A public service announcement from our sponsors Onebody and The Odd Spoke (members receive a 10% at both fine establishments).

 

Need a bike fit done? Want a new bike? Some important questions we all ask ourselves. What if you've had a bike fit done and you want your measurements transferred onto a new bike? We've got those things covered through our collaborative partnership with Onebody Health + Fitness and The Odd Spoke.

Onebody's frame selection bike fitting service is for people that looking to upgrade their existing bike (N+1), looking at adding another style of bike (N+1), such as road, time trial or MTB and are unsure of what will fit them and have not been fitted before. This includes all the geometry needed for a custom built frame from one of the various suppliers worldwide. They will ensure that you are selecting the right size frame for you, giving confidence to purchase your bike from any local bike shop or via a huge range of models available online. Don't forget N+1.

http://www.onebody.com.au/…/pre-purchase-frame-selection-b…/

Their frame selection service is for people that are comfortable with their existing bike position and want to ensure that their new bike purchase will be the right frame geometry and size to match their existing fit position. They are impartial to all bike brands on the market so we can ensure that you are selecting the right size frame for you so that you can have the confidence to purchase your bike from any local bike shop or via a huge range of models available online.

http://www.onebody.com.au/retul-bi…/frame-selection-service/

The Odd Spoke at Dural as a club sponsor will give a 10% discount on tubes, a bike and everything in between. If they have the frame with your geometry following your bike fitting or frame selection service from Onebody it's win win.

http://www.theoddspoke.com.au

You have have any questions contact Dan Bain from Onebody or Han Xiong from The Odd Spoke. Get into N+1 that fits just right.

Jodie's weekend of cycling

Busy weekend of cycling! Don't be afraid to try something different...you might enjoy it, or at least you know for sure that you don't! For me, I am not a fan of crit racing. Don't get me wrong, I support all you racers and enjoy watching, but its just not me. But in the spirit of the club, I have entered the races for War of the West and gave the weekend's race a go.

I got lucky, it was turned into a handicap race. Which for newbies (yes I had to work it out too) we all had to complete 10 laps, the lowest grade gets a head start, then the next grade and so forth till the top grade finally gets to start. I was the lowest grade and so myself and a young girl from Park Life took off. We just had to stay far enough in front to hit the 10 laps first. Not easy with the calibre of the other girls in the race. My other disadvantage was that the young girl couldn't really take turns with me as she was a twig of a thing. So after freaking out before it all started I thought...I've got my points for the club, if I get scared or swallowed up I pull out. It was pretty much a TT for me...very scary with passing groups! I pulled out a speed which I have never achieved before and managed a win. It's an interesting format because its not just about speed...its about keeping on pushing right till the end and not giving up. I was by no means the fastest on the track and kudos to all the other girls who were absolutely amazing and inspiring and were doing speeds I can only dream of! But in the spirit of the club...everyone was out encouraging each other...the number of words of encouragement as I went round and dug as deep as I could was just brilliant! I may not be a fan participating in the crit races, but I was a fan of the team spirit!

Talking of crits...Not sure who else was out at the crits today, but well done Bridget Bremner for her 4th in Elite Women's I think it was! Bridget has found what she enjoys and is absolutely going for it!!! Today I backed up for a 43km ITT. With my training in Victoria over Christmas I had hoped for a good result...but the heat, humidity and headwind got the better of me. I was very close to having someone pick me up, but I apparently am a little too stubborn and would rather a poor time than a DNF. This is the kind of race I enjoy...essentially I am pitting myself against me and the only one who can affect my outcome is me. PS well done to Jason Racchi and GReg Hill who also went out today...Greg even managed a PB in this heat! Find what you enjoy and go for it! But don't be afraid to try.

NWSCC WoTW1 race recap(s)

The truth is out there. You decide from the below pair of recaps......

Race recap WOTW NWSCC.Marconi Round

War of the West has started, and this guy was very impressed with the standard of racing, and the well structured nature of it. The introduction of OC Carey into the organising mix lifted the standard of ideas and sponsorship and we shall be stealing his ideas moving forward. Nothing is perfect, the ladies race was getting squeezed far too often, and it was really ugly to see two LACC riders hit the deck crazy hard (my first time ever calling 000!!), but I was extremely impressed with our professional healthcare members Bel and Marin being prepared to get involved to help them out, as well as my Penrith mate Craig Barnes (most aggressive in B grade).

Props to Jodie for closing out the ladies handicap. I really expect to see you do more races, its 2 wins from 2 or 3 starts.

I spotted Craig Cadman on debut, hope it gave you a taste for more.

Adam Fahey Prez was unlucky after a powerful break at the end after Wesley Hurrell softened them up in A2.

Daniel Norris won the bunch sprint in C, well played.

A return by Michael Robson was welcome (my old commuter Strava sparring partner).

Andrew Finlayson continued his blistering form, and, more impressively, managed to beat 2 other breaking riders onto the podium. Great job by the Abud Alnatour to help establish the break.

All our ladies racers went awesome, I would encourage you to keep in contact with your race mates on Strava, and try and get out to the ladies' races. Can't be too hard when it's mostly Parklife and LACC :-)

Jason Racchi had a punishing day as Commissaire, well done for surviving mate - and big thanks also go to Brad, Allan and the Marconi club because these races are great with them involved.

Thanks Peter Chadwick for looking after the desk to start the day, and all the other volunteers and spectators (!!!!).

When thinking about things like NWSCC, and clubs in general, I hope we got a taste of what it means to wear the Orange, instead of the green, or the black and gold, or the blue... There was a lot of really positive attacking racing and I felt a lot less confusion about the responsibility of different clubs to chase breaks and pull turns. If Parramatta or Marconi didn't chase the A grade break, then it was pretty clear that no one else was going to - and they knew why. So, wear your colours. Ultimately, you are the club. Every time you zip up the jersey and roll out the driveway or off the start line, you represent yourself, and the group you belong to, and you embrace what that group is about. We want to ride bikes and have fun with other people that ride bikes and have fun, mainly around north west Sydney.

More rounds to come. Look forward to seeing you out there.

Leigh Hardwick, NWSCC Club Captain.

THE "REAL" RACE REPORT

Nothing reminds you that you are at a Western Sydney interclub than the gentle thrum of an Aston Martin entering the car park. Except maybe the purr of a fleet of Range Rovers and Mercs in convoy (for safety), as they make their way along the Great Western Highway from the Western Suburb’s inner Eastern Enclaves. The LACC Bandits and the Parklife Semi-Pros had arrived and were ready to dish a certain type of hurt that only a deep seated sense of entitlement can deliver.

Penrith were there. Powered by a mixture multi-generations of in-breading, a knowledge that most parole officers won’t wake up before 11am on a weekend and having a club full of talent across all grades. And Shagga. Still smarting at the loss of their finest rider, Arthur Hardwick to ‘The Flying V’, Penrith were out for blood.

Marconi arrived, like all good sprinters… straight from the buffet. They had put the #Biddlesignal out last night and the man in Attaquer answered the call. As did the Howitzer. They meant business… Except Bally… Did anyone else know Brad is a DJ? Little #alternatefact for you!

Just as this group of misfits thought they were safe… A sound was heard crossing the Great Western Highway… A speaker blaring AccaDacca to wake the cycling establishment from their slumber. The Flying V of NWSCC had arrived to Dirty Deeds no less. Powered by the knowledge that the V is the most aerodynamic formation and a number of Bluetooth speakers with highly variable battery lives.

Kev Berkely arrived to round out the 6th club, Parra!

And so the racing ensued. Exactly as all clubs predicted NWSCC dished hurt across the board. In fact, the hurt was so obvious that the race officials didn’t even bother to monitor finish positions. THAT… is how irrelevant they were. Across all grades, the Flying V formed up and unleased hurt bombs on the unsuspecting masses from the West.

A couple of laps out, the Black Sherriff begged our race leaders to peal back and let Parklife and LACC win a couple of spots… Parklife is a new club and needs the help of clearly superior clubs like ours as they establish themselves. LACC is like when your Mum and Dad split up and your Dad wants to come clubbing with you and your mates to pick up and show you some of his moves.

And so it was… NWSCC graciously gave a leg up and encouraged Chris Barlin, Nash Kent, Shane Deering and all the other new cyclists into strong results. We also let LACC have 3 vodka red bulls, do the worm in the middle of the dance floor and weasel in on our crush just to keep their confidence up. We have you right where we want you… just as the real racing begins.

