Friday, March 26, 2010


There are some days when spending 2hrs 30min on the home trainer is unbearable and some when it is a pleasure! Todays it is a pleasure as my beloved cats are playing and its live on eurosport, if it was not for the frenchmen arguing outside I would think I was home in my lounge room in tassie!

Go the cats!
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Breaky time before a day in the saddle is crucial, for me I choose a long black coffee from my nespresso machine, they are so good and so easy! Then I occompany that with a smoked salmon ommlette in a tortila wrap, delicious! I wash it down with a glass of apple juice and it is a delightful little snack and I am ready to hit the rd.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

City to Surf (italian style)

On saturday the 20th of march i particpated in my first city to surf sporting fixture, italian style. Like the sydney fun run, the italian version commonly known as Milan Sanremo, begins in the hustle bustle of the busiest city in the country and finishes in perhaps the busiest beach side suberb in the country. Luckily for both race the roads are closed to traffic giving all a clear path to torture themselves in the respective events.

Having never done the sydney event i can only report on the italian version which i competed in on saturday. The 300km journey was completed in just under 7hrs therefore averaging close to 44kmph. Ouch. The race started under grey skys however the rain conveniently held of until the roads became smaller and more twisty and undulating at the 100km mark, just what you dont want. The race however started well for use with fabrice placing himself in the breakaway of 3 riders relieving the pressure from our team to ride at the front. A welcome chance from the week before in tireno adriatico! At 100km in the race started and with the rain came the inevitable crashes, luckily neither my team mates or i ever went down however the road blocks it created caused many splits and nervious moments. This continued for the next 100km and with 100km to race the sun was out and the race all together and we were happily racing along the mediteranian with a lovely little tail breeze towards sanremo. All seemed to be perfect. Then i dawned on me that my pockets were still filled with food. This unfortunately for me meant that during the previous 100km i had forgotten to eat as much as i should have and was suddenly hungry! I quickly gobbled down as much as i could but in a race of this intensity and duration, when you are at the stage where you are hungry, it is to late to reload, you body is depleted and it was just a ticking time bomb as to when i would bonk! (go hunger flat where your blood has no glycogen and it basically tells your brain to stop your body working so jolly hard).

I tried to think possitively and keep eating hoping for a miricle. Had a few chats with our team captain scarpa and i was geed about helping out in the finarly! I spent the next 60km jostling for position trying to get to front and when we hit the cipressa, the first of 2 decisive climbs which come in the final 20km, i went for the gas pedal to get to the front and help out or captain for the day ginanni. Alas the power did not greet my pedals and as Ginanni came to fore i put on the hazard lights and got spat out the backside of the peleton. At the top of the climb i found myself in a small group with non other than last years race winner mark cavendich and had regained hope that perhaps his team would come back for him! They did not and we would eventually role in 6min behind the winners. As i said before on the cipressa ginanni came to the four, attacking numerous times on both the ascents and decents, and again on the final climb the poggio in an attempt to steal the victory. The climbs were not so brutal at only 3-4km and 4-5% however the italians have this amazing ability to find the most dangourous decents to ride a bicycle down. They really do love to see crashes. For some of the best riders this is also i place where they take there opportunities to win races, ginanni is one of these riders and made some bold attempts at escapeing on these goat track! Unforunately on this occasion he cooul not break the shackels of the peleton and when the bunch reformed just before the finish he was to finish 7th in the sprint, still a very very good result in the first major classic of the season.

So that was my first city to surf, be it sydney or milan, there is certainly no better was to get from the hustle and bustle of the city to the seaside party scene of the beach than by doing a sporting race!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Terra Race Wrap

The final days of turino adriatico were very nervous and although we had the leaders jersey, we were always on the edge of our seats controling the race for scarponi. Alas he started the final day with a two second lead to Stefano Gazelli or the gazelle as i called him, and he was unable to stop the gazelle from speeding to the bonus seconds in the 2 sprints during the stage and losing the lead and finishing second on a countback! Was a heartbreaking experiences for scarpa i am sure and the team felt dejected as we came so close to sealing the victory and the mood post race gave me good indication how great the margin is between winning and coming second to the italians in the cycling world! It is good to hurt as it is a positive reminder that you want to always strive to avoid this feeling in the future! I am sure we will re group and we must as it is only march and the big races are only just beggining so onwards and upwards!

