Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stage 5 TDU

The famous willunga stage greeted the bunch for stage 5. The stage was made up of 2 40km circuits and 2 26km circuits with the 4km climb completed on the latter shorter circuits. I had targeted today as my best opportunity to be at the pointy end of the race and all seemed to be looking good on the climb. With a block headwind on the climb i canned my idea to attack on the climb and instead ensure i was in the front group group. A man with alot more courage than me, ritchie porte did attack with another of our young super stars jack bobridge and that quickly put pressure on the main field. Simmon Gerrans drove our group and at the top there was the two leaders plus one radio shack boy in toe and our group of about 10 riders including matt goss,and cam meyer about 100m behind. I was sitting pretty and getting ready for the mad dash to line but when we hit the flat and micheal rogers lit it up i was giving 100% percent simply to hold the wheel, being a 3 time world time trial champion means not only is he one of the best in the world on the bike but he can accelerate like a motorbike. Suffering to hold on i realised my team leader Simone Ponzi had lost contact with our group and was dangling 50m behind, as per my role for the day i sat up and waited for him and started to ride him accross but we were then caught by the lotto train which rawed passed. I just got onto the back of that group breathed up on the decent then started riding with them to get my man back into the front group. With 1 km to we were within a few seconds and i gave it one last big pull and swung off for my teammate to jump across, unfortunately only alan davis was on my wheel at this point and he is from astana and was the only one to enter the front group and my teammate finished another 7seconds back so was a little dissapointing. I could not have ridden any harder and assumed he would get back on but things dont always go to plan. I did have a good think about how i started to suffer all of a sudden after the climb which would normally be the hard part and realised that firstly the like of mick rogers, simon gerrans, matt goss and cameron meyer are at a much higher level than me but also i had not had to suffer like that since my last major race in august last year. I have neglected my motor pacing and critirium racing and cosequently got really found out today not only trying to hold micks wheel but also chasing the group down, at the moment i am still a few gears short of where i wanted to be so will have to get my concrete boots on and harden up a bit and get myself ready for the european season kicking off in febuary. So dissapointed the team could not get a result today but did what i could do and was pretty trashed by the finish line, i have learnt alot this week and it sure is nice to be up toward the front of the bunch again so cant wait for the willunga stage in 2011.

Circuit tommorow in adelaide so great opportunity to get in some good intensity again and finish off a great week in adelaide


Friday, January 21, 2011

Stage 4 TDU

On paper today appeared to be the easiest stage of the week. Another opportunity for a big bunch gallop and sprinters to shine. Alas it was not to be and today turned out to be the hardest day of the race so far. After a difficult day yesterday with the hard finish circuits and simmering heat 41degrees!! everybody simply expected the usual, small break to go early and the big sprint teams reeling them in in the final km. The opposite occured, the entire peleton basically decided to attack, at one point 25km into the stage matt goss the race leader had chased a group of 20 riders down personally as all his teammates were gathering there breath after the barrage of attacks previously. The race basically stayed single file for the first 40km at which point a group and ultimately successfull 5 riders got away, once it looked like the move may stick and had about 10 seconds i attacked with Mathew Haymen of team sky to bridge accross, riding behind matt was like chasing a motor bike, the power that man is simply incredible, we got within touching distance of the group but unfortunately for us the lotto team had decided they did not want us in the break and had the bunch wound up chasing us down, unfortunately a few seconds was as close as we got to the break and once the lotto train reeled matt and i in the 5 riders disappeared not to be seen again until the presentations at the finish. Matt Goss's HTC team set there tempo but it was not hard enough and when other sprinters teams realised what the situation was with 20km to go they pitched into help but it was too late. One of the most talented riders the world of cycling will ever see Cameron Meyer had won the dash to lne 20sec ahead of the desperately chaseing peleton and he now leads the tour. I finished safely in the wind smashed main group behing Meyer i little tired i must say.

Tommorrow we hit the queens stage with 2 laps over old willunga hill so i am hoping for a day similar to today, plenty of excitment not only for the spectators but also for us in the bunch but i hope this time i can be a bit more toward the pointy end.

