To TDU and beyond…

The post-TDU (Tour Down Under) blues haven’t hit me as hard as I thought they may, considering how great a week of racing it was. Personally, this was the first TDU where I got out to every Stage of the race and I had a blast. It was amazing what a difference it made to my participation in the “event” that I was able to meet one of the riders in the lead-up to the Race. That rider is Davide Vigano, an Italian riding for the new Luxembourg team: Team Leopard-Trek. When I first met Davide, I was happy to find he has a very down-to-earth manner and easy-going nature. These traits do nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for racing or for winning.

Davide is a sprinter and, this season with his new team, will act as part of the Lead-out train and as the main Lead-out man for Daniele Bennati (who is also Italian). The two will begin their first race together at the Tour of Qatar on Feb 6 and, from what Davide was telling me, are both looking forward to the opportunity to race alongside each other.

Davide didn’t manage to get a first win on the board for his new team at the TDU, but neither did the more fancied (Road Captain) Stuart O’Grady this time around. Irrespective of that, I think that the first hit-out for the new team showed some great signs and gave the team a lot to work from for the rest of the season.

As for me from here, I am sentenced to a year of staying up until the wee small hours watching what racing I can on SBS (like the Tour of Flanders which will be on SBS1 on April 3rd) and to riding more myself this year. Now that I have a geared road bike (as opposed to the Single Speed I had been riding previously) I am hitting the Pat Jonker Veloway (south of Adelaide) for some interval hill-type riding (I could say training, but I’m not sure it is THAT serious) as well as my weekly jaunts up Mt Lofty and (also weekly) trips along the beach.

Last year, for me, was all about weight loss. I went from a 110kg (243pound) guy who was looking seriously at Big Men’s Stores for shirts to fit to an 85kg (188pound) fit guy who lost 4 inches off his waist and now has a figure to be proud of. This year is about fitness. I have realised that I am unlikely to lose much more weight as my weight plateaued mid year and has not dropped again since, but what I can keep doing is gaining fitness and working more on technique, mainly for climbing.

The reason I am concentrating on my climbing abilities is that I have found I am able to keep up with most of the people I generally ride with on the flat for as long as I need to. Endurance has never been an issue for me when ever I have been fit.

What I do need is more strength in my legs and the ability to climb for longer at a higher speed. In order to achieve that, I have changed my technique to more closely resemble other bigger-boned riders like Cadel Evans and will be riding hills this year, as much as possible, seated and in a higher gear than I had been using previously. This means that my cadence is not as high, but that the distance I cover for each pedal stroke is sometimes inches more than most others are gaining.

My wife has suggested I start riding 300km/week regularly. To fit this in with my aim of climbing better, that would mean riding repeats of the PJ Veloway’s first 3km (av 9%) 100 time’s/week. Is this doable? That all really depends on how early I plan on getting up in the mornings, doesn’t it?

For today, it was enough to have a little ride back from the city and to sit in the cool.That’s 12km. Only 288 to go this week. Oh, hang on. It’s Friday. Too late!

Do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

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