Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Just a small group met, 5 of us, my kind of bunch ride! It was actually the perfect way for me to start training and I soon realised that I actually wasn't that nervous and although I wasn't sitting super close to the wheel in front I was a lot closer than I'd maanged in my minimal attempts to bunch ride in the past.
We headed out along the Federal Highway and it just seemed to get foggier, which meant I got a little wetter and a little colder. I was able to stick with everyone for a while but we soon split and the V-Max peeps were a long way ahead and I was conscious of trying not to slow Rach down. I got lots of helpful hints from Rach throughout the ride which helped me to ride more smoothly and not spin so much. We re-grouped and were together again for a short while, this time a few drills thrown in, which threw me a bit and showed my inability to mix up my speed. (Triathlon is one long time trial).
We turned and headed back in and Rach taught me a few more drills that will require a fair bit of practice for me to get up to scratch. 3 x 10's (my legs are really unfit) and bike benders, cycling drills have much cooler names than running ones :)
Huge thanks to Rach for all your advice this morning and slowing to let me catch up on more than one occasion. Thanks also to the V-max guys, today was a good introduction to group rides and helped me get a little bit of confidence that I'll be able to do it.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I promised to write a race report for the Cootamundra weekend and realised that if I didn’t do it now, I probably wouldn’t get around to it at all. So at the risk of rushing through the weekend, here it goes…
But before I start, I should mention that I rode two completely different races – my Saturday race was the worst one in living memory; the second one of my best. In hindsight, the cause was obvious: preparation, pacing and placement… my Garmin results show the difference in performance quite well so I’ve included them in case people are interested.
Disaster Saturday – 106k Coota Classic: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/109971517#.TlzA_5AaCo8.email
On Saturday morning Libby, Rach, Boss, Andrew and I headed to the wonderful town of Cootamundra to participate in two handicap races. We met up at the motel and followed check-in with the usual race prep, a quick sandwich and a casual ride out to the race start. A train crossing nearly caused us to miss our starting time, but luckily we just made it, though there was no time for a warm up.
Because I had flukishly won the Wagga handicap earlier in the season, I sadly wasn’t allowed to start with Libby and Rach and had to join the next bunch, which consisted of boys only. Big mistake as it later turned out! Shortly after starting, I knew this wasn’t going to be my best race. My heart was racing and the sandwhich I’d had earlier wasn’t sitting well at all. Sure enough, I had trouble pulling my turns up the first hill and by the second one at 15k, I well and truly hit the wall and had to drop off the bunch. I tried to stay with the following bunches but – unsurprisingly – that failed miserably!
With another 50k to go before I could DNF, I was grateful for the company I came across on the way. The first was an older rider who I pace-lined with a bit until I lost him on an uphill; second was a guy who I had a pleasant chat with until he managed to stay with the overtaking bunch (well done you!) third was Rach – and boy was I grateful for a familiar face at this stage. We rode well together for a while until I could no longer keep up with her when we joined up with a bunch we caught. On my own again, I met Kingsley, a bloke from Chiffley, who convinced me to keep riding for another 2k into town rather than stopping right there and then for a snooze in the grass.
And that’s exactly what I did after arriving into Coota, having completing just 75% of the course. Thank heavens Rach noticed I needed lots of Gatorade and a bite to eat, both of which helped massively. And the great thing about DNFing is that you can hang around to watch the finish, with a fabulous result for Libby (2nd female)! Andrew also placed well, but Boss unfortunately had to pull out of a brilliant race early with a puncture.
Sunny Sunday – 66k Coota Recovery: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/109971523#.TlzAoe0GvQY.email
The next day started a lot better than the previous one. To start with, I’d slept for a grand total of 12 hours! Brekkie was also a lot more sensible too: no heavy sandwiches less than an hour before race time, but a banana and some home-made banana bread, followed by a banana gel just before race start. (Bananas are my thing now!)
Another massive improvement on the day before was that I got to start in limit! This helped big time as I wasn’t forced to smash myself with 35-40k per hour speeds from the word go. That’s not to say that it wasn’t hard to stick with the bunch, but for some reason it just seemed to flow a lot better.
The bunch worked really well together, everyone pulled their turns and we were keeping ahead of the other bunches. Unfortunately we lost Rach after a while, whose stellar effort the day before was having an effect, together with a few other limit riders. But as we continued to work as a group for the next three laps it took a long time for the next bunch to pick us up with less than 10 k to go.
