“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tuesday's test for pursuiting at Manchester

The pursuit is an awful race; you ride flat out, keeping a good line to ensure you ride only 2000m and not 2030m since every second counts and its agony all the way.

For me the pursuit is 8 laps of the velodrome, which can be divided into 3 parts:
  • Lap 1 is from a standing start, where the bike is held in a gate and the 30 sec count down starts once it is deemed you are ready.  It's normal for lap 1 to be ~ 4 secs slower than the rest but for me it's usually a very slow lap indeed as I'm not powerful and so struggle to get up to a decent speed without crucifying my legs.
  • Laps 2-7..this is the meat of the race and should be done at as steady a pace as you can manage....a pace which  you will  have worked out previously. Your handler will indicate whether or not you are riding to your schedule.  Pacing is critical and you have to be very careful that you don't spend all your bikkies on lap 2
  • Lap 8.... thank god.... the final one and pure adrenalin gets you through this one..that and an intense desire to get the f*#$%ing thing over and done with.
So when you're training for the pursuit you practice

  • gate starts+1/4 lap to perfect your exit from the gate since if you go too early your effort does nothing except fry your legs as you attempt to drag the gate around the velodrome or if you go too late  you may just topple over sideways..  Since the gates are not always available, need 2 people to manage them and are time consuming you also practice a hand held standing starts or  solo near standing starts +1/4-1/2 laps to get used to the intense effort.
  •  6 lap efforts at the pace you want to hold for this critical section.  Prior to all this you have sorted out which gear is appropriate for the time you are aiming for given your cadence.  My cadence is very slow by track standards..I'm planning on riding in the  95-100rpm range, but by lap 6 will probably down to 90, if I know me...and I do(!).
Anyhow...last Tuesday I got into full race regalia.....skinsuit,  aero booties, aero  helmet, race wheels, best chain, groovy cog and chain ring and did my first flying 6 lapper..ie NOT a standing start. Sadly I managed to get within the parameters I'd set myself...had I failed I would have withdrawn from the competition.

I really am not sure whether I'm sad or glad, since as I said at the beginning the Pursuit is a cow of a race.  The best thing is that, seeing as there are so few older ladies racing, we'll be grouped with much younger age groups and so there's no way I'll get into the finals.  This means I will only have 1 race and so only have to kill myself once.

Pursuiter's cough will be my constant companion for  the rest of the day.

If it's so awful why do I do it?..yup.. I've gotta ask that too!...well I can't sprint and am pretty clueless in mass start track races, so that only leaves the 500m TT and the Pursuit.......both are awful but  the Pursuit makes you suffer longer.

Note..in the pix.....only the helmet is the same! bike, wheels, red booties, skinsuit..all gone.

Friday, 23 September 2011


This is what I've been doing for the past few weeks and is also the  timetable for the next 2, although the term has finished at Italian class so at least I don't have to rush through the track sessions and perhaps can start a bit later.

Tuesday...8am solo track session followed by Italian class
Wednesday...rest day
Thursday ...8am solo track session followed by Italian class (or ergo in the pm if I can't wake up in time)
Friday...rest day
Saturday...9am hefty 3 hour track session in group (as an track enduro)
Sunday....late pm 2 hour group session pretending to be a sprinter

and I'm just about coping although the body shock factor is still there...not for the volume of training, but for the "explosive" efforts I'm trying to get happening.

The entry list for the World Masters Track Championships is up and sadly there are, as expected,  hardly any older ladies racing...~47 women in all age grades at last count with just 3 in my age grade and 1 in the 60-64 group.

IMHO the UCI are ageist, misogynistic, blinkered numpties who shoot themselves in the foot whenever they  insist on the same rules for all....bikes/minimum numbers etc etc.

At least Cycling Australia have taken on board a great way to deal with min numbers in older age classes for  timed events...a standard is set and you have to ride to that standard to qualify for a  medal of whatever colour. If more than 1 person qualifies for a gold standard the fastest takes the gold etc etc.  The standard is created from previous years' results/ national records.

Masters track racing needs growing at both ends of the age spread as well as the middle and for the older age grades there needs to be some tweeking of the rules since I'm 100% certain no-one takes up track racing when they're approaching their 3 score years and 10 and consequently there will always be a lessening of numbers .

Rant over for a while.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I just lerv typos

It's just as well I wasn't eating or drinking when I read this....... found on my Twitter:

Great typos of our time #2 RT :
"Sydney back on top. Carle shoots wife after good work by Jamieson"

Monday, 12 September 2011

World champs jerseys at the road TT

a brief look at the weekend's pix and results in the grand fondo style Masters Road World Championships in Belgium indicates that titles, medals and rainbow jerseys were given out to all classes in the TT regardless of how many competitors there were in the grade.

For the Masters Track World champs next month we are required to have 6 competitors (note not entries) for a grade to be awarded title/medal/jersey but in the road TT only 2 women's age grades had 6 or more.

sighs in exasperation.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Body Shock Time

So with jet lag a receding issue and my focus now on the world Masters Track Championships in Manchester, I am attempting to morph from a roadie to a trackie. Not only is my body against me,  the weather is also well and truly counter productive..rain, hail, wind followed by sun (cold sun that is :-), after all this IS Melbourne we're talking about )...I've got so many clothes on I feel and look like a Michelin advert.

So, no more loooong rides for me, now I'm doing the short sharp stuff on the velodrome.3 or 4 times a week and it's VERY tiring.

I have until 7/9 to get my body into some sort of shape for a 500m dash, a 2000m grovel and a 10 km mass start giggle (giggle because I'll probably have to race against young chicks.....well...young to me ;-D).

In other news, I have resigned from the Australian Masters Commission and am currently watching, with considerable interest, the UCI 's latest money making attempt   ie the "cycling for all grand fondo type "world" championships for amateurs and masters, happening this weekend in Belgium .

The numbers are low and in fact a whole heap of non qualifying wild cards were offered,  and the course is rugged.....ok for young males maybe, but "Masters"encompasses male and female 35 -85+ years old.  Watch that and this space!  100% of Masters racers I have spoken to think/know the idea is "just not racing".

Another major gripe I have is Masters racing being included in the  belittling term "Cycling for all"..to me this shows a total lack of respect for older racing cyclists. I could go on.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Jet lag clearing slowly

Well ok, I'm still sleeping at odd times and being wide awake at times when only party goers and shift workers are also awake, but at least the fog is clearing.

I've got my airline ticket sorted for the World Masters Track Champs and leave Aus on 7th October after racing the Masters Nats TT on the 6th and the crit early in the morning on the 7th.  After the Worlds my sister and I are going to Florence for 2 weeks of language school.

Reprise of driving lessons learned over 10,000km of driving mostly on freeways/motorways/autobahns/autostrade:-

Europeans have driving skills and respect for others on the road that we Aussies should try to emulate. Granted I only saw a "blink in time" of what happens on the roads there, but apart from 1 really rude German and 2 or 3 cars cutting back across to my lane after passing me, I saw no bad driving or rude disrespectful driving behaviour.  I also only saw a coupla accidents.  

While the speed limit on these roads is nominally a max of 130kph there appears to be a tolerance far greater than the 3kph over the limit than we have over here in our nanny state. The speed limit is also variable depending on weather conditions, with gantries at regular intervals where speed limit signs can be changed depending on the road conditions.  Off the freeways the speed limit is much slower and is adhered to much more, especially through the many small towns...even in Italy!

There were many, many speed traps both on and off the freeways, although unless you had a GPS/SatNav you wouldn't know about them.  These speed traps were either at single points or establishing how long you took over a certain stretch of the road.

Personally I think the "speed kills" slogan, while it has an element of truth, is far from the whole answer...I just think that in general Aussie drivers are impatient, rude, incompetent  tailgaters and until the skill level can be lifted our death toll will keep on being high.

The Austrians were VERY polite to anyone even just hovering near a pedestrian crossing, unlike in Italy where you had to step out in order to get a car to stop!

Despite the one incident I had in Italy, riding a bike on the road is safe in both Austria and Italy, a phenomenon that is brought about by their road insurance whereby the car driver is deemed to be at fault  unless it can be proved to the contrary.

And finally on this topic, despite my advancing years, I'm delighted to say that I had almost no problems at all driving in Europe or on the "wrong" side of the road for the car in UK and finally made the change easily back  home in my own car. 

Phew!..brain not concrete yet!