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. 

Mt Kosciuszko

King of the world!.. err, continent!..!
I walked to the top of Mt Kosciuszko a few weeks ago with a couple of friends. We cheated a bit and took the chairlifts up from Thredbo, but it was a lovely walk from there, about 12km return. It was whited out all the way so I couldn't see more than 10m at any one time. Ah well, it's a good excuse to go back and check out the view.

My Polish friend that came with us on this walk made us learn the correct pronunciation of Kosciuszko, something along the lines of "Ko-shoo-sko", which I was happy with because it was one less syllable to say.

All in all, a nice walk. Take warm gear with you, I obviously didn't (maybe I was just seeing how far I can get in my shorts).

ACT: Bimberi Peak
NSW: Mount Kosciuszko
NT: Mount Zeil
Qld: Mount Bartle Frere
SA: Mount Woodroffe
Tas: Mount Ossa
WA: Mount Meharry
Vic: Mount Bogong

Lap of Lake Burley Griffin

Another Canberra staple is the lap of the Lake. Nice and flat with some very quick sections in the eastern portion.

The Canizzle - Oh yeah.
It's a very scenic route, a good one to see the sites of Canberra. On the ride you'll pass the Governor General's house in Yarralumla, the National Library, a couple of other National buildings (I wasn't taking that much notice.. there were too many runners to dodge) and the mighty Scrinver Dam!

It's kinda mighty.. it would have been more mighty after the 7 or so meters of rain the other day! 

 Speaking of the rain, it ate some of the bike path:

Om nom nom
So all in all, a lovely, flat, quick, jogger packed ride if you have a spare hour and can bunny hop further than an olympic long jump jumper.

Eight Peaks

Bimberi Peak from Corin Dam, ACT

This is something I've been thinking about for a while - climbing the tallest peak in each state/territory. It's a bit like the infamous Seven Summits, but not as death making and slightly more achievable. It was motivated the climb up Mt Ossa while walking the overland track in Tassie.  This would be a long term thing, trying to knock off one or two every year.

ACT: Bimberi Peak
NSW: Mount Kosciuszko
NT: Mount Zeil
Qld: Mount Bartle Frere
SA: Mount Woodroffe
Tas: Mount Ossa
WA: Mount Meharry
Vic: Mount Bogong

I could have a good crack at getting up Mt Kosciuszko and Bimberi peak this year. Maybe Mt Bongong too, if I'm lucky (haha.. Bogong). The others will have to come later!

Canberra - Murrumbateman Return

Had a lovely ride out to Murrumbateman this morning. The ride itself was a little more exciting, and not as hilly as the ride out to 'Lake' George. And it had a lovely little cafe! Exciting!

Waiting for the obligatory coffee is the worst part

Murrumbateman itself is a quaint little town, with lots of nice looking wineries in the surrounding countryside. It would probably make a nice little winter retreat. The ride was on predominantly on Barton Hwy, which had decent shoulders most of the way, with a few hairy spots. My favourite part was planning 'dodge the road construction stuff' - it kept me ammused for a little while.

It took me ages to find a 'Murrumbateman' sign. This was the main park in town, resplendent with gaffitied wheelie bins.

 I ran into Murrumbateman cycle club, or part thereof, at the cafe. Had a good chat with one of the guys. Apparently there's lots of nice back roads around the place for tranquil riding away from the bustling highway. A little local knowledge would go a long way it seems. Might have to catch up with those guys for a ride one day. Now for the stats:

Canberra CC - Race 3

The last of the three 'twilight' races for the year, this was my second foray into road racing in Canberra. A shortish course, only 27 km, but with two significant climbing sections. The first section was a long, fast decent into valley of the Murrubidgee River and a few break-away attempts were made, though all were reeled back in rather quickly. After crossing the river, there was a short sharp climb up towards the ACT/NSW border where the turn around point was. I was about halfway along the peleton at the beginning of the climb and saw this as an opportunity to move up a bit. A group of four riders, myself included, made it to the turn around with a bit of lead over the rest of the field.

Oh yeah... some topo action. Please note how Lake Burley Griffin looks like an angry octopus about to devour parliment.
After the turn around, I could see a massive storm front moving in our direction. There was quite a bit of lightning - I was wondering if it would turn into a wet race. The decent back to to river went fine but somewhere along the line we lost the fourth rider. The climb started out of the valley and my legs were already screaming at me. About a km or two into the climb, the other two riders started to pull away. I caught up two or three times, but they finally broke me after a little while. They stayed in sight, but slowly kept pulling away. Someone started to come up behind me and finally made contact. I jumped on his wheel for a while and then started taking turns, thinking we could have a crack at catching 1st and 2nd. However, he broke away up a hill after I'd taken a stint at the front. I did manage to catch him but it meant I was knackered when it came down to a sprint finish for 3rd place. Just missed out on the podium by a wheel length.

