Weight-loss Challenge Progress

Stage 1 - 4 kg down!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a very long weekend...

Who said travel was fun?

My very long weekend started with packing, planning and getting organised for the State
Champs and then flying out. My legs had not been their usual happy chappys and my mind was all over the place.

Going into the Road race I was a little bit skeptical of making the distance. This is the worst mindset to have for a race especially when you have 114km to ride. One of the main reasons I am writing this blog is to be accountable and start to become more conscious (long story but Ellen Degeneres knows what I'm talking about). Aim 1: Get rid of negative thoughts. Aim 2: Aim to win. Aim 3: Win and win again.

Anyway back to the race, I tried to ignore my leg pains but on the surges I felt like I could not push as hard as I have been and I was limiting myself because my legs didn't feel right. This has emphasised a few training lessons Lorraine has been trying to teach me so I'll have to look forward to testing out my legs when I get back. It seems i have done something to my leg as I am still in pain when I do certain movements - walking, lunges, riding, sitting!

So back to the race, I got dropped straight after we turned around (SF attacked in the overtaking lane - should have expected it) I got back on because apparently not everyone was working in 'the break' which I am thankful for. Nadine was also in the chasing group with me and found some energy to attack and get away soon after we rejoined the group - gutsy. Thereafter the attacks were constant until Bec Armstrong also got off the front. This meant that Sarah and Mel had someone out the front and no reason to work. Again I took turns but didn't like to because it seemed Mel or Sarah would attack during my turn. My legs were not up to the surging. I finally blew up with 20km to go and you know - it didn't even take an attack that was trying to shake the non-workers. I dropped seconds befor Linda Evans and Sue Johnstone but was pretty shattered physically and mentally and couldn't bridge to them.

Overall, it was not a fun race. There is some nastiness in the air at the moment and starting the race grumpy and hurt doesn't help you deal with or ignore this. I hate the phrase "that's racing" but unfortunately it is exactly that - racing - and I need to start wanting the win as much as everyone else. This is not the first time that I have felt like I expect too much. I really need to make some decisions and reality checks.

I apologise for this messy and grumpy post but I have had a very hectic couple of days. I flew Perth to Tokyo and was delayed leaving Tokyo which meant I missed my connecting flight from LA to Sacramento. After an unexpected night in LA I am safe now in Roseville, CA. Less can be said about my mobile phone :( hopefully I have happy updates about that soon!

Comment or email me your love I need it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So long, farewell...

Well I'm packed up and out of here - almost! I don't know how often I'll have internet access when I'm away but I will post updates when I can.

I'm looking forward to the State Road Race Champs this weekend, it was my second race last year and I spent the last 30km on my own. It looks like we'll have a big turn out which is exciting for women's racing, hopefully we can keep the numbers up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brought back down to Earth...

It could almost break your heart reading the blog written by an American amateur cyclist, Fat Cyclist. I haven't been following the story for long, but the basics are Fat Cyclist's wife has been battling cancer for a long time, she was in remission but was very recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. It really does remind you of the big picture and not to take things for granted.

I am glad to say that we have been able to get behind Fat Cyclist and have purchased jerseys, the funds of which will go towards Susan's win fund "Fatty uses this fund for Susan's medical expenses, covering travel costs for family taking care of Susan, and for buying Susan anything she wants."

Also, I got a new jersey on the weekend! Whilst it may not have been the one I was really hoping for you may be surprised when you see it!! (Hint: it's not pink!)

And lastly, I am now a published author.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The hills are alive....

I had been dreading the Dardanup Open as I heard that there were quite a few hills to get over including the infamous Gnomesville. I don't know if the course was changed but the hills weren't as bad as I thought they were going to be - although I did get dropped on the long climb during the second lap.

The women started with C grade despite having 10 women registered - is this a new record? The usual suspects raced; Sarah, Bec Armstrong, Mel Hoskins, Davina, Cherie, Tracy Ober, Danielle, Linda Evans, Clare and I. The pace was reasonable but not as high as I thought it might have been. Bec attacked early in the race and stayed away for at least one lap. The girls took control and increased the pace in the second lap - on the climbs, which is when I got dropped. I didn't panic and worked with Linda Evans, Clare and a couple of guys from C grade. We got back on to the main bunch on the home straight - less than 10km from the finish. Just before we got onto the main bunch Sarah got away, one of the guys bridged acrossed to her and that was it. I took a few turns to help D catch her but had just worked to get on the bunch and was a little reluctant, with none of the other girls willing to play.

