Monday, September 17, 2012

Blake's Manor


Situation: Genesys Training Camp; day 6

Weather: Filthy, bordering on horrendous

Motivation levels: Beginning to wane

The saving grace? Blake’s Manor

There were six of us out riding around the windy flats near Deloraine, Tasmania. Nearle, Dyball, Jai, Sammy D, Matt from Launie Homes and myself. About an hour into our ride we saw some pretty horrid looking black clouds coming in over the Tassie highlands. We pulled over and chucked on our rain jackets, extra gloves, head warmers, pretty much anything we could.

It was a smart move.

Five minutes later the scene had certainly changed. Ben Dyball was busy grovelling along in the gravel shoulder after being blown off the road by the increasingly strong wind (like seriously, seriously strong*)

*We are talking 170km/h wind gusts that ripped roofs off houses in Deloraine that night
Then came the hail. Oh the stinging hail. It hurt. A lot!

We cowered amongst a cluttering of trees trying to work out how best to ameliorate this truly shitful situation. The initial equation involved us riding up a climb to the Great Lakes which would see us gain another ~800-1000m of elevation. Given the temperature was hovering around the mid-single digits whilst we huddled, shivered and contemplated the crapulence of our situation; there was no doubt that tackling that climb would result in

1)      Snow
2)      Hypothermia
3)      Insanity
4)      A rather low level of satisfaction
5)      All of the above. And some.

So to Deloraine we soldiered.

Now on our training camps, and races, accommodation is always a highly variable theme. Given we end up staying in some tourist areas in ‘off peak’ season, or in other areas in ‘on peak’ season; for a given cost, we could be in a caravan park, or a chalet. Sometimes we score some really, really nice spots to stay.


Anyone on the team will happily regale you with tales of Toowoomba. Four people to a space so small it truly was a stretch of the truth to deem it a 'cabin'. All piled on top of each other. Only separated by our own sweat, dysentery and the dirt and sand that was just everywhere.

But fear not, because in stark contrast came our deluxe lodgings at San Remo. This stroke of good luck saw us start Tour of Gippsland in luxury villas with ceilings even higher than our enthusiasm to sleep beneath them.

Needless to say, we were all hoping to score a gem for the night. We were cold, miserable and hungry. Let’s be honest, caravan parks are fine. At that point in time, all we really needed was a warm shower. Heck, we’d have had one in the main street of Deloraine if that was our only option.

But then there came, Blake’s Manor. You. Little. Beauty.

Probably best not to wear our muddy shoes in here...


On arrival it appeared we’d slipped back into the days of ye Olde England. We had arrived in the palatial surrounds of something out of Downton Abbey. Certainly, no complaints here.

Certainly comfortable


But what’ that say you? Free food? Oh, well of course, many motels give you some tea bags and cookies!
Oh no, not just ordinary cookies!

Oh really, do tell?
We started with; fresh baked macadamia cookies. Brilliant. To which we then uncovered some local chocolate truffles. Oh how swell. Nevertheless the local cheese platter went divinely with the flagon of port. But only trumped by the delicious iced cupcakes. Truly satiating.

Anyone for cheese?


But wait, I know you want more;

Local Bacon, six rashers.
Local Eggs, times six.
And a fresh, baked, loaf of bread. And don’t you dare forget the fresh butter and Jam.
Yep. It was a feast. Of glorious proportions.

Here's hoping for warmer weather come Tour of Tasmania...

It equipped us with sufficient nutrients and motivation to tackle the dastardly climb we had avoided. Albeit in the car.

A good night’s sleep, surrounded by an abundance of pillows, teddy bears, tassels and all manner of opulent furnishings left us with the nobility of kings. Until we returned the next day, to our more customary abode of the Hobart Airport Caravan Hotel Caravan Park.

Accommodation on tour or training camp is about taking the ups with the downs. At the end of the day, we are lucky to have someone else organise and pay it all for us. And even luckier, to get to dot around the country and see places we’d never see. Even if it means rain, hail, snow and a lot of washing.

A clear and frosty day up on Mt Wellington, Hobart.


