Monday, September 29, 2008


OK, here is my links page with a short description for each:

Richard Stern Training
(my coaching group)

Specialist Cycling & Training Forums:

The Wattage Forum
The original and the best. This is where the leaders in
training and racing with power will be found.

Cycling Forums cycle training forum.
A mine of information including the famous
"It's killing me..." thread.

Cycling Forums power training forum.
Another mine of information, specifically
on the topic of training with power.

Fixed Gear Fever
Especially for all the track and
fixed gear specialists.

Timetrialling Forum
A predominantly UK based forum
dedicated to all things TT
(and a few that aren't).

Bike Radar
Various cycling & training forums

Wattage Training
A new forum for power meter users.

Information about Training with Power:

Understanding Power by Ric Stern
Learn about MAP Tests and using
power in training

Training Peaks Power 411.
The items on training with power
is a valuable resource.

Train with Power
A quick reference site with lots of
additional links and references

Analytic Cycling
The place to go for working out the
equations for cycling...
e.g how much power is required to
ride up a 6% grade at 20km/h?

Cyclefit Centre
The experts on issues relating to
fitting bicycles to people.
Lots of very helpful articles here.

News sites:

Cycling News.
Nothing fancy, just crammed
full of news every day.

Cycle Sport News
A new news site, Australian based
with world coverage of many cycling disciplines.

A nice alternative, with plenty content.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

MAPpity doo dah, MAPpity day

I did my final of three power tests today to determine my Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP). If you want to know a bit more about what that is, just click the link.

Before we get to the result of my test, a little background Chronology:

11 Apr 07: My accident, admission to hospital emergency and multiple operations ensued.

16 May 07: Left below knee amputation.

15 Aug 07: Discharged from hospital

24 Oct 07: Collect interim prosthetic leg, begin to learn to walk again

04 Jun 08: Collect new prosthetic leg. Start to stand and walk again with comfort.

13 Jun 08: first ride on indoor trainer since accident. 15-min at 100 watts and using special short 100mm left crank arm (as my knee wouldn't bend sufficiently for a normal crank) and a flat bed pedal to rest my shoe and "foot" on.

28 Jun 08: first ride on special indoor ergo bike.

29 Jun 08: MAP Test - 246 watts

31 Jun 08: first ride using special prosthetic cycling leg attachment

11 Jul 08: first ride outdoors at Centennial Park for 45-minutes - now using a 155mm left crank

19 Jul 08: first race

21 Jul 08: now using a 165mm long left crank

22 Jul 08: MAP Test - 289 watts

26 Jul 08: second race

01 Aug 08: first ride on track

08 Aug 08: 500 metre time trial at Dunc Gray Velodrome

12 Aug 08: Some problems with stump - experiencing some pain and skin integrity issues. 10 days break from riding while I sorted this out.

13 Sep 08: now using full length cranks on all bikes (165mm on track bike, 170mm on ergo bike, 175 mm on road bikes)

21 Sep 08: trial use of poly urethane bushing under cycling cleat to aid out-of-the-saddle sprinting control

23 Sep 08: Time Trial test - 20-minute power 252 watts

25 Sep 08: MAP Test - 355 watts

What can I say, other than I am personally a little amazed. My previous best able-bodied MAP test result was 399 watts. So today I hit 89% of that. It's only 6 watts less than my MAP test from August 2006!

OK, if we want to get technical, the MAP tests this time were measured with an SRM power meter, which given it's a crank based power meter, will give ~ 2% higher reading than my Powertap, which is what my previous MAP tests were measured with (since the Powertap is a hub-based meter and drivetrain power losses are typically ~ 2%).

And for the technically minded of you, yes the SRM is calibrated and zero offsets checked and stable.

Even still, I consider it a pretty amazing result so early in my comeback.

Power chart here:

So much more work to do.....

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Testing Times #2

In November 2006 in this post I wrote about one method used for testing my current level of aerobic fitness - the time trial power test. It is a test to see how hard you can ride for a given distance. As a test for fitness, it's not the time taken for the course that matters so much as the average power you can sustain during the effort.

Time taken to complete the course isn't a great indicator of changes in fitness, since time can be readily affected by conditions on the day (wind conditions as an example). But power is power, provided you are conducting the test in a reasonably similar environment (altitude, terrain and it's not hideously hot or cold). It also helps to make sure you are not overly fatigued on the day of the test.

The length of the test is typically 10-miles or 16-kilometres. Doesn't need to be exact as it's power we are interested in, not the precise distance or time taken. Of course, if you ride 10-mile TTs regularly, then they are perfect opportunities to use as tests.

Today I was scheduled to do my first such test since returning to the bike.

So what happened?