For me was a great experience week. I rode in my first breakaway at protour level and had my first attempt at trying to attain the victory on this day. I fell short but learnt that perhaps one i may just make it to the finish before the rest of the peleton so for sure i will try this approach again in the future. Following this day i switched roles to domestic and this is a role i really fell comfortable with and a role i can really give all i have the cause. It was nice to feel a real purpose in this race, although it did require me to stretch myself to new levels of exertion, so much so that i stopped wearing my heart rate monitor which i have always believed to be an important monitoring tool, i was really really enjoying being able to contribute and understand how to apply this type of role to the team. I hope this skill will be a big benefit to me this season. Of course the recognition of your efforts from the team is always important more as a means of re assureing yourself that you did the right thing, to me this is important as i like to know if i make mistakes to learn for next time!

This is no different to the workforce and although there is great importance for the worker to know he has done the right thing with positive feedback, it is perhaps of even greater importance that the leader or boss is honest in therein there appraisel of your efforts, again if though fear of offending you dont tell someone what they did wrong how ill the person to do it differently the next time. This is perhaps the most crucial element to the success of anything where a team or group of people are involved, if feedback both positive and negative can be used constructively by the workers you will have a greater chance of a successfull team than if you sit on the fence through fear of offending. At the end of the day any feed back must be not pigion holed as good and bad but simply as positive as you are either learning or being re assured you are on the right track.

For me i was certainly a culperate in my time in rowing of being to positive specially when things were not going as well as they could have so i guess with some very poor rowing results and experiences behind me and unfortunately some cycling ones also, i feel that for me this is a crucial area for me to work on and be attentive to. Luckily in my new androni team i have found an environment that most certainly opperates in this way and i think the core of this is respect for each other, staff and riders and everybody wanting the same thing, success. I am sure that this is also the core principles of successfull organisations in the business world.

Tomorrow i race milan sanremo, usually best done in a car however the italians decided to create one of the biggest races of the year by having us race the 300km. Luckily for i once rode from my home at Mt rumney in the south of tasmania to lake barrington in the north east, also 300km however on this occasion i had one element i luckily will not have to face tomorrow and that is the bass straight sea breeze just to make sure it was super hard, i dont think the mediteranian sea can through anything like that at us. Also on that occasion i had my good mate bomma for company so will perhaps be a little quieter without him but i am sure there will be plenty going on to keep us all on our toes for the 7hrs.

looking forward to what i hope is another good day of team work with the androni boys


Sunday, March 14, 2010

When I am at a race there a few subtle signs that I am getting tired,

Firstly I stop taking the numbers of my jersey and just through it in the washing bag so I don't have to re pin them tomorrow!

Secondly spend a lot more time lying on my back trying to avoid any movement which requires any energy although generally increase my psp time!

Thirdly you find yourself taking a lot more notice of the distance to the finish signs!

And finally I start craving nuttela, so I generally sneak in an extra serve morning and night and when I find a small panini with it in my feed bag at the feed zone I am instantly re energized for another 50km, this final one is certainly an enjoyable part of getting tired at a race! After nearly 1000km in 5 days you tend to not worry so much about the extra calories but you do still need to be diligent, you don't want to get tubby!

Of course you have tired legs and generally feel a little whacked but everybody feels the same way, the tired signs are perhaps a little more individual however also I am sure others have similar tendencies!

The put in perspective none of this gets you down its just part of it, and at this race I am super excited to be appart of it as scarponi still leads the race so bring on tomorrow!
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Race update

With the snow behind us the sun begin to shine on our ANDRONI team yesterday with a brillient performance by Michele scarponi to win stage 4 and Leo toping it off with 3rd on the day. They are now 1st and 3rd on GC also and the team is 1st on the teams classifcation so all round exciting! The team of serpa Leo Jackson and ginanni did a amazing job to set up this result for Michele, they final 30km resembled the profile of sharks teeth with equaly brutal gradients on the short slopes so I am sure there we're not many fresh legs left in the entire peleton in the finale however to the delight of our squad on this day it was Michele who was still going the best at the end

For me the race has been a good experience, made my first breakaway on stage 3 and went alone with 30km to go hoping to outclimb the closing peleton however was not to be and I was caught 10km from the finish with a decent and flat run to the finish for the remaining sprinters. I had a go though and enjoyed my time off the front! Yesterday my role turned to domestic and I must admit I much prefer this job in the early season while I find my race rhythm. Michele sent me to the front for the flat section and final long climb as he was primed for a big day, with my work done at the 200km mark I sat up and listened to the race unfold on the radio as I rolled along with a another who had also been on the front with me Matt hayman. To my jubilant enjoyment Michele won and all of a sudden the fatigue from the time on the front seemed to vanish, unfortunately this was short lived as I still had 10km to ride to the finish with a very nasty little pinch to through in for good measure!