There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Sun on the other side of that grey cloud. And in this case, a hefty dose of fat, sugar with just a sprinkling of alcohol at the end of a despondent day in Deloraine.

Yep, I’ll take the good with the bad, because the good, is just that good.

Jono

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fortnightly Roundup

Wow, what a busy time it has been!

Since we last spoke I got my full dosing of double stage madness at the Tour of the Greater South Coast. It was wet. I was windy. It was madness. Madness I tell you!

But it was a lot of fun. We worked out arses off and came away with the win.

The South Coast Tour was markedly different from the Tour of Gippsland or the current Tour of the Murray River. Both of those tours are more about accumulating time bonuses continually to build your lead throughout the race. Given the morning crits will have sprints every second lap or thereabouts the oppurtunity lies for a quality sprinter to win 3-4-5-6 or more sprints and go away from each morning stage a good 20 seconds or more in front of their rivals.

But, and yes there is a bit but, you still have to survive the arvo road stage.

At races like Gippo and Murray where it may be easier to control (cross wind pending of course) you can let your lead rider, such as AJ Giacoppo for us, go nuts in the morning, and then sit back a bit more in the arvo.

But at South Coast, with some big and hard arvo road stages, combined with some good bergs and some solid wind, it was a balancing act of sorts. An act that we got right, but only just.

On the 4th stage which to us looked like the true queen road stage we had a solid 100+ kilometres heading in through the southern grampians to finish in Casterton. To those who have raced the Tour of Coleraine in the past, you know how windy, dead and lumpy this area is.

Even with a clear plan to control and mark the right moves we let Darren Lapthorne escape our grasps and he ended up with an awesome solo win. We'd been warned! He was the man to watch, and Drapac were certainly going to throw it all at as.

From my point of view, I had a simple task. I had to try and tag moves, fill gaps etc, if there was a break that did not have the riders we wanted in it, then I had to get my chase on. But you can't chase everything, so it's often much easier to tag on the back and follow moves.

Cue day three. The day of madness.

Forecasts were for gale force winds. Snow in the grampians down to ~700 metres. Sideways rain. Horizontal hail. It. Was. Chaos.

We fronted up at the circuit at Port Fairy. We performed our obligatory get to the start line about 3 hours before the start, just so we could start on the front... and we shivered. It was cold. Miserable. Filthy.

It was a true laugh to be on the start line whingeing my arse off with Jordan Kerby who exclaimed that he was from QLD, he doesn't ride in this shit! (only to go up the road and nearly win the stage!)



Anyhow, we got through that stage OK. We had to work and try to bring back Kerby and the ol' Ox Gordan McCauley but we couldn't do it. But no big losses.

It was the arvo stage that really concerned us. The wind was getting stronger. The rain was setting in.

We had seen the roads we had to race on. There were plenty of potholes (which would come as a mystery surprise under the blankets of water that now covered the road). There would be a ripping cross or tail cross wind. It was going to be an absolute balls to the wall smashfest.

Then came possibly the most memorable moment of my season.

CSV promptly came and informed all the teams that the days racing was cancelled. The police had decided to cancel the stage citing rider safety.

Now here we had and huddle of hardened cyclists, layered up with all sorts of thermal clothing and windstopping devices. Everyong was gripping their caffeine or sugary fix of choice, just mentally preparing for the big afternoon.


Then, like night and day, the grown men were reduced to near tears of happiness. Group hugs. Exclaimations of "Thank f##k for that" and similar were exchanged. Phew! Dodged a bullet there!

The rest of the tour was not quite as dramatic, better weather, more hard racing, and yep, AJ got the win. But it was the solid weather and tumultuous times of the first three days that stick in my mind!

You can have a peak at more NRS highlights over here

Now I am down here in Tassie enjoying a solid training camp. Emphasis on solid.

But more importantly, how good is it to see Joel Pearson on the top step?

This guy is an absolute legend. After I messed myself up in China he really looked after me, especially helping carry me from my wheelchair to the airplane seat on our return flight!

Then about a year later he put me in touch with ACJ, one of the main men behind the Orange Army, and I was lucky enough to get a gig with Genesys. So it's not just good. But great, to see the double warny winner, do stuff like this

Stage 4, Tour of Murray 2012, 'Killer' Pearson just keeps on, keeping on

Over, and out. Time for a brew ride.

