Velodrome life

Velodrome life

Thursday, 6 October 2011

2011 Masters ITT Nationals

Day one of the masters nationals events was the ITT.Mainline racing had 4 members contesting across 3 age groups.

Congratulations goes to,
Andy Patten - 2011 Masters 3 National Champ - Gold.
Lucas Nicoll - Masters 2 - Bronze
Chris Millen - Masters 2 - 4th
Patrick Weinrauch - Masters 1 - 8th

Tomorrow will be crit day. Weather prediction is not good so will be interesting.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Getting High !!!!

We are staying at the base of a range making up part of the "Parco Nazionale della Maiella" so finding hills are not so difficult. The Abruzzo region of Italy provides a great base to train from. The roads a reasonable quite regards traffic, and options of terrain are plentiful.

So today I took off for my training ride with a planned route, following one I had done earlier in the week, heading for the hills. The first few k's start at about 2-4% gradient with a few short pinches then ..... The fun.

I'm cruising along and decide to take a road off the planned route for the day, I'd seen others take it earlier in the week and thought I'd check it out. By now the gradient has increased steadily to a pleasing 7-10%. As the kilometers increased 5,10,15 the presence of life around me is decreasing. Then before I realize it's 25,26,27,28 kilometers and those dark, mystical clouds are getting closer.

About the only sign of life seen was a fox running across the road (probably licking his lips hoping for an easy meal). Kilometer 32,33,34 I'm passing road signs showing wheels with snow chains and another one showing snow trucks clearing the road, at what point should one start to get concerned?

As I look ahead up the range I can see some buildings, excellent this looks promising, maybe I can pull in for a coffee, I'm getting rather chilli by now. A few more corners and awesome the buildings are a Ski Lift... One thing I don't need after some 38ks of climbing this range in an Italian autumn is a closed Ski Lift, and of course that ski lift is heading where?....up!

I mount my trusty giant and begin to climb again. By now I'm seeing nothing but cloud and starting to get cold. A few more ks and I'm on 42 then I come across what sounds like a lovely place... on a clear day at least because sadly today the view was not so panoramic.

Well it's been up hill for the last 2.1/2 hrs I'm sitting on altitude of 1500 mtrs, I've had enough it's time to get some coffee and warm up again.

All said and done it was a great day on the bike, feeling good for upcoming nationals and with the hill work this week Grafton is looking good too.


Friday, 23 September 2011

It just gets better...

This was our view over breakfast this morning and we weren't sure anything would top it.
Then we moved to our accommodation for the next 10 days and we were "nearly" speechless.

And when we wake up we have to look at this.

Looking forward to some solid training for Nationals and Grafton to Inverell come mid Oct.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Blind Faith.....

We flew into Rome yesterday and picked up our rental car.
Which began by having to put fuel in the car.It was not until I was halfway thru the process I realised that in Rome there is somebody who fills your car up for you(for a tip of course) anyway I proceeded to finish the job and tipped the bloke for doing zipo - it was his lucky day as I tipped double I should of also.

Ok so we have gas, now to find our accomodation.We punch into the GPS the address, really having no idea if we should be going north or west or what. If all else fails you just follow the red line on the screen,correct? Ok no problems for about 7ks thats what we do, blindly following a red line still not really knowing if we have punched the correct address into the GPS, then ..... The red line disappears... O thats not good.

I'm in the middle of the road fighting Italian traffic which is far worse than anything we have seen before, we find a little side street, reset the address and phew... a red line, better keep following it, and it's head in a similar direction to the last red line. - Bonus.

The accommodation we booked was described as a "19th century renovated Farmhouse" and from the
pictures looked very presentable, it was about now this description had me questioning the " red line", a farmhouse,right? In the country, right? So why am I driving virtually in the centre of Rome, flanked by numerous multistory apartment blocks?

The GPS says turn here, turn there, meanwhile the traffic gets thicker, some 20ks has passed and then "You have arrived at your destination". Ah I don't think so Mr TomTom, one of us is wrong, and I'm not too confident that it's him. So we go around the block a number of times, there is nothing close that resembles the apartment photos on the website I had booked, either I'm way off with my address or I've been scammed.
So it's time for a process of elimination.
> check the address
> check the city region
> now look for number?????
Ok 109 then 105 ok here it is 101 and an arrow pointing down a little quaint alley way, we round a few more corners and O yeah there she is!!! Mr TomTom your lucky mate.

I must say if your coming to Rome and need some accommodation then check this place out.

Casali Papareschi Apartments
- New,modern,spacious,comfortable.
- Great convenient location - I don't have to drive anywhere while here.
- Fantastic Staff.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Ouch !!!!!!

It's taken a few days but I have finally recovered mentally and phyiscally from the "Masters World Champions Race" in Belgium last Sunday.

I rode parts of the course in the days leading up to race day and it was instantly evident the course was going to be the hardest I had encounted. The course was extremely hilly which also meant that the descents would play a critical part in the event as well. There were 7 classified climbs;
1) L'Ancienne Barrieri
2) Cote de Brume-Sud
3) Cote de Spineux (Wanne)
4) Cote de la Haute-Levee
5) Col du Rosier
6) Cote d'Aisomont
7) Cote de Stokeu.
The road surface was patched old roads that were dead thus offering no or little rolling assistance to riders no matter climbing or descending. Some of the decents were long that would end in dangerous tight winding corners at the bottom.

Race day and we head into Stavelot, a small town which is very popular and clearly a common area visited by general tourists. The weather was forecast to be wet and this was of concern for most the riders, as we're waiting for my race to start we're sitting at a local cafe on the finish line and there were a lot of people coming to the line that had crashed during their race, their race attire ripped and hanging from their bodies, gravel rash up and down legs, arms, and across their backs.

