This week was like last week which was like the week before, expect the kids had their Junior Criterium Championships
This week saw me undertake the Ray Piper Handicap against my Coach Mick Curran, plans upto August and my letters from the UCI.
Just 109 days to go till France. The training is stepping up a bit but it the head down bum up kind of work. I took the TT bike out for my first run of the ATTA Calga 25km TT course. Some cool stuff turned up this week. My passport and bicistickers nameplates for my bikes.
It continues to get closer, only 123 days to go. Had an odd week, raced on Monday then followed by a few days of haveing a cold before finally getting to ride outside!
Image courtesy of Micheal Flynn Photography
b2b and 132 days till France! After the last 18 months of hard training Under Coach Mick Curran, I was able to qualify for not only the World Gran Fondo Championship Road Race but also the Time Trial. Going to France in 2017! I get to wear the Green and Gold! I have a lot of work now in front of me, and I have enlisted the help of Wheelscience to get me on track with the right TT tools of the trade in their sponsored athlete program. Please head over to their website and take a look at what hey have to offer.
As part of the next four months, I’m going to give you some insight into what I need to do in my training and life to prepare for this journey. Please check out my first VLOG and subscribe. Check out my social media links on the side for more info.
This year I was lucky enough to get to go down and watch the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. It was an amazing experience, over 500k of riding in 5 days, met Chavez and got to ride along with Sagan. Absolutely epic can’t wait to go back and do it again!
5am is not too bad a time to get up. By 5:20 I was on the road and all full of enthusiasm and excitement. It lasted till the other side of Sydney or about 2 hours before I settled in for what turned out to be a long coffee fueled, turn left to go right, wow look at that trip to Lorne in Victoria. Nearly a year worth in training had brought me here for Amy’s Gran Fondo.
I’ve had some long-term projects before, motorbikes, photography projects
Lorne itself was great, and the locals seemed to embrace all the bike related activity. I frequented the Lorne Larder most days and would happily recommend it. Riding around the town and the great ocean road itself was an amazing experience. The road just rolls along, up and down. Every time you rest a small hill you see the next one, and you just feel compelled to continue riding. However, I was on a training regime and headed back into town after a quick exploration.
The morning of the event I felt good. Mick’s mantra of “You’ve done all the work, and there is nothing more you can do” allowed me to remain focused and calm. Having said that, I just want to get on with it. Before I knew it, I was three back from the start of the 35-39 division. We were to be motor-paced for the first 1.8k to the first timing loop.
The pace out to the loop felt good but when it passed by it was on! I had what I thought to be a good wheel but after a few corners realized that he was struggling and I had to do something now. I pushed him and set a solid pace up the climb. I had done a recce the day before and knew I only had another kilometer to go before I could get only the flat and gain a recovery. Oh, how wrong was I… My exploration the day before had finished on a false flat and a short downhill. I figured this was the top of the first climb and had returned to ride out along the great ocean road.
The false flat just kept going and going. I felt like I had hit my limit and I was only 15 minutes in. I watch the green bands of the 35-39 group go past me and figure I just had to head down, bum up and keep with who I could. By this stage, we had not only the 40-44 age group leaders pass but also the 45-49 group! Trying to hold the wheel as they passed proved to by just that little bit too much energy then I had to give.
We finally rolled over the top of the first KOM point and started the descent. The downhill went well, and I was able to get back onto the group I had been trying to keep up with. But after a regroup and dropping the HR the course changed direction and headed straight into purgatory. The wind here was brutal; it would smash you from the side, and there was nowhere to hide. Very quickly I would find myself being spat out the back, only to be picked up by a new group to be spat out the back, for 30 miserable kilometers.
Finally, we turned again, and the hills started. This was somewhat of a relief as I could now find my rhythm but I just watched the group I was with walk away from me up the hill. It started to rain, and the hill just kept going. The final climb ended up being 4% fro 20k. I just focused on my rhythm and watched out for people in the same age group and trying to minimize the losses. The rain was a drizzle, and everything was wet, just as I thought it could not be too much further the 500m sign came up, and I heard a whole heap of noise. Rounding the corner all I saw was orange. Wiggle had but on Dutch corner at the top. Even tired you had to smile going through it.
I crested the top, and the descent started. It was still wet, but this did not seem to make a difference to some people. My brakes don’t like the wet much and being aware I was trying to find clean lines and pre-brake to wipe off the water. However, many did not share my caution. The amount of places I lost on the descent was huge but as it dried out I got faster and losses lessened. However, the cold on the descent made the quads ache! A sharp right-hander lead to an oh crap moment than the final sharp drop away.
