Friday, March 20, 2009

Championship Comeback

This past weekend, I participated in the NSW State Masters Track Cycling Championships. I say participate as I was not really likely to pose a threat to the podium in any of the three events I entered.

On Friday night was the Time Trial, which for my category is a 750 metre (3-lap) blast around the Dunc Gray Velodrome. Pretty simpe event really. Once the starting gate releases your bike, you go as hard as you can until you complete the 3 laps.

I was hoping to break 62-seconds.

Just before my final warm up I went to put on my leg but something was wrong, the cleat was twisted out of place.

Thinking it was just the lower clamp bolt that for some reason was loose, I got on the bike to get the cleat angle right and have a buddy tighten the clamp for me.

Except it didn't look too good to tighten.

That's when we discovered a stress crack/fracture in the lower clamp on my prosthetic bike leg attachment which meant the lower clamp-cleat section was completely loose (you could pull it off the end of the pylon). Wasn't there day before.... I know, I gave it a good look over and clean.

Managed to carefully tighten the bolt enough so the section wouldn't move with hand pressure at the same time as to not widen the crack anymore. But I gotta say, it was at risk of major fail in the TT. Bugger it I thought. You came here to ride. If you crash, so what? I've had worse.

But it didn't fail, although I was probably a little tentative out of the gates.

I ended up going better than a 62 with a 60.646 second ride. I figure if Chris Hoy has to do 4 laps to my 3, I'm in with a shot!!

The track time trial is not my natural event but the post-accident Alex is rediscovering all things bike, and so I'm going back to riding a range of events rather than necessarily specialise at this time.

Besides, this year is all about re-building a broken body.

Fortunately, I was able to find a spare clamp on an old "foot" I had in the cupboard, so that went on the leg and all is good again. Who'd have thought you'd need spares for your leg! LOL.

Next up was the 20km Points Race on Saturday afternoon. Now this is my natural event but nowdays I have an unnatural body. So what would happen? I stuck on a pretty tall gear (for me) - a 96.4" (50x14) as I was pretty sure I would need it.

Small field of 13. Still some class riders with world and national masters champs amongst them. Mission: well just get out there and race, and what will be will be.

So with that in mind we rolled out, and before long the first of 8 sprints (which are every 10-laps of the 80-lap race) was on in earnest. Hang on, what am I doing at the pointy end? Hmmm, OK well you're in the slot, so roll with it. 2 points - hey the race has only just started and you're on the board already!

Then it started to get interesting and most of it between laps 10 and 70 is a bit of a blur. But one by one the laps ticked off and I was still there. More than half didn't finish, being spat out the back. I did end up losing a lap (and 20 points with it) along with a small group when the bunch was split. In the end, only 6 riders finished and I was thereby placed 6th, equal on points with Tony from Canberra. Somehow I even managed to help out a couple of team mates along the way. That was fun. Hard but fun.

So after that lot, I had to back up for the 3km Individual Pursuit on Sunday morning. Of course I had crunched the numbers and set myself a, for the time being, challenge of going 4:06 for the 3,000 metre event.

I did a 4:10 but that's all I had in the tank. I would liked to have ridden faster but legs doth protesteth and I knew I had to just run what I brung.

But then again, it was a 4-min power PB so one can't be too harsh on oneself.

It was good to be back.

(and before all you power meter freaks out there are worried about me not posting any data - fret not - I'll have some more techno geekery analysis to share in the next installment).


Rich Gift Of Lins said...

Inspirational Alex, you leave the rest of us with no reasonable excuses.

Mark Liversedge said...

Looking leaner and clearly meaner. Nice one!

Anonymous said...

"it was good to be back"
That it was! It's great to see you back :)
I know people who won't ride if the weather out is poor. Ha!
You're inspiring. ;)