Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just a quickie... say all is good after day two at Gippsland.

Made it through the crit OK this morning and managed to stay away from any trouble.

In the road race today a small group got up the road after some rough riding in the early crosswinds. The bunch went into shutdown mode but my team mates got straight to the front and kept the gap under control for me. I attacked once we hit the first real climb of around 4k and the other GC guys were straight on my wheel. We traded a few blows but nothing too serious.

We flew down the descent towards Walhalla and then flew up the last climb. The last 2k into Walhalla averaged 5% and the front group went up it at 31 kph, so no one was getting away! I got boxed in a the finish and maybe snuck in at about 15th. Was an ok day. I moved into 3rd on GC after the crit in the morning but at this point in time I am not sure on where I sit due to time bonuses from KOMs in the road race.

Anyway, another day, another 2 stages, another devasted salad bar and a whole load of tired legs. Can't wait for tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Motel Madness

Instant coffee sachets, little packets of cookies, tiny shower gel containers, overpriced washing machines, towels on the racks or in the bath tub, slow wireless, WIN and PRIME and never enough pillows. Yes it's life on the road. The road to glory for some, for me it's just the boring old road to Traralgon and beyond in the Tour of Gippsland.

Day one is down with two short road stages now under my belt. The first stage was flat and windy and the bunch split a few times with various crashes. Kane Walker won the uphill kick impressively, me, I was in the bunch and felt good, job done.

The next stage we raced two loops around Traralgon south up a vicious 1k berg then went straight out of town and up Mt Tassie. The climb went for about 30-40 minutes, it's all a blur I just remember attacking once at the bottom, attacking a second time, and we were away! We had a solid group with some dam strong climber, Tim Roe and Jai Crawford were pushing it for Savings and Loans and Adam Semple was keeping the pace up for the AIS team.

To say the descent was sketchy would be understatement of the century. It was nuts! Mudd, moss, rocks, dirt, rain, ferns, branches, and four, yes, 1,2,3,4 pick a plank tyre swallowing bridges! Somehow I am still alive to write this story, somehow.

As we neared the finish the attacks started, I did a big bridge up to one attack then went straight over the top. In the end it was Leigh Howard, David Kemp, Tim Roe and myself away with about 2k to go. The sprint for me was not great, I was planning an attack before the sprint but then kinda ended up on the front into the corner at 300 to go basically leading the others out. Hmmm, not good Jono, not good. So 4th it was.

A good start and I was happy to show some climbing legs on the first day. I can't wait for some more of the hilly road races to have a crack.

On a side note, all you can eat salad bar really does mean ALL you can eat. And this evening we ate all we could eat, possibly more...


Friday, July 24, 2009

Up and Coming

I'm excited. Big Kev excited.

The big races have arrived, finally!

Over the next few months, in between bludging econometrics and macroeconomics lectures and downing double espressos at Castro's, I will be racing my arse off*

*Not to be confused with dancing my arse off, god save us from that heap of junk reality TV show.

Gippsland, East Java, Murray and Tasmania are all good hard tours I will be racing between now and October. The one and only Grafton to Inverell is also on the calendar and I am hoping to make it to the Goulburn to Citi to improve on 4th from last year, but logistics are looking fuzzy at this stage! It will all come to a close for this road season with the Warnie. I hope the gutterage* from Melbourne to Ballarat will give me a bit more confidence in windy conditions.

*From the verb 'to gutter', oft used in contexts such as, "Let's F******* gutter these ****s"

I tell you what, Aussie domestic racing is really taking off. Just have a look at the field for Gippsland this year! Big names galore! It'll be tough that's for sure.

Had a very interesting convo with Raoul Luescher today about all things aero. The man is an absolute fountain of knowledge. Hopefully I can put some of it to use and drag myself round the Geelong Tour TT course in a decent time, will be interesting so soon after Tour of East Java, I think I'll be absolutely flying or devastatingly slow; no middle ground!

Like I said at the start, I'm excited. It'll be good to just race and recover. My evil coach has turned me into a training robot (don't get me wrong, it's been working) but over the last week I have finally cracked. I have ramped up the rest time and actually had nearly a full week holidays. So now I need some races! Pronto.

In even more exciting news, the VIS DS next week will be none other that Hilton Clarke senior, and in his words, all those roadies in the convoy better watch out, trackie comin thru! Let the fireworks begin, just hope my radio isn't turned up too loud!

Final confession is that I won't make the Blackburn TT this sunday. It's a hard call, but I am committed to a mate's Ventoux et Vino party on saturday evening, say no more.

Finally, check out my new banner pic up top, Arnaud managed to photoshop some muscles onto my legs... clever guy.

Keep riding.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Bee's Dick

Is how close I came to pocketing the $3,000 first place prize cheque and the $2,500 prize cheque in the Melbourne to Ballarat Handicap today. What did I get? $150 for 4th, better than nothing eh?

