Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Long weekend and lots of riding!

It has been a long weekend of riding and kind of training. Because of the Twilight Series on Wednesday evenings, the training plan gets a little messy. That's because the rest days (Easy 25 km Rides) are a very important part of the training. Hence, a decision to do a workout on Friday and not to race on Saturday. Do a long moderate to intense long ride on Sunday (115 kms) and try to do an Easy 25 kms on Monday...

Good plan! On Sunday, I got home after the Zupps ride (102 kms), packed my bag and headed off to work to get the 115. And I did! With an easy ride home after work I would be ready for the Australia Day ride. It is a tradition in Brisbane, to go up to Mt Nebo on the public holiday. This year being on Monday.

The plan was good until I met a friend on the way home after work. As we were going in the same direction, we decided to the trip together, with onto me difference: he was in his car. The idea was to slipstream behind his car for as long as I could and as fast as I could... All I know is that everytime I looked at my computer, I saw a speed of 50 km/h or faster. The Max speed been 61.5 km/h. All good fun until we went different routes and I started the climb up to our house. I was close to being sick when I got to the driveway. Well, it was almost 6 km of the 13 km trip in E3 and a record time home.

It was fun but not recommended, specially if you have to ride (and climb) the next morning.

This year, I decided not to start with the main bunch in the city but start a little later from the bottom of the climb and watch them going pass. Sandra and I met a couple of friends and started our way up nice and slowly. My plan was to take it easy and to keep my HR bellow 146 bpm.

I did keep to the plan for a while and even resisted to jump when the fast climbing bunch went pass and I heard a couple of calls from mates in it. I had to be good...

And I was, until a second bunch went pass a few minutes later. For no reason I must admit, I got annoyed by those guys. They seemed very rude as they passed us. They seemed angry and looking down on us for going a little slower. Now, it comes to my mind that they were just struggling as they tried to chase the main bunch unsuccessfully. Nevertheless, that triggered my competitive edge sending my plan down the hill. I waited for the last one to go pass and set off in a mission to catch and pass them.

I have to say, that wasn't very hard. For the next 5 min, I attacked every rider ahead of me, passing them doing almost twice their speed. I lost count of how many they were. Then, I started to recognise some riders from the main bunch. I even tried to drag a few of them with me but they had popped.

At this stage, I looked ahead and spotted the main bunch and they seemed to be slowing down. But I could also few my legs hurt. I looked at my HR monitor and it showed 168 bpm... Shit, that's too much for an Easy ride up the mountain. I decided to back off and even stop at one of the lookouts and wait for my friends and Sandra. I found a little spot in the shade and sat there waiting and watching riders going pass. I even enjoyed been an expectator for those minutes and I deserved a rest, I thought. Even with a slow cruise start, I got to McAfees lookout in under 16 min which I thought was a good effort for an out of form cyclist.

From there it was all fun. We rode up as a group of three, passing a few riders, chatting to them, being passed by a few and encouraging them to keep going. We did a few sprints, we climbed without hands on the handlebars, we re-grouped and chatted. My aim was to do an easy ride and also, to get to the top with Sandra. And that is what I did.

We met a few friends at the village's coffee shop, exchanged a few stories and headed back down.

The ride home wasn't very pleasant for any of us. It was hot and we were tired, probably a little dehydrated also.

The picture was taken by Adam and shows Sanford valley in the background.

It is one of the best views in the SE Queensland.

So, it was a long and strenuous weekend. Today, I jumped on the bike for an easy (E1) 25 km ride in the morning, met a couple of friends for a coffee and that was it.... rest, rest and rest. Tomorrow, back with an early workout in the morning (55 km), a massage and a race in the evening.

Looking forward to all that!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Twilight Series Criterium Race, Nundah

Raced B Grade with another 40 guys and a couple of women. Good easy race for the first 10 min, a couple of minor attacks. Just kept my cool and tried to save energy for the first sprint at 20 min. Then, this guy takes off without any reaction from the bunch.

A couple of kids decided to take control and chase... And I mean: KIDS! So, to the front I went to work with them but unfortunately they didn't have the top speed because of their restricted gears.

I did a couple of hard laps on the 1.2 km circuit and with little help watched the guy get the sprint with a 20 sec gap. At that stage I was getting tired quickly, I needed to save for the finish. But every time I tried to have a rest the speed dropped and the the gap increased... The guy got to a 31 sec gap in the front.He was powering!!! And we were struggling!!!!

