Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend: Brisbane River and Sunday Zupps rides

Well, there was no Saturday time trial for me. Although I was awake at 6 am, the body was telling me to stay in bed and get more rest. Next time I checked the time, it was after 9 am. When was the last time I slept that much? Can't remember but I really enjoyed my 10 hours in bed...

Still had to do an easy ride so Sandra and I managed to get out of the house by noon. Some might think it is not a good idea, midday sun and Saturday traffic... but it was a really great ride. The weather was a little cool for that time of the day and the traffic was almost non existent... I can't work out why.

As we were really taking easy, we got to town in about 25 min and went straight to the Bicentenial bikeway which runs along the Brisbane River. We rode to St Lucia and the back of the University of Queensland, along the Indooroopilly golf course and back to the city. Back on the bike path along the river, into the Botanical Garden and home on the fast route, which is along Lutwyche Road.

Click here for info on riding in Brisbane.

With the unusual small amount of the cars on the road, we had the easy ride we wanted and got back home at around 2:30 pm after stopping at Velo Cycles to see our friends.

Total: 46 km; Average Speed: 22 km/h; HR Max: 130 bpm and HR av: 89 bpm.

On Sunday, things were a little different. I got up at 5:45 am and got ready for the Zupps Ride. The usual double-shot coffee, a quick wipe of the excess oil on the chain and on the road at 6:17.
Off the driveway and down the hill when I almost froze... I couldn't believe how cold it was. Summer is gone and I wish I had armwarmers on. Later someone told me that it was around 12 degrees.

It was good to see so many familiar faces at the start and have time for a little chat. Adam, Shane, Donna, David, Mark, Suart, Murray (great to see him back doing the bunch rides), Tony, Mick, and a few more from the club were there. Great to see as I was told by Terry Bourne that this ride got started many years ago by HPRW members.

The ride started a little different this time with a group deciding to head out a couple of minutes earlier. The rest of us just watched for a while before working out that the group had a few "big hitters" and that we could have a hard time pulling them back...

It took a while for our group of 25 or 30 to get organised and the initial speed was down a couple of notches. Nevertheless, I took advantage of that to get a good warm up before we had to put the foot down. I was riding next to Adam Harrison for most of the ride which is not just entertaining but, as we often race together, a good way to see how we are in terms of fitness.

As the bunch turned into Narangba road, Adam and I got to the front and instinctively started to bring the speed up. We were doing 40 km/h where the bunch usually travels at 35 km/h. I believe there was some whinging at the back...

We finished our turn after crossing the old railway bridge and taking the bunch into Burpengary Road. Time to sit back and rest before the "race" really started. We caught the front bunch and as soon as we turned into Anzac ave. I attacked and got a gap. It is a fast stretch of road with false flats and slight down hill sessions. Normally, the teams reach speeds up to 65 km/h on that part of the ride. My max was 63.4 km/h this Sunday.

Altough we didn't have the Brisbane Elite riders in the bunch this Sunday, there was a lot of attacks and fast riding all the way along Scarborough, Redcliff and Woody Point. The last couple of kms to the finish (Hornibrook Bridge at Clontarf) is flat, head winded and covered by the front bunch in fast speeds. There is an unofficial sprint before we slow down to get on the bridge. This time I was lucky as I was in a group of four (with a couple of Masters A riders) who got a gap on the bunch and took advantage of a traffic light (yellow as we went past!!!) to stay away and drop the sprinters. I rode the last km in third wheel, watching the guy in front fade and overtaking the other rider with 300 m to the finish.

Unofficial but a great feeling nevertheless!!!

The ride: 65 km; Average speed: 37+ km/h; Max speed: 63.4 km/h and Max HR: 165 bpm.

The bunch slows down to cross the bridge and starts to split at the waterfront in Sandgate. I met up with the club bunch for a coffee and a chat at a beach front cafe, then an easy and pleasant ride home through the Bondall wetlands. Best way to finish a hard ride, I reckon!

Total: 104 km; Average Speed: 31 km/h; HR Max: 165 bpm and HR av: 124 bpm.