The scratch group was motoring along all day in the solid cross winds and chilly air, I can assure you much gutter time was had by all! I spent a lot of time staying near Mr Protour Leigh Howard and David Pell waiting for the inevitable bar chewing gutter frenzy that was on the way. They didn't disappoint.

We started out really, really hard from Ted's Cafe in picturesque downtown Rockbank, obviously everyone was keen to get going. I nearly got popped in the first minute but eventually settled down and got on with the job.

We flew up Pentland Hills on the way out of Bacchus Marsh slowly catching and shedding riders as we went. The day was a procession of seeing riders up the road look around, see us, panic, try to get on, sit on for a bit, then get blown away to battle the winds alone. Harsh, cruel, a touch sadistic, but hey, this is cycling.

Eventually the group was whittled down to 6 of us with 15k to go. I threw in an attack at 2.5k to go hoping to thwart the sprinters and I really thought I had it this time! I only got out to maybe 7-8 seconds but I was holding them until the last 50 metres when Brett Tivers, James Mowatt and Leigh Howard swamped me. Dam. Dam. Dam.

Have a look at how close it was! After such a hard effort to get caught so close to the line is well; harsh, cruel and very bloody sadistic, but yep, that's cycling.

After last weeks effort I am certain next time I'll hold on, either that or fall off trying!

EDIT-Some great photo's here.

Time for some couch action.


Monday, July 13, 2009

The Long and Windy Road

Saturday started early with me driving down to Paraparap just past Geelong to race a Geelong CC Time trial. Did a good warm up on the roadie then chucked on my skinsuit, grabbed the TT bike and mounted for the fray. The course was a blast, lots of undulations and a howling wind made for a great out and back course of 27k. I finally got my pacing right after a few poorly paced TTs of late and came home with the win in 38mins and 11 seconds averaging 43.8 kph. Thanks to Geelong CC for running a great little race, everything was done and results sorted with no fuss. Then it was time to do some more horizontal riding in the wind and pray that the rain held off. Somehow I got 3.5 hours of riding on Saturday without a drop of moisture, not sure how, but I ain’t complaining!

Edit- A nice write up from Geelong CC, they better not praise me too much, I wont be able to fit my Lazer Aero helmet on any more!

Sunday was the Victorian 100km Championships in Port Fairy. The wind was up again and the rain came down in spurts but I’m told it was not a patch on the horrors of Hamilton from the day before. The racing was a typical mix of aggression and negativity and in the end I made the right break with Dan Braunsteins and a stack of Decked Out riders. After we settled into a nice tempo another group came across bringing more riders and even more Decked Out team members, this was going to be a tough group to get away from. There were repeated attacks from the never tiring Prime Estate team duo Reece Stephens and John Cornish, Rush Racing's kiwi import Myles Watson and of course yours truly. As the rain started to pour I began cursing myself for not cleaning the salt from my helmet, boy oh boy were my eyes stinging; never mind, just keep attacking! Unfortunately, none of the attacks split the breakaway for long enough and it seemed we were destined for a small group kick to the line.

In the end it all stuck together until I had a final go at the flame rouge. I got out to a small gap and was crossing my fingers that the others would look at each other for just long enough. No such luck, the Decked Out boys set up a good lead out and delivered Sam Witmitz to the win. I was having flashbacks to many stages of the Tour watching unlucky escapee’s getting swamped 100 metres from the line! At least I was only out front for 1 kilometre, not 200! That would be heartbreaking.

A quick change, a coffee, a roast beef roll and 3 hours jamming to Triple J in the car and I was home ready to relax and watch the tour!

As I sit typing this, more than 24 hours after the race finished, I still find myself picking bits of dirt and grit out my eyes and ears!

Next up is Melbourne to Ballarat. The talk around town has been about the pretty steep $75 dollar entry fee, it is more than other events, but not every event goes straight up a double carriageway highway! Either way, it’s gutter time!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hectic Holidays

I was just saying the other day, I have an innate ability to fill my holidays to the point where it seems there is no ‘holiday’ to speak of. I can just hear the 9-5ers jeering me, a 12 hour a week ‘full time’ student who lives at home and works a ‘tough’ 9 hours in a deli/supermarket (where he spends more time filling his rolls with jamon and Roquefort than actually working) and is generally well looked after by his parents does not need a holiday, you’re on permanent holiday! And they are probably right to some extent, but hey, I train pretty hard!

A broken chain whilst out training today threw a massive spanner in the works of my finely planned routine, apart from skidding through an intersectio after the chain caught under my rear tyre, I missed two appointments and had to drive over to Malvern to get it all sorted. Massive thanks to Matt from Cycle Inn who helped out with some mechanical assistance while VIS mechanic Bob Farley is over in Italy lapping up the sun! The nice new 11spd Campy chains are supposed to installed ONLY by a nicely machined and horrendously overpriced $400 (or possibly more…) chain tool. Anyway, my bike is sparkling and the gears are smooth, ready to roll now.

