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Archive for April, 2011

24 Hour Nationals 2011

Posted by fenner on April 25, 2011




Team Torq Nutrition

Another year and another 24 hour nats has come and gone and what a race it was. 4 weeks ago I hadn’t done any riding for about 4 months due to working on FTP Training, a home building project and slipping some discs. The back was feeling better and so the chance to race Terra Australis came up with Jo Wall and it was all go. I came out of Terra feeling quite good and so decided to do a few weeks of volume and as Dean from Torq was sponsoring the event I decided to give it another go. I had also planted the seed of doing the 24 nats to Jo so it would be good having a team doing the event. Leading into the nats was again not ideal and I hurt my back for a second time just a few days before lifting some 12mm glass panels. On the bike it felt ok, so, decided to still go for it and see how it would hold up. The underlying form was good as some tests up a local road and mtb climb after Terra had shown with some PB times and watts.  

The course this year was st Stromlo and the first ride showed a fast and flowing track that had everything you would need in a 24 course. It was quite rocky and would need the full suss for sure, it was also a little short for my liking, but, it was fun. A couple of practice laps at race pace showed about 32 – 38 min laps were going to be the go at around high endurance low tempo range with care needed to not over cook it on the small climbs.

The Torq crew this year for the 24 had Jo Wall completing her first event and also Scott Chancellor a seasoned top-level player who finished 4th at the Worlds last year, I was going to see how I fared and had no illusions of getting a result, I just wanted to be there and have a ride doing my best to support my riders and my team mates.

The race was a cracker in both fields with the mens race wide open really apart from the current World and National Champ Jas it could be anyones race with about 10 potential podium place finishers. The initial pace was good and I slotted in with a couple of 32 minute laps, I felt ok, in terms of my legs and cardio and was well within my target heart rate range of 140 – 150 bpm. The back, however, was a different story and was hurting from the get go. By lap 4 I had to take some pain killers and that was it really, I simply couldn’t push hard enough with the pain in my lumbar region to elevate my heart rate and backed right off to 39 – 41 minute laps. I hoped that by doing so I would be able to come strong later in the race, but, as the law of sod would have it that wasn’t the case. By 10 o’clock I was lifted off my rig and I called it. Bugger another sob story 24 hour for me, oh well. Scott had been lapping well and was up to 5th before gut issues forced a break and ruined any chances of a podium. Other FTP riders were in the mix, Andrew Hall was holding 3rd for the first 4 – 6 hours and came in a great 6th place overall and 3rd in the tough 30 – 34 cat. Jason McAvoy gritted out another top 10 overall with 8th place and a win in the 40 – 44 cat. Torq/Anytime Fitness team mate Garry James came in 12th overall and smashed out the win in the 50 – 54 category. Great work guys awesome efforts on a brutal course. 

This ment after a little rest and some grub that I could concentrate on helping the team and FTP Training riders that had little or no support crew.

In the women’s race Jess had gone out hard from the start and as we had discussed in the game plan Jo had let her go and just maintained a manageable distance doing super consistent laps in the 38 – 41 minute range. By just after midnight Jo began the push and just lifted her pace a little while Jess was starting to struggle. The early efforts had left Jess tired and her laps started to slow and drift out to the mid to high 40’s. Jo continued to lap at 41 minutes and the gap started to fall. By 2’ish Jo had taken the lead and started to open up a gap first 2 then 10 minutes and very quickly out to 20+ minutes. It was all going totally to plan and Jo looked super controlled and very comfortable. Having done so many races and been on the other side of the relationship between pit and rider I tried to remember all the little things that helped and made small, but, significant differences to me as a rider. The mental game is so important and having established a solid lead it is easy to back off and start to feel the pain and realise how much longer there is to go. It wasn’t long before Jess pulled the pin after a savage lap with some near misses crashing, I wanted to give Jess a big cuddle as I knew the torment and pain in her decision to call it. Jess you rode like the Champion you are love, out there on the attack taking the race to Jo and putting the pressure on early. As I am well aware and have lamented on before in this blog, there comes a time when we simply cannot punish ourselves any more. I realise I reached it after the bronze medal in the Worlds in 2008 and have been like an old boxer ever since trying to relive the moments and dizzy heights of our ultimate performances, time to move on and rekindle the fire and motivation with new challenges mate. One thing is for sure Jess you are a Champion in every sense of the word.

At the 4am mark we hit the caffeine and Jo hit the turbo boost feeling great on the bike and having a ball of a time smashing it out. We had a daylight stop strategy for a gear change if she had a good gap and we used it for a freshen up as by this stage Jo had 3 laps on 2nd place. It was all about keeping going from here on in, motivation, massage, maintaining food and hydration with different options and choices.

