Posts Tagged ‘crits

It was a lot of fun to head out for a hard ride and have it done and dusted in an hour.

I made sure I went to the front early to get some warmth in the legs, and then spent most of the race in the bunch, waiting for a good attack to join (and not breathing heavily at all I should add). Quite a few launched half-hearted efforts from well behind sixth wheel, but out of the last turn and into the final lap, a Bike Gallery Rider (Tom?) kicked hard off the front. At three seconds he had a gap and I thought this was the chance — get away and hold off the bunch for less than a lap, or die trying. I put my head down and sprinted like it was for the chequered flag. We held the bunch off until just before the final turn. I sprinted for the line from the rear of the pack, just to finish the job.

Two things are worth noting since Chain Reaction: The first is that below threshold feels like no effort. Not ‘easy’, literally no effort. The second is that sprinting has no effect. It’s like flooring a diesel truck. The engine revs sloooooowly picks up the revs and the speed kinda sorta goes up, but you’re not blowing the doors off anyone.



37km   0m   00:52


36.8km, 58:00

Windier out on course today, with everyone watching and covering the Phoenix Racing boys after their win last week. With a bit more organisation at the front of the bunch (thanks Gareth!) most breaks were kept under easy control, left to hang out in the wind and die. But still, the last lap or two were a furious mess. I finished somewhere around eighth or ninth wheel, off the echelon and without the legs to make a real go of it. Gareth took 5th place.

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SKCC – C Grade

I had a good ride, hiding in the bunch mostly but coming out to chase a couple of attacks just to warm the legs up. The rain begain to fall — not heavily, but enough to wet the road — in the last five laps. I finished with the sprinters bunch, moving through gaps that opened and closed. Maybe I could have finished higher, but it would have meant charging a gap or two with questionable safety.

One observation from today is that C grade is pretty friggin’ disorganised. Breaks go as single riders. The bridging riders go too late and too soft, burning so much that they have little to give in aid of the break-away when they get there and, by the third rider, taking the rest of the bunch with them. Once they do cross, there seems to be very little in the way of real organisation. For the main bunch’s part, they’re no better. Everyone senses the need to shut down the break and the speed increases, but only slightly, until someone gets on the front and drives. When they do, the pack falls in line behind them, waiting for them to burn out. Only when they do does the next driver take their place and the cycle repeats itself.

So it has me thinking — an organised, well timed punch from a three or four turn-rolling riders could probably make a good break and stay away. Or at least wreak some havoc.

This same weekend: Neil raced the Melbourne to Warrambool, Ash, Darren and Ryan the World 24hr Solo Championships. All but Ash DNFed under brutal conditions.

36 km, 51:00



I had no intention of doing anything other that riding hard enough that it hurt, and hopefully putting up an attack or two.

The first was assured, with money up for grabs in a couple of sprint primes (although I only heard the whistle once). The second was trickier. I didn’t just want to burn myself, but wasn’t completely confident in my ability to make an attack stick for long. Several people went away in the lulls, one smart (or lucky) attacker went up the road hard around the mid-way point of the race. I was on the front but it was too early to worry much about, but  just then A-grade came upon us and we lost sight of him in the mess.

After the A bunch cleared us another attacker jumped off the front hard and put some distance into the group. Left on the front to do the work again I tried to limit the damage but was burning far to bright. I backed right off but no-one pulled through. Eventually someone rolled up on my left. I matched his pace and let him know that there were not one, but two guys up the road and between us we got a working group of four rolling smooth turns into the wind. Once that happened I was surprised at how easily the attackers came back to us. Sharing the load goes a long long way. Note to self.

With five laps to go the wind turned cold and it hard started to rain. With three to go the course was wet and someone went down in the A-grade bunch. After two neutralised laps they pulled us up and restarted the race with only two laps to go. It was on for young and old from corner two. At corner four three guys punched it hard and I followed suit, making second wheel. Haaaarrrrrd! You can ride a full lap at sprint pace can’t you? No, you can’t. You blow up big time down the back straight and finish last. But at least you had a crack.

00:55:12 / 36.1 km
Max speed: 56.2 km/h
Avg speed: 39.3 km/h
Avg HR: 170 bpm (AT: 172)
Max HR: 180 bpm

Strava link

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Pretty much zippo in the way of structured training but I’m on the bike at least an hour every day thanks to the commute. Work is challenging in a hundred great and sometimes mildly frightening ways. I come home physically tired from thinking, talking, meeting, coaching, conversing, coercing, encouraging, exciting, negotiating, listening, flitting, figuring and refiguring. It’s a blast, but I’ll be happy with the Odyssey behind me. I could do with a chance to regroup.

