The Comfort Zone

Sometimes you read some that moves you. It hits you and you realise something you always knew.

Reading a blog post from Seth Godin gave me just one of those moments. His post, the worst moments are your best opportunity just clicked.

The Comfort Zone

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my comfort zone. Be that in how I work, how I train, or even how I relax. What has been occurring to me is that the scared feeling of leaving my confort zone is normal. Being worried about doing something because you aren’t sure of the outcome, everyone gets it.

But at the same time, why do we always aim to push beyond that zone, if even just small steps?

A Realisation

While Seths blog does focus on marketing, life involves marketing in more areas than I originally let myself believe. On a day to day basis you have to market yourself. And while I’ve never really cared what others thought, even to my own detriment, I’ve always tried to go beyond what I knew I could do.

You are presumed to be showing us your real self when you are on a deadline,
have a headache,  haven't had a good night's sleep, are irritable, have the
opportunity to extract  revenge, are losing a competition or are truly

Last year I completed La Marmotte, one of the hardest single day amateur cycling events there is. It was made worse by the heat, 40C at the bottom Alp d’Huez. But I achieved it, and achieved more than I had thought possible. I did what I had joked about wanted to do – A Gold Time. And don’t get me wrong, I had dreamed it, but I really didn’t think it was possible. Even on the training trips before hand, it looked like I wouldn’t make it.

A Single Minded Purpose

While I look back on that and worry that I’m not doing enough this year (which I’m not), I no longer feel all that bad. My priorities have changed is all. Last year I went with a single minded purpose for that event. Everything else came second to it, almost 😉 This year I’ve readjusted my priorities to tick off some longer standing goals, little big ones. For anything is possible if you set your mind to it and want it badly enough.

To View Oneself

Back to Seths post, it hit home that (for me) it is most important how you see yourself, and just like others, you will see through the lies and excuses. Honest actions win out. Leave your comfort zone and you no longer have time to keep up appearances, the real you will show through.

Hopefully you like what you see.

Tacx Slipping Tyre Problem

So last year I bought a Tacx Fortius turbo trainer to try get some experience of the big hills in the Alps. All for La Marmotte which was completed in the Summer. Shortly after buying it, I did sign up to a trainer and that had me out on the road a lot more than I expected so it didn’t get used all too much. But enough to learn the pain and also enough to get to the tyre slipping problem.

The problems

Unless you have perfectly balanced power output through 360degress of your pedal stroke (and you don’t, no matter what you think), then under heavy power, usually on hills, the tyre starts jumping or slipping.

Even the trick of moving the roller to the tyre, then three and a half turns didn’t sort it for me.

The Solution

Degreaser. No seriously.

The suggestion came from Fisher Outdoor, Tacxs reseller in the UK. Degrease the roller wheel on the motor to remove any rubber, dirt or grease. Clean thoroughly at the end. Then degrease the tyre too, same deal.

Honestly, I didn’t think it’d do much but wow. I have been able to cycle without any slipping, even at really low cadences. Even standing out of the saddle at low cadence is working fine, no slip what so ever. Almost like glue on the wheel.

Try it and let me know if it helps you too.

A year in review – The benefits of a golden goal [2010]

Sitting here, listening to Auto Rock by Mogwai, a tune iconised by Top Gear, I begin thinking back to a year, 7000km of cycling with my Cervelo S2. And what a year it has been. What started as a “how hard could it be” moment, went on to become one of the most rewarding things to do – La Marmotte.

But with passing 7000km on Sunday gone, and winter really being here now, it’ll very soon be time to hang up the good bike and switch back to the winter trainer, full mud guards an all. The big thing now, is to set some goals. Some real goals, with feeling. Last year La Marmotte proved to be the defining goal, one that got me out of bed at 5am in the dead of winter, battling the ice and snow and pitch black to do hill repeats – and then enjoying it too. I calculated that I made more than a 30% increase in performance on 3Rock (the hill we do hill repeats on) between signing up for the Marmotte, and the week before the event.

