Sunday, June 29, 2014

Challenge GC ~ Scott Foil vs Plasma ~ I vote Penny Farthing

This weekend myself, Ew-Dog* and GB* went solo on a recon of the CGC course. Intending to start a 6'ish we were naturally late after Ew-Dog (without fail) sleeping in and GB dawdling at the start. So after an early morning bakery stop, toilet stop and rough guess at the course, it wasn't until 7AM that we headed off.

For a summary before I start, check out the official Challenge GC bike course below on this really cool 2m video.

All three of us were on road bikes. I had my Scott Foil Premium (11 speed compact with 12/27 range), GB and Ew-dog both ran standard chain rings with 12/25 on the rear.

Ew-dog was keen to go moderate from the start so I enjoyed the scenery from business class on the first "finger".  The first "finger" was exactly 20kms and was very uneventful. There was a slight natural uphill outbound with some mossy wet corners to note near the turn around. The turn around is at an Eden ..something wall sign.

We rode back much faster taking advantage of the slight downhill. There is one sharp curve around a U bend at perhaps 26km. Next is a left turn at the 30k mark. Then uphill toward the "pinch" which starts about 300m up the road. There is a lead-in hill that is similar to the bottom of Mt Gravatt which lasts about 150m (at 5%-8%) then a plateau before the pinch of 15-20% for about 80m before left and right turns where it pitches up a little more for another 50m or so. I managed to stay seated for the full length of the ride. Ew-Dog stood up and took off. It is not anymore difficult than perhaps Clear Mtn Road ~ if you head from E-x'ing road to Wynn Road direction. The decent from this side is safe.

Another 5-6km along (having passed through a round about) you will hit a T-intersection (at lights) then turn right. A couple more kms down the road there is a gradual hill (max grade 8%) followed by a sharp decent the other side (a little more fun on your way back in). The remainder of finger 2 (including the little thumb) was basically rolling hills. Continue on Finger 2. At the 49km mark take a left on Peitch Creek Road (may have the name wrong). After about 3km do a U-turn at the buss stop (just prior to the road significantly narrowing) and return to Finger 2. Turn left. Head out until 60km (basically it will be as far as you can go again before the road narrows. You will pass 2-3 narrow water courses. After this turn you return home (by-passing the little thumb).

The "pinch" from the other side is way easier as it is a series of inclines and flats. The decent is a little dangerous as you follow the switches at the top before the drop down the steep hill. Once you return to the T-intersection on the first finger turn left and return to the start (we started at the school pool).

This is unquestionably a TT course (so the Plasma wins ~ once the gears are fixed!) unless you are a beginner or out of condition in which case you may consider a road bike for comfort. For a challenge it would be fun to see your roll over in a penny farthing. We sore this guy driving around when we got back to our starting position. I am pretty sure he didn't do it but you never know.

We rode around moderately and finished in about 2hours 45ish. One thing we noticed was that we had pretty saw backs when we tried our 10m run off the bike.

The scenery was fantastic. Lots of rolling hills, sub tropical forest, water passes and rural properties. The roads are a little bumpy with some pot holes but mainly on the shoulder. On race day you will be able to take advantage of the main part of the road. We were all pretty impressed and look forward to having another go soon. For anyone interested here is my Strava. For Brisbane based guys one word "Brookfield".

Get out there have a go and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

*Nick names used to preserve privacy of campaigners (although known well to Red Dogs)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Winter Warmies..what to wear when cycling in winter

It appears winter is upon us. Temperatures in Brisbane dropped below 10 degrees Celsius last night. It is by no means "Jack Frost" type cold  but it does raise the question of what is the most appropriate quantity of winter warmies to be pulling on without looking too delicate.

I have come up with this scale (temperature across the top):

Monday, June 16, 2014

City2South ~ What to do in the week after a race that goes wrong

After my last write up, I have been thinking about how I react when a race goes wrong. Particularly when you are training the house down and have much higher expectations. I think the learning's from the past week are useful in both sport and other aspects of life.

Surround yourself with positivity
I have been fortunate to have a great support crew to which I owe a great deal of thanks (www.reddogtriathlontraining). There have been a number of people that I have talked their ear off. No doubt they are sick of hearing about it, but same said they were prepared to listen. Getting it off your chest is the number one thing.

Get back on the horse
You don't need to go straight back into 30 hours a week training but a gentle river loop or frolic at the pool the next day and before you know it you will be back building the engine.

