Thursday, June 26, 2008

Training: Adapting to different situations / University trash

There are many things happening in our lives which, and unless you are a professional sports person, will interfere with the training and even with the possibility to attend races you have been training for. In fact, some of them will even stop professionals of doing their jobs.

As a sports person (always wanted to call myself that..) one must be able to change and adapt, trying to efficiently use the time we have to maintain form and hopefully keep improving a little.
Some of us have to work. Firstly, because some of us like to work. Secondly, because some of us have to finance our sport but that is a matter for another topic. With work comes odd hours, travelling, lunches, Friday night drinks, etc. There is no perfect formula to juggle all that and keep the training going as efficiently as possible.
It might be training at odd hours of the day, I remember doing my rides in Cairns under the heat and humidity, in between 12 and 1pm and I know someone that was getting on the bike at 3 am in preparation for a 24h MTB event. The best example of adaptation I can recall is of a guy working on a navy ship while preparing for the Crocodile Trophy (toughest MTB race in Australia) where he raced as a domestique for Adam Hansen, the winner. He did most of his training on a wind-trainer while sailing the Pacific. So, it can be done.
Tips: shorter and higher intensity rides; wind-trainer; stationary bikes at hotels; swimming in hotel pools (or Pacific ocean); don't join the Air Force; get a part-time job; become a professional cyclist.
This is a harder one because often means being off the bike, loosing precious form gained over weeks of hard training and having to make a decision of not racing that main event for the season. Looking at your program and seeing that I am down by 235 kms for the week takes me close to depression... Ok, been dramatic here but it is like: - S...t, how am I going to catch up?
Firstly, we shouldn't try to catch up on those kms. Remember, we have been sick, a 235 km ride will probably put us back in bed and in a sicker state than before. We need to get better before doing any intensity work and/or long km's. I still do sessions on the trainer, just to keep my legs moving and to sweat a little. It makes me feel better, physically and mentally.
With injuries, if you can get on the bike and ride, ride! I remember being advised by more experienced cyclists than me to even race as soon as possible. I did that after a really bad crash a couple of years ago and worked, kind of made my recovery faster. Just remember to drop a grade if you do that... Crashes also do play with your mental state (specially on day 3).
Tips: Eat well to stay healthy; drink heaps; sleep more than 8 hours; take supplements; dress appropriately when in cold weather; take something to put on before you start your descent in cold days; eat more vegetables, fruit and nuts.
I will get on the bike if there is a VERY light drizzle, and after checking with BOM, but will stay in bed if it is rain what I can hear on the roof. It is one thing to get caught in the rain, I do enjoy riding in those conditions, but leaving the house when it is raining is something I leave for the real hard core riders and professionals. What's wrong with the wind-trainer, anyway?
We need to look into the safety aspect of it as well. Slippery roads, windy conditions, low visibility, equipment, are some of the factors we need to take in consideration when getting out in adverse weather conditions. But, as they say, it will make you a better rider as you might have to race in those conditions one day.
Tips: Get on the wind-trainer; check with BOM; dress appropriately; take lights;drink during the ride; drop tyre pressure in the wet; have a super feed when home; clean the bike well after the ride.
Family commitments
That can be hard. Although, I am 30,000 km away from my family, I do find the time to get on Messenger now and then and have a little time with my parents. Because of the time differences, I do miss out on some time on the bike now and then. Time to compromise. Family members have to be aware of what we do and why we do it. Let them know about your goals and how much will take to get to them. Let them know that we also miss out in things that we could be doing and they will be a little more understanding and supportive.
Tips: Move to a different country; ride to their place and/or family gatherings; let them know about the events coming up; ask for advice if you have someone in the family with mechanical, nutritional, medicinal, sports, witchery or any sort of knowledge you can relate to cycling.
University of Queensland and Trash
I took this photo last week while riding at the back of the Uni, in St Lucia. I just thought it was an odd site which made me think of so many different things at the time but I won't write them down and will leave it open for interpretations.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tour de Suisse / Why cyclists shave their legs? / Sunday ride / Time Trial