In no small part, I owe much of the improvement to my trainer, Ryan Sherlock. He also became Irish National Hill Climb Champion recently which allows me to say I get trained by the National Champion. Nice. To top it off, he also won the MTB Champs letting him retain his national champion title there too. Word has it he is the first man to hold national titles in both road and off road in the same year in Ireland. Talk about getting trained by the best!

But in reflecting on the year, I’ve seen that it wasn’t just one thing that made it such a good year. Lots of little things fell into place. My Cervelo S2 really helped. It was a reward for hitting a weight goal of 85kg although I did go slightly over board when buying it. It is a such a different machine compared to my Giant. Stiffer, more responsive, and even more comfortable which might seem strange since it is a full on race bike with aero wheels, while the Giant is a commuter with 25mm tyres and a more relaxed position.

Having the Marmotte as a goal was another big thing. Needing something to get out of bed on those mornings, well when you have no goal, there is nothing to get out bed for. Even with the Marmotte I took some days I probably shouldn’t have. Or maybe less cake and I wouldn’t have worried about those 4 seconds. Not having a firm goal now does show although this last week I’ve covered over 400km as my stomach is back so the motivation is just to cycle as much as I can while I can.

A training partner also makes a world of a difference. My friend Peter was also training for the Marmotte and was out for the hill repeats on those Tuesday mornings. Even coming along on the long weekend rides – well at least one a week, I was doing a fair bit of training. It does help with those dull gray days when you struggle to get out to know that someone else is doing the same. That someone else is equally as dumb motivated.

Starting from a high weight (I was 229 lbs / 28.8% body fat back in Dec 08) played a part too strange as it might seem. Loosing weight makes you faster on the hills. Plain and simple. But when you are training for a ever so slightly hilly event, well hill climbing times are what is about. And since I was dropping weight, I was getting faster on the hills. Psychologically it helped. You see the times dropping and that object of just finishing gets closer and closer, and then soon becomes a maybe I can do better. Maybe, just maybe.

Body fat Graph over the period

Without any one of these, the house of cards may have fallen down. I don’t really know. I wouldn’t be where I am today cycling wise, I know that much. Every bit of success has an element of luck, but every bit of luck also has a bit of blood, sweat and tears, and that is the part you rarely see.

From the falls on the ice, to somehow not falling while navigating a hill in total blackness and only using the difference in colour of grass and tarmac, to crossing a line thinking I’d missed a goal by 4 seconds, to winning my first race. For all the mechanical issues, the punctures, the crashes. Each added its own small part. Each one made the year a year to remember.

Dirvish Backup – Multiple seperate backup schedules

I’ve been used Dirvish now for just over a year. It replaced a number of rsync replication scripts that I had running that were doing rolling backups. While moving to Dirvish has required a few extra scripts to be written, it has been a worthwhile experience. My own scripts weren’t able to handle holding backups for longer periods, at least not gracefully. The biggest issue we had was trying to get Dirvish to do different backups on different schedules. The Dirvish config, while it may look like it allows this at first glance, it really isn’t setup for it. Backups once per day is its bread and butter.

Hopefully this will help clear up a few minor issues with Dirvish and get you running with multiple independent schedules.

Credit where credit is due, some of this is a result of a different sources on Google. We have modified this a number of times over the last year to fit our needs so I’m not totally sure how much of the original remains.

Note: This is from a Debian based system. Paths reflect same.

Initial Dirvish Configuration

For this guide, out setup consists of 1 host which we backup once per day, and the same host which has a directory which gets backed up once per hour. Backups are being stored under /storage/Backups/dirvish.

