Saturday, August 27, 2011

Leaving Blogger - 27/08/2011

I'm sort of sad to be leaving blogger but excited about the new location.

Go here...

... to read and follow my blog from this day forth!  All previous posts have been exported to there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spring is in the air - flowers and pain - 25/08/2011

Yarra Trails near Willsmere tonight - gorgeous!

It's not just the sight of wild flowers on the Yarra Trails that informs me of the coming spring.  It's the pain in the legs after a hard week of training in preparation for the Melbourne to Warnambool.

If I'm serious, there must be pain.

Yesterday, the long North Road Ride had me severely in the blender by the time we got back to St. Kilda...

When Trent, Shawie, Gus, Duke and I sat down for coffee at Cafe Racer at about 8.30am (yes... 8.30am!! - normally not back til much later), it was one of those situations where you all just sit down, look at each other and know that everyone is thinking, "Well what the F%**k was that!?!".

It was one seriously hard, seriously fast ride and we all felt it (especially after the Sunday, the Hurt Box and the Crowie session).  We'd basically been hammered by two riders most of the way; the young David Kelly (who we predict may win the Warny!) and the older but relentless Danny Kah.  I won't forget the lone attack Danny put in heading out Nepean Highway through Mt. Eliza.  He put two hundred metres into the bunch heading up hill on Nepean within about a minute.

But even Danny was tested by the young legs of Dave on the route back.  Sitting second wheel to Dave for about five k through Seaford area, I felt I should really roll through and give him a break at one stage.  I did so, but then had him flick through to jump back on the front after less than a minute!  "Thanks - glad I could help you buddy,"  I say - as he proceeds to do about another 5k on the front at 50kph.  The pain at second wheel was unbelievable.

I used this ride to 'practice' my desire to experience more pain.  On as many occasions as I could handle, when pushed to the limit with screaming legs, I pushed the envelope just that little bit further to see how much I could take. On at least one occasion, Neal did that for me by grabbing the back of my saddle so I could tow a nearly nother me!  I found it was amazing how I could actually keep pushing the barrier further and further.  And guys like Dave and Danny (and Neal) provided me with the perfect opportunity!  Fair dinkum - it was so bloody hard... and good.

So tonight, I needed the extra motivation of the excitement of my first mountain bike ride since returning home from Sydney.  I took the hoot of a commute and a reasonable pace, enjoyed the pace without pushing it too hard, threw in an extra lap of the boat houses (on both sides) and linked all the dirt to home.  Love it.

My comfortably sore body is looking forward to a bit of a lie in tomorrow morning (to 7 at least!) and a rise with the kids to get one to school and spend the day with two other sickies.

The inner trails are looking pretty good at the moment I have to say.  Let's hope the rain doesn't hit like last year to flood the river and destroy the trails.

So with Sunday followed by Tuesday followed by yesterday (NRR long) and today - I am back to wondering at the fantastic riding Melbourne has to offer.  It's simply wonderful.

I've had a ball and it's time for sleep.

Tuesday - 70k solid SS road - 1 hour Crowie session
Yesterday - 120k ridiculously hard North Road Long
Today - 2.25hrs of solid SS MTB

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ouch - 23/08/2011

I was kind of happy this morning when it appeared the 6am-er Hurt Box was going to be a little light on, the efforts of Sunday’s ride still fresh in everybody’s legs.  I have three children home sick from school today – yes, THREE.  And they are seriously suffering.  Their coughing kept me up much of the night so the effort to get out of bed this morning was slightly offset by the fact that I was driving into work first to meet The Claw (Bruce Tallon) on the bike on the Clarendon Street Bridge.

We met the 6am North Road bunch (NRR) and absolutely flew down to our 6am-er meeting point at Rowans Road.  I was later informed by Fozzy (Dave Foster) that he joined at Southland and found the NRR a crazy bunch this morning.  Maybe egged on by the additional numbers of fair-weather riders which this lovely day had encouraged.  So it was good to join the smooth strong turns of the 6m-er train along the same route, getting us back to Beaconsfield Parade in the glorious sunshine of a wonderful Melbourne morning.

