The latest craze at the moment is Cyclocross racing or CX as it is known. All of us at the shop have been taking part in the Dirty Deeds CX race series this winter and it has been an absolute blast. One of our shop ambassadors Penny Hosken , gives her insight into what this CX stuff is all about.
whether you want a change from the road or the Mtb bike or you dont want to sit on an indoor trainer , the CX bike is a great alternative for you to keep riding this winter. Melbourne has plenty of great bike tracks and dirt roads so you dont have to battle the roads in this gloomy weather
Cyclocross Time! by Penny Hosken
When summer comes to an end so does triathlon season. After some R&R at the end of a busy season of triathlon training and racing I was ready to get back out there are start my training for Xterra World Champs in Maui in October this year. Xterra is off-road triathlon (swim, mountain bike and trail run). So this presented me with a new challenge to keep me busy over winter, off-road riding!
Thanks to a mild start to winter I have been having a great time on the mountain bike. It has been a refreshing change to worrying about intervals, heart rate or cadence as much as the sharp corner, tree, rock, sharp climb or drop ahead. The Tuesday night Topgear mountain bike shop ride has been a great way for me to learn some off-road skills with great group of people who are happy to offer advice (and banter).
So now to improve my off-road racing skills. I wanted some short and intense races and found the answer in cyclocoss (or CX) racing!
Cyclcross bikes are like road bikes with wider forks and fatter, treaded tyres. The races consist on many short laps of a marked out, grass course that includes obstacles such a short hills, stairs or barriers requiring you to dismount and remount. The races are around 30 – 60 minutes long; short and intense!
Over the weekend I raced in the first two rounds of the National CX Series.
The first race was in Cranwell Park on Saturday. This course was on the side of a grassy hill and was a great lactic work out. In each 2.8km lap there were two sets of stairs, 2 small barriers, and a 100 hill at 12% to finish the lap. Coming from a short course triathlon/road riding background this suited me as I was able to make up time being strong in short climbs and fit enough to race the 50 minutes going all out. The course winds around a lot so is great to work on your bike handling skills and being on the side off the hill meant is was mostly dry so mud was not really an issue. The mass bike start is like a triathlon swim start, you need to go all out to avoid being stuck behind people through the corners (a skill I am yet to master).
The second race on Sunday was at Darebin Park and part of the Dirty Deads CX series. The atmosphere here was a lot of fun! There are various grades of racing and even kids’ races. This course was not as physically demanding but tested my offroads skills more with some slippery corners and nice little rocky climb. But the best part by far is the crowd cheering and heckling.
So if you are looking for something to do over winter and want to build some skills and strength on bike while having a lot of fun I highly recommend giving cyclocross racing a go!
Want to watch a super cool video about cyclo-cross racing , check this out http://vimeo.com/98972981
Topgear Cycles customer Fiona Macmillan recently took up road racing. Fiona has really embraced the local club racing scene since taking up cycling. See below her race reports of events from earlier this year. There is so many opportunities to get involved in all forms of cycling for women , here is a great place to start…. you never know where it might lead you
Tour of the South West Report
Fiona “FiMac” Macmillan
The Anchor Point Tour of the South West is an official fixture on the Cycling Victoria Winter Calendar and is one of 10 events making up the Victorian Road Series. The tour is open to all grades – Men/Women A-C and Masters A-C. Being relatively new to the world of racing (2013 Tour of Bright was my first race), I decided to race the 2014 Vic Road Series, with the main aim being to learn: racing is so very different to riding in a bunch!
In the lead up to the Tour, I raced Mt Buller Road Race and also Mt Baw Baw Classic. If I had one word to describe me as a cyclist, it would probably be climber. I love to climb! So these 2 races suited me given that both finished with solid climbs….err…..in the case of Baw Baw, it would be an EPIC climb 😉 So the Tour of the South West was always going to test me in different ways…..being relatively flat, perhaps more of a sprinters race, and windy!
