Sunday, February 27, 2011


So, day 1, training camp:

90k's there. Lunch. 90k's back.

Simple equation? I think not!

When the trip down takes not much over 2 hours, without minimal stress, you know you are in trouble. And trouble we were in. It was windy. So bloody windy! We had 8 guys swapping off into the headwind and we struggled to crack 30,  this was out of this world bat-shit crazy. Stupid. It should never be that windy. I hope it never is again. As my cheeks still have a bit of windburn

Day 2
Cold. Snow down to 900m overnight. Summer? A Tasmanian summer at best. The rain continued, as did the ride. After 3 hours or so our route was shortened to avoid snow and save sanity. What is going on in this state?!? It was really turning on the weather for the mainlanders. Only coffee and carrot cake could save some face for this frigid land.

Day 3
Mt Wellington. The one I had been waiting for. 3.5 hours of nice bunch riding, loads of ups and downs, some swapping off, some lunch and then up the climb it was. We had a bit of a race, the results showing who was strong, and who was even stronger! Everyone soon felt deflated when we came in around 10 minutes behind Ritchie Porte's PB time up the hill. Never Mind. The view ( and maybe some coke) revived our spirits after the hour of power.

Ok the pictures are crap, but at least  I tried, unlike Kane (seen below), who thanks to some remaining Indian gastro gut and a sore knee found more respite in bed, rather than going up the berg, wise choice Kane, wise choice...

Day 4
Today it was TV time. Local Hobart TV were swooning over the ever impressive Nathan Earle who is soon to be deemed the next best thing since sliced bread (or Ritchie Porte, or Will Clarke, or Cam Wurf). So as we rode off straight up hill (whose idea was this!?!) we had to put on a brave face and pretend not to be suffering, somehow we climbed 900m in the first 45 minutes even though none of the climbs were longer than a few k, guess they all added up. The day then followed some nice easier roads only then to send us up some more vicious bergs that resulted in the numbers being pinned on and the ears pinned back. I couldn't hold the front men. I was suffering big time. This camp was harder than a race. Then it was the half an hour swap off that really blew everything out of the legs. Lunch was on and the day was just about done. The ride back from New Norfolk to Hobart was spent reminding myself how to pee on the bike (well, to pee away from the bike moreso) whilst on the move. I am not sure if the afternoon traffic understood what was going on. I bet it looked weird.

Day 5
The finale. Nearly done. It was a long early section of the ride on some roads that were so far beyond dead I think they must have been brought back to life, then killed again. They were D-E-A-D. But quiet nonetheless. Lunch was churned, coke was consumed and the last part of the ride was another swap off from hell. Everyone wanting to hurt everyone else. Perfect. A tick over 6 hours and the camp was done. Phew!

Everyone is now ready for Jelajah Malaysia!

From back on the mainland,


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Zensah Compression Socks

Well a sad but wonderful thing has happened recently. I have sold out.

Yes I am taking over the world one free pair of compression socks at a time. If you divide the hours I waste typing this stuff up by one pair of $50 compression socks I would be making a good $0.0002 dollars an hour, maybe less. But nonetheless I was as giddy as a school girl when Zensah compression contacted me and asked me to do a review on their product. Ooo-right.

So, a few weeks later and after some time getting to know my new pair of large Zensah socks I have a review to put forth. Firstly, the short sharp summary

-Very Comfy,
- No skin irritations, rashes, general annoyances
-Mild compression, effective on short flights, feels nice after a hard ride
-Nice and warm ( would be a CON if in a hot climate)

-Rather warm, if in a really hot area you may get a sweat up wearing them
-Mild Compression, if you were after something much more compressive you would have to go custom fit
-Arch support?

The Compression Sock Guru
After injuring my right hand ankle/shin as seen here I needed some good compression to stop blood/fluid/yoounameit from pooling around my ankle. Once I returned to weight bearing activity (and cycling) I wore compression socks round the clock (except in bed). The socks I had that time where a pair of Venosan custome fit ones. Given the circumstances I require a high compression (somewhere in the realms of 30+ mmHG) and having long and skinny legs meant that by the time I got socks that fitted the length of my legs they were no longer tight enough.

Going back to the Zensah socks at hand I found that given the cheap price tag (compared to ~$200 worth of custom surgical grade ones) they provided a nice level of compression but not nearly as much as my previous pair. That was, however, to be expected. Furthermore; if you found yourself with larger calves than my good self then you would be getting a more snug fit.  Even for my skinny legs the socks did stop any swelling on our flights to and from Hobart (1 hour flight time, loads more sitting at airports playing Fruit Ninja on i-phones) for our training camp which is impressive, and I am looking forward to seeing how they go after 8 hours to Malaysia in a weeks time ( I will update the report so do check back to see my thoughts)

I am one of those people who loves to walk around in socks, indoors, outdoors, anywhere. Thus my post ride routine on camp was to clean up, feed up, then get kitted out in a t-shirt, jocks and socks and whittle away the arvo. The socks held up very well with the base stitching being very thick and durable. So on one hand it may be disapointing that the socks can get very warm, the trade off for this warmth is comfort and durability. You may look for socks with thinner stitching around the sole but they may not last particularly long. Also, if it is cold, warm socks are a god send. Given we woke up to snow on Mt Wellington on the second day of our camp you would have to have been lucky to get the socks off me that day! The socks were fantastic in Tasmania, though I can foresee they will be getting pretty sweaty in Malaysia.

