Saturday, December 31, 2011

pay dirt

Been making an effort to get my wheels back to the dirt, and strangely enough it is not much of an effort.  In fact, it is completely full of awesome.  Three hours flew by largely due to the excellent company.

The Koiled Dirt Krew were pretty much all present and accounted for, however it appears Miff didn't get the wheel size memo. As I looked through the pics from the morning it occurred to me there are some CRAZY BLINGING NICE bikes in our bunch.

Jim was so awed by the line up of bikes that he was to forced to stop and adjust is sock height.  In fact he got to spend the morning on a Santa Cruz Tallboy loaner from TR.  Who gets a TALLBOY LOANER!!!! (unless you are Prof in Sedona....another story.)....

 Nick opted for hardman status and left the Form Ti HT and gears at home, schlepping it on his SS Niner.

 Truck wheeled out his beautiful steel Blacksheep SS 29er.... man that is one nice looking bike.  Note the perfection in grip to paint job matching, 

Not to be outdone, TR rolled his blinged out custom BlackSheep 29er HT - pretty similiar to the highlight for those up on their Blacksheeps.

I got to roll my new 2012 racing wheels - my koiled carbon HT 29er, tricked out with Industry Nine custom pink wheels. Careful matching to my Santa Cruz from a geo point of view meant she was pretty much point and shoot out of the box.  Stupid light, manouevrable, and slick looking.  This bike is going to be fun.  I think I will name her the 'hell bitch'.
Never one to shy away from Pink, Shan rolled his Koiled 29er too.
These were to be our Mawson bikes ...and who knows maybe one day they still will be.  The race cancellation still cuts me deep!!!

 Miff rolled to the beat of her own drum with her Santa Cruz superlight baby. 
I guess we can let her sneak into this 29er heavy crowd because it is a blinging Santa Cruz, and because we love her crazy ways.

Till next time.....   Ride what ya brung!!!!!

* thanks to Miff for the insanely fine mobile phone photography.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

making plans

My morning rolls have been consumed with thinking, planning and promising.

2012 will see the return of the 24hour solo MTB worlds.  After some deliberation I have decided I am willing to go round again.  After a year spent largely on the roadie due to MTB race cancellations and no 24hr worlds it appears I have some serious work to do to regain my MTB licence-to-race.   I might be rolling my roadie faster than ever but the price is that my dirt action is rusty as hell!
So it is time to go back to basics.  Each time I come back and work hard, I think I do get better than I was the previous season.  I know that I still have a lot to learn which is both exhausting and hopeful.  The best thing about having a lot to learn means there are still significant chunks of time on the table that can be stolen through hard earned improvement.  I don't think I am at that elite style ceiling common in many sports, when you have nailed your skills, got as fit as you can be and you are looking for that tiny, tiny improvement that often takes mammoth effort. So that is cool, and it is motivating.

As always, there is a core bunch willing to rock up to my place and roll with me no matter what. They put up with it all, and while I suspect my awesome husbands cooking has something to do with that I will give them the benefit of the doubt. These guys are a massive part of my strength to get up and get stuck in.  At the risk of sounding, well, like a chick ..... love you guys, couldn't do it without you, in fact I probably wouldn't want to!  Ok, enough of that....

The road ahead looks....... like dirt!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toowoomba Be Better Psychology Criterium

Toowoomba recently invested in a fantasic cycling facility - a purpose built 1.7km criterium track, with club house and full facilities.  What a top notch course it is, and a great change up from the few flat courses I have experienced locally in Brisbane.

After a reasonable training week, including rediscovering coot-tha, racing a club crit stupidly the day before, and staying out late for the Club Presentations night I was more than a little cooked going into the Crit.  Still a few sessions of legs in the pool, eating anything I could find and committing some serious fashion crimes by 24 x7 compression gear I was recovered enough to head for Toowoomba and atleast join in.

The new CQ registered Koiled / UQ kit was order of the day, and we certainly stood out in the bunch.  It was nice, safe racing though we did seem to lose a few from the bunch as the race progressed and people were shelled on the hills.

Despite my reservations it turned out to be my day with a course that probably suited me the most out of our Koiled team.  With three climbs and an uphill sprint into the line, there were plenty of pain faces on display.

I had a dig at the Prime, just as a measuring stick for the finish...... I discovered it is significantly harder to recover even hiding in the bunch on that hilly little course.  How Shannon rode a 3/4 lap solo attack for the prime and didn't die I will never know.  He would have been in the hurt box for sure, but I am starting to suspect that might be his home address.....