Time for me to get to the start line as we're waiting for the start I start checking out my opposition for the day, well that in itself was daunting. These guys looked like full time riders, they looked as if they could just as well be riding the pro circuit. Still we wait for the race to start and then an announcement, our race was delayed, the course had not been cleared yet of the ambulances, attending to injured riders still on the course. This info combined with the vision of riders that had made the finish line was not an encourging feeling prior to heading out.

Anyway we finally get underway there was a short neutral section through town and then there a few attacks,attempting to break the large field up. I was comfortable with my position towards the front of the bunch ready to pounce on any attacks that looked strong and promising. The first 40ks was flat and so attacks kept coming, after about 10k's there was a break of three of us, we were going well, in fact so well that the three of us caught the 2 x age groups (16 - 29 & 30 - 34) that had started some 2 minutes in front of us.
The opportunity was good as the 3 of us weaved our way thru these riders just at the base of the first climb, however it was on this climb that all 4 age groups came together which effectively meant in excess of some 300 riders were all climbing together and to keep track of your specific age group proved difficult. I managed comfortably to hold the front bunch up the climb and then there was a long descent with a sharp left hand turn at the bottom. It was to be the next climb that would ultimately prove to be the one that split the pack.

This climb was approx 2ks in length and most of it was around 18% gradient.This is about where 4 groups started forming and I had fallen out of the front bunch and sitting on the back of the second. The pressure (by others) was on to keep the pace up high to stress and drop as many as possible.
 Really this is how the race continued for the next 60ks up hill then downhill, I guess for those in Brisbane I could compare the race to doing 7 repeat climbs of Mt Tamborine but with some zones that were around 18 to 20 % instead of only 7 or 8 %.

We were really fortunate because as the afternoon continued the rain went away and the roads dried up, which meant no or only a few crashes.The descents were still tricky but nothing compared to them being wet.

The net result was not as  I had hoped for but the experience was still incredible. To be racing on roads and still seeing names in paint of professional riders still on the roads in front of you that had raced these roads earlier in the year was a strange but great feeling.

There are a number of people who without their assistance this goal would not have been realized and so I would like to thank;

Chris Millen - Chris is a well recognized personality around cycling in Brisbane and I would like to thank him for the various roles he played in supporting me to complete this goal.
Chris also owns the team I race for "Mainline Racing" and I wish to thank all contributing members of this squad for their support through 2011, wether its been racing together or training or socializing, we have had a very successful year and lets hope it will continued to develop.

Crankstar - Steven George, great guy and top coach. I look forward to getting home and checking out your new cafe, serving centre and bike shop. This result was not as we had hoped but hey track and crit season is upon us.

CYC'D for bikes and SIS for their product support. If you consider yourself to be a serious rider... you should check these guys out.......high end, quality products.

All my training partners back home, sorry for those early mornings or late nights but thanks.
Thanks also to Ben and Felix who came to Belgium it was great to have you guys around and catch up for a while.

Whats next????? I have 1 week training in Germany and then 2 weeks training in Italy before we return for Nationals in October and then the big final Grafton to Inverell.

See you there boys.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Au revoir Paris.

Demain nous disons au revoir à Paris et bonjour la Belgique. Well our time in Paris is coming to a close. We have seen some sights taken plenty of photos, stood in queues forever and walked untold kms. It was only in the past couple of days we were brave enough to use the subway. It's mind boggling to see that the size of the central city above ground is nearly mirrored underground via subway etc. Our appartment is in the area " Republique" and is a very multicultural area of town. And nearly each few blocks you walk closer to the city prices increase for and a little more english known. Although we have only seen a very small snapshot of Paris I think one thing I come away with is the comparison that we. " the western world" live a very fast paced and stressed lifestyle, everything is very black & white,there are rules and regulations for everything we do. There are a few things I noticed about Paris. > The language - I don't speak it at all well. > Most businesses do not open until 10am - however they dont close till late either. > The traffic regulations are a complete reversal of Australia. In Paris the smaller subject has right of way, i.e pedestrian,bike, scooter,car,van, bus/truck. > Nobody seems to pressured by time. > The food... Oh the pasteries and sweets are awesome > Still so much manual labour done. > In general the place is dirty,that being said we saw no ants,mice,rats,flies,cockroaches,spiders of any kind. > Noticed alot of people living on the streets. > Technology seams slow to catch on. Maybe these perceptions were bias to somebody who is on holidays but I do believe a less stressed life would benefit all. One thing that has been very difficult is my training. Being in central Paris I decided the easiest thing to do is choose a road that looked long and see where it took me. I'm confident at times I was riding on roads a cyclist shouldn't be on, but guess what, not one car horn, not one abusive driver, buses that even give way to cyclists. Training rides were full of stop/ starts at traffic lights honestly not really productive, hopefully it's been enough to keep the legs firing until Sunday. Tomorrow it's to belgium where we meet our friends Ben and Felix.We have 2 days to recon the worlds course and eat plenty of good pasta. Yum yum. Donc, jusqu'à ce que nous rencontrons encore la France d'adieu.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Journey or Destination ?

Went for my first ride in Paris yesterday.

Feeling rather nervous, I need to ride on the opposite side of the road, there is marked cycle lanes so you can ride against the traffic in one way streets, don't have to wear a helmet, got no idea where I'm going, and of the hundreds of people on bikes I've seen nobody was in Lycra.

It's often quoted "it's not about the destination it's about the journey" - well today's journey should be errassed.

Our appt is on 4th floor and with a lift that fits no more than matchbox in it meant walking down the stairs. As all the floors are timber I thought best to carry my shoes and put them on at the bottom.Well let men say polished timber floor boards and new cotton socks = very slippery surface. Halfway way down the stairs and I'm sliding on my butt, anyway I pick myself up, pleased that nobody saw the minor incident and then shuffle down to the bottom. I put on my shoes and brave the traffic. For about 6ks all is going well until ..... "SNAP" my pedal breaks. What the ? Yes the pedal had snapped and come off the internal spindle.Ooooooo crap. Time to turn around and proceed with single leg efforts to get me home. How does 6ks turn into 17ks? By my calculation I turned for home at 6ks but I'm only using 1 leg that's automatically 12ks. Then while heading home I got lost, which added another 5ks of single leg efforts to the journey. Clearly this ride was about my destination - just get me to my appt. Looks like tomorrow I'm hunting for a bike shop. Go and purchase some new pedals and a bottle of pride.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Strike 1.... Strike 2....... Strike?