Well of course today it decided to be a stormy rainy yukky sorta day, didn't it. And right now I don't need the hassle or riding in the rain.

So that left me with the other alternative - to get on the ergo bike and go for it. So that's what I did. Only trick is I have no speed/distance data on the indoor ergo bike, so I opted for a 25-minute long test.

Unsure of how hard to start with, I decided on starting at 220+ watts and then to go by feel from there. Here is the power chart from my effort (yellow = power, green = cadence):

Overall, for the 25 minutes I had an average power of 248 watts and a peak 20-minute average power of 252 watts.

So that's not too bad all things considered.

Testing continues later in week, with a Maximal Aerobic Power test.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kilo What?

Training is going well. I'm back on a program and so far so good. Yesterday was a solid but not super hard roll in the park - an hour at 200 watts, which clearly means my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is now higher than 200 watts!

I'll have a better idea of that this coming week as I am scheduled to do a 16km time trial test run and also a Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) test. That should be fun!

Today I ventured back out to the Dunc Gray Velodrome. This was the first chance I've had to test out my experimental "bushing" for my cycling cleat. I had previously mentioned how I found the bike behaves a bit strangely when doing out of the saddle accelerations, as there was no lateral ankle roll anymore on the left side since there is no ankle, just a straight pylon attached to the cleat and pedal.

So I thought about what I could do and had a few ideas but first I wanted to test the theory to see if some polyurethane under the cleat would do the trick by allowing a bit of sideways flexion.

So while looking for suppliers of polyurethane I also decided to have a closer look at one of my other ideas - to use something like a skateboard truck, which I thought would replicate the ankle flexion quite nicely. So off I go the skateboard shop to have a look...

While there and looking at the trucks on display, I told the shop assistant what I was trying to do and had brought my cycling leg attachment with me. He said, hang on - I might have something for you - and showed me this (the black thing with the H cut out of it):

It is a polyurethane spacer which goes between the skateboard truck and the board - used to provide a little vibration damping and protection for the wooden board from the metal truck. It looked about the right size and hardness, so I took a couple with me to try it out. It has a nice flex to it:

I drilled extra holes and then simply placed it between the cleat and the metal adapter plate, like so:

Not worried about cutting it down to size at this stage (since I didn't know if it was going to work or not) I decided to give it a go and see what would happen. Well today I rode it at the track and after about 30-minutes of rolling around, I decided to do some standing starts.

It worked really well. Once up to speed, the bike was giving me the ability to rock it side to side in a more natural manner without the sensation that I might pull my "foot" out of the pedal.

So after a few of those, I started to get adventurous and rolled around mid track, waiting for some others doing acceleration/speed work. As they passed under me I would get out of the saddle and accelerate down the banking, chase and pass them on the finish line if I could (which I did).

So finally, I decided it was time to get right up the banking and do a sprint effort a la the ubiquitous 200 metre flying time trial. So I rolled around the top and gave it a crack, doing a 3/4 lap effort. I had to sit in saddle a bit earlier than I would normally like but that was OK.

I hit a top speed of 55 kph. OK, so it's not that fast but 55 is OK for now (I was using an 80" gear (49x16) for those that like to know those things and had a max cadence of 142 rpm).

One other thing. On my second standing start of the day, I noticed I had a peak power of 980 watts, so I thought, hmmm, what chance of cracking the kilowatt mark today? So on my third effort I gave it a go.

1053W (5-sec MMP 1020W). :D

Mission accomplished.

Read More......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the Radar

Well my first Bike Radar article appeared today. It is meant to be the first of a series, so we'll see how it goes.

Here's the link

Ideas for articles appreciated!!

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Monday, September 08, 2008


Today's post isn't written by me. It's a copy of an email sent out by Paul Craft, promoter of the Friday night RAW Track Racing Series and all round cool dude.

What else can you say about the sport of track cycling when this is what they do for you?

Well the least I could do is provide a link and show the RAW logo!!

Dear Club members.

Could you please include the following letter as correspondence at your next committee meeting.
Cheers Paul

Dear CNSW club

I am inviting your club to participate in the Alex Simmons benefit night on the 1st of November 2008, to be held at the DGV with a post race function being held in the HBT, including an auction of cycling memorabilia and other goods. The plan is to raise enough money to purchase Alex a purpose built cycling leg attachment (est. value $5,500).

Specifically, I am asking your club to enter a three person team consisting of 1 x Women, 1 x Sprinter and
1 x Track endurance rider to compete in a short but jam packed 1 ½ hour race program. Team entry is $100 and all proceeds go towards purchasing Alex a cycling leg.