Managed to get back out of the red zone in time for the finish.  Katrin had tried hard to get herself into the break, and I made sure I stayed up where I could go if it looked like she might do it.  Then I think time had run out and she rolled back. I knew the girls were sitting on me so I backed off to see what was what.  Katrin came around and attacked hard on a hill.  Good hill legs there!  Coming up the final turn she went hard again on the small hill and gapped me.  I could see her starting her sprint and she had a reasonable gap. Never know, if you don't go - so I did. I managed to peg her back and came over her for the line.  Great racing!

All in all a good day out for Koiled.

Next up HPRW twilights....

Monday, November 28, 2011

fortune favours the brave

After a fairly heinous road crash I can tell you getting on the road bike again is tough. 

And getting on it to rub shoulders with the usual suspects in a crit is even tougher.  The skin heals, bruises fade and the stiffness and pain subside.  But you have to fix your head.  In a sport where a moment hesitation means you missed the opportunity, and being afraid means you can't hang in there is no room for fear.

So I told fear to get gone the best way I knew how.  I got on my bike, I paid my money and I raced HPRW.

I stayed upright, I had support from my koiled team mates and somewhere in there I rolled to my best ever result in the presence of some good competition (Donna, Nik and Jemma).

I guess I am choosing to believe fortune favours the brave.
Ride on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A brief intermission

My day job requires that I travel from time to time - and although this does play havoc with regular bike training, I like my job. 

This time round I was off to the USA, to visit Houston and Seattle.  As it were I was still busy regrowing skin so I guess, apart from the discomfort of flying with pieces missing - it was probably a good time to go!   You certainly cant miss it when you land here - LAX loves a flag.
The first few days were a blur - into Houston late, full day workshop the next day. 

Our office in Houston had a couple of very cool things - including this.... a treadmill office. 

Puts new meaning into being trapped on the treadmill of work!  I want the ERGO version but I cannot imagine the Australian OH&S concerns allowing it.  

I often eat what the locals eat as the food of a place to me is an essential element for culture immersion.  This time around I got to try a Texas specialty - a 'chicken fried steak'.

WTF if a chicken fried steak? Well it has no chicken.  It is fried, and it is steak.   The chicken part comes from the KFC type batter that surrounds the steak.  mind boggling. 


 Then at day's end Houston was disapearing behind me and I was heading north, to Seattle where a 4 day intensive with the best and brightest Dream Team awaited me. 

 Seattle (home of MAD FIBER!) was a cool city.  One of our UQCC girls, Devon - calls it home and offered to hook me up with some riding.  

Unfortunately taking a bike for this whirlwind trip was not an option.  And based on the locals behaviour detailed in the local street press - maybe I am glad.  I don't want to see a Raccoon on a Koiled.

So I settled for a bit of the dreaded gym work when I could fit it in.  And if not, no matter.  I prioritised getting home without some kind of upper respiratory infection from pushing too hard. 

And it worked!!!!!  I have to figure a week of little training sets me back less than an illness.

Top of the list for Seattle's cool things were Ryan's new electric car.

Goes well, just don't use the heater on a long drive.  Nuff said!

Ryan sorted my shoppping - he took me to REI headquarters where I picked up a bunch of stuff.
Then onto 'Seattles best bike shop' (allegedly) - Gregg's Cycles - where I added a new saddle to my luggage for about 50% of the shelf price here.  

This week, back to training - ouch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vault Crit

TR, Shan and I lined up for the Vault Crit on the weekend.  With big money and a very mixed grade it was always going to have some hairy moments.  But definitely a little more than we bargained for.  I felt good going in.  The day before we'd had a good, fast crit with a practiced finish that gave 1st and 2nd.  Nick and TR also took 5th and 7th - 4 in top 7 is definitely approaching the KOILED TRAIN. Anyways, race day and I had warmed up, bike was dialled, and I was ready.

* photo by Anthony Hartley

I was aiming to sit in and see what's what before working my way up towards the pointy end for the finish.  With my current sprint I was hoping not too many would be getting away from me.  Working your way anywhere in the chaotic mess was tough.  I watched people shelled off the track every lap on the chicanes as some straight lined it and some followed the curves.  Inside was no good - you'd be off the track.  Middle was no good, you were getting squeezed.  Outside - ok for one corner, but it became inside on the next bend, see first comment.  Coming into the last few laps I forced my way up.  Last lap, the pace was high and suddenly fore runners became mid pack as everyone tried to push forward.  Two bars hooked next to me (on a straight piece of track no less) and a loss of control, they then claimed me and another rider.  I have to have a laugh at all those MAMILS who are quick to blame women riders or young riders (insert 'anyone but us' riders) for being at fault.  Clearly none of them saw the incident.  I suppose they should get rid of all the women and young riders from the TDF.  That would solve the crashes.... oh, wait a minute.....