Sat 27th of August =  QLD State Road Race Champs day.

The race was 120ks in length over undulating terrain , nothing really to demanding it was to be the conditions that would ultimately be the determining factor.we turned up at the start line for the usual riders briefing it was noted that today was "wet, cold and windy" riders would need to ride to the course conditions. etc.....

We start lap 1 of the 4 x 30k course. A few winding roads and before long, about 5ks, we come across the "climb" of the course, nothing that should be to concerning however because it was sooooo cold many in the peleton had not had time to get their race legs up to speed.We get up and over with most of us still together then a few individual attacks come from myself, Chris and Lucas among some others. Today my legs were felling good and I wanted to push the pace early, I kept on attacking till the the rubber band broke and the bunch let me go. I stayed out in front of the peleton putting a 2min 30 sec gap into them at one point then I punctured and that was my race over.The ruling states that if you have own spare wheels in the spares vehicle following the race then you can use these in times like this.Well this was my epic mistake of the day, I had not put my spare wheels in the follow car, leaving me "high and dry"..... or in this case "low and wet".

Chris and Lucas were both still in good positions in a group of 5, then after a small mishap Lucas crashed out, just leaving Chris representing Mainline in our category. Chris had done a lot of work during the day and eventually hunger flatted but managed to hold on for Bronze...
Congrats Chris nice work.
Andy Patten also held on in his race for Silver, Congrats to you too mate.

Net individual result for the day Strike 1.

Also today work took a number of customers to the Tri Nations deciding match at Suncorp.
I think there was only myself and one other in our group supporting my native boys in black. We meet at a venue for a pre match function and on the table is a small statue of a player with ball in hand poised in the running motion, well so ours doesn't goo missing we hide it under the table while we head over to the stadium and watch the game. As the game unfolded it was clear this was to not going end well for the loyal NZ supporters.The game concludes and we all head back to the function room for few more drinks and some light entertainment oh and we get to watch a replay of the awesome game we just lost. Well the function concludes one of my colleague's picks up our statue and we start making our way home.

The All Blacks loss ..... Strike 2 for the day.

On the way to find a Cab I'm feeling a little hungry so Paul from Sound Control and I stop at McDonald's for a snack and then head towards the city. As we leave McDonald's we see one of these statues from the function however this has no head......somebody had snapped the head off this poor bloke and left him behind. Well Paul picks up the now "Trophy" and is extremely proud of his find.We decide the night is still young and head to the casino to see if this headless "Trophy" would become strike 3 for the day.

I'm pleased to advise that our headless "Trophy" was quite popular at the tables, he was introduced to number of personalities through the night and considering some of the sights we saw,its probably a good thing Pauls "Trophy" had no eyes.

Best of all there was no strike 3 infact by the time we left Paul had hit a few home runs of his own.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

"It never gets easier, you just go faster." Greg LeMond

How true the words of Greg LeMond, I've never been one to hide the fact that hills and I don't get along too well and with the Masters Worlds upcoming course in Belgium being suited to climbers my coach has seen fit to include a number of hill routines in my training.

While the physical stature of the hill can be daunting I often recall what others have mentioned to me so as to improve my climbing, "Focus on peddling in circles", "Climb at your own pace", and another very apt quote from Harry Groves " Don't attack a hill from the bottom-it's bigger than you are".

Last Sunday was such a day, there were a number of us all of whom are coached by Steven George "Crankstar" heading up to O'Reilly's Hinterland Retreat, which is approx a 19km climb, with an average gradient of around 4 or 5%. For me this was a climb I could not attack from the bottom, a long climb like this needed a solid consistent approach.Just sitting tempo at my specific power zone. While climbing I'm often  just thinking about when will this pain end, I'm pleased to say that more often than not it ends with a relaxing coffee, food and some great company. On this occasion we only went about half way up the climb and stopped at the "Mountview Alpaca Farm" which sadly was closed, but here are some of the views from the balcony out the back looking down the valley.The best part about climbing is descending, so we turned around back to a little township to find a decent bakery.



It was also really nice to see the Wallaby's out enjoying the day as we were.


Its not until you get some time away from training and examine your recent data that you get to see the results and realise the improvements made.I must say the progress is exciting. Thanks to my coach and those that I train with constantly pushing me all of my speeds,power outputs and cadence have all improved.

Greg was right none of it (training) was any easier?....  but I have become faster.

Training is going well and on target plus guess what... I've got more hill repeats tomorrow.

I'm confident that all this work will put me in good shape for the upcoming State titles, of course Worlds in just 4 weeks time and then its straight home for Nationals in Ballarat early October only to then finishing off the road season with Grafton to Inverell on the 22nd Oct.





Monday, 8 August 2011

Night time training .... & hungry

Leading into Worlds in Belgium has meant a well planned training routine has been outlaid for me....

Thanks "Crankstar Coaching", Steve has had me doing some great routines, however due to current work loads this has meant some training has been at night or early evenings.The most difficult part of this is training before diner.

Why is this so hard???

Because I like to eat, but I also love training,  but you can't do both at the same time and a heavy training session is not going to happen on a full stomach of food is it..... so training comes first......

While out training I've been covering a mix of terrains, spread through various suburbs in and around Brisbane smelling all the rich delicacies I love so much.... That has to Salmon I can smell ah and the herbs and garlic wafting out into the streets, ooooh roast lamb and chickens everywhere, which I imagine are being served with fresh crisp steamed veggies.  I can smell what I reckon are some glorious pasta dishes set upon a table accompanied by bottles yes bottles of '89 Penfolds grange.