NWSCC successful maintained their position as most feared, respected and revered club in the WEST!

From an anonymous drone owner.

2017 Race Schedule - get into it!!

2017 is well and truly upon us. We kicked it off with one of our popular NWSCC/Marconi-hosted Sydney Motorsport Park GP circuit scratch races last week, and you can read Leigh's race report here.

Next up, the War of the West series kicks off this Saturday at Sydney Motorsport Park (criterium hosted by NWSCC/Marconi), followed by the LACC/Parklife CC-hosted road race at Horsley Park on Saturday 11th Feb and the Family Night Points Race hosted by Penrith CC at the Sydney Regatta Centre on Thursday (evening) 23rd Feb. Pre-entry is still open today (Feb 1st) but closing this evening - there are 180 riders signed up for the first WoTW race this weekend.

Once the dust clouds settle from the battles in the war of the west, our race series at SMSP really kicks off in earnest on March 11th with the NWSCC/Marconi Odd Spoke Cup. Entries for the Odd Spoke Cup are open NOW.

Full details to be confirmed after the March race but we have a big schedule at SMSP this year with the following dates locked in:

  • Sat Feb 4th - Druitt (North) Circuit - WoTW race 1

  • Sat Mar 11th - GP Circuit - NWSCC/Marconi Odd Spoke Cup

  • Sat Apr 15th - GP Circuit

  • Sat Sep 2nd - Druitt (North) Circuit

  • Sat Sep 23rd - GP circuit

  • Sat Oct 21st - GP Circuit

  • Sat Dec 16th - GP Circuit

Dates yet to be determined but the Club Champs will take place "after winter". Plenty of time to plan your strategies.

Get out there. I might even give racing a go this year.

Cheers, Simon

NWSCC/Marconi SMSP race report - Jan 28th 2017

Our first race for 2017 is done and dusted! 111 riders raced across five grades this morning and capitalised on a lot of Summer riding/training/cruising/spectating. This was the first time we have used the new "A Reserve/A minus" grade as well; Marconi's idea to improve competition between the strong riders. It did not disappoint with well matched racing.

A massive thank you to our sponsor The Odd Spoke bike shop Han, allowing us to pay the BEST prize money to the lower grades in Sydney (I believe winning C grade was 90 dollars including vouchers and cash?!!). A favourite shop amongst our members. Also thank you to NutriScience Wesley the best supplements for endurance athletes. Just ask our A graders how good they are!

A grade was dominated by a 3 man break from the first corner including our own Andrew Finlayson, riding for team Odd Spoke, Marconi's Trent Butler, and winner Tristan Cardew from Team Mobius, staying away all race. An extremely powerful and disciplined ride.

A Reserve had a four man break building man by man half way through and was supported by a sympathetic chase group. The lead was so convincing that the bunch was given the bell a lap earlier than the break. Trackie Rodrigo Nataro from DHBC looked strong all race and took the chocolates in the final kick, followed by Toby G and NWSCC's Diego Morales (in his first major podium!), trailed by the mighty Shaun Shagga McManus.

B grade was won by the usual suspects in a bunch sprint, Nathan Maybury NWSCC, Mark Eedle from LACC and Peter Tononcelli from Marconi, with 1st woman going to Bridget Bremner NWSCC riding for team Odd Spoke. A great race with lots of prodding and attacking.

C grade finished in a bunch sprint, shutting down some late attacks on the final lap after a lot of positive racing earlier on. Jerel David, Steve Gray and Stephen Short finished in the money.

D grade was a scrappy affair, with a range of abilities splintering the bunch towards the end of the race. The podium was an all NWSCC affair, with our newest club member Bryce Law strong in the end to win. Looking forward to seeing him on the road soon! Garry Williams did plenty of work proving older guys can put the hurt on and was rewarded with 2nd place and a promotion to C grade, while Barno Sumno continued his successful racing apprenticeship with 3rd place.

Thank you to the Commissaires, volunteers and photographers from both clubs, making this such a great day, and we look forward to seeing you at the War of the West inter club series starting next weekend! Preentry and further information is available at www.warofthewest.com.au

Leigh Hardwick, NWSCC Club Captain

Terry Steer's L'etape Ride Report

What a great event! Really well organised and riding on the closed roads in race conditions was awesome. Having extra room to negotiate the hubbards was a huge benefit...still, one almost ruined my day.

Rolled out with OC Carey in the first group of somewhere around 1000 riders. Went up the first pinch and never saw him again - sorry Ollie. Got about 2.5km in and on the first proper climb and two people in front of me ran into each other and fell. I made the decision there to go hard until Jindabyne to try and leave the mess behind me. This worked pretty well and I would have been into Jindabyne in the first 150 or so riders.

East Jindabyne climb wasn't bad, and myself and another guy kept picking up stragglers who fell off the fast group at the front. About 23km in, the car at the front of the second start group cruised up and said a fast group was coming through. I probably started 8 and a half minutes in front of them so was thinking I was going hopeless, even though I had passed maybe 6 or 700 people.

As they arrived I felt a little better - it was full of NRS teams and elite riders like POC Racing, Alex Naz, Jake Kaufman, Amanda Spratt etc- even some Pro-Conti guys from Merida Racing including my mate Darcy Ellerm-Norton, that some of you would have seen doing insane attackks off the front on the Heffron videos. Luckily for me Darcy yells out "Hey Terry, c'mon mate, jump on". I jump on with these guys for the tow of my life! Next 50km averaged something like 43km/hr and there were some sections I was massively in the box as the different groups at the front made attacks.

This group was about 25 riders when I got on, and by the time we got to Berridale it had caught all from the first wave to leave except about 50 riders and was about 250 riders strong and covered about 500m. What a riot! Cool thing was I never saw one close call, even with all those riders.

Berridale was where I made my biggest mistake. I stopped for a nature break. Actually, about 50 people did but unfortunately mine took a lot longer than those younger guys and they all rode off with out me!

I managed to pair up with a guy in a Rapha jersey and he and I took 90 second turns for the next 25km until the feed station at the bottom of the Col de Beloka climb, picking up riders as they were spat out the back of the massive peloton.

He and I were heading straight through when a guy on the wrong side of the road decided at the last minute he wanted to stop and turned straight into both of us from the wrong lane (they had lane dividers at least 100m before all the feed stations to avoid this). I managed to stay up by unclipping and kind of falling to the side on my right leg while my riding mate went down, as did the King of the Hubbards. I honesty don't know how i didn't hit the deck (more luck than skill) but I twisted my knee and it was really hurting.

I kept going and in about a km or so was the start of the Beloka climb. I caught two guys just as we rounded a bend to see the first ramp and one of the guys goes "oh F&*k". That just about says it all. For climbs I have gradient and power displayed on my Garmin. When i saw the gradient touched 23% midway up the ramp I actually changed pages lol. I didn't want to see it. Averaged something like 13% for the whole climb I think, which doesn't seem like much but the first km was about 18%, then there was a rest of about 9-11% for a km and a half, then a final ramp at 15% or so to get to the top. Even when I went through in the first few hundred riders there were some people walking. Later on it was reported about 60% walkers to 40% riders or even more.

That was the hardest climb i've ever done. I've done steeper, but for shorter durations and not after a 100km smashfest to get to the bottom. If you just rolled out there and came across it at the start of a ride, would be a bit different i think. Still hard, but not a killer like it was. When I got to the top not only was my knee extremely sore but I was getting shooting pain into my right foot through my calf as well. I stopped to fill my bidons and had a chat with myself. I could either stop or HTFU and keep going but just reduce my effort to ease the pain as when I was really trying to push the pedals the pain was at its worst.

Obviously, HTFU won the day and off I went. The good news was there was quite a bit of downhill before the climb up Barry Way into Jindabyne, the bad news was a block headwind of 30-40km/hr.

Managed to get in a little group with one of the girls NRS teams and pulled some turns with them which helped a lot. Had a close call with a mummy deer and her baby. Mum came bounding across the road in front of me on a downhill which called for the small of burning break pads. Missed her by about 10m but the baby fell over the fence mum jumper over easily then ran straight at me. Luckily I'd bled off enough speed to stop and it missed me by a good 3 metres. Someone else was not so lucky, there were reports that at least one rider got taken out by a deer on the road.

