Liv & Love Winter riding

mornings in forrestIts right in the height of winter, the days are cold, often raining sometime throughout, sometimes frosted so cold overnight I've been waking up with the fog of cold breath sneaking up from under my doona.
We have even had snow down here in the Otways.

The mornings have often been filled with magic, winter is, if you choose to embrace it, a time of the year when all your senses are alive. You can smell the air, you can certainly feel the freshness, the sight of frost or low clouds creates a sense of comfort and I am tasting a fair bit of mud!

Its been a couple of weeks since my return from Townsville and yeah it was a shock but I had to keep the momentum going as its been a while since I actually worked on my fitness and this was weighing heavily on me in more ways than one!

snow in the otwaysSo I devised a plan, to train everyday, indoors and race on weekends, road or MTB, and just do it.
Week one went along well, training in the morning for about 1.5hrs including core and general strength and indoors on the bike. A fun sweat fest.

Race day rocked up on Saturday, just a local Colac Cycling Club road race of around 30km and it was cold and windy. Nothing new though if you've ever raced at Beeac, even in summer you can get icicles forming on your eyebrows.
I knew the handicappers would put me on 2nd scratch thinking I was 'in form', so I sucked it up and then as I rolled back off my first turn, it was everything I could do to hang on, recovery was tough, in fact, I did not try and hang on as scratch passed us and felt much better now that I could just practise the sufferfest on my lonesome.
Ouch, I was totally out of form, having been sometime before Christmas that I did a 40 min crit in Colac and that was it for road racing until now in August.
So instead of packing the car up in huff, I gave my number to Bec to hand in and toddled off for a solo soul seach roadie, only a few kms out and did 4 or so hill repeats of the only hill in Beeac and I found her, my mojo, and if wasnt for getting on in the day I was keen to keep riding.

Race number 2 was on the Sunday with the Colac Vets over near the old Fonterra factory.
I had learnt from yesterday I needed a better marker and asked to be put on 3rd scratch – please!?
Much nicer a happy bunch of 5 and a wickedly fun undulating farm land course. 56Km later I did not win anything, I was first in our bunch, but most importantly I had a really really fun race with some awesome people on a great course. And I had another 56km under my belt in race conditions.

Jess and kaitlynWeek 1 done, I was keen to replicate again.
More indoor sessions every day with the reward of doing a road race and mountain bike race this weekend.
On Saturday 2nd August Norm and I did some praccy runs on Travs for the Gravity enduro at the You Yangs on Sunday.
We then left at 12 noon and drove to Meredith where I did the Tri Series road race between Geelong, Ballarat and Colac. Chose C grade knowing I still a long ways to go.

tri series 1 meredithThe pace was ok, but a bunch of 15 saw many agendas going on with no real team work. I was a bit skeptical to ride up front as there was no plan, nothing, so I hung back to try and work out what was going on. Sometime into the race it became apparent there was a few hanging back a bit sheepishly and waiting for a time when they would make a break, you could feel it.
I felt it as I was out front on a downhill and I hogged the centre line with the wind coming across my front left that I was going to be swamped on the other side. And the attack was made and you know the feeling, 5 meters back from the bunch but 5 meters too far and nothing can be done except watch them go.
Again instead of worrying about it, I was keen to time trial the next 12km by myself and picked up a few riders along the way but they didnt stay with me – I was in the hurt zone and it felt good.
Another 56km of solid riding, getting closer again to maybe finishing with the bunch again, maybe next week I can do it!
Another great highlight of todays event was to catch up with Kaitlyn, a great cyclist making stuff happen with per passion and dedication. Go girl!

sandy and jess at youiesSunday was something I was excited and apprehensive about.
Its been a while since I bothered trying to improve my times on the gravity runs at the You Yangs, spending a lot of time teaching lines and technique with skills sessions but never really nailing them myself.
The You Yangs MTB club ran a Gravity day, with shuttles to do 6hrs worth of timed Travs runs.

I love Travs track with its man made and natural features that seem to work together so perfectly to create a fun puzzle to solve.
I had a ball riding my Liv Lust 27.5 Advanced 0. 4 inches was just fine for Travs!
From run no.1 to run no. 7 I improved by 22 seconds, and came 2nd to Karen Hill who was killing it from the first run.
So much fun, in the sun, with heaps of people I knew, hanging out at the Youies all day long.

the dekkersNorm and I went into Geelong after this to visit family.
First off we went to the Dekkers and saw people I have not seen in a long time, including Mark and Becky and their newborn daughter (my cous) Violet. Its something I need to set aside time for, visiting family.
We then went and had dinner at my parents, and spoke websites, redundancies and resumes Tony has recently lost his job at Alcoa along with many others.

So now we are onto this week where after a massive week on the bike, I was sore and battered, and still am. My motivation to train indoors was lacking even though the weather should have shoved me indoors.
I gave myself Monday off, and then on Tuesday arvo had enough of data entry as I have started our bookkeeping, and rode up Kaanglang on my Liv Obsess hardtail, 10km up, 10km down. An easy 20km with 500mts of climbing in the cold wet afternoon. And it was BLISS.

bec and jessWith such success on Tuesday I asked Bec to join me on a bit of an adventure on our mountain bikes, up Kaanglang and then along Mt Sabine – Benwerrin Rd, aiming for a 40-50km trip. We took a wrong turn that ended up being the best decision, riding down Delaney's Rd into Barwon Downs and home with 45km wrapped up with a really fun afternoon riding. 

Still no desire to train indoors, my plan today was to get a big chunk of boring data entry work that I ended up liking mind you, and reward myself with a bigger ride than yesterday.
This time without the wrong turn I made it to Benwerrin which was 35km from home.

I made itProblem was it was getting dark and I had no lights so asked Norm to leave home at 5 and pick me up when we crossed paths.
Now it was raining quite a bit, no heavy but consistent, and it was a good 6 degrees celcius.
But man I had fun, the mud splatters in my face, the feeling of being out in the rain, in the middle of winter on a road with no cars, me just by myself in this beautiful environment.
Next time I am going to leave home earlier.
Today I knocked over 52km and 1500mts of climbing.

This weekend I am doing the Tri Series road race again at Dereel, then the Colac Vets on Sunday.
2 more weeks of this kind of training available before Norm and I head off to the Six Hours in The Saddle in Beechworth. I have not ridden this in many years and will be doing solo 6hrs. 

Yep, I am kinda lucky to pick and choose when I ride and how I train. I would probably resist being attached to a schedule or heaven forbid working in a 9-5 job. kudos to all of you who train in the morning because thats when you have to get it done, you are more determined than I!

How to have fun in the winter...JUST ride your bike anyway.