Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tour of Murray - Day 5 Stage 6

The day I was waiting for and was bound to happen..

105k Road Race, perfect weather, slight breeze, Tour of Murray up for grabs.

Not that I was there to see how the race unfolded.  The legs were done about 7-8k in and I was off the back after about 10-11k along with 10 others.

The big boys came to play to win the Tour and the minnows like me, suffered, a lot.

I know how the race unfolded, but this blog is about me :)  Post race seeing the winner averaged 48kph speaks for itself.  The groupetto that I was in, we still averaged 42kph, so we were not disgraced, just destroyed.

I knew early on that my legs were in strife, has been by far my biggest week in cycling as far as intensity and close to my biggest week ever in the saddle, esp if Saturdays 200k ride is included.  This 9 days will be close to 1000k's in the saddle, and surprisingly no saddles sores, that's a winner just there.  A tub of chamois cream has been used and absorbed though.

By the looks of my garmin, I lasted 17min 30 sec before popping.  The pace was on from the get go and was just unforgiving for all.

Once our group settled and a few of the team cars went passed into the distance we were rolling turns quite well, at times getting to high 40's into the 50's chasing but to no avail, no coming back today.

The rest of the ride was uneventful as we just tried to get home without being eliminated from the bunch, rolling turns, trying to stay consistent.  

To be honest it was probably the best training for me all week, no chance of falling, rolling consistent turns whilst fatigued and not giving up.

A few vomits meant that my body was suffering also.  All in all another great day, another box ticked.  Been a very successful week for me.

Today's final stage is a 31k crit around Yarrawonga and if I last more than 15min it will be a miracle.  My legs are just gone....I am mentally done also, it is very hard concentrating that hard every day at that intensity for that duration.  I take my hat off to the boys who do this for a living.  There is nothing like switching off once in the zone on a TT bike.  Will be happy to go back to that.

I think it will take longer for me to prepare than the race today, but I need to start to get a finish and keep my 100% record of finishing every race that I have started.

I had better start getting my stuff together, for people that know me, yes my stuff is everywhere.

This is the Pro Life...


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tour of Murray - Day 4 Stage 5

Survived another day, ticked another box, got taught a few lessons along the way.

A 95k stage around Echuca and surrounding towns was the race.  Basically a big square, which meant some head wind, some tail and some dreaded cross winds.  Although there wasn't much wind in general, when you mix high speeds and cross winds, two things usually happen.

1. Crashes
2. A big split in the bunch or riders getting dropped left right and centre.

So, what did happen?

I am happy to report that there was not any crashes...

The first part of the race after the neutral zone had a bit of a cross wind.

Once the boys got going, it was a massive shit fight to hold a wheel.  The big teams put everyone in the gutter and it was dog eat dog for a while.

I got caught near the back as I am not interested in trying to fight for a position near the front this close to the finish of the tour, just about maximising k's in the legs.

After about 3-4k's of this there was a big split in the peleton.  Of course I was in the second group along with about 40 others. 
My legs were really hurting from the day before and I thought I was going to be the first one dropped.  I hung tough for as long as I could and somehow managed to hang on. 

This didn't really phase me as I was still going to get a good work out in.

When we turned into the head wind, about 10-12 of the group started working to try and catch the main field.  The time gap got out to 45sec, this doesn't seem much, however at 45kph, 45 sec is a fair distance. Prob 600-700m I would think.

The team cars went through, which I think aided the group as it gave a carrot to chase..

I was content to roll with this group and finish with them as I expected to lose time anyway.

We turned with a tail wind and the gap decreased to 20 sec.  This usually happens when the main bunch has something occur.  On this occasion a break had slipped up the road and the peleton relaxed.  This gave us the perfect opportunity just to raise the tempo a little bit to get back on.

Once we got into the main group again I decided to move towards the front as I didn't want to suffer the same fate if it happened again.

As I did this I heard a massive roar from the sidelines, my sister Ebony & Dad had made a surprise visit to cheer me on.  Lucky I wasn't dagged off the back and was in the best position for me all day.

I smiled and just loved it.  This gave me some more motivation so:

I saw a VIS rider attack, so for some unbeknown reason, I decided to go with him.... Hmmmm, living on the edge and in the moment is a weird and wonderful thing.

My legs were burning like an egg on a fry pan but hung tough.  As I went through yesterday, you get the wrong person in the group and the peleton shuts it down.  In this case the sprinters wanted the stage and there was no chance that they were going to let a break go with 30k to go... Break shut down.  I slid right to the back to recover and started to chat to a few guys. the tempo was high so no action was going to take place for the next 25 k.

