It's been a bloody long time since I've put anything up on this poor old blog. It's not that there's nothing to talk about. In fact there's so much that I haven't had time to stop ad ruminate. Since I blogged last, I've:
- Run the Mallee Routes rides from Hopetoun again for a great bunch of riders
- Raced on the track most Thursday nights
- Trained at the track most Saturdays, and Tuesdays with Daryl's House of Pain Coaching School
- Trained in the Cage of the cruel-wizard, Paul, my strength and conditioning coach
- Ridden the 1200km Perth-Albany-Perth on almost no endurance training (in fact, almost zero road k's)
- Ridden in my first open track racing meeting
- Managed to have my first major tantrum about racing badly at my first open meet
- Most recently competed in the Victorian Track Racing Christmas Carnival meetings at Horsham and Bendigo.
Why haven't I blogged about any of this rich seam of cycling ore? Too busy, too brain dead, too tired, too lazy. I mean to change all that in the new year so I thought it best to start today by writing about what I'm up to.
On Monday and Tuesday this week I traveled to Horsham and Bendigo to race in the Christmas Carnival meetings there. It was a big step for me because these tracks are very different to the lovely safe boards of DISC. The shapes and surfaces and wind of these outdoor velodromes tends to lead to very interesting racing. There is definitely a whole new degree of skill required to ride these tracks with their difficult bends and different banking. Riding DISC can be like being on a rail but out here, you have to know and understand the track and ride it all the way. A couple of times I almost managed this....
Horsham was somewhat marred by the strong winds and my inexperience with the odd track shape, but Bendigo was a real blast. I spent the afternoon with Damian relaxing in the shade while watching some great racing, interspersed with bouts of all out effort on the track. I can't say I won anything on the day but I raced well and felt like I'd won a million bucks. The Bendigo track was so fast and smooth, it felt like we were flying at times. The odd shape only adds to the racing by making it easier to open up or exploit a gap here and there. I seriously encourage anyone who can push a bike around to give these meetings a go at least once. You'll be back for sure. Right now I'm really looking forward to the track carnival at Wangaratta in January.
The other big ride I've done that can't be allowed to go by without further mention is Perth-Albany-Perth. This was a huge undertaking for the organisers and riders. I was utterly underdone for such a demanding ride but to my delight I found every minute of the ride wonderful. I didn't stress about the multiple flats and mechanical issues I encountered despite preparing my bike very well. I didn't suffer from bum abrasion or any serious pain. I just rode it and enjoyed the scenery. It was great to catch up with Michael Bentley again too, just unfortunate that the reason we ended up riding together was Kerri-Ann's crash on day one. I will write much more about this soon. I think there's a couple of good stories that need to come out.
I've had a bunch of fun this year meeting new friends and re-making old ones. The big disappointment has been the small group of people I thought were true friends who've been much more into judgement than friendship. I wish they'd at least talk to me about their problems.
Huge thankyous are in order for Daryl, Paul, Ray, Damian, Pepe, Michael, Michael, Michael, Leon, Thomas, Sophie, John, DJ, Jim, Surly, Scott, Rod and all the others who've renewed my faith in friendship. Especially I have to mention the support and love with which Lawrence has blown a constant breeze over the embers of my resolve.
Cycling wise, 2010 has been a real year of learning and working hard without much result. I'm realising that this is because I'm trying to do everything at once. The track racing isn't helping my Audax riding and the big distances sure as hell kill any speed I might have in my legs. So 2011 will be the year of decisions and choices. I'll share these with you if you're interested.