The Steak... I can smell a good steak from a long way away and somebody has some Wagu on the grill around here...


As I arrive home and hang my awesome Giant up in its rack for the night I wonder what I will have for diner tonight......





Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Reward & Repair @ Charles Coin

Charles Coin is a fantastic race put on each year by the UNI of QLD Racing Club and it's renowned for being flat, fast and windy. What would 2011 bring?

Team Mainline had a strong representation once again headed by Stu, Adam, Patten, Grady, Lucas, Gerb’s, Paddy and Tim. The numbers stacked up well amongst a field of over 70 riders. We would cover five laps of a circuit or approx 90kms during our race across a course that had been ravaged by the recent flood activity and the roads were very rough in places. Due to the conditions we didn’t expect a break to stay away therefore we hatched a plan to keep the peloton together for the first lap, then try and get one, two if they let us in a break for as long as possible, while our sprinters would conserve energy if it comes to a bunch sprint at the end.

Lap 1 there were a few early moves but the boys marked the moves they had to and really it proved rather uneventful, nobody was willing to anyone get away.

Lap 2 it was all about to change... Lucas was feeling good and just stood up to attack when.... Psssssss he punctured. The bunch recognised this as perfect opportunity to stick the knife into Team Mainline with one of our men down, they picked up the pace and by the time Lucas had a spare wheel the bunch was basically out of sight and he was not to return to the ensuing battle.Further into lap 2 would see another rookie mistake by somebody in the peloton. He was sitting on the front then turned to look around and took one of “99 bike” team member’s front wheel out. With not too many spokes left Ricky did very well to control himself and his machine and fortunately nobody hit the road.

As the race continued a number of attacks ensued. One of which featured Andy Patten in a 2 man break with Dave Croswell, it took sometime but QSM eventually wound them both back in. Patrick also had a number of digs only to find that a solo effort would be futile. I recall with each lap having to rip into another SIS Energy Gel. The nutritional supplements that SIS supplies are by far superior to any others I have used in the past, and for anybody that knows me well, they will attest to the fact I can eat, I know what tastes good and fuels your body well.

Due to the reasonably flat course and the lack of wind (other than ours yelling at each other) to break the field apart the reality was it was a day for a bunch sprint and the longer the race went the more apparent this was becoming.

Shooting past the start finish line for the final lap and it’s all together. The remaining boys of Team Mainline knew exactly what was in order. Straight to the front came Stu, Grady and Patrick all we had to do was keep the bunch together. The peloton were looking to Team Mainline as the aggressors’ and they weren’t mistaken. Following on from the boys efforts to control the race it was then the turn of Andrew “The Work Horse” Patten. He sat on the front for what seemed like an eternity, just tapping away keeping the wolves at bay, holding the pace high enough that nobody would come past. He was tiring though he pushed himself and the rest of us over the  hill and on the other side at the base he flicks the elbow to say I’m done, Gerb’s you’re up mate. I’m sitting right behind him ever mindful of the position I need to be into the final corner, at this point of the race your adrenaline is pumping, your heart is racing, the bunch is closing in on you, they are nervous and twitchy, your fixated on the wheel in front while the sensation of everyone strung out behind you is buzzing around in mind. Gerb’s had done everything he could with about 7 or 800mtrs to go  just then a couple of HPRW riders come around us so I jump on the back.......only to hear a disaster behind me, the sound of Gerbs’ lightweight spokes be broken .....but alas no time to stop....we are in the throes of battle, we skip through the final couple of corners and I peel to the outside... ooopps an oncoming truck... ok so back across to the inside of the road, head down, bum up......go go go go go ..... I held to be first across the line.  

Thanks to the selflessness and team spirit displayed by our boys today and every race we do. It was a great Team effort and a result that we all share.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Opportunity ~ Overalls ~ Work

The race started with a few attacks near the start again but the first main attack to stay away contained Matt Ryan and a Balmoral rider, they gained a reasonable gap, however the Ciocco rider who was only 8sec behind 3rd jumped across and this forced the bunch to start a serious attempt to bring the break back. However Matt being as race smart as he is, recognised the rider and would not continue working in the break, this upset the Ciocco rider and allowed Matt to attack taking the Balmoral rider with him and dropping the Ciocco rider. After a few K's the Ciocco rider came back to the bunch , however TDU was not interested in just bringing back the Ciocco rider and with all the riders continuing the chase to bring back the break.
This worked well for us as they took the next 20-30km to bring back the break and definitely eating into there strength as they lost two of the riders in doing so. After the break was caught the attacks kept coming. After some encouragement to " GET OFF THE FRONT" by some team mates I sat around 3rd or 4th wheel just managing moves, keeping them under control and didn't allow anything to get way. This stage became taxing over the hills and I found myself dropping off each lap over both of them and constantly working to catch the bunch on the descents and across the flats.

There were moments I saw expressions on faces that are not natural, I recall one of these, it was during an attack by another one of the teams, I looked across at Matt and his expression painted a dark picture, the hurt I was feeling was about to increase he wanted that attacked squashed so back to the front I go keeping the bunch all together.

Final lap, Matt and I knew what had to be done, but knowing and doing are sometimes polar opposites and with approx 10ks to go there was a hill that broke the bunch up, my main concern was two fold, Chris in 2nd and Steve in 3rd . We are approaching the final KOM both Matt and are pretty spent, I recall saying to Chris as he rolled past me " Sorry mate see ya at the end" Chris responded "keep pushing we need you guys there at the end". Well as the bunch splintered on the climb Matt and I were spat out the back, this is not good and Chris's comment is ringing around in my head. As we crest the climb we can see the bunch about 1k off in the distance, fortunately the downhill favours me alot better and Matt and I work hard to catch the vehicle convoy and start jumping from car to car and then eventually onto the back of the bunch, but we are so close to the finish line there is no time to recover. Matt goes straight to Chris and supports him while I head up to the front and slot in front of Steve to provide some cover for him.The pace is now heating up and individual attacks come thick and fast, its nearly over I just have to hold these wheel for another 1k and then give Steve a lead out.I manage somewhat of a lead out for Steve but it ends up being a little early and Steve gets caught just before the line, this gives him second for the stage.

