Thursday, July 2, 2009

Training and more importantly, a few races in the last 29 days...

Another interesting month, a month full of fun.

It has been a time to have fun on the bike, so no hard training. The weeks have been anything in between 145 and 260 km. I included a few TT sessions, all very short, so I wouldn't stress my body too much and used the weekend races as high-intensity sessions. All about having fun and catching up with friends.

I have a couple of reasons for that. First, I hadn't made any decisions on what events I wanted to peak for this year. Second, I want to have a different approach to training/racing this year, concentrating a lot more on recovery, diet and off the bike activities.

Training has been mostly at an easy pace, even when doing hills. I have used sessions at Nebo, Clear Mountain and Coo-tah just to work on climbing techniques, trying to go a little faster without going harder. The exception was the day I took Sandra's Powertap mounted Mavic Pro wheel for a test on Mt Nebo road.

Now, I have some idea of my power output and will be able to access any changes after doing another test in a couple of months. Another thing I learned, and that has to do with equipment, is how much softer the Mavic Pros are, compared to the Mavic Ksyrium SLs I have been training on. I noticed the difference as I climbed as well as cornering at speed on my down down the mountain... With 32 spokes perhaps the softness is on the Powertap hub.

The racing

This year, and after my stint off the bike, I have gone back to racing B Grade in club events and Masters B (or Cat 3) in Open events. I discussed the move with a club official and we agreed that it is the right decision due to my circumstances (and age!). Obviously, this decision can be re-accessed later in the year and if I ever get to the level I was 12 months ago, I might get moved up again.

The Metropolitan Championship - 69 km Road Race, Mt Alford

That was my third open event for 2009, this one in a course that I was was thought I could do well. I finished 4th in the State Championship in 2007, in 2008 I dropped a chain and never saw the bunch again. This year, I did everything right for most of the race, helping to cover a few attacks, closing gaps and saving a bit on the last lap, positioning myself close to the sprinters as the bunch reached 3 km to the finish. With 800 m to go, I took advantage of the slow pace and attacked in a solo effort but died within 200 m of the line. Made it to the Pub first, if that counts... top 15.

Av Speed: 35 km/h
Av HR: 153 bpm

HPRW Club Race - Hill Finish (1 hour), Lakeside

Another one of my favourites, this time with a hard up hill finish. Worked hard, felt good, chose a good wheel for the finish... but got stuck on the inside without room to go anywhere. Too late when I found a gap, finishing 6th!

(last 39 min)

Av Speed: 38.6 km/h
Av HR: 153 bpm

HPRW Club Race - Handicap Race (40 km), Somerset Dam

The idea to do this race was to go out to give the legs a spin and have fun before the Avanti Classic, next morning. It is an area of Brisbane that Sandra and I didn't know so even driving there was already a bonus. The course was out and back on a hilly terrain. Starting 3min before Scratch, our group got reduced to 3 riders in the first 4 km (I think). Unfortunately, it did become a hard race after the turn around as we spotted a solo rider trying to get to us... Check this video of the race.

Av Speed: 35.9 km/h
Av HR: 159 bpm

Avanti Classic - Open Handicap (80 km), Lowood

With a 11 min advantage and five or six strong riders in the group, I did think we had a chance of staying away. I changed my mind after someone told me in the first 5 km that I was going to fast for the group... It is hard to change my mind sometimes. I kept going, taking long turns, trying to talk others to do the same. Some did, some just sat there. I didn't mind, it was all training for me. That was my second Avanti Classic, last year I cramped badly when going really strong, so this year I tried to drink as much as possible but ended up getting dropped in the beginning of the second lap as I struggled to get one of my biddons... Silly really, perhaps I was wasted anyway. I did join other groups, including the Scratch but failed to hang on, riding the last 10 or 15 km with another three riders and finishing in just over 2 hours - 67th place.

Av Speed: 40 km/h
Av HR: 152 bpm

HPRW Club Race - Criterium (50min + 2 laps), Nundah Circuit

Legs were feeling fresh with only two rides for the week, including a few intervals at Jinker and a recovery ride with a few folks from work and the V Australia Team. Nundah is always a good place to catch up with friends, the warm up laps being perfect for pre-race chatting. The race turned out to be fast, I managed to get away from the bunch with three other riders after 30 min. We kept the speed high, with a 35 sec gap at some stage. At the end, I lead out the sprint to finish 3rd.

Av Speed: 41.1 km/h
Av HR: 155 bpm

Tour of Scenic Rim - Road Race, ITT and Kermesse Races, Boonah

The RR was 45 kms on a really, really hilly course (16 km of climbing). The "highlight" been a 450 m climb at 9% at the end of each lap. It was a course which suited me well, a top 3 finish was truly in reach. That was not to happen as I spend too much energy fighting for the KOM points with a U17 rider and had little left for the last lap - 10th place.

Av Speed: 32.5 km/h
Av HR: 154 bpm
The 12 km Time Trial from pub to pub was on a down hill course and the later groups had a nice SW wind helping for most of the way - 15:57.67 for 9th place. Aero bars next time!

Av Speed: 45.4 km/h
Av HR: 158 bpm

The Kermesse was a 7 km loop which included a few hills as well. Nice! I was well prepared for it and had planned to get away at some stage, only way to steel a few seconds. I knew I was going to be one of the marked riders but had no other choices. I tried my luck twice but didn't have what it takes to get away and stay away that morning. Still, quick change of plans and I was hanging on to some strong finishers wheels for a couple of kms and rough corners... Battled on and finished 3rd.

Av Speed: 37.9 km/h
Av HR: 149 bpm

The overall result was a bit of a mess and after a lot of rightful and unrightful changes, they gave me a 6th place. I guess we just have to be thankful for having events like that in our backyard...

I am now in the middle of a recovery week. As I have now set some goals for 2009, next week I will start an eight-week (crash) program in preparation for the Grafton to Inverell, my first A race for this year. More on that and my other events next time.

Safe riding!

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