The rest of the day was filled with eating, resting and time with Sandra. We finally went to see Andy Warhol's exhibition and managed to have dinner in one of our favourite restaurants - Taj Mahal at the Valley.

Great weekend, will post some photos another time as I am having a few issues with my PC.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Strenght training, spin intervals, hills and riding in the rain

I am one of those lucky people, in a way. Usually, my colds/flu hit me really hard when they come but they also go away very quickly. So, back in training on Tuesday afternoon with some strength work (Stomps) along the flats at Samford Valley with one new climb added to list of "done that". It wasn't in the program but my riding partner spoke about his earlier attempt and kind of "challenged" me to have a go at it...

Ok then! He was talking about Mt O'Reilly's climb which I have heard of but have never seen. I was aware that one of the local cycling clubs promotes the ”
Mt O'Reilly's Challenge" once a year. Apparently, not many people make it up the hill.

The sign at the bottom showed a 20% gradient and looking up I guessed it was about 250 m long with a right bend at the top. I hoped that one could find the end of it just pass the bend... Wrong!!

I started by dropping one of my drink bottles on the side of the road (=750g) and shifted to 39x19 which rapidly turned onto 39x25. At about a quarter of the way, I could not spin anymore and it was out of the saddle and grinding... I was waiting for my cleats to snap off the soles of my shoes or perhaps the tendons on my knees to give in... A slight move forward on the bike and the rear wheel started to slip, moving back a little too far and the front wheel started to lift off the ground.

Half way up and I was wishing for flat MTB handlebars and a 27t. My friend made it to the 100 or 150 m mark, I couldn't look back (or down), I just kept grinding and made it to the bend. It was difficult to stop and unclip even. Looking up I learned that there was no end in sight... Where does the challenge end? It ended for me, at the 360 m mark and 164 bpm.

Not part of the training but it was good to experience it. I will do it again, next time a little fitter and with the 303s to help me up the "beast".

Samford Valley is a beautiful training area in the North side of Brisbane, worth a ride there.

Up at 4:30 next morning to meet a couple of friends for an easy ride and a couple of "spin intervals". Now, those are funny ones, you have to pedal as fast as you can (min 130 rpm) for a certain distance without falling off your bike... I managed 173 rpm this time and have done 183 in the past but I just keep thinking how silly it must look for someone watching from behind.

Nevertheless, it was another good ride. We went over the Samford Range, Eaton's Crossing, Albany Creek, Cashmere and back... around 60 km when I got home.

A bit of rain Thursday morning and a late start. I was meant to do some hill repeats again and chose to go somewhere different than Mt Coot-tha. At 8:45, I headed north hoping to get to Clear Mountain via Winn Road. I have done the front of this climb many, many times and really like it. Now I wanted to try the back as I was told it was a longer/tougher climb. Ideal to do my 5 min big chainring hill repeats.

The ride there was excellent but the fact that I was running out of time and wasn't going to do the hill repeats was putting me in a funny mood. So, I rode fast to the bottom and decided to hit it hard from the start and go all the way to the top (no timing), descend on the other side and head home as quick as possible, all on the big chainring.

Total: 52.8 km; Average speed: 29.5 km/h; HR Max: 159 bpm and HR av: 127 bpm.

Good ride home, fast and in very heavy rain which for some reason brought my good mood back.

Another early start this morning and a recovery ride and breakfast in Southbank. I love this ride. A few of us met at 5:00 and rode to town to meet a few more HPRW club riders for an easy River Loop and coffee at a juice bar in town. We made a deal with the owner and every Friday we finish the ride there, we buy the coffees and he feed us with Raisin Toast and jam. What else do you need? Especially after this morning’s ride, when it rained for the whole time.

This is a real recovery ride and the main point is to get to the juice bar for coffees and a good long chat...

Total: 55.4 km; Average speed: 25 km/h; HR Max: 135 bpm and HR av: 104 bpm.