Jono

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Irony


Withing 48 hours of my slate clearing ├╝ber whinge it appears that sweet poetic justice has delt me a cold hard slap in the face

Egg, meet face. Face, meet egg.


I wrote that post from the comfort of knowing I was not racing in the next NRS race, the Tour of the Great South Coast.

Warnambool. Port Fairy. Portland. Casterton. You know it's going to be hard down there.

Having had a team camp in that general vicinity not so long ago, and with the lashing wind and dancing rain still haunting my every waking moment, I took a bit of extra joy in rubbing some salt in the wounds of those racing.

I mean, I had to put a positive spin on not getting a ride, right? Right.

Well. A team mate is sick. My role in keeping the bench warm and hurling criticism from afar is over. I've been thrown into the field ready to tackle an armada of double stages! Oh the delicious irony.

But. In all seriousness. I want to race. This is gonna be one of those 'sweet merciful crap' this is so horrid kind of tours that you just have to be a part of it. Just so you can say, you were a part of it.

Five hard days, a lot of wind. A sizeable amount of rain. And a lot of good bike riders.

Time to go have some fun.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Everyone Hates Double Stages

Everyone hates double stages.


Of all the over generalised, unqualified, far sweeping and ill considered statements that can be made, I guarantee you beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this statement, is in fact 100% correct

There is nothing that fills a cyclists face with a more puerile expression of hatred than the intermingling of the terms ‘criterium’ and ‘road race’ on the same course mocka.

Just imagine. You’ve had your pre race feed. You’ve had your pre race coffee. You’ve had your pre race shit. You’ve kitted up. You’ve appropriately smeared your groin with chamois cream of choice. You might have heat cream and/or oil on your legs. You might have sunscreen on your face. You are ready. You are motivated. It’s time to race.

You race. You get rained on (sideways rain nonetheless). You get sweaty. You get filthy. You get hungry. You get thirsty. You get tired.

But thankfully, it’s all over. You can get changed. You can get clean. You can get dry. You can get warm. You can get fed.

But wait,
THERE’S ANOTHER GOD DAMMED STAGE STARTING IN 1 HOUR AND 30 MINUTES

The Dilemmas arising are suddenly overwhelming.

If you are lucky and it doesn't rain then it's only the stench of tepid sweat, grease and the bacteria currently copulating in your knicks that need concern you


Do I get changed? Will I get colder by getting naked in the street or will I get warmer by getting dry clothes on? Maybe I’ll just jump in the van and crank the heating. Will I have to perform the ‘standing on shoes whilst changing pants so that my white socks don’t get wet dance’? (Yes, yes you will)
 
Do I have enough dry kit? Oh no, I forgot my plastic bag, damn, all my clothes to put on after stage 2 will be wet

But chances are you'll be unlucky. If you start the day wet. You end the day wet.

 My bike is filthy. The jockey wheels are squeeking. The brake pads are full of grit. My shoes are wet and the only thing lower than my morale is the pressure in that rear tubular I just flatted.

I need to eat, but what do I eat? How much? I don’t want to have a hunger flat, but I sure as hell don’t want to have salad roll reverbs on the first KOM of the afternoon stage.

I need to drink, I sure as hell don’t want to cramp in the arvo stage. But on the other hand, needing to pee when the race gets thrown in the gutter is not much fun either. You think they stop for a 'pisso' in Aussie racing? Good luck with that!

Maybe I’ll just have a coffee, it’ll warm me up and pep me up. But what, no caffeine after midday? Yep, you ain’t gonna sleep tonight boy.

There is no nice way to put it. Double stages suck. You can try and spin it however which way you like, but no one enjoys double stages. They are a given evil. A necessity to surviving as a cyclist in Australia.

As ex-Australian Road Champ, Darren 'Lappers' Lapthorne once said

"I'd prefer riding the Melbourne to Warrnambool 5 days in a row compared to a week of double stages!"

Some people might just call me a whinger.

But that’s the whole point. I am whinging, and god it feels good.

And you. Yes,  you.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Because;

Everyone hates double stages

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Studiously avoiding Winter

Can only last for so long.