Finally, I turned onto the Great Ocean Road. 40km to go… I had hoped to be in a group for this section, but nobody was around. I sucked it up and started the final leg. After a few minutes, I thought, there is somebody behind me. I turned and sure enough I had a group of about ten behind me! I swung off and got on the back. I was able to sit in this group for the bulk of the return, but as we got closer the gully’s became steeper and more, and more water was across the road. With about 4k to go I was not able to get quite back on and lost the group after I hesitated to go through a sharp corner covered in water. 3 of us stayed together as we made the final kilometers home. Finally crossed the timing loop, heart rate up and pushing, I felt smashed going over the line. I got my breath back before zipping up the jersey and adjusting my hat. I crossed the line and pointed to my MCC logo on my jersey. I pulled up and lay down for a while. Then I went and found breakfast!
Final time 3:39.07 71/176, missed qualification by 10:08 minutes. Till next time.
Day 1 the Mark Dwyer Memorial Handicap
I had a couple of club based handicaps under my belt now. They were hard but I felt good about were I was at. Bunch 6 which was 10 minutes off block was were I was placed and seem fair based upon my recent club races. Well put simply they went out hard and I burnt all my matches in the first 20 minutes.
The group went out hard from the gun and I was struggling through each turn, I hit my max heart rate pretty early on and my rotations got harder and harder.
As we crested poets corner and I tried to skip a turn but the guy that I told to go through refused and this caused a gap that put both of us out. Within a few seconds another couple of riders went off the back as well with one of them giving up to turning around and going back.
Once I got dropped I did as just kept my head down and sat on a constant cadence and waited till I got caught by the next group. I was on my own on a long stretch of road, hands over the bars in the best TT position I could muster. I got sucked along mid way through the group and they pushed me into rotation which I did not have the power to hold, especially given the crappy road surface. I found Hugh at the back and we hung on for one more hill. We pushed to the top and I held on a bit longer then him but I did not quite get back for the corner and spent the last match I had trying to pace back the group. The com car came through and I sat up to wait for Hugh. He was cooked and we just road together for the next 10 or so till his HR came down. After that we had a selfie together sent it to what turned out to be both our coach then made our way up the KOM. We both figured to do our best but save what we had for the next day. My bright happy and cheerful face was welcome sight (haha) by my and Hugh’s coach who was standing on the KOM, having just received our selfie that I text him. He just shook his head and laughed as we went by.
We swapped off turns at about a 85% pace, formed a gruppeto and go lost through Gulgong. I felt so tired after that and my legs, glutes and butt were so sore. Would have liked to have hung in longer, at least till we got caught or we caught a group. I don’t feel so bad in know that people were dropping off everywhere and that this group was not caught till 3k to go.
Day 2 Oatley Wines Scratch Race
I wouldn’t say I was disappointed yesterday but I was sore. Woke up feeling not to bad all things considered. I wanted to finish the days race but just set myself the goal of finishing the first lap.
Race started much more civilised then the day before. Pace picked up when we got onto the main road but I just found the biggest guy I could and sat on his wheel. (He was good for this throughout the day 🙂 ) A 1 man break then 2 more went up the road. I heard the Dubbo boys say it was their crew and they backed off. Pace felt good and HR was constant. The first climb was tough but stayed about 2/3 of the way back and just pushed up while a few went out the back here. The following descent was quick but nobody seemed too concerned about the gaps. We re-grouped at the bottom and made our way through the valley towards the next climb. It was blowy here with cross winds cutting almost 90 degrees to the road.
I got over the top to the turn off to muddy hut and followed the group down. I found Phil from CCCC and stuck to his wheel as we hit the KOM climb. Of all the climbs today I found this to be just short and punchy. Got to the top feeling ok before making the descent and took in a gel. The descent went well and went back to the middle of the group. Turned onto the road back and that 6k drag back into poets. This just sucked… Picked wheel and just stuck it out. Tried to keep my cadence at 90+ and be efficient with my matches. I loved the descent here, not steep but fast with those 55 corners. I found that I made up a few spots on the descent and this put me in good sted to keep up through the lumpy bits. Hit the turn for the lap point and was feeling good. Big thanks to Yoni here for cheering me on! 🙂
The pace started to pick up here and my focus became survive. My earlier delusions about winning went out the window. Not long after the turn onto Ulan road a couple went up the road, the group started to splinter and a few tried to bridge across. A move went and the group panicked. I let it go around me and let them carry me back. This charge was led by Phil and ultimately was the last time we saw the group of seven that broke away. We hit the first climb and I struggled. I went out the back and started to alternate with 40:40’s but kept dropping. I ended up about 10 or so meters back with a few others but just charged up with all I could muster. I just got on over the top but now we had 3 groups on the road and I was right at the back. Everyone started farting around and coasting the descent even though the back stragglers had a massive gap to the main group. I pushed hard through the individuals and had a couple hairy moments at speed. The cross winds here were pushing everyone around every where and just help the fron buch get further.
I managed to get back on by the start of the next climb. I was stuffed and the pace backed off for a few minutes before it went again. I was able to hold on till the turn of on muddy hut and I’m at the back feeling like crap. Next goal. Make the KOM with the group.
