Stromlo ITT

Thanks for the photo random Viking man.

A wonderful rainy and windy day for a fanciful jaunt along Uriarra Rd. Ten riders turned up for the 15 km time trial. The course was undulating hills with a couple of tiny kicks along the way. I was the last rider to head out. The rain had stopped by this time but I was still soaked from the ride out. The first half of the course was overall downhill with a great tail wind pushing us along. The ride back was uphill and and into the wind - not so fun.

I was aiming to keep in low E3 for the first half, mid E3 for the 3 quarter bumping it up to high E3 to E4 for the last few kms. My heart mostly behaved, but my legs felt they were missing some power. I think I need to focus on a proper warm up before starting time trials. I struggled a little on some of the hills on the way out, but once the engines were firing, I settled into a nice tempo on the way back, while slowing ramping up my heart rate.

I placed 4th overall with a time of 26min 7 secs with an average speed of 34.5 km/h. The winning time was 24min 20 secs (37.0 km/h) by James. I need to do more time trialling practise! I think doing some of my easier riders on the TT bars will let me get more used to the TT position, working some of the leg muscles that don't often otherwise get my much of a workout (I'm looking at you hamstrings!)

Taking off from the start line. Click here for the video!

Peter Clark Classic

This image is no way related to this post. But look at it. Just look at it. Artwork. If only I owned a house so I could mortgage it to buy this beautiful, beautiful machine. 

Garmin data is available here!   
I was in Perth recently and I thought it would be nice to have a brief tipple of the local racing scene. The Peter Clarke Classic is run each by the Northern Districts Cycle Club. This race has a special place in my heart; it was the first I ever entered way back in 2010. Back then it was called the "The Hell of the North" because it was usually hot, windy and the road were in such bad condition I reckon you'd have a good chance of winning on a mountain bike. Alas! The course has changed since then; it has moved to the move scenic Chittering Brook where the roads are better, the weather more pleasant, and generally a lot less hell like.

I didn't really prepare well for the course. I knew it was some number of laps of a flat-ish course. I was racing in B grade because why not. Plus I was running a bit late - it was the siren of sleep that tempted me back to dreamland. With no team members racing with me, I wasn't quite sure on a strategy - maybe something like if there's a decent looking break latch onto it, otherwise sit in and have a crack towards the end.

So, it turns out the course wasn't as flat as I thought. It was Canberra flat, but Perth hilly, those sort of power climbs that the guys with giant flesh pistons for legs love. On the first lap I worked out the race was going to be 5 laps of 15kms or so, nice to have that sorted. The pace on the first lap was reasonably subdued, bit of a coffee ride really. I noticed there were 3 teams with a metric crapload of riders (1.26 metric crapload to 1 imperial), so I knew it was going to be a very team tactic dominated race. Great. Lots of break away attempts. I couldn't go with them all, was going to have to pick them carefully.

I moved up toward the front, but not at the front. The teams were watching each other, sending breakaways off. Their team members sat at the front and slowed everything down. No one in the peloton wanted to work, so I did a couple of stints hunting down breakaways. Bad idea, it wore me out quicker than I'd hope. After a while I stopped trying to hunt them down as hardly anyone was helping. One guy from South Perth and another from NDCC helped out for quite a while, but we all got fed up dragging the pack around. So I had no idea if there were breakaways out front or not.

The pace heated up on the 5th lap. If it hadn't, I would've been very worried. The pack caught a few breakaways, but there was still a big one out the front we could see, but not catch. The finish line was about 200m after a tight left hander coming off a hill, so it was quick and the sprint at the end felt a bit silly, but you have a have a crack. I think I finished in the second pack, toward the front of it, which was nice. One of the guys from one of the three teams won, who I happened to be parked next to in the car park. We got to chatting, they went in with a really good plan, but it must be said that it helps having 9 other team members.

All in all, a nice race. Very stop and go at times, quick and constant at others. I'll have to get better at those power climbs. I think that training starts soon. Ish. I hope.

New Year - New Goals

I've just been overseas for a number of weeks, and wasn't riding at all. Coming back is hard work! I thought I would have a look at my goals and make some new ones.

  • - Place well (top 5) in B grade in road racing. Still haven't got to B grade. I underestimated the competition in Canberra! Placed 3rd in my first B-grade race
  • - Win C grade road race. Won VCC Honeysuckle Hammer
  • - Win C grade crit. Won VCC supercrit
  • - Race in B grade and finish with the pack 3rd CCC Uriarra homestead race
  • - Train ass off for Tour of Bright - Place top 5 in C grade. Came 23rd in GC. Train for next year!
  • - Win B grade road race
  • - Win B grade crit. Only two left for the season!
  • - Enter three time trials, including a team TT.

  • - Post more often! More race reports - Next one is my failed attempt at CCC Honeysuckle.
  • - Get up Mt Ainslie in under 8:45. Nope, not yet
  • - Get up Black Mountain in under 8:30. HAHAHA
  • - Up short Red hill in under 3:30 Nope, 3:44
  • - Ride to Gudgenby and back (hills!) Where is this again?
  • - Collector, 110km round trip
    - Yass, 105km round trip
    - Corin Dam, 125km round trip - Only gets a half strikethrough, only rode to the top of the hill, not the dam. It snowed!
    - Cooma, 122km one way
    - Braidwood, 173km round trip (road might be dodgy though)
    - Batemans Bay, 146km one way (dodgy road?)
    - Goulburn, 178km round trip (the giant ram lives here!)
    - Canberra-Collector-Yass-Canberra, 195km 
    - Cooma, 244km round trip
    - Sydney???, 286km one way

Racing-ish Goals

I remembered I had some other cycling goals to try and achieve this year. About time for an update:

  • - Place well (top 5) in B grade in road racing. Still haven't got to B grade. I underestimated the competition in Canberra!
  • - Place well in C grade in criterium racing Placed 3rd at the Symonston Crit.
  • - Enter the Tour of Canberra in May Well this didn't run, so ticky tick. 

