Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Time for a Rest

So, after such a long season, nearly 20 months since my last planned break, I am ready to take some time off the saddle, time for reflection, relaxation and to get rid of that frikin' saddle sore still left from the suntour. But first ill update you on how the Victorian State titles panned out.

Friday 16th: Scratch

So i arrived on Friday night, in an attempt to win the scratch, but more or less just to wind my legs out after the long flight home and get ready for the following day in the pursuit. Little did i know it would be a 1 on 4 battle between myself and the Drapac team. They chased down and nulified all of my moves. I was conscious of not ovr doing it with the pusuit to follow, so i limited myself to 2 attacks per 20 laps. in the end i never got away and the race unfolded with a bunch kick, which i lead out from 3.5 to go.....eventually finishing in 6th. Disappointment, because it is a race i ultimately wanted to ride at nationals, but after the selection on Daniel Thorson in the state team (who finished in 3rd) i have only a small window to make the 3 man team in the natioanal scratch race. Oh well....concentrate on the pursuit.....

Saturday 17th: Pursuit
After 1.5hrs sleep i woke at 7am on Saturday morning, and like most people after 90mins sleep i felt so bad i had to have a coffee. Not only that i downed a large number of Red Bull's just to stay awake. But no excuses, i wanted to go out and throw down a good ride and win a state title. And after watching the heats before mine I knew I would have to pull out a PB performance to even make the final. After about 3 pedal strokes of my qualifying ride I knew this wasnt going to be my day. I only qualified in 4th place, some 4 secs behind Michael Ford who rode fastest in 4:30.9.......very quick........I was disapponted but all in all i did what i needed to do, rode clearly 4th fastest and qualified for nationals. Before i started my ride off for bronze, i came within seconds of vomoting up what little i had had to eat, nearly enough for me to call off the ride all together, but i pressed on and rode into 4th place. A poor day on the bike, a futher blow was landed when after i had finished my final ride i discovered that the cones on my front disc where so tight that they could hardly be moved by about your all time head f#@ks.....

Oh well, 1 day to go, then im on break...

Sunday 18th: Points score and Jayco Criterium
Nothing to lose today, but Finning was still to make the state team and it was now his favourite event. Our VIS team rode a perfect race of tactics and aggression. Sean Finning took out the title easily and i rolled in for 2nd place, with probably what i would describe as my best performance in a points score ever. I sprinted well and rode an attacking race, which lead to numerous srpint wins and 1 lap being taken with 4 others. As hard an effort as the points was a few of the VIS riders jumped straight into the car and headed for Dandenong to race the Jayco Criterium.

Jayco is the main sponsor of the VIS cycling program and for that reason it was important that we put in a good performance. Dave Sanders, the head coach, had told me that even just starting the race would be a huge boost for Jayco and that he just wanted us to be there. 5 mins in i decided i would fly the colours and went on a solo break that lasted 2 laps. Instead of being reeled in and spending the race in the shelter of the bunch i was joined by 5 others, including Bayden Cooke, Matt Wilson and Jeremy Hunt. We rode together and almost lap the field by the conclusion of the break, a late attack saw 3 ride off the front of the break and my team mate Johnny Clarke rode into 2nd place, behind Matt Wilson and ahead of a Tiring Bayden Cooke. I held off Jeremy and the other rider in the sprint for 4th and topped off a personally satisfying day.

But now im off the bike, for 10 days. Not too long a break, but enough to freshen up and enjoy my Christmas with my family and Amy. I have lots of time for shopping and have replaced my ipod, which i just wasnt able to live without.

So sending out a Christmas hello to all of you. Have a good one, take care of yoursleves, dont drink and drive and take care of your friends. And say hi to your mum's for me.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Back to where it all began

This is a picture of me on my way to a 4:34.2 and 8th place in the Individual Pursuit at the Manchester World Cup. For the record the race was won in 4:28 (irronically the time I'm aiming to ride this season).
This is a picture of me and Sean 'shrek' Finning during the madison event. Nothing nicer to me than a BT with the Mavic 5 spoke and disc wheels.

So, I was back in the country where my life began. Back for a quick 1 week visit to show the country of my birth that I can ride a bike. Can I prove it???? Or will I crack and will my lack of track racing show?