Got through the climb up to Jindbyne into the wind with the help of around 1000 people on the side of the road yelling encouragement and ringing cow bells. That was one of the things that was amazing and something I didn't expect. There were people on the side of the road everywhere, from the little towns to farm gates. It was amazing and really uplifting to have people cheering you on.

Started the climb up to Perisher. 23km at about 7% and it had started to get hot. Was 33c when the climb started. Froomey still hadn't caught me so I was going ok! I started about 19 minutes in front of him - the 50km in the fast peloton certain helped me keep a gap but it was inevitable!

About 5km into the climb a course car comes by which was really unusual, then there he was. Looked to be doing it easy while I'm hurting! I though I was going ok up the climb, kept passing people at a steady rate and only a couple of riders passed me which I was pretty pleased about as it hurt my knee and foot when i really pushed. At the point he went past I was doing about 15km/hr on a 6% grade and he would have been doing 30km/hr lol. Not sure if he was going that fast but it felt like i wasn't even moving. I yelled out "Hey Froomey" and he yelled back "keep going mate". What a top guy. I saw him a bunch of times over the lead up and at the end and he couldn't have been more accommodating to the other riders/fans. He hasn't surpassed Sagan as my favourite rider, but he is now a close second.

After the Froomey excitement it dawned on my I still had 17km to go to get to the top! Oh well, back into a rhythm and just grind it out. It was really hot and the headwind wasn't helping. There were a couple of flat sections but they were offset by some 10-12% bits. I just kept focusing on the rider in front and trying to catch them and also making sure I had a bit of a look around and enjoyed the view. It was just beautiful in sections between hurt box visits.

Made a 60 second stop to fill bidons with about 7km to go as it was still really hot but as we got higher the wind got stronger and it was helping to cool me down a bit. As i took off another guy stopped and just fell straight over, never even unclipped. I think he was done lol.

I was still making good time and passing riders when this young girl of about 20 caught and passed me. She was tiny, probably weighed 42-43kg. I tried to stick with her but she pulled away. Came up to a bit of a descent right near the end and nearly got blown off my bike as the wind was across from about 45 degrees. Must have affected the girl more than me as I made up about 500m on her and into the final part of the climb I caught her and went over the summit for the run into Perisher and outsprinted her down the hill. Me going faster than someone else down a hill? There is a first time for everything!

It felt good coming into the finish and I'd been planning a pro style both arms raised across the line finish but it was so damn windy I though I'd get blown over so rather than fall over in front of 1000 people standing on the side of the road cheering, I rolled across with both hands on the bars!

I'd really trained hard for this event and as I finished I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to push as hard as I wanted for the final climb. After things had settled down and I'd had a beer or three, i realised that it was a pretty good achievement for someone who is turning 50 in February and has only been riding for just over 12 months.

Stats:

Official time: 5hr55m39s Moving time: 5hr46m33s Stopped for 9 mins for toilet break, bottle refills and settling down after nearly crashing. Finished 261st overall of 1882 who did the 157km race in my age group (45-49)came 63rd.

All those training rides by myself where I missed going on the Sunday social ride because I wanted to put in my 4 or 5 hours without stopping really paid off, allowing me to get the distance done without any real rest.

Fastest time was my mate Darcy who got in a 4 person break at Berridale then dropped the last guys going up the Perisher climb. He did 4hr 31m to be 3 mins faster than the first guy across the line, but Darcy started in the second group about 10 minutes behind him. Next level!

It was a great weekend. Hung out with Craig Cadman, Guilherme Barbosa, John Skinner, Glen Wilton and Adam Gibbons. Top bunch of blokes.

I know its expensive, but I though it was worth every cent. It was an event that was exceptionally well run and with the fully closed roads, a chance to do something that in Australia we don't really get much chance to do. If you get the chance, sign up for next year.

John Skinner's L'Etape Australia day out.

The inaugural L'Etape Australia, a cycling event organised by the Tour de France which allows amateur riders the chance to experience a mountainous stage of the Tour under the same conditions as the pros, was held last weekend in the NSW Snowy Mountains. Chris Froome, this year's TDF winner, was L'Etape's guest rider.

An absolutely fantastic weekend which I was fortunate enough to share with some of my close cycling buddies (Spoke2Soon & NWSCC) was enhanced by the support of the local snowy communities. Throughout the 157km route locals lined the streets and cheered the riders just as you see on TV during the Tour de France; and they dressed up their towns, villages and homesteads with TDF jersey themes, green for Berridale, polka dot for Dalgety and yellow for Jindabyne.

The course, 157km long with 2860m of climbing, started at the Crackenback Ski Tube and headed to Jindabyne. It did a loop of the local towns as mentioned above, headed back to Jindabyne and then climbed up to the finish line at Perisher Valley. Apart from finishing the ride my only real goal/hope was to finish above the bottom 20%. I ended up coming 860th which was about middle of the pack - of those who completed the race. Pretty happy.

1 spent 6 hours and 26 mins on the saddle. The first 100km and 524m of climbing took exactly 3 hours (33.4km/h). The remaining 57km and 2336m was so much tougher and took nearly 3 and a half hrs (16.6km/h). Not sure why they make these things so tough towards the end!

Very enjoyable and will definately be back next year. Thanks Craig Cadman, Adam Gibbons, Glen Wilton, Guilherme Barbosa and Terry Steer.

John.

3 Days 300Ks Auction at the Christmas Party

THIS IS HUGE!!!

Attention all members, friends and family of members. There is an auction to be held at the NWSCC Christmas Party on Thursday December 1st with some AMAZING items up for sale. Even if you can't be there you can send a friend along to bid for you. All proceeds will be donated to 3 Days 300ks ride for Redkite raising vital funds for families of kids with cancer .

Have a look through these items and see what you might buy yourself for Christmas!

A massive thank you to #jetblackcycling #Onebody Stephen Durant #theoddspoke

Items and their retail value:

x1 Jetblack Whisper Drive trainer $540 x1 Jetblack Z1 trainer $390 Camelbak Podium 700ml bottles $18 Jetblack Big fella pump $ 45 Jetblack Shield eye wear from $100 - $150 weldtite 50ml chain lube

x1 Retul Bike fit with Onebody $395 x1 3 month power cycle membership $442 3 month online coaching package $1157

x1 Original Odd Spoke kit with Jersey, bibs, cap and socks $250 Tube and Lube $10 Cygolite metro light Front $119 Cygolite metro light front $149 Muc off 8-in-1 cleaning kit $80

x1 $70 voucher for Wolfe & Co

Megatron Conquers the 210km Fitz!

OK, so the title is the only poetic licence I'm allowing myself. All of the words below are Paul's. Enjoy his recollection of an epic day. Cheers, Simon.

Fitz Wrap - Wingman Edition

So, you’ve read Greg Anderson's wrap, and I have to hand it to him, he handled the situation extremely well. My bike would have been at the bottom of the Cotter Dam Wall if I had encountered the misfortune he did! When I read the part where he started walking the 5km the finish, I seriously didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. How could so much misfortune happen to both Ando and Rob on the same day!

My own day was the complete opposite, and other than some truly awful weather it went off pretty much without a hitch.

When I signed up for the Fitz Epic earlier this year, it was with one intent. to have a crack at the top spot and ride the 210km with as little stops as possible, just a grab & go at the checkpoints for water & food, then back on the bike. As I was also doing the Fitz Epic as a Qualifier ride for the Alpine Ultimate 320 in January, I needed to make it count.

Last year I did the Fitz Epic for the first time and made the rookie mistake of stopping for lunch at Tharwa. After the first checkpoint at Rendezvous Creek it was Brendan Read and myself hammering around the course, and that lunch stop put us about 30 minutes adrift of the front runners, so the revised plan for this year was to team up and TT the whole course without doing any extended stops. When I say “team up”, I mean I would suck Brendo’s wheel all day and make him do all the work!

Well, my wheel sucking plans went out the window when Brendo rudely went on an extended holiday that consisted mostly of drinking and eating, and when arrived back in Sydney on Thursday there was some story about not getting a leave pass, but I saw the photo of his post trip weigh-in on the bathroom scales so I am not falling for the “no leave pass” story. Long story short, Brendo was out of the Fitz Epic and I would be solo unless someone wanted to come and sit up the front with me. With all the truly insane/hardcore club riders doing the Fitz Extreme, I had no takers as my lead out man.

