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Entries For: 2008


You gotta be happy with that..

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!



Be careful what you wish for

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....


Structured training

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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...


Wow! Three good days in a row

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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...






Riding the roller coaster

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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....




One Perfect Day

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Thank you Carl for a magnificent day

I'm sure I speak on behalf of all the competitors, helpers and spectators in thanking Carl for the amazing day yesterday. It wouldn't have happened without his vision, hard work and determination to make it the roaring success that it was.

So, even though every particle in my body hurts, thank you Carl.


Finishing with a bang!

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In the Apolito household the track season finished with a bang not a whimper

(Apologies for the late post.)

From my point of view, most of the summer track season was fairly predicable and at times somewhat disappointing. That all changed in the last week as the season came to a climatic and surprising end for both me and Emily.

It started with the club championships. Emily had a clean sweep of the J13 girls events. No surprises there. She's a year older and a lot stronger than Anna especially at the shorter stuff and all their races were short. So three gold medals to Emily. The Apolito's are on the board!


Far more surprising was my silver medal in the Master's Men Sprints. I'd always hoped to be able to qualify in fourth place but then to have Mick Thomas disqualified in our semi final was a shock. Would he have won anyway? Who knows. It was going to be a very close finish. A big disappointment for Mick but good luck for me even though I felt a little flat afterwards. The surprises continued when I won the first set against Richard Hurley. Crikey I was now one win away from gold. But order was restored when Richard won the next two races to deservedly take gold.


The forthcoming week was all about preparing Emily for the J13 State Titles on Saturday and myself for the final round of the Trek Summer Sprint Series on Sunday. It didn't start well for me when my bottom bracket blew up while training with Pat and Emily early on Tuesday morning. Nathan fixed it same day but I missed a big day's training. Then training at DISC for Emily on the day the hurricane hit Melbourne and wind trainer for me before we both taper off for the weekend.

Watching Emily at the state titles was simply awesome. She was a bundle of nerves and so was I. Her first event, the 500mm ITT was nearly a disaster. She totally fluffs the start and ends up right off the duckboards and onto the concrete. She recovers, grits her teeth and sets a PB (46.330) by nearly 5 seconds to not only win the Gold medal but also beat many of the boys as well. The poor start probably cost her a second to boot.

The timed flying 200 was even better. Thanks to Carl, Emily knew the line to take and was confident. She sets 16.164 to easily be the fastest girl with only four out of 17 boys faster than her.

Two gold medals and unless she totally mucks up the scratch race she will be the overall champion as well. One of the girls in the race knows what to do to sprinters and is constantly attacking Emily. By the end Emily doesn't have much left in the tank but still manages a strong second place with the "attacker" an excellent third.

So, two gold medals as state champion in the ITT and sprint, a silver medal for the scratch race and the overall title as well. We're all relieved and celebrate with pizza. Then I have to somehow switch from proud dad to competitor as I prepare for the last round of the TSSS.

What can I say about the Trek Series that Carl hasn't already said?

Well about all that is left to say is that I rode out of my skin. Setting a PB in the F200, beating A graders in the heats, hanging on in that tense final.... it was all marvelous and I'm proud of how it all finished. I ended up equal with Jeremy on points and take pride in the fact that I pushed him to the last race of the last round before he could claim the bike! Now if I can just improve by another 100% before next season I might have a new bike this time next year!

The surprises continued into the next week. The local paper calls and wants to do a story on Emily with an angle on me as well. And today, I find that our smiling faces are not only in the paper, but on the FRONT PAGE!

Thank God they don't use newspapers for fish and chips anymore!


Thank you Carl!

What a great summer of sprinting

Carl, on behalf of all the competitors, officials, helpers and spectators a very BIG THANK YOU for putting on such a sensational series.

The Trek Summer Sprint Series was an unqualified success and it was all possible due to your vision, inspiration and hard work.

The professionalism and enthusiasm with which the series was conducted was a credit to you with the ultimate result being the endless smiles on the faces of all involved.

Thank you!


Now that's a long weekend

Going to work Monday morning for a rest never looked so good

Friday - Emily trains then school. Dad watches then eats.

A big weekend of cycling for the Apolito household began 6am Friday morning when my alarm blasted in my ear. Emily and I are meeting Carl at DISC for some training. I'm not riding but we're preparing Emily for the Junior state titles on April 5th and have been working on her Flying 200 line. It's one of the events the kids will be doing and we think it's one she can do especially well at given her "sprinter" status.

