Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back to training, sort of...

Officially, I have been taken off the road by the Physio. Not the sort of advice I wanted to hear as the Criterium Season gets closer with some great events in November and December. "Luckily", I have been given the OK to ride on the trainer. So, here is the bike I crashed set up under the house and permanently on the trainer to make things easier. As I can't fit the front wheel due to a badly bent fork, hanging the front of the bike with a rope seemed to be the best thing to do... And I wouldn't put the R3 on the trainer anyway.

The 370


First, I planned to just get on the bike/trainer and spin my legs for 1 1/2 hours a day, hoping to stay somehow in a state where I could just ramp up the training when allowed on the road again. Then, I asked myself why not get some real value out of this and try to improve my form slowly to a point where once on the road all I would need to do is sharpen up.

Basically, what I want to do is to increase the intensity and length of the efforts over a period of time and, as I am doing it in a more controlled environment, measure the changes. Hopefully, when I get back into racing again, whenever that will be, I won't need to drop a Grade to avoid being dropped by the bunch...

The training I am doing is partially based on an article by the Fit Chick, a coach that publishes some great training tips in my favourite cycling magazine, Bicycling (USA). I am doing high cadence, strength and lactate threshold sessions. The sessions start with a 30 min warm up before the 5 or 6 efforts that can last in between 30" and 3' each. They are high-cadence, all out efforts or seated 53-11 with a max resistance on the trainer. All of them made to hurt a bit!!!

The mag with great tips, gear reviews and stories

The Bicycle

In the last edition of Bicycling (pictured above), they have a feature on the R3-SL. The R series have been used by Sastre and Basso since the introduction of the 2.5 model. Now, with the R3-SL and other new models, Cervelo is going to run its own Test Team in 2009 (with Sastre as team leader and Simon Gerrans as a helper in the mountain stages). Interesting times ahead!!

On the matter of bikes, I ask: Why don't we see many Cervelos in the bunches/races? We even have an amateur team racing Cervelos in Australia but that doesn't seem to make them more popular...

At the time I got mine, over 2 years ago, I did think it was a good reason for riding a Cervelo.

R3 - SL featured here...

The shoulder

Unfortunately, I have no good news on that, yet. I have been taking it easy at work (too much, in fact) and have been going to the physio twice a week. Plus, I am doing some exercises at home with some fancy rubber band. The truth is... I am not experiencing a lot of improvement at the moment and even have been feeling a bit more pain and a stiffer neck. I guess it is going to be up to the specialist to come up with a better solution in a week.

The fancy rubber band

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What has been going on...

It is time to come back here for an update on what has been happening lately. Looking at the stats for this blog, over 186 visitors (50%) this month are Returning Visitors so it is just right that I keep the blog going.

Training and racing

Well, well. That's officially on hold now due to the shoulder injury I am carrying which has turned into a more complex issue that once believed. Numerous visits to a GP, a few physio sessions and an appointment with a shoulder specialist is the program.

The Crash Training program that I put together for the Tour of Bright has been put aside as the volume and intensity wouldn't help my shoulder.

Crash Training Program (J Friel)

In fact, I did start the program with a trip to the Gold Coast last week and a couple of discovery rides on the Hinterlands. They were great rides in amazingly beautiful places but they were hard rides as well. Unfortunately, they proved to be fairly taxing on the shoulder, indicating that I needed to decide on training or fixing my shoulder.

After a little chat with the Physio, I decided to stay off the bike until my shoulder is completely healed... Time to set up the trainer permanently!!

Greg's Home, my base in Currumbin

Greg and Juan, barbie night

Greg still teaches the art...


Ride One: Currumbin - Springbrook - Currumbin

Dist: 108 km
Time: 3:59
AvSpeed: 28 km/h
AvHR: 126 bpm
Ascent: 1,050 m

Old surf spot: Burleigh Point

Start of the climb to Springbrook


View of Surfers from Springbrook

Ride Two: Currumbin - Murwillumbah - Springbrook - Currumbin

Dist: 110 km
Time: 4:44
AvSpeed: 25.5 km/h
AvHR: 119 bpm
Ascent: 1,627 m

Plenty of stops on the way...

Sugar Cane fields in NSW
My favourite feed station

It couldn't get any better...


End of climb #2 (Av 7.9 %) and a fast run into QLD


Higher peaks in view


The last climb (Av 6.5 %)

Ride Three: Currumbin - Mermaid Beach - Currumbin (recovery)

Dist: 36.3 km

Time: 1:31

AvSpeed: 24 km/h


The last race I entered was the club Hill Climb on Mt Mee road. It's a climb that I always wanted to have included in one of the club races and the club managed to get a permit for an ITT on the 8+km (Av 4.5 %) in a afternoon with temperatures reaching 33 degrees. Just the way I like it.