I knew the team plan, which is always handy, so prepared myself for a torrid last 6k when the Huon Boys were going to start riding the race to take the win.

I got into about mid field and maintained my position there into the last 3k.  My goal now was to get bunch time and hope to move into the top 70 overall... Just things that keep you motivated :)

So into the last few k, I was noticing people fall away...I just tried to stick to the wheel in front and move forward when I noticed a gap appear.

Got into the last bend, safely and was 500m to go.. Just hang in there.  Crossed the line confident I got the same time as the winner, you can't lose placing if you don't lose time.  I was hoping that just 1 rider had dropped time so I could improve form 70th to 69th.

Rolling back to the team area, Dad & Eb were there to greet me, the smile on my face was huge. 

I didn't have to say anything as I think they saw the appreciation on my face.

The garmin file once again shows the hurt I went through.  I just love the last 5-6k when the team trains start to form and the pace really picks up.  I could live for this (not the crashes though)

This is the Pro Life...


Friday, September 6, 2013

Tour of Murray Day 3 - Stage 4

Stage 4 was the second longest of the Tour being 144k.

Another flat stage (as they all are) however this one had 3 small climbs with gradient of 1-2% and were b/t 500 to 1k long.  If anything was going to happen it was here.

Another big crash happened again and I had to lock it up again and thankfully this time stayed up and wasn't affected.  The boys that went down, didn't get up so I heard, so I wish them well.

The stage was controlled by Drapac as they are leading the race.  A few small attacks attempted to go early to no avail.

I actually tried to get into a break, however what I am learning is if the wrong people or the make up of the break is wrong, the break either shuts down or the peleton doesn't let it get away.  On the garmin file, you can see the decrease in pace at the 2hr 15min mark where I go back to the car and then the increase in speed as I try to go of the front.

So trying to find the right break is hard.  After the intermediate sprint, there were a flurry of attacks.  Me, I was just tried to hang on as the legs were showing signs of a couple of big high intense days.

A trip back to the car at about 90k in (2hrs) in to the race to refill when Damo & Andrew (Team owner) advised that if I ever want to get into a break to go now as nothing was happening in the race and there was 2 guys up the road.  I took the advice/challenge and worked my way to the front.  One of the VIS riders took off, so I took off after him.  I got to his wheel and to my disbelief there was the peleton on mine.

Come on guys, give me a spell here.

This took a fair bit out for my legs, 2 attacks at high 50kph and it was time to just get home, nothing silly.  I knew the team plans, so there was no point getting in the way.  A few of the boys on the gave me some stick for "attempting" to get in the break but also gave me some credit for trying and also being nearer to the front of the peleton vs at the back.

As the race was drawing to an end, I could really notice the pace increase as the teams with the sprinters all moved to the front to try and get the best position.  The garmin file reflects this well as the last few k's really increase on what was a fast day.

As the speed lifted, all I could was think about was getting bunch time (crossing the finish line in the main field without any gaps in front of me) so I really worked hard on this.

The Heart Rate and the speed both climb as one and to get to the finish with the group was a great achievement for me. To do this on Stage 1 and 4 is a win for me.

What I learning more and more is that it is also mentally draining, you have to be switched on for every moment otherwise you can come down, hit a pot hole (like I did yesterday) or even a traffic island.  Knowing where to sit in the bunch is also a learning experience as you can get shuffled back very quickly and it is actually harder at the back than what it is at the front.

Knowing when to go back to team car and feed is another thing.  You can't afford to wait until you are out otherwise if the pace quickens you get left behind.  You have to try and read the race and go back when either a big team is or when the break is established.  All learning and one great experience.

Once the race was done, my body was really trashed yesterday.  We got back to the Accommodation and I really started to battle a bit.  I started to realise the toll on the legs, body and mind.  I just lay on the bed for a bit and just battled.  I got some shakes and battled to concentrate. I know the benefit of this week is going to be huge as long as I look after myself on the next 3 stages and get maximum reward for effort.  This is by sleeping well, eating well and racing smart.

Backing up day after day at high intensity is tough to absorb, I know once next week kicks in I will be fine.  Just have to keep depositing k's in the bank for this week.

I am sitting 70th overall, which is well above my expectations, however hope to be in the 60's by race end.  That will be a great result.  I know that I will lose time on the last stage, but just hope to be able to get bunch time the next 2 stages and others drop off a bit.