I guess it all comes back to the economic principle (that I heard between naps during my afternoon lectures…) of scarcity. Plain and simple, there ain’t enough time to do everything; so my take, do what you want, go cycling!

The other lesson from today’s lecture; clean your bike, properly! If I had I would most likely have noticed the dodgy link and at least the fact that my rear derailleur was loose and about to create a spoke sandwich next time I violently whacked it into the 11.

More exciting news is I am off to race the Tour of East Java (2.2) with the Plan B/WAIS team in early August which will be great fun. My coach is talking up some indoor ergo sessions with the heaters blaring to get me ready for the heat, either way, it’s going to be hot, hard and hectic. Can’t wait!



Monday, July 6, 2009

Tour de France Recovery Routine

It just so happens that the Tour coincides so very nicely with my Uni holidays.

Every morning is a scared ritual of dragging myself out of bed, grabbing a bowl of muesli, a pot of tea and also a coffee and laying on the couch and watchings last nights recording of the tour. Easier than completely destroying my sleep patterns for 3 weeks, then trying to head into second semester of uni and the tour of gippsland on 5 hours sleep a night!

Big congrats to Shane Miller for winning another time trial in Wangaratta despite the press halting misquotations of the CCCC tifosi! ;-)

For an old master (read: Not that old at all master!) he sure goes quick over 20k!

Have fun at work guys, holiday time beckons, hello TV my old friend....


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Going Solo

Had a good day at the Eildon Road Race today soloing off the front to win by about 4 minutes from the remainders of the A grade peleton.

The circuit was fantastic and big thanks to Blackburn CC for putting on such a good road race. We did 2x46k loops with a nice ~7k climb up skyline road coming out of Eildon.

We rode gruppo compatto to the first climb then I had a pretty hard dig and got away. I eased up, waited for my VIS teamate Eric Sheppard to catch me then paced him up the climb and we proceeded to swap turns along the flat back towards the start at Thornton. At one stage the chasers had us back in their sight but I said to Eric we just needed to make the bottom of the climb and we were home as we had the others nailed once it got a little vertical.

10k from the bottom of the second climb Eric made the call to drop back and I kept going chewing some stem and grovelled a flat stick TT effort to the bottom of the climb. 2nd time up I was in my element just in the 'zone' or so to speak. Then just rode the descent trying not to drop it then jammed it to the line for a good days work.

The highlight of the day was the freshly baked date scones in healesville on the trip out, definitely gave me the winning edge.

I am now looking forward to getting on my front and rear Bouwmeester Echelons and getting slammed in the gutter at the 100k champs in Port Fairy next weekend. I have ridden the front a couple of times and it feels very nice but after I glue a tyre on properly to the rear it will be great to rip it up on some proper race wheels. Last time I enjoyed such a luxury was the first stage in the Tour of Thailand! After that I cracked both of my previous race wheels, a fork and a new 11spd Campy lever which is worth more than my life insurance policy! Not to mention my mate Langers who wrote off two expensive race wheels and cracked his VIS issue Bianchi in 3 places; they say travel in Asia is cheap....

Anyway, enough rambling from me.


Thursday, July 2, 2009


Great to see the money I spent to get to Thailand with the Plan B team payed off!
Me and my mate Adam both qualifying from the same race, awesome!

That there is a squad of superstars though and unless start winning every one of my next few races solo by 4 minutes with one leg I doubt I'll be riding worlds this year, but I'll just keep chipping away, year by year. Frankly, when half those guys are Pro next year I'll have a good shot!

Wet and windy beach road today. A lot of fiddling with my TT set-up lately, will take a while to really nail it down.

Looking forward to some hilly racing in Eildon this weekend, Blackburn CC really do put on some awesome circuits for road racing.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wind and Rain.

Well before I pretty up my new site I thought I'd just ramble on for a bit, which is in essence the purpose of a blog is it not? It is also the domain of a Uni student on holidays looking to fill in some spare 'relax' time.

Well today was very windy but fortunately it only really picked up for my return trip from Kinglake. It wasn't too wet, but I was pretty apprehensive at the top of Wild Dog looking at the dark black mist surrounding Kinglake, it was pretty foreboding.

So I wussed out and only did 1 climb instead of 2 and skipped a bakery stop as I had to jam the pace to get home in time for my massage with Arnaud in the arvo.

That's all for now.


PS- I have to add this little tidbit before I forget, 3 x 1/20 Time Trials + 3 x Cinamon Doughnuts= 3 Victories . Sorry Carl , our secret is out.