Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dauphine stage 6

Not alot of exciting news to report today unfortunately. Just like yesterday we set of at a frantic pace up and down mountains again causeing splits left right and centre, after 80km a group finally got away which our team had mauro finetto. When a start is like it has been over the past few days to be in the break you have to be very strong as first you need to stay in the front as and today's group formed from a front group of no more than 50riders it is a big achievment simply entering in the days great escape. I had a quiet day in the bunch just doing my usual thing of looking after ivan. Had a little bit of chaos on the decent to final climb with only 20km to finish with first a puncture but while i was riding back though the cars to get to the front a few cows had decided to jump into the peleron while it was traveling at 80kmph and as you can imagine the end result was not pretty. By the time i arrived on the seen there were a few unlucky dudes on the ground and also of the side of the road in the paddock that should have been occupied by the cows. As often to any living thing when its scared, the natural impulse is to poo ones self. There was no exception in this case so not only was there a bunch 1 tonne moo cows charging down the rd between cars motorbikes and cyclists and all the hoopla that goes along behind a bike race but also a monumental amount of poo everywhere. Fortunately for me i was able to arrive at the scene of the carnage and avoid cars riders and perhaps most fortunately to piles of poo!

Of course the crash caused some chaos is the bunch and inevitable split so although i was back in a group of sorts i was now faced with a frantic chase to get back to the front group with only a few km's to the final climb. This was particularly importand as i had in my possesion the all important final water bottle for ivan to keep him suatained on the final climb. So a few crazy corners and some super high rpm revving and i made it to the front about 500m before the climb started, delived the bottle into the climb we went, i put up my parachut and went backwards at a rate of knotts and just to add insult into some very tired legs i flatted again just as the first set of cars had roled on past me to follow the lead group. So was not ment for me today, i put the call out for the second car to bring me a wheel but it was a fair ways back down the mountain so i just trudged up the first 5km of the climb on the dud wheel until paolo arrived with a replacement. Anyways all in all was another good hit out of a day and some days the luck just does not smile on you, hopefully tomorrow will be a little kinder.

The facts and figures for the stage from my srm are as follows

Distance 192km
Time 5hrs 20min
Speed av 36kmph
Elevation gain 4000m
Watt average 275
Heart rate average 145.5
Energy exp 5300kcal

So basically it was another jolly solid day which is good because thats what i am here for, give the body a bit of a wake up call

Time for a good sleep

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Dauphine stage 5 srm data

Yesterdays srm data

Time 5hrs 6min
Distance 211km
Speed av 42kmph
Elevation gain 3000m
Watts 289av
Heart rate 152av
Energy exp 5200kcal

Greeeaaaatttt training

All aboard the pain train for another day in the alps!!!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Dauphine stage 5

The first day in the mountains was quite an adventure for me. I had high hopes of going in the days breakaway but unfortunately so did a majority of the peleton. As so often happens in this case there are so many attacks that nothing forms for a long long time until a cease fire is called. This insured today and after 98km one man, jason mc cartny from radio set in in a solo pursuit for glory. Now the route to this occurring was quite an unenjoyable experience for me. On the first climb of the day after just 45km i had already fired a few fatefull useless bullets in attempt to get up the rd. I had arrived at the climb already on the rivit and as it occured just over 12months ago in a race in italy under pretty much the same circumstances i suffered from another asthma attack. So i cant breath but not to worry as fortunately it occurred only 2km from the top of the climb so i started to sand bag back through the bunch to see the doctor, off course due to serious pace the peleton had split and it did not take long for me to fall out the back and of course there was no doctor to be seen. So i am in the second group and try and ignore my breathing for a bit as our small group tries in vein to re enter the front group but to no avail. Next thing the doctor flies by to get to the front group so now i cant breath and have been dropped to the second group so no option but to suffer in silence and take as deeper breaths as possible in the hope that not only we get back on but also i see the doctor's white coupe again! The problem with the asthma/allergy attack is not really the breathing difficulty, well this is a pain but without being able to breath properly you cant get oxygen to the muscles so firstly your going flat out, second you cant breath and 3rd your legs are just gradually loosing more and more power with every pedal stroke so is not ideal experience for the first half of a cycling race! Fortunately after 100km we rejoined the front group and with my eyes firmly on the doctors fancy car i bee lined to it and promtly explained my predicament. Being a very experienced race doctor he simply said he did not think it was asthma but more likely allergy which i had suspected last time it occurred however i was subsequently diagnosed with asthma on that occasion. He gave me an simple anti histamine and sent me on my way. I spent another 50km or so regaining myself a little after the mad first half of the race and started to feel better. By the start of the final climb it had taken me 200km to get to the front but i finally did and amazingly i could breath perfectly and had no dramas Stalin in the front of the main field on the final climb. I was pretty jolly excited at this developement not solely because i was feeling good in the mountains again but a problem that has bugged me for quite a few years was finally solved by the race doctor and a little pink pill.