Above is the garmin file of the day, lots of ups and downs in HR which I can really start to feel the recovery side kicking in.  As Damo has told me, it will be like 5 days of motor pacing, teaching the legs to ride at a high pace all day.

Today is a 90 odd k race around Echuca starting at 2pm, which gives me close to 24hrs recovery from yesterday, we are going to head out to the finish section so the guys know where to start setting up their sprint train.  This is so cool just watching and learning the way they go about their business.

There is so much that I am learning which I will do a brief at the end of the tour, however just being here is priceless.

Last night I also had my TT position critiqued by Andrew and has has given me a few great tips on how to get more aero without affecting the run.  This is great.  He spent close to an hour looking through pics and video of me riding and gave me at least 5-6 small things that should help...Just have to introduce slowly once I get back.

This is the Pro life...


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tour of Murray - Day 2 Stages 2 & 3

So the legs pulled up well after stage 1.  Stage 2 was always going to be a battle for me being a crit race consisting of 30 laps on a 1.1 Hotdog type circuit.

The changes in speed out of every corner is the killer.  The goal was to see how long I could last before getting dropped and then roll around until the officials removed me from course.  The good news was that I was not first to go.  The reality is that I lasted 5.5 laps before I got dropped and then only 9k.

Was an exciting race with the lead riders lapping the entire field, so I didn't feel that bad.

Here is my garmin file from the ride, notice the changes in speed often..

Stage 3 was a 102k Road Stage.  The wind direction was a cross tail so the speed was always going to be high until 30k to go where we turned into a cross and had 2 laps of a 12k circuit to finish off with.

The bunch was rather controlled as the tail wind meant very little chance of a break getting away.  I only saw 1 solo rider have a crack.  As we approached the turn into the cross wind a few attacks started as riders wanted to get into a good spot.  This was where the damage was going to be done.

I maintained my position in the back 3rd of the peleton and was feeling pretty good, knowing what the team plans were (for when they were going to bust the race open) I was starting to prepare myself to move up and also have a big surge.

Before I knew it riders were falling in front of me and I had to take evasive action.  I locked up the brakes and was sliding towards a few fallen riders.  I was just about stopped when I got a little nudge from behind, this was enough to just send me over the handlebars (in slow motion) and land on a poor rider who was already tangled in the web of fallen bike riders.

He let out a little moan as I landed on him, I apologized (no idea why, wasn't my fault) and before I knew it I had Damo on hand checking if I was ok.  I quick check of the bike and just had to fix my front brakes and was away.  If you have never seen a bike crash have a look at this video to give you some idea of how fast it can happen.

Once got going again, there was riders everywhere in 1's and 2's up ahead an behind.  The main peleton was a fair way up the road by now, but a few of us rallied together to try and get back on.  Some team cars went by and assisted their riders to the peleton (motor pacing) however I just don't have the legs to surge onto the back of a team car going 50+.

The best I could do was just work with the bunch I was in to see if we could rejoin the race.  A few riders started dropping off our little group so I was left with just 1 other rider to work hard and see what happens.  Sometimes the main bunch will ease for a bit and if you just keep plugging away you can re join.

The final 2 laps of the 12k circuit had a block head wind for about 5km.  This just destroyed me trying to work into it.  My legs were now starting to go on strike and I just had to hang onto the other guy.  I dropped him and was in no man's land for a bit.  Once I turned into a cross tail, I worked to rejoin him and started rolling turns again.

The last lap was the same, we could sense the finish line and just worked together towards it.  I crossed 7 odd min behind the winner and actually moved up 3 spots on the GC (General Classification) to 74th.  After only losing 19 sec yesterday, I dropped 13min 30 sec today over the 2 stages.  Losing 7min on the road stage was a little disappointing as I was feeling ok whilst sitting in the bunch.

I am just happy that no damage was done in the fall.

Now, being the competitor that I am and knowing that there are still 3 x 100+ Km rides to go, I might have set myself a few goals (without being silly) to motivate me a little more.

The garmin file is below.  By looking at it I went from 48kph to 0 kph very fast.  It all happens that fast. 

This is the pro life...


Todays stage is a 140k road race, the weather is a bit cooler and wind is down again from yesterday.  Will be another fast race.  Just hanging in there and staying upright..

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tour Of Murray - Stage 1 Report

After the long trip up to Mildura on Monday, the nerves were rather unsettled.

Damo was laughing a fair bit as I think that he would have never seen me so nervous.  For me, I don't know if it was nerves or fear.