Tomorrow, the club is running the first ITT for the season at Closeburn. A good chance to see where we all are with our forms and to give the handicapper some extra work with the grading for the 2008 road and handicap races. I will call Iain (coach) and ask if I should race as I am not 100% flu-free yet.

That was my week in training.

Safe Riding!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Immunosuppression & Training

Yesterday, the signs and symptoms of URTI (upper respiratory tract infection) started to present themselves in the afternoon and in such a manner that in less than an hour I found myself submerged in a state of sickness. I had a sore throat, I was sneezing, had a running nose, I had a feeling of fullness in my head, my body ached and I went quiet. That’s what happens to me when I get a flu-like infection.

I feel sorry for Sandra, my partner, because when that happens I go really quiet. It hits me so hard that all I want to do is to stick my head under a blanket and sleep for 24 hours. In fact, that is how I usually get better. My old recipe is: eat, sleep, eat and sleep.

There was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to deal with it this way as I was rostered to be at work this morning… but after a sleepless night there was no way I could go to work so I called them before 5 am saying: - Sorry…

With a very sore body, I went back to bed for a couple of hours. Next to me, I had a book by A. Jeukendrupe, High-Performance Cycling where he, and friends, devotes an entire chapter on the immune system.

After breakfast, I got into reading that chapter to try to have a better understanding of what I did wrong with my training, my diet and/or my rest in the last few days, causing the failure of my immune system and consequently my infection.

Here are the causes:

I did a long and strenuous ride on Friday (110 km) after a week of intense workouts.
Insufficient rest and another ride on Saturday morning (60 km)
Possible protein deficiency – common on vegetarians
I didn’t drink enough on the last two rides – dehydration
Small amount of alcohol intake in the evenings
Vitamin A, C and Zinc deficiency
Exposure to airborne viruses and bacteria in public places

Now, how to minimise the risk of Immunosuppression:

Allow sufficient time between training sessions for recovery
Avoid extremely long training sessions, restrict to 2 h max.
Periodise your training and ensure variation in the day-to-day training load
Ensure hard training days are followed by recovery days
When increasing training load, do it on hard days. Do not eliminate rest days
Keep life/social/psychological stresses to a minimum
Get adequate and regular sleep
Drink carbohydrate sports drinks before, during and after prolonged workouts

The book has some complex and interesting facts on all the above, it might be a good read for those that are training hard and are preparing for the long road season ahead.

Rest HR this morning: 53 bpm – 5 to 8 beats higher
Weight this morning: 65.7 kg – 2 kg less

No riding today, possible easy (E1) 20 km ride tomorrow.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easy rides, Mt Mee, Easter and Friends...

I am going to make this one a short pictorial with just a few words for a change.

The plan for the Easter weekend was to do a couple of easy rides and spend time with Sandra and friends and avoid eating chocolates. That's what I did:


Bunch ride to Dayboro and Mt Mee (110 km) and brunch at David and Donna's place... Real treat!!! Then, a sleep in the afternoon and dinner at Oyama Japanese restaurant - presently, our favourite!

Always time for a chat

The Bunch

Mt Mee road


As the rest of the group chose to hurt themselves going up another mountain (see Sandra's blog), David and I decided on an easy and flat ride to Sandgate, a stride along the beach and riding back on the Boondall Wetland bike path (62.8 km).

David Fyfe loving the morning ride

Sandgate Esplanade

The peaceful Boondall bike path


Someone's front lawn in Shorncliffe

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Weekend and 6 weeks to the Tour de Tableland

At this time last year, I was doing the final preparations for the Sunshine Coast Tour. I like taking a couple of days off work before a Tour to do a couple of long easy rides and to let the guys at the bike shop do a final check on the bike. This year, they set the dates for June as the organisers were having problems with road permits and other logistical issues. That puts the Tour de Tableland, in North Queensland, as our first major event for 2008.

We have another six weeks of training before we fly to Cairns, where we meet some old training buddies and drive up to Yungaburra where we base ourselves for the event.