So to the race, i just assumed my usual role and stayed close to ivan at the front of the group to help him if required and when the hitters lit up the gas with a couple of km to go i realised unfortunately that the fatique from early in the stage had not completely left my aching pins and with ivan safely in the front i sat up to save some bullets for tomorrows very very very difficult mountain stage. I hope a day that should not have the same crazyness of today on my part and a day where i can contribute alot more to the team. It certainly is a relief to have solved this allergy issue that is for sure.

I think the most exciting developement of the day was the clearly evident return of condition for our tour de france captain ivan baSso. He had no trouble staying with the big favourites and rest assured he is going to keep getting alot stronger in the coming days and weeks in training and show why he is such a great cyclist.

So pretty excitning day on all fronts as it certainly finished alot better than it started i am looking forward to getting stuclk into it tomorrow.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dauphine stage 4

Today was a quiet day at the dauphine libere. The bunch seemed pretty content to take it easy and as such let two guys trundle of the front and it all came back together for a nice clean bunch sprint. Another htc and german victor today in john, um cant spell his last name but he is built like a bull and adds todays win with his win on stage 2 so obviously a class above at this race in the sprints. He is from the same generation as our own peter superman sagan so he will no doubt show tomorrow that he is a pretty handy climber aswell, there is certainly plenty to be excited about the future of the sport with these young blokes performing the way they are.

For me it was a day to recharge after the tt and just have a relaxed day in the bunch. Catch up with a few mates, eat plenty to ensure the tank is full for the upcoming 3 difficult days, stay out of trouble and most importantly get another much needed and valuable day of race rythm into my pins. It always amazes me how fast these sprint teams can ride in the final 25km, it is seriously impressive and the best part great training for us back markers simply trying to keep up.

Anyway massage and rest all done so just need to fill up the tank now at dinner with our super duper chef matteo's cooking and i will be set to go for 3 days of great difficulty!!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dauphine stage 3 tt

It was a pretty big day for the cycling world today, stage 3 of the dauphine was the exact course of this years tour de france. For all the big gc hopefulls it was an important test to see how they would fair on the course that could well decide the winner of this years tour de france. The german tony martin demolished the field today and not only can i see on the results sheet that he put a whopping 4min 10sec into me but i was one of the poor buggers that started infront of him and he caught and past me like i was standing still after only half the course completed. I am going to need to ask for my helmet back tomorrow because he sucked it off me as he went flying by, he is a perfect example of german power and it was interesting basso telling me a similar story about ullrich passing him for 4min enroute to victory in the 03 tour de france tt, sure at a completely different unimagineable level for me but martin is certainly a very impressive beast on a bicycle. I guess one positive outcome was i was atleast consistent only loosing another 2min in the second half aswell. Yes my lack of condition was my first problem today but when i once felt most comfortable against the clock i have not felt like that for a long time. I have certainly neglected the hard training on the tt bike in the past and used the theory of close enough is good enough for the position. I realised today i need to get back ontop of this dicipline and do the work required. I recieved my new tt bike this week so now i have that i will take it out for a nice long ride in the italian country side with a set of allan keys and get comfortable. After that i plan on going to the veledrome to test the position with our team trainer paolo slongo and if i am real lucky i might even get the full treatment and get some time in the wind tunnel. These days no amount of research or refining can be spared when it comes to the tt equipment especially with what you see teams roleing around on these days. Ok certainly my first prolem is my lack of strength at the moment but i was able to maintain the steady pace i set out with so aslong as i continue to keep building from here i should have my condition back some stage soon.

The course for me was deceptively difficult for me through the vast changes in rythm. The flats and decents were super fast and the climbs atleast for me were super slow, i may have got my gearing ratio a little wrong as i was spinning like an egg beeter on the downhills and grinding away like a very weak tired old steam roler on the climbs. Anyway as they say its the race of truth and i certainly found out today that i have a few more suffering days to put myself through before i start to feel good on the bike again.

So from here we face the final sprint stage tomorrow before the mountains begin on friday, i am certainly looking forward to that as even though i am aware i am in for a large amount of suffering the prize of suffering hopfully less next time you race is always worth it!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dauphine stage 2

They say all good things must come to an end and unfortunately somthing i have been very proud of myself this season quite litterly came crashing down for me today! My no crash season came to an end with 20km to ride in stage 2 of the dauphine libere. The crash fortunately caused me no damage and just the tiniest little bit of bark of my knee and elbow so was just my pride and the harsh realisatio that i would not be getting through the 2011 racing season with introducing myself to in this case the foot path. The incident was entirely my own fault as i was moving up though the bunch and we suddenly entered a small french town with roundabouts and plastic poles and got knows what else they put down for us to hit and sure enough there was a crash infront of me and i had no option but to head for the foot path and somehow over or undercorrect and ended up on the ground, bugger!! Anyway the crash was the least of worries, the flat rear tyre as a result of locking up the back wheel and needed to be changed held me more and as fait would have the chasing teams diving the peleton decided to step on the gas in the crosswind section splitting the field and leaving me flagging in the cars trying to re enter the first peleton i came accross. Fortunately i had the king company of 30 or so gentlemen for the final 10km whom had been caught out by the split. My big frustration was my inability to re enter the main field and help out our sprinters for the day but on this occasion the cyclings gods simply has me penciled in for an arrival in the gruppeto or autobus being the final group on the rd. Luckily no injuries so onwards and upwards for tomorrow's tt.