Facts and figures for the day, sorry but srm power died so limited data

Time 2hrs 57min
Distance 125km
Speed 42kmph
Av Heart rate 143
Max Heart Rate 188


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stage 3 TDU

Harder terrain welcomed us today along with 40degree heat which is not exactly the perfect combination! A small break got away but with 30km remaining the race was all together and the daily chaos began with jostling for position and unfortunately the odd crash. I was really hoping to have a good day today but i did not get the bit between my teeth. I had heard how hard the finish circuits were and was expecting an ever schrinking group to occur so had tried to save as much juice for the finale as possible. Unfortunately for me the group all stayed pretty much together and along with the choas of the final few km with argy bargy for position i was again shuffled toward the back and out of position and missed a small split in the final 100m and lost 7sec to the front 20 or so riders so not the finish i had hoped for at the start of the day. Anyway the team again worked well together all day and simoni ponzi was 10th on the day so he looks good for a good positon on the general classification with the willunga climb on saturday more suited to his strength. I have to keep working alot harder on always riding good position!! Will put the head down now and see what i can come up with on saturday.

facts and figures for the day

Time 3hrs 12min
Av Speed 41kph
Av Power 218watts
Av Heart Rate 146
Max Power 1050watts
Energy 2500kj

So an increase in intensity and heart rate of 10% which is interesting that they correlate together, good to see the stage averages as will be interesting to see the average of race later in the season when we all get a little fitter!!

off to bed


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stage 2 TDU "Meeting Lance"

Todays stage from Tallem Bend to Mannum was a pretty straight forward sprint stage. Small break went early and the peleton kept the 3 fugitives dangling at 2min until they decided to reel them in with 20km to go. Unfortunately due to the more passive tempo for the large majority of the race and everybody seemingly having fresher than normal legs, a choatic final 4km brought many of the top riders crashing to the pavement. I avoided the mayhem as was my plan at the start of the day along with saving some energy for later in the race, and the race was won by skys ben swift. Our team were all caught behind the crashes so did not figure in the finish sprint but on a positive note did finish the stage unscathed.

I had a very exciting opportunity at the startline today, i finally met the great Lance Armstrong. Well actually what really happened was he pulled up next to me on the start line so i decided to introduce myself to him. As expected he was super polite and friendly and we chatted for a few moments before the start gun went. We later had a better chat in the bunch which was a real buzz for me, the whole time i could not believe i was actually speaking to the great man in person. Again i always wished one day i would get a chance to meet him but it was a huge spinout to actually do it. In everysense of the word he is a true gentleman and a great patron for the sport of cycling and sport in general.

For the facts and figures of todays stage

Time 3:36min
Distance 146km
Av Speed 42.2kph
Av Watt 195watts
Av Heart Rate 126
Max Power 1100watts
energy 2500kj

Tomorrow we hit some hilly circuits so i will be interesting to see how the race unfolds!!!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stage 1 TDU

Today the tour down under kicked with the first stage from mawson lakes to angaston. The stage was won by the flying tasmanian Mathew Goss and he now leads the tour as a result of todays win. He is sensational shape and will be difficult for anyone to beat him to the overall title. For me it was my first protour race with my new team Liguigas Cannondale. I had goosebumps on the start as it was a moment i had only dreamed off not so long ago. Riding in the worlds premier series with one of the worlds premier teams, i am pretty excited. My plan today was to watch for dangerous moves but try and save as much energy as possible for later in the tour. With the inevitable bunch sprint today my role was simply to stay out of trouble and ensure our sprinters were in the best position for the sprint. Elia Viviani was 5th which was a great result for him, he is a super talent and will continue to be at the front whenever he races this season. I finished safely in the bunch and achieved my goal taking it as easy as possible which i hope holds me in good stead when the race reaches some tuffer terrain on thursday and saturday. Some quick facts for the day from my SRM power control are as follows

Av Power 191watts
Av Heart Rate 133
Distance 138km
Av Speed 41kmph
Time 3hr 17min
Energy 2334kj
Max Power 1000watts

After the race, quick stretch, protein shake, massage and a little nap

now its time for tea


Monday, January 17, 2011

My first race with lance

Yesterday the Tour down under festival kicked off with a warm up race in adelaide city. We completed 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit to help the euros get the 20hr plane flight out of there legs before the Tour Down Under race itself kicks of tomorrow.

For me it is with huge excitement to even be here. Jess and i travelled here in 2007 to watch the race and meet cycling australia officials when i was contempateing my change of sports. We both enjoyed watching the race so much that i have been desperate to racing in this event since i decided to stick with the bike. It is has become a very important race on the world cycling calendar and also an important part of australias summer of sport. When i was drug tested upon arriving on friday morning, the doping controler proudly informed me of the importance of the race and how it has more spectators than the formula 1 race had when it was held here in adelaide. That is a seriously impressive stat. Anyway more on the organisation of the event during the week.