A spectator warned us that the next bunch was only 1,5 minutes behind and I was sure we’d get caught. But not long after, my Garmin showed 64k on the clock and I realised the finish was not far away. Pace-lines were out the window at this stage and everyone was jostling for a good position. I was sitting about 10th wheel with Libby and Emma just in front of me. When we turned the corner, I realised I’d better join the sprint. Because I was in a fairly well protected position, I was able to move up the right side of the bunch fast and overtake a few people before finishing 4th overall and first female, a result I totally hadn’t expected. I wonder if I can convince the organisers I should start in limit again next time….
So there we go, I love handicaps. But above all, I love the weekends away, hanging out with friends. So thanks heaps Rachael, Libby, Boss and Andrew for a great weekend!!!!!!!
Monday, August 29, 2011
So I thought I would post about what for me was a really satisfying weekend on the cycling front.
It started Friday night at Siren Bar and Restaurant (http://www.sirenbar.com.au) where we met our new sponsor, and officially became the Siren’s!! I think that place is AMAZING! Worth the drive if you are not from the north side – really modern with an awesome deck and open fireplace. Can’t wait to ride there for breakfast in our new kit!!! - and can’t wait to try some of their cocktails.... they looked amazing!!!!!
Saturday we met at 9am for the Cotter/Urriara loop and it was my first time. See Ange's post below. Thanks for the post Ange – I totally forgot about my little outburst going up the three sisters... in my head I had planned a more appropriate expression of my difficulty but somehow in the time it took to get from my brain to my mouth it had been converted to something a little more passionate! I don’t necessarily think the 3 sisters alone are that much of a big deal but more because they are at the end of the ride that makes them challenging. I was also surprised at my efforts up Mt Macdonald.... while I LOVED the decent I was partly dreading the fact I’d have to climb back up, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (and no where near as bad as Red Hill... (my nemesis!). Thanks so much for the ride ladies – and Simon! We had a really good bucnch going and was REALLY good to have Linda with us again. I had sooooo much fun!
I was down the coast Sunday so didn’t do the PROD – would love to hear how it went though - but I did get out for a ride from Broulee to Moruya along George Bass Drive. Not a long ride (hour) but I was happy to have my legs ticking over given I was only there for the day after arriving late Saturday night. I felt good on the bike – and, Simon, I think I’m starting to see some of our sprint training translate into my riding speed which is really motivating! Am really looking forward to tomorrows session!
So, all in all, a really good weekend – sponsorship, excellent bunch ride Saturday and noticing improvements in speed Sunday. The only disappointing thing is that I have acquired a (faint) jersey tan line on my arms! NOOOOOOOOOO!
See you all tomorrow!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
- For Teagan, Maya and I it was first time for the SFP - Three sisters- Uriarra- Mt Macdonald - Cotter Dam and return ride
- Linda back on the bike (and off the windtrainer!)
- It was just great to be out on a long ride on a perfect morning for riding.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
To test my foot out I chose my regular early morning loop as it gave me plenty of chances to turn around if things weren't going well. The first little hill I managed to do seated with no pain, given my cleat position in relation to the fracture I knew this was a good sign. During the ride I practised climbing out of the saddle as well as seated, sprinting in my drop and threw in some time trialling, not only to keep it intersting but to really see how my foot would cope.
It took me two outside rides to realise that I really do want to continue or more to the point really start training with Valkyrie. Being injured gives you too much time to think and I'd convinced myself that I would never be able to bunch ride or race and keep up with eveyone. However since I have no desire to ever do another Ironman there is no reason why I can't focus on getting some confidence bunch riding. So I'm looking forward to coming along to Tuesday's session and hopefully many more to come.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
So this morning I had an epic ride with Rach on the PROD aiming to get to Lake George and back.
It got off to a pretty daunting start when I turned up to the ANU where the bunch consisted of a whole bunch of V-Max boys and the only other Valkyries were Rach, Lisa and Deciana – all well out of my league and I was ready to get back in the car and go home. However, I decided to go along, and with encouragement from Deciana and some help from her giving me a push up Northbourne : ) I eventually made it out onto the highway.
From here, Rach came and kept me company while the others pushed on. Just past Eaglehawk I had my first flat tyre - excellent, great opportunity to learn to change my own tyre. However, it proved to be little more troublesome than expected and inevitably Rach changed the tyre for me. Having spent what seemed at least 20 mins by the side of the road we pushed on for Lake George.
The next part of the ride was great – I practiced getting my hands off the bars, drinking from my water bottle while riding, descending in the drops, and sprinting. I could feel an improvement from last week, especially in getting up Shingleback Hill.
Eventually we made it to Lake George – it was a fantastic feeling to realise I had made it and achieved a goal I had set myself, and there wasn’t any part of the ride that I couldn’t achieve (with a bit of time!).
