Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bronzed Aussie

(with apologies to the late Steve Irwin)

Well I did it. I made the podium at the National Master Track Champs in the MMAS 3 Points Race, finishing in third place behind the super pursuiters of Graeme Albon (NSW - Gold) and Stuart Vaughan (Victoria - Silver).

Having trouble with blogger, so quick report only, hopefully some piccies and a wko file to share next time I report in (we are not allowed to have computers on the bike's bars in mass start track events, so I wired up the PT CPU under the saddle). I will view the file with some interest when I get the chance to download it.

All my buddies had a great championships and they were fantastic in their encouragement and support for me. So a super result. I'm now told I'm entitled to wear the Aussie skinsuit at the worlds in the points race, so that's pretty cool (although it doesn't quite feel right yet I have to admit). Yikes, I better make that final in October!!

It was a pretty brutal race but no laps taken by anyone - no one could do it. Given the quality of the 3 top pursuiters, I was surprised. I picked up points in 5 or 6 of the sprints (finished on 12 I think) and needed to leap frog the 3rd placed rider (Anthony Bishop) in the final sprint, which I did with a good kick to the line and take the bronze.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support - not least of which Ric Stern who's coaching and training is taking me to new levels; but also to Peter Barnard, Tanya Bosch, Alan Townsend, David Willmott, Michelle Crawford and the "mechanic without a cause" - Anthony as well as all the others that cheered me on today. It really helped and I was pleased my result was a popular one.

Congrats also to the other guys in the race who made it a corker! Sluggo said it was the hardest points race he'd ever ridden. I'm not gunna disagree!

Still have a crit to ride but that will be a big unknown quantity.


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Monday, March 26, 2007

National Lampoon Pursuit


Wow - that hurt. Today was my Individual Pursuit qualifier. I rode a PB, which is good but I was hoping for a better time.

Time was 3:47.770 - about 1/4 second faster than Sydney a fews weeks ago. I set out to ride a 3:45 schedule and was on bang on target at the 1km and 2km marks but the last km got me I'm afraid.

But here's the rub....

Average power: 420W - that's 35+W more than Sydney. I'll have to check the atmospheric conditions but that's a whole lot more power for not much extra speed. Yikes, no wonder I was crawling on the floor looking for somewhere to be sick after that.

Leading riders in my Div were doing low 3:30s. Wow.

World and Australian Masters champs were getting knocked off their perches everywhere today.

Anyway, for the record - here the pursuit file with three second smoothing applied. Click to see a larger version.

When I get more details, I'll post some stuff about my buddies who all did well. Tanya rode her target time (4 seconds better than Sydney) and Michelle won gold with a solid 3:36 in the final as well as catching her opponent.
Tomorrow is sprint day, so I get a day off from competition although I have a ride planned.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Which Vector, Victor?

Shirley you can't be serious?

OK, Flying High (aka "Airplane!") jokes aside, not a lot to report today. It's rest day and travel day. The week so far has been all taper. My body usually hates recovery periods, I typically feel dead and sore for a 3-5 days and then come good again once the pressure goes back into the training. This week, apart from a bit of wooden legs while doing warm ups, the legs and body have been pretty good.

Come Monday, when I ride the Individual Pursuit, I'm expecting the legs to say: "We have clearance, Clarence"!

Wednesday will be the points race.

Saturday the Crit.

With any luck I'll be able to post the week's happenings as we go.

"Roger, Roger".

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Claytons Power Meter

Older Aussies will know what I mean, recalling that famous '80s TV ad campaign with Jack Thompson delivering the punchline of a joke to his mates at the pub and then asking for a Claytons - "the drink you have when you're not having a drink". The concept of a spirit-like drink without alcohol is strange, I mean if you're gunna consume something that taste like spirits but has no alcohol in it.....

But the term Claytons became part of the local vernacular and so when something isn't the real deal (fair dinkum) or a poor substitute, then it's a Claytons .

So what am I talking about?

Well here's the power file from my first taper workout last night:

That's right, there isn't one. Huh? It was all recorded on my Claytons Power Meter.

Well I did the workout but the PT wiring harness decides that the last week before Championships is the right time to fail.

