What a week!

Some weeks just start off bad, and end much the same as they start – last week was probably one of those weeks!

Last week was a scheduled “rec week”, recovery week, recreational week whatever you want to call it, the aim to deload / distress from all the effort I’d been putting in lately. But as often happens it doesn’t turn out as planned due to lack of motivation a few rides were shortened and the rest of the week was very much a hodge podge of whatever riding, etc… not really an ideal lead up to the weekends Criterium in Ocean Grove.

The Race: Trying to get in a little more volume to make up for my laziness earlier in the week I’d decided I would ride to the race in Ocean Grove – it’s about a 30km trip and a reasonably easy ride. That is of course until I get out the front gate and realize there is a ripping head / head cross wind; to add to my woes I was running about 15mins later then I wanted to be so my easy ride to the race turned into a pretty solid Tempo session.

The circuit in Ocean Grove is a short flat block in an industrial estate that offers little rest…Well none actually! I didn’t expect to do well here at all, my threshold is ok at the best of times (work in progress), but my top end not so good on longer efforts. Being a mountain biker at heart I much prefer the stop / start nature of the other course we use in Geelong. Anyways enough of that.

The race got off to a furious pace once again, it was on the gas from the get go!.. For the duration of the race I was “bouncing off the limiter” with only a few short breaks. I was positioned fairly well for the duration of the race toward the front but keeping my nose out of trouble at about the 20min mark I hit the front and drove the bunch for a while giving it a crack at pulling away but only managing to get a few meters on the bunch before getting pulled back. Sensing I was going nowhere I opted to drop back just a little and save some for the last few mins then my luck changed, cornering on the outside one of the riders on the inside had a little “moment” that forced me off the racing line which scrubbed off a bunch of speed. A majority of the bunch come past and where now 10m in front by the time I got back up to speed; over the next few laps I managed to pull back the 10m but just as I caught the bunch on the second last lap they took off I just had nothing left but I gritted my teeth gave it my all and then struck a pedal in the next corner – I was off again, race over!

While getting blown out the back doesn’t bother me too much, it does serve a purpose or give a lesson – STOP PULLING TURNS!

In all seriousness the Criterium series has helped my intensity no end, it’s just a shame they only run during summer as I could do with that dose of intensity over winter closer to the Endurance series.

Other News

Vic Endurance Series dates have been announced, one round start of April the remainder running June to November, initially I was a little disappointed there was nothing Mid May, but it’s not such a bad thing given the baby is due mid-March. Maybe I can find something else at the end of April / Mid may to slot in to keep my form going (Giant Odyssey maybe?).

I’ve also scrapped the idea of doing the XCO National Championships, instead looking at doing the XCM National round that weekend in Bright instead.

Go Slow To Go Fast!

It’s hard sometimes to ride a bike and not go “fast”, well not even fast but slow, painfully slow!

It’s well documented that recovery rides should form part of any good training program, they serve a vital purpose increasing blood flow to the muscles fibers which helps deliver nutrients to aid muscle repair and remove metabolic waste. During training we are essentially undertaking a process of breaking down the muscle fibers, and then rebuilding during recovery / rest periods – without well thought out and planned recovery there is too much “breaking down” and not enough rebuilding… Any ways more on my point is not so much what happens during a recovery ride, but the fact that they are quite difficult.

Naturally if you spend a majority of the week riding a >30kph, when it’s time to go <20kph on the flat, with 90RPM Cadence the body just feels uncomfortable, it feels almost un-natural; hence these rides are difficult to do properly. The scenery rolls by every so slowly, your arse gets sore when it otherwise wouldn't and well you could be forgiven for being bored out of your brain.

Back up!!!… “The scenery rolls by”, these slow easy rides give us the opportunity to witness or notice stuff we wouldn't otherwise pay too much attention to… My picture for today is the sunrise from this morning; it’s something that happens every day, but also something I wouldn't pay too much attention to…

IMG_20140214_064017

Some Race Reports!

Ok so it has been a while since I posted my last update; like usual life gets in the way and less important things get pushed aside; new job, moving, baby on the way, etc… It all adds up! That said the riding is still happening with quite a few solid 12-13hour weeks since my last post and further focus on improving FTP, before shifting to “race prep” for the VES Rd 1 in late March and Wombat 100 in April. All the riding is obviously working as I can’t seem to find a hill I can’t beat my personal best time up buy quite a margin each time I give it some, in additional I picked up another Strava “KOM” – for someone that was never much of a climber, sprinter or anything else bar endurance rider that’s an achievement in itself.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

GCC Crits Rd 5
25.01.2014

Only my second crit race so I wasn’t expecting too much and would have been happy not to be blown off the back like last time! I struggled a little at the start but dropped back a bit hang off the back for a few laps and then got back into the mix; felt good the second time around. A solo break shot away from the bunch… Late in the race I found myself towards the front and pushing hard which resulted in myself being well off the front for a few laps, eventually the bunch caught me but were reluctant to take turns… End result was mid pack, again burnt my matches a little early.

Road Race 1

GMBC Gazebo Rd2
31.01. 2014

The evening of the 31st say GMBC hold the second round of the Gazebo 3 x 3 series; the race occurred at the end of another very hot week fortunately the evening temperatures were nice and the race was set to be a cracker.
The 200 odd riders lined up at the start, myself in A Grade being the first bunch off… Once started the race set off at a furious pace which like last time caught me out a little, I hit the single track midpack which is where I would stay for the remainder of the race. My race was going reasonably well until I had a few problems with my light not wanting to work in high beam, combined with the dust being thrown up by riders in front made for a hairy few laps with minimal light. Like usual towards the end of the race I had timed my laps well and it would be touch and go as to whether or not I would get across the line in time to do an additional lap; I bumped up the pace a little and managed to gain a few positions approx. 3kms from the finish… Pushing hard, I noticed my light had started flashing, or warning me there was only 10mins of juice left… Sure enough I made it to the line with only 1 minute to go, but without enough light to complete another lap I had to call it quits; close to 30 seconds later the 3 A Graders I’d just passed rolled though, and completed another lap!!! FARK!

So the race didn’t go quite as planned, but there are a few lessons to be learned from it for the longer races coming up:
1) Food and drink strategy worked well, but time in the feed zone needs to be sped up.
2) Work on that hole shot, I spent more time behind people much slower than I would have liked to.
3) Pedal faster damn it!

Gazebo Night

GCC Crits Rd 6:
08.02.2014

My third Crit on what was one of many, many HOT AS HELL days in a row; luckily this race was in the evening so it had cooled off a little – still I felt a little over dressed with the sun gaurds on the arms. The race got off to a fairly steady pace and took a while to find any kind of rhythm, early in the piece two riders took off from the front which left the bunch to work out the minor placing’s. This race I felt pretty good from the get go, towards the front for most of the race I worked hard to keep my position at about 3rd wheel in the bunch. Towards the end of the race the pace hotted up a little with myself and a few others pulling turns at the front… Once again with approx. 5 laps to go I found myself at the front of the bunch; I was working hard to create gap but just couldn’t get a break… I lead the bunch into the final turn, snap… I left my sprint a second late and was swamped.

Once again not un happy with the result at all, working hard will get the results I am after eventually! It was a great race unfortunately my game plan was a little off this time.

Looking forward to the next round of crits, and hanging out for some LONGER MTB races!