Posts Tagged ‘withJim

With most people down in Lorne for the AGF Gran Fondo, all I wanted to do is get a lumpy 120km into the legs. The last couple of weeks with the Williamstown bunch have left me with two feelings: 1. I need to ride longer; 2. I need to rider harder. So this is the first step forward into longer. From here it increases slowly back to where I was happy to head out for 140-160 on the reg last year.

It was good to have Jim for company and for navigation. There’s nothing like long back road base miles with old mates, just enjoying the morning and shooting the shit.

124km   1,886m   5:00

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Jim asked me out for a ride ‘with a few guys’ on a ‘130k or so’ ‘out to Donna’. I was busy at work at the time of the invitation, so I took a quick look at the route, accepted and went back to work. Jim suggested an ‘early start’ to ‘beat the heat’, so I set the clock for 4:30a.m., a whole hour and fifteen sleep in over last week, so I could be at his place by six. I got to bed at 11, woke at 12 when Fee came in and again at 4 when Mae woke up. Before kids I would have come very close to bailing, but I’ve found you get used to doing things tired and take your leave passes seriously post-parenthood.

Speaking of last week, I haven’t felt a lot of snap in the ol’ legs since that little jaunt, but I figured I could roll out 130k up the back of the bunch without too much trouble. Anyways, I wasn’t going to say no to finally seeing the climb up Mt Donna Buang.

When we met Craig, Jase, Mario, BJ and Christian in a car park at Warrandyte it was 6:30 and the air was thickly humid and we met Jase’s two tag-alongs, Matt and Ash (who Jase had been warned would be tied to his bike in the event they couldn’t keep pace). Matt looked fine, but Ash looked out of place in a Richmond Tri Club jersey, waist-shorts, MTB shoes, half-platform pedals and a floppy two-bottle seatpost biddon holder. Nobody said nothin’.

We single-filed it out of town before switching to rolling turns with BJ, Jim, and Craig in the working group. Since I didn’t know the others and they didn’t seem interested in working in I figured they figured we were the stronger riders, but every time the road tilted upward I felt feebly that I should have stayed in bed and gone for a quite hour’s roll on flat roads. So not recovered.

At the turn into Don Rd, the road that climbs Mt Donnabuang, everyone backed off the pace, soft pedalling up to the start of the KOM segment (funny how the online world changes even bike rides). I figured I’d just try and sit-in on Jim’s wheel but… There he goes. Ok, Mario— no? Matt? Nope. Ok, I’ll just keep this poor triathlete company. For the first couple of km anyway.

The climb was beautiful, and I mean beautiful, the early sun running it’s fingers through the trees, and throwing crepuscular rays through the mist into dappled pools on the road. I didn’t breathe hard and my legs didn’t burn or strain, they just failed to turn over while my heart threw itself feebly against the bottom of my throat a thousand times a minute.

The guys were waiting for me at the top. I rode past them, touched the dirt road and turned around for one of the fastest descents I’ve ever ridden. It’s dangerously quick out there and there are traps on a couple of the turns. In other words, it’s Too Much Fun, but I’m still fucking wrecked.

Craig kept rolling (training for the Masters’ Worlds is serious business) while we stopped for a bite and coffee (thank you God) at Healsville.

Some time ago Neil posted a picture taken on Meyer’s Creek Rd on Flickr, to which I commented simply, ‘Take me here.’ It’s as gorgeous as it looks on screen and I wasn’t unhappy to be there, even as everyone rode out of sight. It’s a perfect, consistent, enduring gradient, ideal for playing bike racer games with bike racer friends, and with Craig in full training mode, Jim and BJ beginnign to find legs and Mario in good form, I’m sure many a half-wheeling gauntlet was accidentally dropped. I just watched Ash’s two biddons flop from side to side above his rear wheel, shrinking further and further away up the hill.

I rolled straight through over the top when I met the bunch. I must have looked a treat for BJ to ask if I’d like to stop for a bit, but I said I’d be happy just to recover on the descent. Closer to the truth was that I was happy for every cm closer to home I could roll. At the turn off to Kinglake I put my head down and resigned myself to digging a very, very deep hole.

At the 10km to KL sign I took out the shovel and tapped down the cassette, stiffening up the cranks and told myself to pedal harder if I wanted it to be easier and to my surprise felt very much better. I held second to fourth wheel all the way up, at one point looking back over my shoulder to see the group strung way back out along the road, splintered badly. Craig took turns falling off the back and then surging past us all, leapfrogging the group as a form of interval training.

With the method of riding on shattered legs uncovered my spirits were higher all the way home. Somewhere along the ride we stopped at Smiths Gully and I drank a bottle of Coke faster than I’ve ever drunk a fizzy thing ever, and it imparted magical powers of legs and happiness for pretty much the rest of the ride. Legs and happiness and cola burps.

145km  2,150m  5:19

It’s been a bit hot. So the invitation from my old buddy Jim to get out into the pre-dawn and shrug off dreary night’s half-sleep — to just attack this motherfucker heatwave, the hell with it! — and roll into the morning with a belly full of iced espresso and a head full of endorphin powered bliss was an easy choice.

As a bonus, the roads through Doncaster, Donvale and Templestowe were pretty much all new to me. Jase, an old colleague of

Foote St is an almost endless continuum of perfectly spaced rollers. It’s mother nature’s intervals, especially when you have a Jim to half-wheel.