The ToSW is made up of 3 stages – an opening road race, which for Women’s C Grade, consists of 3 laps of a 17km circuit. Stage 2 is an Individual Time Trial (12.7km) and Stage 3 is a Criterium. We woke to pouring rain and howling wind (I guess it is Warrnambool we are talking about!), not necessarily the most inviting conditions for a road race. Fortunately the rain eased to more of a drizzle and before I knew it, racing was underway, but the road conditions were pretty wet. The first lap remained fairly consistent, everyone getting a feel for the loop, and also settling into the bunch. There were no big moves, with the Intermediate Sprints and QOM points coming on laps 2 and 3. The biggest challenge was the wind on the back section of the course. No one wanted to spend time at front, and in this section, paced dropped dramatically. The peloton worked through laps 1 and 2, with a breakaway forming mid race. Fortunately I was able to stay in this group and before we knew it, we were about 5km from the finish, and on the windiest part of the course. It was going to come down to a sprint, and sprint finish it was. 400m to go, girls started to go….I went, pushed as hard as I could but just didn’t have the legs – I think I had been on the front too much earlier in the race. It was a close finish though – after stage 1, I was sitting in 11th place on GC, but only 5 seconds from the leader. Key learnings from stage 1: Stay off the front, or don’t be on the front for too long! Let the more powerful girls do the work. More power training required for sprint finishes!
Stage 2 was due to get underway early afternoon. Enough time to go back to our accommodation, eat/stretch/recover and hopefully be fresh for the time trial. Back out to Wangoom, and although the rain had stopped, the wind had really picked up. I learnt a lot from the TT at the Tour of Bright, where I went out far too hard and faded in the latter part of the course. So whilst I wanted to go out strong, I was also mindful of keeping a lid on it. So up on the platform I went and was staring down the ramp at the road in front of me, as officials held my bike and the countdown was on. 3, 2, 1…Go! And off I went. The first few km’s felt amazing thanks to a tail wind, but turning a corner the wind really hit. I kept my head down and worked through each km, slowly getting closer to the girls in front. I finished the ITT in 10th place, which moved me up to 10th place in GC. I was really happy with the Time Trial – I felt I rode it more consistently and definitely finished stronger that I did in the ITT at Bright. Key learnings/thoughts from stage 2: is it time to try a TT bike or at least TT bars now that I have ridden a couple of TTs?
So with racing complete for day 1, it was time to rest/eat/sleep in readiness for stage 3. This was going to be a test for me. Crit racing was totally new for me – ideally I should have jumped into the HCC crits over summer. I had intended to race the Good Friday Crit on the boulevard, just to have at least one behind me before the Tour of the South West. But this didn’t happen due to heavy rain on Good Friday. So I went into stage 3 with the attitude of “what will be will be”. I had received a lot of advice from friends about how to race the crit, and probably the biggest piece of advice was stay at the front but not on the front. So that was what I was going to try and do. Our crit started, it was 30mins + 2 laps. It was a course that suited me, as one part of the circuit included a good hill. The first 2 laps came and went and before I knew it, I was in a breakaway group. I kept saying to myself “just stay on it FiMac”! Round and round we went, extending the lead on the rest of the bunch and before we knew it, got the bell for the final 2 laps. The pace stayed pretty constant until about 200m from the finish and the sprint was on. I couldn’t believe that I was finishing in the lead group of the crit. I finished 5th in the crit, which moved me up to 4th overall on GC. What an awesome experience! It has definitely left me wanting to race more crits. Key learnings/thoughts from stage 3: I have now raced a crit!! More power training will help me with sprint finishes. Stay off the front even when the bell goes signaling 2 laps to go.
So the Tour of the South West was an amazing experience and I learnt so much over 2 days of racing. For anyone thinking about getting into racing, give it a go – you have nothing to lose and will have a blast. I am so glad that I have given it a go, and the most rewarding thing is knowing that I have learnt from each of the VRS races, and am getting stronger because of them.
Here is some great advice from Marianne Vos [ multiple world cycling champion.]
Advice to beginner racers
My advice is to make sure that you are always prepared before your race. Make sure that you have planned everything and that there is nothing more you could have done, you never want to be able to blame yourself for not preparing properly! Think about logistics, training, nutrition, equipment and tick everything off. As soon as you are standing on the start line try and relax and don’t worry about things that you can’t control, a good cyclist is a relaxed cyclist. Feel confident and trust yourself, but most importantly just enjoy yourself!
Check out here blog here for some more great advice http://www.mariannevosofficial.com/blog
Whether you prefer hitting the mountain trails, the bike paths or sprinting for the finish line, you’ll find the perfect ride on our range of bikes. Our once a year clearout sale on now, click the link below to see models on sale,
We are super stoked to have instore the new Mark Cavendish collection , labeled CVNDSH. This gear looks super fast standing still, drop in to grab a kit and lead your local crew in the next sprint finsh!