* photo by Morbo

In the 10 years I have owned a roadie I have never managed to crash it.  First time for everything, and it now occurs to me that if you are midpack you are a passenger.  I can tell you 53km to 0km is not enjoyable and neither is large amounts of road rash.  Be at the front or the back I think.

 There were three crashes in the last lap, or so I hear.  Hope all involved heal quick and are back rolling soon.
Thanks to all who contacted me to check in!  Greatly appreciated, and yes was back on the trainer on Monday, and out and about on Tuesday ( I was not crying I had something in my eye).

One the plus side the koiled Ti bike and Mad Fibers were definitely generating some interest for Shan.  Look forward to them arriving, head to the koiled site if you have enquiries.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Capping off a pretty good year ....

I have had a couple of major disappointments this year, the cancellation of mawson, the failure of 24hours of adrenalin to sort out a world champs, and a poorly timed and fairly severe lung illness ending up my local 24 hours and metros.  Ever in the search for improvement, these things are top of mind when I review the year.

But if I slow down and look at the things that DID work out - wow, there are actually quite a few.  On the road I tallied up a bunch of club stuff - wins for the coot-tha TT, the triple crown, the world cup... and a bunch of open stuff - a win at the State Road Champs, a bronze at the State TTT, a win at the Charles Coin road race. Racing with Uni at Crits has been awesome; we got the HPRW teams race, and almost had a clean sweep at the crit for the HRPW ladies series.

Then onto the main game, my mountain bike enduros - a win at the 4hr, the 6hr and the 8hr.  Still managed points at the 24hr (5th maybe) and therefore overall Superseries winner.  Silver at LunarC.  An elite win (my first) at Epic in the Merida Pursuit. Most of these were in terrible conditions, which is where I like to think I come into my own.

I guess this year the last few years of hard work are coming together.  Learning skills, gaining fitness, and sorting out my bikes are all part of it.  My move to Koiled has been so good for me, and I am certain my bikes have contributed to my improvement this year. Not a single mechanical.  Not even a flat (touch wood!!!!).  Sorting out access to eLoad has also been a big part as I can now exclusively race on it - best fuel.  And I guess there is just hard work.

Now in addition, it appears I made the finalist nominations for Cyclist of the Year (Masters Road) for Cycling Queensland.  Unexpected, and a nice way to end the year.

Headed to the Vault Crit, and also might be time to solo the Matrix 6hr. 
On that note, time to get out of bed and ride!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'll try anything once!

I've been up to a fair bit of random lately!

Firstly, I have been convinced by the evil track star (Stef) I keep road company with to do some track so she can make up some team thing for some team race at some point.  I went out to see a velodrome for the first time, and had my first attempt at riding completely fixed.  Somewhat daunting, but it didn't take too many laps with Miff before I sorted myself out.

"hey Miff, two mountain bikers walk into a velodrome......"

Starts weren't hard from a balance, falling over point of view - which is what I had been concerned about. However they were hard from a STRENGTH point of view (and I am not telling what wussy ratio I was riding either!).  I now understand trackies love affair with all things weight lifting. 

Trying a start - 10 seconds after they said 'GO' I was still there trying to turn over the first rev.
Seeing as though I could start and stop (ish) it was time to step it up and get on the motorpacing.  Several hours and an individual pursuit later I was smashed to pieces and ready for a good lie down.  Track is hard.

The Scott24 Hour was held, and I swapped up the usual sufferfest solo for a fun team.  The Nightlightning crew were headed down, and had a slot for Shannon and myself.  Although numbers were down, and the weather somewhat off CORC turned on the usual great event.  Showers, good food, great photographers and the track that is unbeatable.

Perhaps predictably the gods of mountain biking took their road riding payment in the only currency they trade - blood.  A crash on my first lap reminded me to settle down and remember how to ride my mountain bike before suffering a serious penalty for failure.

payment to the gods of mountain biking made!
It was a very weird experience spending that much of a 24hour race in a sleeping bag!  When the dawn came we had ridden ourselves up onto the podium and were getting in our best laps to finish it off.  I got in my fastest of the race, breaking 40 minutes - which is a big deal for a skill-less wonder like me.  Maybe I haven't dropped as much endurance as I thought?

Happy Nightlightnings on the Podium.
Up next.... no idea.... ?  Suggestions?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TTT State Championship - Go Uni!