So for today I am looking forward to trying to defend the race lead our leader Michele scarponi!

Molto bene gara

From somewhere on the adriatic coast

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The snow that awaits us for turino adriatico starting tomorrow! I have talked many times about new experiences and challenges and being out of the comfort zone! Racing a bicycle in the snow is certainly going to be one of these moments!

For now unfortunately the snow has is stationary on the auto strada 100km from our destination so therefore the first obstacle in the adventure is getting to the start!
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Climb It Ise Ation

Coming to europe always requires some adaptation. This time however i had a new element deal with, winter! My second race GP lugano in switzerland was raced under grey drizzly sky's and add to that 2 degrees and it was quite a shock to my summer system. To stay remotely warm i had 4 layers of cycling cloathing and a raincoat on top off all that, and although the race was basically flat out all day, i never once entertained the idea of removing anything. As far as the race went, a large break went which we were well represented in, two strong teams chased very fast for 100km to bring it back, once back attacks started again and this time i was envolved in the moves however a swiss man in an audi decided to drive head on into the race and collided with a rider, fortunately the rider was fine however the audi was perhaps not so fortunate. A protest followed and the race was off then restarting then cancelled then finally we did restart however by this time half the riders had accepted the early mark and headed for the showers, what ever happened to swiss prescision in organisation? Upon the restart we worked hard to set up leo again, he was 7th and it was time for a defrost and shower!

Next was a day to recuperate before heading off for another race. This time the weather was more favourable and for me more enjoyable. We had hoped to set the race up for our fast man alberto loddo, however the hills were a little to much for him and he took an early exit. Fabio Tabore put in a great ride to try and steel the race from the breakaway however by the final kms it was still a large group of 60 and fabio myself and alesandro were unable to barge in on the sprinters parade. All in all a good race to get into the system, next stop my first big race of the season, Turrino Adriatico.

With 4 days now to unwind after the rush of the past month i have had plenty of time to contemplate my goals and aspirations for the season. First priority is to get settled in europe, this means resuming normal training, having a long term program, setting goals for these races, and settling into my appartment.

I have ticked of the training resumption, coach sassi is always keen to resume this structure asap. Training with a good training partner such drew at the gc camp we held recently in hobart was somthing upon reflection i realised can be very benficial. Somtimes spending all your time alone can result in you getting very settled in your own comfort zone. Unfortunately cycling is a sport which takes you completely out of your comfort zone, you are constantly being forced to go at others pace in an attempt to be the stongest rider. Having a training partner, although not to the extent of racing, gives the possibility for subtle changes in your desired pace which adds to training intensity. Although i would not often articulate to drew, there certainly were times partically when cruising between intervals that the varying pace to what i was used to was making me concentrate much harder on staying on top of the session. This is a crucial element to develope in cycling as although you can predict to a certain extent how the race will unfold, you simply never know when it will be on and off. Therefore after drew in hobart, Ivan basso happened to be doing the same climbing session as me yesterday. As we have the same coach we do similar work and when we do similar races which we have done over the past week, our sessions fall on the similar days. Again although we are basically doing the identical session, his pace again varied to mine as he was using a higher cadence and i addapted to this. Again this took me out of my comfort zone for a few intervals then my body addapted to the change and i was back feeling comfortable again. These two experiences of taking me out of my comfort zone with drew and now Ivan, i reslise its importance in my continued development in this sport.

I guess this experience does not only have to apply to sport, people often challenge themselves in all fields by spending time with those who do it a little differently. Whether it be a different way of thinking or analysing on a business front, the way a lawyar prepares a case, doctors approach to healing there patients, or the way in which a painter does his art work, putting yourself in a situation where you are not 100% comfortable will often, if pursist with it, help you to progress in your chosen field. For me i will continue to look for these situations not only in cycling but in all aspects of what i do, and in the process continue to learn little things i otherwise would not have discovered.

As for my race program and appartment, i plan to move in following this weeks race from the 11th till 16th, goal is to be a good support for our team leaders. As for races after that, i hope to learn more about shortly, for now i am simply enjoying being in an environment which is certainly far removed from what i am fortunate enough to be appart of in hobart, and with this environment trying to learn as much as i can.

Bye for now from Gavirate Italy