Dist: 8.2 km

Time: 21:21

AvSpeed: 23.2 km/h

AvHR: 166 bpm

Ascent: 345 m

Didn't mind the pain...


Sandra powering up Mt Mee road


ITT Profile

Time to get creative...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One month later...

It has been a while since I posted on this blog and I am sorry for that. Not that I have been too busy, I couldn't lie, but the last month was a little "odd" for me. After months of struggle with some thoughts on personal issues (not marital), I decided to face that I am not a teenager anymore and shouldn't be one for my entire life.

I am not saying that I am going to change overnight but I will work efficiently to grow and reach adulthood by 2015. I will then, reverse the process and work towards becoming a teenager again by 2020 when I will be retired and will be spending more time riding bikes with Sandra, hopefully up some mountain passes in Southern Europe. Looking forward to that!!

Now, for an interesting issue that we are witnessing, quoting the incredible collapse of the US financial institution, I am only surprised that it didn't happen sooner. I am also surprised that we are not having the same problems here, but that could be a matter of time. I am not qualified to talk or write about that so I am going to leave it to the experts but, as I see a nation (and other nations as everyone wants to have an opinion) divided with the agree and the don't agree on the US$700 billion bailout of Wall Street, I need to throw in my 2 cents.

My solution is simple, get the US Government to ask every American tax payer (and some very concerned experts around here) to vote and decide it in a democratic way. Those who vote Yes! would then have their income tax increased by 10 or 15%, for the number of years necessary to repay the cash .

Would the Agree folks change their mind? I think so... fast, very fast!!

Pro cycling

In cycling, I can recall the Vuelta, the Worlds, the new teams for 2009, all the shuffling of riders and now the news of Lance Armstrong's return to Pro cycling.

Vuelta a Espana - Viva Alberto

The last grand tour of the year was an amazing event. Not as popular as the previous two but equally, or more exciting in my view. Exciting for the inclusion of the Alto de l'Angliru and the 17 km ITT to Alto de Nevacerrada . Perhaps an opinion not shared by David Millar...

Looking at the results, one must imagine what the TdF would have been if the Astana Team had been allowed to enter - Astana x CSC/Saxon Bank.

The Worlds

Erik's last, I read somewhere. And Voigt wasn't there, a friend of mine complained... Agree, but to me, it was sad not seeing Cancellara. Nevertheless, an amazingly hard course, an impossible to beat Squadra Azurre, a wrongful inclusion of McEwen in the Aussie squad and a disorganised Spanish team made it possible for the Azurre double, with Cunego. Possibly, made a little easier by racing on their homeland, too.

Sandra and I watched last year's Championship in Germany. It was huge, I mean huge. We loved it, but it couldn't be as big as in Italy, land of Colnago, Fausto, Campagnolo, Il Pirata and now, home of Ballan, the 2008 Campionissimo.

Ballan's victorious attack

And we can't forget Nicole Cook's win in the women's road race, backing up her Olympic Gold medal...

Riders re-shuffle for 2009

It is normal for Pro riders to start looking for new contracts at this time of the year. Usually, they sign two year contracts with the teams and most renew them once or twice before moving on. This year, partially because of the association of the sport with drugs, a few major sponsors decided to pull the pin, resulting on the termination of a couple of major teams also.

In the other hand, new teams get formed. In 2009, another major team, formed by the Cervelo guys, will be entering the competition. The Test Team, they call it, will have aussie Sunderland as DS and will be headed by Sastre. But lets wait a couple of weeks for the full lists to come out and find out who is riding for which team in 2009.

Lance will be back

Well, that's also interesting. I am not sure why he's coming back. I heard, cancer awareness was the reason, which would be a good thing. As long as he doesn't spend US$15 million to set up a team and raise US$8 million for the Livestrong Foundation.

My training and racing

As I said, it was an odd month, or couple of months. Due to a series of events, including the incident with the van, my focus on training and racing disappeared. I missed or was going to miss some great events so I could not see any point on getting on the bike... Well, not like that. I did keep riding and racing but just for a bit of fun. Without any pressure. And that was a good thing. If it was cold or I was tired, I just stayed in bed.

My shoulder injury is still there. I might need more time away from hard training and some races for now.

The last few rides have been with the Mt Nebo friends, Wednesdays for fast efforts on the series of inclines and Thursdays for strenght work (slow cadence on the 53) on the same hills, all fun. That is all a pre-training program as I am about to start the preparation for the 2008 Tour of Bright.

In fact, I haven't decided if I am going to Bright or not and still haven't decided if I am going to keep racing the bike, or not. For now, I will keep riding (hard sometimes) and having fun.

A Grade at Lakeside: Finishing top 6, officials don't give a s..t!

B-day gifts, Yeah!!

My B-day Dinner (1), Yeah!!

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