotiated the quarter final easily the semi final not as easy but never in danger but lost the final 2-0. I raced Roy Martin from Tasmania and he is a sub 12 second rider (although he "only" did 12.2 this time.) He was quicker and smarter than me but I enjoyed the races and learned a lot.
So a silver medal and the best placed Victorian. That's very satisfying. That lets me wear a Victorian skin suit. So I guess we're now a two V family.
The rest of the day ended with a bit of a whimper, not that I really care because I was there for the sprint. Got a close 4th in the Time Trial missing the bronze by three tenths. Made the Kieran final but got nowhere.
So I now look forward to Aussies. But first I have to somehow survive this week. (Go Em)
Watch this space.
The stars are lining up rather tantalisingly in March
Time does have a way of getting away from you doesn't it.
Has it really been nearly three months since my last blog? That's a long time. I think I may have been busy. Or I may have been slack. Perhaps both. It's not like nothing has happened in that time....
Since I last indulged the gentle reader I have...
- Watched Emily compete at the Metro's only two weeks after her crash. Defying doctors advice and clearly under done, she still managed to win the TT and get a silver in the Sprint.
- Did the Metro's myself and scored a Gold in the Masters 4 sprint after setting a new PB to qualify - 12.60. Also got a silver in the TT.
- At the aboc Summer Sprint Series I have been chipping away at my F200, setting a new PB each time but still the magic 12.999 second barrier eludes me. A couple of weeks ago I did 13.145, qualified at the bottom of A grade but then got smashed in the races. POO
- Watched Emily burn at the Junior State titles, repeating her results from the Metro's but with massive PB's.
- Learned to ride on rollers! Well sort of. I can take my hands of the fence but not off the handle bars.
- Bought a new "no-name" Hillbrick Carbon frame which I rode last night for the first time. It's VERY different to my Felt TK2. I think I'll like it once I get used to it.
So why is March such a big month? Well there's Round 5 of the aSSS and if the weather is good I am going to throw the kitchen sink at trying to break 13 seconds. And I've got some ideas about how to do better in the races. Watch this space. (No Nathan, I won't put anyone over the fence!). But it's in the following weeks that things get more interesting. I'm going to do the Vic Masters. I've never done them before but by winning the Metro sprint I get free entry into Vic Masters Sprint so I HAVE to do at least that one. I'm not sure whether I'll do the TT because at the Vics it is 750m not 500 as per Metro's. So I might skip the TT and do the Kieran instead.
That's all by way of prelude for the main event which starts on March 18th - The Junior National Titles. The first day they run the F200 qualifier, the first sprint AND the JW15 Time Trial final. It is also Emily's birthday. The script couldn't have been written better had we done it ourselves. She'll be racing in her favourite event in front of a home crowd on her birthday.
The following week we may go up to Hotham for a bit of fun and RR. And think about whether to do the Australian Masters which are in Melbourne in April.
Yes, it's going to be a very busy time indeed.
And may the Lord have mercy on my soul!
After much cajoling from Mick Thomas who then recruited Will, Ann and Emily to do his bidding I somewhat reluctantly signed up to do the Sprint and Time Trial at this next weekend's Metro's.
After looking at the start list I reckon they will combine Masters 2,3 and 4 again which means I will have to contend with the likes of Stuart Vaughan and Andrew Shannon and assorted other 'youngsters' who are heaps faster than me. I will be giving it my best shot as always but the good Lord doesn't do miracles until a little later doesn't he?
Emily is getting better. She's moving a lot more freely and has had a couple of very short sessions on the wind trainer. It nearly killed her watching the Women's Omnium from the stands yesterday and kept muttering "I would have won that" after each race (well almost...not the pursuit). I swear when they started the 500m TT at the end of the day she would have jumped on a hire bike in her skirt and blouse had they let her.
So we'll both be going around on Saturday. It will be a long day.Mick. You better be there!
We've had a lot of well wishers after Emily's crash
Just a short blog to thank everyone for the support we've received since Emily crashed on Saturday. Over the past two days we've received emails, phone calls, text messages and home visits which all help make a difficult situation a little bit easier.
