If your looking for something to do on a Monday evening, Alpine Cycling Club may have your answer. Starting a couple of weeks ago and running through until the Tour of Bright in the first week of December.They're running a TT using the exact same course that is used for the Time Trial in Stage 2 of the Tour of Bright.The first rider starts at 6pm so get there in plenty of time to warm up and let them work out the starting order.
A few of us went up from the Wangaratta Cycling Club on Monday for a hit out and I must admit I'd forgotten how tough the course is.The first hill after about 1.5 km is just long enough to really hurt as your already going close to maximum pace.I'd forgotten my cycling glasses and kept getting little insects in my eyes which wasn't ideal but a good lesson learnt.The results each week are posted on Alpine's Website here
Of course for those into Strava there is a segment for the Bright TT course, which is pretty close to the actual Race Day course.I've included the Strava Segment below.To get on the first page you have to be pretty quick,I'm currently in 42nd place from 183 riders.
I've been tinkering with the idea of watermarking the images I put on the web from now on.I've had a few suggestions with many different ideas.Some say keep it discreet whilst others want more boldness to make it harder for the watermark to be removed.I personally like the more discreet option and if people are that keen they want to get rid of the watermark,good luck to them.Below are 3 options I've tried to date,I'm not a fan of the large watermark on the bottom image.Placement of the smaller one seems to be more important so it's visible without ruining the image.
Apologies for my lack of blog entries of late but for some reason,there has been other things taking precedence. It's interesting writing a blog and sometimes getting stressed because you've not been posting anything, then wondering does anybody really care anyway?
I could probably write a novel on the last few weeks,but I will spare you from that, which included a trip to the Goulburn area to compete in the Australian Masters Time Trial Championships.Whilst reasonably pleased with my ride from a personal point of view there is plenty of work to be done if I'm going to be competitive at the pointy end of that competition. I placed 15th from the 23 riders who started in my category, Masters 4. Special thanks to Tully Lyster who was my travel companion and competed strongly to finish 6th in Masters 2.We also were given help and support by Shane Miller ,who blitzed Masters 1 and also claimed fastest time of the day,his Fiance Von Micich who finished 3rd in WMasters 1 and Stephen Lane ,2nd in Masters 1.
Returning from the Masters the dust had hardly settled and it was time to line up for the Keith Esson Memorial Road Race.This race is run by Shepparton Cycling Club is 147km long, starting and finishing in Dookie.Riding well in the C Grade bunch I was involved in a crash on the second major climb and came down heavily on my LHS.I was pretty gutted afterwards and without the help of Laurie Lyster, who towed me most of the way back to Dookie I would probably have abandoned the race.
So last week I couldn't get interested in riding and decided, with the advice of others, to have a few days off the bike.
Coming into the weekend I could feel the urge to jump back into it and with the Tour of Bright on the horizon,I didn't want to miss a weekends racing. On Saturday. the Wangaratta Cycling Club's Spring series continued and was a great hit out with 2 climbs over Taminick Gap.I was unable to sprint past Dr. Gav on the line and had to be content with second place in B Grade.
Hume Veterans Handicap
This race was held over a course I'd never ridden and was basically 1 lap of a 44km circuit and then 1 lap of a 22 km circuit.Pretty much flat as a tack with the only incline the freeway overpass.Not my preferred terrain but you have to work with what your given.My bunch contained 3 other riders I'd ridden with before in handicaps and I knew we would have a good group.My group,Block,were given 5 minutes start on a well credentialled four man scratch group with 15 minutes to the middle markers and the two out marker groups, 20 and 27 minutes.
Before the completion of the large loop scratch has lost Grealy due to a mechanical which reduced their fire power but the group had reduced the 5 minutes deficit to just over 2.
My Block group managed to catch the 15 min group just nearing the end of the first lap, which increased our strength, but were still 8 minutes behind the leaders with just 22 kms to go.