Tour de Suisse
Cancellara does it AGAIN!!!!
This time in his home town, stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse.
Still, I have to feel sorry for Philippe Gilbert. He put an amazing attack in the final 1.5 km, only to get chased by an animal (O'Grady's description of the Swiss rider) getting caught with 100 m to the line.
As many of us, I have been in that situation. In my case, not even getting second place. The one I will never forget was in my first, or second, A Grade club race at Nundah. I got away with 10 min or more to go, hung there for 6 or more laps and got caught by one guy at about the same distance as Gilbert. The worse thing was seen a couple of guys coming pass in the final meters, one of them being a club "mate" after getting a lead out by someone also in the same club. I finished fourth and very unhappy!!!
Why cyclists shave their legs?
I could write a fair bit and tell all the excuses I have came up to when asked the very same question. I decided to save you of reading my often feebly words and guide you to an often well written blog where the writer came up with the best answer (or excuse?):
"It's traditional"
Dave Moulton's Blog:

Sunday Ride
To finish the week off, Sandra and I got on the bikes around 3:45 in the afternoon. The plan was to do the usual River Loop (as in the Brisbane River), meet Daniel and have coffee somewhere in town. I know, we have done it so many times, but we still love it. Perhaps for reminding us of one of the reasons we decided to move to Brisbane 3 1/2 years ago. Cycling!
It wasn't too cold to start with but, by just going down the first hill from our place, we felt the chill in the wind. I was glad to be wearing my old long pants and an under-shirt. We did the loop, took a few photos, comented on the huge number of people walking, running and cycling around town and how great it is to be doing this together and in this beautiful part of the world. A little cheesy but nice!
We met Daniel an hour later and decided that we deserved a hot chocolate for our efforts and before the "cool" ride home.
Time: 2:00h; Dist.: 47km; Av. Speed: 22+Km/h and MaxSpeed:49km/h

Sunday afternoon in Brisbane

Sandra, back of the Uni, St Lucia

Time Trial
Aiming for a good result in the ITT Club Championship, I will start the week doing an Easy ride but will already have my TT bars on. It is going to be at Closeburn, on the road to Dayboro. I have done a lot of training in that area but that was before I started my present training program. Still, I think I might be able to do well against the club A Grade riders, if that's where the club handicaper will place me next Saturday.
Tomorrow and Thursday, I will be doing a few time trial efforts, perhaps even go to Closeburn for a hit out.
Anyway, it is going to hurt!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another week of training / Tour de Suisse

With no racing scheduled for the weekend, a bit of rain and working odd hours, it became a bit hard to keep focused on the training for the week. So, I changed a few things (again, Iain!).
I jumped on the trainer one night, rode to work and did two rides yesterday. With that, I am at least close to the 375 km I had to do this week:
11:45 am - Commute to work, 26 km, 1:00, Easy.
8:45 am - Hill Sprints with Daniel, 55 km, 2:10, Hard.
4:30 pm - On the trainer, 30 km, 1:30, Easy.

3:50 pm - Ride with Adam Harrison plus ITT efforts, 64.5 km, 2:12, Hard.

5:00 am - Coffee ride with friends, 40 km, 1:30, Easy.
9:30 am - Breakfast

10:30 am - Long solo ride, 95 km, 3:13, Easy.

6:30 am - Commute to work, 26 km, 1:00, Easy.

I will do an easy ride with Sandra and will have coffee somewhere, 40 km.

Tour de Suisse

Just a few remarks:

1- Igor Anton's great climb up to Flusemberge
2- McEwen wins two stages
3- Frank Schleck incredible crash
4- Cancellara repeats Sam Remo finish!!!

McEwen beating the youngsters in Switzerland

Now, that's worth more than gold!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Campagnolo goes eleven!

Just a quick one!

It is official, Campagnolo Super Record, Record and Chorus will have 11 sprockets cassetes in 2009. It is all on

Perhaps, it is time to convert to the italian made groupset. I could do with an 11-25t and even a 12-27t for my Mt Baw-Baw attack next year.