Leading up to this years event, I was eyeballing the weather forecast for Canberra for the entire week. It seemed to change hourly, but the trend was that it would be wet, and there would probably be storms. That’s ok, I am an all weather commuter, I can handle the wet. Only catch is that there are no 90km/h descents on my daily commute, and my commuter bike has disc brakes! The weather was overcast on Saturday coming down from Sydney, and we had showers in Goulburn, but it was a sunny afternoon in Canberra so I was hopefull it would be a clear day.

Sunday finally arrived, and right on cue at 4:00am as I was getting ready to leave the apartment, a thunderstorm appeared over my apartment and the heavens opened. I had planned to ride to the start, but luckily a last minute ride was organised with Andy Yuen and his friend Ed, who were staying just across the road from me. That got me to the start in a dry condition, but I was keen to get on the bike and make sure everything was mechanically sound, and since I had not ridden this bike in the wet yet, I wanted to know how the brakes handled well before I needed to use them in anger.

I did a few laps of the carpark/camping ground, and I found hubbard camping central down in the southern drainage ditch (yes, Ando tells me that when the storm came, they realised they had pitched the tent on the natural water course). It was wet but had stopped raining, but I had spoken too soon, as another shower came through and I saw Ando huddled under the Registration tent while I did a few more laps in the wet just to get my confidence levels up. All the other riders were crammed under the balcony of the main building. I don’t know why as they were going to get wet shortly anyway!

This year at the start I wasn’t going to weave through any hubbards, especially in the wet!, so when the announcer called everyone down to the start line for the rider briefing I grabbed pole position at the start line, and parked myself right next to the one and only Jono E (the legend who has Everested just about every climb in Sydney). At precisely 6:03am, right on sunrise, the announcer sent us on our way, and without any hesitation I was off and straight off onto the empty road in front of me, setting a solid tempo and waiting to see who would join me at the front for some rolling turns. After a few minutes two other riders pulled along side me and asked if I wanted to do some rolling turns. I looked back and it was just the three of us, and not wanting to waste any opportunities that presented themselves, the three of us lit the afterburners and left the main group behind in our wake. The other two riders were both doing the Fitz Extreme, so I was more than happy to only be working 1/3 of the time and not actually in the same event as them. The bonus was that with only two other riders to worry about, the wet conditions were not really a factor on the descents as there was plenty of space to pick your own line. I was a bit nervous on the first few sweeping downhills as I really had no idea how the bike would handle, and I didn’t want an early exit to my ride off the side of the road and down a gully, but after getting a feel for it I was a little less timid into the turns.

On the way out to Fitz Hill, coming up yet another rise, we spotted the infamous “Red Devil” about 100m ahead, and here I was having just moved to the back of the rotation. That was hardly befitting of the Wingman Kit, so grabbing the opportunity I got out of the saddle and expended all the Free Watts I could muster, sprinting up the hill, giving the Red Devil a cheeky grin before I flew by under full afterburners. The photographer captured the moment perfectly!

Unlike Ando & Rob Stevenson's horrible experience with flat tyres, I don’t actually recall seeing any evidence of burnout action on the way out. Mind you, it was soaking wet, and when you are moving at Mach 2 with your hair on fire, there isn’t much time for checking out the road surface! The three of us had a nice routine going. One guy on a BMC had terrible issues with his gear shifting. Every time we had to go up a steep section he would drop out of the paceline and fight with his derailleur as it made horrible noises, the chain skipping all over the place. I couldn’t figure it out, and then when I looked down it became clear. He was running Campy lol

Around 2 and a bit hours from the start we reached the first climb of the day, the foreboding Fitz Hill, the hill from which the ride gets its name. Last year I reached the bottom of this hill in a group of 18. This year with just three of us it was a bit like a teary farewell at the airport as we wished each other a safe journey, and that was that. Solo time!

At the first checkpoint I briefly caught up with the other two riders while we refilled bottles and had a quick bite to eat, and 3 minutes later I was on my way again. Not long after leaving, the next group of riders were coming down the hill. This year the organisers had dispensed with the coloured patches you attached to your bike, so I had no idea whether the following riders were from the Extreme event or from my own. Not that it really mattered, as I was essentially just out on another solo training ride now, setting my own pace. I went through the motions. Stay hydrated, eat regularly, keep the pedals moving and no massive power spikes unless there are Red Devils waving at you!

It seemed to take an eternity for me to reach the top of Fitz Hill on the return leg, but boy did I enjoy the descent, especially as the first rider of the day back over the hill. Due to the course speed limit being 60km/h, I am not able to disclose my actual speed. Suffice to say, it was quick. The riders struggling up the hill, some walking, were probably having other thoughts at the sight of me bombing down the hill knowing that 105km into the ride I already had a 30km lead on them.

With Fitz Hill out of the way it was only a short distance until the turnoff for Honeysuckle Creek, and this is about where the wind appeared with a vengeance, making the already twisty and steep climb into a nightmare. I’d set a goal to climb Honeysuckle in 30min, which was only marginally quicker than my time last year, and based entirely on my fitness level now vs then. The wind had other ideas, and it was a sufferfest. Instead of doing it quicker I actually rode it almost 3 minutes slower than last year. Despite the temptation to go deep, I kept the power on the climb at a nice comfortable level. The climb is 9km long and you can’t get into any sort of rhythm as the road undulates up and down like a rollercoaster, and the wind just keeps coming at you. I felt like I was going backwards on a couple of sections, and the cattle grid 4km into the climb is a curious feature. Has anybody stopped and asked why cows would be half way up one of the toughest climbs in the ACT?

Finally reaching the top after slightly more than half an hour of climbing, it was another quick stop. Drop the rider card in the bucket, refill the bottles, grab a couple of pieces of fruit and off we go. The Honeysuckle Descent is a wild ride, and the wind threw in some extra difficultly points. It was a bit different not having Brendo to draft behind. He loved this descent last year, while I just tried to hold onto his wheel and my nerves. This year it was all me, but at least I remembered the cattle grid this time! There were a lot of pain faces coming up the climb, and I spotted the SUvelo Father/Son combo of Andy and Robbie Matthews towards the bottom. That kid is one to watch. 13 years old and knocking off the 210km event!

Back on the main road I still had a pretty large gap to the next 210km rider. Nonetheless, I didn’t bother with a stop at Tharwa on the return. I still had two full bottles and plenty of food, and at 11am I was looking good for an early afternoon finish. But the wind was getting worse, and now I was heading directly into it and still had the most horrid climb of the day to go, the 11km ascent to Corin Forest. Easily the most misleading climb on ride profile sheet, a laughable 4.8% avg gradient over 11km. Pffft. 4.8%, that is big ring territory. That’s not a climb at all. Alas, this is what happens when you let statisticians loose on ride profiles, you get meaningless numbers. The Corin climb goes roughly like this. “Ouch. Ouch. WTF is that! Ouch. You have got to be f&*king kidding me! <Cramps> OMG, who built this road? No, seriously…this is not normal!”. Anyway, you get the idea. I can assure you, not one section of this road has a gradient anywhere near 4.8%, except maybe the entrance to the checkpoint carpark at the top!
It was here, in the carpark after the 45 minute climb, that I came face to face with another rider from the 210km event going in the same direction. I was a little surprised at this given the large gap at the previous checkpoint, so I cheekily suggested we roll turns back to the finish line, thinking that Brendo had sent in a proxy (because he was about the same size!). He agreed, perhaps thinking I was going to tow him home so he could sneak around me in the last couple of km (like I was going to let that happen..bahaha). So, water refills again, another card drop, more food and off we go. Total stopping time about 13 minutes so far for the day, and now just the descent and run home to go, and I have someone with me to share the workload.

I love the Corin descent, the 13 min white knuckle ride being the reward for the slog on the way up! With my fellow 210km rider with me, it was almost like having Brendo back, except I didn’t have to yell at him when he did 600W over the top of every hill! Reaching the turn back onto the main road was a bit of a slap to the face though. The wind was now blowing from the NE at about 45km/h on average with gusts well beyond that, meaning a massive headwind then a massive crosswind as we made the right hand turn back to Stromlo. I allowed a couple of minutes to get my legs back into climbing mode after the high speed run down the mountain, then I relit the afterburners to cut through the wind. It was all too much for my new riding partner. He had gone incredibly deep on the Corin climb to catch up with me and was now paying for that effort. Once I started turning the legs over, he tried to hold my wheel as best he could, but I was pulling away and he was therefore no chance to pull a turn. I am pretty sure his heart sank after the effort he put in, but that is the thing about the Fitz Challenge. You must ride it on your own terms, and not get suckered in to chasing wheels. When you least expect it, you can get chewed up and spat out the back, whether it’s cramps, mechanicals, bits of wire, or hubbards! That is what makes this event so great. You have the opportunity to test yourself, but you always have to be mindful that the end goal is to finish.