Eight min to go in the 35 min criterium, I had to do some thing. I jumped to the front and started pulling huge turns, hoping to drop a few sprinters in the process. Well, I ended up dragging the whole lot with me, typical. VERY tired now, I decided to have a quick rest before the bell and get a good position for the sprint for second. Too late, that was the bell!!! I managed to get to the front without difficulties as the speed dropped, in fact I got to a very good position as I thought the big sprinters were ahead of me.
It is a 400 m straight to the line, you don't want sprinters behind you... Ended up second wheel on the last turn, saw two guys going for it. One on each side of the 8 m wide track. Cool, if my wheel could lead me out... but he couldn't. With 150 to go I sort of noticed the sprinters going pass so I shifted to the 11 and went for it. Too slow to catch them, to late to catch one of the two in front and a finish at 55.7 km/h for fifth.

Great race, I should be happy with it as it is very early in the season. I should also remind myself that these races are just part of the training... and keep focusing on the goals ahead.

Anyhow, see if you can check that one out...


See you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Training starts...

All tests done, I have now started the training. Good that I started with an Easy 30 km ride as our weekend was filled with racing, hill climb and a 100 km ride on Sunday.

Last test:

  • Mt Gravatt climb (Brisbane) after the morning race at Nundah
  • 2.2 km in 06:15 on a 6.6 % Gradient

Tuesday: So, out of bed at 04:00 am, rest HR at 48 and on the bike at 04:40. It was still dark but it felt good to be on the bike from the first few hundred metres. I warmed up for 30 min and then started my first effort ( 25 min in E2 with 90-95 RPM).

It did feel hard in the beginning but as I got the HR up and found a rhythm, it wall became fun. Unfortunately, I had to cut the second effort short as I was running out of time and had to be at work at 07:00.

Although I felt good on the bike, I felt really tired for the rest of the day and pretty moody at work too. but that's is another issue.

I had dinner with a glass of a NZ white and head to bed at around 20:30. I woke up at 03:00 as I had to be at work at 04:00 but couldn't get up... the hay-fever got the best out of me again. A quick phone call and I was asleep in two minutes.

Wednesday: woke up again around 06:30 as Sandra got up (also missing her 04:30 training). I still couldn't get up, best I could do was do my Rest HR test (Iain, my trainer, told me to keep an eye on it).
It was around 48 bpm which isn't too bad but way up from my 43 bpm last year. Weight is going down too, 67.8 Kg this am.

That's right, these are daily measurements I take (I think most athletes do) to see how the body is taking the training load.

As this blog is about training and racing and I decided to race tonight. Firstly, I looked at my program which told me to have an Easy ride today and another workout tomorrow. Because I basically being off the bike for 30+ hours, I figured I can race tonight and have an easy ride tomorrow instead. I also decided to race B Grade as this is close to an Open event and I am not interested in racing 25 y.o. Elite riders.

This is the web-site for the race:
( http://www.hamiltonwheelers.com/index_page3_files/Twilight_Racing_web.pdf )

Results are posted on www.roadgrime.com

Just hoping Iain doesn't mind as he told me to make sure I had days off in between work-out days...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Test Week - 14th to 20th January

Well, Test Week. This is what is written on the sheet I received yesterday with the workouts for this week.

Monday - The week started with two "all out" TT efforts for 5 kms. I chose the bike circuit at Nundah as I would not have any problems with cars and/or traffic lights. I did the prescribed warm up session and hit it hard for the first time. Then, for the second time.

And here are the results:

Now, just to put things in perspective, in November 2006 I did a 15 min TT on the same circuit and rode 10.8 Kms (Av. speed: 43 km/h). I don't remember all the details but I remember being in really good shape, had TT bars fitted and possibly my racing wheels (Zipp 303 tubulars).So, it will be interesting to see what I will be doing later this year.

The circuit was built for bike riding and is about 1200 m long with a few bends at the back and a long 500 m straight. I had a tail wind on the straight and some head and cross wind at the back.

I have used this circuit a lot, for racing and training, as it is the perfect place to ride when you are not in a mood to share the roads with cars and trucks...


But, the exciting part is: the training has started!!! It is exciting because I spent bit of time trying to decide what to do for the 2008 season. I had a lot of doubts in which races I was going to do, if I was going to just get on the bike and ride/race as I have done previously or if I was going to grab a couple of books and design a training program myself. In fact, I was in doubt if I was going to train and race at all this year. There are other things in my life that I should be taking care off and cycling really puts all that on hold if you want o to be competitive and win Open Events and Championships.

I guess, I don't have to repeat what I, madly, decided to do. Also, I decided to work with a coach and have picked the "A" races for the year. But more on that later.

It is Tuesday, the second day of the program and a Recovery Day. It is also raining so I will get on the trainer for an easy 20 km spin followed by 30 min of stretching (much needed after those TT efforts yesterday).