Sandra and I raced our first Tour de Tableland in 2004. At that time we had been in the sport for about 6 months. It was, without a doubt, the hardest thing we ever done and we wouldn't have even completed the Tour if it wasn't for the support from a lot of our friends in Cairns. We were very lucky to have met Colin and Maire Eribo, owners of Cairns BicycleWorks, who had a lot of experience in the sport as they raced in Europe for many years. They were there most of the days and spent a lot of time helping us with massages and fruitful advices in between stages.

We had a lot of other friends coming up from Cairns to watch the criterium race that year. Being a small street circuit, they had a great view and for us it was great to go pass lap after lap and hear Dee, Kev, Tracy, Bob (and Chelsea), Andrew and Rose, Rosena and Heather, Chris, Cecily, all yelling and encouraging us during the race.

In the 2004 race, I was riding my steel frame Trek racer (I still ride it to work now and then). It is a “Fast Track” model with down tube shifters and a Shimano RSX 7 speed rear derailleur. I remember that in preparation for the Tour, we put a new bar tape and fitted two “red” Rubino Pros. It looked beautiful and like a real racing bike then… with all its 13.5 kg of cro-molly and steel.

2004 Yungaburra Criterium

Nevertheless, I finished in 4th overall with a couple of 2nd places and other prizes and Sandra finished all the races. We had an unbelievable (and painful) experience that year but we have gone back in 2007 (Sandra did the 2006 Tour as well) and we are now looking forward to the 2008 event. We are hoping to catch up with all the friends again this year and with a bit of luck have time for a coffee or a meal after the races.

2007 Yungaburra Criterium


Training this week started with strength exercises on the bike. On Tuesday, I headed out with John Flynn, and rode on flat roads through Samford Valley (74 km) plus a 27 km commute to work. Yesterday was high cadence efforts along the beach front at Sandgate, another great spot to ride when I feel like having a glimpse of the ocean (40 km).

I will finish today with some hill repeats at Mt Coot-tha and have just easy rides for the rest of the week. Being Easter holiday, and having the fortune of not having to work, we are going to catch up with a few friends and do a ride to Mt Mee and back tomorrow. It should be a 120 km ride with a 7 km climb in the middle of it. Really looking forward to that as it is one of my favourite climbs even though I will be taking it really easy (E1 all the way).

No racing planned for the long weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Racing, more training and masters cyclists...

This morning, Sandra and I raced the last round of the Sizzling Summer Series.

It was a fun Series with good racing and some lessons to be learned. In my situation anyway...

Firstly, finding tactics to beat the opposition when the course doesn’t really suit you. With a long down hill finish, there is no point in trying to beat the “heavy” sprinters. They were reaching speeds above 71 km/h. That’s 2 km/h faster than my top speed at the moment. In race 3, two guys attacked on the last incline and stayed away. Creativity, determination, timing and a bit of luck! When you put those factors in the mix, your chances increase a great deal.

In second, I would say, have a second plan. For today’s race I had a plan in my head and I was confident that it would work. Well, the commissaries changed the course due to a wet weather condition and my plan went down the drain also. I started the race with the thought “I will see what happens during the race and make a decision then…” That was wrong!!! Simply, I wasn’t determined to do anything great but just sit there and wait for someone else to move. I needed a second plan of attack!

Keep your position. It is so important to be able to hold on to that wheel. When the guy in front accelerates, you have to be able to give 100% to stay with him. If you don’t, someone will jump in that gap. And, it doesn’t matter how small it is. Positioning in the last lap or final km is so crucial. I noticed myself dropping to the back on those situations as I wanted to save for the sprint not realising that I would have to work harder to get to the front again to contest the sprint.

Lastly, remind yourself what the event represents in the big picture. If it is not a race with a priority “A” in your calendar, don’t stress. Just go out there, have fun and perhaps try a “kamikaze” move. It doesn’t really matter if you pull it or not… It is a “hard training group ride”, that’s all!

Training this week

A little less km prescribed but there is an increase in the intensity again. I am also looking forward to do another club race, they are always fun.