Now I had some specific efforts, specified by time and power, to do - so I ended up doing them by feel and that's probably OK. I mean we can't all sit there PM watching while rocking round the boards at 49km/h....

I was meant to do a large handful of 90 second efforts at around 320-330W. I figure that's about 4.5 laps or so. I find out later that I was circulating the kilo in around 73-74 seconds, so I think that was a little quick for the target power! Sans aero wheel/helmet - it'd be more like 360W I'd say. Oh well, I did them and wasn't trashed.

Fortunately I have another wiring harness on my road training bike, so it will be moved to the track machine. I have two new harness units on order. I like having spares....

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sneaky Peaky

Peter Barnard on my wheel at the Bicisport Track Open last Saturday evening.
Note the "team issue" bikes and PT power meters. We both had some results.

It's been a solid week.

Aerobic Power intervals (VO2 Max work), Lactate Tolerance intervals, high-end tempo and track racing amongst solid endurance workouts. Next up is an endurance ride with a Time Trial pace interval to finish off the week.

Then taper commences. Yay!! Pursuit is nine days away, points race 11 days.

Here's Wednesday night's track workout. APIs in pursuit position followed by some LTIs. Nice n jelly legs after that lot. 10 second smoothing applied to this chart.

Torque zero out again on #1, which you can see by the speed being high but power reading lower than it should. Ongoing issue that torque zero - hub is getting very sensitive ("poor widdle hub") and is changing its zero point way too regularly for my liking. Never used to, so not real sure what's going on there. Saris have no pointers for me unfortunately.

Efforts were not exactly smooth - hard to be perfectly smooth riding a bumpy older outdoor velodrome with variable winds and then there's the traffic to contend with, mostly juniors, so you have to keep your wits about you as they can be a little unpredictable. Best example was the 5th API where I simply had to wait for safe place to over take the motorpacer, while others were sprinting etc etc.

I did try one new thing - using clipless pedals (which was nearly my undoing as one of them is failing and I nearly had to go home before I started). I have replacements thanks to the uber cycle fit specialist, Steve Hogg at I want to move to clipless on the track bike, at least for the pusuit, so I can gain just that fraction more aerodynamic advantage. It was good to ride them and make sure my riding position was not impacted.

Anyway, just about at taper and looking forward to exploring some good form in the championships.

Here's Pete again, this time in the invitation motor pace sprint,
where he clocked a 10.74 second flying 200. That got him into the
"Irish Kierin" final with the likes of Ben Kersten, Danny Ellis & co.

Would liked to have had a pic of the finish of my wheelrace heat to show you, where I crossed the line with Danny Ellis but super photo man Dave Lane at Action Snaps didn't capture my brief moment of glory! So here he is chucking a wheelie at the finish line in the wheel v foot race challenge.

Danny Ellis throws his bike into the air on the line but comes up short against
the Ramsgate Sprinter Travis Clark in the Wheels vs Foot challenge.

'til next time, power on!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007


A Devilish Ride

In track racing carnivals, there is an event known as “The Elimination”, also known as the “Miss ‘n’ Out Race” or “Devil Takes the Hindmost”.
The race is pretty simple. The bunch rolls out and after one “neutral” lap, one rider is eliminated from the race each lap. The rider withdrawn is the one judged to have had the rear of their rear wheel cross the finish line last.

It’s a crowd favourite, with the action at the back, lots of positioning and mini-sprints going on as riders jostle to stay in the race. There is a race happening every lap and it is quite fun to watch, especially if you have a lively commentator.

It requires plenty of cunning, experience, skill, positioning and a good engine to be successful in this race. There are several ways to ride the race successfully. Two common approaches are to either ride at the front to stay away from the trouble happening behind (which requires a good aerobic engine) or to ride at the back and out manoeuvre and sprint past your hapless opponents (which requires good neuromuscular power and skills). This latter approach is known as “playing the Devil”.

What you don’t want to do is get caught underneath and behind riders, as you have no where to go. Here is an example:

Rider trapped underneath

Notice how the rider above in light blue (a national champion BTW, #78 – the 8 is obscured in this shot) has ended up in a poor position trapped underneath. They are trying to follow wheels to conserve energy but when the time for the sprint to the line, they have limited options and are hoping other riders get caught out. Eventually this will result in elimination. See the result:

and no-where to go.... you're out!
It is not legal in track racing to improve your position in a bike race on the cote d’azure (the blue band on the inside of the track), nor is it legitimate to encroach on a rider who already occupies the sprinter’s lane (between the black and red lines). Trying to get across the line first this way will see the officials pull you from the race quick smart.

