Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Race 1/2012 - Balmoral Club Criterium, Murarrie.

Finally back to racing for 2012!

Let's start with the finish - I made it to the end and didn't get dropped! I met my major goal for the race, and am very happy.  Final stats were - race length of 49min 50sec, at an average of 39.8km/h.

Now, back to the start...  Rolled up just before race start, paid my $10, and got my number.  Only about 25 in the race today - a relatively small field, probably due to the Bike Week Cup being held on the other side of town at the Nundah circuit.  Figured the race would be a bit faster with less places to hide than usual, but that was OK - I wanted to test how I was going.

First 15min was pretty hard. Plenty of accelerations as the peloton sorted itself out.  After that though, we settled down a bit. Pace was still high, but the variations weren't as great.  We sorted into a pretty steady two-line paceline - I was stuck three-quarters of the way back, but while the pace was steady, I wasn't too worried about being so far back.

At  30min, the whistle blew for the sprint prime lap.  I wasn't going for it, but worked hard to stay with the front so I wasn't dropped later if the bunch splintered.  I was happy to stay in touch, and even happier when the front sat up and waited for everyone to regroup, and we were all back together.

At this point, my legs were feeling really good. I was working very hard, but knew I was going to make it - a great feeling!

The three laps to go sign went up at about 39min, and from there mass disorganisation set in.  We caught B-grade, and it got pretty scrappy. We weren't neutralised, but had to sit up quite a few times as we caught the higher grade. In the end, just as we thought we'd get the bell lap, the commissaires gave us another 2 laps to go.

As we got the bell for the final lap, I managed to move up to the front third.  I worked to try and not lose position, and was pleased to hold on. We swung onto the final straight, and I sprinted hard with everyone else - but I really lacked any top-end sprint, and only reached 52.7km/h. I couldn't pass anyone, so crossed the line about mid-pack.

So - again, very happy with the result.  My legs are getting stronger and are handling the distance and pace, and I'll keep working on that before I worry about my finishing sprint.  A great confidence-builder...  :)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Bunch ride - Planet Cycles Saturday group

One of the things I've missed since my return to cycling last year has been bunch rides.  My old crew no longer cycle (or cycle at times I can't make it), so I've been riding solo except for the odd race.  For a while now, I've been keen to get back into a bunch and enjoy the ride with some others.

After a big work week, I was keen to knock out some good mileage on Saturday - so I scored the internet for some local bunch rides. I had a few options, and decided on hooking up with the shop ride organised by Planet Cycles.  They did a great job of fixing my rear wheel as well, so I thought I'd support their ride.

I rolled up at 6am outside their shop at Woolloongabba.  There was a good crowd of 30+ gathering, and the weather was cool with blue skies.  After a quick rider briefing by the ride leader (good to see!), we split into a fast & slow group.

The fast group had the Mainline Masters A racing team in it, so I decided the pace there would be way too hot for me.  I joined the unfairly named 'slow' group, which was still pretty pacy!

We ended up doing a 56km loop out through East Brisbane, Wynnum, Lota, Capalaba, Chandler, Carindale, and back to Woolloongabba.  The first three-quarters of the ride was a strong but steady pace. Plenty of chat amongst the bunch, and a great atmosphere.

The final quarter was when we hit the far eastern end of Old Cleveland Rd.  As per the rider briefing, this is where the pace picked up pretty hard, and it was everyone for themselves until we got back to the shop.  I did my best and worked harder than I had in a long time on the bike, but could only hold on for a few kilometres.  At one point, the 'fast' group blew past us after doing their longer loop - I felt like I was standing still!!  EVentually, I regrouped with four others, and we cruised back to the store.

Afterwards, we gathered at Brown Dog Cafe (100m from the shop) for a well-earned coffee and plenty of lively discussion.  The coffee here was fantastic, and some of the breakfasts I saw coming out looked delicious.  Those of us (not me!) that ordered food gave their verdict via appreciative murmurs as they ate their way through their brekkie.

I'll definitely be joining this bunch again. It's a well-organised group, with a clear ride leader and firm rules as to how to ride. Everyone was a competent rider, with no 'cowboy' antics putting anyone in danger. Its also a very friendly group, welcoming newcomers such as myself.

Final stats for the ride - 56km at an average of 30km/h  (which came down a lot after I finished up very easy in the last 5-10km).  If you add in my ride to & from the bunch, I racked up 72km for the morning, which I am very happy with!

If you are looking for a good Saturday group ride, the Planet Cycles bunch would be a great one to try.

Monday, 5 March 2012

February 2012 Review

Having a tough run of it with weather in 2012 - but first, to the stats for this month:

Mileage - 391km  (2012 total so far - 699km)
Weight - 82.5kg (down 2.5kg for the month!)

So February was a shorter month, meaning managing an increase in mileage was terrific.  I'm slowly getting up to where I want to be (500+ km/month) - I just need the 'stars to align' in terms of weather, illness and work.

February saw just over a week lost to weather, and a full week lost to a bad cold I had.  Putting that into perspective, my mileage total for only two effective weeks is really good! However, I need to stop having these 'relatively good' months, and put together a really strong month of heavy kilometres.

Hopefully March will see everything come together. Its been an inauspicious start, with a broken rear spoke leaving me without a rear wheel. On the upside, its also pouring rain - so maybe all the obstacles will be over and done with at the same time! Let's hope so.

The other great news is my weight-loss journey continues successfully. Another consistent month, and I'm down more than 5kg for the year! My goal of getting my weight below 80kg isn't far away, and I haven't felt like wavering at any time so far - it can't be far off now...

No major goal races this month, but the plan is to race in my club criteriums as often as possible. There is no substitute for hard racing kilometres, and I'm looking forward to how my legs handle it.  I'm also planning to join in some longer group rides this month - both with the club and some shop rides. This should set me up well for the longer road races I'm planning to hit later in the year.

I'm looking forward to getting my rear wheel back from Planet Cycles tomorrow afternoon, the skies clearing, and getting into a big March!