Masters cyclists in advertising

With the huge buzz around cycling these days, with bike shops selling a crazy amount of top end bikes to older guys/girls, people that don’t even race, I found one company running a smart advertising campaign. Italian clothes manufacturer, Giordana, launched and used a master cyclist in the advertising of its range of bib short and jersey FormaRed.

I always liked the Italian cycling clothes but have, in the past couple of years, decided to support a local business and Australian manufacturer by buying and advertising their stuff. Now, looking at the two photos used by the two companies with the eyes of a 47 year old cyclist, I immediately question myself on what brand I would like to be wearing.

I could really see myself in that FormaRed gear, stretching the material with my big muscles (just dreaming here!!) and looking stylish and determined.

In the other hand, I could not see myself standing in between the two "pro" riders pulling faces to look mean and/or cool (I can't work it out...).

These are obviously two distinct approaches and two different levels of advertising budgetary, but it shows how the Italian company recognises the value and the revenue making potential in a market where the master cyclist is the one buying the Pinarello Prince.

What would your choice be?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good training week so far...

It has been another hard training week since hill repeats got introduced to the program. I also did some extra kms, easy kms, as I did a couple of rides with friends ( of course we added a couple of sprints after coffee and cake).
The week:
  • Mon - Easy 40 km
  • Tue - Hill repeats 60 km
  • Wed - Cadence work 80 km
  • Thu - Hill repeats 50 km
  • Fri - Easy 40 km

Next couple of days:

  • Sat - Easy 50 km
  • Sun - Race 40 km + Easy 60 km

I did have a massage with Alex yesterday with the objective of freshening up my legs for Sunday. I must say, he went a little harder and deeper than I expected and tonight on the bike I felt like they were were made out of cement. Surely, they will be firing like Voigt's, on Sunday.

Voigt in Stuttgart 2007

The race is the final round of the Summer Series in Crestmead. Like everybody else, I will be giving everything I have on this one... With a little bit of luck and good timing, I will try to open a bigger gap on the incline and try to stay away. It is a shorter circuit this time around hence a better chance to get to the finish line before the heavy sprinters, who always have an advantage on the long down hill finishes. (Race 4)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hill repeats and recovery drink!

The Hill Repeats got done. And yes, they did hurt.

I went back to Eatons Hill with John Flynn, a friend and training partner. My plan was to warm up for 30 min and then hit the climb for the 5 x 2 min big chainring repeats. I started the first one well, keeping the speed around 19 km/h using the the 17 and 19t. I felt great!

The second one was a little slower and I had to use the 21t to keep the cadence above 60. On the third I started to hurt and on the fourth I was going up at 15 km/h and turning the pedals with the assistance of the 23 and 25t.

I decided to go harder on the last one but didn't have much left and went up on the 25t and just managing to stay on 15 km/h. It was a relief to be able to drop to the small chainring when the 2 min expire and just finish the climb (another minute).

From there, we cruised down to Samford for a coffee and some pastry... I love that stuff. It was great to have someone there to give me a little incentive, I haven't done repeats before and find hard to stay motivated sometimes. Also, being able to sit down for a coffee and a chat is part of the cycling culture. All over the world, this is what cyclists do.

To head back, John led the way through the back way of Ferny Grove as he noticed on my face that I didn't need any more hills on the ride home. To get back via the Samford range was going to destroy too many of my capillaries at that stage... That is what Sandra would say!

It was a nice ride, with no cars and relatively flat. Add a km or so of riding on a dirt track through a forest and I felt like I was ready to race the Monte Paschi Eroica - have to admire that Cancellara dude -

Next was the ride home, in the traffic and the mid day heat. Not very pleasant but that's the way it is!

At home, it was time for an urgent recovery drink. I had the option of digging into Sandra's special espresso flavoured 1st Endurance stuff or make my own. Option two was the chosen one as I just love using the blender...

And here is the formula: one egg; one Weetbix (multigrain); milk; honey; frozen bananas; organic chocolate powder and another grain, rich in protein.

Just deliciously natural, or naturally delicious!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

End of a hard training week...