Next to be caught, the 20 minutes group as they turned into Emu Bridge road, but scratch were making no impression on us now, with our reinforced strong, 11 man/woman bunch.
Turning back onto Kilfeera Road with 8 kms to the finish we were still 4 minutes down from the limit group and the race was really on, trying to hold scratch at bay and also catching the limit pair who were travelling strongly.
I put my head down and pulled some really solid turns along Kilfeera Road nearly popping myself in the process.I knew the pace had to be lifted if there was any chance of catching limit.We could see them in the distance but were starting to run out of road.
The freeway overpass is about 600 metres from the finish and it was just after this when limit succumbed and had to watch the race lead get snatched from them.I'd found myself on the front with around 300 metres left in the race with no other choice than to lead out the sprint.At around 150m to go I hit out for the line with every ounce of energy that was left in my body, expecting to be swamped on the line by the following riders.It seemed to take an eternity to ride that last 50 metres and Dr Gav came through right on the line.Neither of us could be sure of the verdict, with the line judges initially giving Dr Gav the victory.However the camera revealed that it was 15 cms that separated us and getting the judges verdict was me with Morley a bike length back for 3rd in one the most trilling sprint finishes the Club has seen for a while. Strang sprinted in well for 4th just ahead of Davison with limit man Lea home in 6th place and the other limit rider Cathie held on for 8th spot.
Scratch, who’s firepower was reduced still did exceptionally well but didn’t make any more ground on the eventual winning group in the last 12 kms finishing just on 2 minutes down with visiting Northern Vets rider Simon Welsh (Team Kosdown) taking out the Fastest Time honours at an average speed just under 40kph.
Last week I attended the Masters Championships Time Trial near Goulburn NSW. Before and after my own ride I managed to fire off a few photos of other competitors.There is a small gallery here.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to have a bike fit with Laurie Lyster. Laurie recently completed the Retul bike fit training and has started his own bike fitting business.I wanted to get Laurie's opinion of my TT set up.We ended up being pretty happy with my original position.The only alteration being Seat height which was raised 10mm and moved forward to retain original seat set back in relation to bottom bracket.Small fluorescent markers were placed on six specific locations on my body before I was filmed riding my bike on a stationary trainer.Then with the help of some very clever software called Dartfish Laurie could plot my bike position perfectly.It was also very interesting to compare the functional changes the seat height adjustment made, after binging up the before and after video capture on the one screen for direct comparison.Below are a few photos I managed to sneak in during the process.
The past weekend saw the hotly contested Wang. CC 2 day tour featuring 4 stages of racing.The A Grade field was seriously strong with many competitors with National Road Series credentials.As I race C Grade my blog will mainly cover our race.
I also really appreciate Steve and Helen Bean from the infamous "Captain's Crew for making the effort in coming up from Melbourne,as did many others,to attend the weekends racing.Steve won just about everything in D Grade so looked pretty pleased with himself on Sunday arvo.
Stage 1.Road race over 52km depending on your Grade.
Stage 2.14km Individual Time Trial
Stage 3. 25km road race with a hill top finnish.
Stage 4. Kermesse over a 6km course.2-6 laps depending on Grade.
A chilly morning greeted us in Wangaratta as we rolled up to register around 9am.I was in C Grade and checking through the field I recognised many of the names and new it would be a competitive weekend ahead.