To the warm up race and i was have been so excited about this since signing with liquigas cannondale and being told the race was on my programme. Excited for many reason but significantly my first opportunity to race alogside the greatest sportsman of all time in my opinion, Lance Armstrong. As a rower we were all in awe of lance and to actually saddle up beside in a race was an amaxing feeling. Even at 39 he still cuts an very impressive and imposing figure in the bunch and i did take a moment during the race to ponder how fortunate i was to be able to race alongside him in his final race as professional as i attempted to hold his wheel as he accellerated out of a corner. His calve muscles are certainly a sight to behold (not in a gay way off course). I did not get to speak with him but i hope during the next 6 days of racing i may get time for a chat. I actually prepared a Invite for him to attend my 21st birthday which i took with me to athens but he decided to skip those olympics and i did not get to deliver the invite, this meant he could not attend my party as he did not know it was on but i am still convinced he would have come had he known it was on, just joking!!!! Anyway i will report when i finally get a chance to atleast say hi to the great man. As for the race, it was agreat start for our team with elia viviani our track specialist taking forth and all round sprinter fabio sabatini 9th. I was having a good race keeping the boys up front and staying out of trouble till i had a flat rear tyre with 1 and 1/2 laps remaining, unfortunately the rule in small circuit races is you can take one lap out for mechanical problems exept during the final 3 laps, in this case you simple have to stop so i therfore did not finish, bugger, not a great start but in the scheme of things no biggy as was just an exibition race and most iportant our team was not involved inany crashes, look forward to getting out on the open rd and into the tour itself.

Off to bed before stage one start in the morning

cant wait


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Festive Season

Travel has pretty much occupied most of my recent weeks. I had the privilege of attending my first training camp with liquigas cannondale in sardenia which I can say was quite a thrill. Like most of my days on the bike it was a huge learning experience and also a great opportunity to get to know all my new team mates even better. We were relieved of camp duty on the 22nd December which left me just enough time to get home to my beautiful girlfriend jess and our dog tasha for Christmas. Next stop was one of my greatest mates, Matty Ryan’s wedding on new years eve and a couple of relaxing days in Sydney with jess. Home for a couple more days then off to the first race of the season, the nationals road race, then home again for 3 days and I am back on the plane en route to my first outing at the Tour Down Under and first race with the great Lance Armstrong in Adelaide. Luckily I have managed to squeeze in a few days on the bike in amongst all that so I hope I enjoy the race!!!!

I arrived in Sardenia full of excitement, seeing all the new equipment for the 2011 season was very very cool and of course the opportunity to meet the staff who will be supporting us throughout the year was great to spend some more relaxed time with them. There was some very sad news to begin the camp with the passing of cycling matriarch, Professor Aldo Sassi. Aldo had been battling cancer since march and his passing has left a massive hole in the cycling world. For me personally it was a very moving time, the reason I was on the team was because of aldos guidance and his desire to see me along side his favourite athlete Ivan basso. Ivan was also the person whom broke the news to me at 6:30am when we met for our gym training. It truly is very difficult for me to put into words just what a huge impact he had on me and I will forever remember his teachings. I will do a future post about aldo’s amazing contribution to the sport of cycling. My days at the camp started at 6:30am, I would role out of bed and head for the gym. 100min of gym under my belt and it was time for breaky. Breaky is my favourite meal of the day and I must admit having after weights gave me a whole different love for it. I really felt like I had earned my daily ommlette, nutella and jam roles, muslie with yogurt, and a couple of cups of italy’s finest coffee. I was the last to leave breaky every morning. Next was time for the bike at 10am and between 3-5hrs was on the menu each day. Pretty relaxed tempo as for most it was our first training sessions on the bike following end of season breaks so rebuilding was the theme of the camp. Lunch was on the table between 2-3 and I enjoyed plain pasta most days with a wide array of vegies and meat mixed in. Italians seem to love heaps of plates of individual foods but being an aussie I simply get a bigger plate and pile all the small ones onto 1. Top it off with half a kilo of parmesan cheese and a bottle of Italian olive oil and every days meal was yum yum. Enough cheese will make any meal taste great. The next appointment was yoga for 1hr at 5, follow this with massage and it was 8pm and time for dinner. For dinner I usuall had a slight variation of the same concoction I had for lunch but pizza’s also appeared on the menu a couple of times and they were delicious. Post dinner all the riders mingled in the bar for warm drink and unwind and I was in bed by 10. This was pretty much the routine for every day, there was the occasional testing and also media obligations but apart from that very structured and regimented which is exactly what I love. As far as the ins and outs of the camp go, testing was pretty routine. We did the usual 25watt step increments every 1min until exhaustion, I completed the 550watt step which was 1 step or 25watts better than my previous tests for this time of the season so a good start to the season and an indication of what a grand tour will do to your base condition, excited to see where I can get to during the season. The next test we completed was the one made famous by lance Armstrong where he reached an amazing 6.7watt/kg at threshold. This test is performed by riding up a 1.5km climb taking roughly 4min and having you blood lactate level tested at the top. You then decend down and repeat the effort and continue this routine until your blood lactate reaches 4mmol. To do this you start at a low wattage depending on your weight and increase by 30watts each repetition of the climb. It was the first time I had done this type of test so I was interested to see the results. The results are quite important as they determine your training zones for interval work during training. I was about 6watts/kg so a long long way from lance so have a lot of work ahead of me. Interesting exercise none the less. As I said before training was pretty relaxed. One day however basso asked me if I would like to do a couple of extra hrs with him. Again this was at gentle tempo but he just felt the need to do a little extra as I also was happy to do. This gave us the opportunity to have a good chat and get to know each other and also do a bit of race rehersal for my domestic duties later in the year. I think on this day he may have not eaten enough breaky and seemed pretty hungry, hungry enough that he cleaned me out of energy bars and had it not been for the long decent back to the hotel I would have most likely been on the straving train with him, was nice to see even the greatest of riders sometimes miss judge the calorie intake from time to time. Good thing was the expedition which got us lost on a few occasions brought us closer together and I hope that it helps us build a good working relationship for later in the year. The camp was certainly a great experience and gave me a different perspective on the sport.

