Thursday, 29 January 2009

Baked to the Bitumen

I rode my bile to work and back today.  It was a beauty.  The ride in was good.  I had a tail wind for at least half the way and it was around 30 degrees. 

The ride home was somewhat more challenging.  44 degrees C  (111F) when I left work and into a strong headwind, the whole way.  It really wasn't too bad.  The most interesting aspect of the ride was that my heartrate indicated that I was pushing quite a bit harder than I percieved I was.  A ride home with an average heart-rate of 154 would normally be a really hard push.  I didn't feel I was pushing that hard, though my legs felt pretty good considering the workout on the weekend.

My heartrate was higher than normal because of the increased need for blood to be circulated near the skin to accelerate the cooling effect of sweating.  This has been supported by a number of studies.  

To help with cooling, I regularly poored water down the front of my jersey and shorts to accentuate the evaporative cooling effect.  Even though this water went on very hot, it quickly cooled down in the breeze. I also drank heaps.  I drank only water because I find it very hard to keep a sports drink down when it gets very hot.  It's also crap when you poor it over youself.


Monday, 26 January 2009

Audax Alpine Classic 2009

My 2009 Alpine Classic was a huge disappointment.  I really trained and worked against the odds.  On the day I poured everything I had into it and I didn’t even come close to my goals.

I set myself a public goal of 8 hours.  Privately I believed I could, and wanted to do 7:30.  In the end I did 9:07.  To go into what went wrong and why is probably fruitless right now.  What really intrigues me is why I feel such a failure.

All of this raises lots of eyebrows in the Audax world. Audax Australia anyway.  There’s lots of emphasis on achieving the ride and not caring about the time.  For me it’s not about comparative times.  I don’t care who goes faster or slower.  This year my mate Steve came in ahead of me and I was ecstatic for him.  On the last couple of k’s up Mt Buffalo I saw him descending like a man possessed and I got goosebumps (possibly dehydration related) all over, in joy at his achievement.

Likewise, it’s hard not to be stirred by the achievement of the riders coming in with minutes to spare, having toiled through the worst heat of the day.  Every person who does this ride is a hero.  There’s no easy way to do it.

The 2009 ride was probably the hardest ride I’ve ever done. I left more blood sweat and tears on the road, both during the ride and in training than I’ve ever done before.  Is that why it hurts so much to have failed?  In training, I battled constantly with illness, I just couldn’t shake off and on the ride, I struggled through strong cramps for the final 120km.

Previously, I’ve read of some of Matthew Rawnsley’s epic achievements. I’ve been stunned by his feeling of loss at not achieving all his goals.  His achievements are so far beyond my abilities, I often think, “How can he be unhappy with that?”.  Now I think I understand.

Right now, I’m just taking a little time to mourn the loss and start planning my next goal.


Thursday, 22 January 2009

Finished Training

This morning I finally had a high note to my training for the Alpine.  Did 5x3km hill efforts at about90%.  I must have got it about right because each one got faster and my legs feel great now.

I've just given them a rub with the foam roller and a good stretch.

I did the efforts this morning at around LT (lactate threshhold or 160bpm for me) which is where I'll do the majority of the climbing on the ride until I give it hell on the last half of Buffalo.

Nothing to do now but eat.  Carbs.  Lots of carbs!

Seeya in Bright.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Getting Ready

It seems I'm as ready as I'm going to be.  Having weathered a nasty gastro-bug in the last few days, I'm feeling a bit better.  I had a quiet spin on the trainer this morning and the muscles feel good. 

I've been slowly dragging all my gear together and trying to get my head into the right space.  It feels really different to most tasks I set myself because my preparation is so far out of control.

It's a hard way to deplete but I should be ready to start loading tomorrow.  The gastro has me down to nothing.  I'll do one last 90% hill session tomorrow and that's it.  Lots of stretching/spinning and just keeping my stomach working properly.

I don't mind sharing that I'm scared to death about the Alpine.  I really have no good idea where my fitness is.  While I've got some good times under my belt and my power looks good on paper, I know that I haven't been able to train with the intensity and frequency I need.

I guess I'll just go for it and either fly or crash and burn.  I haven't hated myself yet for having a crack and failing.

Seeya in Bright.


Saturday, 17 January 2009

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready for the Alpine and it's all feeling quite surreal. I feel totally underdone but there's nothing more I can do and little I could have done differently.

This morning I did a lovely 90km at a reasonably easy pace.  It's got the soreness out of my legs from the effort of yesterday.  I really enjoyed every moment of the ride.  It was cold and windy, but I didn't need to concentrate on anything except the riding.  I let my legs have their head a bit on a few hills but generally just took it as it came.