Riders on the storm
I was really happy with the way the race went. I'm glad it didn't rain - apparently it poured at the start/finish line while we were out. We were treated to a spectacular lightning show as we gobbled down post race hotdogs and coke.

Updated List of Places to Ride

In my original goals post, I outlined places I would like to ride to. After a bit more research, I've found some new places I'd like to try getting to, and put them in order that I will attempt them.

- Lake George, 68km round trip
- Murrumbateman, 75km round trip
- Bungendore,76km round trip
- Collector, 110km round trip
- Yass, 105km round trip
- Corin Dam, 125km round trip
- 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

Canberra - Lake George Return

One of my goals for this year was to ride out to Lake George, and I made it out there on a solo ride a couple of weeks ago. I later found out that this is one of the popular weekend rides for Canberrans (Canbrites?). The ride started out with a climb out of the valley that Canberra resides in along Northbourne Ave, which turns into Federal Hwy at some point. It was a little surreal as at one point I crossed the ACT/NSW border, coming from WA it had never dawned on me that I would ever ride across different states in the one trip!

The route to "Lake" George
At about the 20km, I turned off onto the old Federal Hwy, which runs along side the new one. It was a lot quieter and a lot more scenic than the highway proper, but there was a bit more up and down. Just after the turn off started another climb, a nice steady one with a little kick at the end. From then on it was reasonably smooth sailing, except for the blip of a hill just prior to reaching Lake George. Descending to the lake offered some spectacular views, with windfarms dotted all along the far shoreline. I couldn't see any water in the lake myself, but I've been told there is a small amount along one of the far sides.

It's definitely labelled a lake on the map...
The ride back was really nice as it felt mostly downhill, probably because it was!A very nice change after all the uphill on the way out. I can now can cross this one off the list!

Distance: 68km
Time: 2h 24min
Average Speed: 28km/h
Climbing: 550m

Canberra Racing Calendar

There's a fair bit of racing in Canberra and it's surrounds. I'm trying to collate them all into a calendar to keep track of them all. If you know of any I've missed, please let me know.

Top 10 Mt Ainslie Climb Times

I've been going up Mount Ainslie a lot recently, I thought I should keep track of the climbs. Times are measured from the 70 km/h sign at the bottom to the KOM line near the no standing sign at the top.

Top hillclimbr time: 8:17
Goal time: 9:00

1. 9.30
2. 9:31
3. 10:37
4. 10:46


Everyone needs goals. Here's my cycling ones for the year.

  • - Place well (top 5) in B grade in road racing
  • - Place well in C grade in criterium racing
  • - Enter the Tour of Canberra in May 

  • - Get up Mt Ainslie in under 9 minutes
  • - Get up Black Mountain in under 10 minutes
  • - Ride to Lake George and back
  • - Ride to a country town and back (Bungendore, Yass, Goulburn)
  • - Ride to another city (one way)

That last one will take a lot of preparation and training, but if I aim for something on the coast, it's mostly downhill!

It's been a while - Mt Ainslie Climb

Time travelling aside, my last little post on this little blog seems to be about a year and a half ago. A few things have happened in that time, and, well, long story short, I'm now living in Canberra, which I've been told is actually the capital of Australia. Fancy that.

Another rumor I've been told about Canberra is that there's a couple of hills around the place. So I took my deadly out and tried out some of these hills. Coming from Perth, my first reaction was "pffttt.. hills", but soon found out, that the hills here are real hills, and those in Perth are bumps in the ground.

My first little foray was up Mt Ainslie, only a couple of kms from the centre of Canberra. It's only a 3km climb, but it gets steeper the closer you get to the top. The average gradient is around 7% and maxes out at 13% according to this website. It definitely got the old heart pumping.

Mount Ainslie Map and Profile. Check out the bump in the speed toward the end (green line)! 80km/h!
I managed to get to the top in 10:37; the fastest climb on hillclimbr is 8:17, so I need to find an extra 2:20 somewhere on the climb. Hopefully I crack 10 minutes on my next try.

The other beastie of a climb close in Canberra is Black Mountain (even sounds ominous). This one is a little steeper with an average gradient of 9% that tops out at 13%. That will be next on the list of things to conquer.

Profiles of Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain. Yeah, I'm going to die going up Black Mountain.
I think I'm going to need some more gears.

Update: Topo map of the two mountains and Canberra