A big thank you to all the people who raced to her side to help her at the track when she was very distressed and frightened. I'm not sure I can remember you all ( I was a little distressed myself) but wherever I turned there were people helping or offering to help.
A special thank you to Sue and Bridgette Thomas who calmed Emily down and got her breathing normally again and to the entire Thomas family who came to visit the following day with a box full of muffins and love in their hearts!
Pat Dougherty, Merv Tracey and Jenny Ward - your messages were passed onto Emily and made her smile. Bev, we'd be lost without you.And to Carl....what can I say? You're the absolute rock of support.
The patient is now doing a lot better. She's a bit of a sight, covered head to toe in bandages, and is hobbling about from a very sore hip and lots pf bruises, but she's getting better quickly and it wouldn't surprise me if she is back on her wind trainer next week.
Kids bounce and this is one particularly special...
Starting gate woes...
The Editors have got it right in their hit song "An end has a start..."
"I won't disappoint you
As you fall apart.
Some things should be simple.
Even an end has a start"
But were they talking about gate starts? I doubt it. But i do know I need to improve my gate starts a LOT if I'm to end the 500m ITT at the upcoming metros with a good time.
On Sunday night at DISC we did three gate starts and I used a 96.8" gear for the first time. That's a big gear for li' ol' me and my starts were uniformly horrible. I didn't "fall apart" as the song may have suggested but I did wobble quite a bit and the best time I did for the first 125m was low 14 seconds. Compare that to Emily with a 13.8 and Chris Ray, 12.7.
So this morning it was down to Blackburn with Carl and we did another set of six. The good news is that mine got better as we went along and I think I sort of know what to do now - it's just a matter of doing it. For the record Carl pretty much nailed his straight away.
Speaking of starts, Emily had a great start to the track open season in Shepparton. Three wins and two seconds from five races is a pretty fair return. Her 500m ITT was 42.66 seconds outdoors on a breezy day and after fluffing the start. That time would have gotten her third in the J17 girls.
I asked her during the drive home which of her 5 races was she most pleased and satisfied with. "The Pursuit" came the reply.
Hmmm I need to beat that nonsense out of her....
Finally, the Apolito's score some wins...
The day didn't start well. Maybe it was the electrical storm overnight or just the anxiety of hoping to sleep well that ironically kept me awake but I only managed 3-4 hours sleep Saturday and awoke for Round 2 of the sprint series far from refreshed. Even a cup of "Espresso Dino" didn't help much. Emily had a similarly bad night and neither of us was in the mood for a long day of sprinting. Still the show had to go on..
Conditions couldn't have been much better at Blackburn. Warm but not hot and virtually no wind. The air was a bit thick with humidity though and added to the general feeling of lethargy. A flying 200 time of 13.273. Not bad but below expectations. I really need/want to go faster but seem o have stagnated around that 13.2-13.3 mark. Might need to consult the coach more on that one. Bigger gear? Smaller gear? Different line? I do know I'm often going faster than in the races themselves.
Young Marc Wilson first up and I'm leading and doing a fair job of keeping control. I noticed he was frequently taking a hand off the bars to push his sunglasses up his nose and with this in mind I jumped hard as we approached the front straight, got a small break and held on for the win. 13.1 seconds for the last 200 (See!)
Stuart Vaughan in Race 2 and I was looking forward to this one. You've got nothing to lose when racing a World Champ right? I had a definite plan against Stuart but unfortunately it involved me leading and controlling (especially when we crossed the finish line!). Stuart almost read my mind and controlled the race beautifully. I couldn't go under or over and just had to bide my time. As we came off the clubhouse bank for the last time I kicked as hard as I could basically drag racing Stu to the next corner. I had to get to the sprinters lane by then if I was to be a chance and although I got about a half a bike length ahead I was never in a position to safely chop down on Stu and then had to go the long way around the last bend. By then Stu ahd speed up and pulled away to win by a bike length. We both enjoyed the race.
Neil Robinson again. He jumped me coming into the home straight but didn't quite get far enough in front to take the lane. He then did me a favour by electing to ease off and sit on my wheel for a draft up the back straight but I had just enough in reserve to kick again when he tried to come around and took the win.
