Thursday, April 18, 2013

Going to plan

I like it when things go to plan.

I got my bike ready last night. I filled my bottles. I got my food sorted for the ride. Even got my clothes lined out. Organised to meet my riding partner at 10am. All of this in order to allow a long, luxurious and glorious sleep in. Yet here I am, at 06:30am. Wide awake.

Screw you world!

On the road to Baw Baw

It's never any fun when things don't go to plan.

If you can chat whilst going up Baw Baw you know that you have ample gearing, and, something ain't right...

I had a shocker last weekend at Baw Baw when I woke up from the deepest, and most intense sleep I've had in a while.... at 03:30AM. Not good! Double not good! Still had an ace time on what is just such an awesome course. And thankfully Ben Dyball who was crashing with me from Sydney came home in 2nd so we still had some pocketmoney to add to the bank.

But that's all short term stuff. I am looking at the medium term plan here. And it looks exciting:

1) Tour of Japan
2) AIS Training Camp
3) Tour de Qinghai Lake National Team
4) Tour of Borneo

1) My first big race with the team for the year. Can't wait. Did it last year, it hurt. I wanted to cry. Multiple times. Yet again, this feast of agony and anguish should deliver some good life experiences and I can't wait to go and chase some results with  my Huon-Genesys team mates who've started the year off very well..

(c) The Wheeler  Nathan Elliot and I chopping off during a Northern Combine race
 2) I was lucky enough to get selected to be part of a Cycling Australia National Team to go to the Tour de Qinghai Lake in July. Part of the preparation will be a two week camp in Canberra involving a lot of training and some new altitude training techniues. As far as I am concerned, this is going to be awesome. I am an unashamed bike nerd and wannabe physiology geek. Give me the stats. Give me the data. Let's do it. Only the promise of proper winter weather in Canberra during winter scares me...(a lot)

3) Tour de Qinghai lake, well I written about it before, so have a read, I promise you'll laugh, or just sigh at all the pretty pictures

(c) The Wheeler   I attacked Nath, and we had a two man TT against each other, he caught back up but there was no sprint due to an earlier crash. So equal first it was for both of us at the first Northern Combine race of the year

4) Tour of Borneo. This was a late surprise. I was initially down to open my serious racing account for the season at the Battle on the Border in a couple of weeks but two of the teams upcoming Asian races (Tour of Borneo and Jelajah Malaysia) both had changes of dates. So with some re-jigging it was decided to let me save my bickies for Japan and Qinghai and then jump into Tour of Borneo which now comes in August. To say that this excites me is an understatement. I'm just hoping that everything goes to plan and this stays the case. One thing I learnt last year, however, is that within a busy season there are that many crashes, changes of race dates, people getting sick, etc etc that nothing ever goes exactly to plan. So I'll just play it by ear then!

I've been getting back to good old fashioned climbing weight, unlike, err, other times...

For the meantime, it's off to Mt Macedon to show some more roads to Jurgen . Yep, I too am a bit shocked that 3rd place getter from Tour of Flanders is now basing his build up to the Tour de France from Melbourne... but I think I understand.

You see he lives upstairs from his fathers bakery. The smell and consumption of fresh baked treats just doesn't seem compatible with his target race weight for the Tour. So Melbourne it is...

So if you spot someone decked out in full Lotto-Bellisol kit around Melbourne, give them a yell! But don't shake his right hand, he still has one big arse filthy blister from Paris-Roubaix.. looks like he tried to high five a screw driver... just another reminder that these buggers are tough.

Snowy times up Donna with GPLama should leave me well prepped for Canberra

But mind you, I reckon two weeks in Canberran winter is even tougher... we'll just have to find out.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Asian Persuasion

I was writing this elsewhere, and I thought, this needs some form of formal publication, it needs documenting. It needs sharing. Let's be succinct here:

Background: The Tour of Thailand is currently underway in Thailand and it breaks my heart I can't be there racing it. Back in 2009 when my mate Adam Semple rang me up and proposed I buy a plane ticket and come race with Plan B I was hesitant...

... for 3 tenths of a milisecond. And what a tour it was.

 Semp won a stage and the KOM and I snuck home with 3rd on GC. I got to meet Wayne Evans who is one of the men that make Plan B (now know as Satalyst Giant Racing) one of the best up and coming teams in the Australasian region. I raced with some great blokes including 'EJ' Wells, Doug 'Repa' Repacholi and Patty Gill. I also met my future Marco Polo team mate and asian stalwart Brad Hall who is back in Thailand as we speak.

Not to mention 15 people crammed into the tray of a ute at 2am trying to find a notorious night club by the name of "U Pop" in the jungle city of Udon-Thani. Ahh the memories. And the not-so memories.

We all took home many things from that tour. Depending on where the final night landed you, however, some folks may have taken home things more tangible than they originally bargained for!

But to the present; I am living vicariously through the twitter and instagram feeds of the lucky competitors who are over there now. Bastards.

Here's why I love racing in Asia;

You can take your snowy Milan San Remo
You can take your twice cooked flacid french pasta dredged in tomato sauce
You can take your dishwater french coffee
You can take your stunning Italian Podium girls (actually, they can stay)
You can take you 12 hours trips on the auto strada
You can take your sh*tty Ibis sweatbox motels

You can stick it!

#Thailand is just a gift that keeps on giving... #view from the #hotel balcony. #lovinglife :-)
Because this is where I want to be.

In the jungle, at the street stalls, jumping potholes and fending off dengue fever. becuase it's awesome.

From the twitter feed of Paul van der Ploeg;

It's a jungle out there! #Thailand... Epic day doing just over 200k in some of the most beautiful…

 And for me? Well I've been training hard. And I'll be back in Asia soon. Japan and China await, and plenty of exciting news coming up.

Hope everyone is well, and I'll see you on the road, or at the cafe, or on facebook, or on twitter, or instagram or .....

Postscipt: It is also, abso-freakin-sensational to see Mr Loh get a stage win in stage two. Loh is the stalwart of the Asian Peloton. The Patron. He has been around for a long time. He is always attacking, riddled with panache, and ripe with enthusiasm.

When I joined Marco Polo I couldn't believe how much easier life was, each day Loh would be sitting the 'gate' behind the leading team that was controling the front of the peloton. Now instead of fighting for wheels near the front people just let me slot in behind Loh. It was magic.