The session goes well and Emily has no trouble with the banks and getting into the nose bleed zone. She manages to do a 16 seconds F200 which we think is good. And this was straight after a fall. Carl holds her for a standing start but Emily doesn't push off when let go and topples over. I think that's every track cyclists idea of an embarrassing moment but she got back on her horse albeit with a couple of new bruises then it's a mad rush to get her to school on time.

Saturday - Emily
Another big day for Emily. She has her JG13 club championships races at BBN today. To the club's credit they brought these races forward so Emily and Anna Osbourne can compete in the above-mentioned state titles. Emily wins all three races to collect three Gold's for the day and will therefore be crowned the JG13 girls club track champion.

Her scratch race was tough as expected and she had to work hard to keep Anna at bay who has improved dramatically in the past couple of months. The plan was to watch Anna closely and make sure she didn't accelerate away. Anna tried to sprint past Emily at the bell but Em holds her out, keeping Anna at her shoulder around the clubroom bend before powering away on the back straight.

Emily enjoyed the match sprint. After all she has watched her old man win 10 out of 12 match sprints so far in the Trek series so she sorta knew what to do. After electing to lead she takes Anna high up on the bank and then using her weight advantage dives down into the home straight with a lap to go and sprints away for a very good win.

The time trial was a one lap blast and she records 29 seconds to win by 3 seconds and collect a clean sweep of wins. She then enters the regular E grade motorpace and is blown away by a motor bike on steroids. She's not alone there. Just about the entire club is killed by Graeme and his run away machine of pain on Saturday.

Saturday - Dino
I'm resigned to being upstaged once again by my daughter but am feeling OK and approach the B grade scratch quietly confident that I can at least finish this week. My chances are improved when Alan Dorin is moved up to A grade. Alan has made a habit of attacking at times when it hurts me the most (I don't know why Alan, I'm no threat) and is always surging so his promotion is good news to me.

The scratch race is shortened to 15 laps which also suits me and through the whole race there are no attacks, few surges and everyone is content to roll turns and wait. This suits me of course and I remember thinking mid race how the sprinters were loving this. Richard Hurley having come down from A grade is the man to beat so I keep an eye on him. Aidin is always there too and he is a master (at 18 years of age) at saving energy and using it when needed.

With two laps to go I somehow manage to get on the front. Why me always? This time I decide to swing high and soft pedal. Waiting, waiting... As we approach the far side  bank I sense Daniel Pendlebery is getting twitchy and is about to jump. In a flash my brain also registers that Richard and Aidin are toward the back and before I know it (and the others too) I have gone into a massive sprint for the line giving it absolutely everything. Unbeknown to me I opened up a 10-15 metre gap and later my HRM file will tell me I hit 56kph in the home straight. In the back straight I still can't hear or sense anyone behind me and am starting to wonder "Can I win this"? Then, as we hit the bank for the last time I hear the thundering hooves of the chasers. Three of them catch me as I'm tiring and go past as we hit the home straight. I come in 4th place. A good result that could have been better.

The points race is as points races tend to go for me - DNF. I wanted to go for the first sprint but am boxed in by a young Tyler. He knows exactly what I wanted to do ( and makes sure I can get out. So I roll around for a few more laps before calling it quits.

The motor pace is ugly. In my opinion the motor bike is too fast too early. After doing my turn behind the bike I miss my chance to slot into a gap straight away and in the resulting confusion we all get tangled up and I'm out the back in the twinkle of an eye. I'm annoyed for missing my chance. Had I got straight into that hole I think I would have been right there at the end.

So the regular track season ends for me. I managed to hold my place in B grade for the season which is the only consolation I get from an otherwise disappointing summer results wise.

Another early start. We need to be there at 8am for the junior racing. It's another golden day for Emily. This time her and Anna are team mates instead of competitors and they combine to win the gold medal for the JG13 Team Sprint. They recorded the fastest time in winning their heat and so went into the gold medal ride off as top seeds and did it all over again. Very exciting watching from the sidelines

Emily then teamed up with Angus Flood and Pierce Connor in the boys J13 team pursuit. They record the third best time to collect bronze. Emily is very happy with herself having stayed with the boys all the way. Never looked like being dropped in fact.

By the time the Masters 2 team - Carl, myself and Ben Schoefield - do our team sprint I've been in the DISC sauna/oven for over 6 hours and have already drunk all my water and sports drink.  The conditions are oppressive but it's the same for everyone of course. I've got heavy legs from the day before, Carl has a sore knee and Ben raced a crit that morning. So we're all expecting a top ride!