There were a lot of riders from the shorter events struggling in the wind, not helped by a few questionable choices of deep rim wheels in the crazy conditions. A tough day at the office for everyone!
Crossing in front of the Cotter Dam Wall, I knew I only had the uphill run on Cotter Rd to go, and catching the green light to cross the river, I knew someone was smiling at me today.
As I finally came over that last rise and caught a glimpse of the residential area behind Stromlo, my heart was racing. Only 2km to go and I could smell the sausages cooking at the finish line. At Fitz, even the entry to Stromlo is uphill (no joke!). At the end of such a brutal day, it’s just a reminder that you need to stay alert the entire time.

I made the final turn into the Stromlo Park and headed for the 300m straight (and downhill!) run to the finish. The marshals were waving flags and telling me to slow down. Noooo! However, in a surprise bonus, my wife and kids were right there on the finish line to see me arrive, my youngest one jumping up with excitement to see me. As I crossed the timing mat a wave of emotion came over me. This was an incredibly tough day, but I had achieved my main goal to be the first rider home, and proven to myself that I can do a ride of this difficulty level with the bare minimum of stops. I have also now qualified for the Alpine Ultimate 320KM event at Bright in January.

At the finish I was able to sit down and have some lunch with my kids from the awesome BBQ that they had running. That was the best sausage sizzle I have ever tasted! We all sat there and watched the other riders coming in over the finish line, and we soaked up the atmosphere while my legs recovered enough that I could walk. Looking towards the sky we could tell that it was about to rain again, and my thoughts turned to the riders still out on the course. You poor buggers! Somehow I had managed to avoid the rain all day. It was just those laps of the carpark in the morning where I got wet!

This is a fantastic event. Sure, the weather sucked this year, but this does not take away from the ride itself. You have to expect changing conditions for an all day ride, and at some point you will get wet so you might as well enjoy it. If you want to test yourself, this is the ride to do it on. The support is fantastic, the organisation second to none, and you get to spend the weekend away from Sydney. Just finishing the event is a massive achievement.

For Ando, I hope you have better luck next year. You have smashed out the climbs this year and even joined the Hells 500, so I thought this was your year!

For all the other riders that gave this a go, whether you finished or not, you are all winners!

Tron!

A revamped ladies Sunday ride - lead by Kim Stokeld - Oct 30th 2016

Ladies Social Ride Report

Today the ladies social ride had a revamp - the combination of our usual venue, Parramatta Park, being decked in pink for the Pink Triathlon, and our usual fearless leader, Jodie, doing the Pink Triathlon, meant that a change was required.

After some conversation, we decided to provide more of a challenge to our ladies and I organised a ride route to Sydney Olympic Park. For the ladies up for the bigger challenge, there was a 70+km return ride, and for the ladies who wanted to just give Olympic Park a go, there was a 18-20km ride around the Park.

The ride from the Etta was a fun one.. interesting bike paths, clackety bridges, Cumberland Hospital heritage, some river views and even a bit of cyclocross. Some more ladies joined us at meeting points enroute and we had a bunch of 6 by the time we arrived at SOP. There we were met by a lady who had driven all the way from Faulconbridge to ride with us!

We then set off to do some SOP long laps and along the way we came across a late arrival who'd missed the start and had done her own individual pursuit to catch us. After a few laps, the now 8 of us stopped for coffee, chat and some entertainment from a man at another table.

7 of us then got back on our bikes for the return trip which was another fun one with a slightly different route home.

All in all it was a fun morning on the bike with lots of laughs and a great crew. Thanks ladies!

Kim

Fitz's Challenge 2016 - Ando and Rob's war of attrition

Fitz wrap up... flat tyre edition ... (long version with tears)

Its 4am...Its thundering and raining outside, I'm laying in my tent wondering about the long day ahead. I hear Rob S stirring in the tent beside me beside me fart ,He is awake too. The rain stops for a while we get dressed, have cold coffees out of our thermos jugs (lol) and look towards the skies..Seems to be clearing up.we are both feeling optimistic.

5.45, The heavens open up on the start line and it rains buckets..and I'm thinking to myself.."wow, this will be a hard long wet day" but, the best (worst) was yet to come.. I'm standing under the marshalling tent, trying to stay dry..I'm watching Megatron riding around the carkpark in the rain..I yell out to him.. " what are you doing, are you crazy!!" he replied " I'm getting ready for wet weather conditions" ..He was jumping out of his skin...you could tell he was ready to go no matter what! .He was looking good.

6.03. The race begins,the roads are now wet. The usual 5kms or so of hubbard riding is on full display...People riders going left and right, fast and slow... Blowing snot everywhere in the bunch (I hate that)..Rob and I move out way through the bunch trying to into some clean air..

We get on the back of a fast moving group..I think to myself, if we can just roll along with these guys we will make good time, and do the the easier with the help of the bunch..

15kms mark.. I see a rider on the side of the road with a flat tyre...I say to the guy beside me .."wow.. He is having some bad luck"...

Nek minit, I feel the dreaded bouncy feeling of a flat tyre...Rob and I pull over to change the flat...the first of many .I changed the tube fast and we are rolling again..disappointed that we lost the good group we where rolling with but still optimistic about the day.

 

around the 50km mark we ride over the crest of a hill...and you could see we some bogans had been doing burnouts the night before...shredded tyre was all over the road ..you could see the bits of wire everywhere.. I thought to myself.."this looks bad!" We rode through it and tried not to think about it.

As we continued on...the amount of riders on the side of the road with flat tyres was unbelievable.....I'd never seen so many people with punctures , Rob calls out me "flat tyre!!" we pullover again...that one each.

We both must of picked up some wire from that burnout patch ..I turned my tyre inside out trying to find something.. Every hour my rear tyre would go flat...It was so frustrating, I couldn't believe the bad luck both Rob and I were having...At about flat tyre No#4 ...I lost it and blew my stack...Lucky Rob was there to council me...otherwise the bike was getting thrown of the side of the mountain and I was getting the sag wagon home..

On the next flat tyre we were greeted by out club mates Riki, Sean and Neil...They were a god sent and got both of us out of trouble...they helped us fix Robs tyre.."both of us were over changing tyres at this point. and we rode as a group ...
Both Rob and I had been riding on un-inflated tyres from most of the ride, and had decided not to continue on the 210km route .but just try to limp home...

we all continued on....my legs were gone and I could keep up with the group....Just one of those days where I had nothing....I knew at the start of the day that I wasn't at my best. I just kept rolling along trying to get home...without any more flats..

20kms from home the rain started again...my legs were destroyed and I thought....what a way to top of the ride....with some rain !! lol..!!
by this time I had fallen way off the group and was just rolling along ...unable to hold 100 watts , survival mode...Rob waited up for me to get us both home....

5kms from home....another rear flat....By this time I was wayyy over the whole day .. I had no tubes no Co2 and either did Rob..I told Rob to continue on home...I got off my bike and started walking thinking it was only 5 kms.. I soon realised that 5 kms walking in cycling shoes is a hell of a long way..so I was begging passing riders to give me a tube and a Co2 canister....A nice guys came to my rescue, I changed the flat ...and limped home..

This by far was my worst day of cycling ever!! ...

But later that night after a hot shower and a few drinks, I could have a laugh about it... :p

In saying all this...Fitz is a very well organised event..The year before I had no flats at all !

All the food stops are great and the lunch stop was excellent too..
lots of road marshals around to guide you.

I would do this ride again...I was just having one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong...And at the end of the day as Rob pointed out to me ,in one of the many counselling sessions he had to give me....its only bike riding !..and he is right...
I got to thanks Rob Stevenson for putting up with me for two days ...He is a great guy.. :)

I also have to thank Riki, Neil and Sean for helping Rob and I ...without them we wouldn't have made it back..