But it’s more than that isn’t it? It’s as much strength as it is savvy. Speed and cunning. Boldness and execution. Winning is more than just crossing the finish line first. It’s a dedication to the process that gets you there. It’s a commitment to the function of fast without turning its back on elegance. Introducing the CVNDSH Collection by Specialized – A partnership in designing speed.
More than just a name on a jersey, the collection personifies the speed and class Mark brings to professional cycling coupled with the innovation of Specialized. It’s an elegant approach to all that is fast.
“I’ve just been looking through the entry list… I see Damien Jones is in. There’s a dark horse; he’s been going pretty well, racing hard in his prep for the Cape Epic.” said Pete during a ‘phone call with me a few days before the National Champs in Bright. This was after plenty of in-store chats at Topgear getting my Stumpjumper ready for the event. The bike was in perfect condition and I was ready to race the trails.
Crossing the line to begin the last lap it was broadcast that Damien Jones (Hampton Cycles) and myself had moved up through the field and were now in a wheel-to-wheel battle for 2nd place. We were 40 minutes in, at the lowest part of the course, facing the series of climbs that picked their way up the first 3 to 4 km of the 6km loop.
I had caught Damien at the highest point of the course on the previous lap and he had let me pass at the top of the fast descent, so I thought my best chance to gain any advantage was to push some of the sections of climbing. The underlying flaw with this thinking was that Damien was right there when it was announced that we were both vying for 2nd and had become a permanent fixture on my back wheel. This became more and more clear as we climbed, dropped and climbed again on the undulating trails toward the race summit. Any effort I was putting in was being matched. With a clear image of the track in my mind I calculated the sections that would be my greatest advantage and the sections which I would be under the most threat. I backed off the intensity through the last couple of climbs with no sign of a move from behind, confirming I had better keep some energy available for those ensuing sections of threat.
Cresting the last of the climbing it was time to put some faith into the trails, my setup and my ability to take on the fast, winding descent back to the finish line. Tipping down the hill, crossing roots, weaving between trees and dropping into dusty corners the pace was on. At the midpoint of the descent the course popped out onto a slightly rising, dirt road, using about 150 metres of this before veering off onto the next single track. This was one of the open areas I would need to feed in some power. Holding position and driving hard up the road made for a rapid entry into the single track, resuming the descent with some long, fast approaches to tight switchbacks. At the first switchback I got a chance to notice that, at best, I had a lead of five bike lengths. Continuing from corner to corner we launched across another road crossing before becoming close to over-cooking the entry into the last section of the narrow stuff. Passing under the bridge I hooked left and began my charge up the open grass verge, it was clear to me that this was where the attack would come so I opened the throttle. I passed the feed and tech zones and lined up the final 180 degree bend to the finish line. Damien drew level with me around the bend as we booted it for the last 25 metres. 5 metres, and out of the corner of my eye I could see his front wheel alongside mine but with more acceleration than I could develop. He got me… by a wheel, at the finish line. Congratulations to Russell Collett on taking the win.
Third place in Masters category at the National Championships! The vibe was indescribable, I was grinning from the excitement of the sprint finish for 2nd, charged with adrenalin and emotion as I congratulated Damien on the result. From the call-up to the start line all that was left to do was put the training into action. My full focus was on the race tactics formulated from a combination of my own race plan, confidence in the foundations and open advice from Jen and her excellent Pedallab programs, and also of Ed’s invaluable wealth of knowledge on so many MTB and race specifics tuned to my strengths and weaknesses.
On course Nick Morgan and Tillie played the perfect feed zone support roles, keeping the bottles coming as I’d pass through. A big cheers to them, not only for the on-track support but also for the great company whilst we shared accommodation for the weekend, Nick and I had discussed all aspects of the course as well as our own outlooks for our individual races whilst Tillie patiently wondered when the bike talk might take a rest…
Good Friday Friday 18 April Friday CLOSED
Easter Saturday Saturday 19 April Saturday OPEN 10AM TO 4PM
Easter Monday Monday 21 April Monday CLOSED
Tuesday 22nd OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Wednesday 23rd OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Thursday 24th OPEN 9.30am to 6pm
Anzac Day Friday 25 April CLOSED
Saturday 26th April OPEN 10am to 4 pm
It was a clean, explosive start as I sprinted with the bunch up the village road. As we rode across the stoney entry to the single track it became a little erratic, more so as any rhythm was sapped while the bikes got bounced across the tops of the rocks scattered along the trail. I was sitting in 6th position as we filed into the wheel-to-wheel charge down Gang-Gangs and into Split-Rock. Things began to stretch out once the climbing started with positions three and four slowly pulling away from Michael Brill (at fifth) and me (sixth). The course levelled once on the Village Family Trail and the speed rose as the gears made their way down the cassette. Passing through the village, the opening lap of just over 15 minutes seemed about 10 minutes quicker than that as the road climb to Gang-Gangs was back on the cards.
