Saturday, February 25, 2012

Summer morning

Some of the best roads are found right here... in our own backyards.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A dash to McAfees and being a pro-cyclist

It is that time of the year again, when hanging on to fast bunches is a real struggle, or an impossibility! It is all to do with that "off season" stuff, or strength training I do. This time, been three months of a very low kilometer count, as well.

How to fix that? A race at Lakeside (1 hour in a hilly circuit) and a fast Zupps bunch ride, I thought. But, like my start of any other year, I got dropped in both... But that should be OK, I needed to go through the physical and mental pain and just get the intensity and the legs turning a bit faster.

This morning, to test myself, I joined Sandra's McAfees Ride, which includes a 6.5 km/300 m elevation dash to a look-out. Because of the heavy europe layer I am carrying, and saving for next month, I (kind of desperately) even emptied my second drink-bottle before I passed the street sign at 5:34 am. From there, the ride was full of those moments when we feel a bit sick and think of turning around.

And after some uncomfortable eighteen-minutes-ten-seconds (Strava time) I was at the look-out on Mt Nebo Road. Slower than my best time of 16'18" a couple of years back, and on the R3, but a surprising fast time, if I may say so.

I don't have the power data from those earlier rides to McAfees and Nebo but I can see some good numbers from this ride - an FT(20 min) of 3.98 w/kg. That's always encouraging.

What's next?

With the date of our departure getting closer, there are lots of important things to do (I've been told). Training time is limited. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing because it is very important to stay rested and healthy in preparation for the contrasting (freezing) riding weather we are going to encounter in Europe. Short(ish), medium intensity rides are in the menu for now.

Perhaps, one more dash to McAfees...

And what else?

Well, I am officially unemployed. Or, I am officially a pro-cyclist because I will be paying myself to ride a bike for the next eight months. To mark the occasion, leaving work that is, I put together a video of my last commute, something I did on-and-off for almost seven years. Rides that, undoubtely, made me a better cyclist.

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Am I too late?

It is all go at the moment! We have bought our tickets and we are now anxiously getting ready for the great experience (getaway, if you like). In twenty-one days, we are hoping to have everything we own (apart from some clothes and a suitcase full of cycling gear) sold or in storage. We will then board the big Kangaroo and head to the old continent…

Once in Germany, our starting point, we have the first most important task of assembling our new bikes. According to Sandra, it shouldn’t take too long. I, knowing myself, will spend the first 30 to 45 minutes in trance with the new Campagnolo equipped marvel. My first!

Yes, a full transition is about to be fulfilled. Why? Because after seven or eight years on the ever consistent Japanese gear (I use Ultegra), I feel it is time to try the gear that is closer linked to cycling culture and the cycling history of the roads we will be riding on.

Call me a romantic, or a dreamer, I just want to experience been part of the cult of artisans and followers who argue and endorse the group's soul-filled character.

Ideally, a Campagnolo group would be married to a classic steel Pegoretti or racy Colnago frame and I am hoping the group will last to the day when I will be able to celebrate such union.

For now, it will stay matched to a German designed, Asian constructed carbon frame. A very light combo indeed, which will help me get up those steep and celebrated roads of the Alps and the Pyrenees...

But am I too late? In a way it feels like that. The new, long waited Campagnolo EPS (eletronic) system is out - RKP Intro.

Do I want one? Maybe. Am I going to get one, ever? Perhaps not.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time to get some miles in... and Acai berries for health

About 8 1/2 weeks for THE CHALLENGE, it is time to get on the bike for some genuine training. The first thing, and hardest: testing. I need to do a threshold power test (FTP) to set up a bench mark and my training zones. These tests do hurt so I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said I am looking forward to it!!

So, to Nundah for a few laps around the Circuit in a couple of days.

Interesting that when I made this video in 2010, I was coming back from an injury. Almost two years later, I have another injury (not bike related) I must keep an eye on.

The training for the challenge should be a bit different because it is not a race. The goal is to finish in the velodrome after riding 148 km, with thirty-one of them on cobble roads. I don't think I can really train for something like that here so I will be mostly working on my endurance by clocking up some miles until we get to Europe.

It is also a good time to focus on my health. The weather (as in temperature) isn't going to be too kind for a few weeks after our arrival. It might be a good thing that I am carrying five extra kilos at the moment (not panicking yet, I read Alberto was trying to shed 7.5 kg in Argentina) as they might work as insulators, and padding.

As most people who read my posts know, or know me, and without advocating vegetarianism here, I try to follow a healthy semi-vegetarian diet. To achieve this and also push myself in training and racing, I do some experiments by adding unconventional, natural elements to my daily food intake (I do take a multivitamin supplement as well). For example, Goji berries and Maca powder have been part of my breakfast ritual for a few years now and I feel I do profit from that.

For this season, I decided to try something different (nothing really new by any means) by adding high in antioxidants Acai to my diet. The berry like fruit has been used by sports people in Brazil for many years and has now become the natural supplement for everyone seeking a healthier life.

The idea came about when I was in Rio a few months ago. I noticed all the juice bars (they have been around for decades in Brazil) had Acai in some form or another, on their blackboards. At the beach, Acai was served on its pulp-form like a fruit sorbet. It was perfect after a bike ride!!

Back in Australia, and after doing a bit of reading on Acai and the Amazon jungle, I got in touch with the Bondi-crew from I told them I wanted to support their venture because of their Acai products but also, and largely, because of their concepts on sustainable practices and assistance to Amazon communities. A few weeks later, a package with Acai organic powder and Acai bars arrived on my front door with a note: "Good luck with all your upcoming competitions!"

I will stop here, for now, before this post starts looking like pure advertising.

Yet, I will recommend everyone to try the delicious Acai berry form and help communities in the Amazon, as well as giving these three Australian interpreneurs and their product a go!

Safe Riding!

(and be aware of iconic Cricket figures out there)

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