To be honest….both. I rode a total of 3 races, covering 86.5km being the Individual Pursuit, Scratch Race and Madison. Although I rode my fastest pursuit for the season, I came off the track slightly disappointed. I covered the first 3km in 3:25 and then suffered home over the last km to finish in a 4:34. Not a bad time, 8th fastest for the meet and not far off the pace for a spot in the top 4, but had I continued on schedule I would have come home in a 4:31, which aside from being a PB would have been a massive confidence boost. So why did I slow down???? Was it the jet lag? The slightly bigger gear I experimented with? Or just generally not feeling awesome? I think it was a combination of all 3. Despite the fact I believe I have the art of the pursuit worked out, I rode far to quick a 2nd lap, getting caught up in the excitement of the event and the occasion. Oh well…..truth is it puts a dent in my Commonwealth Games chances but all is not lost and I still have some opportunities to get under the noses of the selectors.

Scratch…in my defence it came very soon after the Individual, which I felt took a bit off my top end, but all in all I felt that I was a little too hesitant. I was too intimidated my competition and it eventually lead to me hesitating too long at the finish and missing my opportunity to run a top 10 performance. I had reasonable legs, but the pace of the race certainly tested me. At the end of the race I decided to wait for big Magnus Bagstead to make his move, but he let me down, didn’t go anywhere and I got stuck behind him in the dash for the finish. Eventually I got out, but it was too late. I ended up in 13th position and Magnus in 19th I think.

Madison. After a days rest I woke on Sunday morning feeling reasonably awake, but with tired feeling legs. I was pleased to find out that despite the way they felt, when we hoped on the bike for the qualifying ride in the madison my legs actually felt good under load. Sean and I rode a reasonable race, with out setting the world on fire. I felt like I rode well and despite missing the crucial move, we still managed to ride a reasonable position for the duration of the race. The madison was a quick one, we averaged 55km/h for 40km. Quickest madison I’ve ever competed in.

So now I’m back home, still getting over the jet lag at the other end. Turns out I lost my ipod on the trip. Left it on one of my flights and by the time I’d realised it was too late. I’m trying now to recover it through a series of emails, but I don’t like my chances. Now I’m in wind down mode looking forward to the 9 day break that I have afforded myself over the Christmas Break. But before I can start that break, I have 1 big weekend of racing left. This weekend we have our state track championships.
Saturday-Individual Pursuit
Sunday-Points Score and Jayco Criterium
So, one big effort to go before I hit the couch and the shops before Christmas. I have my appeal hearing for the $100 fine that I got from the Melbourne Cup on wheels, should be interesting.

And now ill put it on the record, on Saturday I intend on setting a PB in the Individual. This means going faster than 4:32.8. So now its out there, my competitors need to watch out and I have a goal that everyone knows.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

From Cocktails to Pursuits

Well, its been nearly a week since my last update and I am here to update everyone on what happened in my first pursuit of the year......but first

On Saturday night Amy and I had a cocktail party to attend, to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of her friends, Maggie. I wasn't really in the know about how dressed up you are supposed to get for these occasions, but Amy and I spent a good 3 hrs on Firday shopping for a shirt and a tie that would go with the very nice dress she had bought.....she won't want me to say this but it only cost her $40, not bad for how good she looked......It was a good party, nice and simple with a few people who I knew, mainly just Amy's girlfriends....but i dont mind that.....they are pretty easy on the eyes. I was by far the best dressed, according to Amy.....ah....who am i kiding, i looked sharp. Together we made a nice picture. I was however consious of the fact that i had my first individual pursuit the following day and tried to spend as little time on my feet as possible.

And after 7hrs sleep, not ideal, but it'll do, i was driving into the velodrome, where i was told we would be starting around 12 or so.......4.30pm i finally hit the track. Dehydrated after vomitting, due to the pressure i put on myself to perform well, i hit the boards. And i didnt disappoint. Riding to a 4:35 schedule i pumched out a 4:34.8 to qualify fastest by 5 seconds. I was pumped, my 2nd fastest time ever and i didnt even ride double disc. I came out in the final with every intention of knocking out a PB, but after a mix up from my coach (where he grabbed the wrong schedule) i came home in 4:37, still 5 seconds the better of my apponent but a bit disappointed, because i felt really good the whole ride, but got told to just control it from my coach. Oh well, mistakes happen and i still won the event.