The field had spread just enough to make a clear run of the dusty descent. Behind me I could hear Michael’s chain slap, not gaining but not getting any less faint either. We had swapped places midway through the first lap and were enjoying the speed of the approach to the cork-screw style left-right bermed descent of Split-Rock. Back at the base of the single track climb to the Village Family Trail I worked a smooth pace across the rock strewn trail, accelerating through the switch back climbs. I opened a slight gap but Michael had that closed again as we crested the steepest of the course’s climbs.
Climbing through the third lap I caught some more of the veteran field that had started a couple of minutes before us, driving hard from the exit of the last switch back climb up to the Family Trail to get onto the rear wheel of Adrian Scott for the open road traverse of the alpine village.
Becs and Adrian U were on deck at the feed zone offering bottles as I passed through. Adrian handed me a fresh bottle as I headed off for the last lap and that last climb of the paved village road. Thanks team, it worked seamlessly. Keeping focus on the 5 minute descent of Gang-Gangs I let the bike drift where there was room and centred it through the minor rock gardens of the trail. The Split-Rock descent section that followed was more technically demanding, it was about committing to the best banked lines as the track showed inevitable signs of wear. Once reaching the lowest part of the course the hairpin signified the start of the climb back to the village which featured several switchback climbing corners.
Popping out onto the Village Family Trail I pushed hard to where the course veered left down an over-grown four-wheel-drive track. This provided a fast approach to a mild pinch where I picked up another place as I pedalled over the crest. I figured that I had best give everything I had left into the last effort up the steepest climb that loomed ahead so as not to lose the place I had just gained, so I kept feeding the power in as the climb steepened, drilling it out of the saddle to the gravel road above. The gravel road was a fast, open descent running into a sketchy esses which led into the second last of two short gravel pinches, the last one tipping back to the finish line. I held position, crossing the line with 3 seconds clear of third, creating a double take moment for me as it was announced I had come through in second place.
The consistent effort over the multi-lap race was my best result to date. Mechanically I stayed out of trouble, although the lead-up week had thrown a few challenges my way with the forks needing repair. However, cheers to Peter and Zeke of Topgear Cycles who were 100% supportive as always, and had me ready for the weekend. Physically it was up to me to deliver from the training that Pedallab is so good at prescribing. Thanks Jen!
For the Hellfire Cup pairs race I teamed up with Ollie Klien, a mountain biker from South Australia I have met through several epic and marathon events over the past few years. We were on neutral territory for the inaugural running of the event in the south east of Tasmania, taking on the Male Pairs 40-49 category. When Ollie accepted the challenge to take on the event with me it signaled the start of some pretty intense preparation. I suggested to Jenni King (Pedallab) that I needed a training program to help me stick with Ollie. He is no slouch on the bike and I didn’t want to let him down in his efforts to get to the Hellfire Cup.
With logistics and accommodation arranged it wasn’t long before we were signing in.
The opening stage was a mass start of chattering pairs teams ready to stake their claim on the event. Heavy rain had fallen through the night making the trail conditions greasy, but this had not dampened any of the collective enthusiasm for the 25 kilometre stage.
It was a sporadic start, that used the vehicle tracks that skirted the race village before setting into a 3 kilometre section of single track. A couple of riders got between us but the traffic through the trails meant more congestion than pace. At the next chance I accelerated to get past and onto Ollie’s wheel, then any time the trails opened up we would leap-frog forward a couple of positions. Some brief respite on a downward stretch of open road prepared us for a 4 kilometre climbing 4WD road climb that gradually increased in steepness and brought us in touch with a handful of other teams that had a better start. It seemed everyone was maintaining a similar, solid pace as we swapped positions several times across the next few kilometres of undulating dirt road.
The course left the road and into an off-camber trail that showed what influence the wet conditions had brought to what would otherwise have been a dusty, rocky weave across the terrain. If there wasn’t enough challenge in that my glasses were fogged inside and caked with mud on the outside. The boggy switch back pinches were, in places, too slippery to keep any traction so I found myself running through a few of them, Ollie had the same problem. Soon enough we were skid-steering down a fast link of trails and climbing back out to the top of a generously bermed descent that pitched us back to another open road.