  • - Get up Mt Ainslie in under 9 minutes  8:57!
  • - Get up Black Mountain in under 10 minutes  8:47
  • - Ride to Lake George and back

New Goals!

  • - Win C grade road race
  • - Win C grade crit
  • - Race in B grade and finish with the pack
  • - Train ass off for Tour of Bright - Place top 5 in C grade

  • - Get up Mt Ainslie in under 8:45
  • - Get up Black Mountain in under 8:30 
  • - Up short Red hill in under 3:30
  • - Ride to Gudgenby and back (hills!)
  • - Ride to another city - Sydney!

Updated Goal List Thingy

I need to update this thing more. Also, I should have put the Honeysuckle Creek climb on here, that was a nice climb. Also Fitz's hill.. I don't think I'll ever do that again

- Lake George, 68km round trip
- Murrumbateman, 75km round trip
- Bungendore, 76km round trip... was 100km in the end.. took the long way home
- Collector, 110km round trip
- Yass, 105km round trip
- Corin Dam, 125km round trip - Only gets a half strikethrough, only rode to the top of the hill, not the dam. It snowed!
- Cooma, 122km one way
- Braidwood, 173km round trip (road might be dodgy though)
- Batemans Bay, 146km one way (dodgy road?)
- Goulburn, 178km round trip (the giant ram lives here!)
- Canberra-Collector-Yass-Canberra, 195km 
- Cooma, 244km round trip
- Sydney???, 286km one way

CCC Uriarra Homestead

All by my little lonesome. Photo taken by this guy.
I've been a little slack with writing of late, but hopefully I'll be able to post more frequently from now on.

The Uriarra Homestead race was 2 laps of a 25 km course, with a nice descent and climb at the first turn-around, and a false flat that destroys your soul at the other turn-around. It was one of those drizzly Canberra days, cold and pretty miserable. I arrived 5 minutes late to the marshalling area; I'll use the combination of crappy weather and not leaving enough time to ride to the race as an excuse. I was told that I could try and catch my grade, and if I wanted I could do a u-turn when I caught my grade after they past the first turn around. I wouldn't be officially part of the race, but I could still have a crack.

Off I went after them. I saw C grade pass me a few kms from the first turn around point. I was heading downhill at this point, so it took me a far while to slow down and turn in the slippery conditions (I managed to lock up the wheels in the process - luckily I stayed upright). I thought the best bet was to time-trial to catch them, the rest at the back of the bunch and then see where I was at. The first part was a little more difficult than I thought.

My heart rate was right up for most of the chase, I was putting in all I had to catch the bunch. I did see them off in the distance at one point, but I never did catch them. I past a few C graders that had dropped off the back, but by the time I got to the last turn around (~7km to go), I was completely stuffed. I'd pretty much hit the wall by that point and so I limped backed to the finish line. Hayden from the dev squad (I've still got to write about that) was thankfully still there; he took one look at me and told me he was giving me a lift home. It was very much appreciated! After a long shower and a big bowl of pasta, I promptly fell asleep in front of the heater on the beanbag. Ahh bliss!

Protip: Get to races on time!

Ride data available here.

Cootamundra Haycarters Handicap

Definitely a before shot
It all started with a lovely drive out to the little country town of Cootamundra. As far as I could tell, their chief export was lovely old houses and wide tree-lined streets. As we drove close to the marshalling area, an old lady marshall waved us down and had a bit of worried look on her face. "You boys be careful, there's 300 of you out there.. we'll do the best we can to keep you safe." Well that was an interesting introduction.

I'd been placed in group 9.. erm, I can't remember what the handicap time was, for this 70km race. Ben and BJ from the development squad (more on that soon!) in the group behind me, and Kenneth and Jared more in group 6. So off we went. The pace was quick from the get go. The false flat out of town had us averaging in the mid 40's km/h-ish for the first 10km. I was just managing to hang on.. the first blip of a hill was closing in. I was near the front of the group when we hit and quickly found myself going backwards. I managed to only just hang on over the top, thought the downhill was a real struggle. The next slight incline (~15km in) I fell right of the back of the pack. After spending a little time by myself, I teamed up with a few riders going about the same pace.

Cootamundra: 1, Pickle: 0
The first big climb I found myself falling off the front of the little group we had going. At the top I was by myself again. I think it was on this descent that Kenneth and Jared came screaming past at an alarming rate. I tried to jump on the back, and I did manage to hang on for all of 10 seconds, but it just wasn't to be. After a little while I was caught by a guy and a girl from the little group we had going before. The three of us started rolling through and had a decent pace going. We continued in our little group for quite a while, until about the 20km to go mark, where we were joined by a another rider. He looked quite strong and he seemed to have a fair bit left in the tank.. the pace got a bit quicker.

The old legs starting getting a little weary as we rounded the last corner to go back up the false flat to the finish line. The girl and the guy with a bit left in the tank rode off the front with about 10km to go. My cycling buddy and I stuck together, we were both well knackered. A few kms from the line we noticed a largish group bearing down on us, so we gathered up what we had left for one last effort. We made it to the line in front of them and had a bit of a sprint between the two of us. It was really close and I'm not actually sure who got up in the end. And we will never know because they haven't released the results for those of us who came in way down the list. Someone got a photo of the sprint finish though, so maybe with some CSI computer analysis we could work it out.

Here's the ride data if anyone wants to have a little peak.