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.