Information About Alex Pre accident:

Alex Simmons is an accomplished cyclist from BiciSport club. In the summer of 2006/7 Alex won silver at the Australian Masters Points Race (MAS2) and consequently earned the right to wear the Australian skin suit at the pending World Master Championships to be held in October of that year. Other than his accomplishments on the bike Alex had also become a coach
of many of Sydney’s aspiring cyclists as well as a number of Master riders. He also became a CNSW commissarie and was regularly seen at open events he wasn’t competing in. Added to all this he is also a cycling columnist for Velosport Magazine as well as his very popular Cycling Blog which takes a big interest in Sport Science.

The Accident:

11th April 2007 - Alex was on a normal morning training ride as scheduled by his coach. As usual it was an early morning ride, out at about 5.30am. He rode south from his home out to Taren Point, a route he had ridden literally hundreds of times over the past decade. Turn around via Sylvania Waters and back over Taren Pt Bridge on the way home using the cycleway on the eastern side of the bridge. That cycleway leads you into the car park of the St George Sailing Club in Sandringham and straight onto Riverside Dr. It was 6.15am as he crossed the bridge. Coming off the cycleway Alex was greeted with a closed boom gate, he hit it flush at speed, no time for braking or avoidance manoeuvres. The left leg, just below the knee took the full force and this impact. Multiple operations and many weeks of treatment later, the complications could not be resolved, resulting in the need to amputate the now non-viable lower leg. Alex spent the next 4 months in a hospital bed.

The below quote is from Alex’s Blog dated August 2007:

“So I went from my best ever personal race result, to losing my leg in a short space of time and dreams of competing at the world champs dashed. I was really looking forward to donning the Aussie skinsuit in the points race (an honour granted due to my result at the Nationals).

Still, I look forward to getting my prosthetic, walking again, losing all this puppy fat and ultimately getting back on the bike and being as competitive as before. It will take a while though but it will happen.”

Post accident;

Alex has become an inspiration to cyclist all around the world, many of whom regularly comment on his blog site; Alex is also the regular commissaire at RAW Track. He was instrumental in organising the Women’s Master Day at the DGV recently and continues to coach a number of Athletes. He has also gotten back on the bike and recorded a 500m time on 8th of August at RAW Track and competed at Heffron Park. Alex continues to give back to the sport he loves.

About the racing event.

• Track program starts at 5:30pm 1st November 2008.

• Program is run as a club omnium with points bei
ng awarded to the clubs in each of the three categorised races, Women’s, Sprinters and Endurance.

• The final event is a club team sprint.

• The club who win the most points will be crowned best all round NSW Track club.

• Alex Simmons will be riding a 500m TT to beat his previous time of 46.51 set Friday 8th August 2008.

• If you are struggling to fulfil one of the required team positions please contact us as we may be able to assist.

• Track program will conclude at 7pm.

About the Post race function

• Function starts at 7:30pm in the HBT main room.

• Cost is $15 which includes first drink and Canap├ęs.

• Members of the Australian Paralympics team will be welcomed home from their successful Beijing campaign.

• Video replay of racing event on big screen.

• Winning club from racing event will be presented with Trophy.

• The Auction is scheduled to start at 8:30pm.

About Auction

• All proceeds go directly to the purchase of purpose built carbon Fibre leg for Alex.

• Items can be pre bided on before the Auction

• Successful bidders must put down a minimum 30% deposit on item.

• Items for Auction so far;

1. CSC Jersey signed by Stuart O’Grady specifically for this Auction

2. Australian National Jersey signed by 2002 World Sprint Champion Sean Eadie specifically for this Auction

3. DGV rental for private club training day/night with CNSW coaches including world renowned coach Gary Sutton

4. Velocity Track wheels

5. Framed Signed Photo series of Robbie McEwen’s Successful TDF, Green Jersey, Yellow Jersey and Australian Jersey.

6. Framed Photo of Beijing 2008 Australian Team Sprint, team with signed Olympic ticket.

7. More to come

I have since learned there have been other very generous donations to the auction, including an Anna Meares signed jersey and some carbon race wheels from an
anonymous sponsor.

My only other comment is a minor correction - I won the Bronze medal in the MMAS3 Points Race at the Australian Masters Track Championships, behind the ever fast Graeme Albon and uber-cool dude Victorian Stuart Vaughan. It was an honour to share a podium with riders of that class.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I have a new T-shirt on order. Can't wait to wear it out.

It was spotted being worn by a British Paralympic track sprinter (running). I suppose you have to appreciate "amp humour" to get it.

Bit like how I can only count to 15 now.

Or the poor guy that suggested I give myself a kick up the bum, which I explained was going to be harder than normal to do.

In an argument I often don't have a leg to stand on. But I usually put my best foot forward. Of course being stumped has a whole new meaning!

I'll leave you with these images:

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