Jo just continued to crank it out and brought in home like the new National Champion should in style and looked fresh as a daisy riding on the euphoria of winning her first National title. In the overall FTP’s Claire Stevens came in 5th and took out a win in her 35 -39 category and Meryl King came in 15th and took out a win in the 40 – 44 cat. A special mention to old FTP crew riders Diane Perry and Mel Behrens for outstanding results with 4th overall to Diane and a win in the 45 – 49 cat and 6th to Mel overall and 2nd in her cat.

The 2011 National Champs Jo Wall and Jason English
 Awesome work guys and girls, Stromlo certainly threw up some tough racing and I hope you all take some time to rest up and recover.
As usual I would like to thank all my sponsors for their continued support and all the Torq Pit crew who worked tirelessly to keep the team out on the track. The biggest thanks go out to Dean and Gen for the opportunity to be part of the very best team in Australia, Torq ROCKS and the nutrition was awesome, check out the new Rhubarb and Custard flavoured gels they are soooooooooo tasty. The Cubes were yet again faultless, if you are considering a new rig look no further than a Cube. They are simply fantastic and eat up the trail like no other rig I have ever ridden. If you see Jo Wall on the trail just ask her how smooth and fast the Cube really is https://ftptraining.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/cube-ams-super-hpc-race-review/ Again as usual the Hid Tech lights were amazing with several riders having to stop to let me past (when I was racing) as they were shadowed by the brightness of the Quads. Thanks to Aussie Butt Cream for keeping me chaff free and creating comfort down under. My Skins compression garments worked great with very no upper body fatigue and Oz Riders for the grips and chainstay protectors. You guys rock and I thank you all so very much.




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Cube Aerium TT Report

Posted by fenner on April 18, 2011

The Cube Aerium Time Trial Bike

Cube Aerium

I have been waiting for the new bikes to come in for a while and had to continue riding the Transition, but, with some of the bigger time trial races coming in the near future I was keen to fling my leg over the new Cube Aerium.

Every Cube that I have had the pleasure to build and ride has impressed me and straight out the box the Aerium was no different. It’s clean lines and striking paintwork was going to look awesome dressed out in some of the finest slippery gear I could lay my fingers on. The overall measurements were very similar to the Transition, so, to start with the initial set up was very easy and the ceramic bottom bracket slid nicely into the well finished shell. All the cables and routing were easy to set up (If you have not set up a TT bike before then this is not normally the case) the front mech cable took a little fiddling, but, it was not really a problem. The Transition had Specialized’s proprietary brakes and the rear was hidden behind the BB. With the Aerium the brakes are located normally and although this may cost a second or two in a 40km time trial, with clever cable routing it would be minimal. The cockpit actually builds up very neatly and I was very happy with the brake and gear performance, thanks mainly to the epic Sram Red. With a Quark fitted with Sram 54t chainring  and a set of 380mm USE Tula bars the set up is very light indeed, shaving over 1.5kg off the Transition and coming in at 7.5kg with disc and 90mm front wheel.

Quark Red Power Meter with 54tt Sram Ring

This will be a major saving on hill TT’s for sure. I opted for a Fizik Ares Time Trial saddle to make sure I could keep to the strict UCI 50mm behind the BB rule. The Cube’s seatpost is a very tidy affare that allows a very easy set up and adjustment of both forward and aft as well as up and down.

Very neat seat post set up

So that was it the drop from saddle to arm rests for me is 120mm as I find this the optimum for aero and power output, any lower and power drops massively, higher and my big melon sticks out in the wind too much ;o)

Neat cockpit area with USE Tula bars

For the first ride it was out on the road and over to the local 15km TT course. It looked fast (always a good sign) and I opted to do a warm up lap and then a SST/Threshold lap to get an idea if the position and feeling on the rig was right. Straight off the bat it felt quick to bring up to speed and although the bars are very narrow it wasn’t a problem. I also decided to do it without disc and aero front and without an aero helmet, it would be a good indication of the position when considered against previous times on the course.

Narrow, tight and fast USE Tula Bar

The outward leg was fast and at the turn with an average power of 335 watts I had an average speed of 44km/h, this section is uphill and was into a headwind! I know the course well and was happy at the turn that the position was fast. The bike accelerated very quickly from the turn and was up to 52km/h very quickly. The return leg was done at 48.5km/h average and it felt quick. This again was without aero gear so I was quietly smiling to myself knowing that with all the gear I would be 30 – 50 second quicker for sure and up around my course record on the bikes first ride ;o) The new back to centre Sram sifters are totally awesome and give a very positive feel and quick shift along with the fact that as they return to the central position they actually increase the aerobar extension without contravening the UCI 750mm rule. At the next turn the bike kicked again up to speed and brought me back into the finishing straight and across the line for a 20.01 at 330 watts average. All in all, the bike remained very stable and felt fast and lively. I decided to go for one last little spin before hanging the bike up for a couple of weeks to concentrate on the upcoming 24 hour national champs.

Once again Cube has designed a no nonsense striking looking bike that was easy to set up and fast from the get go. I am looking forward to fine tuning the position and racing the Aerium this year and will report back on any future alterations and tweaks.

Cube Aerium TT



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