Now onto the World Cup. I started in the gym on Monday with my new program. I am alternating it with the pilates and it is working reasonably well. I finally felt like one with the track bike in tonights training session and was able to punch out a good session with my madison partner.

So 5 days away from leaving and here is where i sit:
-i have a race on Saturday night, big competition but im just going to get a feel for the big bunches again and mix it in the sprints, no real expectations for big results (ill save them)
-just heard that big Magnus Bagstead is racing in Manchester (awesome)
-loving the combo of gym work and the pilates and havn't missed a day yet
-just asked the head coachof the national squad if he'd give me a start in the individual pursuit in Manchester (we'll see how that goes)

Ill get back to you about Saturday nights racing and give you a last minute form guide before i leave for the UK.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Getting Started for the Madison

This is a picture of me riding my bike, incase anyone is interested. This is in full flight at the 2005 National Champs on my way to a bronze medal in the individual pursuit.

Anyway....i ended up in 3rd place on Tuesday night. Not too bad, should have won it though. Despite a hard morning and slightly tired legs, i felt good and it was an easy race. Just got boxed a little in the sprint, another 10m and i would have had them with no problem. ( Not too bad, a bit of cash to line my pockets and keep me going till next week.

So we finally got around to some madison training at last nights track session. Even though my partner for Manchester was there, we didnt actually do any changes together. Odd i know, but we were attempting to teach some of the younger kids how it was done, so they split up the more experienced guys. Good training though, some hard efforts and a slightly longer session than usual. Nice!

So now it is thursday arvo.....ive just come home from a 3hr ride and done my pilates session for the day. Im still going strong, havnt missed a day and im looking forward to it now, setting definate times where Amy and I sit down to get it done. Its a good activity for us to do together. We laugh at each other during some of the exercises, but all in all its a good work out.

Im going to race on the track tonight....not big expectations for my first race of the year......despite the World Cup coming up. I''m going to use a small gear today and just bring my cadence up to get used to the revolutions that i will need in Manchester. The bigger race is on Sunday when i get my first crack at a pursuit for the season (pursuit = 4km time trial). Im looking forward to testing myself agaisnt the clock and seeing how my form is well as scaring some people with my time.

Ill let you know how it all goes.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Back to Business/Pilates Isn't just for the Ladies

After a very lazy week, since returning from New Zealand, I am back in the swing of things and have thrown down 3 days of hard training in a row. Last week I only rocked out on Wednesday for a track session, after a funeral ceremony for an old high school teacher of mine.....very sad, but a moving ceremony. I didn't last long on the track, some 3 hours of warm weather and no water, in a new black suit (which I went out and bought, the day before) left me dehydrated and with a throbbing head ache, so after my 2nd effort I was toast.

Thursday I went out for the usual motorpaced session down to Sorrento, with the VIS head coach Dave Sanders. There was about 6 of us, but it was a pretty straight forward session and when I tried to step on it and give it some gas in the hard section I couldn't even drop some of the young kids out with us.....needless to say, I felt pretty flat. My response to that was to take another 2 days off the bike trying to freshen up and recover from what had been a hard tour the week before.

Sunday came and I headed off to the weekly criterium. I still felt flat and lacking in energy but managed to salvage 4th in the bunch kick after an attacking race, where I was off the front on numerous occasions. Here is the race report ( After the race I headed for the hills to tag an extra 2 or so hours on to my ride, giving me 4.5 all up and not a bad days work.

Monday was a new beginning, I started pilates today. I have made commitment that if I don't go to the gym then I will do a minimum of 35 mins each day, regardless of what training I have to do. Its good stuff, hurts a little but ill get used to it and then hopefully notice the improvements in my core strength. The best part is that Amy is doing it with me, it gives me extra motivation to have another training partner, despite the fact that her tight gym pants are distracting. Track training in the arvo, a hard session, trying to make up what I missed out on during Wednesday''s session.