C GRADE FIELD
Zane Douglas, Wayne Reid,Dr.Gav(Gavin Frawley),Geoff Morley,Geoff Damm,Aaron Smith,Tony Reeckman,Mick Carmellotti Andrew Doyle,Michael Stringer U17,Thomas Slingsby U17,Stephen Damm U17,Gifford Crosswaithe, Stephen Field
I've had many a good tussle with Dr.Gav, and knew this weekend would be no exception,with the other strong riders in the field any victories would be hard earned.We rolled off somewhere around 10.30am for the first stage, which is the Under 17 Road Race course.This meant 2 climbs over Taminick Gap, which would help sort out who made the finish for the sprint.For the first few km's there were a few attacks but everything was chased down.As usual I messed up the intermediate sprint and with generous bonus points on offer, these are important.Managing to stick with the first 6 over Taminick the first time, the race was on.We rolled turns most of the second lap to ensure we stayed away,the 6 of us got over the gap again for the second time together.Knowing sprinting is not my strongest point I was wondering if I could get away solo.First attack turning into Warby Range road, unsuccessful,hit them again on the run down Shanley St,gap opened maybe 30metres but I was again closed down.Ended up finishing 6th for the stage as the last attack had hurt.
Would be a 14km Individual Time Trial with no time bonuses,a race against the clock.Pure and simple,no hiding.I love them in a weird love /hate kind of way.They hurt big time and you have to look deep inside yourself and be prepared to suffer the whole way.In some way I reckon it's a spiritual experience and I always get very anxious before the start of a TT.
Rolling off at 1min. intervals we were underway around 2.30.Remembering the golden rule of the ITT,dont start to hard,dont start to hard,dont start to hard I tried to keep the excitement under control until the Warby Range Road turn.Managed this partially well and was pretty well at full effort by the first turn.Passed my minute man before the first turnaround and pushed hard into the head wind.Rounding the first turn around I was in too big a gear and laboured a little to build up speed(mental not,dont do this at next one) coming back along Warby Range road the pace was much quicker with a tail wind helping matters.Passed another rider,good.Head down passing Shanley St and next second I'm off the road in the gravel,shit,that's not in the race plan.Hold on and slowly look to get back onto the black top.Relief, I'm still upright,put that out of the mind and keep pushing.Around the next TA point in a better gear and back up to speed.Rounding Shanley St corner managed to pass another rider from my grade and all out for the run to the finish.Trying to hold top gear the legs were burning.Finish,relief.
Official time 22min 42secs and first on the stage by 54 seconds from DR.Gav and Gifford Crosswaithe a further second back in 3rd.
I had the big guns from "Team Kosdown" staying with me over the weekend,so we had a great evening on Saturday eating home cooked lasagne and toasting a few marshmellows on the open fire.The big Lama can toast a wicked marshmellow( and is also especially handy on a TT bike blitzing a star studded A Grade field in their TT).
Sunday's weather forecast was not promising with showers predicted for Sunday afternoon,after checking the BOM radar upon waking,a band of showers was just to the east.
A 25km hill climb.After the ITT I'd managed to be leading the GC for C Grade by 20 secs on who else, but my favourite nemesis,Dr. Gav.Time to play the game.I glued myself to his wheel and didn't go to the front once.This caused the reaction from some in our group.I heard"you should be up front protecting your lead","the way you can TT why are you not driving the pace?" Well the answer to that was,"there is a hill to climb at the end and I'm planning to go up it as fast as possible". Intermediate sprint came and the points were won by others is the bunch with myself and Gav getting none.Suits me fine.
All together at the base of the climb and this is it.We had 2 under 17 riders in our bunch and boy could they climb.They took off like scolded cats leaving us mature aged gentlemen gasping.Me and the Dr. going head to head for the minor placings.
Now at this point I must digress.Back prior to the start I noticed Jake Morgan and Ash Baines looking on.So I wandered over to say g'day to these likeable fellows.Their instructions"after the last left hander on the climb,hit it in the big ring,nobody will be able to go with you"I'd been chewing this tactic over all race and had decided to give it a go.
With the 2 under 17's up the road it was also important not to lose too much time as one of them was not to far back from Dr Gav on GC.So with this is mind as we rounded the left hander I applied the required pressure with the left index finger to shift the chain into the 54.This is gonna hurt.Out of the saddle and go for the finish about 350metres away.Dr Gav is holding,we are side by side,another 100m passes in slow motion,I have half a wheel,another 50m the doc is gone and I'm looking at third.It's hurting now and I'm not sure if I can make it in this big gear.No negative thoughts, c'mon of course you can it's not much longer, 200m,100m finally the top, 3rd,happy,stuffed.