Congrats to Chris capitalising on all opportunities and Team Mainline Racing

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

2nd and 3rd on GC for the overall tour - 1 stage win , 2 seconds , a number of sprint points and a great weekend away racing with the boys.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Stage 3... ITT

Well after having had time off the bike I was not in the best shape to smash a TT, especially when it turns out to be 5k UP hill.Needless to say I was rather content with the fact that I was domestic for the tour and just had to go thru the paces. Team Mainline had both Chris and Steve in contention, these guys were not going to enjoy this at all.

The gradient was not really that bad, but it continually stepped up as you reached the finish line.
We were all confident our Giant racing rigs supplied by Cyc'd for Bikes would serve us well..........

Steve was the first to approach the course from the Mainline squad, then I was another 2 riders back. Matt was Chris's minute man which worked out well, so Matt was able to back off the intensity slightly and Chris could use him as a target to chase down.

Net result Mainline Chris 2nd & Steve 3rd on GC.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

atTACKed by locals.....

Tour De Tablelands - Stage 2


Another road stage 80 something kms. And again we head out the same road as yesterday up the grinding, rolling, gruelling hill. Today’s plan was to get a couple of our guys away and early. However the bunch was onto us, the bunch was relentless and let nothing go.

Approx 18kms into the race we come across 2 large areas of tacks/pins that were spread all over the road by some not so happy locals and they were very effective in disrupting the event, we encountered a number of punctures all thru the peloton. The spares vehicles themselves are nearly cleaned out of wheels to hand around. They neutralized the race to make it fair for all after just rolling for about 5kms we are all back on and under race conditions once again. Matt and I kept up regular efforts off the front trying to break the field up but to no avail.

We are rolling around and Chris and Steve are sitting in saving their legs as best they can. We haven't seen Gerb’s for a while and don't know where he is. We are heading up the KOM for the final time and there are some pretty tired legs amongst us. I sat on the front with Josh a TDU representative just hoping to keep the pace fast enough to prevent any real attacks...... WRONG. They hit it and both Josh and I where off the back by the time the top is crested. I can see Matt ahead of me and then the bunch a few hundred meters ahead of him. We work our way back to the bunch only to find there is another guy that has broken off the front solo. While not in TDU uniform he is here working with them. This means TDU have no reason to chase him and so for us to protect our GC riders it was up to Matt and I to work on closing the gap. I was given instructions get on the front and bring him back.

Matt was also up there but we needed him to sit  in and save his legs as much as possible to lead out Chris and Steve at the finish. I'm looking and waiting for our reliable lead out man Gerbs but he is nowhere to be seen.....Oooh boy I hope my legs will hold up...

Anyway I'm driving the front of the bunch like there is not tomorrow, up some hills, down some hills across the flats into the wind, dragging a train of about 14 guys at this stage of the race and after about 8k the solo rider is just meters in front of me. Knowing we are just coming into the final rise and an uphill finish, Matt puts me out of my misery and now scoots past me and has control of the race, our boys are well positioned once again and I can see Matt working hard he pins his ears back leaving nothing in the tank, Stave managers to come off his wheel and aims up finish line managing to buffer anybody else’s brazen attacks he crosses the line with a victorious stage winning salute. Chris also rode strongly to hold position in the bunch an not loose any time against his GC position.

We gather ourselves and our composure to roll back to the township where we find Gerb’s....... He was very unlucky and was taken out of the race by none other than the spares Ute carrying all our spare race wheels etc. He's pretty beaten up and lost plenty of skin but fortunately nothing broken.
Adam had a better day today and held onto his group today to finish in the group at the finish.

We head back to our accommodation to prepare for the ITT, feeling well rewarded as a team with a solid stage win and Chris still secure in second place on GC.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The "BREAK" is over

I've been having some time off the bike but it's now time to get rolling again. Coming up is the Tour De Tablelands  just outside of Cairns and Mainline are sending 6 brave souls north to test our legs.
Adam is representing the squad in "B" while Chris,Matt, Gerbs,Steve and myself are lining up in "A" grade.

We turned up in Cairns and had to organize travel to Yungabarra. So we pile the bikes and luggage in with Adam while the rest squeeze into the other van. The journey to Yungabarra was interesting to say the least as our eyes were opened to some driving techniques that should never be repeated or experienced.
We arrive in 1 piece and get diner organized then early to bed for the next days racing.

Stage one.
The course takes us out of town around a few laps of a large circuit then out to a boat club and back to town for the finish.

As with most years up here the first stage heads up a 4 or 5 percent grind and there was an early attack. Chris and another bloke from TDU broke off the front. We were happy to let it extend and at one point it was out to 3 minutes.The occasional attack but nothing really that concerned us,  TDU and ourselves just sat back and covered any moves as we counted down the laps.

Chris has worked hard all day and the early break is still not in sight. On the way home there were a few more attacks on the rolling hills, most of us stay together and before we know it we 're rolling down the final decent for the day. The pace was on,we have our guys in the positions we need.I'm on the front trying to keep the pace up. My job is done with about 1.5km to go then Gerbs rolls past me to take his turn followed by Matt and Steve  as they aim for the finish line. They were just caught before the line which means Mainline finished the day with second, forth,fifth and a handful of sprint points.
Adam rode well in his race holding onto the bunch till the decisive climb on way home unfortunately his legs gave way and he rolled in behind the bunch.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Reflection......

Peter F Drucker once said "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quite reflection will come even more effective action."

So with reflection of what Mainline Racing has achieved so far in the 2011 racing season its time for some action and we would like to thank our contributing sponsors.