And now we are at Tuesday. Pilates: Day 2. After another hard motorpace session I have just completed my day 2 pilates session with Amy. I can feel the stomach muscles starting to burn already and hopefully as I step it up I will really notice the difference on the bike. Im gearing up for another criterium tonight just to top off the day. I have to say I wasn't so keen on fronting up when we talked about it this morning, but Amy is going to be at work and Iv'e been talked into it by my Manchester Madison partner, who is in Melbourne for a bit.

Catch u all. Hopefully when I next write, ive won some money from the crit....because im broke.....and my pilates is still going strong and my tummy doesn't hurt so much.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mini Golf with the Mrs.

Yesterday was suppose to be nice and sunny, my one day off the bike. I woke up and found that instead of being sunny, it was overcast and not such a nice day. I had planned to take Amy to the beach, spending a day down on the coast, at Sorrento, having fun in the sun. I wanted to swim and run and throw a Frisbee but the weather just wasn't right for it. We decided to go and play mini golf instead.

I'm not sure if I should admit this, she didn't beat me, but we did draw. In my defense I turned my back on more than a few occasions when she paddled the ball along with her putter, but still.......a draw......does that make me a disgrace?

We didn't do much for the rest of the day, but had a dinner date with one of Amy''s best friends, Steph and her boyfriend Sam. We ate at a Japanese restaurant, I have to say I wont be going there again, my food tasted like plastic. I still ate the food, but only because I didn't want to go hungry.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

The circus that was the Tour of Southland

So as a professional cyclist, when I turn up to a hard (UCI sanctioned) race, that I have extended my season for I expect a certain level of professionalism from the organisers and commisaires. This didn't happen at the recent Tour of Southland.

On stage 4, Karl Menzies was in the yellow jersey and broke a chain 5km into the stage. The field eventually sat up and waited for him, but despite the field waiting, the commisaires wouldn't let him motor pace back to the peleton.....Why not....Its such a waste and time. We lost the jersey that day to the strong Southland Times team.

2 days later Jeremy Vennell took back the yellow with a stunning time trial. Winning it by 1/2 a second from Greg Henderson. We rode hard in the afternoon stage and Jeremy rewarded our efforts by extending his 3sec lead to 36secs.

2 days left and strong head winds all day. We let a break off 3 up the road to steal the bonus sprints from Hendy. Only to be told 95km into the stage, that the stage would be stopped at the top of the climb(110km). With the break 7 mins up the road, we took 3.5mins out of them in 10km. I have no doubt that with 50km remaining we would have caught and passed the break, but the organisers decided that they would give them 2hours rest and start them with 20km to go.....Not only that they got to keep the same time gap, despite the fact they cut 30km out of the race.....So what to do.....We decided to give up the tour but make a statement, that this isn't good enough in a pro bike race, getting together with all the big teams and riding a 20km/h protest.

Man did we stir some sh!t. We coped flack from the media, organisers, police and other riders and teams. But they have to understand that this is what we do. Its our job and the working conditions were unfair. We lost out and lost big, it was a hard decision but IM glad that we did it. You can read about it on cyclingnews and make up your own decision, just read this today, seems like we have afew people on our side at least (, not Rob Young though, but that doesnt bother me too much, he still owes me money from last years Tour of Korea......Go MG/Bigpond......go get em! (this is not directed at any of the riders, they are all decent guys).

Any way....IM over that now. Just found out 2 days ago that ive been selected for the Manchester World Cup. Representing my country in the scratch and madison. That is exciting and ill be off to England at the beginning of December.

Signed my contract this morning to ride for Advantage Benefits/Bissell next year, much to the dismay of my beautiful girlfriend. For us it means another 3 months apart, but this year she is coming over for the entire 2nd half of the season and then we are going to do a big European trip to finish the year, so hopefully she can see the good side and has something to look forward to. Man I love her.

Oh well, ill keep in touch.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The beginning of my blog


dont recon anyone will read this, but it is just a test to see what this thing is all about. I still am working out how to use it, i figure it will be helpful for people to keep up with what im doing while over seas and finially i can publish an explination of races i do and what i think about them and the way they go.

Ill get something decent written about my latest race, Tour of Southland in New Zealand, when i get a chance over the next week.