“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

Monday, 30 April 2012

TT at Wangaratta and Alex update

This is a race I've ridden before and so I was planning to use it as an indicator of my current fitness..however...when I got there...late as always...I discovered that they were not using the "T' course as it was now considered too dangerous.  The reason given was: it's a 100kph road, with 2 u turns required and with cyclists on both sides of the road.....etc etc ..but since there were only 14 entrants my feeling was that this reasoning was a trifle precious......whatever.  Instead we had a flatter course..2 laps of a square, which turned out to be 19.7km in total.  No matter it would still be a good test.

My front wheel had shifted a bit on the journey and so after fixing that I set off for a brief warm up on the road to check the gears, brakes and direction of the wind.  All *seemed * ok.

And they're off.

I was working hard, but a quick glance down at the Garmin 500 showed a slower speed than I should have been seeing...WTF? my legs were burning.  (Side note: I had a killer gym session on Monday which left me unable to walk properly until Thursday..so perhaps that was the reason?)

I completed the race in a time that was definitely not what I wanted to see...dead roads and a bit of a head wind on one section, balanced on the other side of the "square" by a tail wind but the kph was ~2-3 lower than my ideal.....NOT happy.  Cruising along cooling down I heard an odd noise from the bike and on checking closely, REALLY closely, 'cos at first glance there was nothing wrong, I realised that one of the front  brakes  was not sitting parallel to the wheel and was rubbing slightly at the back.  I spun the wheel and ooohhh dear.  Before the race  I'd checked them by just looking down from above a hadn't done a spin check.  Bugger.

Sunday was spent sorting out the problem and going for a test ride..much better. 

Alex update

During my professional life of some 50+ years I have frequently told my patients to be "guided by pain/lack of pain" and "your body will tell you when it's ready to  progress".  All of which is true but not, it would appear, in Alex's case, 'cos here we are 9 days post op and since day 2 he's not needed to take any pain killers and as a result cannot be "guided by pain".  He's been pushing the boundaries while I've been worriedly nagging in the background.  At least when working I don't get to see what my patients are doing when I'm not around!

He goes back to the surgeon on Friday, which is 2/52 post op and  he/we is/are going to need step wise clear instructions on what the limits are. 

Currently he's busy selling things on ebay to raise money to pay me back for his medical bills. (!)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I'm a Physio not a nurse!

Soooo...once again I've changed jobs.

 I swear if I EVER have an injury or illness  that requires me being immobilised ALL my family had better bloody well step up to the plate!

Following a rushed appointment with Mr Frank Lyons, my new hero, Alex had his # clavicle operated on.  His op was on Thursday afternoon  at Vimy House and while I had planned on visiting him, since he hadn't got back to the ward by 5pm  I realised there was little point and so decided to pop in briefly  early Friday with some clothes before returning later for a longer visit.

I was almost there when Alex rang to say he was being discharged!  both of us were a bit confused by this since we had been told that  be would be discharged on  Saturday.  I did a hurried revamp of my day's plans and by 0930 we were on our way back home clutching meds and a list of exercises from the Physiotherapist.

That day was a bit difficult for Alex but we both got through it although  he may have spiked a temp overnight.  Then we got a phone call from the surgeon who, like us yesterday, was somewhat gobsmacked that Alex had been discharged.  I can envisage some harsh words being spoken by him to the ward staff...!  However nothing bad happened and Alex saved almost $1000.  5 days post op and  Alex is doing more and more and now it's a question of stopping him doing too much too soon.

TT bike issues

Realising I can't always be using Alex's wheels for racing TT's..if only because he plans on entering the same races later in the year, I bought my self a set of Zipp Firecrest  wheels..called a Zipp 600 they are actually a 404 front wheel and an 808 back wheel.

I found some Vittoria crono tyres and had them glued on and then tried to put the wheels on the bike, which is when I came across a major problem.....they wouldn't fit between the brake pads...too wide.  The front wheel was not an issue ..I just needed to loosen off the brake cable, but the back wheel was quite a different kettle of fish.

He fiddled and fiddled and fiddled.  No easy fix possible with the current set up.
Solution No 1 was to change from yellow Swiss stop pads to Shimano pads..much struggling and swearing later (they're a really tight fit) and while better it wasn't the solution.
Solution No 2  grind down the pads.
Solution No 3 made by yours truly...would a different set of pad holders have a lower profile than the Bontragers? (looking at the Dura Ace ones on my road bike)..good thought, so Ben tries a spare set I have lying around (not Dura Ace ) and bugger me...it works and after a search for the adjustment screws which are cunningly hidden, we have lift off.  Yaaay.