So I had made the final for third. That was significant because the only other time I had made an A grade final was when there were only four of us in the grade and the final was a fait accompli. But I was wasn't confident. The last race against Neil really drained me and the long day after little sleep was taking it's toll. I was up against Marc again and the race was turning into a carbon copy of the earlier encounter except this time he jumped me and opened up an enormous gap. Not sure how he got so far ahead. Was I really that brain dead and slow to react? I put in a huge chase and made up significant ground but was never close. So the day finished with two wins, two losses and more homework to do.
Emily raced really well. I reckon it's the best set of match sprints I've seen her do. She's building up quite a (friendly) rivalry with John Lewis and their races are great to watch. So we're both looking forward to Round 3. In the meantime Emily has a few target events, The Formua Future,, then the Womens' Omnium and The Metro's. I haven't decided if I will do the Metro's but I did gain some confidence yesterday.
More consulting with the coach needed!
But hopeful things will turn around soon
So far the track season hasn't exactly started with a bang.
Round 1 of the Summer Sprint Series was a mixture of emotions. I had jokingly said I wanted to qualify in A grade even if I lost all the races and that's exactly the way it panned out. So why the hint of disappointment? Well I qualified with 13.307 which got me the final place in A grade. Last season I went faster than that twice (not by much but faster nevertheless) on rather windy days. So I was hoping for a PB this time given the calm conditions for Round 1 and the fact that this winter I have trained exclusively for sprint. Still the season is young and I am determined to go under 13 seconds at BBN. I've done it at DISC but not at BBN.
It was always going to be a tall ask beating Gary Jackson and he beat me easily. Still I had no real plan to beat him which didn't help. If there's a next time I know what I will try to do. I thought I was a chance against Steve Martin but catching my knicks in the nose of the saddle when I was trying to jump over him caused me to wobble horribly and surrender position. Next time I pull up my knicks nice and tight! Neil Robinson was in hot form. I didn't do much wrong but played to his strengths a bit. Again, if there's a rematch I will do things a little differently.
Club racing at Blackburn has been a lot of fun. It's a great atmosphere on a Saturday afternoon and really enjoyable just being there. Who in their right mind would want to move this? Anyway I'm not taking it too seriously but always like to do well. Got a second in the scratch race this week and a third in the kieran after fluffing the start, then getting boxed in and having to come from last position with 200 metres to go. So third was a good result.
I feel like things are starting to turn around. Bring on the summer
Had a couple of frights over the weekend
The weekend finished OK but I had a some scares along the way.
It started Saturday morning when young Bev rolled up to my place at 7.30 am (that's not the scary bit) for our regular Saturday morning ride to Beach Rd and back. Along City Rd and under the King's way overpass I hit a small pot hole and broke a spoke. I've never broken a spoke before and it was bloody loud, echoing under the bridge as it were and clanging about as the wheel kept spinning. Turns out it was the nipple that broke not the spoke. We continued our ride to the Sandbar cafe where we met the Thomas clan. The front wheel was wobbling all over place and given the howling cross winds it was not much fun. So after coffee we dropped into a LBS who kindly repaired the spoke (for $30) and we headed home.
All was good until we were nearly home. Many of you may know the "cutting" - a screaming downhill from the roundabout in Ivanhoe where Burke Rd North meets Rosanna Rd/Lower Heidelberg Road. It's a dog of a climb in the morning when cold but great to roar down at 60kph on the way home. And so there I was near the bottom of the cutting approaching 60kph when my front wheel starts wobbling all over the place and the whole bike fish tales from side to side.The cutting is narrow, one lane and no gutter - no place for an out of control bike.
I thought I would surely die. No way was I going to avoid a spill so it was just a question of whether I was run over from behind or head on. I was wobbling almost to the wrong side of the road and cars were behind me as well. Things just got worse when I tried to apply the brakes. I don't know how I managed to stay upright but I did and eventually came rolling to a stop on the side of the road. (Thanks to the car behind who slowed right down and gestured a "Are you OK?" motion. Not all car drivers are monsters)
My first thought was that we hadn't done up the quick release after putting the front wheel back on but it turned out to be a flat tyre. Basically I'd been riding on my rims at 60kph down a steep hill! A quick tube change and we were home soon after for a much needed change of clothing...