Look to the future
Re-focus on the next race. Whether its a small fun run or a global race focus on the future. I almost immediately signed up for the @city2South. Considering I was only giving myself a 7 day rest, I was happy with a 52m (3.45km avg) run over the hilly course. I ended in 5th. My fellow Compressport athlete Clare was the winner. I was as always kitted out in my Brooks running shoes. Thanks for the on course support from the RedDog team and to Aussie Tom for reminding me of the short rest between races and the agony on my face.

Focus on the controllable
Reflect on what went wrong. Was it controllable? If its not controllable then try not to focus on it, remember some times things just don't go your way! Let it be.

If all else fails go shopping
Retail therapy is a cure all. With winter fast approaching next week I will be reviewing what to wear at various temperature ranges as the temperature drops further into our Queensland version of "winter".

Above all... step away from the cookies. #saynotosugar

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cairns 2014

So I am back in Brisbane thinking... what just happened. The last week was a bit of a blur. I know my fitness is there but I didn't get the results I was looking for. I have played both the Coral Coast and 70.3 race over in my head many times. The first issue was controllable the second was completely out of my control leaving myself thinking why that race..

Coral Coast
I only decided to do the Pt Douglas 5150 on the Tuesday before the race. So I was still fully loaded with a big super session from the previous weekend plus a 5 x 1k track on Tues and a TT on the bike on Wednesday. I wasn't sure of how well I would go but knew I would be hurting with the added intensity of an olympic distance. I wanted to race because it is a great lead in to the 70.3.

I had everything ready and was looking forward to the race (even if the legs were not!). It was a beach start. I got a great start and was out in second by the first buoy. Yes me in second in the swim. I have been working on my swimming (in a slightly different way to ever before) and it has started to pay off with good swim results in Byron and the past two races in Cairns. I went a little wide as the swim was slightly angled. I was counting the buoys and by the last Ironman Branded buoy I could see the swim exit so headed in. I was racing in when I was caught by a guy on a ski saying I had cut in short. I looked back and sore the girls heading around a smaller yellow buoy further along the beach. My heart sank. I sprinted back to the buoy and ended up in transition as the girls were leaving.

Heading out onto the bike I bolted and cooked what little I had in the legs. I eventually made it back to second (and first for a short amount of time) on the run but my day was over. I had to conserve for the 70.3 so strolled around until the finish. I ended up in 4th.

Couple of lessons learned. Confirm the course (you are responsible for knowing it) and be patient and race to your plan. If I raced to my original plan (even after the miss hap) I may have consolidated but instead I baked myself on the bike.

Cairns 70.3
This race would have to be right up there with one of the most disappointing things that have happened in my triathlon racing. I was really ready for a cracker. I had taken the week pretty easy. Other than flying to Sydney on Sunday night and driving to Newcastle for work for the week until Wednesday!

I took all precautions with the course and walked both transitions the day before. Everything was ready.

We had a 4.15 start to catch the bus to Palm Cove for the swim start at 6.36. We started in knee deep water. It was a funny race start they sort of blew a weird quite horn. I got off well and was in the main chase bunch for the swim. It was a solid group with 19 pro females on the start line. I am really enjoying the improved swimming as it helps with my bike and run legs. I was out the water and through transition quick with only Caroline, Lisa up the road.

I jumped on the bike and headed through the streets of Palm Cove, quickly realising that my gears didn't seem to be responding. I ignored it for the first section out toward the main road but became concerned and realised my rear derailleur Di2 was not working. My heart sank. I was chumping at the bit to get out there on the bike but could only spin along until I found a mechanic.

The mechanic reached me on the ocean road but was not much help as we really needed an electrician! The gears were stuffed from the rain. No luck for me. I was able to tighten the derailleur cable into the 18 which meant i had only 53/18 and 39/18 to choose from for 90ks. I got on my way but not after loosing no less than 11 minutes to the lead girls. My day was over. Almost as hard was the fact that the race photographer was taking pictures of me on the side of the road with my heart on my sleeve.

I fought on because all too often Pro's pull out. I am inspired by my age group training buddies who wouldn't DNF for anything. It was a tough task, re-commencing with the AG females but I got on my way. It took me until 60ks to catch some of the Pro females. I was motivated by this and fought on catching a couple more on the run. I ran out of transition trying to catch but lost heart by the end of the first lap realising top 6 was out of touch ending in 11th.

I look forward to the next race. It was just such a shame because of how much I love the Carins 70.3 race having won in 2012.

Thanks to Reddog Triathlon Training, Brooks, Endura, Aussie, Compressport, Avanti Plus the Valley and Orca for all your support. Special thanks to the mechanic out on the course that advised me on the issue at least I finished. Lots of positives to take away for the next one!