Monday, May 29, 2017

2015: A Pictorial Review

It's way overdue - but I am ready to write again because I am riding again.

I'll catch you up on my year, pictures are worth a thousand words - you'll get the drift.











Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 - Year of the Road Hog

This year sees a change for me away from dirt to road.  A combination of opportunities and long overdue personal travel plans have meant Scotland for WEMBO 2014 was not likely so I needed a goal.  Something hard.  Something new.

So I went out.  I got some sponsorship and created KoiledTineli.    Tineli joined forces with us and we have a bunch of awesome people pulled together.  A QRTS team and some A grade boys.  An Elite Womens team and a dev squad.  Hoping to do a couple of NRS rounds.  We've also kept a continuation of our Masters B mens squad.  A recent ride day below shows our guys hanging at crankhouse. 
 



Crankhouse Cyclery in Bardon looks after us, and makes great coffee - which we all know is the most important thing.  We take ourselves very seriously.



It also gave me the chance to design a new koiled kit, with a dragon.  Something I had been wanting to do, but never quite got it square. It's hard to follow our first kit - but I think we have done well.  Tinelis fabric and print quality was superb so our result is bling. 



As for now, I am getting back to what I am good at.  Training with a coach. Figuring out how to love the ergo on the weeks that it's all I have.  Leaving behind a year of racing on nothing but pain and gritted teeth, no training earned form but the same high expectations sending me towards disappointment every time.  People tell me 'you still had some awesome results' but it doesn't register.  You see winning is great, but for satisfaction I need to know I've done the best I am capable of.  And nothing in 2013 felt like it was my best.

So no more missing the fun social sessions I used to be able to do - bitch they be gonnnne!  Time to deal.  Make my own! No more complaining.  No more wishing.  No more excuses.  Just pedals.
Already got a weekly pain cave booked in with the girls.  Ohhhh yeah.

That's my 2014.

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

homework

The blog has been quiet of late!

That's because I've been moonlighting over at pedaltorque.
And riding my bike. Hard.



Want to see what I have been up to?

http://pedaltorque.com/how-to-be-hard-part-one/

http://pedaltorque.com/hard-part-two/


http://pedaltorque.com/even-lift/

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WEMBO - Singlespeeding at the 24hour solo world champs.

Many people asked me why I chose to singlespeed at the 2013 WEMBO24 Hour Solo World Champs and almost as many let me know they felt I should be racing elite.  Nice compliment.  I had my reasons.
Enroute to Canberra I pondered my entry choice.  SS24 solo.
This was my forth worlds.  I've raced elite.  I've raced age group.  I went up an age group this year.  Maybe I am in age denial - but I wanted to do something different. I knew there was tough competition.

This year has not been focused riding for me so I also knew I didn't have the form from previous years.  And yet - I knew I wanted to race and be part of the WEMBO patchwork.  Mostly I wanted to push myself, try something crazy.  Expand my capabilities as a cyclist.  Have another experience.

Well holy shit.  Singlespeeding for 24 hours is an "experience".

Here is how it went.
I arrived in Canberra on the Tuesday.  Plenty of time to settle in, sort out gear and pre-ride.  Bear had made good time driving down and met me at the airport - a welcome sight - no taxi!!!  Grateful!

The course was essentially the Scott red and blue lap and already well marked from the previous weekends racing so it wasn't hard.  I had only just got my race bikes built up a couple of weeks prior to the race - so this was some of the first real race pace riding.  Better late than never! Well ok, this is not the way to prepare but for me this year it's what I could manage so roll with it.


On the plus side the stable I had was primo!  The BOO (custom carbon and bamboo with a carbon lefty) got to meet Aussie trails - and handled them like a boss.  My Koiled Ti SimpleJack was so dialed in on the geometry stakes I now believe Shannon is one of the most underrated Bike Designers we have in our country.  That thing is so sweet.

SsimpleJack loving the rocks!
Pre-riding was fairly straight forward.  I knew the course, I've ridden it before.  For the first time I can say there was nothing I felt trepidation about riding - the general consensus is it was a pretty easy course technically.  Still plenty of places to hurt yourself if you lost concentration - but all in all a good start!  No pre-ride at Stromlo is complete without some selfies in the observatory. 