Without Chris Millen and his contributing company Mainline Waterproofing the team would not exist.
  • Chris - All our members at Mainline Racing thank you for the contribution you make to the team, and to Cycling in general in South East Queensland.  
  •  Cyc'd for bikes for the connection to Giant bikes, bike servicing and cycling accessories.         
  • The team at Science in Sport - These professional products are what keep us going during our vigorous training sessions and when in the heat of battle and racing.
  •  Upon some reflection we would also like to thank Velosure, Triple Play Team Wear, Motorama, Prendas Ciclismo, without the support you all provide, more effective action from us would be very limited.So from all members at Team Mainline Racing......
                              ----------------                    "Thank You"                    -----------------

On a personal note I would like to say thanks to Steven George at Crankstar Cycle Coaching, he provides effective individual programs, great communication and direction, he knows what it takes to get the most from you individually so you will achieve your goals

Thursday, 5 May 2011

BOTB ....STAGE 4

Monday was a glorious morning and the buffet breakfast at Peppers Resort was superb.Our race wasn't until 1pm so I needed a way to keep myself busy so the nerves wouldn't build up too much, this would eventuate in cafe stop and ample time for copious amounts of coffee, sitting around with good friends and family, chatting about how the tour had progressed thus far, plus just enough time to lay down some smack with a few of our rival teams.
Stage 4 was to be a criterium a tight and technical street circuit in and around the Mantra and Peppers Resort precincts.We got together as a team to warm up and discuss options and plans to implement through the upcoming race.The road was dry and the pace was expected to be very fast.As we gather to wait for the start we're told that due to the amount of time lost from crashes in other races ours has now been reduced to just 30minutes.I was starting only some 3.3 secs behind the leader and our plan was to go out hard and fast and attack the field time and time again.

The first Lap and we come into what was probably the fastest corner on the circuit for the day a sharp 90 deg bend at the bottom of a decent Andrew Gerber was on the front with a Gold Coast rider 2nd wheel, Andrew was flying and hooks into the corner, he just about comes down but somehow manages to keep it upright, then the attacks start. The attacks were a real mixed bag, some were forced by us and some were created by others while the bunch endeavoured to keep it all together.The course is so tight and winding that pace dictates the bunch is single file for most for the race.Mindful that I need to gain a gap between myself and the leader of the tour Peter Roper, Matt Ryan makes his way to the front and just keeps driving the pace. The two of us keep working and swapping off.

After a few laps we tire and the bunch brings us back, I,m back on the front working in with a few other riders from Data3, they too tire and then Matt is back with a massive effort we grind away lap after lap, before long we manage to break the back of the chasing teams.The gap is consistently around 8 seconds, this is enough at this stage to give the team the tour win, but the job was done yet.While Matt and I are off the front the rest of team are doing everything possible to interrupt the chasing group.We are getting towards the end of the race and really flying in and out of the corners. I recall during the race that 2 corners each and every lap I hoped going in, that I would hold onto the line and come out the other side ok.
 I was so impressed with my "Giant TCR Advanced SL" this thing seriously corners like its on rails. My coach Steven George "Crankstar Coaching" even told me after the race he thought some of those corners would be the end of us, both Matty and myself were pulling out all the stops.

This course is so tight and close to the crowd that your hear them calling out names sometimes yours, sometimes others, most the time you just hear a blur of team names as you whizz past at some 50kms an hour.The laps zoom by and time mounts up before you know it. Matty calls out " three laps to,come on keep pushing" as we roll past the start finish line. The gap is still about 7 seconds and we are both starting to tire now, but Matty is unrelenting and keeps his head down and drives on. The bunch know its now or never and they too are bearing down on us.The bell rings to signify the last lap, Matty comes past me and now is on the front charging out of each corner for the last time, sprinting from corner to corner, pushing up each rise, cutting the apex to the final descending corner gain any advantage possible, and then driving it up a short sharp rise for final time, I look around and see the bunch approaching, as we come into view of the finish line I break out from behind Matt and launch for the line finishing some 9 seconds clear of the the bunch as they converge on the finish line.There is such a feeling of relief at the end of an event like this, remember this has been the culmination of three days of racing but in some cases months of training and preparation.

The net result ========TEAM MAINLINE RACING ====== BOTB TOUR WINNERS 2011


                           


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

BOTB ... Stage 3

Stage 3 was an out and back course traversing a loop just inland from race central “Salt Resort”. It was another early start as we marshall for our race briefing at 6.30. At the start of this stage I was 6.5 seconds off 1st place so Team Mainline had a plan to recover this time. Chris attacked straight away but today he would not be given the freedom as he was in stage 2, the bunch were straight on him and he was not really given any chance to break away. There were many attacks up and over some of the small rolling hills, there was also an open flat section that was windy so here was also a good opportunity to create a break, however everybody was marking each other and the bunch stayed together until the first climb.
Dave Croswell from Data3 once again took up the lead with a very steady tempo, I was pretty comfortable to just sit there and then once again with about 100mtrs I was able to get the advantage and claim the first of two KOMs from today’s race. The decent was a perfect opportunity for me to try and escape off the front however the bunch would not let anything go up the road for now.
Our plan for the day was to recover those few seconds so we continued many attempts at forcing breaks. Eventually there was small opportunity Matt Ryan, Dave Croswell and Craig Taylor manage to roll away off the front. With Mainline and Data3 in the break we had no reason to chase it down.This was probably the most pleasurable part of the complete tour,finally a break I’m not in and don’t  have to chase down.The Gold Coast team “D3 Construction” who currently held the tour lead now had their hand forced and had to chase the break. They had all their guys on the front working and working until eventually they would one by one blow up like a little mushroom cloud. This was perfect for us as it left the leader exposed with less help.
The break continued to extend its lead as the bunch chase was really disorganised, they continued over the KOM which was taken this time by Dave Croswell. We eventually crest the KOM and then start heading for home winding and climbing some 90 seconds behind the break away. All they way back from here there are little moves to try and limit the time loss the break would eventually impose on the bunch. With about 5 kms to go Chris snaps off the front to stretch out about a 300m gap......here is my chance, I drop down a few gears stand up and smack it to bridge across, just as I jump to bridge Andrew Gerber boxes the leader in so he is unable to follow me across.
Chris resumes TT position but the bunch is chasing hard, we come into the final corners the only find the course has been changed while we are out racing. Well this really throws everybody into a panic, do we go left? Do we go right? There are cars stopped at the intersection on the road where we should be racing, there are road barricades placed everywhere. OK where do I go? Well lucky for me I picked the correct path while I leave mass confusion behind.
The break of 3 successfully stayed away I get over the finish line some 3 seconds ahead of the rest of the bunch in forth position. Congratulations Matt Ryan on the stage win.