It seems a bit of Borneo there, a touch of Japan here, all mixed up with some sprinklings of Queensland over the past 8 or so weeks have kept me hoping that I could just bypass winter.

But no, not to be!

Riding down Punt Rd this morning at 6am it really hit me. This. Is. Winter. Pitch black, wet (although not raining, luckily) and lonely.

It really got all fun and wintery when I stopped for a leak to see that my 'mega' saddle bag had fallen off with my rear light attached. Dayam! How long had I been trundling along down Punt/Beach Rd without a freakin light, in the dark!! Sheeeeeet. Not a great feeling.

Also not great was the fact that I was now short of the three tubes, two levers, ten patches, two CO2 cannisters, insane multi-tool (including a chain breaker and quite possibly a kitchen sink) and spare $20 note that I had travelling along with me in my now gone saddle bag. Bugger. Thankfully Uncle T at Crino sorted me out again so I'm all good for tomorrows trundle

Then the real risk; to keep heading on down to Mt Eliza, on wet roads, without no recourse for a flat tyre? Heeeeelll no! Back home I went. Puncture fairies, Murphy's Law, Jesus, whoever it is up there, was just waiting to smite me should I try my luck.

To be honest with you, the time spent up in QLD & NSW was not really avoiding winter. It was a bit like being at the snow. At the start of the last day of the North Western Tour, I eyed the apparent temperature in Gunnedah to be a shivering -6 degrees. Meanwhile I finished the day sunburnt around my sunglasses such that I now possess an impressive goggle tan. I am still getting asked what the snow was like. Additionally, the resulting red nose and general aroma of  "post race haven't showered and have been crammed in the team van for 4 hours goddamit I am stiff and sore where is maccas?" had me hobbling around like a drunk frenchman

Results wise both races were good, but not great. We took Teams GC at the North West Tour but only finished second in Toowoomba. Our new recruit 'Jumpin' Jai Crawford was kicking arse up the pointy end on the hilly stages but was not quite on form to match Marko who is definitely the man to beat when the road points upward. On a personal level I snivelled a couple of top ten GC results so that'll do for now!

Off for some dinner now and of course following that it is time to watch the tour! Time to wear a groove in the couch.

Jono

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tour of Japan, stage 5 madness

So the tour of is over and in between long bus trips and tasty bento boxes there hasn't been much time to think anything let alone even write anything. So the best most memorable events must get blogged first

So check THIS out.

That is Shawry's garmin/strava file from what was far and away the most ridiculous race of my life. It bordered on insanity.

Rumour has it when Kristian House won the same stage in 2010 for Rapha Condor he said it was the hardest stage of his life and he was glad it was over. Well back then they raced 98k.

We raced 148k!!!! (This point needs a severe and comprehensive exclaiming.)

Have a look at what Wurfy wrote about it

Or maybe peek at the youtube video

And don't miss all the purty pictures that Cycling iQ has posted

Just look at it!


Or maybe just trust me when I say it was ludicrous.

Like a roller coaster ride for road bikes. The course twisted, turned, climbed, dropped, cut back on itself and managed to give everyone motion sickness, whip lash and the urge to cry. You would come out of a corner with G forces throwing the rice in your stomach around like clothes in a washing machine only to whip out, up and around onto 'yet another' climb that not only sapped (these climbs were especially potent 'sappers', one would almost deem them to be 'grippy') all your energy and momentum but every time made you contemplate why on earth you were doing this.

But each lap you would remember why;

-You would pass your soigneurs handing out drinks.
-You would see the time gap to your team mate suffering out in the break (thanks Shawry)
-And you would look back and see your DS bored out of their skull in the team car

After 4 hours I can safely say all riders went through every stage of the emtional cyclist mental scale

1) Apprehension of the extreme fisting your are about to endure
2) Slight excitment whilst pondering the 'epicness' of the ride
3) Denial after the first lap; "Surely they didn't mean 12 whole laps?"
4) Frustration after the 2nd lap; "This is going to be a long day"
5) Contemplating death on the 3rd lap
6) Contemplating death of the 4th lap
7) Laps 5-11: See Laps 3 and 4
8) Lap 12: "Thank you sweet jesus that is over. Someone find me a corner of the bus to die in. Wake me once we get to Tokyo."