The burnout observatory on Stromlo - so cool, and yet a grim reminder.
Raring to go? My BOO was....
Prerides got done, food smashed, afternoon naps taken.  Got to meet and greet - highlight was getting to see Kelvin - a fellow employee who read a company newsletter and decided if I could, he could - and he did!!! You can read his story here Kelvins WEMBO story

Wasn't long until the rest of the crew rolled in.  Bear, who drove all my gear from Brisbane and back (!!!) was already in attendence.  He rides road with the Masters B crew and now has a bad case of singletrack-itis.  Ha hahahaa - there is no cure ! :)

Stef arrived straight from NSWIS training and managed to eat a whole pizza and two cheeseburgers on her drive- she is a promising track sprinting superstar who does pretty much the polar opposite to what I do on a bike.  Her legs are about as wide as my torso.  Shan also rolled in ready to take his place at the head of the pit team.  He is Koiled, and after Italy considered to be a mandatory part of my 24 hour recipe for success.

Shan spent hours making sure everything was perfect.
Stef needs to work on her killer face.  Far too smiley.
Mostly it was an awesome time with awesome people.  I know the job of support is a tough one.  It is straight up hard work and there is pressure to get it right and make the decisions for your rider.  It is also emotionally tough (understatement) to send your rider out time and again when they are broken.

Thank you.  My crew - you were awesome. Because of you I could race and have my experience.   I hope you got something out of what we did and you all deserve a little piece of the bronze medal! 

 Smashing the Luge Berms.  Fun at first, but hard to hold onto it later in the day!

 The race itself was a bit of a blur.  I rode through the first 10 hours without too many issues but after that I started to feel bad.  Really bad.  Weird bad. A new sort of deep fatigue that I find hard to describe - a new feeling of no energy.  I put it down to my lack of long rides and maybe my cheat fitness through strength training.  Had I changed the metabolic processes in my muscles?  Probably.  I think the majority of my riding was no longer than 2 - 3 hours.  I knew it wasn't enough and I'd have to pay - so I did.  It became clear somewhere in the evening - this was the hardest 24 hour I have ever done.

Top fashion points.  How good is the SUPACAZ tape? 
SS was brutal.  Hardtail was worse.  Every rock, rut and bump was microtearing my muscles and by about half way I hurt quite a lot in my everything.  Knicks and saddles that had been fine on a dually were definitely not fine on a hardtail.  But that's what 24hour riding is.  It is pain and punishment for a seemingly never-ending period and nothing but you and your will to endure.  It's called endurance for a reason.

Shannon and Bear prepping lights for the evening.
Most people won't realise that this was a huge ride for me.  Everything on nothing.  Checking out my strava history I'd been lucky to be getting in more than 100km a week this year.  About 25% of what I was riding on the previous year.  So taking into account I had effectively bought a water pistol to a gun fight, I am super proud of what I managed.  For the record, riding a 24hour solo on no fitness is stupid.

Dinner time - too smashed to eat and it was only 10pm(ish)

lonely midnight hours!

Western Wedgetail, fast and furious.  And rough.


Nearly done....

Pit Boss checking if I know what day it is... sure I do. IT'S RACE DAY.
So somewhere between 11 and 12pm on Sunday I rolled in and stepped off.  I finished behind the amazing Ms Frankie, and the awesome Bec Parkes.  Both these women have my utmost respect.  Having experienced an SS solo ride for myself I can certainly say I see these riders in a new light. 

So what is next?  Not sure.  Lots of road coming up with the Koiled Shebeasts and maybe I can hear bagpipes.  Too soon to say.  But I reckon I will be hearing them through the clicking of a derailleur should I choose to go!!!!  All those roots, shale and mud.... *shudder*

Everyone should take a minute to walk out to their geared duallys and tell them they love them.  I know I have.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

State Team Time Trial

I love this race.  It is so different to anything else you do on the road.   Often road is focused on who can make the best short lived allies but inevitably it comes down to everyone for themselves when the white line approaches.   Its a dynamic I struggle with.

