Posts Tagged ‘withNeil

I’ve wanted to race (or at least ride) CX since about second year uni. When Shifter Dan put this Flanders up for sale, I couldn’t pass up the chance to grab a carbon-wheeled, disc-braked bike owned by the most fastidious mechanic in the city.

After week off the bike to put the sickness to bed, Neil took me in, out up and down the trails this morning. It’s great gobs of fun. Pretty much exactly like XC used to be, when suspension was short, tyres were narrow and pressures were high. Picking a line matters, and when you get it right you saaaail through the corner. Because it’s hard, it feels fast and fun.

A little kiss with a very abrasive tree meant a quick pit-stop back home to pick up some new bibs.

Neil and I discussing the finer points of bike philosophy.

We rode as far in as Richmond. It was a surreal feeling to be riding further and further ‘out’ along the trails, while getting closer to home. There’s so much goodness on my doorstep now it’s giggle-inducing.

68 km   3:13 hrs   729m

Tags: ,

Keen to get some km under the belt, I tee’d up a ride with Neil for this morning. I was expecting road, but he had an itch to singletrack that he needed to scratch, and though I didn’t feel keen when I agreed (I remember the pain of mountain biking much more readily than the fun), I agreed nonetheless. The night before it rained heavily, and I expected to take a mud bath, but the rust-red ribbons were just perfectly tacky. We barely encountered a puddle.

We stayed within a stones throw of all the old inner Yarra trails, retracing many of the routes we cut our teeth on back in our XC racing days. There was hardly a trail that didn’t bring up a memory and a tale about someone we used to ride with, a time someone fell in the river or old bike spec. 

The good news after yesterday’s workout is DOMS in the VMOs — a place I need some activation and development.

The bad news is on the face of the scale: 77kg. 5kg up from where I was back in CF / 24-hour racing days, and 7kg up from where I’d really like to be when the season kicks winds out and Chain Reaction 2015 saddles up.

60km   821m   3:26h

Tags: ,

For a long time I’ve been looking forward to the early morning rides that happen at the height of summer. The mornings aren’t necessariliy cool, although this morning was, but they are heavy a promise of the heat that will come as the day develops. It’s not a smell, but it’s like a smell. It wasn’t strong this morning, because today is by no means a scorcher but it was there. Just a whiff.

When I eventually climbed into bed at 11:30 last night (‘before 10’, as always the rueful lecture I give to myself) I told Fee: ‘When my alarm goes off in the morning, get up, go to the kitchen and turn on the mokka pot – it’s ready to go – come back, pour coffee down my throat and slap me around a bit. I’ll be good to ride at 5:30.’

Not so much. With Mae woke me me some … several times to acknowledge La La (the doll) and Nunny (the bunny) after coming in at 3 a.m., and I almost thought about pulling the plug, but I knew I’d regret it if I did. And I definitely would have.

The first Heidelberg climb past Ivanhoe Cycles was the usual half-wheel-a-thon, although today I’m accused of starting it. It went on, and on, and on, and we finished the climb within a half wheel of each other. I’m kinda happy with that, although my conversational ability was, shall we say ‘depleted’ at the top. There was very little chatting in the early part of the ride.

As things progressed the usual great gobs of daylight cracked in and broadened between my front wheel and Neil’s rear. I paid for both the lack of sleep and the half-wheel-a-thon early in the ride, but what a morning, and who wouldn’t rather a hard temp on a short loop before work than just rolling around.

We rolled back through Banule, Neil address a flat tyre and we shimmied up and over Burgandy (paying for it now) and rolled back via the Boulevard in 53×15 for a wee bit of SE. Why not, with coffee at the end of the road?

52km   718m   1:52hrs

Tags: ,

With Little Aths on hold this week for the big kids’ regionals, I had a chance to get out and ride with Neil. After last week’s ride I’d said on IM that I felt strong, but that I felt like I was selling myself short to be out on those roads and not eating stem the whole way. So when Neil asked what I wanted to get done for the day, the answer was obvious — more than 120k, more than 2,000 vertical. I knew it’d be a different ride. The fuel rules were the same — no energy drinks (although I half-cheated and used sugarless electrolyte tablets in my first two bottles), and supermarket bars only (i.e. nothing sport-specific).

The first sign that the ride would be a step up from last week when we figured we’d have time to cover the distance and grab a coffee if we met 45 min later than I met Andrew last week. When we did meet up, Neil said he’d invited an old friend along who needed to get some ks in – we were going past his place anyway. Sounds good. I was introduced to Craig as ‘the bloke who road Leadville last year’. Really? How’d you go?

‘Yeah, I was happy with my time.’
‘Did you get the belt buckle?’
‘Yeah, and the cowboy boots.’

Then Neil prompted him to drop the modesty, ‘Where’d you place?’
‘Oh, I came second in my age group, but you can’t start at the front with the pros if you’re an age group racer, and that’s a big disadvantage. I had to pass over a thousand people—’
‘Who beat you?’
‘Tinker Juarez.’

Tinker Fucking Juarez.

Ok, so Craig can ride. In fact, it turns out I know Craig’s name from his exploits, probably via Jeff and John. He was 45-49 age group World Solo 24-Hour MTB Champion three times a few years ago.

The whole day was much quicker than last week. No stopping, and much more stomping. A fair tempo was set out along Mt Pleasant (I picked up a couple of PBs on the sub-segments, but not all the way from Anionette). Krueses Rd was hard. I zig-zagged.

We rode Alma as TT. It’s a sweet road to drill yourself on, and I was happy to keep sight of Craig and Neil for the first few twists and turns. Ultimately they disappeared, and I figured they were hidden in a dip up ahead. Nup. Way off.

Dave suggested we check out School Rd, so we did. It was worth the recommendation, a long, hot-mix stripe that runs up along the spine of the ridge, with a 23% kick part-way along.

We missed Flat Rock Rd last week, but today we made it our second TT. I killed my segment time by stopping for a nature break 100m in which is a shame, because I left a lot on that road. Neil and Craig did their thing and I just pushed as hard as I could. When Neil circled back behind me it was just at the right time. ‘Push! Head up! Push!’ I responded despite already burning legs and deep, hard breathing ‘Push! 200m! Push!’ He was yelling now, yelling over the inner voice that says Pace yourself. Moderato. Don’t crack. Fuck don’t crack. ‘PUUSH! GO! HARDER!’ Panic breathing now. A little ragged rasp somewhere down in my chest I wished blow out, and then we crested the hill.

The big boys lifted their foot from the gas, but I wanted to drill it hard up to the intersection. I didn’t know and had already botched the segment, the road would ended for me a the end of the road.

And, for the most part, that was the ride. Sure, there were hills and rollers on the way home but most of everything had been left back on Flat Rock Rd. I made damn sure I didn’t fall off the back as I have so many times before, heavy and hollow on the end of the leash, up Banule Rd.

It was a hard day in the saddle, but the good kind. The kind that comes not just from pushing yourself, but being pushed by faster mates who help you to wring yourself just that bit tighter. I said tighter! Better.

And what better place for it.

128.7km, 2,206m, 5:06hrs
(a full 30 min faster than last week over the same distance and elevation)

Tags: ,

Neil had had the flu all week long and I was just desperate to get out of the house for a roll, not matter how hard or long (and, as it turns out, flu-Neil can still half-wheel me at 208 bpm anyways).

85-ish km
3-ish hours
1,000-ish m


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

June 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