The whole day was rather analogous to the famous Milgram experiments

Give a normal person the authority of a UCI endorsed race organisor, and they can convince a bunch of directors to do absurd things to a bunch of cyclists under their control.

Or maybe we wanted to do it? Maybe we are just masochists.

Me?

I just like that fact that I get a tuna sandwich and some free sashimi after the race. How cool is that!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ultimate Blogging Australia

Wow it's been a while. But I'm back on my feet!
Since oceanias and queenstown there has been plenty happening

-Tour de India got cancelled so that landed me an extra three weeks training back at home
-This training was highly satisfying. Mostly consisting of the half wheel variety with Mark O'Brien who lives round the corner. He also makes a tasty fish taco. Let it be known

-There was a bit of suffering at Baw Baw with myself playing a team role and the team going 1-2. So that was good. And it didn't snow. Bonus

-Next cab was down to Mersey Valley in Tassie for a week of checking out the course for the Upcoming NRS tour and hanging out with Kane Walker and Blake Hose.  On our first day we spent $200 on vegies. A week later, after been stuck in tight in the small cabin, we were all pretty sick of the smell of each others (mostly mine) farts/

-We raced Mersey Valley Tour itself. Nathan Earle was the standout for us with a 2nd on stage two and winning stage 3. Our DS gave us a bollocking for messsing up tactically on the 2nd stage. We deserved it. It also pissed with rain the whole weekend. Then all the results were wrong. Honestly, it's like the only correct result was that of the winner (because Mark O'Brien kicked cleary won..) Anyway apparanely most of that has been sorted

-Then it was off to Borneo. That was were the hot action was at. The only downside to Borneo (like the rest of malaysia) is that once you've seen a palm tree, there isn't much that will exite you when you proceed to spend the next 1000km riding past palm tree after palm tree. My god. It's like groundhog minute. For 360 minutes a day. Despite that we went, well, alright

We got 2-3-5th on GC, won 3 stages, won the KOM and won teams GC. But, we screwed up the first day tactically and that lost us our chance of winning the Tour as we let the eventual winner Michael Torckler from PureBlack get up the road.

Now I find myself hanging out in a tight little hotel room in near Osaka hacing just smashed round a 2.5k prologue.

I must apologise for the lack of bloggery (yep that's a word) but I have been busy writting some features for Ultimate Cycling Australia . One of the articles is a summary of the Interview I got to do with Chris Boardman back before the track world cup and the other is a bit of a thrown together mish mash involving interviews with Dan Macpherson, Steve Bracks, Shane Perkins and Tony Abbott. It's been a busy time!

That's it for now I do believe.

Ciao!

(PS: no editing going on here ;-) )

PPS: anyone interested in following Tour of Japan or any othe Asian racing you should check out Cycling iQ on the net, and on twitter.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Queenstown NZ


This place is insane.

At present I find myself sitting around conserving energy and consuming carbohydrates in preparation for 35 kilometres of self flagellation in the Oceania time trial championship this afternoon. It should prove to be a tough little affair, although there are only 10 starters for elite men, with ever lasting honour and lactic acid laced agony on the line, it will, like always, good, hard and hopefully fast (for me anyway)
The last two days have seen Campbell Flakemore and myself riding the TT course and spending most of the time in awe of the lakes and hills surrounding Queenstown. This place is so cool. 

My quick fire travel review is as follows:

What makes Queenstown cool
-It’s nothing by huge mountains and massive lakes, the whole place is gobsmackingly beautiful
-They filmed Lord of the Rings around here (somewhere on this island anyway)
-The place is a haven for public liability insurance agents: Downhill MTBing, snowsports, white water rafting, speed boating, bungee jumping, canyon jumping, para-sailing, the fun never ends, neither would the premiums
-The place is teeming with tourists, lots of young Americans and Brits and loads of middle aged Japanese/Chinese tourists. It’s a non stop party. I can’t go down the street without chuckling at hearing some dutch or german tourist yelling to their mate “We made a real good trip on the fast boat you think maybe!?” or catching a seppo twang on the end of “It’s was so pumpin’ duuuuuude”