As we tipped back down to the single track approach to the race village the rain began to steadily increase. By the time we crossed the finish line the race village was sodden, with the adjacent creek filling, not only with water but also with finishers looking to clear the mud from bikes and bodies.
Day 2 set a relay of a 20km lap each. The vibe was good, the rain had ceased and teams were warming up along the adjacent forest roads. The first rider of each pair assembled en masse for call of the stage start. Ollie started and hung with the front bunch for as much of the initial climb as possible. Within 45 minutes the first of the riders were coming back across the line plastered from head to toe with tyre-sprayed mud. Soon enough Ollie appeared sporting the same splattered livery. Tagging me to start my lap Ollie gasped, “30 minute climb…” and I was on my way.
The first few hundred metres escaped downhill but as I followed the course left onto the next road it soon became obvious that the corner signified the start of that 30 minute climb. I don’t know which of us had the better or worse deal – Ollie started with the masses and so stayed with a group but also had the pressure of wanting to stay in touch with the front-runners whereas I found myself riding off solo but using the strung out field of second riders as motivation onward through the climb. For 10km the forest road stepped up, false flatted, and stepped up again and again, eventually breaking left for one more climb before picking up the rewarding, 10km return journey. A few diversions into some single track loops honed the skills through the mud-slopped corners and pinches. Although clear skies presented themselves for the day there was still plenty of water flowing across and at times down the tracks we were riding. This explained the spectacle of the mud-peppered riders returning to the race village. It was slick, muddy and fast! I sat with a couple of others through the soggy descents, eventually being spat out onto the forest road that gently rose back to the race village. The three of us pushed hard to get every last drop out of the tanks as we ascended to the finish to post our respective team times.
The rain was back on the scene for Day 3 demanding another course realignment. We rolled out for a controlled ride behind the Hellfire Van to to the stage start on a farm road alongside Bream Creek. Similarly to the first stage this was a mass start. After identifying our closest competition Ollie and I discussed the loose plan we should follow, which was to mark the other guys and not let them get away. The start seemed to hold a manageable pace along the flat, dirt road for just under 2 kilometres, although looking back at the data the group was pressing on at somewhere between 40 and 45km/h. Rounding a bend the next challenge came into view. As riders noticed the exit across a muddy approach to a sharp incline it was as though a gun had gone off, with riders attacking, knowing that anyone caught too far back in the pack would probably have to get off the bike to get through the rapidly worsening boggy section. From here it became a solid, steady climb over the next 3 kilometres. With Ollie on the front I followed faithfully through wheel tracks, across slight ridges and around edges of deeper puddles. We had broken past our category competition and were keeping the hammer down, unsure though as to whether we were increasing our advantage or being chased and they were keeping us within their sights. A welcome descent of about 1 kilometre dropped us to the base of the next 3 kilometre climb to burn some more fuel from the legs. We soon descended to a much smoother road surface and found ourselves working well with two other teams. We used the chance to keep the pace up but also recover the legs a little where possible. Once Ollie took the front it was the end of the bunch and the recovery as I dug as deep as I could to stay within a bike length or so, as the other two teams dropped back into their own pace. Mindful that the stage couldn’t be too much longer we worked to put every second that we could into the bank. The finish line soon appeared on the horizon and we crossed adding another 30 seconds to our advantage.
Stage 4 was held at the nearby show grounds on a small arena set on the side of a hill. Snaked back and forth across it 5 times the course took about 80 seconds to complete with teams sent off at 1 minute intervals in reverse GC order. Day 4 was another cool, rainy day. The stage had more of a festival atmosphere than a race feel with everybody getting the chance to watch every other team complete the course. Once every team had finished their run it was time to relax into the end-of-event celebrations.
Racing with Ollie was great fun. The three main stages saw me pushing consistently the hardest I can remember, from start to finish, to be sure not to let our pairs team down. The reward was in the result, with us cleaning every stage without mishap and winning our category for the event. Thanks Ollie!!
A major part of our success was in the preparation. It was great to have the support of Topgear Cycles to keep me supplied with all the spares and race nutrition I could imagine might be needed. Thanks Peter, for helping me keep my Specialized Stumpjumper pedaling, shifting and braking smoothly. A broken spoke was the only unrepairable casualty. My thanks to Adrian (team mate for Becs) for generously lending me a spare wheel he had brought along. Becs and Adrian took third in their category and fellow Topgear riders, Karina Vitiritti and Phillipa Birch teamed up to take second of the Female Open Pairs.