In the end...I got 7 flats...and Rob got 5.... Tough day !

Congratulations to Paul Murgatroyd for winning the 210km event...He was on fire ....we seen him around the 100km mark on the return and he was smashing it on the front solo.

also worth a mention ...congrats to Diego Torres... for having a crack at the 255 extreme distance....I've never meet a guy who just backs himself and had a crack.. Doesn't care about winning just wants to complete the ride...Good on you ;)

Sorry for anyone I didn't mention :)

Once again Fitz is a great event ...I will do it again next year...
anyone who wants to do it.....its the hardest ride you will ever do.!

Cheers Everyone

Ando

Shattered but he made it.

Shattered but he made it.

Team Time Trial Club Champs in Nowra

Team Time Trial Club Champs in Nowra

8 teams of 4 raced against the clock last Saturday in the Club TTT champs in Nowra, club vs club. We're extremely proud of everyone who participated, and we even had a number of social riders use a one off race licence to join their club mates. Special mention to the team of Bek Maroney, Bridget Bremner, Belinda Miller and Jodi Feltrin who came second in their division with a huge result, as well as Adam Prez Fahey, Andrew Finno Finlayson, Paul Megatron Murgatroyd and Craig Quadzy Sinteur, who finished top 10 in a very tough field.

All teams racing in NWSCC kit will have their entry fees fully reimbursed (members, please use the email button at the bottom if you need further information) and all reports have been that this was a wonderful time away so we will definitely try to support this event again, as well as seeing if we can organise some more time trials!

It was fantastic to see quite a few back up from the TTT to do some Everesting laps on Sunday as well. Club spirit alive and well.

Photos to come tomorrow!

The Howitzer takes 4th at the Cervelo Masters

We have been fortunate to have had a number of strong riders come into NWSCC since its inception, and possibly none have risen so fast or been quite as controversial as Terence Howes, possessed by an incredible final kick, an inhuman ability to stay upright and a taste for danger - a born sprinter.

Terence had a short career in B grade before taking on the big guns in A grade, and unfortunately had a serious incident at a NWSCC club race at the Eastern Creek GP circuit, leading to some soul searching and time to reflect on the sidelines earlier in the year.

Since then, he's worked hard to develop his riding both in the final and his general bunch work - to chase the break, to spend a lot more time working hard in the bunch, and be more aggressive responding to attacks. A well rounded rider.

This culminated in a superb 4th in Division 1 at the Sydney round of the Cervelo series, standing with some incredible company from all around NSW. Congrats to our friend Matt Smithson from Penrith on the left who didn't go home empty handed either.

The owner of www.Prism.bike (and NWSCC member) took a great video of the race. Awesome drone work!

NWSCC Everesting - Greg and Rob

We're going to put up a post every day this week to acknowledge some incredible achievements by our members over the past fortnight, and some of the fantastic times that the rest of the club has had around them. One of the best things about cycling is that you don't have to commit to a once in a lifetime goal to tag along and have a good time.

Rob Lloyd (club sponsor RT Screenprinting) and Greg Anderson completed the Everesting challenge over the weekend, spending up to 30 hours straight riding up and down the northern ascent of the Pie in the Sky climb at Cowan on the old highway. 46 climbs for more than 8848m of climbing. Kudos gentlemen. Congrats also to Deb Owers who also completed it at the same time. James Attard was brave and set a personal best distance of 200kms before pulling the pin after 12 hours of riding, and also Robert Thomson who was unlucky with mechanicals and had to pull out after 160.

Equally inspiring was the number of people who either came down to ride some laps, or hang out for a while to keep the vibe pumping. Nodoze and Red Bull can only take you so far ;)

Well done Rob, well done Greg. Our first 3 members of the Everesting club have been decided. We think a few of the faces in these photos might be the next.

Giro Strava Challenge Part 2

Just a quick reminder that Saturday rides have changed. 6am Fast group to the Gorges, 6:15am Int30+ Reverse Cattai, 6:15am Int28+ Sackville, 6:15 Int26, no 6:30 ride (get those kms in and avoid the sunburn!), 6:45am Novi and Beginner loops, and a 7am Int27+ Turfies loop with some paceline practice to start the ride. 7am might be cancelled pending rider interest. All rides normally are back between 8:40-9am.

Diego Torres shares his thoughts on the final week of the challenge...

WEEK 4
I finally had a chance to change the schedule. Riding 4 days in a row (Tue-Th) was tough and meant that Thursday wasn't a long ride as it was supposed to as my legs would give up at around midday. So this week I changed to Mon-Wed, then rest day, then ride Fri-Sat (soccer was on Sunday for a change). That all sounded great on paper. And timing seemed great as rain was forecasted for Thursday. With some luck I could climb the 7000 metres for the week and maybe more. Bring it on I said!

Monday was a great start to the week: 1550 metres climbed using the same circuit as the previous Tuesday. The relatively easy days on Sat and Sun meant the legs felt great and I was looking forward to Tuesday.

Tuesday was probably the coldest day so far. I waited until it got above 10 to start riding which meant I finished after lunch. A small price to pay to not freeze any body parts. Climbing wise I did another 1564 metres going up and down Gilbert road. That meant I was caught up with the 100 odd metres I was short the week before. It was only Tuesday and I had 3000 metres already. Happy days!

Wednesday I woke up with a sore throat. By the time I got out riding it was a bit better but I was feeling lethargic. Half an hour into the ride (horshoe repeats) the garmin beeped and showed “battery low”. I had forgotten to charge it, I did another 30 minutes and went back home for a rest and to plug the garmin for an hour or so. With the garmin now reading 50% charge and some coffee in the system I went out again. Half way through the second repeat of the circuit I hit the wall. It was like when someone unplugs the stereo in the middle of your house party. One minute you are having a good time and the next you are wondering what happened to the music and what to do next.

I stopped at the bottom of the hill before the next repeat. Having only done 700 metres today was not an ideal situation but getting off the bike and lying on the kerb for a nap looked like a great option. I figured that if I could do 1000 metres I would have 3 days to do 3000 metres (not counting Thrusday which was a rest day and skipping soccer on Sunday). I figured I could manage 3 days of 1000 metres even with a cold/flu... or at least I wanted to believe it. I dragged myself around the circuit three more times. At times it felt I could have walked faster but I got to 1000 metres and called it a day. Hopefully TH rest day would be enough to get over this ... whatever it was.

Friday morning I was feeling much better but still very congested. I took a couple of those night/day tablets, waited two hours and got on the bike. I decided to try a new circuit made up of one horseshoe repeat, a reverse lap around Sandhurst ct and one Gilbert road repeat. The horseshoe is twice as steep and half the length of Gilbert road so for the same elevation gain (~140 metres) . The lap of Sandhurst is only ~30 metres elevation but the three bits put together flow nicely. It starts hard, then it gets easier on sandhurst and it finishes even easier on Gilbert rd so the legs have plenty of time to recover before the next horseshoe repeat.

The combination of having had a rest day, the flowing circuit and taking some nasal decongestant was fantastic. I rode 2.5 hours and climbed 1300 metres without stopping (other than to clear my nose and have a drink). I didn't feel too tired so I left the bike outside in case I'd decided to go out again after lunch. I checked the forecast again and it was still scheduled to rain until midday on Saturday. After thinking it over for a couple of hours I decided to out out again and see if I could do the 1600 metres remaining in the Challenge. I was feeling that good!

I left it too late though and when I started the 7 lap of the day it was almost 4 pm, the temperature had dropped and it was getting quite windy. Add to that the increase in traffic for school pickup and Gilbert rd didn't seem appealing at all anymore. So after 7 laps and 2325 metres I called it a day. With 488 metres left it meant Saturday was going to be an easy ride. I could even do the club ride Saturday. I had something planned for the afternoon so I decided to do the Novi club ride and finish up in the rain.

Surely it would be a bit miserable but only needing 488 metres meant I could cruise to the finish line like they do on the last stage of the grand tours. Strava said that the Novi ride was 380 metres, getting to the etta is another 120 metres. So in theory I would be done by the time we got back to the Etta for coffee. As expected , it did rain and it was miserable. But the worst of it was that the garmin said the ride only had 215 metres of elevation. That put me 160 odd short of the target. The return home from the Etta is usually 140 metres so I might have to go out on Sunday to finish up.