What makes Queenstown a bit shit
-Thanks to the tourist influx, everything is expensive as all hell. $35 kiwi bucks (~$30Aus) for a pizza? Come oonnnn!! Subway for dinner it is….
-In a bizaro-Australian paradox, the drivers are very courteous to bike riders, but it seems pedestrians in the town centre are nothing but target practice. This place needs some pedestrian crossings. Getting across the road is like in South East Asia whereby the only way to break the traffic flow is just to step off the curb and start your way across the road. Except in Asia drivers manage to summon the energy to activate their shoulders and wrists in an effort to turn the steering wheel 5 whole degrees in order to swerve to the left or the right of those crossing the road. In Queenstown it seems there is some sort of natural reaction to swerve and accelerate directly towards whoever is crossing the road. Any utilisation of said designated steering device is just wholly unnecessary. Sure makes for an eventful trip to the shops I’ll tell you what.

Nevertheless, this place really is all about the adventure. Only two days ago, Mr Flakemore and myself having duly sated ourselves with a lap and a bit of the TT course decided to poke our noses up this little road that turned off up through the trees. Surely it would be nothing more than a little jaunt up the side of the hill for 5 minutes? I mean, who wants to climb an Alpine berg on their TT bike? Not me!

Well. 9k at 9% later we topped out at ~1300-1400m at coronet peak ski resort.
“Oh man that road looks steep up ahead”
“Yeh, but it looks like it flattens out round the corner”
“Yeh, we’ll just go another few hundred metres and turn around”

We had that revolving conversation for 45 minutes.

Geez that was hard work. But man it was worth it. If only Flakey wasn’t off doing his TT now I would snatch the photos off his dog and i-Bone to show you all. They’ll be up in the next post.

Well, my mind is racked for now. Time to return to my state of deep relaxation. ..

Till next time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Business that remains unfinished

Beep Beep Beep. Damn you  alarm clock

Sunday morning wake up. It's hot. It's windy. I want more sleep.

Sunday morning, out at Hurstbridge, Time Trial Showdown No.2. It's still hot. It's still windy. I want more coffee.

Sunday morning, out on the course. It's really hot. It's even windier. I want more power.

Sunday morning, just crossed the finish line. I'm baking in my skin suit. Sweat is stinging my eyes. That guy  has again taken the prize.

Sunday lunch time, Big Ms, Cokes, shit talking and relief that the ride is over.

Sunday afternoon. Tired legs, stiff necks and bike seat examined prostates. The day is done, the race is won and Lama and myself retreat from the cool shade of the Smiths Gully General Store to descend back to our cars and back home to recover for the next installment. Donna Buang. This will be a classic, balls to wall sufferfest.

Although I cannot make the next two Coburg TT's, that doesn't stop anyone else from going out. Coburg are doing a sensational job of creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere that is all about fun. Aside from Shane and my good self there is no hostile or overly competitive atmosphere here. Just great people, great fun and great suffering. Bring it on.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unfinished business.

Back on the TT Rig.

Back in 2008 I first spoke with one Cameron McKenzie about having a good crack at the U23 TT champs. The first thing he did was grab my TT bike and perform the maneuver now commonly known as 'slamming' that stem and told me get riding. Well, I got riding, and I sure refined all the requisite skills to be a successful solo time trialler:

-Sore neck
-Sore nuts
-Tendency to get into aero tuck, even when riding to uni or the gym
-Increasing tendency to 'half wheel' the shit out of anyone riding next to me
-Marked decrease in social skills.

Alas it was with some misfortune that  I missed the U23 nationals that year, and since then, I have not truly rekindle my love for the introverted suffering of a time trial.

Stop Press:

The Fire is Back.

How So? Was it the nationals time trial? Hmmm, nah not so much.

Has it been some of those Beach Rd runs with Mitch, Tannerino, Smax and the TKM boys? Nope, not that.

It's been, in fact, the re-kindling of my ever running TT/Hill Climb duel with the one and only Master of Masters, That Guy Who Everyone Hates But Secretly Wishes They Were As Fast As (me included)

Allow me to elaborate...