Saturday afternoon and weight training in the 'Hause and another fright. I have some tendonitis behind the left knee and while doing a warm-up squat at 55kg I felt a very sharp and painful 'twang' on the way down. We called it quits and it is OK but for a horrible moment I thought "there goes the summer season"
Sunday and it's practise day for the forthcoming Summer Sprint Series. Flying 200 was very disappointing - 13.72 - half a second slower than the last F200 at BBN in April. The two races were much better. Beat Carl in race one with a well timed jump that just managed to allow me to drop into the lane in front of him. Then I had to work hard to hold him off. Race 2 was the highlight of the weekend - I beat Barry!!!!! This time I led out and Barry was happy to camp on my wheel. I kicked hard with 200 to go and held him at bay. I'll take it and bag even though it was only practice.
So, who know what next week will bring. It's the season for sporting cliches and we're just taking it one week at a time...
I think my boss is trying to get rid if me
Forget Hotham. My boss sent me this suggestion for the next climbing camp. What will he do without me?
I'm claiming a century!
It was nice to get two good social rides under the belt over the weekend. A gentle ride on Saturday morning with young Bev as we went from Heidelberg to St.Kilda and back, stopping for coffee and muffin at the Sandbar in South Melbourne. That was a 51km round trip and it was so nice to ride in the sunshine for a change.
The next morning it was a case of lather, rinse and repeat as we were joined by Karen and Merv for the same ride. A bit tougher this time - chasing young Merv up all the hills - but still very satisfying and we managed to engage in a couple of sprints along the way. More sunshine, more coffee and muffins then back home for a Father's Day lunch at my mum and dad's. Two serves of lasagne, roast chicken, veal, roast vegies, fruit, Italian pastries, more coffee.... hmm I wonder why I can't get up hills?
So that's a little over 100km for two days of riding. I don't think I've done a single 100km ride since my 7th (and last) Around the Bay about four years back. But the spring sunshine beckons. Now if only we can score a nice sunny day AND no wind. When was the last time that happened?
It's time to start blogging again
Due to pressure from home and abroad (hello to my fan base in Southern California) I'm going to start blogging again after 8 months of silence.
Various reasons for not putting cyber pen to cyber paper since then but none worth boring the gentle reader with. Looking forward to racing again. All training and no racing tends to test one's mental strength somewhat.
Never been so tired after a weekend's racing and I didn't even get on the bike!
It has been an exceptionally busy two weeks. Last weekend at Echuca for the Junior carnival and this weekend in at DISC both days for the Junior State Titles.
What can I say? We're all very proud of Emily. She raced her heart out in the Time Trial and we were all rewarded by her beaming smile as she claimed gold. Then she fronted up for the sprints and turned herself inside out, clocking a very good Flying 200 and despite being emotionally and physically tired, winning two sprints before finally succumbing to exhaustion and finishing fourth overall.
Today she fronted up again, this time for the ugly P word. Pursuit. It's not her event but she wanted to give it a go and improved by 10 seconds on her previous time. Wisely she scratched herself from the 30 lap points score and we waited for the Victorian team to be announced.
So she's off to Adelaide to represent the Big V. But for now we rest and hit the beach for a few days. Dad has hardly had a ride in the last two weeks so he'll take his bike but Emily will only take a body board.
Now it's time for bed....
Gold for Emily, bronze for me, medals for my mates. A great weekend
Some people seem to have a way with words - they can say so much with so little. My good friend Mick Thomas is one of those people. He didn't race on Saturday but came down with Bridget for a while to give support to me and Emily. He had to leave before my finals for bronze but I spoke to him later..
"A week ago you weren't even going to do them and now you've got Bronze and Emily has Gold. You gotta be happy with that"
And he was right. So, so right. Emily and I left DISC on Saturday with mixed emotions. Emily had set the track on fire and stunned everyone with her gold medal ride in the ITT and then a blistering 14.34 flying 200 which had "officials checking the record books" according to one commisaire. I don't know if he was joking. But then she didn't win any of the actual match sprints and got increasingly despondent through the afternoon. We learn't a lot from that and she'll be back stronger and keener.