Our master.conf file – notice that no hosts are actually defined here.

expire-default: +15 days
    *   *     *   *         1    +3 months
    *   *     1-7 *         1    +6 months
    *   *     1-7 1,4,7,10  1    +6 month
    *   10-20 *   *         *    +4 days
#   *   *     *   *         2-7  +15 days


     host     02:00



/etc/cron.d/dirvish – This is what calls the jobs

00 01 * * *     root    /usr/sbin/dirvish-expire --quiet   # Expire old images
00 02 * * *     root    /usr/sbin/dirvish-runall --quiet --config runall-daily.conf
00 * * * *      root    /usr/sbin/dirvish-runall --quiet --config runall-hourly.conf

With those in place, our host backs up at 2am every day. The hourly script kicks in every hour. We setup the vaults as normal in the folders defined about. So the hourly is /storage/Backups/dirvish/host/hourly.

Only thing that needs changing is the image-default option in the configs.

Daily vault: image-default: %Y%m%d
Hourly vault: image-default: %Y%m%d%H

Living with it

This setup has run great for us. We get what we need backed up when we need it backed up. There has been a few notable excepts however.

First, one of our hosts started locking up during backup windows. Dirvish then went nuts and started marking incomplete backups correct somehow. We noticed when our bandwidth shot up as it was recopying full machine images across.

Second, our expire rules tend to leave too much data. Yes we could probably fix this, and we probably will when space becomes an issue. I guess the first thing is for our hourlys to reduce down to one a day on the older sets instead of keeping the whole day. But since Dirvish is so good with space, a few months of hourlys isn’t taking too much space.

Overall however, I can’t say we’ll be moving from Dirvish anytime soon for backups, at least for our linux machines.

Race Report – Mondello Open Race [2010-09-02]

Quite possibly the last race I’d get to this year, it was a must. More so after missing two races a few weeks ago due to not having recovered from a hospital visit.

The course was to follow a number of laptops around the Mondello circuit which meant closed roads for the race. But since Mondello is a race course, it is pretty flat. So flat that SportTracks thinks I lost and gained 0m over the course, however I think it just can’t handle the drift in the elevation from the Garmin. Either way, a flat fast course would probably not suit me and I knew it. The goal became to sit in the group, stay with the front group if and when it broke, to do as little as possible on the front, and then not go at the end either at all or until at least 2-3 other people had started their sprint. May sound like a strange goal but they are things I need to learn to get better at racing.

The Warmup

Due to a crash on the N7, I like many others arrived a bit later than I would have wanted. After the sign on and a quick change, I managed a whole 10 minute warmup. But since the evening was warm it would be enough. Or at least it would have to be. Within 5 minutes from stopping, the usual talk about the race was done and we were off.

The Race

While signing on I asked how many laps it would be. The answer was that racing would go for about 50 minutes and then they’d call 3 laps remaining. I should have taken this as a warning sign. Thinking back, I remember looking at the GPS after 10 minutes and being bored. Such a flat course and with a huge number of riders behind us, well there wasn’t going to be a break away.

By 20 minutes I was doing what I could to convince myself not to abandon. To take the race as a training spin and suck it up. The problem however was that it wasn’t overly stressful. Power was about 230-240watts with most of that being the little sprints out of corners when people ahead braked.

And a few people did brake in corners, but not in the way to stop them going into people ahead. At least one person is sticking in my head as everytime I saw him he was accelerating by to a corner and then braking hard. No racing line, no speed through the corner. The first few laps this meant very hard accelerating out of the corner to jump by and grab the wheel ahead. By mid way through the race, I had learnt what he was doing (as had others it seemed), and he started to get left on his line each time as we all took a wider line around and past.

The turn out for the event was high too. 85 I think was the number. Which made for large groups in the corners as people didn’t want to be left behind. Made worse by the fact that the pace was so leisurely. With only short straights and long corners, no pace line really formed. The main straight was usually the slowest part of the course as people slowed right down to try get others to go through.

On the second to last lap I think we were caught. But it was on the last lap going onto the back straight that the pace started picking up. If only we had had this pace from the off, I’d have enjoyed it more.