Rolling in along Beaconsfield Parade
A quick coffee for me and I was off to Ridewiser for a session of Crowies leg-buster… another reason I was happy for a Hurt Box cruise!  Ridewiser reminded me why their program did me so much good leading into my last Warny.  Fruit tingles it’s hard! 

I’m definitely going to be up for it again and it’s a great session to follow an already hard workout with the 6am-ers.

One thing though, I’m pretty surprised I can actually type and make sense at 1930hrs this evening!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hurt + hurt + hurt = fit - 21/08/2011

This week I've been inspired by a few comments coming from my Bright friends.  Jonathan Hurst was out for his first road race in Wang this weekend and, after offering up as many excuses as I've ever heard, will hopefully now have completed it.  Warwick encouraged Jon by reminding him that, "when it hurts as much as it can... it can still hurt some more."  And Wayne Hildred (Australian National Champion and Warny record holder for 10 years - see here) didn't worry about it being Jon's first road race and just said, "Go Jonno, just attack 'em."... which I guess you'd expect from Wayne.

Warwick's words were at the forefront of my mind this morning on the 6am-ers Pav-Macca loop; a roll out through Lysterfield, Beaconsfield and then around Yellingbow and Macclesfield to Emerald. 

Shawie, El, Dave (guest), Gus...  Beaconsfield
Many of us were already in the hurt-box on the roll out through Lysterfield, so El's plans for the inaugural Yellingbow TT Lynsa Torte Trophy were not looking too good.  We welcomed guest rider and FoG (friend of Gus), Dave Baker, along today and were joined by Horny who hasn't ridden with us on a Sunday since his crash back in May.  Being young and silly - such as he often is - Horny couldn't help but attack guys that are currently near the peak of their fitness and found himself falling completely out of the hurt box thereafter, scrambling to get back on the back of the group to get home.  We all know however, that in a few weeks he'll be ripping most of our legs off with those attacks and with no risk of being dropped.

Wonderful, gorgeous, fantastic, beautiful...  words fail me.  Seriously - get a bike!

It's quite exciting to have such a glorious weekend with a week of sunshine ahead of us.  Bring it on.

Only slight fog patches this morning but it made for some good shots.  Despite the cancellation of the TT, the pace out to Yellingbow and around to Macclesfield was ramped up big-time and this is where Warwick's words became my mantra...

"It can still hurt some more... it can still hurt... it can still hurt some more." 

The Duke, El Mantes and 2laps had me screaming to stay with them but I was pretty happy with my form considering my current 104kg frame.  Days like today will make a difference in a few weeks I hope.  I've never had a day where I've felt so good on the flat and down but experienced such hurt on the up.  Hmmm - maybe that 104 number has something to do with it?  Need to do something about that.

6am-er Lane, Emerald
We met the late 6am-er bunch (the 7am-er bunch) as we rolled into Macclesfield and the Emerald Bakery saw 17 of us enjoy coffee and Lyndsa Torte.  The laneway became ours for twenty minutes!

19 last week on the beach.  17 this week in the hills.  Fair dinkum love your company guys and the riding this week has been at its best.

Thanks for another superb 6am-er hit-out.

Saturday - easy Saturday roll with CT, Taylo, Foggy, Mad Mike and Matt - 80+k.
Sunday - Pav Macca with too many to name - 130+k

A good solid weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time poor - 8/8/2011 to 18/8/2011

Since arriving home from Sydney I have found myself - once again - very time poor.  With no responsibilities up there, I found it easy to find time to ride!

So a few commutes through that last two weeks have been all I've managed with a hit-out Saturday with Foggy (80k - 1:20, Perrins, Crescent) and then the 130k flat one with the 6am-ers on Sunday.

If the Warny is on the cards I'm going to have to find some way of fitting more in during the week.  Not sure how?!?

Solid welcome back to the 6am-ers - 14/08/2011

The 6am-ers hatched a grand plan some months ago; to run down the beach every couple of months in order to get as many 6am-ers on the road as possible.  Well it's working!

Sunday's ride down through the Two Bays loop saw 19 riders hit the road on what would otherwise have been a miserably cold and foggy Sunday morning.  As we rolled our way along Warrigal Road through Cheltenham, we were lucky if we could see 30 metres in front of us through the pea soup.  This was no reflection of the mood however, which is always boystrous when this many of us get together.