The trip back started well, managing to get up the nasty little steep section up from Lake George. But from then on it started to get progressively worse. We had already been out for 3 hours including the tyre change, and I started to experience what is commonly known as bonking. I did not recognise it at all at the time, never having experienced it before. I just started to feel really tired and couldn’t find a comfortable position on the bike. I had no energy on the hills, was unable to get my heart rate up and was even slower than my usual slow speed.
The café in Hackett seemed a very long way away at this point, so I started breaking the trip down in my head, setting little landmarks to get to. The downhill part to the Tulip Farm lifted my spirits and I thought things might get better. But back out on the highway I somehow managed to get even slower. It was getting to the point where I would’ve preferred to get off my bike and walk it home rather than sit on it for a minute longer, either that or sit on the side of the road and cry, when Rach made the executive decision that we were stopping for food at Eaglehawk. I managed to drag myself up to the servo. As I couldn’t seem to function, Rach organised food – a Snickers bar and a bottle of Pepsi, followed by a Milky Way!
That Snickers bar was the best thing I had tasted and it worked a treat! In no time I started to feel much better, and was able to focus a bit more on the surroundings – only to realise we had been standing in front of the porno mags while eating (interestingly there is a MILF mag)! After having a laugh about this and calling Brad to let him know I was still alive (we had been out for over 4 hours by this time) we set off again. The difference in my riding was amazing – I was still feeling tired and a bit sore but I had energy again! It felt so good to ride back into Canberra and make it to Hackett with a smile on my face and feeling proud of my achievement rather than a sobbing, broken mess.
Lessons learnt from this experience:
- Having enough and the right type of food on a long ride is really important to ensure you have enough energy to get home. "Bonking" is a nasty experience and best to be avoided.
- It is good to be able to change your own tyre and practicing in the comfort of home is probably the best place to do this.
- Snickers bars are really amazing
- Rach is a great person to have with you on a ride – I wouldn’t have made it there and back without her!
Friday, August 19, 2011
There was no rain during the ride, and the pace was moderate - making for an excellent bunch ride where no-one got dropped and most people were riding fairly comfortably. The benefit of a small group meant that we could easily amend the Red Hill route to exclude Red Hill, making for a fairly flat ride.
There was some concern on the way bak when we passed under Adelaide Ave, and heading into Yarralumla approacuing a small roundabout which is notorious for speeding traffic which appears out of nowhere - Ches found herself lying her bike down in front of a truck.
Fortnuately, she had braked enough that she wasnt going very fast and was up in an instant - apologising to the extremley shocked looking truck driver. Ches' official new Vikings title is Public Relations Officer. No injuries other than a sore hip/thigh and she rode all the way back to the Pickle for breakkie and coffee.
Apart from the off, it was a great training ride.
Lessons from this morning include:
-just because its raining in Tuggeranong, does not mean it is raining in the city
-approach intersections slowly and with caution - especially in the rain when braking is less effective
-"hammer the rivet" whenever possible
-turn up to training consistently or new Valkyries like Tegan will blitz you!!!
-slightly soggy Normans are often the best ones because the bunch is small, the pace and route are easy, you get to ride with people you normally wouldn't, you get to know the route, and you don't get dropped.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
At any rate, 3 Valkyries and a Vmaxx showed up at 6am in the city for a ride heading north, including
Brad, me, Anna and Verity making her return to form.
Given the balmy temperatures of 5 degrees I busted out the summer bibnix, with a long sleeve thermal, jersey and arm warmers. Kind of cool to be getting back into summer kit - I find I ride better without all the thick winter layers on.
We formed a nice bunch and got moving without working too hard, practicing some high cadence and explaining the sprint drills from yesterdays session.
There was enough energy for some chatting but once we hit the Federal Hwy Verity made up her missing sprints and shortly after the hill Anna turned to head back, dutifully following the program!
Rach and Verity continued on with Brad and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise all the way to the Tulip Farm turn, where we turned to head back into town.
The light rain started once we were back on Northbourne and it was about then that a niggling numbness in my hands started to hurt a bit and get quite annoying.
Popular opinion was that my arm warmers, over the top of a thermal were the culprit so each traffic light saw an arm being peeled off - which gave Brad the idea of commuter strip tease and the suggestion that we'd better get to the Pickle quickly before I ran out of removeable layers.
We made it to the pickle without breaking decency laws, enjoyed a coffee and headed off to work - pleased with ourselves that we had a really enjoyable, good session before the rain really set in.
Feels good to be training.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This morning’s sprint session was fantastic!! It was so good to have so many people to train with!