Blue was speed

In the end, I didn’t finish. I punctured during the 4th last corner. Luckily I held it up and moved to the side and everyone got past. If it had been the next corner, well things could have been different. It was taken faster and usually with more than one or two riders across. But it meant limping home at a slow pace and ironically down the pit lane.

The Summary

Everyone I spoke to after enjoyed it. Things like the big rocks on the corners were all but forgotten at this stage. The closed roads are a plus too. But for me the course was too short and boring. Probably a side affect of all the long 100km+ training rides earlier in the year. Can’t say I’d be jumping to do it again.

The Stats

Distance: 44.47km
Time: 1:05:43
Avg Speed: 40.6km/h
Calories: 956
Avg Power: 243watts
Normalised Power: 267watts

Race Report – Corduff Hill Climb TT [2010-08-25]

The last event of the club season would be an event I was due to do well in. I like hills strangely enough but I suppose all the training on them does that. But being a TT is would just be me against the clock to determine what could be done to get up the hill.

At 3.5km, the hill isn’t exactly the worlds longest. And will a flattish section and a small descent at the beginning, the overall time would be quickish, probably comparable to the Boards TT up Howth last week.

Warming up

Reading anything about warmups tells you that the shorter the event, the more of a warmup you need to do. When I started cycling, it was mainly sportives that I did. Long sportives that we would cycle to a from. Averaging 200km plus would be normal for the day. Nothing says warm up like a 2 hour cycle to an event.

But this left me slightly out of wack this year with different events. La Marmotte for instance had a 1km cycle to the start, if even, but then is was a 175km cycle so a warm up wasn’t too necessary. With the races, it was always a case of try to do as much as possible and then hold on let what happens happen.

For a sub 10 minute all out effort, I would need to be warm. 15 minutes riding around didn’t do enough so it was on with the gillet and a quick run up the hill to get properly warm. In hind sight, perhaps doing a near TT effort for a warm up was probably not the best of ideas.

The Moment of Truth

My stomach decided it wasn’t going to co-operate as usual coming up to the event with the last 10 minutes of the warm spent in quite a bit of pain. Someday I’ll get it sorted, honest, the doctors just need to identify what is causing it. Luckily, the standing around just before the off seemed to let it settle.

I lined up and experienced being held for the first time. Honestly it is a strange experience and I really thought I was going to fall off.

5, 4, 3, 2 ,1, go...

And off I went. Immediately there was a problem as the low sun meant I couldn’t read my Garmin. So much for trying to limit my power at the start so I would fall apart as usual midway. It was near 2 minutes in before the screen became visible but with a flatish start before the slight descent, it was all out.

Once the hill started up, I settled in and kept just below threshold. Enough to feel the burn in the background, but not enough to actually burn. It is times like these that I really should be watching my power, and someday I will learn to.

At the 2km mark, the inevitable happened. As usual I dropped off a little before recovering. Luckily it was helped by someone as the side cheering us on. Honestly, the best part of the league has been constant support for everyone. Getting cheered on really feels great. One of my greatest memories in cycling still remains finishing the 2009 Wicklow 200, arriving back into UCD to the claps and cheers just before the line. What a way to complete a day.

The last km of the climb before the turn went on longer than I thought. Watching the time clock up on the Garmin really made me feel like I was going much too slow. But seeing that Marshall at the turn made me push harder and again the cheers and shouts. Up out of the saddle and pushing hard as possible on the steep uphill to the finish. All the time, trying not to lose much speed as I clicked through the gears.

And across the line.

The Result

I stopped the clock at 7:44 something on my Garmin. Close enough that the second screen said 7:45. David who had gone before me had timed himself and said he got 7:45 which meant I was in contention. And he pointed out the line was the first cone, not the one I had stopped at, so a few seconds off my time. But seeing some of the others come across the finish makes you wonder just how fast you have been.

Javan Nulty was in a TT helmet and warmed up on a turbo. He looked very fast coming across the line. And with a time of 6:59, he was fast. Full results available on the Swords CC website. But when all was said and done, I ended 3rd with a official time of 7:40. Only beaten by Javan, the visitor champion, and Henry who came second overall in the league. Not a bad result.

