In the lead up to one of the biggest events in Australian Cyclocross (CX) history, the inaugural National CX Championships, various rumours were flying around about the course and its degree of toughness and muddiness. As well as predictions on how kind or not the weather gods were going to be on the day. With many hoping for wet, muddy conditions for added rider enjoyment and spectator value!
Heading out to Cranwell Park, Braybrook, the nerves were building as too were the anticipation levels of pain about to be inflicted on the 130 odd riders who had entered across the junior, elite and masters (30+, 40+ & 50+) categories. Representing Stay True Racing in the Master’s categories were Malachi Moxon and myself, and we were pumped to be having the opportunity to race for a National title in our own backyard and add a couple bands of green and gold to the team kit.
The course definitely lived up to its difficult expectations, and appeared to restrict the MTB’ers with less opportunities to take advantage in any technical, dirt, rocky or log sections. With the course favouring my abilities and the sun shining brightly, my confidence levels grew and before I knew it, my Giant TCX and I were out in front leading the way in the masters 30+ category.
The next 40mins consisted of zig-zagging up and down the side of the hill in front of a growing crowd and trying to keep my heart rate from going through the roof every time I approached a particularly muddy section, barrier or set of stairs. I continued with this form for the entire race, and soaked up the cheers and support during the last lap as I crossed the line to win my first national title in cycling (only took 15 years!).
Malachi and long-time MTB nemesis Craig Peacock, were in a league of their own and lapped the entire 50+ field of riders! Coming back from recent illness resulting in lack of training and racing, Malachi wasn’t able to match it with Craig on the day and finished in 2nd place. Thus fuelling the fire to return next year fitter and stronger than ever before – I’m looking forward to that victory salute already!
The following day, the crew from Dirty Deeds hosted the National CX Series Round 5 at Darebin Parklands. This course blew everyone’s minds! You have to see the photos and videos to believe how truly awesome it was… no words can describe what an amazing day/event it was. So it’s best you check out Brew CX’s review to get a sense of how and why CX is booming in Melbourne!
Congrat’s to local riders Lisa Jacobs and Allan Iacuone for taking out the elite National titles, and also to Paul van de Ploeg (yep, VIC aswell) and Rowena Fry (TAS) as National CX Series winners and the 400+ riders and their fans who turned up in support of CX on the weekend to ensure Melbourne IS the CX capital of Australia!
As most of you would know, my history and results in cycling are largely road based (have a look here if you don’t!). However, over the past 15 years I have dabbled in other disciplines briefly (track, MTB and tandem cycling) but my passion for sweat, speed and strategy on the bike has always drawn me back to my roadie.
Recently my motivation for road cycling was lacking a little and especially more so in the lead up to an expected cold and wet winter. I was in search of a new challenge or something to reignite my passion for cycling. I’d heard a little about how much fun CX was from other cyclists and was in awe of epic photos of mud, crowds and skinsuits. Then I saw Cycling Victoria and the Dirty Deeds crew were hosting women’s introductory skills sessions in the lead up to the 2013 Dirty Deeds CX series, and I jumped at the chance to find out what all the fuss was about.
I was overwhelmed by Stay True Racing’s most generous sponsor, Giant Bicycles Australia, providing me with the opportunity to ride a truly awesome cyclo-cross bike (TCX Advanced SL) and I was determined not to disappoint them. At every opportunity I am on my TCX practicing mounts and dismounts (not so graceful at that movement yet!), attempting to lift front and back wheels up and over obstacles, getting used to racing in small gears and constant changes in speed, direction and surfaces of the course.
A few months on and I am hooked! I have raced all the local races and even ventured north of the border to take part in Rounds 3 & 4 of the National CX Series. The CX scene in Melbourne is very strong, with Victorian women making up half the field at the recent National CX Series races and most featuring on the podium or in the top 10! Giant Sponsored Paul van de Ploeg is also dominating races and regularly featuring on the CX podium.
I am sure there will be even more roadies and MTB’ers come of the woods for the first ever opportunity to win a green and gold jersey at the upcoming National CX Championships. It will be held at Cranwell Park, Braybrook (near Maribrynong) on Saturday 10 August. I hope to see you there cheering with cowbells and beer hand-ups, if not racing!
I’m conflicted about these posts. I totally get that no one gives two shits about my training….except people keep asking me about my training. So rather than provide specific advice to people that will probably be wrong, look at what I do. If you like it, feel free to copy it. Just remember that I don’t claim to have a clue and caveat emptor etc etc
First, a bit of tongue-in-cheek interpretation of Cicero’s famous words….
I used iMobile Intervals + the KICKR for all of the following sessions. I’m a beta tester for iMobile so I get access to erg control, which is great. Once I set up all of my workouts, it’s a great app.
Sunday: 4hrs Beach Rd with the team then ergo: HOP (hour of power). This is 300w for 2:40, then 420w for 20 secs, repeated 20 times to make an hour. A great session for tweaking threshold.