Cheska, Anna, Cherrie, Jane, Rach, Ange, Liz, Tegan and Maja
Most of the group met at ANU and rode over to OPH however I met the girls there. I think I was a little late and missed the first drill however when I arrived we paired up and did a few loops working on bike bending around OPH – basically being in a hard gear and slowing down to the point of nearly stopping before pushing out a standing sprint in the drops. We then rode up to federation mall where we did 3 by 10s (again in the drops) up the incline and recovered the rest of the loop (10 revolutions in standing attack sprint, 10 seated sprint and the final 10 out of the saddle again). This was lots of fun as we did it in pairs however I noticed my loss of power as the reps went on! We then headed out to Mugga Way and did some bunch riding. I found myself at the front and Rach was by my side keen to control the pace with little sprints every now and then – I held in for a few but it got me a little unstuck and I dropped off on the last little ascent of Mugga way. Needless to say, the descent back to Deakin shops was a lot of fun with some friendly sprinting rivalry between Liz and Ange – great to watch!
We met up with the Vmaxxers at double shot and ended the session with a well earned breakfast and (for the first time for me) a few stretches!
Was a really great session today – thanks so much to everyone! Was one of those sessions that got me really pumped!
This was the first time I've backed up a commuting day with a training day, usually I leave a day in between but feeling a bit stronger and having worked on all my physio drills religiously I felt I was ready for it.
The one legged drills were fine and the 'bike benders?' were excellent, reallly enjoyed those. Trying to power up Federation Mall was a challenge and while my technique got better my lungs did not! It's my new love/hate hill as it's fun, short and still challenging.
After we'd done a couple of laps Rach suggested riding up to Mugga Way before a coffee. Hmmmm, not sure how I'll go with that one but happy to give it a spin. Well, an attempt anyway.....
Heading up Melbourne Ave is when I realised that it's all up hill. Uh ohh... Hills are still not my friend. I started off well and valiantly tried to keep up but was dropped about half way up (I think, may be an overestimate there). This was when champion Liz came back with some words of encouragement and a fair old push up the remainder. Wow, thanks Liz!!
Reaching the top I realised I was cooked. It was a great morning but I was done. I had arranged to ride back to ANU with Anna but not wanting to cut her ride short I headed off on my own, drafting my blog entry as I went. As I rolled down Flynn Dve the lovely Anna caught me up and we headed back to town.
An update on the Hoodies.
I wore mine while on marshalling duty on Sunday, nice and warm, lovely. I had some jealous Viking boys notice our latest attire and commented that it was cool, however the matter of white hoodie and grease did come up. Maybe we should consider red next time. Anyway it was fun to show it off...
Monday, August 15, 2011
On Sunday morning I completed my first 60 km ride on my road bike in a ride out on the Federal Highway. It was my third ride out this way and the furthest I’ve got so far. On my first ride I made it out to Eagle Hawk riding with Brad, Rach and Andrew. Last weekend I made it out to the Tulip Farm riding with Tegan, Cheska and Tim. And yesterday I got a little bit closer to making it to Lake George by making it up Shingleback Hill and to a “Stop sign” just beyond it with fellow riders, Rach, Ange, Anna and Paddy.
Even though I am still a lot slower than everyone up the hills, it is encouraging to see the improvements I have made since my first ride to Eagle Hawk. The cycle lane doesn’t seem quite as narrow as it used to, the hill out of Canberra while long is not insurmountable, riding down the hill back into Canberra seems more fun and a lot less terrifying, and its nice when I go looking for a lower gear when going uphill that I sometimes still have a couple left! I have been able to practice sprinting out of the saddle, descending in the drops and even sprinting in the drops.
Even though I was completely knackered after my ride yesterday, I am keen to keep going and maybe make it out to Lake George and back next time. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, slowing down for me, and for waiting at the top of the hills (or coming back and riding up them again with me).
Saturday, August 13, 2011
What really struck me was how much technique they practiced, instead of just riding along chatting, they were practicing
Valkyries present were:
Anna, Francesca, Tegan, Rach and Liz.
We learned some valuable new sprinting drills which both gave us better technique and also had us working at a high intensity in short intervals.
We practiced one legged pedalling for a smooth stroke, rapid easy gear pedalling for cadence and speed, jump start Bike Benders for strength and kick, and then 'tenner sprint drills which had everyone working at their peak.
We then combined these techniques with our best Cavendish and Renshaw impersonations and ran lead out trains, repeatedly imitating the final two laps of a crit race.
Excellent session and thanks to Simon for the great on the bike coaching! I really felt my technique improve by the end and was surprised how much i was yanking on the bike in the sprint position.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A few Valkyries will be joining the Vikings Cycling Club Novice program either as participants or as mentors, and I think this is going to be the best year yet, I am really looking forward to it.
Lisa K and Dees have been blasting the V-Maxx boys and showing them how its done, and I think we will be welcoming a few honorary Valkyries into our ranks soon as well.
It's going to be a great spring and a fantastic summer.