The Kermesse,4 laps,24km.I have a 20 second lead in GC to Thomas Slingsby,one of the U17's,and Dr. Gav another 11 seconds back.We roll off a little early it seems and Dr. Gav is not on the start line.Bugger,he has missed the start. My plan is to stick on young Slingsby's wheel and not let him get any time.With sprint bonus points on offer at the intermediate sprint and the finish he could still win the race for GC.His young friend Michael Stringer road a gutsy race pulling some big turns on the front helping close down any breaks.I had others to watch my back too shall we say, and had also been offered good advice from my more experienced riding friends.Also Dr Gav had turned up and was allowed to join the race after one lap. Young Slingsby won the intermediate sprint and I could do nothing about it,wow,that boy can ride.He picked up 10 seconds so had narrowed the gap by half.After the intermediate sprint Mick Carmelotti went up the road which was fine by me,he was no threat to GC and I would be more than happy for him to win the stage and get the 20 second bonus for the win.It was up to the younguns to chase and the efforts of Michael Stringer were nothing short of outstanding.However when he took off again and his young team mate failed to go with him this also was good for me.All I had to do was sit on and not let the others get to far up the road.When Geoff Damm took off from the bunch this was also great for me,I expected my young counterpart to go with him, but it never eventuated.Along the back straight of the final lap Dr. Gav's bike started to make some unusual noises and it appeared he was in trouble.By this time I had ridden to the front as I wanted to asses the lead of the 3 riders up the road.Making a quick calculation, they had about 13 seconds, all I had to do was make the finish line with the others and the GC was safe.Rounding the final bend the group go a little ugly and I bumped another rider pretty heavily but we managed to stay upright,not to stressful but you never know what can happen until you cross the finish line.
The weekend was a great success for me personally and the Wangaratta Cycling Club ran another wonderful event. I heard nothing but praise from fellow riders who attended the weekend with many talking about next year's race already.
You can also check out Wangaratta Cycling Club's facebook page for more.
Shane Miller also has a write up of his experience in our neck of the woods here
Shane is Australian Masters 1 ITT Champion and races at plenty of events.
"From the secretary Paul Lane who should also be thanked".
THANK YOU : John Myles, Rob Greenway (Mansfield) Dave Wohlers, Ros and Geoff Clarke, Suellen and Frank Loki, Maureen and Ian Bott, Meredith and Rosie Lane, Mal Kay, Bill McKay, Jim Samon, Fred Pane(Brunswick), Cathy Boal, Sarah & Dean McDonald, Graeme Rose, Jeff Little and anyone else that I didn't see or escaped my failing memory. Great team effort. Our Race Director was Frank Loki and our Commissionaire was Ian Bott. Top job by Both.
A hardy group turned up for Wangaratta Cycling Club's long ITT today.Intermittent light showers and a reasonably strong westerly wind greeted the participants.40 km is long for a club ITT with most of our club's other Time Trial's are around 16-20km in length.I was slotted into the A Grade group and finished at the bottom of the leaderboard (sounds better than last).
It was a great course with a few changes in direction and some gentle up and down gradients thrown in.I'm pretty content with my effort and realise there is plenty of room for improvement.
Below are the details of this years club tour. As I know a couple of people are considering the trip up from Melbourne,have a read of these particular paragraphs.
"This is a club tour and riders from outside the combine area must provide written approval from your club to
race at alternative club or combine event. An email, with proper identification from a club president or secretary
at time of entry will suffice".
Clubs in the combine area include: Albury-Wodonga, Lavington Panthers, Alpine, Mt Beauty, Mansfield-Mt
Buller, Benalla, Shepparton, Cobram-Barooga, Echuca-Moama.