Click on the image to zoom in.
Monday: Reco, 30mins easy with multiple coffees.
Tuesday: Ergo: 6x10mins @ 350w with 5mins rest. I try not to be a fanboy but watching Gerro’s win provided extra motivation for this session.
Wednesday: 5.5hrs, North Rd Long + 1x SE rep of Arthur’s Seat.
Thursday: Super tired – brought my normal Friday rest day forward.
Friday: Ergo: 8x4mins @ 400w. I’m the best I’ve ever been at this protocol. That means it’s time to change soon – any suggestions?
Saturday: Beach Road, 3hrs.
So there it is – another week done. Phillip Island TT is next Saturday – can’t wait to try out my latest toy. Thanks to Shane for the aero-nerd advice that assisted my selection. It appears that Shane, DK and I will all be on HED front wheels now – market domination!
I generally don’t do this, but I’m going to share some power data from an 8 day block of training. Because it illustrates stupidity rather than form, I hope our beloved Stay True readers will forgive me.
I’ve learned that boredom is dangerous for my health. I don’t light fires or anything, but I do tend to overdo my training. This state led me to the reason for writing this: I wanted to bracket the upper limit of the ergo dose-response curve and see what effect it had on the performance of a punter like me. Translated: I was in the mood for some dumb training.
In summary….I did around 9.5hrs of ergo + 13.5hrs on the road in 8 days. Not outrageous volume, but every second of it was quality and I also billed 41 hours at work.
I definitely (a) found that upper limit, (b) it wasn’t performance enhancing and (c) I don’t recommend copying me.
I won’t bore you with a day-by-day account so here is the total list of sessions in 8 days, which included 1 rest day:
Here’s two of the sessions: the 4x30mins and one of the 8x4mins.
That last 8×4 session was on a Friday. I followed it with an easy 1.5hrs on Beach Road the next day and then did the Castlemaine 25km TT on the Sunday….where I experienced total nuclear meltdown. Now I’m sick with the flu. Is anyone surprised at this?
Lesson for everyone: Quality necessitates a reduction in quantity. You can’t have both. Don’t do the above.
Lesson for me: I still loved it and would do it again.
The cycling fraternity love to stare down their collective noses at the anti-doping methods of other sports. It’s as if cycling’s supposed salvation from a terrible history of doping is a badge of honour; a moral ivory tower from which to sneer at ‘lesser’ sports.
This is both reasonable and hypocritical in equal parts; the former because cycling’s testing and enforcement is now world’s best and the latter because our anti-doping excellence is the by-product of systemic cultural and institutional dishonesty.
With that caveat in mind, I will attempt to unpack the issues contained in the Jobe Watson/AFL saga.
To begin, we must refrain from making this an AFL-centric story. The issue is simply athlete vs. anti-doping code, and the rule of law should apply to all signatory sports or none. Including the AFL clouds the issue and evokes strong tribal protectionism.
Moving on to the WADA code, the (supposedly) contentious issue in the Watson case is strict liability. This means the athlete is liable for the substances in their body. There is no wriggle room on this point and the AFL Anti-Doping Code is totally WADA-compliant in this area. So, if an athlete under the code (Watson) is found to have taken a banned substance (as AOD9604 clearly was and remains) then an anti-doping rule violation has occurred. The principle of strict liability has been consistently upheld in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and intent or awareness are wholly irrelevant for this part of the process.
Further downstream, the issue of intent and reliance on expert advice become relevant. Under article 10 of the code, the athlete’s subsequent sanction may be reduced or suspended if they can prove that they were ‘not at fault or at significant fault’ and ‘did not intend to enhance his or her sporting performance.’
Considering Watson signed a consent form detailing the name of the drug, a 30 second Google search would have alerted him to the illegality of taking AOD9604. Google cache reveals a wealth of information on AOD was publicly available during the period in question, especially on bodybuilding forums where its mechanisms and effects were clearly spelled out.
Watson could have also called the ASADA anonymous information hotline for advice, visited the ASADA website or searched the numerous banned substance databases available on the internet. Even if he did so and found nothing he is not excused; an absence of information indicates the substance is not approved for therapeutic use and is automatically prohibited.
It is subsequently difficult to believe that Watson made a reasonable effort to abide by the WADA code. It is also clear that he was seeking a performance enhancing benefit from AOD that was not available to his rivals.
I accept that we should trust doctors. I can also entertain the thought that Watson did not cheat intentionally. However, I cannot accept that a professional athlete wouldn’t be interested enough in the drugs injected into their body to Google what they are and how they work. I also don’t believe a rational actor would behave in this way; if my ability to pay a mortgage relied on conforming to the WADA code, and the likelihood of my getting caught exceeded the payoff of cheating, I would make it my absolute priority to conform.
To paraphrase the great Aaron Sorkin; ‘If he didn’t know, then he’s criminally negligent. If he did, then he’s simply criminal.”