Claire has reached the stage where she misses me if I’m not there in the morning. Fee is at the stage of pregnancy where she’s exhausted by the time I get home. Riding feels selfish. Especially with such beautiful girls at home.


With less than a week to go, what can you do? Short, fast brutalisations. We went down to SKCC and my only intention was to attack hard in the last three laps, go too early and just burn and burn and burn. Blow up. Die. Crack and keep it floored all the way over the edge and into the abyss.

With ten to go I got to the pointy end where a small group looked to be intent on reeling back a solo rider off the front. When I came to the head of the bridging group I felt the impetus fall away, open air at my flank. In the wind alone. Fuck. Fuck it. I decided then and there to die and put two full legs worth of tension onto the chain until I caught the lead rider. I was huffing hard when I made his draft and saw he was too so I pulled through with a pat on his back that I hoped would say ‘Jump on my wheel’ so that we could try to stay away a little longer.

A lap later we were swamped. I motored to stay with the bunch. Big, deep, diaphragm  breaths and Neil beside me in the marshal’s vest telling me to get on the wheel of the guy in Total Rush kit who was moving to the front with five and three to go. And here we go again. Hard, hard, hard. No air and no legs at the front of the bee swarm. Held until one to go and then all the will in the world just to stay on the drops and not sit up.

I rolled through the line, around turn one and pulled into an alley way. Bike to the wall, back to the floor and the backs of my gloves against my eyes, gasping. Rolling just to spit and trying not to spew.

Mission accomplished.

It’s been a wet weekend, with more expected from above. Next weekend looks very likely to suck really hard with mud. Goodbye sub seven hour goal. Hello just-make-it-to-the-finish.

I tried to quiet my nerves on the start line and put out of my mind everything I’d heard people say about not wanting to ride in crits for fear of crashing and destroying themselves / their good kit / their nice bike. Less likely to crash if you’re relaxed anyways.

I entered C-grade on Neil’s recommendation. The atmosphere around the SKCC race is very warm – warmer and friendlier than most MTB races, and better run.

Once rolling the race was good. There were a few surges early on, and I tested my legs to bridge to an early (and hopeless) break. Everything is tight and predictable so long as you look through and hold your line in the corners, you just need to keep an eye on the wheels around you and don’t half-wheel anyone. On a lot of turns the bunch took a tighter line than necessary, and for most of the race it was easy enough to stay wide through the turns, carry more speed and be on the gas smoother and earlier than most of the field. Maybe I’m missing something.

I wasted some energy helping to bring back an attack at the three laps to go call and sucked wheel all through the second to last lap, crossing the line into the final trip ’round in fourth position. I poured everything I had into the pedals approaching the last corner but I was poorly positioned and the an angry, strung-out bunch rolled over the top of me. I doubt if I would have been in the top 10, but I had big fat gobs of fun.

Fee and Claire came down to watch. Claire cheered until she got bored with the endless lapping and made a little friend on the grass.

A+++ would race again.

33.9 (44 including the ride down)
31 m
51:45 (race only)


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September 2020

On the bike

CrossFit benchmarks

100 Burpees: 11:07 10:32
50 Burpees: 4:24
Angie: 30:47 (60 pull-ups only)
Annie: ---
Cindy: 13 rounds
Dianne: 39:07 (scaled)
Elizabeth: 24:47 (scaled)
Fight Gone Bad (3 rounds): 311
Filthy Fifty: 31:16
Fran: 10:31
Grace (35 kg): 4:25
Hangover Cure: 8 rounds
Helen: 11:10
Jeremy: 13:33
Kelly: 36:09
Linda (scaled): 1:17:04
Michael: 32:30
Murph: 54:17
Nancy: 17:30 (scaled to 35 kg)
Nate: 7 rounds (scaled)
Nicole: 3 rounds, 19 pullups

Row 1k: 3:26.3
Row 2k: 7:15.4
Row 500m: 1:35.7
Run 5k: 24:05 (Feb 17)

Weightlifting PBs

Bench Press: ---
Clean: 70kg
Jerk: 70kg
Press: 52.5kg
Snatch: 47.5kg+
Squat (back): 102.5kg
Squat (front): 85kg (x2)
Deadlift: 130kg
CrossFit Total: 623


3RM OHS: 55kg
3RM Front squat: 82.5kg (x5)
3RM Back squat: 90kg
3RM Deadlift: 130kg
5RM Press: 45kg
5RM Front squat: 82.5kg
5RM Back squat: 90kg
5RM Deadlift: 120
20RM Back squat: 65kg