I don't know my flying 200 time but I qualified third fastest which put me into a semi final against Brent "Turbo" McKenzie. He's actually a masters 2 but they combined masters 2,3 and 4 much to my dismay. Turbo killed me in the first sprint. I led out but was nervous and scared and he jumped past me at speed and the race was over in a blink of an eye. The second heat was much closer. I followed him and kept him guessing by diving all over the place. I set it up beautifully but hesitated when I had my chance to jump under him. He then jumped, got a bike length in front and kept it. Damn. I had my chance but didn't take it. So I wasn't going to be going for gold!
I won the final for bronze in straight sets easily, not just because I was faster but because I was far more aggressive and took the initiative in both races. I also wanted to do it for Emily.
Now I need to have a meeting with the coach and assess the future. Do I do the Victorian Masters? I have some glaring weaknesses that need to be worked on and match sprints at DISC are so different to Blackburn I feel I need to start again. Speed in itself is not enough.
On Sunday the pressure was off. I wasn't racing but Emily was doing the pursuit and scratch - not her strengths and she wasn't expecting to do well and wasn't bothered about it either. I helped Mick as much as I could and was elated to see him get bronze in the pursuit and then silver in the scratch race.
Emily was last in the pursuit but I had her on a very easy schedule and she did it easily. Next time she can go faster if she wants to do it. She did really well in the scratch race. Again, no expectations other than to do her best and hang on to the end and see what happened. And if possible to help Bridget which is the way it unfolded. At a critical time Emily let a gap open up for Bridge to drop into and save her having to drift to the back. Bridge did brilliantly to get Bronze and we all celebrated.
Throw in a Bronze each to Jodie (pursuit) and Krissy(sprint) against hot competition and it was great weekend for the aboc family.
You gotta be happy with that!
It started as a joke and now I'm doing the metro's on Saturday
I'm not exactly sure how I got myself into this but I'm doing the sprint event at the Metro's on Saturday.
Emily was always going to do it and I said to her a little while back that I'd only do it if I got my Flying 200 time below 13 seconds. At the time it seemed a reasonably safe bet that I'd be a spectator not a competitor but since then my times at Blackburn have gone from 13.5 to 13.3 then a 13.1 with the latter being the last 200 of a match sprint.
So I asked Carl to organise a training session at DISC last Sunday night which I would treat as a full dress rehearsal - if I went under 13 I'd be in, no ifs buts or maybes. So with Carl's disk wheel, the aboc skin suit and a lot of determination I managed 12.88 seconds even though my line and approach were not good.
That's the scary bit - I think there's room for improvement and I'll need it 'cause I just found out they have combined Masters 2,3 and 4 which means "young" Brent Turbo McKenzie joins us old blokes and if I get to race him he'll want revenge for last months sprint series.
Potentially I'm up for 7 sprints - a flying 200, best of three semi finals and best of three finals. Emily has it even tougher because she's doing the 500 metre ITT as well. Her racing will be interesting. The other girls in her age group are all a year older and more experienced but Emily has great top speed and she may surprise a few people. She's been quick in training and seems to respond well when the pressure is on at events.
Sunday is the P word day. I'm helping Mick Thomas with his pursuit by timing his laps and keeping him on schedule. He should do well. I was half tempted to enter the scratch race but again I'll be cheering Mick from the sidelines. Emily also entered the endurance events even though they are not her strength. But she has no expectations for those events and good on her for having a go. She has more guts than her dad.
Wish me luck but be careful what you wish for....
It really does work!
Carl sent through some interesting stats the other night. Basically it was everything we'd timed over the past 12 months both in racing and training. He did the same for Emily although her data only goes back to April this year.
Basically we're both getting faster. Not just a little but rather dramatically. For example in Round 1 (October 2008) of last year's Trek Summer Sprint Series my Flying 200 time was a personal best of 14.72 seconds on a calm day. That was only the second time I'd gone under 15 seconds and I was happy. By the last round in April 2008 I was down to 13.94 - the first time under 14 seconds. Last Sunday on a windy day I was down to 13.32 seconds, a new PB. I know comparing outdoor times is fraught with danger because the conditions play a big role but the times in training at DISC also reflect this trend. There's ups and downs of course, you can't set a PB every time you train but the trend is unmistakable.