The only real qualm I had with the socks was the claimed 'arch support'. I am a bit sceptical of this claim, yes the base of the socks is very thick, it is comfy, it is durable and it does compress nicely. They feel nice when worn for recovery, they help with ankle swelling during flights and on one of my recovery rides they did feel great (but you won't catch me racing in them due to sponsorship issues). I can't really say if the claimed arch support of the sock aided in any of the above. I think you would have to get a pair yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Finally, I have notoriously sensative skin that will always revolt in red rashes and blisters in response to certain products, like band aids, strapping tap, certain types of rubber/latex and some tight fitting materials that involve some sweating (Thankfully not lycra!). So it was one big tick that these socks didn't trigger any problems. That's a pass for the claim of anti-microbial fabric in my books. Also, after two weeks and not one wash they don't stink. Surely that's a miracle!

So, after weighing up the pros and cons of the socks whilst trying to be honest and not a marketing puppet; I would conclude that I would have no issues in recommending these socks to you. If I wanted some compression socks, and had no serious injuries that required very high levels of compression, I would buy these socks happily.

Happy Hunting


Saturday, February 19, 2011

This One Time, at Band Camp...

The two things I think of when Hobart is mentioned to me are:

1) Cold Weather

2) Mt Wellington

So when our team decided to have a week long training camp in Hobart I got pretty interested. I started packing my thermals even though it's summer,  and then  I started wishing I was as light as I was when I was 15.

I also packed my flute. You never know.

During my time with the VIS we where always lucky enough to have our camps at Bright in the epicentre of the Victorian Alps. We had Hotham, Buffalo, Falls Creek, both sides of Tawonga, Rosewhite and the climb into Beechworth at our feet. It really was an all you can eat buffet of long painful climbs, I was always cautious not to overindulge. Every hill there were always two or three different groups:

1) The overeager juniors. The halfwheelers. The racers. They had numbers pinned on and there was a finish line at the top. They often started out the week smashing up the climbs, going like Contador past a dropped chain, the moment the road went up these kids found their way to the front

2) The camp regulars, these were the guys that had been overeager once, but now found themselves weathered but nonetheless wise. Racing flat out on the second day up Falls Creek usually meant a world of agony then next day up Mt Hotham. These guys paced themselves and did some specific efforts but generally climbed en masse and put pressure on the overeager juniors to 'Slow down it's not a race!'

Every regular knew that on the last day coming back from Beechworth was when everyone put their balls on the line ( chicks too!) It was the 'halfwheel-off' of the century:

Riders two abreast, mano a mano, you and your nemesis just kept upping the tempo every 500m of your turn, the pace always increasing to the excruciating end. Each rider trying not to let on how much it hurt, no swaying, no grimacing, just push, push, push.

"Keep your breathing steady, eyes straight forward, keep your cadence up, don't bog down, oh god this is starting to hurt, don't worry, he'll crack soon, just 500 metres more, you can do it, come on, keep going, oh god was that 500 metres all ready!?! Hey! I said STOP swaying, what are you doing with that breathing? Sounds like you are being strangled"

Then as both riders neared thermal implosion the stronger of the riders would begin to sense the kill. Like any true predator the strong partner would go in for the kill. As the weaker rider you could tell when your stronger nemesis started to smell your defeat, they oozed confidence, you knew, that  they knew, that no matter how much they were hurting, it was hurting you more. Much more. They had the power to end it all. And eventually they would put it down one more cog and blow you to smithereens. And it was game over, back down the group you would drift, fending off the taunts of defeat. Only to do it all again next time you got to the front.

3) Then came the 'out of formers'. For these guys the camp was pure agony. The juniors smashed you on the climbs, the regulars flogged you on the flats. No rest. No joy. Just a long week of seeing the group of riders you should be with disapearing into the distance whilst keeping a brave face when Davo drops back in the car to see what's taking you so long! No hiding here!

Throughout my VIS years I have been a member of all three groups and I always came back from the camps feeling fitter, stronger but mighty happy to be home.

The only downside being, that even with enough climbs to construct a grand tour, it still managed to get a bit 'same same' throughout the years. Nevertheless this repetitive grind didn't worry me, being a creature of strict routine and structure I found it kind of pleasing knowing exactly what we would be doing each day.

So with tomorrow comes a whole new training camp! Getting on a plane for starters adds a bit of adventure, but also increases the CBF factor. One of the most draining things ever to confront a cyclist is having to get off a plane and unpack your bike and go riding straight away, but I guess I'll just have to suck it up! So providing I can get Internet down in Hobart I hope to have some good stories of of pain and suffering.