First test ride on Beach Road tomorrow, weather permitting, and then  back to racing at Wangaratta on Saturday.

Monday, 16 April 2012

A weekend in ED x 2

Alex's latest injury
Apparently it was quite a spectacular highside type fall when his pedal hit the ground on a fast corner. His bike, separated from him, bounced harmlessly to the ground with barely a scratch on either it or the wheels. He on the other hand is less skilled at bouncing harmlessly and he has a fractured clavicle.

Once again there was the telephone call beginning with "Are you Alex's mum?......" and  that was the beginning of a long, physically restful weekend gaining first hand experience of the efficiency (or not) of 2 easternhealth emergency departments.

He was taken to Box Hill Hospital via ambulance and so got priority intake as opposed to the next day when we were "walk ins" at Maroondah Hospital and I had to wait over 30 minutes in a queue for  the 1 nurse on triage duty to attend to him.  However the magic words "head strike" and "broken helmet"  raises the priority level and so speeds up the process more than somewhat.  At least when we arrived at Maroondah ED there were only 2 people ahead of us rather than later on in the day when the queue stretched almost to the exit.  Good care was provided in both places once we got in the door, however I still favour a private hospital ED for minor injuries.

The Sunday visit to Maroondah was due to ongoing issues with nausea that could possibly have been concussion...in the end it was  more a case of dehydration, with 3 litres of IV fluid +oral fluids needed before a trip to the loo became essential.  So we are now armed with Xrays to cervical spine(normal) and right shoulder and, following a CTB, the knowledge that his brain is also "normal" (and yes all the usual jokes have been made). 

As with me every time I have a colonoscopy,  a low resting pulse rate gets staff in a bit of a tizz...mine sits at about 43 and Alex's is even lower.  He also has quite a low BP and it was this that caused the extra long time at Maroondah (the entire day) as they monitored  and re-hydrated him. The doctor there had the strongest Irish accent I've heard in a long while, which made him a delight to listen to.  One could argue that a CTB is going overboard given the end conclusion, but nowadays medicine practices a "worst case scenario" approach which results in what  a few decades ago would be considered over servicing.

If Alex had a desk job, was older and was not an elite athlete with a World Championships in August,  the clavicle would be left to heal...however none of the above are correct and so we're off to find a surgeon to pin it for him.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Revised Race plans April to July and beyond

What joy...there are so many TT's being offered that, for a change, I have the option to NOT race them all.  The CA clubs have definitely stepped up, the Vets are still lagging behind but there maybe some VVCC  "Open" TT's on the horizon...fingers crossed.

Soooo...partly due to commonsense and partly due to the aforementioned driving scare (see 2 posts ago), the following is my revised TT race plan:

·         28th  -Warby Range  18km.
·         6th -   Kialla (nr Shep)  16km
·         12th  - Paraparap (nr Geelong)24km.
·         13th  – Benalla 20km (either or not both)
·         2nd -   Kialla 16km
·         10th -  Kew 20km
·         30th - Paraparap 20 or 28km

·         7th -   Kialla 16km

fly out  12/07/2012 
back     03/09/2012

I've taken out a 3 day tour and a couple of longer TT's with a longish drive there and back.

Once I get back  there's:

15th - Paraparap ITT. Geelong CC. 24km. 
 9-12th AVCC National Championships Launceston TT,RR and Crit

after which I'll have a rest then revert back to being a trackie! 

European Masters Road Championships in Sardinia

World Hour Record for 70-74???!!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

TT, 300m sprint and crit and final TT at the Boulie

The TT

With the first race post TT bike set up ahead of me I was more than  abit disappointed to find there was a problem with gear changing that I'd not noticed before.  Weirdly it was only when using the granny gears in the small chain ring so I just had to avoid those.  And I did, actually I never got out of the big chain ring so the dramas were only while doing warm up passes up and down the approach road.  There was a tail wind out ....so low flying downhill on the way out and less than flying on the way back

there were about 16 women racing of all age grades and I beat most of them.. I think I was 6th or 7th fastest and while I need to check, I think it was also a PB...felt like it anyway.....one of the guys who I normally either just beat or just lose to was   ~30secs down on my time.