Carl takes off well and I get onto his wheel but we have to back off a little to make sure Big Gear Ben is on. I then shout out to Carl to GO! and he buries himself. I hang on and then do my best when I hit the front but I can just feel that I'm not as fast as I could be. After peeling off I didn't see much of Ben's lap as I was too busy trying to safely stay above the blue line at a safe speed even though I desperately wanted to slow down and get off. The results aren't posted yet but we possibly did the slowest time.

Emily and I hang around for a little while longer and watch the Mick and his pursuit team grab Bronze and Barry Woods put in two amazing sprints to give BBN a gold medal there. Then it's home time and sleep.

And on Monday when the alarm clock sounded I just rolled over and went back to bed


A conversation with my legs

The Scene: Sunday morning at the Apolito household and I've just got up to prepare for the 5th round of the Trek Match Sprint Series

"Good Morning legs! Time to rise and shine. Big day ahead of us". I'm trying to put on a happy face.

"What's going on? Put us back to bed. We're tired" replies right leg. (Right leg is the dominatrix and does all the talking. Lefty is the quiet one)

"Come on. It's the fifth round of the TSSS today and I want to do well."

"What the hell are you talking about. We raced yesterday"

"Not very well either" I reply under my breath

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Well, you weren't much good to me yesterday were you? They want to put me down to C grade."

"Oh great. Blame us again. What about your heart and lungs.? We never hear you complaining to them!"

"Christ" I think to myself. I don't believe this.

"Look, I'm working on my heart and lungs as well. It takes time with them. And they're not as moody as you lot."

"Bloody favouritism" pipes in Lefty.

"Listen. Is it too much to ask that all my body parts work together for a change? Now will you guys not be so tight and just loosen up a little. Please!" (I'm getting increasingly desperate)

"It'll cost you."

"What! I gave you a soak and a shave last night"

"That's not good enough"

"And the razor was blunt" chips in Lefty

"OK. Here's the deal. You win me some money today and I'll shout you a massage"

(A moment's hesitation as they consider this)

"OK. It's a deal" replies Righty on behalf of both legs

"And a new razor too? adds Lefty

"And a new razor"

Later that day my legs gave me a 14.28 for the flying 200. Half a second faster than in Round 1 but still outside my PB. I also won my first round sprint. I thought they were now co-operating. Little did I know what was to come

"You're doing good legs. That first race hurt and I can tell you're tired "

"We're going home now. We've had enough already"

"Don't be ridiculous. No one leaves without me. And besides we've got Rob Monteath next. And you remember what he did to us last time?"

"Hey don't blame us. It wasn't our fault."

"I'm not blaming anyone. Let's just try to keep him under control and when I say GO you go as hard and fast as you can and don't slow down until I say so. I've looked ahead at the draw and we need to win this one to make the final." I'm trying to remain calm.

The legs, heart, lungs and brain work together to record a good win

"Happy now?" asks Lefty showing unusual bravado

"Shut up. I can't breathe"

"Good to see those heart and lungs doing some work for a change"

"Remind me when we get home to sign that organ donor card. If I can't work you lot out maybe medical science can."

Despite all my diplomacy, the legs are getting more and more tired and I'm very worried about their wellbeing. They do just enough to beat Karen in the third heat. The final is next.


"Yes Lefty"

"I can't go on."

"Yes you can. You've come all this way. I just need one more max effort."

"No. We've had enough." It's Righty again trying to re-assert his authority

"Remember the massage and how much you enjoy Marissa's soft hands and warm oils?"

"No. We have had enough and that's final"

The time for diplomacy is over I know what to do next..

"Would you prefer me to take up running?" I know this is the ultimate threat and it does the trick.

"You can be a real bastard sometimes."

"Good. Let's go and win this thing."

The final starts and we all do a good job controlling Nicole until she jumps through a hole that I didn't know was there and establishes what looked like a match winning gap

"LEGS!" I shout




And so in a belated example of co-operation the legs, heart and lungs work like never before, pushed on by a head that just did not want to lose. Nicole is caught approaching the final bank and the brain correctly calculated there was no time to sit and relax behind her and told the body and bike to go around NOW and just drive for the line. Everyone obeyed and a memorable win is recorded.

"Boss?" whispers Lefty as I'm hanging on to the fence at the finish line fighting the shakes and trying hard not to vomit.


"Don't you dare throw up on us down here"

"I won't. We're finished. That'll do legs. That'll do."

Later that night we're all lying in bed trying to sleep


"Yes" replies Righty rather tersely. He hasn't forgiven me yet

"I'm proud of you"


"Oh and I forgot to mention....."

"We've got pursuit training tomorrow night and motorpacing the next morning"

"OUCH OUCH OUCH" I'm racked in pain as both legs spontaneously cramp.

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