Better look for a second job.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jon Brooks Memorial race report - Masters A

We were told it was going to be tough. Well it was!
My day started at 3:50 am, ten min before the alarm went off. It was just a matter of having breakfast (including a double shot latte), loading the car, last minute checks and off to Daniel's, a 5 min drive from our place. He was ready before the arranged time, which shows how excited he, also, was about this race.
Plan number one was to beat the ETA given by his phone navigation software. I always do! It was a long drive and the temperature was around 10 C. We were discussing how cold it was going to be at
Mt Tyson as the town isn't just inland but it is situated on Queensland's Darling Downs at around 500m.
We arrived fairly early and witnessed the setting up process with road barricades, sponsor's tents, team cars and food stalls along the town's main street. A very well organised event, in a very small rural Australian town. I must congratulate the Toowoomba Cycling Club for their work and the town folks for their support also.
Altough I had more than a hour before my race, I still didn't get a good warm up. I guessed I would have plenty of time in the beginning of the 100 km race. The cold also made the getting ready procedures very slow. The expected max. was 15 C.
We were off on time, a group of 17 riders including 2 Elite women. Well, my guess wasn’t accurate, the attacks started at km 5 with the Ipswich “boys” showing they weren’t there to have a leisure time or to let anyone have an easy ride. Again, there were 4 or 5 of us covering the attacks and at some stage or another trying to get away from the bunch ourselves. It settled a little at the 25 km mark but it was clear the major move was about to happen.
At the start of the 3rd lap, 60 km into the race and on the back roads with a light head wind it did happen. Two of them first, then the third one which I tried to follow but couldn't get to his wheel… just there, about 5m in front of me. How frustrating! That was my ultimate mistake for the day. I chose to wait for someone else in the bunch to try to bridge straight away but it did not happen… THEY GOT AWAY!!!!
A chase group was formed with 5 riders. In the group, one of the riders just sat at the back as he belonged to the Ipswich club as well, a second rider (from my club) decided to do the same. I am sure he had his reasons (?!?!). So, it was up to the three of us to bridge the gap which had become 1'20" in just 10 or 15 km. They were driving it.
We went through the town for the bell and start of the last 25 km of pain with a 1' gap. The wind had picked up a little at the back and the roads started to feel steeper, not a good sign. I was really getting tired and was finding hard to go pass the front rider to take my turn. I decided to miss a few turns and start saving my legs to be able to stay with the group for the finish. Shame as we had gained 20" and could probably get a little closer.
In our group, Glenn Fordham was doing most of the work, on the last lap he did close to 45%. I was managing 30% and the third rider, Tony Wood, was struggling as well doing around 25%. My plans changed then, I wanted Glenn or Tony to get 4th but I wasn't going to let the other two have it. With that in mind, I forced the two to go pass me as we turned into Oakey Pittsworth Road with about 8 km to go, including the two climbs. I helped by pulling the group over the second last climb and moved to the back for the next one and for the fast 5 km descent to the town. We were doing 70 km/h and I was really spinning the 53x12 combo. I went around the last corner first but slowed down to position myself for the 1,000 m to the line.
In my head, I was wondering if there was going to be a sprint or not. I sat there, 5th wheel, literally looking at the cluster on this guy's bike and waiting for him to change gears. Close to the 150 m mark, he started moving up, changed down and started his gallop. Well, I wanted to beat him and this was my last chance. I dropped a couple (53x13) and followed him. At 50, I was passing him on the right and felt that I was spinning out of gear. All too quick. I couldn't see the line and had no time to change to the 12. All I remember is getting off the saddle, feeling out of control, sitting down again, feeling the front wheel off the ground a couple of times and throwing the bike for the line as I looked to left. I think I was less than a foot ahead of him but noticed Tony on the far left. I wish I had a photo of the finish.
Indeed, it was a great finish with the commentator's voice coming out loudly off the speakers and spectator's noise on the background. And everything just for 4th. I was pleased with my tactics for the finish but getting 4th wasn't that important as Glen was the one that drove the group for almost 2o km on the last lap. The event organisers didn't care for the minor placings either, there was no final announcements on our finish.
In that matter, I don't agree with some event organisers, they seem to forget that we were out there for a tough ride as well. They choose to ignore that and use most of the resources to pay, in this case, the Elite guys down to 10th place plus 3 intermediate sprints. I don't think they should give us any cash but getting 4th, 5th or 6th in a 100 km race should get at least a mention. A friend of mine got 5th in Elite B, racing solo against a couple of teams. Doesn't he deserve something for his monster effort? I think so!!!
Never mind, I will win the next one!!!