I followed the training program and once again I was amazed at how effectively Jen’s coaching could push and elevate my own riding performance.
Not the fastest and not the slowest , but maybe one of the most determined athletes on the start line
We have know Leonie Keilour for over 15 years, and last week she competed her 15th Ironman [ 3.8km swin, 180km ride and a 42 km run]. People sign up to Ironman for all different reasons, for Leonie its a way of life to keep fit , she swims rides and run, not fast but as she has proven she can go all day when she sets her mind to it. This year Leonie signed up to raise money for the Tour de Cure, a great charity to raise money for Cancer research. She has been touched by this terrible disease as she goes on to tell in her race report.
l.o.n.g. email… story….
Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, emails, and facebook messages….. I compiled them all and stuck them to my bike handlebars for inspiration…. Funny though I couldn’t read them without my glasses, but knowing you were there got me through J
It was FANTASTIC this year to know that the insanely crazy thing I was doing was worthwhile to raise funds for Cancer Research through https://www.tourdecure.com.au/pages/default/index
What do I say…?? what an amazing day…. J turning 50 this year and finishing my 15th Ironman J what more could I want… well, I’ll leave that to your imagination J
After months of training, hours + km’s in the pool, (both swimming and water running) fingers and feet permanently looking like soft mush from hours of soaking in water, sore ‘backside’ from many more hours of mountain bike, road bike and exercise bike in front of the air-con / tv, aching legs, knees, and blistered feet from km’s of running – hhmm perhaps ‘plodding’ at IronMan pace on the Eastern Fwy bike path and more water running to save my knees, Race Day was finally in my face!
I changed my training this year as I just couldn’t bear being away from Bonnie for 8 hours of bike riding, and with the heat I couldn’t take her in her in her Croozer http://bike-trailers.com.au/products/pet_trailers/display/54-croozer-dog-trailer-mini so I did more of 4 hours outdoors followed by lots of clothes changes on the indoor exercise bike… with all that heat it was great for ‘fluid loss!’
My 4 hour long runs were also not what I would of liked, I wanted more! But my hamstrings just couldn’t take them, so I had to settle with lots more pool running, which in theory (and now practice) I know works! Yippeeee J
As with every other competitor, we all wish for perfect weather, little wind, side wind ok but not head wind on the bike, some sun to keep the hypothermia temperatures away on the bike due to lower temperature when the wind blows, (previous years I have Frozen in the Ringwood tunnels, even had to stop as I was shaking frozen so much!) and we want the sun to stay up as long as possible to see the run path through Elwood on the way to the finish….
Saturday I took my bike to Frankston where it goes into ‘transition’ security overnight, imagine 2000+ bikes at an average of $5000 each, plus a bag of bike shoes, helmet, clothes, and another bag of runners, the $$$$ sure add up for security!
My Race day…. Starts with the alarm going off before 4am… drive my car to St Kilda and get the shuttle bus with other competitors to Frankston for the start. My car has to be at St Kilda so I can drive home at nearly midnight … LOL… I am extremely fortunate to say that in 15 years of racing Ironman I have never had a DNF (Did Not Finish) and never plan to! So my very grateful car is waiting for my sore legs to get home safely.
A few text messages in the morning and then it’s time to say farewell to the phone in my jacket pocket until my ‘gear’ gets transported to the finish where I can get my phone and keys and clothes to go home.
Swim start was ok, there is always someone who thinks that by grabbing your feet and pulling you down they will overtake you… but watch out, you are dealing with me! A good hard kick and they don’t try again! I do love the swim, and when I’m in my zone just kind of don’t want it to end, it’s a strange feeling of ‘can’t wait to touch land, but I know I am an ok swimmer so feel good’. A quick look at the watch and 3.8km later it’s 1hr 11min, YAY just what I would like… no hard done, now gotta get on the bike !
