On Saturday the plan was to do around 60 km by first helping out at the junior race and then racing the senior time trial in the afternoon. So at 12 o'clock I went down and we rode 10 km out along Plunkets road as a group and then split up into smaller groups to race back in. The group I was coaching/ helping was to ride to the 'palm trees' which are two random palm trees on the side of the road. The group of three riders were working together well until the turn around. Coming up to the turn around I went to the front for two reasons, the first was so I could ride past each rider and let them know where we were turning around and secondly so I could control the speed so they didn't go too fast and crash.

Even though we were going really slow and everyone new where we were turning one kid still managed to crash. For some unknown reason he didn't brake as hard as everyone else and ran into the rider in front of him. This meant that even though he crashed we were going so slow he didn't get hurt and got up straight away. No one else came off but the person he ran into's bike was a bit worse for wear. The derailleur hanger bent and a few spokes on the wheel snapped. The good thing was that no one was hurt so all we had to do was call someone to pick up the kid with the broken bike and then ride back.

When we got back to the start I waited for Dad to bring down my time trial bike and rollers so I could start my warm up for the 18 km senior time trial. Usually for a club race I wouldn't bother warming up because a club time trial isn't serious enough but I decided to test the warm up I saw in one of the Greenedge videos on youtube. I was also testing a new time trial helmet and racing my time trial bike for the second time (the other time was at Wangaratta). 

Usually the start to a time trial is boring but this was different. The rider who was to start before me (you start at 1 minute intervals) missed his start time and only realised that he was 20 seconds late when the starter started frantically waving his hands for him to hurry up and get to the start. After watching the worst ever start to a time trial I tried to do it a bit better. The aim was to get up to speed quickly and the get my heart rate up where I wanted it to be which is between 88%  and 90% of my maximum heart rate. This heart rate is a bit higher than what I would usually try and hold in a time trial but most of the time I have too much energy left by the finish so I wanted to try and push myself a bit harder than usual. I managed to do this well until I went over Billies hill which was 12 km into the race. Normally in a time trial I start to lose focus on the downhill bit of the course because you go faster down the hill and then I sort of forget to keep pushing hard. But this time it was different I saw two riders in the distance and decided to try and catch them before the finish. The first riders was easy to catch as he had gone too hard on the uphill part of the course and didn't have any energy left. The second rider was not so easy though, he had started the race 2 minutes ahead of me and by the time I got to the top of the hill he was about 500-700 meters in front of me (I'm not too good at judging distance). Even though by the end of the race I didn't catch him I was not very far off  which was good for my overal time because it allowed me to push myself harder trying to catch him.
Picture
The blue line represents HR. Compared to previous time trials it has a lot less dips in it which means I didn't lose concentration and slow down as much.
My time was 27:09 which is an average speed of 40.2 kph. I was happy with that because one of my friends who usually beats me was trying to average 40 kph and I though I would get no where near it. 
Full Results:  http://www.alburywodongacycling.com/home/2013/5/25/itt-fun-times.htmlGPS link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1347724


On Sunday I had to ride around 100 km which takes around 3-4 hours depending on how hilly the ride is. 3-4 hours of riding a bike by myself sounded a bit boring and the people I ride with most of the time were away racing in Ararat. So I decide to see if two of my friends I hadn't ridden with in a while wanted to go for a ride. They both wanted to go for a ride so the plan was to meet in Albury at 10 am then ride a lap around Bellbridge. When I left it was 8 ºC and the most it got to was 12 ºC so it was a good opportunity to try my new jacket and gloves which were very good, the jacket was perfect the whole way and the glove were a little cold at the start but good after I warmed up a bit. 
Picture
The new Pearl Izumi Jacket
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The new BBB gloves
When I got to where we were meeting there was a problem. There was only one person when there was meant to be two, one rider got out of bed a bit late and didn't have his bike ready so told us to go on without him. He didn't miss much in the terms of good views though, all we could see was fog the whole way. After doing the lap around Bellbridge we headed back into Albury to get a coffe/ milkshake (I had the milkshake, coffee is disgusting!). After the drinks we decided we weren't quite satisfied so we ordered some banana bread the looked pretty good. After 15 minutes of waiting we went in to see what was happening, the lady serving said it would be ready soon so we went and sat down again. The worst bit about this was that as we sat down we saw her put it in the toaster/ grill thing and then she brought it out 5 minutes later. It took 20 minutes to toast a bit of bread. 20 minutes. Some times being a cyclist is hard, especially when after I finished the bread I rode home and saw that there was a place just down the road that had an open fire place.

GPS link: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1350835
Picture
The ride ended up being 99.4 km. The red line is where we went
 
 
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On Saturday riding related activities started somewhere you wouldn't expect me to be. The brewery shop. The reason I was there was not because I'm making my own home brew alcohol , but because I'm making my own home brew Powerade (the recipe to make the Powerade can be found here).

On Saturday I went down to help at the junior race. It was meant to be an easy roll with a few short efforts to get ready for the race the next day. For the first half of the ride it was easy as we were riding at a slow enough pace so even the youngest riders could keep up. This all changed when we got to the point where the race actually started. 