I hanged around the Etta until it stopped raining at which time I was shivering. The only option was to go hard and empty the tank on the way home. Not that there was much left in it. After cleaning up and warming up a bit I uploaded the ride and was really happy to see I was actually 15 metres over the target. As I loaded the kids into the car I was told three times: “Congratulations on finishing the challenge Daddy, does this mean you won't spend school nights planning your next ride and actually talk to us?”

“It sure does... it sure does” I said.

Our first Everesting by the Club Captain!

Congratulations to Don Vella successfully completing the first Everest in the club on the Brooklyn to Pie in the Sky climb just north of Sydney.

Everesting is a ride that repeats a hill climb until you reach the height of the world's tallest mountain, over 8000m of ascent. Club members Rob Lloyd (and sponsor RT Screen Printing!) and Greg Anderson had big rides supporting, with PBs of 6114m and 5014m each, and will be back in a month to have another crack.

Massive kudos to Don, who completed it with a 39/28, and he sends a big thank you to everyone who rode out to support and do some laps with him, especially Belinda Latimore, James Attard, Rob and Greg. One for the bucket list!

Don's Strava Activity!!!!!

Giro Strava Challenge Report

Diego Torres loves a challenge, and has taken on Strava's Giro challenge with impressive vigour. Here are his reflections...

The text was short: “Are you doing the Giro Challenge?” I didn't think it twice, logged onto Strava and joined the challenge then replied to the message “Yes, just joined”. I figured it was another of the usual Strava climbing challenges that are harder than the monthly climbing challenge but not more than 10-14k climbing meters, I did a 12000 metres one before so it could not be that hard... I should have read the description!
That was at the beginning of April, there was plenty of time to prepare as the challenge didn't start until May 6th. Then, on the second week of April they removed it from the website. You could still see the graphic under the challenges that you had joined but upon following the link you were taken to a “The requested challenge does not exist” message page. I still had not read the description so when someone told me it was actually 21000 metres I sort of didn't believe them . The challenge had been pulled from the website so it sort of didn't matter. Nevertheless, a little voice in my head told me that I should start working on a plan, any plan. So I did what I always do with the voices in my head.... I did what it told me :-). The challenge eventually showed up on the website very late in April and yes it was 21000 metres.

THE PLAN
The challenge is to climb 21000 metres between May 6th and May 29th. That gives you 24 days. If you rode everyday it comes to 875 metres per day. Doesn't sound too bad does it? But I couldn't ride all 24 days, only 17 as the odd appearance at home and work was required. That brought the number to 1236 metres per riding day. It was starting to look... interesting.
That number (1236) would have to be achieved 5 days a week before noon, except for Thursdays which are completely free. So the plan was formulated:

  • Monday: off
    – – – – – –
    Tuesday: anything over 1100 metres Wednesday: anything over 1100 metres Thursday: 2500 – 3000 metres (I had all day :-) ) Friday: 1000 metres
    Saturday: off
    Sunday: 1300 metres.
    Over three
    the bank for unforeseen circumstances. I was feeling confident.
    weeks (15 riding days) that would add up to 21000 metres leaving me with two days in
    WEEK 1
    It was a short week with only two riding days (Friday 6th, and Sunday 8th) Things didn't go to plan as I had to use both Friday and Sunday for some emergency work thing. I had no more days in the bank but I wasn't badly behind schedule.
    WEEK 2
    I half thought about riding on Monday but moving around commitments proved too hard. No worries, still on schedule. Tuesday went to plan with 1130 metres climbed in 60 Kms. It was quite windy and there was a lot of debris on the shoulder of most roads and some intersections were scary as the wind would hit from the side and push me a meter or so off my line. Fortunately traffic was very light and the head winds were mostly downhill. There were no uphill tail winds though, that would have been nice.
    Wednesday also went to plan, 1370 metres climbed in 72.5 kms. There was little wind but still
    plenty of debris on the road from Tuesday. I started to feel the legs a bit tired and also a little sunburnt. Plenty of aloe vera for the skin and a 20 minute reco spin on the trainer to flush the lactic acid was in order to finish the day. The next day was the big one: 2500-3000 metres of glorious climbing.
    Thursday's plan was to go from Berowra to Kariong, Back to Berowra and onto Bobbin Head then finish up with a visit to Berowra Waters. Strava put it at around 2200 metres so a repeat of one of the hills would be in order. It could not have gone less to plan. The main problem was the legs: the effort of the previous two days caught up to me and the legs just couldn't do 3000 metres. The other problem was the route, I made the mistake of trying to add a side trip to WoyWoy without having been there before or researching the route past a quick glance at google maps. As a result I got lost for 40 minutes (climbing 30 metres in the process), never made it to Woy Woy, had a clip stack whilst tying to find my way around and ruined my mood for the rest of the ride.
    I did a repeat of Mt White, also a poor choice as 10kms gives you 250 odd metres of climbing. My mood got worse and by the time I got back to Berowra I was ready to quit the whole thing. 100Kms and 1628 mst climbed, my legs were toast, I had a headache and I was hungry. I got in the car and drove down to Berowra Waters, maybe some lunch and a long break would change things, maybe I'd do repeats on both sides, get to 2000 metres and try to salvage the day. Unfortunately, having lunch and sitting down for a while only made my legs say “stuff you, we ain't riding no more today”. Got in the car and drove home. After checking the progress spreadsheet things didn't look too encouraging, there was hope but I needed to do 1406 metres per day from then on ... time for a rethink.
    For Friday I decided to try something totally opposite to Thursday. Instead of long 4-6% climbs I designed a course with short 9-11% climbs. I figured that if I did 3-5 minute climbs it would be easier to do repeats as your legs get a 1 minute rest every 5 minutes. My legs were still sore from Thursday but the course had the added advantage of being a couple of blocks from home. I could stop anytime for a break (with a warm drink and a nap if need be) and I didn't have to carry much food, water, tools or even the extra bottle cages. Not carrying those items shaved 1.5 kilos of the total weight of the bike. And you can feel 1.5 kilos when doing 15+ repeats of an 11% climb!
    The plan worked. I didn't get to 1400 metres but considering that my legs were quite sore from the day before, climbing 1124 metres in 2 hours (moving time) and 33kms (distance), the day was a resounding success. I did three 30 minute sessions with 30 minute rests in between which included warm drinks and foam roller massages. I was still about 1800 metres from the weekly target with only one day left in the week but the glass was most definitely half full.
    Sunday held some promise. I had Saturday off so the legs were feeling better. I played soccer on Saturday afternoon but it didn't seem to had a detrimental effect. I was having Monday off (prior commitments) so it was a chance to go for broke. Looking at all my strava routes I saw one I hadn't done in almost a year. It is 33 kms long and climbs 550 metres. If I started early enough I could squeeze in 3 laps with 30 minute breaks before midday.
    A 6 am start called for the winter kit. It would not be a big deal if it warmed up as I could remove layers at home at the end of each lap. The only exception were the gloves. My winter gloves are for 5 Degrees or less and it wasn't going to be that cold but still too cold for summer gloves. I had been considering using my old american grid iron receiver gloves which had never been used for american grid iron and been in a drawer for the last 12 years. They have a two piece leather palm and thickly woven nylon backing. A quick test in front of a fan at full blast showed that they let a small amount of air through but were still warm enough. On the first lap I put the winter gloves in my back pocket just in case. The grid iron gloves were perfect and my hands were warmer than my
    thighs which were donned with 3⁄4 winter bibs. At the end of the first lap it was warm enough to switch to summer gloves and remove the base layer. Warm drink, energy bar, roller massage and off for the second lap. Going down Windsord Road towards BaulkHam Hills some sunday driver decided he could cross the road from the driveway of the old Private Hospital without looking . I was paying attention though so a quick press of the brakes (rear locked), an urgent whistle and a few choice words and accident avoided. At the end of the lap the winter jersey was replaced by a thin base layer and a summer jersey. More roller massages, a warm drink and a banana and off to do the third and last lap of the day. Having already climbed 1200 metres (had done a couple of repeats to round up) the legs were starting to go down in power. By the 25 Km mark I reached a slight downhill and was about to freewheel when a small dog jumped out from behind a bush and started to give chase barking like mad. First reaction was to swear at it and second reaction was to sprint and tease it to see how long it could chase me , it chased for 200 metres, the bastard :-)
    I had promised one of the kids we'd practice riding to school, so after lunch I got on the MTB and we did the 4.7 km round trip which added 78 metres to the day's climbing. That brought the total of the day to 1805 metres and the weekly total to 7057. Spot on target. Life was good again.
    WEEK 3
    Taking stock of the previous week I realised that doing 4 consecutive days of climbing was not the best strategy because the last day was pure torture. Unfortunately, any attempts to insert a rest day in the middle of the week were stopped by previous commitments. So it was a matter of keeping the same schedule as last week but upping the daily targets on the first two days and reducing them for the last two days of the 4 day stretch. The new target was 1500 metres per day which would mean 7500 in the week quite possibly making the last week an easier one.
    On Tuesday a small change in the route saw two short and steep climbs added and some distance removed from the circuit so that 3 laps would give 1500 metres instead of the 1200 of the previous week. I had forgotten to charge the garmin so after the first lap I plugged it in while I had some coffee. I didn't count on it uploading automatically to the cloud upon being plugged in which is no big deal other than on the next two laps checking the total ascent screen required mentally adding the meters from the first (already uploaded) lap. Small annoyance but it would not be the last (or smallest) one of the week. With 1565 meters climbed things were going according to plan. A flat in the second lap would come back to haunt me later in the week.
    Wednesday also featured a change in the day's route to get to 1500 metres as per the new plan. It was colder than any of the previous days which might have caused (or added to) the small headache I felt towards the end of the first lap. By the end of the second lap it was bad enough I had to call it a day. At 982 metres climbed it wasn't ideal but it was only the second ride day of the week, there was time to make up the difference.
    Reality decided to slap me on the face Wednesday afternoon, hard... First, the headache got worse as the day went by, no amount of icing or pain killers seemed to help. Then, when putting away the bike (it was left outside most of the day in the hopes the headache would go away) I saw the same wheel that had the flat the day before was low on air, not flat, but quite low. Spent 40 minutes looking for a puncture that wasn't there. The tube has a slow leak that I can't find, good thing is not the only spare. Add to that the work email about the next day's conference call, the one planned last month, the one I totally forgot about, the one scheduled to be 4 hours long. Thursday was supposed to be the long ride/ catch up day.Bummer. But wait, there is more! My better half reminded me about Sunday's birthday party for our nephew, it was at 11 am so I wouldn't be able to climb enough metres that day... the plan was falling apart.
    Thursday morning started with a high note: No headache. It was followed by a flat note: The long,
    long, long conference call that went from 7 am until 11 am. Lunch time came and with it a crazy plan to rescue the week: Switch TH with FR (long day and short steep day), ride 400+ metres on Saturday (rest day) and 1200 (two laps) on Sunday morning. The circuit for TH would be “horse shoes”, two short and steep climbs (9 and 11%) in the form of a squashed horse shoe that give 110 metres gain in 2 kms (round trip). On lap 13 my back was starting to tighten and having climbed 1451 metres I called it a day. It was short of the target but the week could still be saved.
    Friday's route was also changed, this one completely. Going to Kariong and back didn't have enough elevation for the distance so I went with the three gorges instead with plans to do Galston twice and Berowra on both sides. Climbing up Bobbin Head (first time ever) I caught a glimpse of a rider who was 100 metres or so ahead and seemed to be going about the same speed as me. My head was telling me to keep my eyes on the power meter but my heart was telling me to catch that rabbit, so I went into chase mode and caught the rabbit. Only someone else caught up and passed me. So I chased that rabbit too... all the way to Berowra. As soon as I sat down for lunch at Berowra Waters I knew I was going to pay dearly for those two rabbits. Climbing up berowra on both sides after lunch was almost slow as walking so I gave up on a Galston repeat and crawled home. With 1656 metres climbed the rescue plan was working.
    Saturday I rode the MTB, slowly and on the footpath to the In-Laws. 374 metres gained. Legs were very heavy but if I could squeeze the two laps and 1200 metres on Sunday morning before the 10:30 am departure for the Birthday party the week would be more than saved. I would be ~300 metres ahead. Soccer in the afternoon was a matter of trying to just show up and not do much. We had 5 subs so I managed to weasel my way into only playing 25 minutes of the first half and relax the second half. Things were looking up.
    Sunday was really smoky from the backburns and it was also foggy, “don't bother with glasses” foggy. A 6 am start meant I could just manage the two laps of the 33 km circuit before leaving for the Birthday party. At the 27 km mark of the first lap I checked the total climb screen. It read 240 metres when it should be reading closer to 450 metres. By the end of the lap it read 265 metres. The same circuit last week read 570 metres. Strava route planner says 599. Something was wrong, really wrong. During the stop between laps I saved the ride so far, power cycled the garmin and re- calibrated it (at least I think I did). But the second lap was the same: 285 metres. I had 30 minutes to spare after getting changed before leaving for the party. Some mad googling later I found an altitude correction web page. The corrected files came back with 440 and 439 metres instead of 550+. The kids and wife were in the car waiting yelling “we'll be late!”. Punching the numbers in the spreadsheet showed that if I 'accepted' that elevation I'd be 45 metres behind from the target (13964 of 14000). Someone was honking the horn.... I saved the spredsheet and ran to the car... what a week!