Bike Transition takes a while to get the wetsuit off, socks, bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses, leg and arm warmers, and vest on and all warm plus the all important loo stop before getting on my bike, all looking good thanks to http://www.topgearcycles.com/ Pete, Zeke and Jess have looked after Bonnie and I for all my Ironmans… thank you Top Gear cycles. J I guess I am lucky that I can train on the Eastlink Bike path so I know the unpredictable cross and head winds…. What will today bring? WOW I got through the tunnel to the first 45km turnaround in 1hr 25min… extremely happy! Will it stay this way??? NOOOOOOOOO back towards Frankston and into a headwind…. Push, push, think of those urging you on, think of the pleasure of finishing not the pain, and soon enough Frankston arrives and another turnaround and back to Ringwood… problem is HOME is above the turnaround, and it would be easy to just ride 2km home!!!! Back into another headwind, but it’s worse this time, legs getting tired, wind stronger, curse that wind! (but I suppose it’s not as bad as last year) just counting the km’s until I can get off the bike and start running…. P.l.e.a.s.e no punctures…. Push, push, curse, push, drink, caffiene NoDoz, painkiller Nurofen and I keep pushing, I’ve never tried Nurofen in a race before, but I’ve got nothing to lose to try, for my aching knee! And it seems to work.. yippee…
Bike- run : I finally get to Frankston and off the bike 180km in 6hr 40+ min ! yippee …. Take my little black soft toy dog with me and clip her to my top, Bonnie is with me all the way. Now I am free, it’s just me and the earth…. And gravity, and sore legs, and blisters, and hhmmm have I had enough to drink and nutrition on the bike … hhmmm more NoDoz…. Hhmmm when should I take Voltaren (haven’t had that in a race before either – only training!)
Run : I knew people were going to be at the 10km aid station on the run… would they be there???? Inspiration to keep me pushing to 10km and ¼ of the way…. Yes, there they are, Pete+ Celine and their girls from TopGear….. so wonderful to see them. OK now I just have to keep going along the road from Frankston to Mordialloc, around the corner then it’s onto the bike path and safely all the way to St Kilda… Mordialloc is about 19km, nearly ½ way… yippeeee … what am I thinking about you ask… I was doing a lot of maths and calculating my pace and if I would do the 42.2km in under 5hrs…. so that kept me going… AND OF COURSE knowing I was doing it to raise fund for Cancer Research was a POSITIVE change this year … such a difference knowing my pain was nothing….. but PAIN at the time !!!! after 35km you think “it’s only a short 7km to the finish’ but it seems so far away, and this year I could still see the path, as I was way ahead of my time from the last few years – whooo hoo!!! Running past people who were walking gave me such inspiration, I was in so much pain, and aching tired, and nothing left in me, but HOPING there would be friendly faces at the finish was urging me on… and I didn’t want to be out there any longer than I had to!!! Enough was enough for this old girl !!!! Bonnie and Missy were waiting at home and that’s where I wanted to be… getting sloppy kisses and cuddles.
A first – I have never had anyone ask me if I would like them to drive me home J thank you J … choking tears xxxxx I know people often think I am insane, mad, crazy, off-the-planet, whatever !!!!! and maybe just too tuff! (on the outside) J 2 years ago 2 friends surprised me on the run and followed me with their car and supported me on the run to the finish….. this year I was not sure if someone would be there… you never know until you get there J which keeps pushing you wondering…
FINISH LINE – I’m sorry that you can’t experience the exhilaration of completing an Ironman and getting to the finish line unless you are on the inside… after 13 hours, the last 30 sec is all you really want… that finish line…. That finishers medal around your neck and to be called out YOU ARE a 15 time IRONMAN FINISHER…. I absolutely never would of thought turning 50 this year I would finish my 15th Ironman…. More tears… for those who couldn’t be with me to see and watch xxxxx BUT …. If you are on the outside watching, I also don’t know what it’s like as I’ve never watched!!!!! Thank you to my wonderful doggie friends, you are my FOREVER friends, you are stuck with me now in my memory, and photos, as is everyone who has a special place with me with IronMan Triathlon…
Since my gorgeous Bonnie has come into my life 4 years ago, I haven’t gone under 7 hours on the bike or 5 hours on the run, or total 13 hours, as it’s so hard to get the time to train when you have ‘kids’as a ‘sole parent’ !!!!! My dream was to ride for 6hrs +, run 4 hrs +, and finish in under 13 hrs… well I managed to achieve 2 out of 3… 6.40ish on the 180km bike, 4.55 run 42.2 km, and finish in 13hrs 4 min (coz I needed that loo stop!!!!) My swim has always been consistent about 1.11 for 3.8km, so happy J
Soooo, i’m at the last bend 200m from the finish and suddenly I cant go any further, I just stop… people on the outside of the barriers banging and saying keep going… why did I stop… I just needed a few seconds to compose myself and then it’s into the finish straight… lights, action, camera, you are on the video and big screen, and people calling your name… it’s AMAZING…. I’m doing ‘high5’s for the kids who want to touch your hand, and then I see my friends with a sign saying ‘go Leonie’… all I want to do is stop, get hugs, and finish… I can’t hear anything, it’s all a blur… you want to finish but you want this amazing feeling to keep lingering…