I thought that I would just be helping the juniors, as I was meant to be saving my legs fort the next day. But it turns out I was in the race. Clancy, Steve and I were chasing a bunch of younger riders but we somehow forgot about them and started attacking each other. As we came round a corner another rider who was late to the start joined in our group and we remembered that we were racing other people not just each other. We settled in to a good rhythm, but the damage was already done. We didn't stand a chance of catching any of the other groups so we were left to sprint it out between ourselves.

Not long after the race finished I was on my way to Castlemaine where I was staying the night with my coach (Geoff) and his son (Steve). 

On Sunday I woke up, had breakfast and made the short journey to Harcourt. I got to the start nice and early because this was the first time I had to get ready for a race by myself. I managed to stuff up one of the simplest things. I cable tied the transponder to the spokes of the wheel instead of the fork, not once but twice. After that I managed to not stuff up anything else and get to the start line on time.

My race was roughly 80 km and comprised of two laps of the small course then one lap of the big course.
The first lap felt easy as no one wanted to go on the front to early and therefore nothing much happened and I just tried to stay out of trouble and not touch the wind. On the second lap nothing much really happened either. The good riders forced the pace on a few of the hills, not enough to put me in difficulty, but enough to get rid of a few riders. I ended up getting dropped about 35 km into the race. This was because there was a 2 km hill at 4% followed by another hill that was 1.5 km long that was about the same steepness but flattened out near the top and went back up again. This is where I lost touch with the front group because the first hill raised my heart rate up to 189 bpm and then the pace was raised even more on the second hill and as it flattened out I let a small gap form and as it went up again I couldn't hang on.

But I hadn't given up yet. Two other riders got dropped at the same time as what I did so I tried to form a chase group with them. We were close to catching the main group but one of the riders in my group just seemed to give up and without him we couldn't catch the people in front. We slowly got further and further away from the front group until the other two riders told me it was time to give up on catching the front group. Without the others commitment it wasn't possible to catch the front group by myself so I had to listen to them and we settled into a rhythm to try and stay away from any riders coming from behind.

The other two riders had given up though, one of them even said "I'm lacking the motivation to even keep going". This meant a group from behind was catching us. They started to catch near one of the biggest hills in the race at 10 km to go. My aim was to get to the top of this hill before they caught me to make it easier to join in on the back of the group. This worked out well as only one rider caught me as I went over the top of the hill. I managed to get him and the other two riders that were in my group to start working together to make sure no other riders caught us. This worked because the four of us came towards the finish with no one insight behind us. 

As we came down the hill in to the finish I had to concentrate. I had to make sure I started my sprint at the right time, not too early but not too late. I timed it perfectly and won the sprint from my group. 

This meant that I got 8th place. I was happy with this as I was aiming for a top 10 finish.

Full results:  
http://www.vic.cycling.org.au/site/cycling/vic/downloads/Results/2013%20Winter/2013VicCountryRoadChamps.pdf


Link to the GPS file: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1338174
 
 
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The weekend of riding started on Friday night after school. One of my friends had just bought a new mountain bike and there are some tracks near my place I've been meaning to try for a while so we went and did two laps and ended up riding for an hour. 
On Saturday was one of the most unique races of the year. The Dirt Berg. The Dirt Berg is a 21.5 km  handicap with the last 8.4 km's being dirt. I started on scratch (the last group) 9 minutes behind the front group. The front groups were not the people to worry about though. The group 4 minutes ahead had many strong riders, Steve Damm (last years winner), Lisa Barry (team Bicycle Superstore), Charly McMillan, Clancy Lloyd and Liam McAllister. 

Our group's plan was to keep it together on the climbs and work hard as a group on the flat. We did the first bit well but I think a few people in the group struggled a bit so after the climb there was only a few people still rolling through. Because of this I decided to push the pace as soon as we hit the dirt to see who was actually struggling and who was just sitting on. This shook a few people off but not Liam McAllister (who we had previously caught). Liam attacked and I tried to close the gap quickly. In hindsight this was probably not the smartest thing to do. I would of been better of letting Liam go for a few reasons. Firstly he had been dropped from his group and we had caught him so therefore he wasn't so strong and secondly it would of forced other people to do more work. 
After closing the gap to Liam I decided to keep the pace up. This dropped Liam and left three of us trying to catch the remaining riders. Our group of three riders wasn't working too well though. It seemed like we were more worried about each other than catching the people in front.  At about 15.5 km into the race the attacks started. At around 4 km to go Andy Kaye put in a big attack and then after he was bought back Declan Gregory attacked as well. This all most finished me, after we caught Declan I was struggling to hang on the back. 

I knew that if Declan or Andy attacked again I wouldn't be able to go with them. So I decided to go to the front and try and keep the speed high enough to keep Declan and Andy from attacking. This worked until the last rise where one of them attacked and I couldn't hang on any longer.

This wasn't the end of the race though, even though there was only 500 meters left there was still another rider I had a chance of catching. So I kept going as hard as I could and caught him just before the line.

I was happy with this result because I kept up with much stronger riders right until the final climb. But I felt our group could of worked a bit harder before the dirt to try and catch a few more riders.

Results
1st Stephen Damm (41:05)
2nd Robbie Storey (St Kilda CC)
3rd Rob Belsher
4th Zac Drury
5th Rohan Christmas
6th Andy Kaye (FT - 40:29)
7th Chris Little
8th Declan Gregory
9th Ryan Allen
10th Mark Dunlop
11th Adam Farrugia 
 

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