Sunday, May 23, 2010

What a weekend! A healthy dose of "Get off your arse and go ride" took hold yesterday with a 40km smash around some singletrack with two much stronger riders. It started out pretty cruisey but a crash to one of the guys that started the ride meant that 3 riders dropped out leaving me, Nick and Rupert. Nick most of you know by reputation as the "leg ripper offer" and Rupert is well, just younger. Fast, bloody fast and just keeps going.
We started at Bunya and headed straight over to Ironbark and the start of the hills. There are some cranking climbs in there and by the time we had made the top of "Fridge" the legs were burning with the 20% gradients and the promise of the fun technical descent was all that kept me going. After heading over to "Mexican" the next step is the bitumen climb up Bygotts Road to the link track that spits you out in Ironbark again. The reward is "Sunset". If you have the pleasure of doing this trail as the sun hits the horizon you will see where it gets its name. The grasses get a golden hue and the insects become little beacons as the sun bounces off their wings. Pretty special. The trail also happens to be wicked. Nice flow and some tricky little spots to negotiate before the balls out bolt down to the main fire road around Ironbark that runs parallel to Samford Road. Sweet.So then it was up to the top of the fire road and over to "Powerlines" for more fast and furious descending. The nice social punt along the rail trail to spit us out on the climb up "watertank" to finish off with the small bitumen roll back to the car park. Not bad for a shade over 2 hours and 1000m of ascent.
Now today. Boy howdy. The plan was to ride out to Granchester and Old Hidden Vale for the 3+3 event to have a look and then roll into Ipswich and catch the train back to Brisbane. About 130km at a pinch. 6am and we were off from home loaded with food, fluids and a positive attitude. Out to Jindalee via Bardon and some hills to warm up on and through the back of Darra to avoid the new road to Springfield and then finally onto the Centenary Highway for the 50 odd K slog out to the Roseview turnoff. All was going pretty well. I needed a stop at about Yamanto to refuel as a bonk of epic proportions started to hover with that empty feeling in my stomach and a loss of concentration as well. If you don't know, the bonk is the cycling equivalent of the wall. The body runs out of fuel and it may happen before you really know it and then its a hard road back with only food and rest as the cure. Iced coffee milk, a nougat bar and a banana and all is good. On to Roseview.
It felt like a bit of a death march into Roseview with a gravelly surface that bounced me around and made it hard to keep a rhythm. I was very relieved to see the sign announcing the township and even more relieved to stop for a comfort break! Full bladder, bouncy road, rigid carbon bike. Bad, bad mix. 20km from Roseview to Old Hidden Vale through the little town of Grandchester and we were there. After chatting for an hour or so and necking an espresso frappe (yep, espresso frappe!) Nick started making noises about rding all the way back. I said I wasn't sure but would ride back to Roseview with him and see how I felt. The bakery there served up a couple of pies and more fluids and the time came. What was I gonna do? I didn't feel great but thought it was time to harden up. Whinging about feeling crap wasn't going to cut it as Nick is very sympathetic listener when it comes to that whole excuse thing. Not! Suck it up and stop complaining. So off we went again. I was surprised to see that we were still ripping along at around 27km per hour as an average and pinging it along the flats at around 35km per hour! Not bad.
The road became smooth once back on the Centenary Highway and the pace didn't let up. That continued until the hills started again in Toowong. I reckon some of those hills had me pedaling with my nose I was so hunched over the bars. But I was still going. Finally Samford Road and the bike track home. I rolled along and chatted to Nick until I had to climb the last cruel hills to home.
I now have that nice feeling back of accomplishment. It has been a while since it hung around with me but now the motivation to train is back. All it took was 240km in two rides and the suffering and succeeding that comes with making it through a tough ride you were sure was going to beat you. Here come the big rides.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wanted - Motivation.

To say my motivation has been lacking over the last 2 weeks is an understatement. The term "lacking" indicates that there was some attempt that has fallen short or failed but my situation is more of a complete disappearance of said item. It is really unfortunate timing considering that I have this little race in a couple of months that I was hoping to do pretty well at. I have had a couple of small problems with a cold and some leg and back pain but nothing too serious. I just couldn't be arsed.....
I have really enjoyed the few rides I have managed  over the last few weeks. The problem is more that the volume is seriously lacking in terms of training and preparing for a race. I know my leg strength has decreased and certainly my base fitness is declining rapidly. Funnily enough it doesn't stress me though. I'm OK with it for now. It'll hurt like a bee sting when the torch is lit though and I can expect that feeling of barely keeping my breakfast down and the suffocation of oxygen debt to be the wake up call I am needing. God I hate those feelings.
My mates will help snap me out of this funk too. The merciless ribbing when I drop off the back and struggle on the climbs will sting like that bee but last a whole lot longer. Such comments as "Are your brakes dragging?" and "No mate, you're not holding us up" when you know that really they are wishing you'd get a move on just sit in the back of your mind and eat away at you. It really does help though. Really.
Anyway if you are walking down the street and come across a lonely motivation looking lost and forlorn please just send it back to me as it is most likely the one I lost somewhere in the last few weeks.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Get 'er done.....

The race has been entered, the money paid. Now it is just a simple case of sitting on a bike and pedaling as fast as I can for 24 hours.
How hard can it be?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Decisions, decisions...

I have committed a vast amount of time and energy to some things this year that have proven incredibly fulfilling. There has been a feeling of pressure and of impending deadlines since September last year and sometimes this has really eaten at the enjoyment I might have gained from doing the things that I love. So I have made a decision. I am going to enter the Merida 24 hour race in July and attempt to qualify for the World 24 hour Championships in Canberra in October. Yeah I know, it's more riding. This time however it's for me. I have no team mate to let down, I have no donors onboard and most of all I have nothing to prove.
My training has started again and I plan to well and truly have my race face on by June for the Mount Perry 6 hour race which I will use as a tuneup for the Merida after which if I qualify for the Worlds, I will have a short break. To be honest, I don't even know if I can still qualify for the Worlds because the places were running out fast. Only the top 10 finishers are automatically eligible and it would take a miracle for me to finish in that company. But hey, you will fail at 100% of the things you don't try.
I have the luxury of a support crew willing to give up an entire weekend to come out to a race course and sit through 24 hours of me going around and around a track. There is definitely a certain amount of sadism involved in it as not often can you get away with telling a mate to harden up and go out and do some more laps and be thanked for it at the end. The difference between racing with a support crew as opposed to without is polar though. You can pedal the bike, navigate the course and thats it. Food and fluids are sorted for you, the bike might even get a little tune up and most of all there is at least one person in the place just to rev you up. So whois this sadistic samaritan? Bloody Nick. Maybe the hiding he gives me on our rides isn't enough? Now he wants to make me suffer through 24 hours.
I must also mention how stoked I am to once again be able to suit up in the Giant/Cyc'd for Bikes gear and aboard the XTC1 29er for both races. The bike continues to amaze me with how nicely it rides and with a few recent modifications how much more enjoyment I have gotten from it. Spencer made the discovery that torching the brake pads silenced them and improved the performance all in one go. When you couple that with a ghetto tubeless conversion and the ability to run much lower pressures now the thing corners on rails and stops hard enough to loosen your teeth! Awesome. My descent into the world of the XC whippets is now also complete. I have bar ends on my bike. Hey, they feel good.
So there you go. There should be some more fun and games to read about soon. Stay tuned and be along for the ride and see where the trails take us.