I try and reach them with my outstretched arms but I can’t reach, so I keep going…. But I want to see them, to feel them, any everyone who is thinking of me, and all the money raised for Cancer Research … THANK YOU xxxxxx
The ‘catchers’ catch you and put a towel around you and the medal around your neck, and medical staff decide how you are… they thought I was NOT ok… I was hyperventilating…. Breathing too fast and short… wanted me to go to the medical tent, I refused! I wanted to stand, but they made me sit in a wheelchair! But I thought if I sit I wont get up again… I so wanted to see my friends so got permission to go to the grandstand to look for them, but couldn’t find them, so the medics took charge again and ushered me to the massage tent. Someone got my clothes and organised a leg massage and took off my shoes. I thought my feet would fall off the pain was awful! The medics wrapped me in tinfoil as I was shivering.. and getting a bit hypothermic… it’s wonderful stuff! Cooking a roast I reckon and I don’t eat meat ! They said I had to eat and got food but I just couldn’t eat it… I tried to go out the athlete’s chute to those waiting outside but they wouldn’t let me. Then I got an ice-cream in a cone – yum! But the cold went straight to my head and I collapsed and people put me on a chair… I was trying to tell them it was just the ice-cream but I could hear them saying take her to medical…. NOOOOOO…
Eventually I got out looking for friendly faces…. Then THERE THEY WERE…. Wowowowow….. gobsmacked…. I’ve never had so many people waiting for me at any Triathlon finish … xxxx choking tears again xxxxx
I wish I could of said something sensible and grateful but alas I don’t think I did…. I only know how bad I looked from the photo taken of me coming out of the chute with tinfoil wrapped around me… I usually stay in the athlete area for a couple of hours to recover and make sure I’m ok to drive myself home, but this time all I wanted was to get out…. To say THANK YOU for coming… THANK YOU for your support, THANK YOU for giving up your Sunday night…. Just to watch me for a few minutes finish Ironman and then carry me home !!!!! I remember one of the ‘boys’ getting a chair and there I sat while 2 of them braved the security, took my car keys, and drove over the embankment and gutters, through the St Kilda Kiosk, and brought my car so I could be a passenger in my own car while I got driven home!!! Wowowowowowow
Thank you for looking after Bonnie… xxxx Thank you for taking the time to watch and wait… xxx for going out of your way to make sure I was OK ….xxx
Thank You to everyone for supporting Cancer Cure…
YES I entered the following day for 2015…. Call me crazy, call me insane, but it’s amazing to know I am now doing it to make a positive difference for the lives of those who can’t…
I better stop, coz as an Ironman you can keep going all day…
I raised $995 for Cancer Research… if you still wish to support just click the red Donate to Me box in the link below….
The success continues through the start of the triathlon season
After a great winter season culminating in winning the Australian Duathlon Championships the plan was to hold enough form through the first part of the triathlon season to gain some World Championship qualifying points before going back into a heavy training phase through December and early January.
As a sharpener before the first triathlon I took part in one of Melbourne’s longest standing running events the Spring Into Shape Series. I had had some success in this event before winning my age group on a number of occasions. However this time I was in good enough form from my winter’s racing to take out the overall win in the 5km event.
Within a few days it was back on another plane and up to Queensland for Australia’s biggest multisport event the Noosa triathlon. I was feeling great leading into the event but got sick the day before and struggled around in a very disappointing 7th place. I guess it is the usual situation when if you are close to your peak you are also close to getting sick or injured.
I took the rest of the week easy and tried to recover in time for the opening Melbourne triathlon the first round of the renamed Team Up Tri Series at Brighton. I came out of the water in 3rd place probably showing the winter focus had been run and bike. But at less than 30 seconds down I had the lead within 5km of the bike leg and continued to extend my lead throughout the race winning the 45-49 age group by almost 2minutes and finishing in the top 20 places overall.
The final race in this block was the World Championship qualifying race in Kurnell, Sydney. This was my 5th race in 7 weeks in 4 different states and the fatigued showed. I finished a disappointing 4th, missing the podium by less than 10 seconds. The good news was that I was qualifying for a place in the Australian team in the age group above and my performance gained me the maximum points in that age group almost ensuring I have already qualified for the team for Edmonton in 2014
After a good training block I will return to racing for the 3rd race in the Team Up Series at Elwood in January, before competing in both the Australian and Victoria Championships in February.