No racing next weekend, back on the bike for training on Tuesday with Hill Sprints.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Racing again and getting the bike ready for more

I did have a rest after the Tour but just for one day. In fact, my program said no rest, just an easy ride to start and back on training. I decided to take one day off the bike because of stiffness in my legs, not soreness or anything like that. The other thing is, I was tired, tired from the long weekend. All the driving (over 600 km), racing and having sleepless nights knocked me around a bit.
Sandra and I had a day off work as well and did a few things in the house, cleaned and did a bit of maintenance on our bikes, watched TV, checked e-mails, ate and slept. We needed! The next day, Sandra was off to work, I stayed home one more day (all to do with shift work) and did the same as the day before... not much. Except that I did get on the bike. I made a few changes to my program (sorry, Iain!) because of the day off and the race next Sunday. So, I was on the bike for a 40 km ride including 2 x TT efforts. And guess what... I loved it.
The legs felt really good, they were spinning fast and I was travelling comfortably at 47 km/h on my TT effort with the assistance of a light tail wind. I was loving it and could keep going for hours but had to come back as it was getting dark quickly and I had no lights. One thing I felt was the lactic acid in my legs, there was a good amount left from all those races.
For the next few days, I chose to do the training on the wind-trainer. I had to do some work but I still want to be fresh for the weekend ahead as I was planning to race and do well in the Jon Brooks Memorial race. This is one of the toughest events in our calendar, a 100 km race in rough and exposed country roads. Hilly, windy course and a strong bunch of riders.
The race used to be called the Nathan O'Neill Classic. I raced it for the first, and last, time in 2005. Relatively new to open events at the time, I signed up for the Masters A event. Only to get dropped by a group of 8 or 10 riders in the first 30 km, chase solo for another 20 km and pull out at the half way mark (2 laps out of 4). So, I had a lot to prove to myself in this up coming event, racing again in the Masters A category.
Something else, and equally personal, motivated me to do well in this race. Jon and Vivian Brooks were one of the first couples we met when we first came to Brisbane. We met at one of the club races at Nundah, we starting talking bikes (he had an amazing collection of them) and racing, a couple of hours later we were having coffees and post-race snacks at our place. The gathering lasted hours and didn't go through the evening because Jon and Vivian lived in Toowoomba, a fair distance from Brisbane, which they covered often just to attend race meetings in Brisbane.
They were both very inspirational folks and we are lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Jon and to still have the chance to see Vivian now and then as she is still involved with cycling and the Toowoomba Cycling Club.

Check the profile of this race:

The bike needs a bit of attention after Eumundi

After a wash and a new bar tape

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunshine Coast Tour

The Tour is over. And what a fantastic event it was. I didn't manage to get the results I was aiming for but I raced hard and helped a friend to get a 2nd place overall. I finished 6th in the 32 men field.
It went a bit like this:
Friday, Maroochydore - 2.5 km Prologue
A very weird set up as they found a dark little street somewhere in the middle of this town to run the race. The course itself was a bit strange as we started at this well lit spot, raced through a couple of dark corners and onto this new stretch of road which took us up this incline for a km, a hot-dog turn and a 500 m downhill finish. I couldn't really get into it and had a poor warm up. At the line up, with 80 sec to go, I noticed my front tyre had gone down. I didn't have time to panic so I asked a friend to get a pump, not a spare.
I managed to pump it to about 140 psi before I took off. Came back
3 min later with 80 psi. An interesting start of the Tour, I told myself. And 18th place.
Time:03:10.2; AvSpeed:47.5 km/h; MaxSpeed:50.1 km/h; AvHR:162 bpm; MaxHr:168 bpm

Night time Prologue, 18th
Saturday (am), Kenilworth - 68 km Road Race
I started this race well and fairly confident as the undulating terrain and 2 km climb suited me well. I was just a little concerned with the descent, which had some nasty corners and the forecast was for light rain. Six or seven riders crashed that morning, including the 3rd HPRW rider in our grade.
Unfortunately, I missed a break away of 6 or 7 riders on the second lap and cramped up trying to bridge the gap with one more rider. The good news is that I managed to hang on to a chasing group, recovered and finished 6th. Another good news was that a good friend, Adam Harrison (HPRW), was in the break and managed to win the stage, taking the leaders jersey.