The descent went fast but I was able to make some spots up and found another huge rider. I got a tow for the first half of the hill and then just pushed were I could. Got over the top with a few behind me. Next goal, make it to the end of that 6k slog. I was at the back here with Phil again. Took on my third gel and tried to breath. The pace was stronger on the second lap and as we started the slog the guys on the front were fighting as some were not pulling their weight as their team mates were up the road. The pace was solid and everyone was tired. Some people just become desperate idiots here and we had a couple of moments. Held in again but was stuffed. I hit the descent again and found that another big rider. The descent was fast but I just tried not to use any energy.
I ended up towards the front and whilst the riders were away I was actually able to roll a few turns, however I think the group had resigned themselves that the group up the road was not coming back. The pace dropped a little from 5k to the turn off then it was all on. I just gave all I had up that hill. We were sprinting for pride here and this was getting messy. I bumped a guy and was pushed wide. I just pushed on and tried to have wide shoulders. I pushed from person to person and we still had a 1k to go.
Sat for a second and free wheeled till an opportunity presented itself then pushed hard when somebody gave up and a gap opened. I just pushed through any holes I could, watching Phil as my maker point. Not far from the line the guy in front came across and I just had to touch my brakes.
15th of 38. Really happy with that. Big thanks to Mick Curran for coming out to support all his athletes.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulRdRM6OyPc ]
Photos from today’s Calga 50k Road Race. These images are from the turn around point at Petes Ridge. Feel free to use them anywhere, I just ask that you give credit.
Dan rang me, “Hey Ollie I’m working on your Orange POS”… and the name stuck. I had planned to do a write-up but the short of it is that I found this on the side of the road. It’s a Reynolds 531, so I could not leave it. Through way too much heartache, pain and money we got it back to a rolling everyday bike. It gets ridden to work on a regular basis and is my every day to the shop’s ride. Its lots of fun but man it must have been hard working racing on one of these.
I stood in the middle of a town I had never been to before, wearing not much and freezing. I’m about to do the Blaney to Bathurst fro the first time, this will be my longest timed event to date.
Back up to 4:30 this morning. It was even colder, 7c according to my phone and I had to get out to the buses at Mt Panorama for the transfer to the start in B We were staying on the eastern side of Bathurst and I had a short ride out to the start from here but I was torn. I had to carry what i wanted to race with and I did’nt want to lug a whole lot of cold weather gear. Opted for the leg and arm warmers but went the summer gloves. Departing it was cold, even colder with the morning air and my fingers were frozen in a matter of minutes. The trip out did take long but the tempreture never got any warmer. This got worse when I stopped to wait for the bus. It ended up being 45-50 minutes before they got my bike loaded and I was shiverring. This is about the point the sunlight finally decided to peek its head up and offer no warth what so ever.
The bus trip took about 30-40 minues, I don’t really remember, I chatted with the guy next to me but I was gratful just o be out of the cold. It at these points you reflect and go how the hell did I end up on a bus in the middle of nowhere with a large amount of middle aged men in lycra. It was 06:30 and my phone pinged to say I had a message. I opened it up to find some final words of encouragement from my coach and its these little things that just make me appreciate him more and am grateful for guidance. My goal here was pretty simple and that was finish to as close to 3 hours as possible. Tough with the 3 climbs be doable in my head.
Which brings me back to the start line, I’m still cold but have braved removing the leg warmers. Somewhere in my reasoning system I decided to go in the 45kph+ group, figuring once i got dropped the next group through would pick me up and so on. Wasn’t till the start when Crafty (who was MC’ing) made a point of saying how all the people how didn’t make the gold wave were all at the front of my group. I hung on for about 20 minutes but the pace was relentless. Dropped off the group with a couple of others and lost them within a few k’s. Felt pretty crappy here, thought I would have held on a bit longer. Took the second group another 40 minutes to catch me. I got in with them but ended up towards the back when we made the left hand turn into the first hill. Kept a good pace but just lost contact the the main bunch, tried to get back on with another rider but didn’t quite get contact. Ended up in a small group for quite while till my bottle cage cracked and I had to stop to fix it as the bottle was rubbing on the big ring. I lost my group and set back off. This was about the 52k mark. Pushed along on my own agian till I got in another group and stayed with them till the beginning of the main climb. This is where the front of the next wave caught us and everybody just splintered. Took the first k to get the gel to kick in but the hill was ok. I just paced myself and just stuck to my training all the way up trying to keep my cadence high. Came in at 19:54 which is a bit short of where I wanted to be on the climb but I didn’t have anyone over take me on the way and I passed several without going into the red.
From the descent to the end was basically on my own. This felt the best of the day and I seemed to have more consistent power then during my earlier solo efforts. Pushed on to the end just trying to keep the cadence as high as i could and keep low in the wind. Got to the end and pushed hard to look good across the line. Unclipped and just felt overwhelmed by it all, briefly till a kid handed me a banana, that solved it all. 3:21:58
Till next year….