The VOC in QLD

The “Voice of Cycling” Luke Lucas was working hard at the recent QSM event the Tour De Tweed or otherwise known as the Battle on the Boarder.


Luke is well known in QLD among cycling and triathlon individuals & clubs, he has called many one day and tour events. He has a very good ability to keep any event interesting to watch and entertaining even for those who maybe attending an event for the first time. Because he has been around the QLD scene for so long he knows a great many of the participants by name, which also keeps it professional and personalised.


ps     Good Luck in your upcoming Gold Coast Half Marathon

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

BOTB . Stage 2

A few hours pass and we head off to marshalling for stage 2. I think I had a sleep while we waited for the race briefing......Blah... Blah ...Blah ... Something......


---- At this point I needed to wake up real quick... So once again I turn to my trusty SIS Energy Gel.....one of these and I'm good to go.


 This would probably be a defining stage it was only 110kms long but approx 1450mtrs of climbing. The course was one that envolved some bumpy, pot hole peppered dead roads and a range to traverse that as a "sprinter" I was extremely weary of.

The race was underway and Chris Millen our team owner and respected racer amoung his peers attacked from the gun. This was perfect he took another rider with him and got away thru some bends and over a few small rolling hills. Very quickly he was away and out of site. This year the course was slightly different from last so in 2011 with only about 7km of the race completed we tackle Barringbar Range for the 1st of 6 climbs.With our man up the road Lucas sat in front and controlled the pace perfectly so there are no attacks from other teams. The decent was a little wet and slippery so we all took our time to keep it safe, while Chris's lead extended with each pedal stroke. The race is moving along then we are all passed by Elite A grade. Somebody yells out "Chris was sent the wrong way by the commissaires". Well that's just ridiculous...... I once again suck on a water bottle containing SIS GO Electrolytes and gather my thoughts.... The result was not pleasent for the rest of the peloton... Angry Tim came out and attacked the feild making opposing teams work to chase me down. I'm bought back just at the base of the climb again by Dave Croswell, I'm very well aware of his climbing ability and decide to sit on his wheel, then from nowhere Matt Ryan rolls up behind me, this is a good thing, 2 on 1.... Nice. I said to Matty "ok go" thinking that Dave would follow, Matty says "no not yet I just bridged across" " ok I'll hit him then".  Dave sat on my wheel and thats to be expected from anyone in his situation he was just sitting there waiting to drop the hammer however I pulled off to the side making him come around me... now I'm back in control, the KOM is visible at the crest of the range with about 150 mtrs to go I step out from behind to shoot past him and secure the first lot of points available. At that point I turned up the pace and rode solo for probably the next 10kms just to be bought back once again by the persistent pursuing bunch. Feeling like I need a boost I'm back tomy pocket for yet another tasty SIS Gel.Now after turning at the far end of the loop we're heading back towards the range over a few nasty pinching hills. Peter Roper from Gold Coast club starts an attack and I went with him. We keep pushing hard to the KOM where I once again claim the points and extend my lead a bit further. Roper and I continue off on our own extending our lead to over 3 mins at one point,  just chipping away, tempo the climbs, hit the the decents and solid on any flat road. By now I've consumed all the SIS GO Gels I had with me. Coming up to the KOM for last time we are both tiring but this time Roper just had slightly better legs than I, he claimed the KOM and continued on to win the stage by approx 20 secs.

So by end of stage 2 I finished 2nd on GC and leading the KOM classification.

                                  

BOTB ... Stage 1

Well we were off to the Shire of the Tweed this weekend for the annual QSM Tour de Tweed or also known as Battle on the Boarder aka BOTB.

During the tour I was staying at Peppers Salt Resort & Spa rooming with Matt Ryan another of my team mates. We were up early and as expected it was cold and wet, we scull our espresso and scoff our breakfast, pack the final bits into the car, meet the rest of Team Mainline and then head off to the start of stage 1 a 5.5km time trial. The weather was still dubious and we managed to find shelter under a local store roof. After warming up on rollers it was off to the start line.

Beep beep beep and it's on. Typically a standard time trial is all about putting oneself thru as much pain on a bike for as long as you can in measured process but I think the short distance of only 5.5km really caught me a little by surprise. It was pretty much over before I realized .Did I hurt enough to win the stage?                     
                                             


 I finished 2nd to my team mate Andy Pattern. He pulled out a great result some 4secs clear of me. Congrats Andy...... At the end of stage 1 Team Mainline had 5 placed in the top 10........ This was an awesome result and meant the stages to follow would be hotly contested.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Belgium Bound....

Although the world championships are still 4 months away, there are points along the journey that one gets a little excited about.Today was one of those.

Flights to Belgium are booked and paid for......... Thanks Flight Centre


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

It's what we do........

All to often as riders we're asked "What's the attraction to riding your bike?"
      It's not the extremely early start to the day!
      It's not battling the sometimes undesirable weather!
      It's not putting yourself through such grueling training regimes that your on the verge of collapse!
      Its not the fact you get time away from work and family!!!!!!! Honest its not.
      Its not squeezing onto a tight, bright and bold Lycra uniform! - Although today I saw the new "crankstar" kit in the flesh and it did look resplendid and I noticed Adrian Booth with a few of  his athletes and the new "BoomTime" strip looking very sharp.
   