Adam, in blue and white, winning the up hill sprint


Sunday (am), Montville - 7.8 km Hill Climb

This was the stage I had planned to do my best and with a bit of luck get a win and a few seconds on the big boys. The stage was all set up, I felt light, legs were good and I had fixed my 303 for the climb. The one thing that had changed was that my friend Adam, also a HPRW rider, had the leaders jersey now and the right thing to do was to become his domestique and try to get him to the top ahead of everyone else.

It turned out to be a role that I really enjoyed playing and one of the most exciting races I have been in. We did the whole climb as a groupetto of 7 riders, having dropped the peloton as soon as we started the 6 km up hill. The race was for the leaders jersey and in between HPRW and Ipswich Cycling clubs, and as far as I know, we achieved our goal!

Adam digs in to finish in 2nd place keeping the Yellow

On empty by this point, I managed to hang on for 3rd

Time:18:50; AvSpeed:25 km/h; AvHR:162 bpm; MaxHr:176 bpm

Sunday (pm), North Arm - 30 km Road Race

That was the hardest race, partially because it was short with only a couple of short hills making it ideal for the sprinters but also because the riders from Ipswich didn't think the 5 of them was going to be enough against the two of us and started making deals with riders from different clubs. Perhaps that is the reason people were coming to me at the start to ask if I was ready to take the beating...

And a beating it was. The attacks commenced from the word GO! with one rider after another going up the road. And one after another we chased and caught. Adam was going super strong, not missing anything, defending that jersey like a pro. I lost count on how many times we had to jump but did see that they were getting tired as much as we were. It did settle for the second lap but we did miss a move by Craig Taylor (the strongest guy in their team) and another rider in the beginning of the third.

They kept a 30 sec gap on us for most of the last lap. I think Adam and I felt a bit tired and made the mistake of thinking that someone else in the bunch could be interested in winning a bike race. No, they were all sitting in, waiting for us to do the chase. A move by us would have been useless as we still had 6 or more of Craig's team on our wheels. It would have been a case of bridging the gap just to be counter attacked by them again. That is what they had planned, and worked.

I still had a shot at it with 1.5 kms to go in an attempt to shake off the sprinters, reduce the gap and get a third place. Adam was on my wheel but and we dragged two of them to the last corner. They had the advantage of coming off our wheels and launched the counter attack with one rider getting a gap and finishing 3rd. I still had a go chasing him but faded with 30 m to go and got swamped by the fast approaching bunch, almost getting knocked down by a rider sprinting for 7th.

The jersey was gone but we did put up a fight and managed to stay in 2nd spot on the GC. In a way, another victory for the two of us.

Monday (am), Eumundi - 74 km Road Race

Having to do 4 laps of a tough course like Eumundi, racing against a team of 7 or more was going to be a very, very hard task. To win the Tour was going to be an impossible task, we knew that and they knew that. I was more than happy to keep helping Adam for his second place on the GC but got a bit dishearted with the alliances that were formed before the start. In particular for one rider who offered his service in exchange for a stage win. Sad for him, it was so obvious that I chose to spoil and chase him and beat him in a couple of sprints. Yeah, I told him too!

Different jersey, same team and no shame in trying to push me off the road

It was another great race, fairly difficult, also, because of the terrain and moments of heavy rain. Attacks still happened but I think a lot of us were in survival mode. The hills were hurting and the sprinters were very anxious, a different atmosphere. To make things a little more exciting, I contested a couple of intermediate sprints and managed to take a win and a second (pictured above).

For the end, I was just hanging there and saving my legs in case Adam's 2nd place on the GC was put in danger by any rider willing to take some abuse from me. The riders from Ipswich felt the same and the finish was contested by a few sprinters and back markers.