For some reason, I’ve become quite good at these races. My general approach is to position well near the front of the pack but sometimes you need to call on other tactics. Things happen very fast and the race is usually pretty quick as well, so riding at the front is quite taxing (but then so is sprinting every lap at the back). Here’s an example of how good positioning can take out a strong rider:

You're gawnnn buddy!
Rider 46 is strong but was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The rider caught underneath was kept there by yours truly just by riding above him. He can’t (legally) escape the trap. This rider went on to win the MMAS 2 points championship recently, so he has a good engine and a sprint to boot. But position is everything is this race of track real estate.

Who was eliminated here?
Hint, it wasn’t me (#44).

What about the power requirements for these races?

Well I can only talk about the grades I ride but here are some stats from my last four elimination races at open track carnivals:

Miss n Out Handicap: 25 Nov 2006 (Placing: 3rd)
Duration: 8:27
TSS: 18.3 (intensity factor 1.139)
Distance: 6.378 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1131 341 watts
Speed: 6.2 52.6 45.3 kph

Miss'n'out: 3 Feb 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 4:47
TSS: 11.9 (intensity factor 1.22)
Distance: 3.718 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1179 374 watts
Speed: 9.1 58.3 46.6 kph

Elimination: 15 Feb 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 5:20
TSS: 11.6 (intensity factor 1.14)
Distance: 3.786 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1314 345 watts
Speed: 3.9 58 42.5 kph

Elimination: 10 Mar 2007 (Placing: 2nd)
Duration: 7:01
TSS: 18.1 (intensity factor 1.245)
Distance: 5.043 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 1160 361 watts
Speed: 4.2 52.8 43.1 kph

Note the Intensity Factors for these
short races of between 5 and 10 minutes duration:
1.14; 1.22; 1.14 & 1.25, which are
pretty typical for elimination races.

Here’s a sample wko from my most recent elimination race:

A typical miss'n'out power file

I put 10 sec smoothing on the data to show up the regular surge each lap.

And the end result of the last pic above?

Well the young pup took it out in the final sprint but I gave it my all:

Damn. 2nd Again!

Looks like I just haven’t quite managed to do better than 2nd this season in elinination races....

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Shoot 'em up

OK a few piccies for you! All from the State Masters Track Champs last weekend.

I'll have better resolution and real copies before long but these will suffice for time being. Thanks to David Lane of Action Snaps for being the resident photographer.
OK - one from the points race. Here I am (#52) getting taken up the track a bit in an early sprint by a Hunter rider not holding the lane (tsk tsk). Albon (#44) wide in front, with Gascoyne (orange stripes) behind me on the blue and behind him Bishop (Canberra, blue, white & black jersey) - the three riders that finished 1,2,3. I'm the only one in the shot not riding a rear disk!

Next I'm on the tail of this 3 man breakaway on the way to taking a lap in the 2nd half of the race.

Now for the pursuit. Here's me in the start gate just checking the count down.

And another couple showing me from side on and again riding the turn. I ride pretty good lines, you won't see me ride too far from the black line too often. Some riders ride wide in the straights but I've never perceived any advantage so I just take the shortest route to the finish line.

My aero position could probably use a bit more work. My head needs to come down a little some how and eventually a move to clipless pedals. I just like the security of straps.
And one more - this time a bit of fun at the end of the championship - a team sprint with a couple of buddies. I was 2nd wheel. This is the first changeover - pretty well textbook perfect, except perhaps for the contorted look on my face ! Note - 2 x SRMs and 1 x PT power meter in this team. So we could do an analysis of sorts if we really felt like it!

So there you have it - championship racing! Nationals are in two and a bit weeks.
One more hard week and then my taper starts. Good, getting grumpy lately!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Track Champs - Day 3

Toot, Toot!

OK, time for a little horn tooting amongst friends....