If you would prefer to talk about speed rather than time then we are talking 48.91 kph in October 2007 versus 54.05 kph in November 2008. That's a speed increase of over 5kph which is very significant on the track.
Emily's improvement is also substantial. In April this year she set 16.1 seconds for a flying 200 at DISC which was not only a PB but gave her the state title very comfortably. On Sunday on a windy day at Blackburn she set 14.92 seconds. So her speed has gone from 44.72 kph to 48.26.
The above is a long winded way of saying that training really does work. Not just any training but structured, planned training with particular goals and outcomes in mind. The easiest thing to do is ride your bike a lot, throw in some efforts here and there and fall for the myth that if a little bit of something is good for you then a lot of the same something is even better.
We can do better of course. I'd like to build my speed endurance to a point where I can use my kick and speed at the end of a scratch race or in a handicap not just in a 3 lap match sprint. I'm sure we'll get there. We just need some structure and planning...
It started with Tuesday night at DISC and ended with the Summer Sprint Series.
Maybe, just maybe, things have turned for the better. Let's hope it can stay that way.
It started at the Brunswick Tuesday night racing at DISC. I felt very ordinary in the scratch and came close to handing in my number and going home. But in the points race I started to feel alive and took one of the sprints which ws enough to give me second overall I think. Then for a third week in a row I won the motorpace after once again being "on the bike" when it peeled off before powering away off the front for a good win.
Things fell my way a little on Saturday at Blackburn. Only 5 of us in B grade so Dougie listenned to our plees and shortened our races. The scratch race was down to 15 laps and for the most part the pace was sedentry apart from some attacks from Will Thomas which I was able to cover. I thought I had the sprint finish in the bag until one of the kids got me on the line. Still, second place was heaps better than anything before it. I even managed to win the first sprint of the points race which was enough to give me third place. The elimination also went to plan and I was happily the first to go, saving myself for Sunday.
The Bontrager Summer Sprint Series was one for the scrapbook. I qualified 4th fastest with a 13.32 - a new PB. I was in elite compnay in A grade with the likes of Barry Woods et al but they were still a whopping 0.6 seconds faster than me and I was under no illusions.
I gave my all against Chris Ray and did everything right, but he came over me at the line. It was closer than we all thought it would be. Then I gave Barry the fright of his life, losing it by a tyre. I don't know what Barry was up to. I think he could have creamed me had he not turned around to see where I was and therefore giving me a chance to go past with some momentum. In the third race I was creamed by a rampant Brent "Turbo" McKenzie who was smarter and a whole lot faster.
So nobody really expected me to reverse the result when Brent and I met again shortly after for the minor final. The race unfolded in a similar fashion with me leading and Brent hanging a long way back but this time I was the aggressor, jumped first and very hard and after a long sprint managed to hold him off at the line. Wow - third in A grade and real scalp under my belt.
The scary thing is I think I can do better...
Racing's like a yo-yo at the moment - up one week, down the other
My racing over the past month has had more ups and downs than the stock market. Here's a summary of the first months racing.
1. Round 1 Summer Sprint Series - Good. Qualified in A-grade for the first time and wasn't disgraced. Won a race, close second in another. Can do better
2. Tuesday night at DISC#1 - Bad. Struggled to finish a race.
3. Tuesday night at DISC#2 - Very Good. Third in the scratch, second in the points and I win the motorpace easily.
4. Saturday at Blackburn - Very Bad. Started in A grade (what a joke!). Finished in B grade or should I say couldn't finish a race in B grade
5. Tuesday at DISC#3 - Very Good. Win the motorpace again, second in scratch, third in points
6. Saturday at Blackburn - Really Bad. Today I thought I would have done better. But did even worse than last week. Time to reassess the training. I'm sick of not being competitive.
Are you dizzy yet? I am.
On the plus side I've enjoyed watching Emily have some good results. Growing in confidence at DISC and she won the handicap there on Tuesday. And today she backed it up by winning the handicap at Blackburn as well. She's building confidence, stamina and endurance to go with her speed.
Wish I could do the same....