The TTT is different.  It is about understanding the best machine that can be made out of the requisite team parts - and making the best effort you can with the riders you have bought together.  I enjoy it.

working together is the path to success - and doing it well take practice!

This year at the last minute I jumped into a team organized by fellow HPRWer Mel Symon.  I love Mel.  Her attitude to racing is top notch.  When everyone starts looking at each other in the bunch Mel will go - more often than not with parting words like 'Stuff it I'll go. I am not scared".... See what I mean?

Mel gathered together a good bunch, with Dyane Hannan and Donna Fyfe rounding out the four.  We managed one group practice before Donna got ill just days out from the race with tonsillitis.  Emma Moloney thankfully stepped in at the last minute allowing us to still race with four.


warming up with a red bull 
On race day we realized we had some tough competition from the GC Cats girls - so much experience with Helen, Sharon and Laurelea.  Race was on!



As we lined up in the midday sun it was hot - well over 30'.  Everyone went into their own quiet space thinking about whatever they think about on the start line.  For me I just breathe and say the count down.  I try not to think about anything other than the process of starting smoothly and not crashing on TT bars in close quarters.


We headed out and I followed Mels instruction to lead us out.  Not having practiced together it was difficult to know how our pacing would be relative to each other so we'd have to work it out on the road!

 

TTTs are hard on your pride.  Some days you grovel at the back and have to miss turns for the greater speed of the group.  Some days you get to ride at the front and provide strength for others - all the while watching their measure of suffering.

Mel realized in the first half the pace was slowing too much for her so called herself off and sent us up the road.  I noted when the Gold Coast girls passed us and counted the time to the turn around.  Off 6 minutes ahead - we needed about 3 mins to hit the turn and be on par.  It was almost that to the second - we were still in this.


Well - all I can say is I am very impressed with Dyane and Emma.  They definitely gave everything they had.  I couldn't have asked for more.  Dyane had just come back from a couple of weeks overseas holidaying in irish pubs and it is was her day to feel the pinch.  Emma seemed to get stronger on the way back and rolled great turns.  In reality we were messy and all over the road - but then we had never ridden together before race day. We didn't talk anywhere near enough - it is impossible to talk too MUCH in one of these things (why is this making me think of Sharyn Smith :) ) - and hearing with a TT helmet on is a black art! I constantly rode off the front like a horrible team mate and proceeded to get angrier and angrier with myself for letting the girls down... which unfortunately makes me ride faster!  We got the calls sorted in the second half and did this less.  This is where some practice time would have come in handy!   Still the point is to make the most of what you got and we did that.


Dyane completely buried herself, Emma was a beast, and Mel made a tough decision for our overall good - and while the gold coast girls ended up quicker - I couldn't be more pleased with being part of the silver team.  It should be noted Mel rode a massive ITT to finish solo just minutes behind us. Thanks ladies!



 
 


 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

State Masters Championships - QLD

They say the best training is racing, so I have been getting out and about racing where I can regardless of whether or not I think I can produce a result.  With WEMBO looming and a less than perfect preparation it seemed that entering in the back to back double of the State ITT Championship followed by the State Road Race Championship would be a good idea - for training.

So first up - the ITT.
I am not too bad at ITT's.  Generally speaking for my size I am probably punching above my weight.  Good TTers are usually powerhouses and generally a little bit bigger and stronger.  Still, ride what you brung - and these legs are all I got.

I had done a couple of TTs this season with HPRW club events, so it wasn't my first of the season.  Can't say I had done any TT training though so I knew my shoulders and body would complain from the TT position. It is such a specific thing it is hard to be comfortable and produce good power without practice - but I figured my body could just recall what I used to do in the triathlon glory days and get on with it.


looking fast.  the most important bit!


So I approached it as a training ride, and did it to the best of my ability.  I even managed some comedy on the start line - yelling out inside my 15 seconds count down "HEY TOGHILL - WATCH THIS" before monstering my start as best I could.  I might not be as fast as last year - but I haven't forgotten how TT.  Analysis says I spent 100% of my time at THRESHOLD. Can't ask more of myself than that.