It's on rides like this that I'm really thankful to live where I do and to have the freedom to just ride.  The country is so beautiful.

Next training objective:  Don't drink at the 40th birthday party I'm going to tonight.  That might be a bit harder than most training sessions.

I've decided that I'm doing the Alpine with my old trusty, worn 39-25 low gear.  The new gear I had on order hasn't arrived and there's no way I can get the 9 speed cassette Jim lent me to work with my 10 speed changers so, it's take a deep breath and start pedalling.


Friday, 16 January 2009


I'm tapering a little differently this year for the Alpine.  This morning I set two PB's for the hill outside my house.  It's a 3k 4-5% climb. 

I went flat out at it the first two goes.  First time I knocked 7 seconds off the best time I did in Feb last year.  Second time, another 2!

The last two were pretty pathetic and wobbly.

Normally I wouldn't dream of pushing that intensity only a week out.  I won't do it again, but I am planning to do more hill repeats between now and then.  I'm experimenting with dropping back the quantity more than normal and keeping up some intensity. 

We'll see how it all goes on Sunday week.


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A Hot Ride

Lord almighty
I feel my temperature rising
Higher higher
It's burning through to my soul
Burnin' Love - Dennis Linde

Last night I rode home into that headwind in 37 degrees (99F). Keen to get some good training I just time-trialled it. My heart rate averaged 164 up until I had a flat 9k from home. That's about 103% of my LT for 1hr 20m.

My legs are totaled today and I just feel like a good sleep. Fortunately I found a nice tree to fix the flat under. I was so stuffed even pumping the tyre up got my hr back over 160.

I just checked the computer and I maxed out at 187 on the third and last pinch over Pretty Sally. That's the highest I can remember. My normal max is 184. Hopefully all this means I'm not as far off the pace as I think. We'll see.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Supplemental Madness

I've been adding up my supplements.  If I don't stop soon I'll be opening my own pharmacy. Each day I'm now taking:
  • 2 Glucosamine tabs
  • 1 Chondroitin tab
  • 4 Fish Oil tabs
  • 2 Magnesium tabs
  • 1 Zinc tab
  • 2 Co-enzyme Q10 tabs
  • 2 vitamin C tabs
  • at least 4 pieces of fresh citrus
  • 4 Echinacea tabs
and now I've started on
  • Olive Leaf Extract 3 times a day
Just imagine how crook I'd be if I didn't have all these to help me along.  Keep an ear out.  You may hear me rattling up a hill behind you at the Alpine.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

On Longing

body aches/distant longing remembrance:
sweat running down my back
rhythmic pleasure
racing pulse
gulping breath racks my soul

pleasure tinged with with pain

Can you tell I'm missing my bike. Haven't ridden since Monday. Still, it's not too bad. I should be back on the bike again tomorrow.


Wednesday, 7 January 2009


the sun reads stories
from beads of sweat on my skin...
writes new ones itself



Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy New Year

Well this post has certainly taken a while to get around to. I'm on holiday looking after my darling children who are finally in bed. Kerrie's back at work and the only reason I'm doing this now is that I've discovered the holiday house I'm staying in has a very thoughtful neighbour with an unprotected wireless network I can leech off.

2008 was certainly a heck of a year from a cycling viewpoint. My first Super series in 20 years. My first long ride in 22 years.

Here are the stats for those who are even vaguely interested.

  • 13,098 km (I was targeting 14,000)
  • 481hrs 13 mins on the bike or 20 days or 12 working weeks
  • Average speed 28.04
  • Average cadence 86 or 2,483,078 turns of the cranks
  • Average Heart Rate 134 or 3,868,982 heart beats
  • Calories burned 380,120 or around 50kg of body fat
This year I'm going for 14,000km again. Hopefully I'll have a better last quarter. I'm planning to spend more of my training time going harder, spend more time in the gym and to get a bit more balance. I'll do a super series, and an Oppy. No long rides for me this year. I also plan to do a bit of racing this year, to add a bit of zip. I still plan to lose 8kg (not happening to date) and to do the Alpine in 8 hours.

Most importantly I plan to introduce a little lifestyle balance. The stats speak for themselves. Last year I spent more than 2200 hours at work and only 481 on the bike! I mean I spent around 1800 hours asleep. If you call that balance, you've got a pretty strange way of looking at the world.

I plan to also spend a bit more time on this blog in the next year. For those of you with the patience to read this drivel, I'll try to reward it with a little more consciousness and a little less stream.

Cheers, and happy new year.