Next was rocketing home to aus and I gratefully avoided the snowed in flight delays out of Europe and arrived in Hobart on time on Christmas eve. I spend Christmas with Jess’s family and Is always a pretty wild time. An annual water fight is usually undertaken with the neighbours but after we borrowed the local fire brigades truck last year and consequently won the annual battle hands down, this year our opponents surrended without a fight so will have to wait till next year to restore hostilities. Anyone who has had the privilege of eating a meals at the Wades (my girlfriend jess’s patents Pete and Jenny’s home) knows how great the cuisine is. Well Christmas is stepped up about 3 notches and I don’t even try and restrict myself from indulging in as much food as possible on Christmas day. Every calorie that goes in my mouth from jens kitchenat Christmas is well worth the extra work on the bike to burn off. My favourites being the turkey with plum sauce and of course jen’s flagship dessert the toblorone cheesecake!!! Umum um, also jess’s pavlova is a sight for sore eyes and gets a good workout aswell, I cant ignore the way in which the days begins with jess’s sister lanny’s exquisite eggs benedict. I am certainly full of energy on the 26th December when I saddle up for training. Yes Christmas is always a wonderfull time of year at the wades residence.

News years eve brought a very exciting celebration of its own this year with the marriageof my great friend matty ryan to his beautiful bride Sara. They had a great wedding on a farm in Windsor just outside Sydney and was great to catch up with all my old rowing pals as well. The ceremony was very nice and the food great I must say that the giant bowl of mm’s post dessert was something I have never seen before at a wedding and was huge success. Might I add seemed to help prevent a hangover!! Special mention must also be made regarding the exceptional poem composed by Matty’s best man Oliver Zuk. If anybody is looking for a poet to capture a relationships development using a wide array of sporting facts then this man is the best in the business. It was a great night enjoyed by all and everybody was very excited for the new Mr and Mrs Ryan.

After a couple of days in Sydney with jess I jettet home to get back on the bike with the first race of the season rapidly approaching. The nationals always starts my season and is a great event to partake in. I love the atmosphere of staying with TIS (Tasmanian Institute of Sport) group in a good old fashioned Australian motor inn. It takes me back to my rowing days of these trips with the Tassie crowd and look forward to it each year. The race this year was not so great for me. It was my first race in 5months and it certainly felt like it, I suffered very badly after the opening laps attacks and surges and realised that also not having done any motor pace for over 6months I was starting a bit behind the eight ball. I suffered on and finished the race as it was crucial prep for down under being my only race and hope within the next week I feel the benefits from this pain. It is funny no matter how many times a season you smash yourself in a race, the first race back each year hurts more than you expect it too. Well good thing its now behind me and I hope to get stronger from here on in. Very impressive performance by Jack Bobridge with the solo victory and Matt Goss coming so close for Tassie in 2nd. Matt Goss is going to have a very impressive season i am predicting.

So that’s been the wrap of my goings on. I have now arrived in Adelaide and am pretty excited to be here for tour down under. We are pretty spoilt staying in the Hilton and having short commutes to stages and shorter than normal races so I hope it’s a very enjoyable and successful week for the boys in green being my liqugas cannondale team. Now I am off to bed