The Sprint

The 300 m straight line sprint had taken place in the morning and what can one say except that 300m is a VERY long way  when you're sprinting into the wind and slightly uphill.  I got some compliments about being very smooth off the ramp...but after all that gate start practice at the track  and the wealth of experience I have TTing, so it should have been!

There were a few issues with the electronic timing but it was all good by the time we started.  One guy's chain exploded when he was about 30 m down the track...it had broken into 3 or 4 bits.  I was told he's a bike mechanic so I did a quick check to find out where he works so as to avoid that shop!

The Crit

The long line going north is warm up time...not part of the race!
Easter Day was finally upon us and the weather was holding up. at one point i wasn't going to race it but I had  decided to stay as I should still be able to get home by the early afternoon and rest up for the TT at the Boulie. Originally we were to be  a group of 3, but sense prevailed and with a bigger mix of age groups there were 8 of us.

 It was a bit of a procession to begin with and I had it in mind to stir things up  a bit at about the half way mark, however I have a low threshold for boredom and so took off when there was a bit of a lull at about 6 minutes into the race. I lead for a couple of laps before thinking to myself...you dipstick you......and let the younger age groups take over again.  I was with the bunch at the finale but as we'd dropped my competition , I knew I had to keep out of the way of those who did need to race right to the end and so let the group go a metre or so before starting my sprint.

The TT at the Boulie

Home and this morning it was time to do the final of five races in 4 days.....a 20km TT at the Boulie...with it's poor road surface and undulations and  3 u turns to lose time over.

The weather was crap...windy, raining on and off, greasy road .  So I was ready to go,I'd paid the entry fee of $25 (!!!!) but the weather was less than encouraging...should I race or not.......hmmmm then the issue I had with gear changing ( which we thought we'd fixed at home) reared it's ugly head again and on this course I really needed my small chain ring.  Bugger!

So the plan was to do 1 lap (10km) and assess....and that's what I did.  Actually  I had  a few bad moments and had to sit up where normally I would not. Plus I scare easily when: 
1. being swept over the road with the wind,
2.  slipping  on the greasey surface,
3. nearly going off the road on a downhill curve I over cooked

guess I'm just poor at racing a TT bike on greasy wet roads.

Add to that no granny gears and a dropped chain  at the turn around and I called it quits.  Pity 'cos surprisingly I felt pretty strong.

The mechanical  issues  were, of course, my fault....for the first race on  Satturday the culprit turned out to be a loose small chain ring......when  I got the crankset changed from a Durace53/39 to a compact Lightning one with extralight chain rings, I gave it to the shop in a made up condition but the added message that I'd only tightened the chain ring bolts to finger tight mustn't have got through to the mechanic.... of course I never checked and they gave no trouble  during the bike fit and the test rides.....(?). but they were very loose when we inspected them at home on Sunday arvo.........memo to self either do things up properly or give them in unattached.

For the second race, the chain ring was fine but we think that  the  jockey wheels are at fault...they are quite old and are the fancy  lightweight weight weenie type and seem very loose in the cage.... back it goes to the mechanic and we shall see.

Next TT race: 28/4 at Wangaratta and in the mean time I need to add some road races to help increase my pace.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fortune's Favourites

I've discovered an interest in the history of Ancient Rome and have been busy reading about it..both heavy,sleep inducing stuff and lighter historical novels of which Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series has both grabbed my interest and at the same time exercised my arm muscles.  There are 7 tomes in the series and I'm on the 3rd which is called Fortune's Favourites.

Yesterday I was one of Fortunes Favourites and am really more than somewhat lucky to be alive and unhurt because while driving  to Maryborough, where I'm racing this weekend, I had a microsleep.  Actually more like a nano sleep but that's just semantics...I was tired, the setting sun had been directly ahead for a very long time and I fell asleep at the wheel.  I came to with my right hand wheels over the double white line and ........1000% luckily for me there was  aboslutely no other traffic on the road.

Ye gods but that was scarey. A huge wake up call..pun intended.

Needless to say I stopped, regrouped and put the aircon fan on high and very cold and directed it on my face and finally drove on.  Why was I so tired?  well... I woke up extremely early on Thursday (3am) and couldn't get back  to sleep again, then I had a full day at work and it was a bit of a  warm day. I have to keep reminding myself that nowadays I am finding driving more tiring than I used to  and clearly, if I want to stay alive for a few years more I'll have to re think my "travel to races" plans and allow more time with less rush.

So my road race today was a bit of a "this is the first day of the rest of my life" event......and thank you God for no traffic and nano rather than micro.

