Thursday, July 29, 2010

Civilian Casualties.

I used to want to be a road racer. It's true. When McNabb and Nath were trying to convince me to come down and try track racing, I told them no, I wanted to concentrate on the road. But eventually they suckered me in, and I kinda got addicted. Even with this addiction, however, I still remember being really freaking excited about the beginning of last year's road season. It took about two months for that excitement to wear off. The road was just too hard - I was getting dropped, getting cold and wet and sick, getting pissed off. It was obvious: I was a track rider. More than that - I was a sprinter. And when I first signed up with Rick, that's what I told him.

So I wasn't heaps happy when, after coming back from my break, I received my new program. Road racing. Every weekend. But I'm a willing pupil, and generally do what I'm told. I signed up for B grade and hoped I'd be able to hold on. I couldn't.

A few weeks went by. I did a mountain bike race, some crits, a lot of long hard ergo sessions on the wind trainer. In an attempt to actually find a road race each weekend I drove all over the place. I lost a lot of weight. The hills started getting easier and I started to learn how to suffer. And in some handicap held outside of Geelong I ended up on the podium. The next week, back with the Northern Combine, I made the top ten in another handicap. More results came in, I got bumped up to A grade, and I started thinking differently. I started thinking that maybe I could do this after all.

Of course, that led to choices, and lots of umming and ahhing. Some decisions don't come easy. I think I even lost a little sleep. Which I could've avoided had I just spoken to Rick straightaway. Aside from the Tour of Bright, Road season here seems to peter out around October, and he was all set to have me race road until at least then. And when I suggested that maybe I'd be better off as an endurance rider on the track, he fairly jumped at the proposal.

So now it's all settled. Road til October, perhaps culminating in the Melbourne to Warnambool. Then a couple of months of solid training on the track before the Christmas Carnivals - perhaps the Tasmanian versions. If you need me, you know where I'll be.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is It In Me?

I also gave up coffee. I've done this before - through the early 2000s I didn't have any coffee at all, until the need to stay awake through the night in a Coca-Cola free Cuba broke the edge - and so didn't think it would be too much of a big deal. But holy crap, those first few days were rough. It's no decision to go legal drug free, so I smashed a few Panadols in that time, let me tell you. Now that I've come through I'm pretty happy with my decision. I'm feeling a lot fresher, and don't doubt that having less caffeine in my system has resulted in a greater absorption of iron. At the same time, the intense pendulum swings of mood that define the coffee high - and its consequent low - have been mellowed out considerably, so I'm a much smoother customer these days. Smoothness doesn't lead to much late night frenetic blog posting though. Sorry about that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Gotta Go, I Gotta Go.

I don't know if I've posted this clip before. If I haven't, I should have. Now that I've seen it, whenever I'm chasing someone down, be it on the road, or in a crit, or on the track, I get this voice in my head. That's not something I need to keep to myself. I want that voice to be in your head too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Negative Vibe.

Hey, road racing isn't so bad after all. If it wasn't for some typical tardiness, I'd probably be tackling this this weekend. I know, I know. Road Opens. What the hell am I thinking? Well, sit down and let me tell you.

I scored a 7th place in this handicap race the other day. I figured it was probably an anomaly, that I was only able to hold on due to scratch coming past us, then sitting up. Nonetheless, the handicapper bumped me up to B grade. And on a fucking shitty as hell day last Saturday I was able to eke out a 2nd place. The handicapper called me as I was on the way home, asking for a race report. When I informed him of the results, he decided to bump me up to A grade. I told him to fuck off. Only time will tell what he does, but he's a pretty stubborn bloke at the best of times, so I expect to be riding against some pretty serious competition come the next Northern Combine scratch race.

When I finally made it to A grade on the track I made a couple of decisions. I'd finally purchase my own track bike, and I'd start entering Opens. And now the same should probably occur for racing the road. I've been searching on the internet all week for a new road bike - my current whip is a 90s steel Serotta with a front derailleur that keeps bending and leaving me stuck in the big ring. And now it's my job to start testing myself against some more intense competition. So, there's a road Open in Bendigo coming up, and another one in Shepparton in a month or so. Better to be a small fish in a big pond. Or, perhaps more accurately, it's better to play bass for Springsteen at Madison Square Gardens than pretend to be Springsteen in the cover band rocking out at the Croxton next weekend.

Fuck I love Springsteen.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Potholes In My Lawn.

This is one of the most brutal self-assessments I've seen. This kind of honesty is rare in any sport, let alone cycling, where braggadocio and self-promotion are as important as race results. Neil neglects to mention in this post that as well as being fucking strong, he shreds like Enron on the singletrack. Singlespeed worlds are waiting for you, brother.