A couple of weeks ago we agreed that a trackie, a newbie, and a couple of mountain bikers would take on the Team Time Trial in a Uni Cycling Club team - the UniTTTs.  This was my first TTT and also my step up to taking on the Elite class for road.  Uni managed to field two full womens teams in Elite.  We are seriously getting our girl power on and I think it has been noted.

The TTT is a brutal event.  It takes courage, is technical and requires a togetherness in the riders to get the best out of the four.  It requires you to be on the rivet from the very start.  You need to be able to roll turns and hold wheels with no brakes in sight.  You need to be able to do a standing start, and you need to be able to perform a hairpin in formation.  It was a lot to pack into 3 weeks, which worked out to approximately 4 rolls with the complete team. Luckily we had the resident trackie coach Jacko spare some time for us for the technical stuff, and as always Coach Cupcake had largely taken care of the conditioning.

Jaman,  our super organised team manager, sorts through the paperwork.  I enjoyed being looked after.  Thank you!

The Newbie: Anne (Buffy) has only been riding for approximately 12 months.  She does have some previous sporting type experience from running and it shows in her engine.  She has great endurance and is a little workhorse for the UniTTTs. I admire her for not saying much and just getting the job done. If only we could stretch her to provide a better draft ! ;) 
Anne - great engine, terrible draft.
The Trackie: Stef is our resident track sprinter who was nuts enough to sign up for a 40km TT.  The girl can hurt and has a heart the size of something really enormous. She is completely insane and suffers from angry tourettes on race day but we put that down to her being a trackie. Luckily we think that is funny and not frightening. She entered claiming to be our puncture insurance, and was making sneaky plans to not have to ride the full distance.  I admire her for her courage.  Here she is taking them on in China.  Go Stef GO!!! (only 39.5km left).

Dirt Girl #1:
Mifflin is a fellow dirt lover, and really is the instigator of the team.  She is a TT specialist and is a generous spirit. She has taught me plenty as I have come into the road world around approaching races, who's who, and preparation.  She has had a rough year after a shoulder reconstruction and illness, and I really hoped that we could pull it out of the fire for her in this event because that would be nice.  I admire her for ability to make those around her feel good and do well, and for finding her way through a pretty crappy year!  And her taste in japanese restaurants.

Dirt Girl #2: That's me of course.  And if you are reading this blog entry, you probably know enough about me already!

First order of the day was to put our bikes together.  I proudly rode my ancient TRIATHLON bike.
After sorting out our gear and setting up our home base the time flew.  It wasn't that long before we found ourselves on the wind trainers and warming up.  I have often felt scared to warm up with any intensity, worrying that for my main enduros warming up might burn precious reserves.  This year, I have felt free of peformance pressure and been willing to test things out.  The warm up written by Coach Cuppers worked a treat.  The vibe in the tent as the four of us warmed up was pretty intense.  I could feel each one of us locking on and finding the race place as we began the 'doing' and left the waiting behind.  I will remember that, it was really cool.

From there it was kit up, get to inspection, and then wait on the line for our start.  It was a nervous time.  My heart rate was sitting at 135 bpm standing still and I am sure the others were the same. 

The smiles are gone as we stare down the barrel of an hour of power.
We were clipped in.  No-one spoke.  There was deep breathing and bar slamming (re: trackie).  And then we were gone.

The ride itself did not go smoothly, do they ever? Buffy was off after having had a cold so unusually struggled early.  Mifflin suffered a mechanical that meant she was off her bike on the side of the road.  I made the call once I knew she was not just stopped but off her bike and we rode on.  It's now THREE ladies, LOCK IN WITH ME and let's get this done.  Sorry Stef but you are doing it! Meanwhile Mifflin rode like an animal to get back on, but wasn't to be.  She'd done her job, and mechs happen. It's why you have four.

The three left kept it together and rolled it in for our UniTTTs. The turn traffic warden awarded us 2nd best turn of the day as we rolled the hairpin u-turn for the second lap (that was after all the Elite Men had ridden mind you!). As we came up that final straight and final 200m Stef bolted for the line, and the key to her private hell hurt locker.  I geed up Buffy and bought her across the line with me. We hoped we might have made it onto the podium, but no-one said it. Turns out we had some new friends waiting for us.  Drug Testers - but that is a whole other blog in and of itself!

ASADA kindly let me out of the toilets while I was still waiting to pee in their jar, so I could collect our medal.

Happy Bronzed UniTTTs!

Buffy reckoned we were FLYING!

Note to self, trackies who are twice your size are seriously heavy.
Nothing is ever completely lost, if you refuse to give up xx