Sunday, January 13, 2008

First Race

Sunday morning, I am at work and thinking of what happened yesterday in my first club race for 2008. From now on, I have to practise this post-race analyses so I can have a better idea of where I went wrong and more importantly, where I went right. Never forgetting that luck plays an important part on race results as well.

Yesterday, I planned to race conservatively and I did. Being in the beginning of my Base training, I wanted to be able to cover a couple of attacks but not all and save energy for the last 10 min of the 60 min race, where I thought the "winning move" from a couple of the strong guys would happen...

The move did happen with one, two and then a fourth guy. I did let them go as I saw a couple of strong guys still in the bunch. I went to the front and kept them at a safe distance, waiting for a move from one of these guys to bridge the gap. Suddenly, a noise of someone getting a puncture... One of the strong guys was gone.

If it was an important race, I would have panicked but this was a club race, and I wasn't there to give everything. I still went to the front and chased the four riders for two laps of the Lakeside Circuit, pretty much by myself. I didn't manage to get to them but I dropped the rest on the last climb and finished 5th.

As I was taking it as a test, I was pretty happy with the result and finished the day riding to town for a coffee (120+ Kms in total).

Lakeside Circuit:


Friday, January 11, 2008

The River Loop

Another popular ride around here is the River Loop, the river being the Brisbane River. Almost every morning of the week, folks get up and on their bikes to meet at a couple of spots in the city and then ride along the river (road or bikepath) for an hour or so, finishing the ride in one of the many coffee shops.

That's what I did this morning, a slow, easy ride. I rode with my partner and a friend, showing them one of the many ways of doing the loop. Yes, there are many ways of doing it, specially as you cross the river and head back to town riding through a few suburbs on the south side of the river.

As I said, this ride can be done in many different ways as in where to go but you can also choose the pace. The most popular one being the Wednesday Worlds which leaves from La Doce Vita Cafe on Park Road. It does start in a medium to fast pace and turns into a mad race with 30 or 40 riders going flat out and led by local Elite riders in need of some mid-week excitment and glory. No prizes to be won, just the right to that proud smile as one sips onto their large Lates in the busy Cafe.

But this morning it was nice and easy and we didn't stop for coffee as it was raining and we just felt like getting home and out of the wet lycra gear.
Still, I am glad I got out of bed and on the bike.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Under Construction (2)

OK, you could all say that I am not taking the blog seriously. But I am. Since the last post, I have worked on the layout and have hopefully made it a little friendlier to all (Is anyone going to read this? Ever?)

Training has been going well, if I can call this week's rides training. I decided to make this my Prep week. Basically having fun before the "real training" starts. By that, I mean the structured training plan that I am hoping to get from the club coach soon. I might elaborate on that a little later.

As this is all about Training & racing, I might even race this weekend as it will be the first for the club this year and it would be nice to support it. I think it will be good as I believe racing will be off the training plan for a few weeks after this weekend.

This Saturday's race is at an old motorcycle track called Lakeside, on the North side of Brisbane. It has been closed for a while so the HPRW cycling club took over the premises and have been hosting cycling races there for a while. Here is the web-site of the club if you feel like having a quick look: www.hamiltonwheelers.com . It is my favourite racing venue by the way. I had some good wins and my worse crash at that place also.

Back to this week, yesterday I joined a group to ride up Mt Nebo Road. It is a great 15 km climb to this little sleepy village on top of Mt Nebo. One of the best things about it, is its location as the climb starts just a few miles from the city centre. It is a 25 min ride from my place to the bottom of the climb, an almost perfect warm up before the start of the ascent.

Because of the busy racing program last year, the over-training symptoms I suffered also last year and the five weeks holiday overseas, this was my first ride to Nebo in six months. And I felt it!! The guys in the group are of all sorts of climbing abilities so you can be sure that you will be dropping someone and that you will be also dropped by someone else. It is not a race but we all keep attacking each other and re-grouping again and again. That and the type of terrain makes it a perfect course for an interval session. Also, a good place for a chat and a few jokes.

From the top, it is a race down hill and to town somewhere for a coffee and more chatting before heading to work. I will paste a few stats (promise to find a better way of doing this!) so you can have an idea of my efforts.


Time for a little afternoon ride, a very easy 2:00 h ride.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Under construction!

Sorry, I am new to this and I have just started my training program for the 2008 race season. I will make it look nicer and friendlier...

  1. bike is so heavy

  2. tyres are crap

  3. need to loose weight

  4. Enjoyed the ride a lot!!!!!

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