And we finished the 2008 Sunshine Coast Tour like this:

1st - Craig Taylor (Ipswich), 5:16:31.3

2nd - Adam Harrison (HPRW), 5:16:53.5

3rd - Bill Ayers (Ipswch), 5:16:59.3

6th - Alberto M Rego (HPRW), 5:17:38.0

A few links:

Next: Jon Brooks Memorial

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tapering for a major event

Less than 28 hours for the start of the Sunshine Coast Tour. That is when I, in the past, started to get a bit doubtful on what I should be doing. It is like, everything has been done, what can I do to now? Not much, I guess!

I admit that I get to think of the missed days on the bike, the sessions when I should have gone just a little harder, the supposedly easy rides when I pushed to the limit to stay with the Elite boys, and else.

The literature says I should be tapering, doing some easy rides, some short sprints, some "not much at all", etc... As I am following a program, it is a little easier this time. My schedule says:

Easy, Sprint Accelerations, Easy, VO2 Max, Easy and Race, Race, Race and Race.

I have started those, mainly on the trainer as the weather hasn't been very inviting. I've chosen to look after my health and my weight. Obviously, I don't want to get sick but I would like to start the event a little lighter than last year. I am aiming for the 65.5 kg mark for the 7 km long Hill Climb . That is 1.5 kg lighter.

Back onto the training side of things, here is a concise version of my last 19 (28/1 to 4/6/08) weeks before this event:

Kms Planned: 6345
Kms Ridden: 5902

Hours Planned: 237
Hours Ridden: 216.5

Calories burnt: 75,000

Races: 14
Hours Raced: 9

It is going to be a fun and slightly(maybe very...) painful weekend and I am looking forward to racing, spending time with friends and catching up with people that we only see during this type of events.

The Tour program:

Friday (6:30 pm) - Prologue (2.5 km)

Saturday(10:30 am) - Road Race (64 km)

Sunday (7:00 am) - Hill Climb (8 km)

Sunday (3:45 pm) - Road Race (30 km)

Monday (10:05 am) - Road Race (80 km)

I found this photograph of Sandra taken during the Montville Climb last year:

Photo by Kevin Copallotti

Monday, June 2, 2008

2008 Giro d'Italia : Viva Alberto!

That is for Contador but I like the sound of it...

What a great Giro! It is my favourite Grand Tour, perhaps because is not as "big" as Le Tour in a whole but it is almost greater on the roads, the climbs, the folks, and the pasta!!!

I won't write much about it as there are some really good reports in the specialised media, and I have heaps to do... but I will just put down a few words:

Alberto; Alpe di Pampeago and Sella; Benatti; Bertolini; Broken chain; Bruseghin; Cavandish; Corse Rosa; Di Luca; Dolomites; Italia; Maglia Rosa; Marmolada and Sella; Passo di Gavia; Pellizotti; Ricco; Sella and the Aprica; Simoni; Team High Road; Tifosi and Voigt.

Ah, Voigt, he is a machine!!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recovery week/Kenilworth and Montville Stages/End of the Giro

It wasn't an eventful week, the one that just gone. That is until today when a small group of friends got together to do some training in the Sunshine Coast area for the coming Tour.

But first, about the week in which training was basically non-existent, which scared me a bit as I am so close to one of my main events this season. Basically, the cramping incident last Sunday put me off the bike for 4 days. On Monday morning I noticed how bad it was as I was having a hard time just walking around at work. So I call the 000 (911) of cyclists and made an appointment to see Alex Frederiksen, our massage therapist and friend. Luckily, he had some time for me and the hour of pain was set for that afternoon. The massage was great but it did hurt (as it always does) and we did find the spots where we believed some damage had been done to muscle fibers. Special care with those points were taken... Yes, a little more pain but with a few gentle stretches I left the table feeling good.

The next day, well, I didn't feel much better. In fact, my legs were a lot sore still. All symptoms of a extremely hard ride and poor hydration when muscles got heavily fatigued and levels of electrolytes, minerals, CHO and other needed substances got way too low. No bike again, not even an easy spin on the trainer as I just wanted those little tender spots to get better.

