Posts Tagged ‘racing

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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Strava: 96.3km, 2,883m, 6:51:15

260th overall (/806)
175th in category (open men, /466)

Stay tuned for words…

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.

The thrusters/pushups WOD from earlier in the week did a number on my arms, to the extent that I spent the remainder of the week out of the gym. Claire has been on-again off-again sick, and sleep has been inconsistent so it didn’t seem like a bad idea (to bludge the 2nd half of the training week).

I went to bed a cough and that getting-a-cold feeling and just put it in the back of my mind. I’d been looking forward to this race for a few months now and the night before a race is not the time to pull the pin on an old racing partner. I woke up with the same cough, took a couple of cold and flu tabs, got my gear ready and jumped in the car when Neil arrived. He was developing a similar complaint but had some insanely nice wheels to make up for it.

We got a rushed recce lap in (just) before race start. I was feeling good up until I stopped to wait for Neil, who’d dabbed on a trick rock section and realised that I was breathing with almost race-pace heft. Just the warm-up limiter. No biggie.

Neil put down a solid first lap for the amount of traffic he had to contend with, putting me out into 12th place. I was happy enough to be behind the really fast guys because I wasn’t firing on all cylinders anyway. It’s one thing to be detuned, but it’s another thing altogether to be riding feeling like your tyres are flat. Lap one felt ok, but sitting down after tagging Nell, I just wanted to sleep. Lap two was a fight, lap three a struggle, and the final outing – after a double rest – is best described as ‘limp’.

I didn’t lack the will, it didn’t hurt, I didn’t pop and barely suffered. I just had zero gas. Couldn’t spin the cranks quick enough to make anything else fire up. I rode through treacle to just barely get back in under 45 minutes and send Neil out for a quick final lap which nabbed us 8th in the pairs.

Thinking about how I’d sum up the race on the way home, I felt like this was the kind of race that’s best forgotten. The post-race feeling is the one that makes you wonder what’s good about this, and the training that opens the door to good time racing just seems like a fat, selfish waste of time. It’s only fifteen years of riding and racing that provides the wisdom required to see those thoughts, and to let them go.

It’s now Tuesday night. I have a few bruises that don’t do any justice to the pain that bumping bone on granite produces and I’ve been sick for two whole days. I’m tired and sick of it. And the only thing I can think of that I’d really like to do is hop on a bike, turn the cranks over smoothly and just let all the good times buffered up in that machine flow back up into me.

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In today’s road race I worked hard on the front, in the wind. Some others did too, but a few did the minimum. Last season it made me mad, this season I just wonder what racing looks like to those guys. They are often there at the finish contesting the sprint. Sometimes they post decent results, ahead of me. It’s competition and they are racing, using all of the tactics available to put themselves in a good position to win. They save themselves for the finish but what’s lost along the way? I think we’re here for different reasons.

I’m not here to save myself.
I am here to destroy myself.
I am not here for the smart if smart means shirking the work.
I am here for The Hard.
It may look like I’m here to lose or give the race away.
But when I win one I will have fucking earned it.

I just don’t get it. We’re amateurs. It’s a hobby. The sport is tough. That difficulty makes the feeling of finishing well after having utterly smashed yourself so satisfying. I know that feeling. I wonder what it feels like to finish after having sat in, after having done the bare minimum for 99% of the race, and then shooting to the line on reasonably fresh legs ahead of the chasing, faltering pack. Is it a good feeling, that win? It must be.

Still, why wouldn’t you work hard enough to break and redefine yourself? Afraid of what you might find?


February 2020
« Dec    

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