Monday, 27 August 2012

A win at last - DDCX Rapha Supercross

At the knoll photography
CX in Australia has really stepped it up this year. I knew the competition was going to be tough, but I had held some expectations of myself to be able to come away with a win or two. Until now the win has remained elusive, and it was with a mixture of joy and relief that I crossed the finish line first yesterday.

DDCX put on awesome events and partnered with Brunswick Cycling Club on Brunswick Velodrome, it is a special course as it was not only my first race, but my first win two years ago. This race was sponsored by Rapha as part of a number of races world wide named "supercross." An awesome turn out and I'd almost say the best atmosphere at a cross race yet, there were heaps of people making heaps of noise. Yesterday was what bike racing was all about for me, whether I ended up winning or not. The crowd get into it, and all the racers are grinning despite putting themselves through physical hell.

I got off to what is now a trademark shithouse start, pulling a foot out of the pedal and into the spokes...smooth. Sitting in 15th or so, I saw Luke Fetch and AJ off the front already, with Allen Iacuone and Paul Redenbach not far behind. I was able to weave my way through all the riders, and avoid the carnage on the off camber descent, eventually catching Allen at lap 2 or 3. I reeled in AJ, then Luke and was able to gap them both, but took Allen with me, sticking to my wheel like glue. This was a little concerning, as Allen is a very experienced racer, and would probably roll me if it came down to the wire. I made the most of some misfortune on Allens part when he slid out on a tarmac section, and made sure I rode smooth, took it easy on the slippery stuff, and hammered the smooth stuff to eventually hold off everyone else for the win. Such a nice feeling to win a bike race again! It feels like quite a while, and to beat such awesome riders makes it that much better.
At the knoll photography

Whilst in NZ I got chatting to Mark Legg, Katie Compton (world #2 woman)'s husband and coach. He's been destroying me for the last 4 weeks, and even though it's early days, it's already paying off, I just need to work on my race start!

Thanks to all my awesome sponsors who you can see down the side of this post, but also thanks to all the people making noise out on course, the organizers, BWK CC, volunteers etc etc. Without all these guys the races wouldn't exist/wouldn't be half as fun.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

NCXS rAdelaide!

Just got back from a pretty full on weekend of CX racing in Adelaide on the weekend. Adelaide have a pretty sweet cx scene going on so it was about time I went over to check it out. The first race on Saturday was on a very fast and fairly flat course in some pretty parklands about 10mins ride from our host Jackie's house. There was tarmac, plenty of grass, a sand pit, an awesome stair section and a few muddy sections to power through.
Rob Parbery

 Upon arriving to the course I was greeted with even more custom cycling gear from the legends at Champ Sys! Jersey, knicks, rain jacket and fleece/windproof jacket, awesome! These guys make some really high quality gear, hit them up for custom clothes for your team/club/charity ride.

After a few practice laps, we were on the start line waiting for the gun. After being called up 2nd, I got a shocking start as I struggled to clip in, and was riding in about 20th. Over the first lap I saw Lachie fly off the front with AJ and Jade Lean off the front of the main bunch in chase. I was able to remain calm and move up infront of the numerous riders and finally bridge the gap to the leading trio.
Rob Parbery

The 4 of us rode a few laps before we dropped Jade after one of the technical sections. About 40mins in, Lachie turned it on and gapped both AJ and myself. AJ gapped me giving chase to Lachie, but he was too strong and put 30 odd seconds into us pretty quickly. I destroyed myself to catch up to AJ, but buggered it after putting a foot down in the sand pit, and AJ got another gap on me; the final result, Lachie, followed by AJ at 41'' and myself at 55''. Considering the level of these guys I am absolutely stoked with the result, and this has given me some confidence that I'm on the right track fitness wise. The prize was pretty cool too, an engraved beer mug!
Rob Parbery

After a dip in the freezing pool and a delicious dinner at Jackie's the next day's race was upon us. Today was a different course, still very fast, but with a few rocks, some barriers and plenty of sharp corners. Off the start I was back in 15th or so, but again I was able to bridge up to the same trio of Lachie, AJ and Jade after the first lap. We were riding well together and I noticed my front wheel was washing out around some of the corners. By the start of the third lap, it was well and truly flat; bummer, and the tech zone was at the end of the lap! There was no hope of keeping with the leaders as I was losing my front wheel round every corner. I ran most of the windy sections of the course, and was passed by a heap of riders, before swapping my bike and tearing after everyone. I was able to reel in a few riders and just caught the main chase group on the finish line, ending up in 9th place (I still managed to score some series points!). The course had plenty of victims with punctures, as there were sharp rocks and a little glass scattered round the track. Not the result I was hoping for, but my lap times have me right up with the leaders if you ignore my 3rd lap. Nothing that could be done, I'm happy with how I rode all things considered. Lachie took the win again from AJ, with Jade in third.

The ladies racing scene is pretty strong now too, Lisa Jacobs is killing it, winning every race so far, with Gemma Kernich, Mel Anset, Jackie Schapel, Lindsay Gorrel, and others all fighting for her wheel. Great to see!
Jackie repping Liv-Giant and 4Shaw!

It was an awesome weekends racing, and Adelaide certainly has a CX scene to rival Melbourne's. Port Adelaide CC put on a great event, and I'm looking forward to heading back soon.

A few people to thank for such an awesome weekend; Aaron from Giant got us over there in the Giant van, which made life super easy, so much room! His mate Jake was also on hand to share the driving and help out on course. Jackie and Matt were exceptionally generous guests, and staying in a house was so much nicer and easier than accomodation. Jackie also put in a stellar effort on the bike, picking up two 4ths, and some impressive efforts off the front. Evan and the crew at Giant Cycling World Adelaide helped us wash and prep the bikes after the mud on Saturday, and they were in perfect running order forSunday's racing. They also had a sweet setup with tents on course providing an ideal place to warm up on the trainer and hide from the sun.

We now have quite a few weeks before the next round at the end of September in NSW! Time to knuckle down and get training!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

TV Time!

Cyclocross has finally got some airplay in Australia, the premier cycling tv show 'Cycling Central' featured almost 10 mins of CX action from the opening national round. Pretty cool to watch, and I got a bit of air time in there too (note the sweet bed-head hair-do).
There is also an article of my european trip in the current edition of "Enduro" magazine.
Trying to string together some good training sessions is tough when the weather's so cold and wet, I had a road race on the weekend which was a good hitout, but an average result, finishing just outside the bunch due to more cramps! Good training though... Cross Melburn is this weekend, looking forward to it!