I got to watch Cat Newell and Jess Toghill rip some great times too.  Need to find 40 seconds on Jess when we end up back together next year.  Good news is if I start actually training that shouldn't be too hard - I'm onto you Toghill!


 
 In the end it was good enough for the Gold medal in my masters cat - well outside my expectation!
As I left the ITT I was debating whether or not I would ride the next day....  
 
 
Morning rolled round I had more reasons to ride than not, so off I headed this time to Kalbar.  The day was hot and the course was apparently very lumpy.  Should suit me perhaps - though generally the view was it would be hard for anyone to stay away.

 
 As I warmed up I felt the dead resistance in my legs from TTing the day before.  My own fault.  I didn't warm down like I should have.  Still, race goal of racing to train was in my mind.  I warmed up, but not too the letter.  And the ache stayed there right up to the point we started.  Then something else took over.  It was that something that made me lead everyone out over the first 1km or so when I should really have been sucking wheels and protecting my perceived lack of preparation. Then I decided to roll to the back and take a look at who was who.  As I did this I noticed Cat Newell and another woman start to drop the next riders up a climb as they set a strong tempo.  Without realizing it, they rode a small gap of 20metres or so.... hmmm. Maybe that might be something.  I decided to have a go.  I wound it up from the back, and by the time people realized what I was doing I was already gone, bridged and rolled to the front asking Cat and Laurelea to hit it.  They did without question and we were away.  5km on a hot, windy and hard course I had started a break. 



What came next was pretty much a blur or red haze as we worked to stay away.   We put a good couple of minutes on the bunch by the end of lap one.  I looked at who I was with and knew if I could stay in the break I had my category won.  It was a big ask.  The hills themselves weren't too bad but I was redlining on the flats just to hold the wheel.  I really wanted to hang in and help Cat get over the other girl if I could so I worked with everything I had.



It was exciting to make a break that got clear, and even better to be in one that looked like it had a chance of staying away.  It takes time to learn where and how to do these things, and when they work it is a sense of achievement!



In the end, Laurelea was  too strong and rode away when she decided she wanted to.  Cat and I never gave up but at the same time we acknowledged she was simply too strong and we didn't have anything to answer with!  Cat wound up with silver in an AWESOME ride - a double silver state champs for her.


 
 
So a training weekend turned into a double state champ for me. Couldn't be happier really - and maybe the best performances do come when we take the pressure off ourselves. Definitely an idea that needs more exploring....
 
Enjoy the journey.

 
 
 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

HPRW Nicol Jackson Womens Series - Round Two ITT

 

Every year HPRW run a fantastic womens race series - and the TT round is my favourite.  They do an awesome job of attracting women, many of whom are first timers - they had 42 women this weekend!  Definitely doing something right.

Personally I was there to race for fitness and fun - and am mostly to get back and being part of it, and being me.  That said old habits die hard, and once on the start line I felt my usual routine kick in.  Concentrate on how to start.  Deep breaths to kill nerves. 



Starting in the first 10 riders - there was no-one to hold us for the start so it was a push off clip in hammer type affair.  Boo!  Much prefer being held when I have TT bars.   Last time I raced this course I did the full 33km - so today was a walk in the park with the 20km out and back in front of me! I love this course, plenty of hills and some rough road. It was a beautiful morning with a great turn out across the grades. A grade had some strong girls - Katrin, Jess, Jemma, Marianne and a good handful of international level triathletes out to try their hand.  Plenty of tough competition.  Now we are talking!



A smile? Clearly not going hard enough.
TTing is really about balancing on the redline - go as hard as you possibly can but don't explode.  It is a knife's edge.  Based on my data I am going to go ahead and claim the knife as my biatch - 99% threshold.  YEAH ! In the pocket!!!!



Hills hurt when you are already on threshold.
Completely unexpected - somehow I rode faster than last year when I was in peak form.  Maybe when we let go and enjoy the ride we get out of our own way?  Food for thought.

As an added bonus, I made it onto the A Grade podium 3rd behind Katrin and Jess. Mostly I loved seeing all my bike riding buddies, talking trash, racing hard and leaving having had a great time!