Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Cycling Australia TdF Team of the Century

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first participation by an Australian in the Tour de France, Cycling Australia has come up with a great idea - the Australian Tour de France 'Team of the Century'.

Don Kirkham and Iddo Munro were the first ever Australians to participate in Le Tour, way back in 1814.  Since then a further 48 Australians have also been a part of the great race. There are some amazing names in amongst these elite 50 riders.

Cycling Australia have set a panel of experts the task of naming a 9-man Tour de France team from these 50 riders.  But to further complicate - they have split the team into 6 separate roles to be filled!!

So here is my Australian Tour de France Team of the Century, as per the criteria laid out by Cycling Australia.

Two General Classification riders

You cannot overlook our only Tour de France winner for this role - so my first pick is Cadel Evans.  As the second overall rider, legendary Australian cyclist Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman, who raced twice in the late 1920's & early 1930's, would have to be in the team as well.

The great Oppy

Two Domestiques for the GC riders

This is possibly the hardest class of rider for me to pick.  I would lean towards Phil Anderson (who came 5th overall twice in the 1980's), along with Russell Mockridge (who raced in 1955, and was tragically killed before he could show off his huge potential).

Phil Anderson - so wrong but so right...!!

One Sprinter

This one is easy!! The greatest Australian Tour de France sprinter of all time has to be Robbie McEwen.  Twelve stage wins, and three green jersey classification victories, makes him the best choice for this role.

Cadel (l) and Robbie (r), after another Tour de France...

Two Leadout Men for the sprinter

Its somewhat ironic that Robbie McEwen is the sort of sprinter that really doesn't need any leadout men!  Nonetheless, he has the luxury of two domestiques to deliver him to the line.

Probably the best leadout man of the modern era is Mark Renshaw, so he is my first selection here.  The second selection is much harder, and there are probably half-a-dozen choices that could equally work - but I have to make a decision, and will go with Adam Hansen.

Adam Hansen climbing Alpe d'Huez, riding thru 'Dutch corner'...

One All-Rounder

A rider who can sneak stage wins in all-terrain. This is another easy choice from the modern generation of Australian cyclists - Simon Gerrans.  He can win stages in a sprint, or in all types of hilly terrain. A great wildcard in any team.


One Team Captain

A rider who can galvanize the team, who can draw them together to achieve a goal. And a rider who can lead by example in the mountains and the sprint train. For me, this has to be Michael Rogers.

After watching the way he marshalled his team in the documentary "Chasing Legends" (back when Rogers was racing for HTC-HighRoad), I can't go passed him as a team captain. Just as an aside - if you haven't seen the film, do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy!

'Dodger' leading the Tinkoff-Saxo train...


OK, so this isn't technically a category!!  But there were two riders who I really wanted to pick but couldn't find room for.  The first was Bradley McGee - a cycling legend who could ride in the mountains and leadout the sprints, or be team captain.  I loved watching him race.

The second is Baden Cooke.  An incredibly aggressive sprinter, who 'stole' a fourth green jersey from Robbbie McEwen in 2003.

So that's my team: Evans, Opperman, Anderson, Mockridge, McEwen, Renshaw, Hansen, Gerrans, and Rogers.  Very arguable in almost all selections!! I'm looking forward to sitting around with friends and arguing my selections over a few beers...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Plan - Phase 1

Its the first of November today, which also happens to be day 1 of 'The Plan'.  Its a long-term plan, with the goals I am working towards a good 14 months away - but you have to start somewhere...

The Overall Goal

What I want to do is get back to racing again. I really miss mixing it up on the bike in a speedy peloton. But what I don't want to do is to just jump back in and take up where I left off.

I've held a Cycling Australia racing licence for the last 10 years or so.  There is no getting around the fact that I have not been competitive in a race throughout that entire time.

Don't get me wrong - I have loved almost every minute of racing I've ever done. Whether I've been dropped in the first few minutes and ridden 95% of the race solo off the back, or wrung myself dry trying to just hold on and make it to the finish of a race, it has been a sensational experience and I wouldn't swap it for anything.

What I really want now though is to actually be someone who enters a race and is competitive. Someone who can mix it up near the front, and actually make some the racing. Someone who on the odd occasion even stands on the podium.  This would be a very new experience for me, and I want to make it happen.

So I've decided that the best way to be a competitive racer is (somewhat ironically) NOT to race in 2015...

The plan is to lay down a tonne of mileage and training time over the next 14 months, and focus exclusively on building myself up to be the best Masters racing cyclist I can be in 2016. Whether that's a competitive cyclist or not remains to be seen - but I'm going to give it my best shot and not die wondering!

Phase 1 begins

That brings up to Phase 1 of the plan, which covers the last 2 months of 2014 - November & December.  These two months are completely unstructured. It doesn't matter what sort of training or activities I do during this time.

What these two months are all about is time and consistency.  The plan is to log as many hours as I can, and to try and do something (no matter how brief) every day.

I can choose whatever activity I want, whatever I think I'll most enjoy on that particular day. It could be cycle-commuting, mountain-biking, a long road ride, running, swimming, weights in the gym, core strength work, or whatever else takes my fancy (or presents itself as an opportunity).

I have a rough goal of logging 50 hours of activity over the two months.  That isn't a hard & fast rule or anything, but just something to work towards...

Let's get to it!

I've already started, with a 1-hour run this morning around my local suburb.  I'm feeling excited, and looking forward to seeing how far I can take myself ability-wise over the next year or so.

I;m looking to sharing the journey with you all. See you out there!!