But I’m not happy with it. I should have been faster. I could have been. I guess it can be put down to inexperience. Yes I’m getting better. I’m not as strong as I was for the Marmotte, but that is the cost of periodisation. The goal is the manage the efforts full on without the drop in the middle.

The Stats

Distance: 3.58km
Time: 7:45 (Garmin – Official Time 7:40)
Avg Speed: 27.7km/h
Calories: 171
Avg Power: 382watts
Normalised Power: 370watts (first time I’ve seen this lower than the average)

Race Report – Bog of the Ring [2010-08-11]

Little late on the report but mainly as my Garmin decided to do a hard reset on the way back from the race, almost loosing all my stats. I have been able to rebuild them using the laps folder but come on Garmin, get your act together.

Anyway for this race I slightly worried being in group 3 and it being quite flat. I even offered to Marshall but was told there was enough people already. This left me choosing a goal of just to hang on and finishing in the group.

So the race began and it began fast. It was hard work just to stay with the wheels on the up and overs. Even the slight incline on the back half required some pressure to say up there. But we got there and kept pushing along until lap 2 when we caught group 2. Pace eased up a tiny bit and we were caught on lap 3.  I can’t remember when group 1 was caught, I think it was just before the second last corner on the last lap, but were were all bunched up for the finish.

It got hairy along the end. Spread across the whole road with the usual pushing and shoving. More than one person wasn’t happy in the group and I got shouted at for pushing back when he tried to force me on to the grass. Honestly. Grow up.

For the final, I did as I have done in the last few races. That is, go too fast too quick. Something I really do have to work on.

The Stats

Distance: 40.56km
Time: 1:01:34
Avg Speed: 39.52km/h
Calories: 1075
Avg Power: 291watts
Normalised Power: 329watts

Race Report – Swords GP [2010-08-08]

My first open race. My first introduction to real speed. Real racing. And it got off to a great start. Almost missing the A4 group going off while getting stuck behind some A3 guys waiting. Luckily the race was neutralised out of the village allowing us to catch back on the group before the speed went up. Not a good way to begin.

Pace did stay easy enough through the first lap although it did take some time before the pace line properly started and go settled. First time up the hill, another rider from another club moved to the front and looked like he was trying to pull out a gap. Being near the front I sat on his wheel and let the group behind pull up. We did loose a few during this ascent too, and I learnt after that quite a few burnt off on this lap.

Going on my experience last Wednesday, as soon as we were over the last hill I moved right the way to the front and took a wide line to go around at speed. This placed me second back from the front at the beginning meaning I was hanging on right the way down through the fast section. 1 Down, 2 and a half to go.

Lap 2

For this lap the pace went up quite a bit, at least subjectively. We pulled time out on the A3 group too during the lap so I guess things were really faster. The pace line worked quite well with most people taking turns although it did accordion a bit during the fast sections. For the second time up the hill I stayed near the back and sat in a much a possible. I knew it wouldn’t break apart this time so better to conserve energy. With a repeat of the last lap at the top, I rounded the corner at speed and held on down to the village.

Copyright Beasty

Lap 3

During the third lap, things slowed down quite a bit. I’m not totally sure why but  at some point people stopped working and the line strung out, but not at a slow enough speed that you could safely move from the middle of the line to the front to take a turn.

On the hill I sat near the middle but close enough to the front to see where people were. Same again over the top and around the corner where the pace went up a bit. Took some effort to stay on wheels although I was about 5th back. The gap did grow a lot more than I wanted during the descent and once again confirms I need a standard chainset for next season.
Once again things slowed after leaving the village on our last lap, but this time they really slowed, enough to let the A3 catch us.

