“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, 29 April 2013

A very busy weekend racing.

A few years ago there were hardly any TT's in Victoria...now I'm spoilt for choice, with 2 on offer this last weekend in the north east of the state..Wangaratta on Saturday and Kialla nr Shepparton on Sunday.  Both a bit on the short side and both almost dead flat.

A great round trip with a set goal.... since I've ridden both these courses before it'll give me a chance to  see if the road bike set up can hack it on a flat course..ie just how important are oval tubes/bike aerodynamics etc for slower riders.

I've ridden this course before although not with a 20kph headwind when riding the long leg from S to N

the profile overstates the hills more than somewhat.  I didn't do too brilliantly  for a few reasons...firstly I was feeling crap on Thursday and Friday with a cold coming on and so was a bit under the weather, then  (as I later discovered) my saddle had shifted down, backwards and to the side!  Doh!  So while not totally disgracing myself, I was less than stellar and was thinking maybe I'll have to take 2 bike OS afterall.

I stayed overnight in Wangaratta in my favourite motel there...Ryley Motor Inn they know me well now and are happy to let me into my room waaay early.  Not only is it a nice place at a modest cost, it's right next door to an Indian restaurant...woo hoo!

The next day I drove over to Kialla and once again it was a bit windy but this time round the direction meant that we had tail and headwinds on the long sides.  Once again the profile overstates the rise and fall of the course.

It was just before this race that I realised my saddle was twisted to the right but it wasn't until much later at home that I realised it had also shifted down and back.....will I ever get it right?  Maybe I should let the professionals set my bike up rather than trying to do it myself!

I raced this already a bit leg weary but had decided to go 100% even if it meant dying later on..so I did but didn't fade too much into the 6km headwind leg. I was amused to hear my time was exactly the same as the last time I was here.

My next race is in 2 weeks time at Benalla and is another course I've raced before.  Once again dead flat but with 2 heaves over the freeway to test the legs at the beginning and end of the course.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Jersey and medal from Perth TT

 which arrived in the post today...such a shame that they weren't presented at the event.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Kew Boulie..the first race for baby Baum road as a TT bike

Like all good tales this is a story rich with ups and downs (pun intended):

 as you can see for this 21.7km race I took ~50 mins although the moving time was ~42 mins  (note 4 years ago my PB was ~39 mins , the course record is ~29 mins.

What happened was this...after ~2.5kms my saddle fell off!  Not shifted, not moved...fell off,  100% fell off onto the ground, landing with a clatter some way behind me as I "shot" uphill, standing on the pedals, working hard. And yes, it's the second time for this particular drama and when I had a really really good look I'm wondering how on earth I managed to successfully use this seat post for 2 years without anything happening as the top part of the clamp is not quite wide enough to grip the rails properly.  Of course if the truth be told, it's only recently that I've been coached into standing up on the pedals alot so maybe it was due to  compression/release or maybe I knock it when I stand.  Whatever..... it'll remain a mystery 'cos now it's one binned seat post...this time I'm only sporting bruises, last time there was a bit of a gouge.

On any other course that would have been it.  Good night Louise...walk back home.  However this was on the Boulie...1 of quite a few training meccas dotted around Melbourne and consequently not only were there racing cyclists on the road, there were also people training or "just riding".  So with me dropping more than a few F bombs, a guy raced up to me with my saddle and other seat post bits and, refusing to let me off the hook, sorted me out and sent me on my way!!!  What a  Good Samaritan.

At the finish I was pretty quickly over to the officials requesting my time not be posted as I really didn't want  a 50 mins finishing time down on record for all to see and thankfully they agreed.

Other race comments:
This sort of course is not really to my liking and I'd have to say I was a bit peeved to be overtaken on the uphill by guys out training, although I got my own back on the downhill sections.

The set up was good although since then I've changed a few things...firstly and naturally the seat post is in the bin and secondly I've changed from a 90mm stem to a 100mm Extralite stem that is part of the RR set up.  If it works out to be ok, it'll mean less work when I effect a change over from road race to TT set up, 'cos all that will change will be the bars and cables.  I'm also thinking hard about whether to have 2 saddle/seat post set ups or just change the saddle over, leaving the post in situ.

Next weekend I'm off to the north/northeast of the state to ride a TT at Wangaratta on Saturday and then another one near Shepparton on Sunday. I've ridden both courses before which will give me a bit of a guide on the current set up.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Getting ready for the ahem "flattish" TT at Trento

As the flattest continent on the globe, we Australians are at odds with Europeans when using the words "undulating", "flat", "hilly", "mountainous".  So when the organisors of the World Masters  TT Championships in Italy declared they had managed to find a flattish TT course our understanding here in Oz was ...well.... different from theirs.

On checking out the course on www.mapmyride.com and other similar websites the truth became evident....the course was flattish for a coupla kms only alongside the lake.   As I have previously discovered ..if a whole race profile indicates 8-10% max, in truth it will be waaaaaay more than that in places and is in fact up to 20% or  so mapmyride tells me.

It was at this point I decided it would be a very good idea to drop quite a few kilos in order to improve my strength /weight ratio and also try to find a road that is at a 20% gradient  to get used to that steepness.

However it wasn't until I was watching a video  of a mountain TT, where all the pro racers were using standard road bikes with TT extensions that I decided to do the same. A light bulb shone brightly in my brain with 2 phrases brightly illuminated.... "bike weight" for the uphill heave at the north end of the course  and "bike handling" for the steep downhill hairpin bends at the south end. The thought of travelling with only 1 bike was also very attractive.

