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Entries For: 2009


The deed is done

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!


Thank You!

Filed Under:

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...


Even an end has a start

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....




That's more like it

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!



Still winless

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


Very scary

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...



Next climbing camp?

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?


Along the edge of reason 




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?


Back to the Blog

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.


Proud Dad

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....



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