Thanks mate, and thank you to a patient Torres family!

7/5 SMSP Race Report

Another successful race at Eastern Creek on Saturday 7th. Thanks to Marconi CC for helping us put on a great race, The Odd Spoke our race series sponsor, and Nutriscience for their "supplemental" prizes also. (boom tish)

Prep for the race started much earlier in the week, with a call out for volunteers for the day and a last minute printer failure quickly solved to make sure that everything was set for the day. The volunteers were at the Raceway in the dark, setting up the sign on desk and making sure the track was clear.

Thanks to the guys also who supported the social rides which still managed to go ahead with minimal disruption to the riders. Great work as it is just as important to keep the social side of things going for us as it is the racing.

As the sun began to rise through the haze riders prepared for the race, warming up on the track whilst the audience and commissaires hung around trying to find ways to keep warm! We kicked off just after 7am with 117 racers, from A to E grade.

Everyone seemed intent on a positive race, with spirits high as they took off. Standing on the sideline, the wind came up everytime the groups went past and we would have to spend the next few minutes warming up again. It wasn’t until half way through the race that we started to defrost!

A solid effort in E grade, with three competitors holding their own and fighting it out. Mandy was back on the track for the first time in 20 odd years, can’t wait to see her progress over the next few months. Well done to Belinda for her amazing sprint efforts which brought her home. Anthony Pope bought a day licence online and wasn’t it worth it, taking out 4th place behind Carrie McCromick and Mathew Want despite a very tough day in the saddle.

D Grade was a tight finish, with quite a few people in the running right up until the end. Quite a few NWSCC newbies including Ian and Mad Mark, who apparently learnt quite a lot about having to pace yourself and don’t let the others make you do all the work. Ray Vella sprinted for the win, Dave Hazzard took out the Prime and 2nd place, and Andre Vanderhyde completed the podium.

23 C graders started the race, with NWSCC member and OneBody man Enoch Lam taking out the Prime, but not managing to hold on for a podium. First place to Peter Tononcelli from Marconi, followed very closely by Paul MacFarlane and Albert Alonso from LACC.

The biggest grade was B, with 47 riders vying for the podium. David Moore attacked early and stayed away in a break of 3 for handful of laps, but came back before the prime. A tightly fought race, with Tom Brown taking out first, followed closely by Sylvester Zust and Alan Biddle, with our Diego Morales taking out the Prime.

A good turnout considering the other events on meant 26 racers in A grade, with a breakaway happening within the first couple of laps. Whilst there were a few stayers on that breakaway, we did see a few people try and reel them in, including a eye opening bridge from our sprinter Terence Howes, aided by Ollie Rainbow! Sadly it didn't stick but Nash Kent made it across at the end, 4 racers coming down the straight for a sprint finish amongst themselves. Alex Nazarewicz managed to hold on to first position, followed very closely by Eddie Salas. Matt Smithson, who had kindly spent an evening earlier in the week with our racers, showed everyone how to race well, coming in for third place. NWSCC's Craig Sinteur took out the Prime, continuing his strong form.

All in all a very successful morning, thanks to everyone for your support, both racers and volunteers and also those holding the fort with the social rides. Also thanks to Mark Elridge for his great photos!

By Jodie Hill