I wasn't sure i was going to make the sprint, there were a couple of really strong surges that almost got me. In the sprint I knew not to go too early. I was lucky to get on Keith Gills wheel, he finished strongly in Albany and I thought could be a good lead out guy. I went when Mel Hoskins went but she had great acceleration. For some reason I clicked to a harder gear but with the wind it was too much and I never got over the top of it. Luckily for me, Linda Evans was blocked in and I held on for third.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A week of lessons

I guess i shouldn't complain about the speed that Cycling WA updates their website when I myself am reluctant to post an update. I've been told "You can't always blog about the good stuff!"

Sunday had us racing in York and I was to be on my own today as Clare's injury was requiring some R & R - not sure it got it! The race was a mass start - all grades together. The pace was quite high, but I was coping well. There was a steady stream of attacks and I was starting to struggle just before the halfway point. I don't know who was pulling on the front but I was struggling to push hard enough to stay on going downhill! And yes, I've learnt my lesson about using the big chain ring - I was in the hardest gear I could push but someone big and strong must have been on the front of the group. The turn around point was a very tight U-turn. We didn't have any witches hats to go around and I think it was causing chaos. People were unclipping because of the traffic jam and I was 2nd last coming out of the corner. Of course, they raced out of the turn and up a slight hill, I tried to sprint but was put off by my back wheel jumping all over the place. I must have had my weight distributed wrong on the bike because it was fine after that. But i didn't get back to the bunch. Clare was driving as support - she had already picked up davina who pulled out. She motorpaced me which i thought might get me back to the bunch. They were zooming. Sarah was the only girl in front of me and there were 3 behind, I was effectively in no-man's-land. Despite being 2nd, I effectively pulled out of the race at this point and made the most of a motor-pace training session for a good few km's. Apparently I was getting up to speeds of 50km/ hr but I had no idea because I've never been able to figure out what's wrong with my bike computer. My computer spat the dummy the day before and is refusing to tell me anything but the time since. Which is probably a good thing. I may have had a heart attack if I had seen what my heart rate actually was. There was a break in the communication chain and the judges rubbed out Danielle instead of me so during the presentations I had to explain to everyone what happened. Agghh.

Apart from racing, I've also learnt that riding on a wind-trainer can kill you. We have a nice cosy set up in the garage now, complete with tv for our indoor training sessions. Compared to riding on the road the biggest change being on a wind trainer is sweating. I could fill a bucket with the amount of sweat that pours off me. You might think that I would have put 2 and 2 together and drunk a few extra litres of water. I didn't and last week paid the price with some terrible sessions during my recovery from dehydration. Some people may have thought that the biggest difference about riding a wind trainer is that you don't fall off. Well, I assure you - you can.

Speaking of falling off, this morning whilst stirring up the Rider's Choice ride (see below), one of the guys tried his best to bring me down (he may have been a tag-along just like me). Going down the hill at Point Walter is always tricky as the turn is off-camber. So this morning, I'm taking it easy because it's wet when I feel quite a bit of pressure on my back wheel. Clare started yelling and I wondered what was going on because it felt like a bike was locked with mine. It turns out, one of the guys had taken this moment to check on his water bottle (what the?) and touched my back wheel. Thanks to my 'Don't panic, hold your line' attitude I stayed up and he went down. All is well, the wet road surface meant he didn't get any grazes.

And finally, if the train your on is not going fast enough - overtake it. "It's always a race!" If you are out on the road you need to be aware that you are automatically in a race, and overtaking is a sure sign that you've entered. Last year an article was posted on the TriWA forum describing a points system for scoring your efforts. It is hilariously accurate for describing our inability to refrain from showing off. My point is, if you want the group to go faster, don't shout "Hurry up fatties," just overtake them. They won't be able to help themselves and soon enough they will be passing you (this scores you extra points) you can then jump back on the bunch, hopefully, now going at a pace that isn't above your level!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The virus that is taking over Perth has finally got to me! Luckily, at the moment all of my symptoms are restricted to my head.

Bring on the cold and flu tablets!