A little more on the above from the Club Secretary.
This is a Cycling Vic requirement.The club tour is a club race. ie it's not an OPEN.
Clubs will have no worries with letting their rider ride, so it's just a formality really.
Most of our other club races, usually only draw from our nearby areas. This one, tend to draw from a wider field and so we just need to follow the CV requirements.
The first race of the weekend was a 20km Time Trial held by Wangaratta Cycling Club consisting 2 x 10 km circuits of Reith's Estate.
We again had some visitors to the club, Shane Miller,Australian Masters 1 Time Trial Champion,who would make sure the A Graders,including Wangaratta's Tully Lyster, who is the Victorian Masters 2 Time Trial Champion would have their work cut out.
But the race I was interested in was in B Grade.It seemed there was in fact,a race within a race.Now I'm not exactly sure when the Time Trial gauntlet was officially thrown down,but it appeared Dr. Gav was hunting the B Grade TT and I was in the way.After our last TT at Glenrowan,which I managed to get the win in C Grade and besting the good Dr. by around 2 minutes.
Gav had purchased a shiny new (second hand) machine in the shape of a Cervelo TT bike from Rhys Lyster.Well, maybe purchasing would be the correct way to put it, as Rhys said to me before the start."If you beat Gav in the TT I'm going to unfollow you on Twitter"as he is test riding the bike.But with honour,and beer,on the line there would be no holding back.
I was even threatened with a drug test,handed a sample pot and surgical gloves as well.But it was obvious to me who would have access to the best gear.Time to get down to business and the starters left in 1 minute intervals and I was in the slightly fortunate position to start 1 minute behind Dr Gav.By no means did we have B Grade to ourselves with Laurie Lyster easily capable of winning B Grade and also Heath Mullavey from Rutherglen who is a very strong rider.I reckoned after the first lap I'd made up some distance on my minute man, but after being passed by Allan Thrum like I was standing still, I was not so sure. Comfortable I could hold my pace for the next lap, and hopefully go a little harder, especially into the head wind across the top of the course,I could gradually see Dr. Gav getting closer.I was hoping that I might overtake him but I couldn't quite achieve that one.Riding TT's hurt big time,my average heart rate was 173bpm or 93%hr max for the full ride,crossing the finnish line was a great relief and I'd managed to achieve one of my goals for the day.I'll keep the other one to myself for now.
Finally I've finished editing the photos taken last week at the Junior Mountain Climbing Championships-Alpe de Buffalo.
Have a look at them in the Galleries I've created,I had lots of trouble with my wireless internet coming into Easter so only uploaded the last Gallery on Saturday
A bit of an update on the Mt Buffalo Challenge Competition is local cyclist Matt Clark became the new leader with a time of 49min 30sec, which will be pretty hard for anyone to beat. I've now also added the descent as a separate competition.You can see results underneath the climb competition.I rode Mt Buffalo on easter Sunday for the first time this year and managed the climb in 1hour 4min 30sec which is 1 min slower than my best time and then turned around and completed the descent in 21min 53sec.So far Shane Miller is leading the descent comp. at 18min 39sec.
I don't normally have much to say about Professional cycling here as there are many websites that specialise in the pro scene. However, watching Paris-Roubaix last night was so exciting to see Tom Boonen ride the last 55km by himself.The following group,including a number of Team Sky riders,were powerless to close the gap as Boonen powered away to his 4th Paris -Roubaix victory.
If you haven't seen any of the GreenEdge backstage pass videos,have a look at them,really gives you a feel for what goes on inside a professional team.Below is the Paris-Roubaix one but I really love the Milan-San Remo video they did, when Simon Gerrans won they just went ballistic.
Finally it was lovely to have my sister and mother out for dinner on Saturday night and we cooked up an excellent feed on the outside BBQ.Just lately I've become quite accustomed to lighting a fire then cooking on the coals,there is something very special about cooking on a fire.