The training week ended on Friday with some hill repeats on Mt Cootha. The exciting thing was to try out my new bike computer which has a cadence function in it. As people move into power meters, lactate tests, etc, I just got my first computer with cadence. It is a Cat Eye Strada with cadence, a small and very easy to install unit. And so far, it is working very well.

The workouts were big chaining hill efforts, 3 x 3 min with 5+ sec bursts every 60 sec. I couldn't really do the 5 sec burst, too short so I did 10 sec instead. It all went really well and I rewarded myself with a break on the look out where you can get a great view of Brisbane and beyond.

In the evening I felt my legs a little sore, not what I like to feel when I have a race next morning. The race was at Lakeside, my favourite circuit in Brisbane.

The Saturday started around 5:15, a light breakfast, a percolated cafe late (can't leave the house without having my coffee) and on the bike at 5:45. At 6:00, I was at Aspley where we meet for the ride to Lakeside. It is a 27 km ride, pretty handy as a warm up before the big derby.

This week's race was in a reverse direction with a hill top finish, not a climber's delight because it is a really short climb but a little harder for the 80 kg plus sprinters... About 30 A Graders this time with some Elite riders showing up to speed things up a little. It was my best race this year, it felt like the legs were finally producing a bit of power and speed. A tactical error in the last lap had probably cost me a podium finish but 7th was a great result.

Sundays, if I am not working in the mornings or racing, is Zupps Ride day. This ride happens every week, doesn't matter what. Anything from 10 to 80 riders start... and the idea, for most, is to hang on as long as possible. Normally, we start from Aspley and finish at Contarf, before the Hornibrook Bridge, a 60 kms ride with up to 20 kms of racing depending when the first attacks start.

The program read: "Easy 80 km ride", but I knew that as soon as the "race" started I wasn't going to let them go. But this time was different, I want to do it smartly and save my legs as much as possible to be able to finish with the top (Elite teams show up sometimes) guys. It didn't stop me doing a few turns at the front, reaching 55 km/h, bridging a gap when needed and attacking on one of the little hills (lump) in Redcliff.

I finished with the front guys and was really happy with my tactics and efforts. Great to feel like that at the end of week 8 and 7 days before the last race of the Sizzling Summer Series at Crestmead.

For this week:

Easy ride km on Monday
Strength work out on Tuesday
cadence work on Wednesday
Strength work out on Thursday
Easy rides on Friday and Saturday

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Are jerseys an important part of the equipment?

I think so.

The way I see it, jerseys have to fit well, last thing you want is your jersey flapping like a flag, rolling up your back and exposing your skin or swinging around with the weight of things you have in your pockets. I like them firm against my skin without making breathing even a bit laborious. Remember, you will be wearing a bib and a HR transmiter under the jersey.

The Club Jersey

Of course, they must suck the sweat off your skin (simple terms here) and let it evaporate into the air. I don't want to ride with my jersey soacked in sweat (extra weight!!), a good way to see how it works is to have a look at other rider's jersey during a hard and hot ride. If they are wearing a jersey made with quality material, you will see the salt marks on them as only the water from the sweat will evaporate.

Full pockets

Make sure you can get your hands in the pockets without having to be a contortionist. Riding at 45 km/h and struggling to get to those needed bars or gels when it might be the last chance you have before you hit the climb isn't bright.

Any coulor, as long as it is black!

Well, I do believe in looking smart, cool, stylish if you can. Who doesn't? So, I don't go for jerseys with too many logos, animals, cartoon characters, etc. And, I don't like to go around like a billboard, advertising something for no reason. I go plain.

Finally, wear what makes you feel good, that's how you want to be feeling as you line up for that crit.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Training intensifies!

During the meeting with Iain, my coach, we discuss a few things and I told him that the training wasn't making me feel I trained hard enough. The workouts were intense but I was recovering fairly quickly... not feeling sore or anything. In the evening, my training plan for March arrived as an attachment to an e-mail that read: Enjoy the Hills!