 Maryborough to Dunolly and back..just a very few hills. dead straight empty roads.  Windy...sooo much better hidden  in a group.

Our group was  ages 50+ with ~12 fronting up for a 45km race.  The weather while warming up before the race was a rather hot and humid (37 C in the open) but gradually the wind strengthened and the temp dropped to be more like 32C.

The group generally was working okay and was moving at a fair lick when, while clawing our way up a longish up hill drag, with my pulse rate going waaaaay too high, I let them go (must work at this aspect..it's my weakest).

 So then for me it was TT practice until I caught up with others who'd been dropped. I worked  with one (my competition) briefly but a strong pull left her off the wheel.  Later I eased off a bit and she caught back up again and we approached the finale together, although I then became really confused as she didn't challenge me to the line..later she told me she was in the 60-64 age group!   I'm not sure she was impressed when I tactlessly told her that her grey hair had made me think she was in my age grade!

As always with the Vets, the event was very well run and Maryborough is very supportive of the event which is now into its 15th year.  Innovations this year are transponders on the bike for the 2 timed events..the 300m straight line sprint and the TT.  As one of the organisors remarked...finding volunteer officials is getting more and more difficult (we're all still racing!) and any innovation that allows less manpower should be taken up.  To me transponders with a back up finish line camera are 100% the way to go for all races and whats more cyclists should buy their own transponders from the organisation...just like Orienteers have been doing for the last 10-15 years! Not only does it make timing and results much easier, your details are registered and so allows for a pain free expereince entering events....just quote the transponder no.

The presentation ceremony was after the meal at the Highland Club. The event is also the Victorian championships so there were 2 rounds of presentations,  and as in previous years went on far too long.  Best thing was the presence of 3 giant TV's so at least we were able to watch the World Track Champs at the same time!  Sooo sad for Anna.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A slow drive to Maryborough for an orgy of racing

Even leaving work at 4pm didn't mean I got a good trip out here..with all the lemmings in Melbourne sharing the road with me the trip was slooooow, slower and slowest; and driving west into the setting sun ain't too flash either.

 The red flag is Maryborough's location.
My cabin at the Golden country Caravan Park has 1 interesting characteristic...the toilet/shower/basin is separate from the cabin itself ie it's not actually ensuite.  It's a small detached building just outside the cabin door  and is locked AND has a strip light that is exceptionally slow in starting up, all of which caused me a bit of concern on arrival last night!....3 keys to chose from, pitch dark and  no idea where in the room the toilet was.......got the picture?

Easter weekend...a road race today, 300m straight line sprint and TT on Saturday and a crit on Sunday comprises the Easter carnival at Maryborough, but then I have a 20km TT on Monday too!  Stupid?  yup! Fingers crossed for good weather and that the weather forecast has it wrong, rising winds and a thunderstorm isn't exactly what I fancy for today's road race.

Actually I'll probably end up not racing the crit if the published start time for my race is correct.  Previous years we were first up which was the reason I put my name down for that particular race...race early, leave early..get back home and rest up for Monday's race, however racing at midday is a less attractive alternative plus it says the race is for  60+ and with only 3 of us......'nuff  said.

Monday, 2 April 2012

April Fool's Day, the end of Daylight saving and the first day of RH2BE challenge

Once again we have confused cats in the house asking to be fed at a time they KNOW is right, once again we have an extra hour's sleep and once again we have to remember to change the batteries in the smoke detectors.

We also (up until midday) have to beware of silly tricks and take all weird media reports with a grain of salt.

After a post bike set up ride  of my TT bike on Saturday, I needed to get out on the road bike for a 60km sufferfest.  Originally I was due to race the final Coburg TT at Cottles Bridge, but a slow recovery from the previous w/e put that out of the question.  Ahhh.the trials of ageing are many.....slow recovery being but one.

So my April Fools day ride was an Olympic rings type ride..meandering around Mooroolbark, where I rediscovered many, many very nasty little pinches which is exactly what I needed. 

The idea of this ride was to seek out 5 x 500m uphill efforts and attack them rather than grind through them...and I found plenty.....

April is a great month for a challenge... and this time it's for a cause close to my heart..that of Ride Hard to Breathe Easy..close to my heart for 2 reasons, firstly I knew Karen Munro, the creator of the cause and secondly as a Physiotherapist I have long been involved in treating people with chest diseases.

Please visit the Strava page and if you are a cyclist or runner,  join the challenge.