I rode a PB in the MMAS3 3km Individual Pursuit today. Stats:

Time: 3:47.9
47.4 km/h avg
384 W avg

CTL 88.4
TSB +11.3

1st km: 1:18.86
2nd km: 1:15.23
3rd km: 1:13.75

So I came home strongly. Here's the wko shot (click to see a bigger pic):

Pretty happy with that pacing, especially the start where I seemed to get it just about right. I just bided my time from then and with 1km to go, knew I needed to lift some to beat my set time of 3:48. Very happy to have it in me to do that as so often it's the last km where riders fade badly.

So that's a PB by 2 seconds and by 6 seconds in competition. Still, it didn't get me a finals ride but I'm getting closer and knocking on that door. A 3:45 qualified for bronze ride.

So far I've knocked 18 seconds off my individual pursuit time in the last two years. Guess who's training and racing with a power meter?

Coach & I weren't intending for me to be TSB positive as my taper doesn't start until before Nationals but some poor weather this past week cut me out of some track time and so there you go. A tough couple of weeks ahead of me now.

The two gold medal ride finalists both rode a 3:37 ! That is fast going - they were 2 of the 3 guys that made the podium in yesterday's points race (the other didn't ride the pursuit) in which I got 4th. Some serious engines there.

Others buddies that did really well today:

Michelle C: Gold WMAS 2-4 Individual Pursuit (about 2 secs off a world best time)
Bicisport: Gold 135+ yrs Team Sprint (my club - not me in team, I ain't quick enough!)
Michael P: Gold MMAS4 Individual Pursuit

Nice work from the Tempe track training squad!

Look out Nats.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Track Champs - Day 2

Groundhog Day

Day 2 of the NSW State Masters Track Champs.

My buddies did great again today.

Sprints / Derbys

Dave W: Gold in MMAS5 sprint
Peter B: Gold in MMAS4 sprint
Alan T: Silver in MMAS3 sprint
Andrew B: Gold MMAS2 Sprint
Michelle C: Silver in WMAS3 sprint
Tanya B: Silver in WMAS4+ sprint derby

Scratch & Points Races:

Dave W: Gold MMAS5 Scratch race
Michelle C: Gold WMAS 2/3 Scratch Race
Tanya B: Gold WMAS4+ Scratch Race

Way to go guys!

And me....

Well, I have to be satisfied with 4th place in the MMAS3 points race. Would like to have added to the team tally of medals but not to be.

Ended race on 26 points. Manged to get a lap on the field in what I thought was the winning break with Graeme Albon and Charlie Gascoyne but didn't count on the Canberra rider who also got a lap. Was completely cooked - last 25 laps I was just hanging on, thinking my 20 point lap bonus plus sprints was enough for 3rd place but I couldn't go any harder anyway.

Very hot day, difficult to keep fluids up. Was not the smooth rider on the bike that I normally am. Very hard ride for a pretty average power.... Dunno - thought legs might have been better but that was a good effort (have never taken a lap before in a points race). It's another step up as far as I'm concerned. I'll just keep knocking on that door.

Graeme is the benchmark rider (silver medallist at World Masters points race) and he took two laps on the field and Charlie is a hard man who picked up several sprint wins as well as the lap. They were 1st & 2nd. Canberra guy beat me by 4 points. Bummer! Same end result as last year (same 2 of 3 riders in front of me) - at 47km/h average speed, the race was 2km/h faster than last year's.

Pursuit in the morning. This will be interesting....

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Track Champs - Day 1

Just a real quick one tonight-

Day (evening) 1 of the NSW State Masters Track Champs:

My track training buddies did well in tonight's Track Time Trials:

Dave W: Gold in MMAS5 500m
Peter B: Gold in MMAS4 750m TT
Alan T: Silver in MMAS3 750m TT
(Note: Darren King rode a 48.5 sec 750m to take MMAS3 Gold in a world best time)

Michelle C: Silver in WMAS3 500m TT


ta daaa....

Tanya B: Gold in WMAS5+ 500 m TT (0.4sec inside target time). Nice work team!

Now I said she'd do well in my last post on Tanya.

I don't ride the TT. My Points race is tomorrow afternoon but the sprints are first up so hopefully some more precious metals for the squad.

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