Attacks started quickly now. People going quick and fast but without any real presence. When nearing the end of the road, three guys got away. Then a forth went. It looked like they were going to hold it and stay away until the corner so I went and sprinted up. Mistake number one. Gap was only maybe 5 seconds off at this point however we were chased down by the corner and the group bunched during the first little hill around the corner.

After coming around the little descent, I moved near the front and ended up right on the front. Even with slowing down, people weren’t coming around. It took about 30/40 seconds before someone pulled up beside me on my right but not past. Mistake number two. Leading the group up the hill isn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done and I was about to pay for it.

It stayed this way until just after the crossroads when the first real attack started. Try as I might, I didn’t have the pace to stay with them however they soon started burning out. Another one went and again I was near the back of it. As it started slowing again, I got boxed in near the left hand side of the road. Mistake number three. Somehow I managed to slow and go all the way across the road to the right and sprint up clear of those who had just burnt out. However I still maybe 20 odd back at this point. And having to sprint across the road to get space didn’t help. Too little to late, or too much to late.

When the last attack when, I’d used too much to really sprint to stay on them. I did hold a decent pace and passed a few riders in the last two hundred metres, but not as many as I should have. Each person ahead that burnt out was enough to let me go by without upping my pace.

The Overall

Finished maybe top 15 although I should have done better had I raced smarter. Lessons learnt. It now marks two races were I blew apart on the hills. All my training for the Marmotte has paid some dividends in making me strong on the hills, but I really don’t have it when the sprints go. Something to work on for the winter.

The Stats

Distance: 72.54km
Time: 1:57:13
Avg Speed: 37.1km/h
Calories: 1726
Avg Power: 246watts
Normalised Power: 288watts

Race Report – Corduff [2010-08-04]

Rolling up to this race, I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to start in group 3 or not. My warm up didn’t go well and my legs felt weak. Overall not helped by another return of the stomach cramps. The decision was made for me when I signed on and was told it’d be group 3. Oh well, it’d make good practice for the Open Race at the weekend. I’ll sit in and try to hold on as long as I could.

The race did prove to be fast. Most people took turns and the place line really did move along. Up the hill was organised too and at a handy enough pace. What did kill me was the descent. I’ve known I’m not fast on flats but the extra speed on the descent really caused some problems.

During the first drop down, I hung on. It took quite a bit of effort but I stayed with everyone. The next time around was different. For some reason one of the guys upped the pace. *Clunk*, *Clunk*, “Ok lets get back on”. *Click*. “Oh crap, I’m out of gears!”. And as much as I tried, for the next 1.5km I was 5-10m behind the group working as hard as I could to stay as close as I could.

Speed vs. Cadence

I had always thought it’d be a flat course that convinced me to switch my compact for a standard chainset, but there above was the moment. The values are double normalised remember, both by Garmin and Sporttracks. Speed was above 60km/h on the display and I spinning like roadrunner. It was only when it flattened out that I regained contact.

We rolled though the village and regrouped properly. As we rolled along out the road, I started taking a drink and decided I just need to hold on past the main road and I’ll be fine. Suddenly the same guy from the main road sprinted again. I’d be dropped!

I tried to get back on and started speeding up. As I started making up the distance everyone started stopping. The mistake of all mistakes. I’d gotten the finish line wrong. Oh well, lesson learnt.

The Stats:

Distance: 43.73km
Time: 1:10:31
Avg Speed: 37.2km/h
Calories: 1186
Avg Power: 288watts
Normalised Power: 302watts

Race Report – Garristown/Ardcath [2010-07-28]

Another week, another Swords CC race. And with all my SRAM failures of late, I was lucky to be able to start. But start I did and I was looking forward to it given that the profile looked hill and all the descriptions talked about the nice hills, and I like hills.

It was a group 2 start again this week, however right from the start the group started stringing out. As it turned out, this was due to the descent and we all bunched up after the first corner. Things generally stayed together too with most people taking turns. A few however only took turns on the descents which did start to get some of the guys shouting to work properly.