A few quick turns and the roads shrunk down to way-out-of-town size. Not more than 10k later and they dwindled down to gravel, not for long, but it felt a lot like a weekend to be riding roads like this at seven thirty in the morning. It definitely didn’t feel like school day. Bonus points.

Totals for the day:

75km (90 with the commute home)   1,035m   2:50h

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Met Jimmy at Safeway at 6:00, which perversely felt like a sleep in. It was his first ride back after a pretty horrendous crash and we met Brian, the old killer, responsible for at least a couple of my worst-ever days in the saddle, who was also de-trained after buying a new house and the chaos that goes with that.

I felt good all day long. Temo out to Safeway was easy as pie. At the turn off onto Antoinette I chatted with Jim until the top of the twisties, and when he dropped behind I decided to have a crack at the old PR. To have put nearly a minute into that persistent benchmark, last set two years ago almost to the day, was very satisfying indeed. Figuring that was my ‘effort’ done, I waited for Jim and we rolled out to meet BJ in Warrandyte. From there it was loads of pretty back roads. Pidgeon Bank / Menzies Road melted away under quick cadence. At the start of the year, in the middle of a brutal line of business planning period, I asked Neil to take me out and make me forget. That was my first encounter with PB/M. I still remember grinding it out with leaden legs and shallow lungs, a full 4:01 slower than today.

It was a good day to be on the bike, and although you don’t measure your progress against others, and although they’re both out of shape right at a time when I’m beginning to see perhaps the best form in many years, I can’t say it wasn’t a little bit cool to be able to jump off the wheels of BJ and Jimmy for once. I can count the number of times that’s happened on fingers that can’t be unclenched from foetal-position fists. Zero.

But most of all, it was good to be on real small, real pretty back roads with good people; old friends.

I resolved to keep the pace up on the way back, and two things helped to add some spice. The first was running into the returning Chain Reaction crew, which was cool. Even cooler was trying to chase a small attack by Jason Blankfield (of Soigneur ) and James Hines up to the end of Banule Flats. Also cool was holding Jase in the sprint to Red Rooster. Not so cool (but cool in its own way) was Fee calling me at Clifton Hill to ask if I’d be home 15 minutes earlier than planned. 10 minutes maybe, but either way it was a head-down ITT all the way from there to Footscray to finish off.

All up:
133km   5:00h   2,140m
PRs on Mt Pleasant (by 54s) and  Pidgeon Bank / Menzies (43s).

A nice, mellow roll with Jim, whose wife, Anna had just given birth to their second daughter, Charlotte. Little sister to Maddie.

Just a lap of Mt Pleasant with Burgandy St, the Yarra Blvd and a couple of repeats of Yarra St thrown in on the run home.

All told:
87km / 1,184m / 3:25

Strava link: http://app.strava.com/activities/70301394

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I went for what is probably the most beautiful road ride I’ve ever been on with Neil, Jim and a few other old riding companions. It was unsettlingly warm beneath a brooding sky. The rain started immediately. Not heavy, but enough to make us damp and add to the water already on the ground. It would stay all day, making the mountain descents sketchy and the time on the high hills uncomfortably cold.

Archeron Way goes for a long time, just rolling along through this chapel of trees growing narrower and narrower until it turns to dirt. 120km without incident ended in three flats over the final half thousand metres of dirt road.

We skipped Mt Donna Buang at the end. Hard after steeling myself for it, but an easy decision by the clock, but even still, we finished with about 145km and a shade over 3,000m vertical on the clock over about six hours. Neil scored a little higher by bounding ahead to intersections and then back to the tail of the group and so on like an excited blue heeler.

6:23hrs 143km, 3,057m
Strava link

Well, I thought we were headed out for an extended Mt Pleasant loop. Mt Pleasant, Pigeon Bank Rd, maybe a little Flat Rock. We did ride the Mt Pleasant loop, but from there on it was all new. Tiny little suburban roads thrown like a lumpy quilt over a lumpier landscape. The kick began with Nathan’s Rd a little kicker that gains 40m vertical in the space of 200m — 21% average (it kicks at the corner). It’s the kind of climb you either make it up or you don’t. I did, but with a HR just 10 beats under my max, gasping for air and both arms and legs completely blown. I wasn’t the same after that and would fall off Jim and Graeme’s wheels whenever the road tilted toward the blue for the rest of the day. A rest of the day that included some of the quietest, tiniest, prettiest little back roads I’ve ever seen.

123.6 km, 1,972 m, 5:03 h

Strava link

This is exactly what I’ve been needing.

Long winding roads with some reasonable elevation. It’s barely an hour’s ride out of the CBD, but you could be in the middle of country Victoria anywhere for all you know.


Neil, Ash and Jim were along for the ride, Ash with a set of fearsome legs at the end of a year that took in a Solo 24 Hour Worlds, Mongolia High Plains Challenge, Croc Trophy and Tour de Timor. I was off the back early on when the boys went up the road to play, but besides that I felt pretty good all day long.

119km / 1,861m / 4:30:00

Jim and I met up for a quick and mellow roll along the inner trails before work. We met at a civilised 7:30 and were done and dusted with coffee in hand by 8:45. Soft? Yeah, but it was good just to roll and catch up on life.

30km and 330m including the trip from home.

Deets: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/123632823

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55 km from home to the Yarra trails to meet Jim and some mates of his. From there it was out to the edge of Westerfolds Park and finally back in to Ikea/Victoria Gardens.

Muddy, and fun as hell.

Numbers to come…

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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