So what's the lure, why the attraction? Well for me it's the people and the coffee!!!!!


                                                  

    Today I met up with Chris, Matty and Gerbs and we cruised around the picturesque Brisbane river. The route is ridden so often by local riders that after a while its like your bike is on rails and you automatically turn up at your local coffee stop.Most the time we hang out at "Denim Cafe" in Little Stanley Street at South bank......
                     This is why we ride, we order coffee and chat about the recent racing events, we order another coffee, we discuss the latest pro cycling results, chat about world events and how they impact on our training schedules, we order another coffee, we chat about the latest and the greatest gadgets to pimp out our bikes and then we figure its time to stroll off home or worse yet work.

Then on the way home... about 500mtrs up the road wow another bunch of guys and girls, doing exactly the same thing.... so what am I to do? It's obvious, I stop for a brew, shoot the breeze for a while, catch up with some blokes we just smoked on the track the day before and share some more time with friends and yip more coffee.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Mainline Mauling at ANZAC 25

Some of us started the day with a brew in the city prior to heading out to the race today.(Coffee for those who are unaware is the life blood of cyclists) so after a brief pondering of what is ahead we trundle out to Lakeside Raceway where Hamilton Pine River Wheelers hold an annual criterium style event known as the ANZAC 25. - Once again they did an excellent job of organisation and our thanks goes out to all the volunteers that make such events possible.

We turn up to registration, sign on and put on our race numbers, before long its time to marshall up and get our race briefing from the official commissaries - which is basically a time for the riders to start the verbal banter between teams about how the race will progress.

My objective today,sit in, do nothing, wait for the sprint at the finish.Sounds easy you think.......Well the race started  and nobody was doing much so I thought I would liven it up somewhat. Off the front I go, the intention is that the opposing teams will tire over time as they work to bring you back.Well that little burst was brief as I sat up and was caught by the peloton. Matt and I managed to get away for sometime and during this the prime or sprint lap was upon us the peloton was coming but not fast enough Matt and I kept working and we just rolled accross for some easy money. Not long after we were bought back, I wasn't happy so I instantly stepped off the front solo again for another 1/2 lap effort only to get chased down once more.It was about now that I demolished a SIS Go Energy Gel, this would safely see me thru to the end of the race.There were a few attempts at different times that included Team Mainline members including Chris, Andy and  Gerbs, but not all participants were working well togther and as such these too were chased down by the peloton.

Riders of note today for Mainlne were Stu, Chris, Andy Pattern,and Andrew Gerber as other teams tried desperately to establish breaks these hard men sat on each and every wheel needed,meaning  Mainline was represented in any of the moves covering any dangerous action.

The 2 lap to go sign was presented and the teams started to get ready, lines of riders getting prepared with sprinters spickled amoung the bunch looking for the best wheel and line to follow.Approching the last lap and Gerbs came up beside me sitting about 6th wheel, " When do you want to go?". My reponse was "Just give me your wheel and I'll direct you thru the final lap".We sat at the front but not on the front watchful and attentive to any little movement that looked dangerous. I just sat behind Gerbs barking out "YES" , " NO" , "SIT" then the final approach and hill came, Dave Croswell from Data3 Racing hit the hill at pace trying to gap us, but that was not going to happen.The final bend and Gerbs swings out around Dave, dropped into the 54/11 and started driving for the line, I was sitting on his wheel and Matty was behind me, it was then a matter of timing the jump to the line.Gerbs executed his leadout perfectly then Matty and I split one each side of Gerbs and fought off the pursuing bunch.  

Sub-Core carbon wheel technology was certainly the wheel of choice today as Matt Ryan hit the line first and I came second.



Sunday, 24 April 2011

Perth UCI Championship Qualifier

With all the recent training completed (thanks to crankstar coaching) it was time to head off to Perth for the first of the newly formed UCI Masters qualifying rounds.
       We arrived at Perth domestic airport and were met by some friends that would spend the week with us.Well as we all know airport and airplane coffee is not counted as coffee to the purest so it's straight to the CBD to find a good brew.
       After a good nights sleep I was off to spin around the course that would have excess of 400 riders engulf it on the coming Saturday.The course was just around the corner from our accommodation and was set in and around the glorious "Kings Park".My initial thought was "ppfffft I got this course covered". Well that was until I returned to our apartment to find I had only been riding half of the full course.So with map in hand I went back and then rode a complete lap........ Ok this was not such a walk in the park after all.
      Race day rolled around and it as the sun came up so did the wind. We were the first to attack the course for the day and we started on time at 7.30am, the first lap was all rather gentle and the bunch was comfortable and stayed together until we came around to the climb again at the start for the second lap.It was here that two broke off the front and found themselves with a gap of about 400mtr very quickly, I was thought "Ok better get on this" so I started to drive the front of the bunch only to have them all sit on me.So I dropped to the 54/15 stood up and stepped off the front to bridge across to the leading 2 riders.We kept working together for next 40ish k's and extended our lead to over 2 minutes, we started to tire as the climbs and the relentless head wind began to take its toll.
                                                                  
video
It was just after this climb we had 6 others come across to us. As the group was now of decent size and there were 2 teams in it that both had numbers I backed off to recover as often as possible.We kept
rotating turns and checking off the laps.The relief was obvious when we heard the bell signifying the final lap, although this would also mean as expected they would smack it up the climb, and they did.I got tailed just off the back probably about 400 or 500 mtrs by the time I crested the climb. I had to get
straight back into TT mode and bridge the gap again .As I did this I picked up the others that also fell off the leading three that were together at the front of the race,not wanting to take them across with me meant one thing,drop into some big gears, chuck it in the gutter and drive as hard as I could. This worked and I bridged across on my own. A couple more climbs and descent's and the last stretch of block head wind, then came the finish.Sadly as I stood up to sprint for the line both my quads cramped solid and wouldn't move, I managed to roll across the line in 3rd.