...Wildwood is a peculiar place perched just over the back behind Tullamarine airport in Melbourne. Dead roads, baron landscape, there's not much going for it to be fair. At said 'odd' location and at a similarly unusual time (early on a sunday morning); two of Melbourne's truly different subcultures are thrust together in a battle for legitimacy and that last god dam parking space.

 Yes it's the Time Trialists and the Plane Spotters.  And don't you, for one second, doubt the number of these fuselage focused kinfolk; such are their numbers that there is even a battle between Mr Whippy Vans to see who can steal a glorified parking space and whisk off cone after cone of half melted sub par ice cream.

So imagine the scene;
-2x Mr Whippy Vans
-People sitting round with binoculars, looking at large planes flying in
-Large planes flying in (ie: LOUD NOISES)
-Cyclists tip toeiing around carrything their bikes trying to avoid getting glass in the tyres.
-Various conga lines of cyclists all bent over pinning numbers onto each other backs in a 'I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine' kind of fashion.

Yes, very different.

And hopefully, that obfuscates fact that that guy, beat me by two seconds! Not again! But that wasn't his only victory of late

So fast forward to yesterday evening. I am discussing my deepest thoughts and concerns on the topic of TTing and all things aero with the Guru ; and I spotted a twinkle in his eye. I had a pang of nervousness run over me. I had seen this look before. The look of a man with a dangerous plan. And with the same conviction for a low coefficient of drag and the same lack of empathy for my ensuing agony, he 'Slammed the absolute shit' out of that stem. And now my saddle to bar drop is oh so low.

Time to do some testing, and please, wish me luck!

And to finish, all like minded TTers should check out that guy's very useful TT calender

Monday, January 23, 2012

From Bay Crits to Bunninyong, and All the Fun in Between

An account through the brain of a sleep and caffeine deprived cyclist is what follows

The Bay Crits...
...were hot. stinking hot! Ripping out a few laps in the individual support race was on the cards and enjoying watching the elite guys get their internal temperatures up to a light simmer in the searing heat capped it all off. Nothing of merit for me. But my goals achieved, legs warmed up, lungs expanded, heart sufficiently stressed.

The National Crit Title...
...AJ Won!! Holy !!#!#$$# You little Rippa!!
Last year in our team it was all "Steele this and Haas that". With the team goal achieved (ie rider development, ie riders moving onward and upward) there was a lot of talk about what Genesys would bring to the table in the sprinting department in 2012. Well, we all knew the quiet lead out maestro known within our team as 'AJ' had what it took to fill the void (not to forget Alex Carver, a new team recruit who will want to take some sprint wins of his own this year).  Now the cheeky bugger has gone and won an elite bay crit and a national crit title.
"They're racing as if they're HTC Columbia delivering Mark Cavendish to the line"

As Matt Keenan alluded to whilst commentating the crit; we rode well as a team. Maybe HTC is a bit of a stretch, but hey, nothing wrong with talking it up for the crowd!  I got a few good turns on the front chasing a few lone riders and spent some time jumping across to breaks early on. All good. All painful. All fun

'The' Road Race...
...Start. Go Fast. Stop. The End.

Yes the race was fast, so fast it had me gasping for every gram of oxygen. Nick Benz looks similarly unhappy with life...

...Tailwind up the climb. Cross wind across the top. It was ooonnn. I survived for ~7-8 laps with the peleton then got blown away and called it a day to save some beans for the TT

The TT
Sweet merciful crap, that was windy. The race was analogous to performing a 50 minute plank whilst getting buffeted by winds that threw you around like a an ex cricketing star's Mercedes. Far out if I had of been racing with a rego plate I would have been done for drink riding for sure, I was going from left to right, back to left, back to right, back to... Unfortunately in winds like those, with disc wheels and 808 front wheels (Thanks Zipp!) holding a straight line was not possible. It was more like riding in sand, you just had to be firm but also relaxed and just let the wind take you where it was gonna take. I survived, phew.


So the good news is I am back into normal racing and training mode and hopefully I shall find myself better equipped to regale you with some funny stories in between, hopefully...