In sad news, Adam Semple has blogged about Ben King's crash in Italy and Cycling Australia have reported a mass crash caused by road rage.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It's not about the bike

Did I jinx myself by bad mouthing la bambola (my custom painted bike)? I learnt a big lesson on Sunday racing in Collie - that is, it's not about the bike. Eight girls lined up to start in the Open Women's division of the Tom Lowry memorial. We were riding 3 laps of a 21km course. Last year, this was Clare's first race and thinking about the upgrade we have had to our training I am even more impressed with how she went last year. I remembered 2 hills from riding the course last year and I wasn't expecting any killers. Before the race there was a bit of an uproar as to whether or not the women would be racing with the men in C division. Personally, I was not that interested in racing with the men. Sure, it would mean we could be towed around but the guys can push much harder on the attacks. My thoughts were that it would super exaggerate the differences in strength between the women. Therefore, I felt I had a much better chance without the men around. I was happy when the Commissaire announced that we would have a Women's race. The problem with a women's race is that the field is quite small. So in a bunch of 8, even if the field is split 50/50 - sprinters/non-sprinters - that only leaves 4 people to work hard to drop those along for the ride.

I think Clare and I went into the race with similar thoughts - let's not repeat the Peter Clarke experience that left us twiddling our thumbs and sunburnt from crawling around for 60km. Clare led the bunch out but without ripping everyone's legs off. I don't remember the exact technicalities of it all but I rolled through, and maybe 1 or 2 others but nobody else wanted to bite. There was even laughter at the back of the bunch. A newcomer to the bunch, Wanda got herself a 50m gap simply because 2nd wheel wasn't interested in that pace. I heard Nadine say that she was continuing to gain on us and she started to chase. At the same time B grade were coming up behind us, passed us and slowed down. We ended up getting caught up in them, Sarah Fraser decided to show them up for being so slow and overtook them. Gutsy, but not a move I would make. This move split the bunch into 5/3 but it also meant we were caught up in B grade and the leading women's group were towed for half a lap.

Clare had dropped at this point and I had no idea whether it was a mechanical or her back injury. For me, this meant that I wasn't interested in keeping the pace high as I would have been very happy for her to get back on. I think Sarah knew this as she didn't bother yelling "roll through" or "you can last longer than 30s" at me. Sarah and Nadine did a lot of work to keep the pace high and used our attempts at slowing the bunch down when we rolled through to rest and then attack. I assumed this would happen and it left me very nervous on the front of the bunch. I think it can be quite frustrating when nobody wants to push as hard as you and I heard it being described as "like towing a bunch of fat chicks around" somewhere in the 2nd lap. Surprisingly I was feeling alright and all i had to do was hang on to the plot (remember this). I don't think Sarah or Nadine wanted it to end in a bunch sprint. Nadine put in a bit of an attack shortly into the third lap - whilst i was trying to get my carbo shot out of my pocket - and I waited to see what the other girls were doing and decided to bridge across and work with Nadine. With only 5 in the bunch I thought I would be doing practically the same amount of work either side and my odds are much better in the attack. I rolled through - but Nadine didn't seem to be interested and almost attacked again or rolled through to the side making it harder for me to get her wheel. Whatever - it meant I wasn't going to roll through again. The bunch soon caught us and I was ready for Sarah's counterattack. I went with it and again rolled through quickly so she knew I would work with her to stay away. I must have had a cadence of 120rpm because Sarah told me to get in the big chain ring. Wow, it helped a lot and my breathing (wheezing) slowed down. Unfortunately the undulations were really getting to me and I couldn't hang on any longer. The bunch weren't far back and with some encouragement from the girls I got back on. From the laughter and the chats I figured Nadine and Sarah were working together. This didn't seem to be the case in practice as Nadine dragged the rest of us back to Sarah. Coming back into town Nadine had one more go which I went with but it didn't last long. After her attack was caught there was the usual mucking around to rest up for the sprint. Ah the sprint! I had been waiting for this. Prior to the race I had ridden the finish, picked my point to start the sprint but not fully visualised the finish. I was on the front coming back into town. What seemed like ages after someone yelled 500m to go we crossed the railway line and started the little climb before the finish line. This was not where I was meant to go. But it was where I thought someone might go. So it was where I went (plot lost). Doh! Way too early. I knew this about halfway to the line. I heard them gaining on me. I stood up to go again and almost crashed in the process. I ended up third. Stung on the line. No trophies this week. But I passed.