The thought of lining up next to some of the countries best cyclists outside the obvious BIG names was rather daunting when I barely hit the podium in the local "B" grade races.  Throw in the fact that I have only raced 4 times this year and 3 of those were in Veterans and the other I had an 18min start of a 100k race and reality hit me. 


Meeting the team (Huon Genesys) that I was piggy backing off was a little intimidating although the oldest is still 8 years my junior.  Just knowing the sport and having respect for the talent plays a big part.

I listened to their brief pre race team meeting and we rolled down to the start.  Once we got there, we did the traditional sign in like the Big Boys do in the TDF.  This was quiet cool (insert little kid smile) and I headed over to the team van to have some final food and drink before we headed off on Stage 1...163k Mildura to Robinvale.

The weather was perfect and the temperature tipped to hit 30deg so hydration was going to play a big part.

I grabbed my nutrition and hydration that I wanted to start the race with and was ready to go.  The nerves had settled down by then and I was just wanting to get going.

Every rider got introduced to the 50,000 strong crowd (really 50, but hey we are in the TDF right??) and  got our final instructions.  My goal was to just see how far I could hang on for.

With the first 7k neutral was good to settle down and spin the legs, as we weaved out of Mildura I was just smiling inside due to the fun but also having fingers crossed that I didn't do something silly and come down.

Once the race proper started it was on (not for me as I was very comfortable hiding near the back).  Being a bigger guy, I could see over the peleton (102) and see attack after attack go off the front.  Like most races, once the attack goes the race settles down a bit, however with the conditions being so good, no break could get off the front, so we were cruising along above 50 for some time as the peleton chased the break down.

Throw in a sprint at 7k and the pace was on.  A rider hit the deck which gave me a quick reality check about why I was here.  All about getting K's for Kona.

So I hung tough (still near the back) and after 60k we could go and get hydration.  Like the big races, you have to roll back to the team car and get fresh bottles.  I headed back and Damo exchanged my bottles and told me to start working my way to the front.  I did this and found myself heading the peleton trying to help chase down the break that had got away. What was I thinking here??

Before I knew it I was back where I belonged (near the back)...You get swallowed up by the bunch and end up near the back.  You really have to find the right wheel and sometimes fight for position.  100k came and went and I was feeling quite good, heading back to the car, Damo once again instructed me to get near the front as the pace will quicken soon.  I got near the Huon boys and decided to stay around them for the duration.

The break was up the road about 1min and the boys decided that it was time to starting bringing it back.  I just hung tough where I was and once I saw the 25k to go sign I was confident that I would get through stage 1 with the bunch.

With 5k to go, the pace really increased, I worked myself near the front and found myself way too close to the sprinters.  The HR was sky high and I exploded about 500m from the line.  I was happy finishing just behind the bunch and even happier once I saw how many people were behind me.  Crossing the line in 67th on stage 1, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  Not only did I get through I didn't crash, nor was I last.

The stage results here.

The boys had a race debrief which was great to listen to and then again later last night a recap of the day and the plans for the following stages.

Today sees a crit race of 30 laps on a 1.1k circuit which the boys says is tough, so I don't expect to get around as the change of speed always hurts me alot.

This afternoon sees another 98k road race.  The weather is going to be around 30 again and the winds are expected to be a little stronger so the race will probably get split.  Here's hoping that I can once again put in a good result.  The legs are feeling ok atm and am looking forward to another day.

This is the Pro Life.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Kona Video Blog - Week 1 Round up

After a busy weekend, I find myself in Mildura trying to figure out why I entered the Tour of Murray bike race.

I am very lucky to be tagging along with the Huon Genesys Team for the week.

It is already a bit overwhelming to say the least.

I know Damo is having a chuckle at me as it is a total roll reversal from me coaching him to Ironmans.

The car trip up was good and he has tried to help settle my nerves. Over the weekend I got some good footage of my ride and took a lot of small videos on my climb and descent on the hill repeat that I did.

I have started up a YouTube channel, to view the videos, go to:

There is footage, climbing, descending and a general wrap up of my weeks training.

It seems easier to go there than trying to upload them all.

Will hopefully get some footage and some insight into the bike race.

There are 102 starters for the races and I am number 152.

The race website is:

Tomorrow is stage 1... 163k road race, going to be 30deg and from the reports from a few of the boys, they are going to try and get it done in 3hr 45min or so...

My race plan... hang on for as long as I can, then try and hang on longer.. Every Km that I get with the bunch is going to help me at Kona, esp mentally.

This is going to hurt..


Could be many photos of me in this position: