Fenner’s Total Performance Training Blog

Knowledge is Power

Mixing MTB and Road

Posted by fenner on October 6, 2013

The past few weeks have been super busy with clients racing all over the World and smashing wins and grins everywhere and my own racing it’s been “on like donkey kong”



A few weeks back I raced the NSW masters champs and looked to defend my ITT title and win the crit and road as well. I have been developing some altitude protocols and after another intervention I was feeling good and ready to have a good hit out. The ITT went well and i managed the win with the 2nd fastest time of the day to FTP rider Shane Millar. I was happy with the ride, but, was limited on the return by leg speed on the faster sections. Things to work on for the Nationals for sure. The crit the next day was a cracker race with attacks and counter attacks for the whole race. I launched a big move with 1 lap to go and nearly pulled off the double just getting pulled back on the line by Richard Allen of GPM, a Silver medal to add to the Gold from the previous day was a good outing and the numbers for the day were really good with a 45 minute NP of 350 watts, we certainly were not hanging about. The road race the next day was always going to be a tough one to win, the course is just not hard enough and riders can get back on the short descents keeping it all together for a usual sprint finish. I pulled myself inside out, but, to no avail. Rolling in 8th in a slow motion sprint finish, still not a bad weekend all up.

The Huon team were then going to be staying for a few weeks and we were running a small training camp before the Capital Tour and the Tout of Tassie, so, it was a good chance to get my legs ripped off by Jack haig and Joe Cooper up and around the mountains of Kangaroo Valley. The guys rode an awesome Capital Tour and came away with nearly all the jerseys and clamped a good hold on the series with Nathan Earle and Jack Haig within a few points of each other going into Tassie.


On the Sunday I slipped off and raced the MTB at the Kowalski Classic over the 90km single track dominant course. It was a super fun race and it was great t be back on the dirt. My skills and speed on the single track needed to be better to stay up with the elite guys better, but, I did manage to come away with the win in the Masters Category again in a time of 4 hour and 18 mins. Strava analysis would show some KOM’s for the day on a few climbs and firetrail sections, so, the form and power was there, but, the skills were lacking. More time needed on the dirt before Cape 2 Cape and Hell Fire Cup for sure.

It’s now all about prep for the upcoming Masters Nats and the MTB stage races, that and the continued work on making sure all the FTP Training riders are frothing and winning around the World. There are some very cool things happening right now, so, stay tuned for further updates.

A huge thanks again to Torq Aus and Dean and Gen, without there support it would be nearly impossible to manage everything and keep racing. Thanks also to Monza for the new Cube Roadie, report to come very soon and the Red 22 Hydro rim brakes, OMG, what an amazing group set and it will change the face of braking on road bikes. Full report coming soon guys.


Checking out and see you on the road or trail very soon.


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The NSW State Elite TT Champs 2013

Posted by fenner on July 2, 2013

With too much work and not enough time to train and race the calendar has been a little sparse this year, but, I have been developing some altitude protocols for www.ftptraining.com athletes and after a very good 4 week intervention and a renewed vigour in training I was ready to line up and try to go a step or two higher on the Elite NSW State ITT Champs podium this year. In fact the last block of very focused training had been very good and the numbers coming out in training were all time bests, so, I was very confident that I could match the super talented riders who I would be racing against. It really was a top line up with Ben Dyball fresh off taking the hill top finish in Japan whilst also smashing the best time ever on Mt Fuji. Brodie Talbot the defending champion and also firing for his assault in China with the National Team at the Tour of Quinghai Lake this week and also last year’s Silver medallist Jacob Kauffman who had also recently scored overseas success taking a stage win in Malaysia. Oh yeh for a near 43 year old I did have my work cut out for me.

Warming Up State ITT Champs 2013


The course had been changed to the rough and tough Dons Farm at Dapto and everyone who has ever ridden the course knew it would be very tough. The weather in the preceding days also caused concern as torrential rain had made the already potholed course even worse. It would be the same for all, so, come the morning of the race it was game time, but, as luck would have it for the duration of the race conditions were dry and even the tricky descent of Mt Marshal was dry.

With the warm up complete the sensations were very good, you know the feeling of holding great numbers and it feeling easy. I knew I was on a good day. The data suggested it as I came in quite fresh at +15 TSB and over years of studying my data I know that this is ideal for my very best performances. I rolled up the start line and it was on.

Ben was actually my minute man, but I had Jacob and Brodie behind me. In ITT events the focus is always on dosing the effort and with a lumpy course extracting just the right amount of energy into every section of the race. Overpower the efforts on the climbs and small micro recoveries on the downs finish the race with the tank well and truly empty.

I rolled down the ramp and it was game time, the legs felt amazing and holding 450 watts felt easy, I know this to be a worry as I have a schedule of 360 for the hour, so, once up to speed I had to temper the effort and back off a little. It was hard as I felt soooooo good. The Torq Forrest Fruit gel I have downed just before the start had perked me up and I was just flying. I was lucky enough to have one of my mates, athletes and NRS series leader Jack Haig in my tail car and after all I put him through in training  was not going to let him down on this day and I was cranking it out. By the first turn I thought I was actually up on Ben, I could actually see the whites of his eyes coming the opposite way, with  little look of disbelief as I was close. The next 60 mins just flew, pain, suffering, emersion in the moment. I was just focusing on 400+ on every rise and holding on in between. I tried to pick up for the final few km’s, but, there wasn’t a lot left, I crossed the line completely spent nothing left to give and coasted to a stop nearly throwing up. Had I got it? I didn’t think so, but, maybe I was close.

State Elite Champs 2013


Ben rolled over to me and we shook hands, It awesome to be able to race these amazing young athletes when I am old enough to be their dad. I love ot and it is what keeps me coming back for more and striving to keep getting better. He had beaten me, but, I was 2nd and had moved one step up from Bronze last year to Silver this year, stoked. The end result was Ben had won by 40 or so seconds a solid win and well deserved from the better athlete.

Podium Elite ITT Champs NSW 2013


I was happy, I had done all I could and had hit my numbers. 348 average and 360 normalised for the 60.50 minutes for the 44km course, with 450 vert meters climbed. At 68kg’s I was in all time best condition ever and the altitude intervention had been a massive success.

A massive thanks to my sponsors Torq Australia, Monza, Cube Bikes, Quarq, Aussie Butt Cream and Oz Riders. Your help, products and support helps me to keep pushing the limits of my performance and keeps me pushing the youngest and most talented riders in Aus all the way to the line.

Love ya work


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The Convict 100km MTB

Posted by fenner on May 6, 2013

The Convict 100 MTB Enduro

After a very heavy training and race schedule in 2012 after my back surgery in 2011 I had a little break from racing seriously for a period since the National ITT Champs in Ballarat. What with looking after all of my ftptraining riders and generally running the business I didn’t really have the time to do more than 4 – 5 hours on the bike each week and to be honest i was happy getting stoked on the performances of the athletes I spend so much time looking after and helping to achieve their personal bests. I was still doing a little bit of very focused work however and after having a young Jack Haig to stay for a few weeks and getting in a couple of rides I realised that I wasn’t actually going that bad.

Last week I fronted up at the local ITT Champs and managed a great win very close to my course record with massive numbers, so, when I got a facebook message from a client asking if I would like to take his entry for the Convict 100km I decided just 4 days out that I would have a go.

Now I hadn’t completed more than 2 or 3 rides longer than 2 hours since Xmas, but, I was going great and I knew my fitness and condition was really good, so, I was actually quite excited. I had entered the Vets Category and thought that I would be in with a shout of a result. Lining up at the start I was a little gutted that I hadn’t entered the Elites race as they took off at 7am. 10 minutes later the rest of us were off and after a leisurely first couple of Km’s the hammer went down and a select few of us took off up the road. My plan was to just take it easy and do just enough to win my category or the whole race apart from the elite wave. On the first climb just 3 of us pushed clear and that was it as we never say another from our group again. After only 40 – 50 mins, however, we started to overtake the tail end of the elite group and I then realised that we were actually moving along at a good pace. Our select group was made up of Luke Beuchat and last year’s Vets winner Stuart Adams. Luke was climbing better and Stu was descending better, but, I felt very comfortable at the pace we were going, apart from the fact that I knew as we started that I should have gone to the toilet!!! After the first rocky downhill and climb I knew that at some point I was going to have to stop to answer the call of nature, but, where should I do it and would I be able to get back onto my lead group?

At the 50km point I decided I had to go and let the guys know that I would stop after the feed station and catch them back up. After a quick stop I was chasing back on and after a little climb I was back with the guys and feeling oh so much better ;o) We all got to the river pontoon crossing together and then hit the main last climb of the day. I decided that I would ramp the pace up and up on the climb and test the guys. First Stu popped and it was early on, so, I knew the pace was on and it spurred me on to keep the pressure on. After another 10 minutes Luke was still with me, but, I felt he was tired and I lifted the pace once more on a steep pinch and I felt the elastic go. I looked round and saw a gap and punched it. With about 20km to go it was drive, drive, drive and keep the pressure on. I reeled in a few more elites and with the countdown of Km’s on my computer I knew I was actually going to ride a very fast time. Coming into the last few Km’s I thought I would break the 4 hour mark, but, I didn’t feel as if it had been that fast! I kept pushing and I was very quickly at the finish in a time of 4 hours and 5 minutes. I was stoked with the time, stoked with the feelings and sensations of the race. I was also stoked with the course and the whole event, Chapeau Max Adventure awesome race.

Having a Laugh Convict 100 winner

All the results have since come out and with the time I completed the race in I would have finished 9th in the elite male race and I am stoked about that, I cannot help but think what I could have done if I had a fest group to work with, however??? Maybe I could have cracked the 4 hours, maybe next year;o)

Massive thanks to all my sponsors, Torq Australia, the best nutrition on the planet, both pre, during and post race. The Cube 29er and XX1 with Sram Rise 60 Carbon wheels was amazing and never missed a beat. With the conti race kings it is without a doubt the fastest MTB I have very ridden and all my PB strava segments on it will testify to the fact that it is a rocket ship. Thanks to Aussie Butt Cream for keeping me chaff free and OzRiders for the best grips going.

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The 2012 Cape 2 Cape

Posted by fenner on November 1, 2012

The Cape 2 Cape 2012

Ready to Rumble

Just over a year ago I flew over the West side to support my wife Sally and Sarah Hunter race the C2C and from the smiles on their dials I knew that when my back was better I would come back to race this great event. After a heavy road season I was a little fried and after returning from the UK where I had smashed out some great TT races I hadn’t really done very much, in fact I had done the best part of bugger all. With the weeks ticking off before the race I was well below par, but, I was really looking forward to getting dirty again and having a blast on the MTB.


My good old mates Mark and Sarah picked us up from the airport and lent me their spare car drive down and I managed to hook up with one of my riders and team mates Becky Mates as soon as I arrived and we hatched the plan for the weeks racing. I knew my form was not the best, but, hoped it would be good enough to be able to give John Greg a race for the Masters overall. Becky on the other hand was flying and she had hit PB numbers in training in the lead up and I was confident that she could create an upset.


Day one started as every day did FULL GAS, boom, it took off on the very first climb and it was on like Donkey Kong. The first stage was a tough one with lots of sand and a soft beach section where I actually got KO’ed by a double up wave and knocked off my bike and totally underwater. I lost the main group on the sandy descent and managed to come in 18th overall and 2nd in the masters. Being the only 26” wheel bike in the top 20 might be a limiting factor in the sandy loose downhills and along the fast double tracks, but, hopefully the old 26’er would be up to this changing game of MTB racing. Becky smashed the first stage and came in 3rd just behind Jodie Willets and Jenny Fay. Numbers for the stage were good with NP of 308 watts and a 5 min AV of 398 watts for the first climb. Solid figures, but, a good 5% off the pb numbers for the year.


The following stages followed a similar pattern with a selection made early in and the pace very high with what must be one of the best quality fields assembled in Australia. Stage 2 was a good stage for me with a fast paced 27km/h average speed our working group with Shaun Lewis and Nick Both keeping the leaders to a 2 minute advantage by the finish. Stage 3 was a shocker as I just couldn’t get the flow in the single track and rode like a Hubbard. I limped in well down and nearly dropped out of the top 20. Becky had had what can only be described as a shocker on day 2 with multiple mechanicals effectively taking her out of the race. This was real shame as with such good form I am sure she would have come away with high overall position. Stage 4 was another cracker and more road race with a 70km distance covered in 2 hour and 20 mins with an average speed of nearly 31km/h!!!! Scorchio fast. The last stage came down to the final climb and then the single track down to the finish. I was with the lead group most of the way up the climb and with about 20 of us left it was going to be pin it ya muppet time on the pea gravel drop to the finish. As was the case through the week my skills let me down and I struggled to ride fast and fluid, but, held on in a sprint finish to move up to 18th overall again and 2nd overall in the masters category against a dominant John Greg.


It was a great race and had everything with a real mix of terrain and great stage finish locations; I will be back for sure. I would like to thank the organisers for such a fantastic event and also my great sponsors Torq Nutrition for keeping me fuelled and pinging all week. To Cube bikes, Sram, Quarq, Continental, Sunto, Oz Riders, Aussie Butt Cream and GO2. Without you all it would not be possible for this old man to front up with the youngsters and keep them all honest.

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The 2012 Masters National Road Champs

Posted by fenner on October 9, 2012

The Masters Road Nationals 2012

Well after what has been a very long season on the comeback trail after back surgery the Masters Nats rolled into Goulburn. I had set to be peaking for the Nationals, but, this was not the case after taking a few weeks off after coming back from England I had only been doing 4 – 6 hours a week on the bike. I was feeling ok considering, but, knew I lacked the race fitness and about 30 or 40 watts off my threshold.

The first race up on the calendar was the ITT and it followed the same course NSW had used for the State Champs a month earlier. With a strong team of Torq/ FTP training riders present a big medal haul was on the cards. The first day got off to a flyer with Felicity Wardlaw in the W2 smashing the competition and in doing so posting the fastest female time for the day to bring home the Gold Medal. Next up was Scott Butler in the M4 and after a tough build up with a knee injury Scott crushed the rest of the field and scored another Gold Medal for Team Torq. The pressure was on for Damo and I in the M3’s, the course as usual was tough and on the return leg I was not happy with my ride at all, but, in the end I was surprised to pick up the Bronze Medal. With an average power of just 306 watts and a NP of 315 watts it was a poor day in the saddle for me. Damo collected the Silver with a good solid TT. Our times were the 3rd and 4th fastest of the day, so, all in all it wasn’t a bad start to the campaign.




Next up was the criteriums, these are held on a great closed circuit at the Marulan Driving Centre and the racing was awesome. Felicity again smashed the field and came away with another Gold Medal on the Sram equipped Cube Litening with ENVE’s. Scotty Butler established the winning break in the M4’s, but, was out sprinted by a couple of Wiley racers Eddie Salas and Graham Albourn and came away with the Bronze Medal. Damo and I tried to animate the race in the 40+ strong peloton in the M3’s. Within a few laps we had whittled the group down to around 10 riders and with 2 laps to go I went for the win, the lack of racing meant I didn’t quite have the legs to carry it through to the finish and I came away with the Bronze Medal again. The numbers were much better at the crit and I came away with a NP of 350 watts for the 45 mins of racing. Not bad for 4 hours a week on the bike. Damo unfortunately had a crash in the final corner losing more skin to the Marulan Track,

An MTB rider taking a corner ;o)

The final day of racing was on the road and strong winds and the threat of rain made the going tough. Felicity nearly scored the trifecta, getting narrowly beaten in a sprint finish for the Silver Medal. In both the M4 and M3’s the racing was a little negative with multiple attacks brought back and large bunches rolling onto the finishing shoots. This made for dangerous sprints and many fresh riders seeing the front of the race for the first time all day after they had been snivelling about at the back during the race. Needless to say with no real sprinter amongst us we came away empty handed in the road races with both Scotty and I finishing around the top 10 in our respective races.

All in all Team Torq/FTP Training came away with 8 medals in total with 3 Gold’s, 2 Silvers and 3 Bronze, a very impressive haul.

Wattslaw BOOM

I on behalf of my team mates would like to thank the continued support of our sponsors. Our Torq gels, bars, energy and recovery kept us fuelled and ready to smash it day after day, the Cubes and Sram Red components were flawless and definitely helped us produce the best results that we could. Our butts were looked after by the excellent aussie butt cream, grips and bar tape supplied by none other than Oz Riders and GO2.

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Against the clock in the UK

Posted by fenner on August 22, 2012

It was nearly 6 years since I last went back to the UK to catch up with family and friends and this was possibly a little too long a time period. Sally and I were heading back for nearly 5 weeks and had an action packed agenda planned with Paris, the Olympics and for me lots of racing.

With the cycling scene in the UK booming it was a great time to go back to the mother land and with Wiggo and team GB dominating at the tour and the Olympics the Brits were fully frothing over racing bikes and every man and his dog were out there smashing it up on 2 wheels. With Sally’s mum and dad living in Ringwood right on the New Forest in South West England the riding and racing options were amazing and I could basically compete in 3 – 5 x 10 to 25 mile time trails each week if I wanted and most of these could be ridden to in less than 30 mins from the door. This easy availability of racing over the long light summer evenings was something I had missed about the UK.

After getting over the jet lag of the long haul flight I fronted up to the Bournemouth Arrows evening 10 mile club champs for my first race on the Sopley P311 course. It was an out and back 10 miles on roads that actually made the Aussie roads look quite lively ;o) The local gun rider was James Gilfillan and he was starting as my minute man, so, the race was on. I felt a little tired on the first race, but, maintained a 350 watt average and came home narrowly missing catching James for a 20.35 and a new course record. I was stoked as this was previously held I was told by Daniel Lloyd in his full Cervelo kit, not a bad result for sure.

I managed to win the next 2 events one held on a wet and windy night by New Forest CC on the P301 course in 21.30 and then another Bournemouth Arrows event with a 20.49.

Nice and tight for the course record

My old team mate Chris Mcnamara had lined me up to ride a 2 up TT with him in a Surrey League event on the very sporting and lumpy 26 mile Staplefield course on the Saturday and I had then lined up to race the Bognor 25 the following morning. It was ambitious as I was drinking too much and sleeping on pull out beds and really not getting the recovery I needed after full gas efforts, but, in for a penny in for a pound.

The Saturday of the 2 up dawned sunny, but, windy and with Nick Hutchins the bronze medallist in the recent British TT Champs on the start sheet it was not going to be an easy day. After a good warm up we felt ok and opted not to use the deep fronts as the wind was gusty and control on the fast descents was more important than the extra speed obtained from the better wheels. This was a good call as it turned out as it was windy on the back side of the course and holding onto my 90mm front would have been a right handful.

We started with our main rivals as our 2 minute men and I controlled the pace from the start with the aim of overpowering the climbs and trying to maintain 400+ watts and then recovering on the downs. On the first climb with the red mist I slightly overcooked it and coming over the top I struggled to then hold Chris as he came through. This over cooking the first 5 mins really hurt and it took nearly 30 mins to get back into the race and feel ok again. On the climbs I was carrying a little to much weight having put on a few kg’s and was hanging in there. On the flats I felt fine and tried to do as much work there as possible. As a team we worked well and came in under the hour in 58.48. We didn’t know it, but, we had won by nearly 2 minutes and were the only team under the hour for the day, STOKED.

We celebrated with a recovery lager on the way home and then got stuck into a lively bottle of Rioja with dinner ;o)

I woke at 5am slightly dusty and said my goodbyes to Chris who was off to a road race and toddled off to the Bognor 25. The morning’s conditions looked good with just a light wind and blue sky. I was kicking myself as a 50 minute 25 would have been on the cards for sure on such a good morning if the legs felt ok, I got an early start and overtook all the 5 riders in front of me by the half way point, but, I was struggling to maintain the power and holding 320 felt like 360 watts. The best I could do was stay aero and bring it home. I finished with a 53.20 for the 25 miles, but, an average power of only 305 watts nearly 50 watts down on threshold :o( I won the TT by just over a minute, but, oh what could have been with fresh legs.

The last race before I came home was another Bournemouth Arrows 10 and I was keen to see if I could break my course record and maintain my unbeaten run in the UK. The evening was not kind with quite a strong headwind on the outward leg, but, I knuckled into the ride and hit the numbers to the turn. I was feeling quite good and the power was right up there, unfortunately a slow car around the turn held me right up and I had to break heavily and slow right down all the way around the turn. I smashed it on the return leg and narrowly missed my record by 5 seconds!!! I am sure it would have been a 20.15 or maybe even faster if I had not got held up, oh well maybe next time.

All in all, the UK trip was amazing and I would like to thank all the clubs that welcomed me and allowed me to race. It is a very special scene and supported by an amazing bunch of generous individuals who give up their time to look after these races. I would also like to thank all my sponsors, Dean and Gen from Torq Australia, you guys rock and without the best product on the market I couldn’t race and recover as I do. The Cube bike and Sram equiptment is simply the best and allows me to just concentrate on the job at hand and that is putting as much power to the pedals as possible. Big thanks to Aussie Butt Cream and GO2 for their continued support.

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Racing the NRS Series and Elite NSW State ITT Champs

Posted by fenner on July 10, 2012

Having returned from the NRS Tour of Toowoomba and the Santos North West Tour it was time to focus on one of the goals I had set myself at the start of the season. The two tours had gone well for Torq/BSS and although we hadn’t come away with a stage win, Brenton Jones scored two 3rds and Tarmac Mick Troy the most aggressive at Toowoomba and a few sprints. Along with that we had been in second place after the first two stages in the team’s event at the North West Tour with Tarmac, Brenton and I in the top 20 after the prologue and criterium. When you consider our overall budget or lack of one against the teams we were competing against we were holding our own and mixing it in the stages.

Heading for a top 20 at SNWT prologue (Photography by Mark Gunter)

With the quality races in my legs the final week leading into the State ITT Champs was all about recovering and freshening up as well as focusing the shorter efforts at race intensity all on the TT bike. As the week progressed I was feeling better and better and a short TT test effort on the Thursday before the race showed I was bang on schedule and holding some great condition.

Having never actually ridden the full 43km State course at Calga before Tarmac and I travelled up Saturday morning to pre-ride the course and activate ready for the race on Sunday. It was clear from the start that it was going to be a tough race with over 500 vertical meters of climbing and exposed to a cross headwind on most of the outward leg. It was going to be about solid pacing and over-threshold efforts on the climbs and then saving as much while going as fast as possible on the descents. Wheel choice for the day was going to be a Zipp disc with a 90mm Easton front a good combo as long as the wind didn’t get up too much when the very flat and deep Easton can be a real handful to keep hold of. I have the option of a HED tri-spoke as well, but, figured the extra weight and slower nature of the course would not suit it as well as the Easton.

On the morning of the race the conditions were ideal, but, with a later start the Elite riders were going to be faced with an increasing headwind on the outward leg. On the start ramp, however, it was still not too bad and I mentally prepared for the effort. The pacing strategy was to try and hold 380 – 420 watts on all of the climbing efforts, this would represent between 105 – 115% of my current FTP which I had recently set at a conservative 360 watts after a 390 watt effort up Camby Mountain for 17 minutes. As I tend to when fresh have a large AWC capacity these shorter efforts tend to overestimate my actual 60 minute power a little if the usual 95% is used to estimate it.

Straight off the ramp and it was clear I was on a good day, you know the feeling of effortless power and constantly having to rein it in and hold back. The first 10 minutes was like this and I was constantly throttling back a little and trying to maintain speed in the flatter sections and downhills for as little expended energy as possible and then smacking the climbs full on and maintaining the 400+ watts I had set as the target. I knew from having ridden and won the Masters NWS Champs previously that my return leg would be about 29 mins and that meant the outward leg to the turn would need to be somewhere in the region of 29 – 30 mins to be in with a shout of winning the event. The course record held by Peter Milostic who was also competing during the weekend was a low 58 and last year’s winner also racing this year Jacob Kaufman won with a 58.50. On approach to the up ramp at the halfway point I had caught and passed about 4 riders in front of me and I instinctively knew I was going well, but, to see the timer show 28.30 at the halfway point was a real motivator. I must be there or thereabouts and once I knew I was going well I just refocused on all the controllable aspects of the race. Tuck the head, hunch the shoulders, maintain the power focus, focus and focus some more. The return was tough and I caught 2 riders on Bloody hill and just nailed myself holding 420+ and frothing at the nostrils. The final 1km was just full gas and I crossed the line with what my Garmin showed as a 58.40 (Official time of 58.44), I was pumped and really thought I was in with the chance to win the event. While sitting waiting in the hot seat Peter Milostic approached and missed the time by almost a minute, but, then 2 riders could be seen in the distance and the time was really close. First to cross the line was Brodie Talbot; Brodie had been riding amazingly well winning the first 140km stage at Toowoomba and holding the leader jersey. He was right up there in the NRS and it was going to be close. He flew across the line in a 58.29 and had just beaten me. Next up Kaufman flew across in a 58.40 and I was relegated to the Bronze medal.

Heading towards the finish

I could have done no more and with PB numbers being posted up Camby I was content in the knowledge that I had given the youngsters a good run for their money. Next year I will be back and that 15 second deficit will be gone ;o)

I would like to thanks all my sponsors Torq/BSS along with Monza, Cube Bikes and Sram for the best gear available to ride with. Thanks to Simon Jones and Powerstation for all the frothing at the nostrils intervals that knocked me into such good shape. I would also like to give a massive thanks to AusRiders and Aussie Butt Cream for the comfort of grips and chamois cream along with GO2 http://www.go2life.com.au/sport.html for keeping me healthy and firing under a heavy racing load.

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All done and dusted at the Absa Cape Epic

Posted by fenner on April 6, 2012

What a race the Absa Cape Epic is, nothing short of the TDF for MTB stage racing. The trails are not great flowing singletrack, or to technical, but, the sheer length of the stages and the size of the infrastructure creates a monumental race of attrition.

A tough day at the office

After moving up to 4th place after the Queen stage 3 (day 4) and maintaining the position and nearly snagging a podium on Stage 4 (day 5) the wheels fell off for Ollie as a gastro, gut issue caused havoc. Ollie was simply unable to eat hardly anything and with the next days stage being the wettest and toughest in the history of the event it was all over red rover as far as the podium in 2012 was concerned. Along with the gut issues stage 5 also thew a heap of other problems our way with a puncture for Ollie that we just couldn’t get fixed and ended up needing one of my 26″ tubes and a hand pump to get us back on track again (losing 30+ mins in the pouring rain and cold!!) My rear brakes then packed up with about 60km to go and then with 20km to go so did my front brakes!!! This was interesting to say the least as riding think muddy singletrack towards the finish necessitated either laying the bike down in the mud at high-speed, jumping off or braking with my feet in the mud!!! It was an issue and cost us more time for sure. We ended up losing over 60 mins this day and completed the stage in 7.5 hours of wet muddy slogging. Stages 6 and 7 followed the similar pattern and Ollie couldn’t hang with our usual bunch, so, we just tapped it out and looked to make sure we got a finish under our belts at the end of the race.

The wet one!!

Overall the Cape Epic is a must do endurance smash fest that I have to come back and give another go, it kicks your butt every day, but, it keeps you frothing for more. I would like to thanks Ollie for inviting me to race with him in 2012 and I apologise for being a grumpy arse sometimes when our race for the podium was over. A massive shout out to my lovely wife Sally who looked after us, massaged us both and generally made sure during the week that we had everything we needed. Also thanks to Jenny for all her help and morning coffee runs to get me moving.

Big thanks to my sponsors and supporters Dean and Gen of Torq for keeping us fueled during the ride, Monza, Sram, Cube Bikes for the awesome AMS and running gear that kept soaking up the punishment day after day. Aussie Butt Cream for keeping the comfort down under with no undercarriage issues during the week. OzRiders for the best grips on the market. Lastly to all the facebook and Tweeters who kept the messages of support coming over.

Job done

Now the entry has been put in for the 2013 edition and it will be down to the lottery, fingers crossed I will be back in then to finish the job off.



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Posted by fenner on March 26, 2012

Well what a first couple of days at the Cape Epic, this race is just massive and it is really hard to convey the scale of things. Theprologue went ok yesterday and we ended up 6th in masters and 49th overall. We went a little conservative as the next few days were going to be massive! The first real stage was a cracker all 115km of it with 2400 of brutal mega steep climbs in 30+ degree heat. It went from the gun and the aim was to hold the pro’s for as long a possible. The first hour had a n P of over 300 watts and some big 3 – 5 min numbers upat 400 watts. By half way we had-overtaken BArt Brentjens and Jan Kirsipu and were up into 3rd on the road and inside the top 30 overall. The heat and relentless climbs were taking there toll and we had to back off a little. With about 40km to go we were cranking again and ended up 5th in masters and moved up to39th overall and 5th in the masters. We need to gain 10 mins to move up to the top 3. Bring it on.

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2012 Australian National MTB Championships

Posted by fenner on February 28, 2012

National MTB National Championships Race Report

Well what a start to 2012 it has been! I have hardly had time to think with a full on race schedule and program to get me into some sort of condition to go and have a go at the Absa Cape Epic. The final parts of the fitness puzzle are in the process of being put into place and after a couple of weeks of volume leading into the National Champs in Adelaide I was starting to feel like my old self.

I backed off slightly the week before the Nats to freshen up a little and at least get my TSB hovering on the right side of zero for race day, unlike a couple of weeks before at Stromlo where I went into the race at  -27 TSB and a little cooked.

The first race was the Teams Relay and with such a powerful squad I felt confident that we could take it out. With Jack Haig leading us out for the first lap we were confident that we could establish an early lead. A bad case of chain suck, however, had other plans and jack had to scoot and run for the final few km’s to limit our losses to the local Adelaide team.

Next out was Billy Sewell and he smashed it off the line catching and passing the Adelaide rider on the first climb and dominating the lap to come in and hand over the Kat O’Shea. Kat again smashed out a cracker of a lap and extended the lead by the time she came into transition and pass the responsibility of bringing it home to me.

I was honoured to be given the final leg and gritted my teeth in the soaring temps to ride a steady but solid lap to bring the Green and Gold Jersey and first Championship medals to the team for 2012.


Team Torq Nutrition


I was up the next day with the Masters National Champs and with a stellar line up it was going to be a very tough race indeed. Anyone of 6 or 7 riders were up for the win and with temps in the high 30’s it was going to be a war on the dirt.

One of the most important things to get right in such hot conditions is your core temperature and for the hour leading up to the race I managed this with ice vests and ice cold towels around the neck during a short warm up. I wore my torq skinsuit and filled this with ice cubes that were melting and again cooling the core and maximising the blood supply to the working muscles and away from being diverted to maintain homeostasis. My idea was to go out hard and fast and control the first climb and therefore the single track. I could then settle into my own pace and manage the riders behind me. I was also sure that we would catch up to some of the slower riders from the race that started before me and I wanted to be able to get past them and maybe gap the chasers putting pressure on them to pass and make mistakes doing so. The plan worked very well and after the first lap I had a 10 second lead over John Gregg in second and a group containing Jeffrey, Rizzuto, Kreilis, James, Klein and current series leader Willmore.

Railing Sunset Boulevard

The initial break had its effect on me in the heat and I could sense someone clawing their way back up to me on the second time up the main climb. On the technical rocky section on the climb midway through the second lap John Gregg attacked and made a small gap. I was unable to respond and at the time I was unsure of the rider and his kit as I was expecting Rizzuto after his strong performance a couple of weeks before at Stromlo. In 3rd place and always a threat was Willmore the series leader and he was trying to bridge across to me the pressure was on. Over the next lap the lead remained just out of touch with Willmore breathing down my neck, getting held up by some back markers and lapped riders was frustrating and any gains made were quickly lost. Out onto the last lap Dean in the pit was saying I was only 20 or so second behind the leader and I had made a small gap on Willmore so I put the pressure on to try and make up the time. It was so hot and riding on the limit was like being in a furnace, my throat was dry and like razor blade sucking in air to supply my working muscles. I pushed and pushed and felt like I toughed out a solid last lap, but, it was to no avail and I came in with the Silver again 50 seconds down on the winner and grinner John Gregg from WA.

Nearing the finish

I was happy to be back in a position to ride for the win, but, gutted that again the national jersey had just eluded me. With 3 Silvers in 3 races entered over the past few years I really wanted it this year, but, on the day a better man won.

Masters Podium

The rest of the team, well what can I say. The medal haul was amazing with Gold medals for Jenni King and Robbie Hucker in the Elite and U23 XC, along with Silver medals for Jack Haig and Billy Sewell in the U23 and U19 XC. Billy took out the Gold medal along with a Bronze for Kat in the short track. It was an epic show of strength for the best team in Australia.

Massive thanks go out to Dean and Gen at Torq Nutrition for the continued support, along with Monza and Sram, LG. Continental Tyres, Sunto and Lezyne who keep us on the trails with the best rigs and gear on the market. Oz-Riders for the best grips and Aussie Butt Cream for comfort down under, you guys rock.

It is all about the Cape Epic now with a few weeks of big volume and long days in the saddle I am frothing to get amongst it.

Catch ya on the trails


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