So now its time for somthing i personaly enjoy, a longish transfer back to the hotel in our snazzy team bus. Today we have about 1hr 30min which is perfect for me. First we have a nice hot shower and We have our special rice our team chef prepares for us, a drink and then i do some stretching. Its the perfect time to stretch because you are not in a hurry to go anywhere. After that i catch up on the newspapers back in aus on my kindle ebook and if i feel for it spend some time knocking dudes out in fight night on my psp. So really it is a very enjoyable experience for me, being an aussie i always claim the back seat of the bus so i can lay down and stick my legs in the air. I dont know why it is but i am told the aussies always inhabit the back of the bus, i guess it is our rebelious inner instinct coming out in us from the days of back seat bullies on the school bus. No for me it is a chance to have a bit of quiet time and leave my other team mates to the front seats as they chat away. Everybody certainly seems to enjoy the bus ride which is fortunate because we spend alot of time on it during the season.

Another cool thing about the liquigas cannondale set up is our team chef. He arrived yesterday and it is my first ever race with a team chef. He whips up my favourite daily ommlette of 4 egg whites with ham which i add to the perfectly cooked italian pasta. It is one thing for teams to have a chef but to have an italian chef i think is really really cool. For dinner again the pasta and rice is cooked perfectly, amazing how the italians can make the simplest things taste so dahm good. Nice thick juicy eye filet steak which melts in your mouth and he even manages to make vegetables taste good which i thought was impossible. The special rice after the stage also is a real hit with everybody and i can see myself using it as extra motivation when we hit the mountain stages in the coming days knowing that its waiting for me on the bus. Yep we are pretty spoilt so i hope in the coming days we can repay the team for giving everything we could imagine for to help and get some good results.

Bus rides nearly done and then massage and a delicious dinner!!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Dauphine stage 1

Stage 1 of the dauphine libere is in the books and was another quiet day for the liquigas cannondale boys. As usual we just kept ivan out of harms way up the front and then see what happened on the final climb. We were a little to relaxed with this in the final 20 very stressfull km before the climb to the finish and got in not the greatest position which was far to far back. I usually dont enjoy the first day of tours, everybody is fresh and strong and consequently everybody will fight to be at the front. As the race goes on and the bunch gets tired the fighting subsides to a certain degree and if you have good condition you can more easily stay up the front. Unfortunately for me at this race i am here to regain my condition so i will be on the suffer train all week to stay up front, thats a good thing however as you need to teach the legs to suffer from time to time and i have not done it for a while.

Anyway back to today we were just minding our own business toward the back of the bunch waiting for an opportunity to move up on the final climb but a crash at 8km to go at the start of the climb stopped us litterly in our tracks and while we chased for a few km to get back up front the big guns were long gone and we just took it easy for the final few km. Ivan is here to prepare for le tour so he is more than happy keeping a low profile for now. For me was a good day as far as another good hit out for my sleeping system and ready for a bit more of it tomorrow.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dauphine prologue

Today the dauphine libere got under was in the french alps with a 5.5km prologue. The race is the traditional tune up for a large majority of the tour de france overall contenders and also an opportunity for those aiming for a start in le tour to show there condition so the standard is always very high.

I come to the race with no spercific ambitions as after 1 week off the bike last week i need to get the system firing again after my little battle with suckness over the past few weeks. I certainly got off to a good start in the suffering stakes with the start of the course consisting of a 1km climb at 6% so certainly by the top of that i knew i was back in a bike race. I roled around the remainder of the course as best i could and certainly knowing that the suffering was important to get the system a little more prepared for the week ahead. In the end i was 25sec down which is not a great result of 5.5km but certainly could have been worse so am confident that all the work done prior to being crook has not deserted me but may take a few days to get it back out of my body. It was the first prologue i had done since the giro last year but as a prologue is about as close as you can get to a rowing race in time and intensity when flat that is, with todays climb it makes them a more different animal but i feel like i have a little confidence with regard to what i need to put my body through. Being so long between drinks on the prologue front i was a little rusty on the techniqual side of things but that will come back pretty quick. The day for the liquigas cannondale team did not get off to a great start with one of our team car cleaned up by a wayward french courier vehicle on the auto strada. Fortunately neither party were hurt but both cars were a right off. Not only was it unfortuate for the fate in inconvenience of smashing up two vehicle but we had decided to ride to the start so long as it did not rain as it was 55km away which would normally be the perfect warmup. Unfortunately it started pouring rain shorly after the car got cleaned up and after on 5km so we had 50km to ride to the start in pouring rain, unfortunately this usually beneficial ride turned into more of a cool down as the muscle's and system does not like the rain that much. Anyway you just have to stay as positive as possible and adapt to any situation cycling throws your way. All in all, all us boys in green did as best we could considering the circimstances and i hope was can put the day behind us and have a much more productive week out on the open rd and when we go into the high mountains.

So the dauphine is underway and with rain forcast for the week it could certainly be interesting, i am hoping the body will keep opening up and hope to have a bit of a go later in the week.

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