Having made that decision, the next thing was to decide how to make it work and after lots of  decision making and breaking this is what has transpired:

1 frame, 2 complete set ups of:

  • bars complete with levers and cables  
  • seat/seatpost combo 
  • another set of light weight wheels with standard size rims ..still being created by TWE
Of course, I could have just attached extension to my bars but then every gear shift would involve a change of postion from aero to non aero and I do  alot of gear changing even on a flat course.

I've tried the set up on the ergo,  will get out on the road today but the real test will be on Sunday  at the Kew Boulie TT.  More on that next post.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Race Face

early on in the TT race at Maryborough..obviously in control...mouth not gaping like a fish!

 I think I just might have been working quite hard for this pix!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

2013's first up racing goal done and dusted

From memory my New Year's resolutions included a couple of the usual:
  • get fitter
  • lose weight 
and a few more unusual ones:.
  • ride rollers more confidently
  • ride no hands more confidently 
  • learn to track stand 
and so far all except the track stand are accomplished.

My racing goals were and still are all TT orientated and the first of these was to qualify to enter the UCI   Masters World Champs TT at Trento and this had to be done through the qualifier event on Rottnest Island a coupla days ago and I did it.  I have to say for my age group it was a no brainer...I was the only entry , however I was 15th out of 32 female starters and so am happy although not ecstatic as my ride was far from perfect.  My time was 33.24, I'd have liked a 32.

I was somewhat surprised to discover just how lumpy the course was.  This is what I expected:

and this is what I got, which only underlines that fact that profiles of a whole race only tell you a shadow of the truth:

the seemingly endless undulations  made the race a bit like riding a crit..fast, slower, fast, slower.

Here's a view I never get to see! (courtesy MG pix)
check out the calf muscles! 

Lessons learned from the weekend:
  • Don't ...DO NOT ride the course the day before if you want fresh legs.  This time I had no option and I paid the price.
  • Corners taken in training will be much more dangerous when racing.  3 times during the race I over cooked corners to the point where I was a poompteenth of a millimetre away from being in the gravel.  2 were downhill  corners on the southern loopy bit of the course when I was waaaay faster than in training and the 3rd was the final right hand corner where I don't quite know what happened..clearly too fast for my cornering skill level!  3 other racers were not quite so fortunate; the paramedics had a fair amount of work to do.
Overall it was a great week in sunny Perth, thanks in no small part to great accommodation, great weather and great company.

WRT to the organisation of the race...hmmm. Sadly our race suffered from the Tour of Perth being alongside, which meant we were the poor cousins resulting in, I'm sure, an over commitment by the organisors which manifested itself in poor/delayed communication.

And what about this:  in early March  the UCI proudly reported all winners of qualifying events would be given jerseys instead of trophies see following from their twitter account

7 Mar
Jersey for age group winners in the qualifier events replaces trophy

waiting, waiting. Or does this only apply to the road race???  If so, why?

Side notes:
1.  Quokkas rock!

2.  1 race shoe can easily hide in a bike case.  I thought I'd lost a shoe so at $ 300-400 a pop I was immensely grateful to find it  hiding in the wheel section of the case.

3. On arriving home I asked Alex if we were ok for food or did I need to shop.   The reply was  that we're fine...somewhat later I got round to looking in the fridge and this is what I found:
  • 1 half loaf of white el cheapo Coles brand fairy type "bread"
  • limp salad and veggies on the TOP shelf
  • 1 mouldy tomato

Thursday, 4 April 2013

TT at Maryborough

Last year I raced the whole 3 days of the Veterans South Pacific Championships at Maryborough over the Easter weekend, but this year I opted to ride only the TT.  Thankfully Alex joined me so that  the burden of driving there (~2-3 hours on the road) was shared.  It's a long way to go for a short TT but worth it to be able to compare my form against previous years results.

I can't recall the weather from last year, although I think it was pretty benign...this year there was a head wind going out (downhill) and therefore (natch) a tailwind coming home uphill.  The organisors at this event always  put the youngest males on the course first, working through the age grades until finally the women get out..youngest first again and as a result I know for sure I'm going to be last or very close to last.  This time I was 3rd last with 1 late entry and an older women than I behind me.

All went pretty much to plan except I eased off too early ahead of the turn and for some reason dropped lost too much  speed at one point on the way back. Dunno what happened to the tail wind..unlike a friend who started about 30 minutes ahead of me and who said he "flew" back, I never flew anywhere!   I left nothing in the tank and despite the lack of a weather  assist put up a PB of ~24 seconds.  I slept all the way home!

Since then I've been packing my bike for the plane trip to Perth for the TT on Rottnest Island

 and putting the TT bars on my road bike for ongoing practice of that set up..more on both  in the weeks ahead.

I've discovered there's a TT  on the Trento course the week after I arrive in Italy and so have entered. It's another qualifier race  for the UCI TT Masters World Championships and therefore will either be  a safety net if I fail to qualify in Rottnest or a practice round.

I now have to actually get round to  entering the World Masters Games in Turin and since the exchange rate is favourable perhaps now is the right time to do that plus also getting some euros off the bank.

So now my overseas racing program reads like this:
19/7      TT at Trento,Italy
5,6,7/8  TT, RR, Criterium at Turin, Italy
16/8      Short TT at Hartberg, Austria
17/8      Road race at Hartberg, Austria
24/8      TT at Hartberg, Austria
28/8      TT at St Johann in Tyrol, Austria
30/8      Road Race at St Johann in Tyrol, Austria
19/9      TT at Trento,Italy

wow...August looks a bit busy!