It was great to see some not-so-frequently-seen 6am-ers on the road.  Darryl the Tree Man was there and would later prove to put in a tremendously admirable effort on the return trip.  The Smiling Assasin joined in with his brother for most of the roll down and Brendon (put onto us by the Extractor) joined us for the first time; to be lulled into a false sense of security by coming out on the flat with the 6am-ers on a rare cruisy beach ride.  He's coming out again in a couple of weeks to experience the true 6am-er experience of the hills.

As we hit the first little climb up Kars Street, I felt the twang of a spoke breaking before being subjected to the predictable mocking thereafter:

"You shouldn't have had that fourth donut Readie. I told you to stop at three but you had to go for it didn't you?"   The Claw

"Don't for a second think you have too much power Diesel."   Unidentified (probably Foggy)

"Are you glad you raided that ice-cream fridge every night in Sydney now Readie?"   The Duke

I thanked the Lord for the forsight to have built 36 spoke wheels and kept on riding, thinking I now had an excuse for not doing the second lap of Two Bays that I had earlier boasted loudly about.  Cool.

We hammered pretty quickly around the Two Bays loop, noting that some riders are going particularly well at present.  El Mantes is flying, Taylo is as good as I've ever seen and Darryl the Tree Man remained solid around the whole loop, clearly benefiting from his recent gym program.  All flew up Canadian Bay road well ahead of me... but I had a broken spoke remember.

Oh yeah - and Smithy, Horny and Bender, all of whom had promised to be there, were notable absentees.  This one's for you...

Yes - it's concrete.
Many did a repeat of Two Bays Road (I couldn't because I had a broken spoke remember) and we soon regrouped as the rest of us commenced to roll back along Nepean Highway.   Some nice solid turns with the whole group in the mix had us back up to Hampton for coffee relatively quickly.  This is where Darryl showed some fantastic grit.  He waited just slightly too long to drop onto the back in order to remain amonst it...

... but a few of us dropped back to bring him back on and boy - he put-in big time.  I love seeing it when someone with not quite the same power-to-weight as everyone else really puts in to do their finest in order to get to the coffee shop on time.  Darryl is clearly on a mission and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the hills with us soon (someone's probably going to tell me he's been there whilst I've been away?).

Shawie and his bowl of coffee

Gilmore, feeling not quite so smashed-up as last week, spent the whole coffee time fixing a flat.  As we all got up to leave when he sat down for his coffee, he was heard to mutter something similar to, "Please don't ever let Foggy help me fix a flat again?!" - or something like that.

Most of us arrived home to family with 130 in the bank and a satisfied feeling in the legs.  Many of us spent the afternoon acting like we were awake, alert and ready to hit the house-work.

Another extremely satisfying Sunday morning with the 6am-ers.  Thanks for my welcome back.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Couldn't believe my luck - 04/08/2011

I couldn't believe my luck when, at 1:30p.m. on Monday arvo - on a gorgeous Sydney day - we were released from class early.

Hmmm?...  I could go to my room and work on my 3k word assignment which is due at 8.30a.m. in the morning, or - I could take the opportunity for one last road bike ride through this spectacular city.

Guess which one I picked!?  West Head here we come...

West Head looking to Lion Head Island
I really did appreciate the oppotunity to get another ride in through Terry Hills, Akuna Bay, West Head, Church Point then down through the northern beaches back to North Head.  Unreal.  Well over 350ks in three days (plus all the mountain biking) is going to have me flying in a couple of weeks.  I'm looking forward to getting back to test myself against the 6am-ers.

I still managed to get the assignment in on time and am now very satisfied, sitting here on Wednesday night, that my work here is done.  Karen is up tomorrow for the formal dinner tomorrow night and then a couple of days in Sydney before going home.  Can't wait.

I couldn't let one last opportunity go past tonight though; to ride the dam again - this time with Phil.  Out and back with two laps in between had us screaming for dinner when we rolled into the dining room at about 7.30.  Surprise! There it was, sitting there waiting for us to consume with wine, cheese and shiploads of ice-cream to follow.  Thanks chef!

Darling - please can we get this organised for my return?!?

A great night of riding with a dry ride on a warm night followed by a great night of fellowship with fellow students.  Sometimes these things come as surprises - tonight was a gem.

Thanks guys...