I had a light spin on the trainer on Thursday but could not reach the hour. The legs were heavy and the mind just didn't want to collaborate. I had no idea of what was going on but I had the feeling I was going to get sick, as in a flu or a cold. Friday morning came and I couldn't get out of bed. A little panic was starting to settle in... I had less than one week to the start of Le Tour.

With all that drama happening, the weather in SE Queensland also turned to s..t. There were huge storms and lots of rain 200 km to the North and heading our way. -Forget about bike riding and lets just go to our favourite Indian restaurant for a nice early dinner (hot curries will fix anything)!

Saturday. We didn't feel great so we went shopping for a water filter (old style ceramic filter just like the ones my parents had when I was a kid) that Sandra has been wanting for ages. For all the right reasons, she always hated the taste and colour of the tap water we sometimes get in Brisbane. I just think we are going to get healthier and faster!!!!

So training last week: non existent!

Kenilworth Stage and Montville Climb

Comes Sunday (today) and I was up at 4:50. And super excited that the rain had gone and that in less than a hour I was going to be meeting a few friends to drive to Kenilworth, around 120 km North of Brisbane, to do the new course for the stage 2 of the Tour and the climb to Montville. A bit of a chat here, a drive back to D.W.'s house to get his cycling shoes and another chat there, it was 8:05 when we set off to do the 34 km loop (the races will be two or three laps).

Well, it was Sunday morning and I didn't have to go to work, I was not in too much of a hurry.

The ride was great, we had country roads in good condition, very little traffic, a terrific landscape and a nice bunch of people - 5 riders and 1 driver (David is the proud owner of a new motor vehicle and was pretending to be our DS). The course was undulating at first, it did become fairly flat for a while, a couple of lumps and we hit the first climb. Nothing major, but we could see that we were heading to a valley and had to do a few more climbs to get over a mountain and back to the township. There is an elevation profile in the link but I am not sure if it is right.

I took it easy for most of the ride until the last climb (16 km out) where I pushed a little bit harder to see how my legs would react. And guess what... you are right, they were fine and I enjoyed the test. From there, we came down this steep descent and the last 5 km were basically flat until get into town for an up hill finish. It was great to do this ride before the race. First of all it was fun to ride with a bunch of nice friends and secondly, I know now that even with some tough little climbs in it, the stage will finish with a sprint of perhaps 5 or 6 riders. A solo break away would not work with such a fast descent and another 5 kms of flat road to town.

Back in Kenilworth, we were quick getting in the cars and heading off to Montville for our stage 2. We took the Obi Obi Road, driving through Kidaman Creek and Mapleton. Now, those were climbs. I think there were more than twenty kms of climbing on that road with lots of 10% sections. To me, that should be used as a climbing stage!!!!

In Montville, we were equally quick getting off the cars and on the bikes. The bad weather was starting to close in again and we didn't want to get too cold on the way down. I took a bit of time as I wanted to wear everything I had for the descent even knowing I was going to carry the extra weight on the climb.

A couple of kms to warm up at the botton and we were off at 10:43 under a fine rain. I started it quick but not hard on the first 1.8 km of flat(ish) road, did the first 500m of up hill on the 53 but decided that spinning was the way to go. 39-17t to 39-23t was the range for the entire climb at around 80 RPM and averaging 23+ km/h to reach the top in 20:14. The HR reached 165 and averaged 158 bpm, which I am happy with.

I got to the top first and turned around and back down to reach the others and motivate them on the last couple of hundred meters. By that time, it was all misty and a couple of minutes after the last rider reached the village the rain really started. Great timing, now it was a matter of getting changed and heading to one of the cafes for a something hot to eat.

Another hour on the Highway and home by 2 pm to spend the afternoon with Sandra (she didn't make the trip this morning) and have a quiet evening.

A great time on the bike and good news with the legs that felt fresh and ready for next weekend!

The Giro

Well, it is ending as I write. I must mention the talented Sella once again, a third stage win is something to remember. Also, how well Contador has been racing by maintaining such a close look on Ricco. That is Stage Racing. And Mr Simoni who keeps fighting when the roads point upwards...

All brilliancy to me.

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