First workout for the week was a Strength Workout (Perform in large chainring on a long steady hill. HR:E3 for the whole effort. Cadence: 50-70 RPM).

I found a 800 m long climb with a 7-8% Gradient at Eatons Crossing, Nth Brisbane. In fact, that has been one my training courses for the last two years. With Clear Mountain added to the ride, they are the best hills for interval training on this side of town. I am glad to be training on the hills again.

The workout? I did 3 1/2 X 2 min efforts after a 35 min warm up. THEY WERE HARD!!!! I started the first one on 53x17, shifting up to the 21 and back to 19 for the last few meters. In the second one, I was using 23... and surely a slower cadence as I was going up very slowly.

I worked a little harder on the third one and went up at about 17 km/h on the 21 again. Well, that was my end as I only managed to do half the time in the last effort.

Next workout is a few high cadence exercises and another Strength Workout on Thursday. An Easy ride on Friday and a club race on Saturday. I am looking forward to Lakeside again, it has been a long time since I raced there.

Hope to catch up with a few friends also!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The day after... and stuff.

A beautiful day in Brisbane today, the day after Round 3 of the Sizzling Summer Series.
This was a better race for me. I did race well as far as I know and didn't get on the podium because I delayed my final move by less than 10 sec. That is all it takes. I did my share of attacks in the beginning of the race, had a go at the intermediate sprint and rested for a while. I was able to read some of the team tactics in the last couple of laps so I sat behind the wheel of one of the sprinters who was himself sitting behind one of the stronger guys. We rolled around like that to the back of the course when the first move happened with one of the lighter guys taking off up the hill. Soon after, the second move as a single guy went. He was just next to me but I decided to wait for the sprinters to react.
As everyone sat watching each other, I started my move on the steepest part of the incline. It was a good move as I quickly created a gap, leaving the bunch behind, but I had no legs to catch the other two who at this time were powering down the straight and to the finish line for 1st and 2nd. And I had no legs to keep going and saw the bunch catching up very, very fast.
The photo bellow (my artistic impression of it!) shows the final twenty or thirty meters as the bunch overtakes me doing 1.5 x my speed. I am the one in black and in front for another 1/125th of a second after the photo was taken.

Well, one more race to go in the series (16th March). At least, I know I have the legs to pull a move and if I time it right next time, it might even be a winning one!!!
Easy ride today after a bit of house work and a meeting with my coach. We discussed various issues, including the quality of the bread made in Australia, the unprofessional approach by event officials and volunteers during cycling events, the lack of support given to master and female athletes, the use of power meters and the structure of my program. A nice chat over a cup of coffee and a delicious almond croissant... It has been so long since I had one of those.
He will be forwarding my program later today and I expect to see the intensity ramped up. We also decided not to measure my efforts through my HR but use the "perceived effort" method. That is until I have the Lactate Threshold Test done.
Another important part of training and racing is equipment and having the good gear is essential. Starting with bibs today, I will spend a bit of time from now on, writing about the gear I use and how it all works for me. Hopefully, it won't come out just as advertising for anyone but as my impressions on what I think works.
I believe we have to experiment with the clothes we wear and decide on what to wear taking a few factors in consideration. Firstly, we have to be comfortable and as we are all shaped in a different way, we must try different brands and different materials. The worst thing during a ride is to feel the edge, or seam of that old or cheap chamois cutting though your skin. The longer the ride the better the chamois needs to be. As an amateur athlete, I can't have a wardrobe full of Assos bibs so why not have a few different ones and wear them accordingly. Or perhaps, wear two knicks if you need to. I do that on my commute to work sometimes.
At the moment, I am experimenting with a 2XU Comp Bib. So far, I have raced and have done a 120 km ride with them. For the short races I did and for that distance they were perfect as I didn't even feel I had a chamois on. That and a firm fitting on the legs are the important points for me. I must now try them on rougher roads and on a longer ride for my final verdict. By the way, 2XU makes a higher quality one so for the 260+ kms race in September I might even consider wearing them.
More on that later, time to go and do a few kms, just as a recovery ride.

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