And we needed to work as the time gaps were not coming down quick enough. By the second lap, we got a time gap of 2:40. The next time gap being 3 minutes, it was clear that we weren’t doing enough. It was on this lap when I had gone to the front to take my turn, held the pace steady then looked behind to see why no one was coming through, only to see a 30+metre gap back to the bunch. Only one other rider has stuck onto my wheel. But we talked it over and since there was a long straight around the corner, it’d be best to wait for the bunch, so we sat up.

Best laid plans and what not

Well I was bound to make a mistake at some point and this may have been it. I was still near the front when we were getting to the pub to turn left and I didn’t brake. I took the racing line, stayed tucked in, and sprinted out of the corner. Once I hit the straight I kept the hammer down to see how much of a gap I’d pull out, test myself. After 45 or so seconds, I looked back and only the one guy from earlier was there, the bunch were gone. We’d broken away, on the mostly flat, straight section of the course. Honestly, what had I done!

We did up and overs along the road, keeping the pace high. But it became quickly apparent that the other guy was stronger than I. I was suffering. Really suffering. And just to hang onto this wheel. But we held it together and got around the next corner. I don’t remember the time gap but it didn’t seem to be coming down fast enough causing us to slow up. And since there was someone bridging up to us, we let him catch our wheel.

After passing the next corner, the marshall said 2 minutes when we shouted for a time gap. It didn’t seem right as she just looked like she made it up, but then we saw part of group 1 ahead. As you might expect, this egged us on and we kept going to catch them. But before we caught them, we knew that it must have split and this was confirmed when we got them. 2 guys up ahead in a break.

We powered through and around the corner leaving 4 of us ahead of that group. After a few minutes I instructed the guy from the original group 2 break to slow and let the other two take some turns. Guy who bridged up came through for a turn but the 4th guy (who must have jumped from group 1) was gone.

The next part is a bit of a blur. I remember asking where we were meant to go. For all three of us, it was a first time on the circuit and best we could figure was that at the turn we weren’t turning, but going straight towards Garristown. Marshalls confirmed this and a motorbike rider shouted that we were 30 seconds. Down or up, I don’t know. But another group of 4 or so riders caught up around this stage and the pace went up. With the flats and descents on this part, well I was dying. My heart rate was high 180s, pushing over 190 at times – well beyond my threshold. It was bound to happen. It did happen.

On what I think was the last hill, one of the guys jumped. He jumped at a speed that made me look like I was standing still. Trying to hold his wheel was futile. First guy from group 2 that broke away confirmed my original assumption that he was stronger and he held the wheel and went with him. But when the next guy went I had nothing left. I cracked. In a feeling that I haven’t had in a long time, my legs struggled to turn the cranks and felt like jelly. I clicked to an easier gear and tried to recover.

But when the next guy went I had nothing left. I cracked.

Somehow, and I really don’t know how, but I managed to recover somewhat and my speed went back up. Enough to let me catch the wheel ahead and the last 3 of us from this group sort of bunched up. Me straight behind someone and another maybe 5m ahead. But my problem lay in the fact that I had no idea where the line was or how long I could go. Given the mistake I made last week, I decided to wait until the guy ahead started sprinting so I could jump him and beat him to the line. It didn’t happen. Yes I beat him to the line, no he didn’t jump. When I went, I went too late. I missed the rider ahead by a few inches at the line, passing him as we crossed the line. It was close enough that I was asked after if I knew who was ahead, the marshal’s weren’t sure.

In the end I place sixth. And with scratch catching us it was a good result. But I’m not all too happy with it. I should of had 5th, I was able to get it too. But since the race started with my stomach threatening to cramp, finishing is a result to be happy with. Next week I’ll start in group 3 and see if I really can hold the pace. We have long straight slightly downhill, so who is to know.

The Stats:

Distance: 44.05km
Time: 1:14:38
Avg Speed: 35.4km/h
Calories: 1183
Avg Power: 266watts
Normalised Power: 312watts

Strange words and thoughts