Speaking of pain and suffering, this is a favourite of mine from Arnaud:

Arnaud is not the kind of Masseus to start causing you all sorts of grief in all sorts of places then to have the nerve to stand there and patronisingly say

"Relaaaax, just let the muscle relaaaaax"


No, Arnaud is a forward thinker, he is pretty aware of human reflexes; when he starts gettin' in there people usually start jumping and flailing and screaming and crying; unless you are Scott Morrison who apparently has no feelings at all ;-) .

But for Arnaud, no problem, just strap the poor bugger to the table. He ain't goin nowhere!

From the mainland, and soon to be on the Southland,

Bye for now!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

And also

If any readers are on facebook you can follow the Genesys team here

We are getting photos from all the races uploaded so you can stalk away

More importantly part of the reasoning behind Genesys Wealth Advisors support of our team is to use it as a vehicle to continue their support of the children first foundation

As such  from time to time we will have charity rides that everyone is encouraged to come along and participate in. And wouldn't you know it there is one in a fortnights time!

The basic info is ripped from here

Join us and ride with members of the Genesys Pro Cycling team, while raising much needed funds for Moira Kelly's Children First Foundation.

The ride will leave from the Children First Foundation House in North Melbourne, and finish at Ievers Reserve, Flemington Road, Parkville.

Date: Saturday 19 February

Time: Registration from 12.30 pm at CFF House, 66 Chapman Street, North Melbourne
Ride starts at 1 pm

Length: 75 km approximately

Registration: $40 per rider donated to Children First Foundation. Registration fee is payable on the day in cash.

Enter now for your chance to win fabulous prizes, including team jerseys and cycling gear!

North Melbourne Rotary will be on hand with a sausage sizzle following the ride.

Hope to see you all there!


EDIT- There is also a ride running a week earlier for anyone in Perth, info here

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Spin Room

Back when the old man and I were getting serious about cycling we made the habit of going along to a weekly spin class at the Fitzroy Pool. The thing most people find with spin classes are that it all hinges on the quality of instructor. Down at Fitzroy we had one hell of an instructor!

James was fantastic, every class would be a bit different from the last and he had the ability to get everyone excited about smashing themselves on a stationary bike for an hour, which is by no means an easy task. From wisely chosen motivational phrases to all out abusive screaming he always got the best out of us, my favourite tactic being the bucket being placed in front of you and then being told unless you vomit into the bucket then you didn't go hard enough! I never chundered. Guess I am just a  soft cock.

Well a couple of days ago  I got to go and check out a new spin/ergo class of sorts and the new Spin Room that has recently opened in North Fitzroy, just opposite Crino Cycles.

The staggering thing about this place is they have 31 new Wattbikes ready for use. They have a decent mix of pedals but I'd ring ahead or bring your own just in case when you come but other than that  just jump on and you are ready to go.

This was my first time on a Wattbike and it was certainly a bit of fun. One key aspect of the Wattbike is that it can measure left vs right leg power and calculates your 'pedal print' over the full 360 degrees of the pedal stroke. The benefits of trying to alter this and make your pedal stroke more 'efficient' are a certainly debatable and in the eyes of many coaches a complete red herring. Regardless of that it is interesting and does provide some more interest to otherwise boring as bat shit stationary cycling, so take from it what you will. Get down there one day and try em out.

Thanks to Sam and Sarah from the Spin Room for letting me have a crack on the Watt Bike. Any more rainy days like today and I'll have no choice but to go more often...



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Choice as Bro

Tour of Wellington was, as stated above, rather choice. A quick summary for the team would be:

-Steele Von Hoff 4th in stage 1
-Nathan Earle 1st in stage 2 (!)
-Nathan Earle 1st in stage 3 (!!!!)
-Nathan Earle 1st in stage 4 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
-Nathan Earle 2nd in stage 5
-2nd on Teams GC
-The award of 'Most Aggressive Rider for the Tour' simply made up after the final stage and awarded to Nathan Earle

For anyone watching the Giro last year wondering who that obscure Tassie Devil called Ritchie Porte was, well you may be thinking the same thing in a few years time. When Ritchie pulled out some amazing rides on the domestic circuit a few years back many guys where thinking it was only a matter of time. Well for Nearle, I think it is now only a matter of time! (And now I have built him up so much, he can only disappoint, in fact we can cut him down in classic tall poppy fashion) He is off to Italy to race for one of Ritchie's previous amateur teams in March so fingers crossed that we can all follow his exploits.

But aside from working hard for Nearle and Steele during the race, we made sure to devote the remainder of our time to letting team mate Matt and physio Hayden (who both happen to be Kiwis) know exactly what we thought of their hilarious accent.

"Oh boy that's a wee crut circuit right there"

"A what?!?!"

"You know, a crut, a cruterium!"

"Ooohhh a crit! I get ya"

And so on. We certainly took the puss

And to funish off, a few wee puctures bro

The secret to a hat trick of UCI stage wins

Nearle re-aligning his Shakra

 Malvern Star bikes also become very useful clothes lines

Mechanics can turn anything into a work stand

Pat Lane, Nathan Earle, Lachie Norris and stage winner Westley Gough riding away in the Wellington stage 5 Cruterium

Also I am happy to say I blatently stole these photos from Steele's facebook page and didn't ask Nearle's permission to post such bizare photos of him. But hey, what are friends for?